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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 11 2012

Weekend Link Love – Edition 215

By Mark Sisson
18 Comments

Research of the Week

“Absent the requirement to spend most available hours of the day feeding, the combination of newly freed time and a large number of brain neurons affordable on a cooked diet may thus have been a major positive driving force to the rapid increase in brain size in human evolution.” A new study shows how cooked food allowed human brains to become, well, human.

How play and games can transform the work place (PDF).

Interesting Blog Posts

Although I’m absolutely sure this will be of zero interest to all or most of my readers, I thought I’d mention Paul Jaminet‘s latest post on the optimal dosage of chocolate.

Peter at Hyperlipid discusses the latest failure of the latest HDL-boosting drug.

Media, Schmedia

Writing for Mother Jones, Gary Taubes explains how the sugar industry kept scientists from asking tough (or even easy) questions about the health effects of sugar on humans

If you have a few minutes, check out my recent interview with author Tom Woods.

Everything Else

Pre-Made Paleo is driving an effort to serve 5000+ New Jersey residents in need after Hurricane Sandy. You can help by ordering relief meals here.

A new kind of tomato genetically modified to produce an HDL-mimicking peptide was shown to reduce atherogenic plaque accumulation and inflammatory markers in mice. Assuming it does the same in people, would you eat it?

A journal of personal science: in which a man determines how much salt he should eat.

Recipe Corner

  • Thanks to the massive bird, Thanksgiving fare starts out fairly Primal, but the sides can get really gluten-y and sugar-laden. Here are 10 paleo Thanksgiving sides to make the job easier.
  • You know, if Hooters started carrying these (and held the breading), I might consider eating there: Buffalo pig tails.

Time Capsule

One year ago (November 11 – November 17)

Email of the Week

I can pretty much guarantee the comment of the week will come from this article. I’d be willing to bet it also uses the phrase “scrotal drooping.”

How right you were, Steve.

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18 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 215”

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  1. It is cool that chocolate has so many benefits. I never liked dark chocolate before going paleo but I just tried it earlier this week and it was pretty good. I enjoy having a little dessert arter dinner. My only problem is that it turned into a gateway food that led to a whole lot of cheating on my diet in a bad way Friday night.

  2. Primal Thanksgiving alternatives are probably helpful for people who have to give relatives substitutes for standard fare. I pretty much avoid them personally. If I want mashed potatoes, I have them. But that’s me.

    I am going to a relative’s house. The generous lady is making gluten-free for someone who avoids gluten but otherwise eats conventionally and various alternatives for someone who has lots of food allergies. Me, I’ll eat bird and roasted root veggies. Maybe some fruit, raw veggies and green salad. Very paleolithic. I may splurge and have mashed potatoes and/or pumpkin pie (without the crust.)

    1. I live in Denmark and this tax was the stupidest thing ever. However, the reason for the withdrawal of the tax has nothing to do with healthcare but because of economic consequences. That is why the tax on sugars will also be removed. So go figure …

      If you read the BBC article, you will notice that the motivation behind the creation of the fat tax was that the Danish ministry believed it was bad for health … The conclusion is the same old one: gov’s have no clue and only look at the economic landscape.

  3. Since reintroducing potatoes of all kinds on a regular basis, I’ve had nothing but positive effects–leaner, muscular, more defined. Glad I won’t have to avoid/limit them this year at Turkey Day.

    1. Not sure about potatoes directly but I must admit some evil grains (rye bread) pop up in my diet here and there, and same results as you Graham: leaner muscular… not sure how that works. Sounds a bit like the carb bingeing of Tim Ferris Slow Carb diet.

  4. Consuming chocolate Primal or Paleo??

    Before I did some investigation on the net myself, I thought that maybe I was the only one who experienced bad side-effects on eating chocolate. I have evaluated many varieties of chocolate (including raw chocolate that had the most negative side effects) available on the market trying to find one that did not have the bad side-effects.

    Unfortunately I did not succeed in finding even one healthy type of chocolate, because I like the taste of chocolate very much! It is my personal experience that, even in small amounts, chocolate is sickening to the body.

    I know that even some quite poisonous plants could be of medicinal value taken in very small amounts and that healthy food sources can be sickening as well when overdosing, and that it is always wise to monitor the effect on your body of whatever food you take.

    Taking into consideration that chocolate in itself is highly addictive, quite difficult to digest, poisonous and has many more bad side-effects, its properties sound more like a medicinal drug than a healthy food source.

    It is common knowledge that people tend to ignore unhealthy properties of the foods they have a graving for, and often even say that this or that study (sponsored by ‘food’ industries) has proven that this or that food has or might have certain positive health effects. Studies sponsored by ‘food’ industries that are profiting from selling this or that product will always find a lot of positive aspects.

    These so called ‘food’ industries will of course never start a large scale and objective study on unhealthy side-effects on the human body when consuming chocolate. Surely because selling highly addictive foods is just to profitable to them.

    And it also seems very unlikely that Grok ate chocolate…

    http://www.living-foods.com/articles/toxiccacao.html

  5. The study in the first link quoted did not come anywhere near to “showing” anything meaningful about human evolution. Here’s the money quote:

    “It is in this context that one must consider our ?nding that, on
    a raw diet similar to that of extant nonhuman primates, Homo
    species would be required to feed consistently more than 9 h/d to
    afford their estimated MBD and number of neurons. ” By all means read the rest of the text, it’s not long.

    The entire study is devalued by its ignorance of the rest of the body past the gut and neurons; erectus with their adaptations to upright and mobile posture and tool use would not, indeed, be likely to be eating a diet “similar to extant nonhuman primates.” Unlike an ape, erectus was well-adapted to acquire a significant portion of its calories from non-plant sources.

    Of course, there’s a token acknowledgement in the last paragraph of the discussion section of “raw meat,” as usual described as “difficult to chew and digest.” While this is contested by several recent finds (and personal experience) we see again here, as we did with Wrangham, the fatal flaw that will continue to hamstring all academic discussion of this topic, a reluctance to discuss that nutrient with which we are here so familiar: Fat. I can eat 2000 calories of raw suet, cold from the fridge, in 10 minutes. Given the privelege erectus had of coexisting with abundant populations of mammalian megafauna, this is not a trivial omission.

    Cooking is an important development in human history, but the science presented here is poorly considered. It does not tell us much about just what that importance truly is.

  6. I read a book a while back called “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham. It was a great read for the argument of cooking our food making us human.

      1. Catching Fire is a fun read but requires a bit of critical attention by the reader. Further reading brings one to awareness that Wrangham left quite a bit out that didn’t suit his hypothesis, and reviewing his other work and that of some of his allied ape-researchers suggests an attempt to revise our evolutionary history to fit a certain modern western philosophy on gender politics and diet.

        Catching Fire draws conclusions largely resting on inappropriate comparisons between our immediate ancestors and living great apes (with some modern raw vegans thrown in as examples of What Happens When Humans Do Not Cook Their Food). His other popular book, “Demonic Males,” similarly rests on inappropriate comparisons between human gender roles and social structure and those of certain great apes, with a similar enthusiasm for data selection.

        That he pursues a particular agenda is less troublesome than the fact that he presents it to the lay reader in a manner that might suggest that this is what the collective of “science” thinks is correct, not realizing that he comes under heavy criticism in the academic world.

        1. Thumbs up for the critical eye on that paper Erik. There are a lot of problems with it, not least of all the complete lack of mention of diet quality differences, feeding ecology differences, no standardization of feeding times, and a rudimentary attempt at some anthropological commentary brute forced into a controversial and wholly unsupported hypothesis (the cooking hyp).