Paleogate: Loren Cordain’s Honey Coverup

Loren Cordain—author of The Paleo Diet™—doesn’t want you to know some key things any serious anthropologist knows.

He has a history of this, even beyond animal fat demonization in favor of canola oil. Remember Tiger Nuts? Yea, well, he’s very well aware that many serious anthropologists and the National Academy of Sciences believe that the carbon isotopes in fossils show lots of nutrient-dense sedge tuber consumption. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] But rather than simply acknowledge the science, integrate it, and make his Paleo™ narrative less wrong, he writes a rebuttal based upon an hypothesis that had already been considered and dismissed. To make matters worse, when the science was further refined to make a lot more sense—that the true source of the isotopes was indeed Tiger Nuts, a tuber, not grazing on grass—he slinked away and still admonished readers to generally avoid starchy tubers. Doesn’t fit the narrative; cover it up.

…So he still invokes readers to eat lots of lean meat, even though he knows that modern hunter-gatherer societies—like the Hadza and !Kung—fail to get meat more than half the time, even when they hunt with modern bows and arrows. [10]

Now, onto the latest narrative-busting coverup. In his own book, he acknowledged that our H-G ancestors “gorged” on honey when plentiful—like during the rainy season. But, like a domineering mother afraid of her kids becoming educated about human sexuality, Cordain doesn’t trust his own readers to eat much honey. Toward that end, he claims in the very next sentence that our ancestors “couldn’t eat it day in and day out, all year long, because it simply wasn’t available.”

He’s purposefully being vague so you won’t look under the covers. …Doesn’t fit the narrative; cover it up.

So, how much of the year was this “seasonal” honey available? Serious anthropologists tend to refer to the Hadza honey hunters of Tanzania to approximate the eating habits of early man. What Cordain doesn’t want his readers to know is that honey was actually available for most of the year. It was only super scarce two months of the year (July and November), and quite plentiful 7 months of the year. [11][12]

hadza honey by month
Source: Journal of Human Evolution

Nor does Cordain want his readers to know that, on average, honey makes up 15% of the Hadza diet [11] and is by far their favorite food. [12] Here, check out this Hadza “lean meat and non-starchy vegetable LC paleo Diet™.””

Honey Percentage Hadza
Source: Journal of Human Evolution

Rather than just deal with reality, Cordain puts together an anti-honey task force. His “clean-eating,” iron-pumping sidekick, Casey Thaler, “B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS” (not a Doktor), gave honey a Two Thumbs Down, Way Down, for no other reason than honey contains mostly fructose. Thaler non-sequiturs, with a dizzy array of complex graphics, that high doses of isolated fructose are BAD, BAD, BAD, KIDS!!! and therefore honey should be avoided.

Notice a pattern? Hide the truth, ignore the evidence, and scare people using the biochemistry of large quantities of isolated HFCS. Nevermind that honey is a superfood and exhibits an anti-diabetic effect. [13][14][15] Nevermind that honey has been shown to prevent dental caries. [16] Forget that our ancestors ate more honey than previously acknowledged, AND, that refined sugar may not have displaced more nutrient-rich items from our present-day diets, but instead, the nutritionally superior food, honey. [17]

Ignore the fact that indigenous cultures such as the Rai, !Kung, Semang, Vedda, Magars, Shenko, Aka, Mbuti, Efe, Aché, Masai, Hadza, Aranda, Batek, Yanomami, Andamanse, Tiwi, Shavante, Aweikoma—just to name a few—all regularly hunted honey. [11] Pay no attention to the observations that some cultures—such as the Hadza and Mbuti people—consumed as much of 80% of their calories from honey during the rainy season. [11][18] Or, just admit that you’re first and foremost an LCer, and honey simply doesn’t mesh with the narrative. Call it “Paleo™” anyway. Cover up all shit that doesn’t consolidate.

Don’t look at the Epipaleolithic cave paintings depicting honey collection. [19] Clear your mind of the overwhelming historical references to sacred bees and the reverence of honey by every major religion and virtually every ancient society. [17][20] Don’t think about the fact that even Jewish law deems honey Kosher and sacred, despite the fact that it comes from an insect. And nevermind that the Oldowan and Aschulean toolkits are both believed to have been used for hunting honey. [11][19] …And certainly don’t ever tell anyone that even chimpanzees make rudimentary tools to harvest honey. [21]

You might have missed it buried in the epic post last week, but the most damning evidence of just how closely-knit honey hunting is to early humans comes from a wild bird, the Greater Honeyguide (I. indicator)—believed to be at least 3 million years old. [22]

Watch this short segment from Human Planet – Grasslands.

If you didn’t catch that: the wild, ancient Honeyguide bird has a symbiotic relationship with humans where it literally seeks out and “talks” to honey hunters and tells them where the bee hives are in “hopes” that said humans will repay it with a honeycomb. [22][23]

Richard Wrangham, a serious anthropologist, called this remarkable interaction “the most developed, co-evolved, mutually-helpful relationship between any mammal and any bird.” Here, see for yourself.

Recently published research suggests that this relationship predates humans and goes back as far as 5 million years to the Pliocene Epoch (5.333 million to 2.58 million years ago). [22]

Mutualism and manipulation in Hadza—honeyguide interactions (Nov 2014)

…First-hand reports only attest to humans being led by honeyguides, and so humans or our hominin ancestors appear to be the most likely partners of proto-honeyguides, as the habit evolved. Our interpretation of available evidence leads us to suggest that the earliest associations of hominins and honeyguides probably occurred during the Pliocene, and then steadily increased in frequency as savanna habitats expanded, hominins began fashioning stone tools, and gained control over fire. Honeyguides are proposed to have initially associated with hominins as commensals, and to later have evolved the active guiding habit as Apis mellifera honey became a larger part of the hominin diet. The manipulation of honeyguides that we witnessed probably arose relatively late, after the guiding relationship had evolved between the bird and a less cognitively sophisticated hominin. The fact that the Hadza do not actively repay honeyguides but instead suppress their diets illustrates that cooperation can endure between people and other species under a robust range of conditions.

The honeyguide bird makes finding honey downright easy. Honeyguides increased the Hadza’s rate of finding bee nests by 560% and as well, to significantly higher yielding nests than those found without honeyguides. [22] One study found that use of honeyguides by the Boran people of East Africa reduces their search time for honey by approximately two-thirds. [23]

But it sure seems as though Cordain would just rather you didn’t know all this actual science. He’s swept it all under the rug or when called, downplays it. He thinks you can’t be trusted to follow a Honeyguide. He knows our ancestors ate important quantities of honey—enormous by our standards—but thinks you can’t handle a few spoonfuls, even daily if you like—and even if it works for you as it seems to for a lot of folks. Instead, he’d prefer we just didn’t talk about it. Makes the narrative a bit sticky.

Of course, modern supermarket honey in a plastic bear shape would be indiscernible to any H-G, as actual honey. Missing are the waxy bits, pollen, propolis, comb caps, and bee-body parts that contribute to honey’s healthfulness. Moreover, why would an H-G ever pasteurize their honey, destroying its status as a live food? Even reports that much honey is watered down with HFCS or white sugar have surfaced recently.

Don’t fear honey. But also don’t be duped by fancy marketers passing off sugar-water as honey. Look for raw, unfiltered honey from local sources…farmer’s markets are a great place to start. Try to get some that still has ‘junk’ in it.

…Look folks. When is this shit gonna stop? Is The Paleo Diet™ just an endless exercise now that conjures visions of Jack Nicholson looping endlessly on the stand in A Few Good Men? Cheeses, they don’t really even have to say, “Ok, we fucked up,” or the more gentler: “we were wrong.” I’d be perfectly satisfied with hey, we have more information, so now we’re a little less wrong, just a little closer to a better, more complete picture. And they can still perfectly validly say that because of modernity and what your eating habits were in the past, it may be better for you to watch those carbs from real-food starch or sugar.

The biggest coverup of all, is that they were ever “right” in the first place.

Source: “Deep Duck” assisted in the data collection and compilation necessary to uncover this gate.

Update: The aim of this post really, is to tweak your sweet tooth just enough that you relent, and dig into the real stinging: The Hormesis Files: Who’s Afraid of Unrefined Sugar?


  1. John on January 12, 2015 at 07:58

    I have much local honey, but none has bee parts or various other non-honey components, not even wax.

    I went to whole foods after seeing and they had it. I bought some – sure enough, the top 1/2″ is a capping (as its called) of various…things that the bottle advocates chewing like gum. This honey tastes outstanding. The multicolored bits and chunks settled on top, despite smelling somewhat locker room-esque, tasted good too. Fascinating how so much “living food” smells bad but tastes amazing. It was $16/lb at my nearby whole foods.

    They also had honey from a relatively local company called Keez Beez. I bought a bottle of their “Chunk” honey with a big comb in it. I noticed one of the jars contained a comb that was black in appearance – looked like it was full of black mold. After reading about honeycomb when I got home I came to believe this jar contained brood comb.

    As to year round availability – seems that a food that never spoils would have been stored, though I’m without knowledge beyond speculation.

    That anti-honey article you linked has some ridiculous graphs. I particularly enjoy the one titled Metabolism of Fructose. It is generally incomprehensible, yet has some great fear triggers outside the main circle, including a picture(!) of a brain with “leptin resistance” next to it, as well as “insulin” and “obesity” circled.

    IDK Richard, sure all this honey as superfood stuff may be great, but whats next, a post about how Harley and 30 BADers are right about fructose from fruit being ok? Peanuts, despite a poor 3:6 ratio and toxic mold are fine? Sisson isn’t crazy for eating chicken skin? I’m not sure the average person is capable of living without somewhat irrational yet hard rules to follow – dynamic thinking is so damn hard.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 12, 2015 at 08:04

      “IDK Richard, sure all this honey as superfood stuff may be great, but whats next…”

      IKH? Scary stuff. Thing is, fruit is fine in just about any quantity, but exclusively? The science is in and even chimps are mildly omnivorous. No worries.

      Peanuts is a tough one. Really unfortunate they have killed that old bag of wind Carter, yet. :)

      Chicken skin? Eat it up, just not 30 chicken skins per day.

    • John on January 12, 2015 at 08:46

      I didn’t know carter was a peanut farmer. I had to look up the reference, and while searching found the picture on this blog – apparently not a deliberate cock tribute.

      I’m trying out some daily honey consumption, because I love eating spoonfuls of honey and it sounds fun. I’ll monitor strength/weight, among less measurable effects, and see what happens. Since I don’t eat much sugar now, I’m curious to see if I gain any weight, as in, I don’t know what this will do to my calorie intake.

      So far I’ve noticed an increase in energy. Going on about 5 days. None of the head-swimminess I typically get from sugar junk food (like peanut M&M’s).

    • John on January 12, 2015 at 08:58

      Also, I need to find a cheaper source – honey is not cheap. My best friend from childhood moved a couple hours away to get in the beekeeping business – I’ve got to call him and see if he’ll let me check out what he’s doing.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 12, 2015 at 09:08

      “honey is not cheap.”

      Nor has it ever been. Your choice: dollars or stings.

    • tatertot on January 12, 2015 at 09:48

      John – Ask your beekeeper friend to get some (or better yet, buy him a set!) of “Ross Rounds.” These are special honey frames put into a beehive where the bees build their comb and fill it full of honey in a special round form. To harvest, you just remove the form and put lids on it. You then end up with a perfect piece of honeycomb filled with honey in it’s own container. Absolutely no processing needed.

      They are sold anywhere beekeeping stuff is sold. You just have to know whether he has 8 frame or 10 frame hives.

    • tc on January 12, 2015 at 10:42

      Did you eat the brood comb? How was it?

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 10:51

      John said: “honey is not cheap.”

      There’s an interesting history on the economics of honey. From Reference [17], in the post, above:

      From: Honey revisited: a reappraisal of honey in pre-industrial diets, by Allsop & Miller (1996)

      In the 1520s the dissolution of the monasteries reduced demand for beeswax for church candles and brought about a small decrease in the production of honey. Almost simultaneous with this came an increase in the supply of sugar, imported from the new European colonies. Sugar was still considerably more expensive than honey, but this combination of events gained it a more complete following among the wealthy. Many it
      seems were even indulging to excess, for in 1598 a foreign visitor remarked of Queen Elizabeth that her ‘teeth [were]black, a defect which the English seem subject to from their too great use of sugar’ (Best, 1986). Cookery books were used exclusively by the well-to-do at this time and clearly illustrate that, for this section of society, sugar had, by the 1550s, usurped honey’s place in the diet.

      It was not until the early 1700s, however, when the supply of sugar boomed, its price fell, and coffee, tea and chocolate entered the British diet, that ordinary people finally began to buy significant amounts, so that the per capita consumption reached 1.8 kg/year (McGee, 1984). The change over from honey to sugar occurred more gradually in rural areas than in the cities. Just 80 years later, sugar consumption had trebled to reach 5.4 kg per capita per year. Honey was no longer the standard sweetening agent.

      From this point sugar consumption rose inexorably, while honey consumption declined. Bee-keeping ceased to be the general custom that it had been in former years, there was no longer a hive in every garden.

    • John on January 12, 2015 at 11:27

      I’ll ask him about that.

      I bought another jar that had a normal looking comb in it. I assumed the black comb was safe, but wanted to know why it looked that way before buying it. The black comb reminded me of something you might find in a long forgotten tupperware container in the fridge – kind of gross looking.

      On my property we set up some bird boxes in a few trees. Birds have never inhabited them, however one has a massive bee hive in it (for the past 6 months or so). Its peaceful to watch, the surface of the box is covered with bees and they’re constantly flying in and out of the hole like some high traffic aerial station. We’ve got a bunch of citrus trees and I’ve seen bees both on the blossoms and on the fallen fruit – I’m very curious what the inside of that box looks like.

    • foxylibrarian on January 12, 2015 at 13:46

      You’re so lucky! Instead of honey bees I had some ground wasp nest (more closely related to ants than honeybees) in the cracks of a stone fence next to my guest bedroom window. They were absolutely hypnotic to watch them go about their business – so industrious, flying in and out, in and out! Clod by clod they displaced a cubic square foot of dirt to make their new home in a day. Watching them produced the same sort of mental and physical state in me that I from watching the inhabitants of a salt water aquarium – almost trance-like.
      I have small boys who have found out the hard way how territorial and irritable they are, so I knew we sadly couldn’t coexist so they were exterminated. The next season we put up pheromone traps to catch the nest scouts so we haven’t had any new nests.

  2. yien on January 11, 2015 at 18:48

    Some good stuff in this post. With the efficient tissue hypothesis debunked, the idea that fire and animal fat spurred evolution was over years ago. Paleotards just never caught up, or at least never had anything else to coherently hang their hats. The view that fire + honey really kicked things on has more credibility, but probably confounded with a bunch of stuff. The only major calorie surplus lying around in humanity’s home town in east Africa is within a bee hive. Even the originalfaileodiet’s love for animal fat is bizarre. A lot of Hadza fat intake comes from pufas similar to peanuts and sesame seeds in make up, not from sat fats in ultra lean Impalas. Anyway, without metal points not too many Impalas ever went onto the fire, regardless. When you look at paleo being anti – pufa or carbs or sugars or legumes or dairy or gluten. The only ones that will stand up are the last two. May as well call it the eat less gluten and dairy diet. But hard to sell a diet book when the title says it all. The other thing that makes me laugh is diversity in foods. Look at that chart – in a year they eat just 5 things, and, a lot of days, just one or two. Much easier on the gut.

    • John on January 12, 2015 at 07:39

      And yet, mammals have been consuming “dairy” forever. THE food for nourishing mammalian infants may not deserve a blanket condemnation.

    • Laura on January 12, 2015 at 09:39

      yes, mammals consumed dairy… I’m sure if all of our dairy was made of fresh human breast milk we’d be better off. You may have missed that we are the only mammals to consume other species’s milk far after infancy. I love dairy as much as the next person, but there is a lot of potential for allergy and sensitivity to it, so it should be avoided by those individuals that suffer from said maladies.

    • Steve on January 12, 2015 at 14:37

      This argument is weak. We are also the only species that cooks our food, uses soap, harnesses electricity, drives cars, takes hot showers, uses the internet, etc.

      Second, what makes it okay to consume practically everything else edible on a given animal, but not its’ milk?

    • FrenchFry on January 13, 2015 at 00:43

      Steve, half of what Laura says sounds irrelevant. The relevant bit is that if you feel like crap eating dairy, what is the point in eating dairy ? That’s more relevant to me. Eat what makes you feel healthy. If dairy is not it, don’t eat it. Who cares whether the human species enjoys milk based products from other mammals ? I don’t see why it is important.

    • Nürnberg on January 13, 2015 at 13:36

      A vegan friend of mine posted some anti-dairy propaganda on FB recently where the point was just that, that it’s not “meant to” be eaten by man. Last time I checked the only thing that’s meant to be eaten by man is human breastmilk and as far as the rest is concerned no dogma is going to stop me from eating my way through life. Won’t eat dog though.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 13, 2015 at 14:12

      Nuremberg, dealing with vegan “logic” is a perpetual exercise in listening to 13-yr-old boys describe their first beer.

    • Tara on May 19, 2015 at 09:55

      *Are* we the only species to use the Internet, Steve?

  3. DLunsford on January 12, 2015 at 05:36

    Excellent piece Richard. I have to admit though, Cordain’s original paleo book was the first that caught my attention eventually leading me to Sisson, you and low carb strategies in general. His references to so-called “acidic” and “basic” pH foods finally led me away. Anyone with a basic understanding of plasma pH control knows that’s a bit wacky. I don’t consider myself a complete “paleotard” in the yien vernacular; more of a recovering SAD-head keeping an open mind and eye on the literature. Now where is my bag of potato starch……….?

  4. Tim Maitski on January 12, 2015 at 09:16

    I would think that organic raw honey is a food that hasn’t changed much over many thousands of years. Even though they have bred commercial bees and probably changed some things about them, I doubt the actual honey product is much different than it was 100,000 years ago. Combine that with the evidence that they ate it and to me that makes honey one of the few readily available foods today that is probably exactly the same as it was ages ago. How much more paleo can it get?

    Also, I would think that honey is a very easy food to store and doesn’t seem to spoil easily. That would make it easy for cavemen to put some aside
    for a rainy day. I don’t know if modern hunter/gatherers do that but it would make sense to store honey for times when other things like berries aren’t around.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 12, 2015 at 10:02

      “I would think that honey is a very easy food to store”

      So far as I know, its shelf life in its natural raw state is unlimited. Yea, that’s a BFD in an evolutionary context before refrigeration, canning and curing.

    • John on January 12, 2015 at 11:53

      I bought a bunch from a local farmer 15 years ago. Its been sitting in my pantry, largely untouched except for a move. I tried some the other day, despite the lid seeming to have deteriorated. It did not smell right – hint of root beer. Maybe some moisture got in there and it was bad, however it still tasted good, and no ill effects.

      Here’s an interesting Smithsonian article on honey’s longevity

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 13:34

      I prefer this article for investigating the indefinite shelf life of honey, from Smithsonian:

      Smithsonian: The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life

      Turns out you just need to keep it in a jar or container to keep it forever. Makes sense.

    • Alesia on January 12, 2015 at 19:05

      This also made me think about one of the first methods of preservation… fermentation. With most fermentation there is alcohol produced as a byproduct. Even fermented sauerkraut has a low level of alcohol. This got me thinking about the long history of honey wine/mead/tej, and humans wanting to get drunk. I’m not saying go get plastered every night, but alcohol is another thing that’s demonized in the “Paleo” world that might be interesting to explore. I’m thinking that honey wine probably won’t make anyone look like Arnold, but the Norse quite enjoyed their mead and I never heard they were weaklings.

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 19:16

      Well, the Masai were known to make lots of Mead. It was a big part of their culture from what I understand. And fermented honey is consumed by many cultures as well.

    • John on January 13, 2015 at 05:46

      I think Paleo is more accepting of alcohol than other diet camps.

      Martin Berkhan wrote a post linking to several studies demonstrating that drinkers live longer than non-drinkers.

      Arnold himself said he doesn’t drink milk because its for babies; men drink beer.

      I don’t drink, never have (long family history of alcoholism, and never had any interest anyway).

      Its amazing how circumstantial everything is when it comes to food and human metabolism. I know more about diet and exercise than everyone else I know, yet I feel like I can never give advice when people ask; I always answer every question with “well depends.” I typically lead with “don’t drink soda, don’t eat snack food” and I’m typically met with “ohh man, can’t do that.”

    • Alesia on January 13, 2015 at 09:04


      I agree, I work in a supplement store and people ask questions like “we’ll isn’t dairy bad?” I say “well, it depends” a lot. Or people ask “what can I take to help me loose weight”. “But I’m not going to change my diet, or excersize” my general response is “eat food you can recognise as food”. People don’t like that. They want me too feed them what they want to hear, which I don’t do. It’s funny isn’t it?

  5. Skyler Tanner on January 12, 2015 at 09:41

    I’ve said it before but it requires repeating: if your framework is “The Paleo Diet(TM)” then this stuff just rocks you to the core. You’ll dig in your heels and go “NONONONONO!” until the voices go away.

    IF you come at this whole thing from a human ecology point of view, you just update your files, tweak your habits, and move on. The framework is bigger than diet, after all. Since the diet is part of it, changing it because of new evidence is about as hard as changing your socks.

  6. Dan on January 12, 2015 at 11:14

    When one is initially introduced to the principles behind Paleo and low-carb, you can be scared of those dreaded “insulin spikes”. Also, the “toxicity” of fructose. What to make of this in the context of eating honey?

    • Gemma on January 12, 2015 at 11:35


      “the principles behind Paleo and low-carb, “toxicity” of fructose, and what to make of this”?

      Forget those principles, have some honey. Easy.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 12, 2015 at 12:31

      Dan, if you’re scared, then the first thing to examine is whether you’re dealing with sound principles, or you have irrational fear.

      Guess what I think?

    • rob on January 12, 2015 at 15:10

      A “Paleo” dieter using a glucose meter or a ketone meter is pretty damned funny.

    • rob on January 12, 2015 at 15:12

      Sometimes you just have to be a wild man and dare to eat a peach.

    • Bret on January 12, 2015 at 19:42


      A ketometer I agree is a ridiculous waste of time and money. Glucometer I’m not so sure. At least that gives some blood sugar feedback.

      Throughout all this dietary tribal warfare, one thing people seem to agree on is that blood sugar should not exceed 150 if at all possible.

      In fact, blood sugar constitutes one of the primary arguments Richard used against chronic ketosis.

      The question is: Do natural carbohydrate foods (tubers, honey, etc) in their natural contexts raise our blood sugar if we’re reasonably healthy? I’ve seen enough evidence to convince me the answer is yes.

    • Bret on January 12, 2015 at 19:45

      Blah, got distracted while writing. Trying again:

      Do the aforementioned carbs raise our blood sugar to unhealthy levels? I’m convinced the answer is NO.

      Don’t judge me. I like to multitask (and am obviously not good at it). :-)

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 20:03

      One of the individuals who guided us with our Hormesis Files post—and who knows a tremendous amount about this topic—had this to say about the condition of diabetes:

      …In brief, diabetes is a condition primarily of low insulin signaling rather than high insulin signaling. There are selected pathways that do not become resistant, but overall, insulin signaling is lost. Insulin’s role is not “to lower blood glucose.” It has lots of effects on energy metabolism. Overall, in shifts fats away from the liver and blood and into adipose tissue. It shifts stored glucose toward the liver and away from the blood. It shifts utilization away from fats and toward glucose. In the typical type 1 diabetic or obese and insulin resistant type 2 diabetic, these effects are lost. Glucose accumulates in the blood at the expense of liver glycogen. Triglycerides accumulate in the liver and blood at the expense of adipose triglyceride. Free fatty acids and ketones accumulate in the blood at the expense of adipose triglyceride.

      If metabolism is shifted in any direction it is toward fatty acid metabolism, but in general cells are overloaded with energy and their metabolism of everything is hampered. Inflammation is largely a response to “ectopic” accumulating energy molecules where they don’t belong, as immune cells phagocytose these and also alert the rest of the body that there is an emergency that must take priority over normal uses of energy, such as maintaining proper structures and engaging in fertiltiy, the most energetically costly of all activities. Beta-oxidation is actually increased in the average diabetic liver because the liver is scrambling to dispose of excess energy, and in fact even this is inadequate and omega-oxidation is activated in peroxisomes. However, all of these compensations are inadequate and the fat accumulates in the liver (which is itself ectopic, so stimulates immune phagocytosis of fat and systemic inflammation).

      Much of the damage is due to reactive oxygen species and advanced glycation endproducts. The word “glycation” is a relic of their early discovery as being products of spontaneous glucose reactions, but it is now known that most glycation products are a result of dicarbonyls, which are 20,000 times more reactive than glucose and can be derived equally from fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism. The same is true of reactive oxygen species (and nitrogen species). Insulin signaling is highly protective against glycation and reactive oxygen species, so its loss in these conditions is a major contributor to damage.

      You can normalize a type 2 diabetics’ glutathione status by simultaneously infusing them with extra insulin and with enough glucose to prevent low blood sugar, but that isn’t a very practical solution to the problem because it requires them being hooked up to IVs.

      I thought I would post it because I think people could connect a lot of dots with that statement. Dots with the microbiome, fibers, inflammation signaling, etc. etc.

      Don’t expect me to respond to questions about it. I was in awe by the explanation. Diabetes is clearly way more involved and complex than just eating a bowl of ice cream and blood sugar wreaking havoc.

    • gabkad on January 12, 2015 at 20:15

      Richard, yesterday I ate 6 cups of cooked green beans because I cooked them and decided screw it making some salad from them. But if I didn’t do something with them for during the week, refrigerated cooked beans suck. I ate the whole thing. Had the best lightning shit ever this morning. BUT I woke myself up three times during the night talking! For f..k’s sake. I’ll experiment further in the future but what the hell is in huge amounts of green beans that result in sleep talking?

      I am now going to take a tablespoon of honey pre-sleep and see what happens. It better not be the Xrated dreams I got from the potato starch though.

      You know I don’t have a problem taking one for the team but results can be so unpredictable.

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 20:16

      There was a maple syrup study on rats, where they gave the rats a lot of natural sweeteners and tested their responses. Most unrefined sugars had a similar response all around. A quick 30-min spike and a good response after that. Honey was a bit higher than the others, but other studies have suggested that the anti-diabetic effect of honey is dose dependent (i.e. the “anti-diabetic” effect isn’t available if you eat tremendous quantities of honey), which isn’t that surprising.

      Incidentally, getting stung by bees lowers your blood sugar fairly well. So, there’s another example of a toxin having a hormetic effect.

    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 20:23

      Sorry, I should clarify. Honey’s initial spike (at the 15 min mark) was a bit higher than the other unrefined sweeteners (molasses, maple syrup, agave, etc) but at 120 minutes it was the lowest. So, seems fine. And there are other studies showing fine results with honey, but can’t locate them at the moment. .

    • FrenchFry on January 13, 2015 at 00:46

      Hahaha, that was really hilarious :D

    • FrenchFry on January 13, 2015 at 06:45

      It was a reply to rob above, just to be clear!

    • FrenchFry on January 13, 2015 at 06:52


      You know the blogger carbsane I presume ? From what I read on her blog, she has been saying these things for quite a while, against the low carb mantra that prevails in the “paleo / primal” circles. I have not dived into her articles that much but the explanation for metabolic stress you posted here is no surprise to me.

  7. Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 11:25

    Somewhat off topic. I have been trying to find overnight fasting and A1C blood sugar information on modern H&Gs for some time.

    I have the info on the Kitavans but would like another source to corroborate.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 12, 2015 at 12:39

      Hey Steve.

      I don’t recall the BG info on Kitavans, quite a while ago, so would appreciate if you follow up with those numbers. I seem to recall BP was quite lowish.

      One problem is that I doubt there’s any study of “H-G Diabetics.” If not, then a population-level assessment isn’t going to tell you any more than a pop-level assessment of American SAD eaters, and the average it going to be normal fasting BG and A1C.

    • Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 13:17

      I will email you the data, I have to dig up the source material first.

    • Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 14:32

      Thought I’d go ahead and share it here as well.

      Here is the Kitavan vs Swede BG and Insulin numbers. I would LOVE to find another H & G group to corroborate.

      This via Raphaels7 (twitter)

    • Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 15:11

      Richard, I am not looking for “H-G Diabetics”.

      I want to know a truly normal blood sugar range. Not ‘typical’ of SAD eaters. Not the ‘average’ of Western Man … but what would be a normal blood sugar range pre-agriculture if that’s possible.

      The Kitavan numbers look great! I just wish I had at least one other group to compare them to.


    • Duck Dodgers on January 12, 2015 at 16:24
    • Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 16:28

      I have not, will check it out. Thanks!

    • Tim Steele on January 12, 2015 at 16:34

      Hey, Steve – I couldn’t find full text, but:

    • Steve Cooksey on January 12, 2015 at 16:35

      Duck, Thanks but this is data on diabetics and Aborigines who have fallen victim to processed urban foods.

      I want fasting bg … of H & G, before succumbing to the ills of processed, westernized foods.

      Check out the data on the Kitavans I posted above.

    • Tim Steele on January 12, 2015 at 22:00

      You owe me for this, Steve! Let me know if any of the links are bad, and also, please download them quickly, my dropbox gets moved around a lot and links won’t work for long.

      Pima Indian Glucose
      Kalahari Bushmen Glucose
      Pygmy Glucose
      Brazil Tribes Glucose

    • Steve Cooksey on January 13, 2015 at 04:55

      YOU ARE RIGHT! … I do owe you!

      Awesome information and exactly what I was looking for.

      Thanks! (and I downloaded)

    • Gemma on January 13, 2015 at 06:47

      @Steve Cooksey

      Steve, would you be so kind to report back after you analyze these papers? You are the expert here.

      I only looked at Kalahari Bushmen so far, so funny, the remind me a bit of the Inuit regarding non-stop snacking:

      “Compared with 10 non-obese white controls, they showed relative glucose intolerance and significantly impaired insulin secretion.

      Since an overnight fast would probably have been broken (owing to the almost continuous eating pattern of the Bushmen when food is available), we performed tests in the afternoon, after four hours of observed rest and fasting.”

      What the hell is our modern diabetes?

    • Steve Cooksey on January 16, 2015 at 10:49

      Gemma, thank you but I am expert only in me. :)

      I will definitely report back, but just from a glance I saw no clear pattern, especially when adding the Kitavans to the mix.

    • Duck Dodgers on January 21, 2015 at 11:33

      Well, turns out those bee stings are being studied quite closely for a hormetic effect after all. According to two new studies, bee venom (apitherapy) has an anti-diabetic effect, with the ability to lower blood sugar.

      Apis cerana Bee Venom: It’s Anti-Diabetic and Anti-Dandruff Activity Against Malassezia furfur (2014)

      …and bee venom shows a “significant antiglycation effect” making it a possible therapy for diabetics.

      Honey bee venom decreases the complications of diabetes by preventing hemoglobin glycation (2014)

    • Duck Dodgers on January 21, 2015 at 11:51

      And bee venom does much more too. It kills cancer cells and relieves arthritis and pain.

      Therapeutic application of anti-arthritis, pain-releasing, and anti-cancer effects of bee venom and its constituent compounds (2007)

      And bee venom has the power to kill HIV (hat tip Gemma):

      Bee Venom Destroys HIV And Spares Surrounding Cells (2013)

  8. Kati on January 12, 2015 at 12:11

    I love all the information about honey, but it makes me want to cry. Honey gives me wicked headaches. :/ at least that means more for the littles of the house- they crave it like no other.

    • Arthur Haines on May 24, 2015 at 09:58

      If honey is not for you, enjoy other natural sweeteners, like maple syrup. It has a long history of consumption and possess vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I like to share with people that unrefined forms are rich in calcium-containing sediment and maple syrup supplies a large amount of magnesium (important in your body’s production of one form of SOD, an important endogenous antioxidant. It is a superfood, much like honey, but very different in its composition. We gather maple sap and make maple syrup and maple sugar every year. It is one of the first wild foraged foods available in the northeast. Best wishes.

    • Duck Dodgers on May 24, 2015 at 16:13

      I think you must have mixed up magnesium with manganese. Sugary plants and tree saps have a lot of manganese, which is necessary for MnSOD production and sugar metabolism!

      Even a cup of plain maple sap is a great source of manganese.

    • Arthur Haines on May 24, 2015 at 17:28

      Duck Dodgers,

      Yes, I did intend to write manganese. Thank you for catching that. We tap about 45 maple trees every year. During the last couple of weeks of March and the first couple of weeks of April we drink almost exclusively maple sap (and then, later, yellow birch sap). It is a “spring water” during the early spring. Wonderful stuff. Best wishes.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2015 at 17:56

      Wonderful, Arthur, going so against “Paleo” (TM) by getting your fill while it’s there, fresh, and nutritious.

      …And those non-Paleo Hadza, all that blood glucose spiking honey.

      Gives me the vapors. …Now, where’s that Paleo, fainting Chesterfield?


  9. foxylibrarian on January 12, 2015 at 13:27

    Wonderful post! I love examples of commensalism/mutualism. Badgers have been known to team up with coyotes to drive out burrowing prey, although the badgers will grumpily dismiss any overtures to play from the coyotes.
    I have been doing Dave Asprey’s honey sleep hack – right before bed I take a spoonful of raw honey and then put another heaping TBSP in a grated ginger/turmeric tea with a scoop of grass fed collagen. Works like a charm, and the weight keeps falling off.

  10. Adrian on January 12, 2015 at 19:05

    How does all this work with traditional jam making using sugar? Does the whole fruit content make up for using sugar – to some extent or a lot? Is there a fermenting aspect to jam making? Could one substitute honey or maple syrup in the jam making process?

    • Adrian on January 12, 2015 at 19:12

      I suppose the heat is the main issue.

    • gabkad on January 12, 2015 at 20:31

      Adrian, you don’t need sugar to make ‘jam’. You can just use ripe fruit and slowly cook it and stir it for hours until it gets thick. Gemma and I were reminiscing about this the other day. You can make it with anything. Apple butter contains only apple, for example. Prune butter is only prune plums. You can make it with peaches and apricots as well. Just the trick is the fruit needs to be ripe.

      I suppose if at the end of the process you want to add honey, then you can but it’s gilding the lily.

  11. GTR on January 13, 2015 at 01:25

    This Cordain article first gives some information paper, then goes with something that is supposed to be a conclusion “is apparent that the C4 signature in ancestral African hominin enamel almost certainly is resultant from increased consumption of animals that consumed C4 plants.” , but there’s absolutely no middle – that is any form of process that would lead from the information pieces from the begining, to the conclusion at the end: no math equations whatsoever into which he would put those input data, no proof of any kind. So basically what he presented as a conclusion is just a hypothesis.

  12. Jane Karlsson on January 13, 2015 at 06:26

    Cordain doesn’t seem to realise that pure fructose causes copper deficiency.

    All the bad stuff caused by fructose feeding is also seen in copper deficiency. Copper is needed for iron efflux from the liver: copper deficiency -> iron overload -> oxidative stress -> fatty liver. Humans with fatty liver disease have copper deficiency.

    I very much doubt honey causes copper deficiency or oxidative stress. It has organic acids which help copper absorption, and some copper as well. And lots of glucose, which is part of the antioxidant system: glucose -> pentose phosphate pathway -> NADPH which keeps glutathione reduced.

    • Duck Dodgers on January 13, 2015 at 07:25

      Interesting, Jane.

      It does seem honey provides copper. I came across this very recent study, from December. Didn’t have room to include it in the Hormesis Files post—and I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it—but to me this implies that copper in honey may offer a balance of hormetic/pro-oxidant/anti-oxidant properties.

      Changes of antioxidant activity in honey as a result of Haber-Wais reaction (DEC 17, 2014)

      The antioxidants present in natural food products show a higher antioxidant activity than synthetic one [1]. Polyphenolic compounds are the most important antioxidants in bee honey. In addition to the polyphenols there are non-phenolic compounds with antioxidant potential, such as proteins, gluconic acid, L-ascorbic acid, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl methyl furfural (HMF), Maillard reaction products, etc. The antioxidant activity of honey largely depends on the content of micro biogenic elements. Cu acts as antioxidant because it is an integral part of some enzymes involved in the antioxidant activity of the organism. Cu in honey also acts as a pro-oxidant through Haber-weis reaction with L-ascorbic acid also present in honey. In addition to being an essential micro-nutrient Cu is potentially very hazardous because of the capacity change in oxidation state leading to the initiation of the reaction in which free radicals are formed. Therefore, the balanced intake of copper and other trace elements in the human body is very important. Therefore, changes in the antioxidant activity of food are the result of chemical changes in antioxidant active compounds present in the food product.

    • Jane Karlsson on January 14, 2015 at 06:40

      Hi Duck
      I don’t know what to make of that paper either. I can’t tell if they know what they’re talking about. Certainly free copper is very toxic, because it’s a powerful oxidising agent. But copper complexes are different, and I think copper in honey would probably be in complexes. Copper is extremely ‘sticky’ and binds just about anything.

      There is a huge literature on the medicinal use of copper complexes. They treat all kinds of disorders, at least in animal models. They are thought to have superoxide dismutase activity, which means, they aren’t really either pro-oxidant or antioxidant, they just transform one kind of ROS into another.

      John Sorenson is the expert on copper complexes. He says many drugs work by binding copper and taking it to where it’s needed. I remember being completely blown away by a long article of his in Progress in Medicinal Chemistry from 1989.

      Nowadays people want to say copper is toxic and causes Alzheimer’s. They should read Sorenson. Copper has been used medicinally for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 14, 2015 at 07:10

      Small solutions of copper are used in aquariums to control parasites on the fish.

    • Douglas on January 14, 2015 at 09:47

      Quite correct. I can vouch for this as a aquarist myself. However, copper containing medication for fish should be avoided if you have shrimps in the same tank. Ok. Back to you -> HONEY.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 14, 2015 at 13:09

      And Dougalas.

      You are quite correct. I only used to copper very early on in a 180-gal that was total big bioload fish, because the same copper will kill all inverts and shrimp and snails and probably a lot of other stuff.

      I could go on.

      Here’s a small reef tank I did a few years back.

      I would only do reef tanks now, but it was fun to have enormous triggers, for a while. (you know).

    • Douglas on January 16, 2015 at 06:23

      Beautiful nano tank Richard. I’ve never indulged in marine tanks myself (yet) but found immense pleasure collecting and caring for tropical invertebrates and plants.

  13. Space! (@SpaceFromGreece) on January 13, 2015 at 06:56

    Even more ridiculous when you know that Greek blue zones have as a standard Greek strained Yoghurt (usually containing 5-6 differents strains) with Greek Thyme and/or Pine Honey…
    Hippocrates said that oil & honey heal the body

  14. Duck Dodgers on January 13, 2015 at 07:38

    By the way, I don’t know if anyone caught it, but the first honeyguide clip is from Human Planet: Grasslands (video)—a full hour segment about how closely tied humans are to grasses, and how we learned to thrive in those habitats. Really interesting stuff in that hour episode. I highly recommend watching it.

    Seeing all those different cultures and what they do within the context of grasslands—the agriculture and plants they developed to thrive, the way they consume those grasses, and the animals they conquered—is very enlightening. After awhile it makes you wonder what Paleyos have against grasses.

  15. Duck Dodgers on January 14, 2015 at 07:00

    More interesting honey studies (there are a lot of them out there). Many studies show good things in vitro, but here’s one showing prebiotic properties both in vitro and in vivo, in rats:

    Stimulatory effect of honey on multiplication of lactic acid bacteria under in vitro and in vivo conditions (2001)

    “The effect of honey and sucrose on lactic acid bacteria in vitro and in rat gut was studied to determine whether these organisms were affected differently by honey compared with sucrose. Under in vitro conditions, the number of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum counts increased 10–100 fold in the presence of honey compared with sucrose. Feeding of honey to rats also resulted in significant increase in counts of lactic acid bacteria. Although there was no significant difference in the counts of lactic acid bacteria in the small and large intestines of different groups, the honey-fed group showed a significant increase (P < 0·05) in counts over the control and sucrose-fed animals. The results support the fact that consumption of honey has a beneficial effect on the physiological constitution of animals fed with it.”

    And here’s one showing interesting results after 52-weeks of honey supplementation (hat tip to Gemma):

    The effects of long-term honey, sucrose or sugar-free diets on memory and anxiety in rats. (2009)

    Sucrose is considered by many to be detrimental to health, giving rise to deterioration of the body associated with ageing. This study was undertaken to determine whether replacing sucrose in the diet long-term with honey that has a high antioxidant content could decrease deterioration in brain function during ageing. Forty-five 2-month old Sprague Dawley rats were fed ad libitum for 52 weeks on a powdered diet that was either sugar-free or contained 7.9% sucrose or 10% honey (which is the equivalent amount of sugar). Anxiety levels were assessed using an Elevated Plus Maze, whilst a Y maze and an Object Recognition task were used to assess memory. Locomotor activity was also measured using an Open Field task to ensure that differences in activity levels did not bias results in the other tasks. Anxiety generally decreased overall from 3 to 12 months, but the honey-fed rats showed significantly less anxiety at all stages of ageing compared with those fed sucrose. Honey-fed animals also displayed better spatial memory throughout the 12-month period: at 9 and 12 months a significantly greater proportion of honey-fed rats recognised the novel arm as the unvisited arm of the maze compared to rats on a sugar-free or sucrose-based diet. No significant differences among groups were observed in the Object Recognition task, and there appeared to be no differences in locomotor activity among groups at either 6 or 12 months. In conclusion, it appears that consumption of honey may reduce anxiety and improve spatial memory in middle age

    Interestingly, rats fed the sugar-free diet generally performed less well than the honey-fed rats, suggesting that the better performance seen in honey-fed rats was not due solely to a lower dietary GI content but involved other components in the honey, possibly antioxidants

    The rats entered the study before they were fully grown, and they noticed something as the different groups of rats grew:

    The effects of long-term honey, sucrose or sugar-free diets on memory and anxiety in rats. (2009)

    …A low GI starch product (amylose) rather than standard high GI starch was used in the sugar-free diet as a replacement for the sucrose/honey. In an attempt to simulate the oxidative damage that occurs in humans (on a typical New Zealand diet), the diets were prepared using pre-used cooking oil (vegetable oil) rather than virgin oil as the source of fat…

    …Overall, this study revealed several interesting differences following the long term consumption of sugar-free, honey or sucrose-based diets. Firstly, the sucrose-fed rats gained significantly more weight than either of the other two groups whilst consuming a similar quantity (and kilojoule level) of food. The differential weight gain may be due to differences in the GI of the sucrose and honey, with honey having a lower GI. In support of this, honey- and sugar-free-fed rats showed reduced glycated hemoglobin levels (a measure of blood glucose) compared with those fed sucrose after 12 months [40]. However, as fructose metabolism elicits different hormonal responses compared to glucose [57], it is unlikely that differences in GI can fully explain these findings. Furthermore, as sucrose/honey/amylose comprised only 10% of the diet, we do not know if this was sufficient to alter the GI of the diet overall. Indeed, unpublished data from our laboratory indicate that rats fed 60% honey show less weight gain compared to those fed a similar amount of mixed sugars (as in honey) or sucrose, suggesting that some other bioactivity of the honey plays a part. This may be the insulinmimetic effects of the hydrogen peroxide produced by the honey [39], but it is unclear if hydrogen peroxide reaches sufficient levels in vivo to elicit such a response. Alternatively, differences in weight gain may be a result of the high antioxidant content of the honey, as rats fed green tea showed increased thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue [58]. Thus, further research is needed to fully explain these findings.

    According to Figure 2, there was very little difference in weight gain between the sugar-free (amylose) group and the honey group. While the sucrose group has significant weight gain.

  16. Duck Dodgers on January 14, 2015 at 11:10

    Another hat tip to Gemma. Mixing your tea and honey appears to provide fewer bioavailable antioxidants than consuming them separately.

    From: The fortification of tea with sweeteners and milk and its effect on in vitro antioxidant potential of tea product and glutathione levels in an animal model. (2014)

    Several studies have demonstrated that tea flavonoids protect cells and tissues against free radicals which have been implicated in the etiology of oxidative stress-related disease disorders. However, black tea is commonly consumed with additives that could otherwise affect the bioavailability of the active tea molecules. In this study, the biochemical parameters of Kenyan teas were determined and the effect of added milk and sweeteners on the antioxidant activity of Kenyan teas was investigated. The effect of tea antioxidants on glutathione (GSH) was also evaluated in vivo in a time series study using Swiss mice. Green teas had the highest levels of total polyphenols, total and individual catechins, while black teas had high levels of total thearubigins, total theaflavins and theaflavin fractions. The antioxidant activity was high in green teas though some of the black teas were as efficacious as the green teas. The addition of milk, sugar and honey significantly (p<0.05) decreased the antioxidant activity of tea in a concentration-dependent manner. Addition of the sweetener, stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni), showed no significant (p>0.05) influence on the antioxidant activity of tea and therefore can be recommended as a preferred sweetener for tea. Significantly (p<0.001) higher levels of GSH were observed in plasma than in other tissues. GSH levels were generally highest 2h after tea consumption, which indicates the need to repeatedly take tea every 2h to maximise its potential health benefits.

    This effect seems to be confirmed here:

    From: Buckwheat Honey Increases Serum Antioxidant Capacity in Humans (2003)

    Honey has been known to exert significant in vitro antioxidant activity, in part due to its phenolic content. However, conclusions that the antioxidants in honey are or are not efficacious in the human body cannot be reached if its antioxidant action is not assessed as part of a human study. In the present study, the acute effect of consumption of 500 mL of water, water with buckwheat honey, black tea, black tea with sugar, or black tea with buckwheat honey on serum oxidative reactions was examined in 25 healthy men. Antioxidant capacity of human serum samples was measured using different methods:  the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, ex vivo susceptibility of serum lipoprotein to Cu2+-induced oxidation, and the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay. The results showed that the serum antioxidant capacity determined by ORAC increased significantly (p < 0.05) by 7% following consumption of buckwheat honey in water. No significant changes in serum antioxidant capacity could be established after the consumption of any of the other beverages. Ex vivo serum lipoprotein oxidation and TBARS values were not significantly altered after consumption of any of the five beverages. This study provides primary evidence of the in vivo antioxidant activity of buckwheat honey. However, long-term studies and epidemiological data are necessary to investigate whether honey consumption can exert overall antioxidant-related health benefits.

  17. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on January 13, 2015 at 22:18

    Cordain is a charlatan in my book by insisting that natural fat (coconut, animal fat dairy) & white potato ==> evil.

    it’s pretty disingenuous of him to call his Frankenstein fat laden lean meat diet Paleo, just a marketing ploy.

  18. Duck Dodgers on January 14, 2015 at 12:27

    Say goodbye to probiotic pills. Raw honeys may be the best/cheapest way to obtain a wide variety of spore-forming microorganisms. Pretty amazing…

    Honey: a reservoir for microorganisms and an inhibitory agent for microbes

    Microorganisms that survive in honey are those that withstand the concentrated sugar, acidity and other antimicrobial characters of honey. The primary sources of microbial contamination are likely to include pollen, the digestive tracts of honeybees, dirt, dust, air and flowers. Microbes found in honeycomb are principally bacteria and yeast and come from the bees, the raw materials (nectar) or from external sources [human contamination]… The primary sources of sugar tolerant yeast are flowers and soil… Most bacteria and other microbes cannot grow or reproduce in honey i.e. they are dormant and this is due to antibacterial activity of honey… It is only the spore forming microorganisms that can survive in honey at low temperature

    ….While honey easily gets contaminated during the process of its production by bees and microorganisms also get introduced into honey by activities of man including equipment, containers, wind and dust, the status of the microorganisms found in honey is dormant. It is the spore forming microorganisms that survive in honey by remaining dormant i.e suspended without growth.

    Non-spore forming bacteria ie vegetative forms are not normally present in honey because they cannot survive. Ten species of non-spore forming intestinal bacteria inoculated into pure honey survived only a few hours (21). It is possible therefore to assert that the microorganisms found in honey undergo gradual extinction in honey due to its inhibitory properties as highlighted earlier in this discourse. It is also recognized that spores are dormant forms of certain microorganisms. The fact that spores cannot transit into vegetative forms and still remain alive in honey persistently is supportive of the inhibitory role of honey on microorganisms [with respect to wound dressings].

    I would imagine that once raw honey was diluted in the GIT, the spores would have a greater chance of becoming vegetative.

  19. Laurie on June 17, 2015 at 07:55

    The average caloric intake of Hadza women is less than 1900 calories per day. That means that at 15% of calories, just just a few tablespoons of honey and doesn’t represent much volume.

    Data shows us that as long as we consume less energy than we use each day, what we eat is practically irrelevant. Even in people with autoimmune disease, a hypocaloric diet of “inflammatory” foods will improve inflammation.

    • Duck Dodgers on June 17, 2015 at 13:05

      Laurie said: “That means that at 15% of calories, just just a few tablespoons of honey and doesn’t represent much volume”

      Not quite. 15% is the average intake throughout the year. During the rainy season the Hadza consume >50-75% of their calories from honey.

    • Laurie on June 17, 2015 at 13:18

      Fair enough, but in order for the average to be 15%, it suggests they eat almost no honey at all the rest of the time. When asked, they specifically say that they gorge themselves on it in order to fatten up for the dry season. One man shares a story of his infant dying because his wife was too thin to make enough milk. These people recognize that honey puts fat on them.

      Is anyone here trying to put fat on? ;-)

    • Duck Dodgers on June 17, 2015 at 13:27

      Geesh. What a load of horse shit. They eat this way for a few months, plus a huge amount of berries on top of that. There are no overweight Hadza. Let’s not compare normalizing a starving Hadzabe’s weight with making someone overweight.

      Their BMI stays very steady throughout the year, despite your anecdote.

    • Gemma on June 17, 2015 at 13:32

      Do you dare to eat some honey sometimes, Laurie?

    • Laurie on June 17, 2015 at 13:54

      Oh FFS, “fatten up” is an expression for gaining fat, not for becoming obese. I’m not suggesting the Hadza are obese, I’m suggesting that we are not in need of extra calories. The Hadza can gorge on honey because it’s what they have and they’re still underweight.

      If BMI stays the same, they’d have no sense of “fattening up” but they clearly do.

      The rainy season is 6 months long and even at the minimum of 50% calories from honey, the average would be 25% year ’round, not 15%. At 75% calories from honey, the average would be 37+% calories annually.

      The numbers don’t add up.

    • Laurie on June 17, 2015 at 13:55


      I don’t like honey, but on occasion I use it to bake a treat for my boys. =)

    • Laurie on June 17, 2015 at 14:39

      I’m surprised at how hostile this discussion feels, I entered it in good faith and I’ve been polite. I’m pro-honey and I very much believe that honey is “Paleo”. My point is simply that we define foods as “Paleo” by applying almost exclusively a single criterion– whether or not the food (or food group) was likely to have been eaten ever by early man. But there were many other factors involved in how early man ate too, including climate, periods of fasting (starvation), seasonal availability and optimal foraging behaviors.

      If all that matters is that we can point to them eating it at all, then grains, legumes and dairy should all be on the menu too as we know that they were definitely eaten at times. You can’t look to another culture’s dietary elements and assume they will infer similar benefit in an entirely different culture eating a very different diet overall.

      If you want to adopt a total diet like the Hadza, their activities and activity levels an other cultural aspects, you too can probably get away with eating 1500 calories per day in honey. But that’s not on top of fatty meat, eggs and nuts, it’s instead of them. And if that’s your thing, I’d support you in doing it– I might be able to get 1500 calories in caramel down. ;-)

      What I find objectionable is the rather constant barrage of complaints from people thinking they’re eating from a Paleo template while eating paleo cookies instead of their standard chocolate chip– or buying paleo bars and other highly palatable paleo snacks made with ingredients that early man probably didn’t often consume together because they weren’t in season at the same time.

      The berries eaten by the Hadza are described by the JOURNAL OF FOOD COMPOSITION AND ANALYSIS of the Hadza diet (2001) this way- “[B]erries tend to have little flesh with large seeds.” And their honey is significantly higher in protein because they’re eating the grubs and pollen too.

      This 2009 paper found that the Hadza BMIs do change from season to season. It doesn’t separate out honey consumption, it’s looking at meat versus tubers, but it does specifically refute the claim that their BMIs stay the same throughout the year.

    • Harold on June 17, 2015 at 19:47

      “This 2009 paper found that the Hadza BMIs do change from season to season. It doesn’t separate out honey consumption, it’s looking at meat versus tubers, but it does specifically refute the claim that their BMIs stay the same throughout the year.”

      Actually, the study you linked to says:

      “Previous analyses revealed that Hadza men and women varied little in BMI and %BF across season…Men’s BMI did not vary significantly by season…Women’s BMI and %BF did vary by region and season…Women between 18 and 55 years of age (when they are bearing and nursing children) had a higher %BF when more meat was taken. They had a lower %BF when more tubers were taken.”

      You just cited a paper showing that eating meat makes you fat. :)

    • Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 03:12

      OK, so it’s ONLY the women whose body weight varies by season.

      Clearly, it still happens.

      I cited a paper that shows that by volume, meat contains more energy and that people prefer to eat it over tubers.

    • Duck Dodgers on June 18, 2015 at 11:10

      Yes, and honey has more energy per volume than meat. Your own argument cuts both ways.

    • Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 11:15

      Except that they’re not comparing meat to honey, they’re comparing it tubers.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 18, 2015 at 12:38

      So, is that a mistake then, given what we know about honey consumption? Or, are you still beholden to gurus?

  20. Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 12:53

    I’ve never been beholden to gurus, so nothing has changed at all.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 18, 2015 at 12:58

      Oh really? I detected an unmistakable inability to deal with new information and integrate it on plain merits rather that attempt to reconcile it within the context of an established guru paradigm.

      Perhaps I went a litte crazy and actually, you were just trying to contribute.

  21. Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 13:07

    I’m not responsible for what you detect. I simply insist on actual evidence and will ask questions until I’m satisfied that the evidence bears out the claim.

  22. Richard Nikoley on June 18, 2015 at 13:16

    …oh wait… Your BIG REVELATION is that Hadza women put on a few pounds before rainy season, and maybe honey is why and so bad honey or, is it good honey?

    You came in here with an agenda to associate eating honey with getting fat (it’s all of record) and are now backtracking and beginning to engage in typical lying.

  23. Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 13:28

    You know, I’ve seen your writing around the blogosphere for years and I’ve always had tremendous respect for you. But admittedly, I never interacted with you so I didn’t know any better. My blowjob hole? That’s how you talk to guests at your blog? Charming.

    FFS, can’t any of you read?

    If you want to extrapolate that a shit-ton of honey is good for us because a tribe in Africa eats a shit-ton of honey, that is your prerogative. As I said, I believe honey is paleo.

    I have no agenda, I came across this article along with several others about honey and paleo a couple of days ago. I thought the discussion was interesting but that you suffer similar biases to the those you accuse Cordain of.

    I’m not half-starved for half the year and I couldn’t control my intake on such a high-glycemic diet. It wouldn’t be ideal for me. I cannot imagine why you’d take so much offense at the questions or at refutation of BMI claims backed by data. If I eat a lot of honey, I get fat. And since it’s all about what my diet does to ME, this is all that matters to me.

    I don’t live with Hadza. Their high honey consumption isn’t relevant to me or to most people outside of the Hadza.

    • Gemma on June 18, 2015 at 13:35


      maybe you should first read this article, and the one linked to it: “The Hormesis Files: Who’s Afraid of Unrefined Sugar?” and think a bit before commenting.

      And please, stop baking honey to death.

    • Harold on June 18, 2015 at 20:35

      “I have no agenda, I came across this article along with several others about honey and paleo a couple of days ago.”

      No, of course you don’t have an agenda. Laurie (aka “Paleo Huntress”) just spent the past week writing about a two hundred comments bashing honey and carbohydrates on a Paleo humor post that casually mentioned how honey was Paleo. Good grief.

      Laurie decided to battle anybody who claimed that honey was OK to eat. One commenter referenced this very post and she just had to come over and tell us how bad honey is, even though studies overwhelmingly say otherwise.

      But, of course Laurie has no agenda. No, of course not.

  24. Richard Nikoley on June 18, 2015 at 13:36


    Seriously? You’ve seen me here and there for years and that’s your comback? Implied Victorian Victim?

    Please. There’s a reason I’m not toying with you, cunt. You don’t strike me as up & up. Whether that’s from troll cleverness or ignorance, I don’t know.

    And FFS up your twat, bitch. Read the fucking article. It was not about everyone going out and getting drunk on honey. It was about Loren Cordain and his stupid personal trainer bitch doing a usual and typical hit piece; on honey.

    Cordain is absolutely the worst thing to ever happen to Paleo.

  25. Laurie on June 18, 2015 at 13:47


    It’s nice when you don’t have to put any effort into revealing the ugly. This shit makes for the most entertaining caricatures and while you may think that I hope that worries you, I suspect that being a caricature is an idea that appeals to you.

    Cordain isn’t the paleo god, but at least he can have a discussion without oozing into the gutter.

    Rock, on.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 18, 2015 at 14:31

      Two things, Laurie.

      First the only thing being revealed is how you came in here on less than fully upfront pretenses.

      Second, I’ve actually met Cordain. Have you?

      Here’s what happened. Checked into the hotel for AHS11, shot the shit with Gary (Taubes) in the lobby for a while, then went to the bar to await driving Chris Masterjohn and his sqeeze, Melissa McEwen, over to Aaron Blaisedel’s party.

      Anyway, who walks into the bar but Cordain and Pedro Bastos. Petro is a sweetheart man. I was charmed that he well knew who I was.

      Cordain, to make a boring story short, literally didn’t know who ANYONE was, except maybe Boyd, Eades, etc. He stood there, making motions with his hand about how amazing it is that Paleo is going up and up and up…and he has no clue–seemingly–about how this magically happened since his book hit the shelves about 10 years earlier.

      To top if off, he tells me that this is such a deal, that SOMEONE ought to stop by the store and bring a case of wine to Aaron’s party.

      I would have been miffed, but I don’t drink much wine and Aaron had already given me Carte Blanche to the top shelf.

      So excuse me if you come in here ostensibly defending Cordain when I’ve actually interacted with him and think he’s pretty much a boring shit for a human.

  26. SavGeo on October 9, 2015 at 11:26

    Do you think honey is a beneficial food for those with leaky guy/dysbiosis? It seems to boost bifido bacteria according to this study:

    “…the colon bifido bacteria and lactobacilli counts were increased markedly in group receiving diet supplemented with honey.”

  27. mr ion on March 12, 2016 at 15:15


    2016 Sydney Australia.

    The idea to make more food it is very old there fore most of plants contain chemical which is used by human being in order to have big production.
    In Romania a lot of people drink contaminated water with water for surge and children death.
    The human being poison all nature e.g
    in stead to use steam for weed use herbicide.
    I do regret for beekeepers with the club and
    association which one children do not follow them why ?
    I do regret I offer free education for beekeepers
    to get respect for them self, knowledges.
    I was refused because I’m not part of gang in
    My self I have two hives which collect honey
    from gum plants in my area.
    I e-mail to 3 government and minister of agriculture in NSW but no even to day I have
    number for received not ANSWER TO ME.
    signed mr ion chirita

  28. mr ion on March 12, 2016 at 15:22




    About the truth: ,,NEED MODERATION”

    But not double head coin or double standard.
    mr ion chirita 2016

  29. Matt on June 7, 2017 at 19:34

    There’s a giant coverup itself in this article, or merely a failure to make it clear.

    Hunter-gatherers weren’t eating “honey”. They were eating honeycomb. You have to chew on honeycomb.

    Honey extraction wasn’t invented until the 1800s, yet all the honey you can find — even “unfiltered” — makes use of this modern process.

    Eating “raw honey” is in no way equivalent to eating what the Hadza ate. It’s about the same as drinking fruit juice.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 8, 2017 at 08:45

      Meh. You draw a distinction without much of a difference. The comb is wax, not digestible. It’s just a vehicle for ingesting honey.

      One distinction that is worthy, however (beyond raw vs. pasteurized) is filtered vs. unfiltered. Lots of nutritious bits in unfiltered, I would imagine.

  30. Pat on March 28, 2019 at 07:45

    Always fun to listen to liberals talk about others ignoring or trying to cover up the truth or reality.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2019 at 10:11

      What are you talking about, Pat?

      I’ll tell you what’s not any fun at all. Reading stuff that’s obtuse. Explain yourself.

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