Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 Jul

Weekend Link Love – Edition 200

For this 200th(!) edition of Weekend Link Love I thought I’d try a slightly new format. Instead of a hodgepodge collection of links to start the blog post I’m going to break the links out into sections. Don’t worry. I’ll still be linking to and providing commentary on anything and everything I find interesting, but now you’ll know that THE latest, most important and intriguing research that was released in the last week, and THE blog posts everyone is talking about can be found here. It’s your one stop shop for catching up on what’s going on in the world of ancestral health and fitness published every Sunday. Let me know in the comment board if you prefer this little format change. Thanks, everyone!

Research of the Week

Persistence-hunting, water-carrying, tree-climbing hunter-gatherers don’t actually expend more energy than lazy soda-guzzling Westerners, a new study has found, dispelling the popular notion that losing weight is all about burning calories. (Perhaps it’s the soda?)

Dying potato chips red caused test subjects to eat 50% fewer of them.

Average daily hours of television viewed, separated by country. I could excuse the US’ poor showing if it reflected Louie, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones marathoning, but I doubt that’s the case.

Interesting Blog Posts

One paleo blogger’s successful battle against high cholesterol (and she managed to avoid statins!).

Human ancestors were nearly all vegetarian, a Scientific American blogger says. What do you say? A $50 gift certificate to to the commenter with the best response! (As judged by me and the Worker Bees. This contest ends midnight PDT, July 31.)

Media, Shmedia

Bryan (future Primal doctor) and Tracy (former math teacher, newly-minted MovNat trainer) Barksdale were recently featured in The Daily News out of Galveston, Texas, where they’ve been spreading the ancestral love.

This article on “the caveman diet” in The Vancouver Sun is less impressive, but fairly even-handed. I only counted a couple references to eating grubs, bugs, and rodents. And they didn’t even mention loincloths once.

Everything Else

I’ve talked about wheat germ agglutinin before, but this article really lays into the pernicious wheat lectin. Also: “Pandora’s bread box” is coined, which I think is just fantastic.

Thank heavens the Canadian authorities are finally cracking down on illegal frontyard gardens. Think of the children!

Recipe Corner

  • Richard Nikoley’s Fat Bread – it’s not quite like the real thing, but it’s not trying to be.
  • Get some beef, some okra, a crock pot? Baby, you got yourself an okra beef stew!

Time Capsule

One year ago (July 29 – August 4)

Comment of the Week

I love that research medicine is validating and reinforcing my love for Calvinball.

– Amen, T.D. Next, I hope they confirm the existence of sentient stuffed tigers.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. *The Paleo
    The end of the article should read
    “Sometimes what happens in -the- paleo should really stay in -the- paleo.”
    That’s my only rebuttal, the author repeatedly refutes his own claims and it’s generally wise not to argue with someone when they’re arguing with themselves.

    huntergirlhayden wrote on July 29th, 2012
  2. Mark & Co.

    Thanks for the Fat Bread mention. I have hated every paleo bread recipe I every tasted, since this. Plus, I ws very concerned about the n-6 and phytic acid content of most nut meals. By using macadamias and coconut in butter form, all that is a non issue, the bread is about 88% fat from macadamia (monounsaturated), coconut (saturated) and eggs. And a 1/8″ slice actually holds together like bread. No need to mayo, either. The fat’s in the bread.

    Richard Nikoley wrote on July 29th, 2012
  3. In response to the article..
    I cannot find the article I am going to reference but don’t primates have different digestive systems to break down vegetables and fruits than humans? I could be making this up but I remember reading somewhere about it. Vegetarians are usually just misguided when it comes to eating meat. He makes valid points which are noticed but hes missing many as well. Humans can digest meat very well (although there are exceptions) and there is a reason we have incisors in our mouths. They are not there so we can rip apart carrots and celery. They are for tearing meats and connective tissue down (along with saliva etc). I do like how he displayed how different species and humans from around have varying degrees of gut bacteria. Probably why some people can eat tons of meat and some people just cant.

    Ray wrote on July 29th, 2012
  4. About the Scientific American article; Having listened to Barry Groves’ presentation from the Real Food Summit a week or so ago, I felt very slighted by the lack of concrete, factual details on the comparison between our guts and that of other primates. Of course, I don’t remember everything from his presentation exactly, but he was arguing that having a high-fat diet is truly the healthiest for us. Apparently, other primates have a much larger cecum than us, and that is where fermentation of indigestible carbs (like cellulose) takes place. Bacteria there ferment these carbs into short chain fatty acids, which are then absorbed by the animal, making their diets much higher in fat than it would appear judging by what they put into their mouths.

    I think he mentioned in passing the relationship between gut and brain size; that is a huge factor, and really deserved more research. Having less gut means we NEED more meat and fat than other primates in order to derive the same amount of nutrition from our diets, and having a much larger brain than would be expected based on our size, we need even MORE. I really wish I had taken notes on that presentation during the free viewing, although it’s almost worth buying the whole Summit just to listen to it again!

    Alyssa wrote on July 29th, 2012
    • You summarized it really well, actually!

      I have the presentation, and it is just as you say: Groves was able to describe very nicely how ultimately all animals have in common a high proportion of fatty acids absorption via the gut.

      The food going in might not be high in fatty acids per a given volume, but it is in how the animal ferments/breaks down the food that the proportion is reached before absorption.

      Joy Beer wrote on August 1st, 2012
  5. Oh, and I like the new format!

    Alyssa wrote on July 29th, 2012
  6. The problem with his argument is that paleo/primal is not about vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian. Paleo/primal is about the paleolithic vs the neolithic. He says paleolithic like it just means ‘old,’ but really the bulk of our human biology, and what separates us from our more-vegetarian cousins happened during the paleolithic! Tool use, cooking, and an eventual rise to become the greatest hunters the world has ever seen all happened during the paleolithic (except maybe those “velociraptors” in jurassic park).

    There’s no argument that our ancestors ate more plant matter than us. It’s completely irrelevant. Paleo dieters eat more animal products because we eschew the products of agriculture, not because we eschew plants. We necessarily have to choose more animal foods because human beings not eating the products of agriculture cannot digest leaves like chimps and gorillas, and we’re not going to adopt things like copraphagia to try extra hard to. We are not our ancestors! We’re omnivorous homo sapiens sapiens. End of story.

    Jared wrote on July 29th, 2012
  7. With regard to the Human Ancestors post, maybe its our fault for not explaining it properly, but it seems like most people take a look at Paleo or Primal diets and think that it is 70% meat and then 30% of a gray zone of foods that is possibly berries or nuts, but probably just more meat. When I make a meal, the center piece is naturally meat, but its maybe 20-35% of my actual meal. The rest is vegetables, fruits and some type of fat like avocado or coconut. You can’t really judge something if you don’t understand its defining feature. That’s like pointing out that the vegetarian diet is bad for you because eating large quantities of tofu is linked to high estrogen levels. Vegetarians don’t eat tofu exclusively, and Paleo and Primal diet advocates don’t eat meat exclusively. I gave up on arguing with vegetarians a while ago though, so now I just stare at them with my best crazy eyes and slight grin and repeat “You know, they say bacon is a gateway meat. You should try some.” over and over again.

    Jake B wrote on July 29th, 2012
    • Good point. And I think a lot of the media is fixated on that guy in Manhattan who lives on just raw meat. So, in some cases they’re just having fun shooting at a straw man, but I think they sorta believe it. Some of the paleo crowd IS over the top, and sometimes the exhibitionists and publicity grabbers start to be perceived as the norm; they’re easy headline fodder. That why it’s always good for people like Mark to clarify things when they are guests on TV shows. It was disappointing when Gary Taubes let Dr. Oz ride over him roughshod during that one episode.

      BillP wrote on July 29th, 2012
  8. What’s important to remember when comparing our diets with our earliest ancestors, is that as the brain became larger in its progression from monkey to our current form our brain required more and more calories to function properly hence the need for alternative food sources such as meat.

    Joeby wrote on July 29th, 2012
  9. Like the new format change!

    Lisa wrote on July 29th, 2012
  10. As a resident of Quebec it warms my heart to see my people building such a beautiful garden, and im horrified that my government actually passed a law saying how big a garden youre allowed to make, its absoultely ridiculous and further proof that my government needs to be torn down *sigh*

    Jason Blanchard wrote on July 29th, 2012
  11. Love the new format!

    a cup of whole mac nuts + a cup of coconut butter makes the “fat bread” recipe kinda pricey! I don’t miss bread that much!

    mars wrote on July 29th, 2012
  12. The gist of the article is “monkeys don’t each much meat, and we have digestive tracts very similar to monkeys.”. All well good and true. Here’s where his argument falls apart. Digestion is not metabolism. Considering that since the homo sapiens line split from the monkeys we’ve changed and separated ourselves from them in all sorts of way (not the least of which is an advanced brain). The idea that we may have evolved a separate metabolism that receives nutrients via a similar digestive tract, but uses the nutrients in different way is not too far fetched.

    Evidence for this is as plain as the geographic distribution of primates vs. the various stripes of early-man. Monkeys never (not now, not in the fossil record) get very far away from the equatorial temperate zones where there are year round growing seasons. Early-man has a long fossil history in climates that are distinctly seasonal. There is plenty of evolutionary-scale time and selective pressure to separate man from the monkey line in terms of the ability to thrive on a distinctly seasonal diet where meat would be the most available source of food in winter and spring.

    If our metabolism were as the author describes, we would not have been able to inhabit and thrive in as many different climates as we have.

    Jared wrote on July 29th, 2012
  13. Human ancestors were nearly all vegetarian – So the study referenced is telling me that Neanderthals that don’t eat meat, and are subsisting on the paleolithic version of twinkies get sick and die? but your take on that gets you to Humans are mean’t to live vegetarian…right… well, I’m Human and I’m sticking with the steak and non starchy veggies.

    Gem wrote on July 29th, 2012
  14. My thoughts about, “Human ancestors were nearly all vegetarian”:
    Firstly, I can recommend the fascinating book the author of this blog post, Rob Dunn, wrote called: The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today. It discusses the effect of wild species on our well-being and the world and how nature still will always cling to us. In his “Human ancestors were nearly all vegetarian” post I think he is simply highlighting the fact that humans have evolved to be able to eat a wide variety of foods and the primate diet is generally plant based. He doesn’t denounce eating meat he just questions those who suggest that the paleo diet is all about eating meat. He’s also enquiring why the paleo diet seems to focus on a specific point in time. Saying this, there are number of points which need to be highlighted:

    1. “A paleo diet is an arbitrary thing. Which paleo diet should we eat? The one from twelve thousand years ago? A hundred thousand years ago? Forty million years ago?” Forty million years: I’m not sure where this figure came from? As I understand it the paleo diet applies to the middle (300,000 years ago) and upper (50,000 years ago) Palaeolithic eras.

    2. We diverged from primates around 2.3 million years ago. So can we really be evaluated by what primates do in 2012?

    3. He also uses some logical fallacies: begging the question later in the post which is a statement that refers to its own assertion to prove the assertion. He then argues uses an irrelevant “stawman” by arguing whether we can digest nuts and seeds: we can.

    Rob is overlooking the connection between the evolution of the evolution of the metabolically costly human brain and the gut: humans lost some gut and gained brain. This is called the Expensive Tissue Hypothesis. This required that we consume fattier, more nutrient dense food (although this paper suggests that meat wasn’t critical to human evolution: Energetics and the evolution of human brain size:

    Fundamentally I think the main point that the post misses is that “eating paleo” is more about taking prompts from simpler diets, backed-up with up to date scientific studies. For me it’s as simple as that!

    Rob wrote on July 30th, 2012
  15. Ugh… the most annoying thing about the SA article was the big old grammatical error in the first paragraph. I sometimes struggle to take things seriously when I see glaring errors like that :P.

    When it comes to what we “should” eat, I think the evidence is in what science has shown about the effects of hormones on the body! Whether we ate more plant or animal is immaterial. We weren’t going around gorging on wheat, that’s for sure. I think early humans were eating what early humans could reasonably get!

    Humans living in the tropics would have had more easily accessible fruit to eat, for example, and would thus have consumed a greater proportion of carbohydrates (and plants) than humans living in the arctic where there were few plants to eat. It’s impossible to lump everyone in together and say humans ate XYZ.

    Fiona wrote on July 30th, 2012
  16. In essence, what Rob Dunn is saying is that if we never ate meat, we’d still have the brain of a monkey.

    GB wrote on July 30th, 2012
  17. At this point I’m simply echoing most of the other excellent points already made in the comment section, but since I had a friend post the article on my wall and I already responded to it, I’ll include my response to the article.
    The only “condemnation” of Paleo I found in the entire article was the studies proclaiming that our ancestors didn’t only eat meat, which has never been a claim of the Paleo diet. Paleo has always been roughly split 50/50 between animal products and vegetables — the real focus for Paleo is the avoidance of grains, seed oils, and sugars. The author himself specifically notes that “our bodies are all fully-equipped to deal with meat (which is relatively easy). ”

    As for the study he quoted, from the abstract, “Until recently, Neanderthals were understood to have been predominantly meat-eaters; however, a growing body of evidence suggests their diet also included plants” — not “their diet was mostly plants” or even “their diet was more plants than animal products” but “also included plants”.

    You’ll also note that the author doesn’t provide any study actually showing or determining the amount of meat in the Paleolithic Man’s diet, he simply states “Although ‘Paleolithic’ diets in diet books tend to be very meaty, reasonable minds disagree as to whether ancient, Paleolithic diets actually were” (We’ll ignore the sad attempt to discredit the other camp by silently calling them unreasonable). Turns out there ARE studies where people attempted to determine how much meat hunter-gatherer tribes actually ate: . In the abstract for that, it states

    “Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45–65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (≥56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (≥56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods”

    Furthermore, it appears that prior studies may have estimated a lower percentage of energy coming from animal products because they assumed the Paleolithic man only ate (protein-rich and therefore lower-calorie) muscle tissue; do you think it is at all likely that they would have ignored the fattiest (and therefore tastiest and – I’m convinced – healthiest) parts of the meat?

    But what happens when the Paleolithic man didn’t catch meat, you ask? How did he eat throughout the day? Quite simply, he didn’t. Our bodies (provided we’re used to burning fat as energy and not carbohydrates) can survive quite easily without food for stretches of 6 to 24 or even 36 hours at a time with no ill effect by burning stored body fat; this is the entire purpose for storing excess calories as opposed to simply excreting them as waste. Our bodies didn’t evolve through eating at regular meal times every day; some days you just can’t catch a deer.

    Honestly, this article just makes me feel sad for the readers who will be turned off of Paleo because some author felt the need to attempt to bolster his own diet by creating a strawman of another diet. I understand that it’s an age-old tradition to make yourself look good by criticizing someone else in comparison, but honestly, you shouldn’t do it if you’re bad at it.

    BGottfried wrote on July 30th, 2012
  18. If our ancestors ate so little meat, where did they get the bones for their tools?

    Rachel wrote on July 30th, 2012
  19. Does anyone have a recipe for “half-rotten Wildebeest leg” gelatin ring? Mmmmmmm.

    RyRy wrote on July 30th, 2012
  20. The gut goes from mouth to anus.

    Look at our teeth. We have teeth that tear and teeth that grind. We’re ominivores.

    Look at cat teeth (no grinding surfaces, so they are fairly strict carnivores).

    Cows and goats are herbivores. They have no incisors on top.

    You can’t say that the gut tells the story and then skip the very first step in how we process food.

    Joanie wrote on July 30th, 2012
    • That’s a good point, but an incorrect treatment of human dental capacities. Some races – including many of Asian descent – have teeth much less adapted to meat-eating. And these are the cultures that have the best vital markers, in most cases. So we can’t treat human teeth as if they are all so pointy, because many are not.

      Amanda wrote on July 31st, 2012
      • I haven’t seen the proof of “some races” having teeth much less adapted to meat-eating. I would love to read about it if you can provide some scientific material on this subject. Did Weston Price discover that in his extensive anthropological studies of teeth?

        However, I have read of a cultural, coming-of-age ceremony in Bali that involves the filing of the “sharp canines.”

        I read:
        “The ceremony is symbolic essentially of three things: a coming of age, a transition from animal to human represented by the filing of the sharp canines, and the control of the six human evils: desire (kama), greed (lobha), anger (krodha), intoxication or being under the influence of strong emotion (mada), confusion (moha), and jealousy (matsarya).”

        But I’m thinking that’s just vegetarian propaganda.

        Roger in Korea wrote on July 31st, 2012
  21. What a beautiful well organized garden I would make these mandatory (lawns should be illegal unless you own a cow) and you have to grow no less than one pound medical marijuana for your local hospital.

    alex wrote on July 30th, 2012
  22. The article’s argument was flawed the moment it began to make a sweeping generalization about a very adaptive species. Primitive humans’ diet would have differed greatly depending on environment (coastal, grasslands, etc).

    william wrote on July 30th, 2012
  23. What’s with berries being in the little pointy part of the pyramid above “fruits?” (the Vancouver article)

    DarcieG wrote on July 30th, 2012
  24. For the contest:

    “Nearly all” were vegetarians, except for the one ancestral line that evolved consciousness, created art and science, and grew the largest penises of any primate – that ancestral line ate meat.

    Evolution is not a democracy; we should not look at the majority of our ancestors for guidance, but at the ones that survive and thrive.

    godfathergandhi wrote on July 30th, 2012
    • +1

      Christina208 wrote on July 31st, 2012
  25. Good day I am so happy I found your blog page, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on
    Askjeeve for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos
    for a remarkable post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design),
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    MaxBastards wrote on July 31st, 2012
  26. “If our ancestors were all truly vegetarians, lettuce NOT Wooly Mammoths, would be extinct.”

    Jsnyd wrote on July 31st, 2012
  27. Wow. IDBFHEIDJCNBDKDKSJSJWJKDNFJFJ!?*! That makes about as much sense as Rob Dunn’s article in ‘The Scientific American’. Talk about missing the forest for the trees! It’s almost as if he thinks the entire Primal “trend diet” is baseless simply because it’s based on doing what worked well for our HUMAN ancestors, meaning we’re being CHOOSY or UNEDUCATED in the era with which we choose to emulate… So, in order to be CORRECT in emulating a Primal diet, we must eat what apes did before humans? I just have to say, that NUT has had one too many NUTS (perhaps they even fell from the tree and gave him a good wack on the nogen) if he thinks ANYONE wants to eat like an ape, regressing our humanity, in order TO BE RIGHT on what diet was eaten by each creature in which thousand-year era… I choose to let him be the authority so he can continue to malnourish himself in an attempt to be RIGHT. I will be enjoying the diet and lifestyle that makes me feel the healthiest I EVER have and BE the healthiest I EVER have, while allowing my brain to function at a level where I can read his entire article and say ,”BWAHAHAHA! What a freaking DORK! Someone in North Carolina, PLEASE go feed that man a chicken leg before all his brain matter erodes!”

    MegDallas wrote on July 31st, 2012
  28. I find the Article about primate intestine and all to be laughable.
    Not olny did they fail to site any scientific study to back up their own poor presentation, to bolster vegetarian health supremacy. But other vegan readers did a great job of rejecting the validity of the article. Especially the title.

    Now that’s funny.

    People are not as stupid as the media, and Agenda 21 scientist would like us to believe.
    Thank you.

    Matthew Holycross wrote on August 1st, 2012
  29. Okay. Two specific things on S.A.: 1. The title is misleading. It is subject to at least two meanings and is thus ambiguous in at least two ways. The title leads you to believe that the article will tell you our “human ancestors” were “nearly all vegetarians.” First, the article does not focus on “human” ancestors, or even proto-humans, but apes. Second, the article does not state or demonstrate that even these apes were “vegetarian” at all. What he meant to say, as is revealed later in the article, is that monkeys and apes, which do have an enlarged lower intestine compared to humans, ate a lot of plant matter and that our more closely-related ancestors ate plants too. This has nothing to do with being “nearly all vegetarian,” in either the sense of nearly “all of human ancestors” being vegetarian, or their diets being “nearly all vegetarian” (i.e. consisting of only plant life). 2. Okay, so having dispelled the myth raised by the title of the article, I will go on to point out the most glaring fallacy of the piece, which others have also eloquently discussed. Although apparently attempting to discredit “paleo” diets by going much earlier than the paelolithic period to discuss our “human ancestors,” Mr. Dunn misses the point of the “paleo” diet entirely. He simply doesn’t discuss any of our paleolithic period ancestors, which were standing upright, using tools, and growing enlarged brains roughly 2.6 million years ago, and what they ate. It can certainly be argued that this was the time period in which we began to truly diverge from apes in gut, brain, and lifestyle characteristics as we split from the A. Afarensis and australopithecus genus into the homo genus, nearly concurrent with use of stone tools (although there is evidence of stone tool use slightly earlier). It was the use of stone tools by these hominins that dates the beginning of the paleolithic era. Mr. Dunn also fails to note that the “paleo diet” principles stem from the later middle and upper paleolithic period during which we as homo sapiens sapiens developed art and spirituality and became increasingly efficient hunters (as well as gatherers, I would imagine). Can it be said that the monkeys, chimps, and orangutans Mr. Dunn discusses are our “human ancestors” or constitute, in yet another meaning of the title, “nearly all” of our “human” ancestors. I would say no. While apes may be ancestors of humans, I don’t believe they constitute the bulk of “human ancestors” in this context because our brains and guts diverged from apes as we evolved into the homo genus and it was during this period of evolution and diversion that we became uniquely human, arguably due in large part to those two specific and related divergences. If looking beyond the paleolithic period to early human ancestors, discussion of those ancestors that were developing our smaller lower intestine and enlarged brain, those of the homo genus, simply makes more sense. Also, since those shorter, smaller large intestines can’t digest cellulose, our guts are very different from those of the apes highlighted.

    Ms. Zing wrote on August 1st, 2012
  30. The article about ancestral diet – how can one even claim human guts are similar to other primates’, if it’s visible to the naked eye that they are so much smaller in comparison to body size? Did this guy even hear of Richard Wrangham and his explanation of human gut size (and other features of human digestive system as well as behavior) by the invention of cooking, which in all probability has been going on for a million years or more?

    Tomasz T wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  31. Ahh man! I missed the deadline! No worries, my reply wouldn’t have been nearly as eloquent as the ones I’ve been reading. Would have been something like, “Well, that confirms my theory that space aliens made the cave drawings with the men hunting animals”.

    Kenny wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  32. thanks mark for getting people over to Sayer Ji’s Green MEd Info (Pandora’s bread box) – a great site with fabulous information (especially useful when getting someone’s attention about the horrors of modern wheat) and search engines – but just be aware – trying to comment is a bit troublesome as they don’e seem to have a good spam filter/comment thread setup – perhaps. Mark, you could help them? your comment threads seem to run pretty smooth— i am sure Sayer would be very appreciative–

    ravi wrote on August 5th, 2012

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