It comes to pass that every now and then, some dietitian—likely subscribed to various resources that newspapers use to source freelance writers for various things—gets a gig to write about “paleo.” Or “caveman,” or whatever. They botch it every time. Why? It’s very simple. They just assume that anything that contradicts their Food, Inc. and Drug, Inc. financed training has to be wrong. I last did Melody Cherny. Now it’s time to do Jennifer Motl.
It’s about “balance,” “eat less,” and “exercise more.” The article in question: Should You Eat Like a Caveman?
It’s published in the blog of the Fredericksburg.com outlet, and I guess was published in yesterday’s (Sunday’s) health section in the print version.
Let’s take her down, just like at the time of this writing, all 28 commenters to her post have done. What a truly inspiring stelar community!
The controversial Paleolithic or caveman diet offers some benefits, many difficulties, and not much proof of how it affects the body.
Well, since it’s based in human evolution, we’re here. We’re here! We. Are. Here.
4 million years of evo, since we split off from pure tree swingers doesn’t suggest how it might “affect the body?” I understand that evolution is “controversial” (ignoramus club). But, at the same time, feeding lions lettuce would be laughed at by all but the most stupid vegans (redundancy alert).
Oh, yea, research. Yep. We need “research” to even suggest a hint of a whisper of a never uttered secret that it might be OK to just eat foods from nature as nature is. Well, OK. Cordain has published research going back to 1997. And there’s always Staffan Lindeberg. (Nevermind that Paleo kicks Mediterranean ass every time it’s tried.)
The onus of proof is upon the one making the assertion. The assertion is either that a Food, Inc. and Drug, Inc. “diet” is best, or that a Paleo diet is suboptimal. That’s why we call not-paleo a “Neolithic diet” (grains, legumes, derivatives and all other stuff to make money for Food & Drug, Inc.). Alright, bring on the silly, ignorant slogan: “caveman died young.” Yep, on average, they did. Let’s see how long you live, in the wild, with no backpack or “hydration” appliance. Or Motrin. Or Xanax?
Over the past few years, the diet has sparked best-selling books and lots of scientific debate. Proponents say it’s based on their best guess of what our ancestors evolved to eat 10,000 years ago.
“Evolved to eat 10,000 years ago?” Like, on a day? Oh, yea, it was the day—the very day—when everyone allofasuddensaid, “fuck this shit;” and then, “let’s just grow wheat, corn & beans.” And then, then (right after “let there be light”), we can have massive families, form religions to magically explain everything we can’t explain…and then, then…let’s have nation states to fight with each other…because football and baseball—and hockey—haven’t even been invented yet and we need something to both polarize us but give us a team to rally around. Let there be flags and mascots! …And nobody can have the same colors!
Go Neo! (But even Neo took the Red Pill.)
…But Cordain cites only four studies of the Paleo diet supporting his position that it actually improves health. And all four studies involved only a few dozen people over a few weeks. That’s too few people and too short a time to convince me that the improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels he saw were due to anything other than weight loss.
To determine the diet’s effects, I would like to see studies of hundreds or thousands of people, and I would like researchers to track not just blood sugar and cholesterol levels, but actual rates of diabetes and heart disease over several years.
Not sure you can check blood sugar, cholesterol levels, heart disease and diabetes, but there’s alwasys anthropology.
Really. Check into it. I think it’s science.
You might also check into zoology. You know. It’s that other science where animals are studied as though humans kinda aren’t animals; and I’m not sure, but I don’t think they’re typically checking blood sugar, cholesterol levels, heart disease and diabetes.
And one must wonder, since they’re all on a paleo diet. For wild animals, they’re still on a paleo diet; or, evolutionary, if you prefer.
In “The Paleo Answer,” Cordain doesn’t just imply that grains, beans and dairy are unnecessary. He writes that they’re loaded with toxic “anti-nutrients.” I found these chapters disturbing.
Stop the presses. Finally, scientific evidence. Jennifer Motl, freelance journalist, probably at about 20 bucks a pop (interesting number, given dark street corners in certain urban areas), is “disturbed.”
Well, fuck, I guess that just settles it. A registered dietitian is disturbed.
Although Cordain cited many small scientific papers, he didn’t have large, long-term studies to back up his assertions. He did, however, have some intriguing anecdotes from people whose health improved on his eating plan.
Yea, yea. “The plural of anecdote isn’t data.” Yea, yea, and how convenient, eh? especially when the onus of proof is upon you (see above). 4 million years of “anecdote” (scientific research didn’t get a super start until Food, Inc. and Drug, Inc. wanted to start selling you crap in a bag and among other things, began seeking out girls in high heels and short skirts on dark corners at 3am….oh, wait, that would be “freelance journalists who double as dietitians.”
Again, I would love to see more thorough research on hundreds of people following a Paleo diet for years to see whether the majority of folks truly did end up with lower rates of diseases.
Pure, embarrassing ignorance. Even beyond the anthropology, hunter gathers have been studied for more than 200 years. Guess.
The Paleo diet is difficult. And while I’m not entirely convinced it’s worth the effort, I don’t think it’s a harmful diet.
Difficult how? As opposed to eating out of boxes, bags, and cans? I suppose she has a point. Fuck physiology. Fuck biology. Fuck chemistry…and fuck your health.
Just go with the flow. See all those fat people in fat mobiles? See all the elderly living the last 20 years of their lives in 20-pill-a-day misery and pathetic—fucking pathetic—dependance? Yep, the Kitavans have it all wrong. Who wants to live a virile, lean, active life up until the last two weeks where, like a wild animal, they just spiral down and die quickly, saving all their loved ones the misery and hardship of caring for them for an inordinate amount of time?
…And because it allows more fruit and thus carbs than the Atkins plan, I wouldn’t expect the kidney problems, muscle cramps and constipation found on many high-protein diets.
Utter bullshit. Too ignorant to comment on.
Still, I would encourage anyone with health problems to be monitored by a physician if he or she tries this diet, just to be sure, since it flies in the face of established medical advice to reduce meat and egg consumption.
Please. Whatever you do, never, ever “fly in the face of.” Bullshit metaphor.
The food groups the Paleo cuts—grains and dairy—are not critical to life. People can get sufficient nutrients even if they avoid grains. And despite advertising to the contrary, I no longer believe dairy products are critical to healthy bones—studies show women in Japan, where dairy is unpopular, still have strong bones.
Wow. Revelation. A dietitian grudgingly acknowledges that foods that were not eaten for most of our evolution aren’t critical. It’s ‘OK’ to avoid them, at your own risk. But be careful of them ‘nutruints.’ Hey, maybe you can get enough replacing grains & legumes with animals. We’ll see.
…Alright. Now I have to be fair, because that’s just how I roll.
Many less-meaty traditional diets also promote low rates of heart disease and cancer: Think about the amount of rice consumed in Japan; the whale blubber eaten by Eskimos; the corn and potatoes that Andean cultures subsisted on; and the milk emphasized in certain southern African cultures.
These widely different eating plans appear to be healthy for these different populations. Whether it’s due to people’s genetics in different parts of the world or a result of all the physical activity they do is not clear.
That is by far and away the most astute thing I have ever read from a dietitian, almost making me regret some of the foregoing.
“Paleo is equator to arctic, sea level to 16,000 feet, and everything in between.” — me
What we do know for sure is that no matter what traditional diet people eat, when they switch to modern fast foods, they get lots of diseases.
OK, Jennifer, but what about modern slow foods? They come in boxes, bags, cans. They line the supermarket shelves.
Another important thing to point out is that our hunter–gatherer ancestors were a lot more active than we are. Even Cordain admits that a typical Paleolithic woman would tote her infant on her hip or shoulder for at least four miles while foraging for food—sounds like hard work to me.
Nonsense. Get on a treadmill at a 4 mile per hour pace. Plug in your weight, gender, etc. Watch your caloric burn. After about 30 minutes, down a beer and slice of pizza. Calculate the difference.
It’s all about diet. Exercise is great for a number of reasons, but it has absolutely nothing to do with being reasonably healthy and lean.
…I also wonder if the Paleo diet is sustainable, due to its cost and effects on the environment. Researchers recently found low-income folks who receive food stamps would not be able to afford a Paleo diet.
From an environmental standpoint, I wonder if we encouraged the whole world to adopt a high-protein diet, whether we’d have enough land to raise all the beef and chicken it would require.
Bullshit. A few people have done Paleo on a food stamp budget. Easy. Crap, especially in terms of micro-nutrition, is the most expensive food on Earth. I can prove that with both hands tied behind my back and encumbered by a jock strap.
What we’re doing now is what’s not sustainable. We tear down natural habitat in order to grow grains to make bread, feed people beans, and feed cattle a diet that makes their rumen sick. You want sustainable? Cattle fucking eat grass on all those fields now supplanted to grow various grains and legumes. That gets you even started on sustainability, because I will maintain that cruelty is not sustainable. The only question is what gives way first: resource or conscience.
Have any idea how many chickens could free range on an acre of grass…eating worms, bugs, and scratching through the desiccated remains of animal scat, making their yolks 5-10 times more nutrient dense than the average supermarket egg?
It takes much more land to raise meat than to produce an equal amount of grain and beans.
This is so much bullshit.
Alright, let’s just go for the kill. What the fuck is an “equal amount?”
Since she didn’t specify, let me. To make it fair, I’m going to let her make as many loaves of bread as she can from the field. I’m just going to use the livers of the cattle that would otherwise graze there.
Actually, I’m being kind. One of these days I’m going to do a spreadsheet on each of those nutrients, using the numbers at the top of each bar, and really show how mutherfucking bankrupt any grain consumption is, nutritionally.
That, above all, is the worst thing about grains and legumes, and not the anti-nutriens and such. It’s the absolute nutritional deficiency anyone necessarily faces by making grains a large part of their total diet.