Did The Paleo Diet Get It Wrong On Grains?

Many are already convinced that the original take on the Paleo Diet got it wrong on starchy tubers (and starch in general), legumes, honey, and perhaps a few other things…like the idea one is best suited to a high fat, high protein, and low carb, or even ketogenic, diet.

There’s many posts here on all of that stuff and in terms of potatoes, going back to 2009 even. Curiosity gets the best of me and I’m never comfortable or satisfied with pat, just-so answers to anything.

Moreover, way back, the science of the gut microbiome was a gaping hole in terms of integration into the diet. That’s perhaps the most understandable, since it’s only in the last few years that the science has skyrocketed. There is no shame in ignorance, only in refusing to correct it when new facts present themselves.

Before I delve into why I think paleo may have gotten it wrong on grains, let me post an email I got yesterday from a long-time reader and commenter, Steven.

Well Richard,

I figure it has been a long time coming for a little report out on my n=1 experience.

Years ago (2011) I went paleoish for a year then went VLC. I have a nasty autoimmune issue so doing whatever I could easily try I was on: like white on rice.

The start of the paleoish lifestyle was awesome. It really helped me a lot. My arthritis pains ebbed. My psoriasis was far more manageable. Less fatigue. feeling better in general.

Then the VLC [“Very Low Carbohydrate”] I was on for about 8-9 months really seemed to help immensely. I was able to stop all biologics for my arthritis. I used Enbrel on and off, mostly off, to help ward off the symptoms. I was really broken. The VLC seemed to help the best until it stopped helping 8 months in.

I fast pretty regularly as well. One long fast per week (24+hours). One day I eat early on and eat all day and the rest is intermittent per leangains.

I kept trying things and adding stuff and removing stuff but alas nothing was helping as profoundly as when I first went on this journey until your Tatertot era…. That is what I call it.

I added in a lot of carbs. I mean a lot. 2-3 ponds of various potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, rice and tons of fruit per day most days. I ate lots of various animal products still. Nose to tail. I used various supplements as well and have settled upon the ones I will most likely use until end times.

So I did a ton of various probiotics. Elixa was a good one for me. As well as the Prescript-Assist and the Primal Defense. I use Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil. Bovine tracheal cartilage and gelatin (need joint support from years of damage) and N-Acetyl Cysteine.

I started with the “blood letting” by donating as well.

Before the first time I gave blood (to get a little graphic) various body parts would itch like mad: groin and scalp. Afterward the itching has been very sporadic. My guess is due to various foods I may have a slight allergic reaction to. But that reaction is ebbing as well. I will be donating again in another month and we shall see what happens then.

Unless I eat egg plant or too many tomatoes and chilies all of my symptoms have been completely managed sans the Enbrel. I am well over a month out since my last injection and man oh man do I feel wonderful. I was doing a shot every 3-4 weeks when the dosage is 1 a week. I am way past that with no need to shoot up.

I have a ways to go. I am too chicken shit to try gluten foods. The pain I had years ago was debilitating and do not want to relive it. I really do not miss them either so it is not a problem for me. But someday when I really really want a good old fashioned grilled up messy Reuben sandwich I will order a loaf from here.

Baltic Shop Latvian Rye Bread

Anyway, sorry the crackers in Mexico were very cracker like. Anytime I have lived abroad I always avoided the gringo myself. I usually found brits, aussies, and germans to play with.

A million thank yous!!!


Now, first, those who follow comments know that this sort of report is nothing new—thousands of them over the years. Also, there are the reports that nothing has really helped, combined with the even more miraculous improvements than for Steven. We report it all, here; you decide. I like to think that the ideas presented here are purposefully as non-formulaic as I can manage, so that people just have a few things to try but by necessity, have to determine their own “dosages” and mix of things through trial and error. Be your own lab rat and learn the process of isolating variables—even though my own approach is to purposefully confound them, but that’s a story for another day.

Here’s why I think paleo got it wrong with grains. The narrative was compelling. They did not play a big role in the evolution of hominoids in general, nor H. sapien, though as we’ve recently discovered, the tiger nut tuber (Cyperus esculentus, that’s macro-equivalent to mammalian milk and micro-nutritionaly edges out red meat), where a day’s worth of nutrition can be harvested in a couple of hours—even by baboons to this day—really put a chink in the armor of “man the great hunter”—or even scavenger of marrow and brain from carnivore kills.

They may have got it wrong by failing to make an obvious distinction between the modern, industrial means of field to table, that requires stripping off bran and germ (where all the nutrition is) in order to have a nutritionally vapid endosperm (this is equivalent to eating egg whites—half the protein and most of the sodium vs. nearly every vitamin and mineral in the yolk) flour product that’s shelf stable for months and years vs. a whole grain that goes rancid quickly, especially without refrigeration.

So, in economic terms, did we Paleos conflate agriculture with industrialization, consequentially throwing out babies with bathwater in the process?

Let’s take a look at facts, first. Let’s compare the nutritional profile of white, unenriched wheat flour with enriched, then with whole grain flour, by which I mean the grinding of entire wheat berries into flour.

…Has anyone in paleo actually done this before, or did they all just pack the package-deal securely away, and set off to make money on a narrative of avoidance, rather than critical distinction? NOTE: these graphs are for purposes of comparison and so show the % RDA (or Adequate Intake) of the various nutrients for a 1 oz serving, not the actual quantities.

Screen Shot 2015 08 04 at 11 49 01 AM
Unenriched White Wheat Flour
Screen Shot 2015 08 04 at 11 50 43 AM
Enriched White Wheat Flour (take note of iron)
Screen Shot 2015 08 05 at 8 14 32 AM
Whole Grain Wheat Flour (take note of manganese and copper)

Jane Karlson, an Oxford PhD—who’s solidly a “Duck Dodgers” collaborator for a while now—has been studying the interactions of iron, manganese, and copper for 30 years. My layman take is that while iron is essential, manganese and copper act as a sort of yin-yang deal, with the former being an inhibitor and the later, a catalyst. Nature works in mysterious ways, with negative feedbacks being far more dominant than positive ones (the critical mistake global-warming alarmists make). This is the paradigm in which we evolved.

Bottom line: she thinks all refined white flours are bad, whether enriched or not, and whole ground grains (use stone or ceramic so as not to create too much heat) are fabulous, super-food-esque.

Well, everyone gets to decide for themselves but I like graphs because three pictures might be worth a 3-thousand word post and this one will come in at half that.

I’m three days into my own experiment with entirely whole grains, rather artisan, crusty, rough, chewy and a little dark style. I’ve noticed a whole lot of things I’ll report on later, after a bit more time; but I thought I’d pump this out there in case any of my lab rats wish to join in.

OK, I’ll give you one hint, since nobody doesn’t like cookies dipped in milk. Get yourself a countryesque, crusty bâtard or similar, or a 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 grain deal, all artisanal whole grain, recently ground. They’re rough and chewy. Get some whole raw milk. Tear off portions of the bead, dip in said milk (nothing else), see how it works for you.


  1. John on August 4, 2015 at 17:11

    These are the main potential problems with grains (especially wheat)-
    1. Gluten
    2. Nutrient Density
    3. Glycemic response
    4. Hybridization
    5. Fortification
    6. Refining
    7. Phytate

    Obviously, some are easily compensated for. Worried about the GI? Just add some fat (bread and butter maybe?) or eat it with a meal . Nutrient density also wouldn’t be a big issue in an otherwise nutrient dense diet, but this would make grains a good target if looking to reduce calories.

    Gluten is always gonna be an issue for celiacs, but was likely overblown by the paleo community. I think Duck made a great case for the dangers of fortification, and also pointed out there’s not a lot of great evidence against hybridization.

    As for refined grains, I ask- what exactly is the problem? By the way, I am talking about refined and unfortified grains being about 5-10% of calories in an otherwise nutrient dense diet. How would this be problematic in ways that whole grains would not?

    Lastly, most studies on whole grains seem to suggest that they are worse than their refined counterpart. This study found worse mineral balances during the whole grain period-
    And this study found greater LDL oxidation during the whole grain diet period- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12196421

    This is why I have chosen to make refined and unfortified grains a small (but tasty) portion of my diet.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 17:56

      Just as some folks swear by egg white omeltes.. You can even cook them in butter, add some cheese, and if really adventuresome, add some ham and shrooms. ;)

    • John on August 4, 2015 at 19:11

      Kinda funny you mention that… I still use whole eggs, but since focusing on calories more and upping carbs, I have been using leaner meats and lower fat dairy. I’ve been eating nonfat cottage cheese and unsweetened applesauce for breakfast…. I guess my paleo card has been revoked.

    • Bret on August 7, 2015 at 22:35

      I’m going significantly leaner too, John, and am doing just fine with it. The VLC folks had me thinking that without lots of dietary fat, I would be left hungry and unsatisfied. It was bull.

      I do tend to experience slight pangs sooner than I might on a high fat diet, but I also spare myself the headachey, overly full feeling after meals. Losing weight is much easier, and I have more energy as well.

      They can flush my paleo card down the toilet.

  2. John on August 4, 2015 at 13:04

    What’s clear is that you’ll make any excuse to eat gluten, despite the fact that it exacerbates your autoimmune condition. True stupidity. Also, grains are piss poor in nutrient density so I’m not sure why anyone would want to consume them. Trying to blame iron on everything is idiotic. After all, most overweight women are borderline anemic.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 13:43

      Oh my, John. Look at that dick. Its getting pretty angry.

    • John on August 4, 2015 at 15:32

      (Different John)

      I think “nutrient density” may be the most overrated concept in…nutrition. No one ever questions the holy grail that “nutrient density” is the be all end all of healthy eating.

      You’ve got to get your calories from somewhere. Sometimes those foods won’t be the most nutrient dense by any stretch. “You think your whole foods diet is ‘nutrient dense’? Well check out what I call the Salsa and Liver diet. So NUTRIENT DENSE you’ll die from starvation or nutrient poisoning!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 15:53

      Very good, John.

      I’ve done a number of nutrient density stuff. I debated Harley Johnstone, 30 bananas guy, live on call-in and internet, and I challenged them to find out how much mixed fruit it takes to roughly equal the micro-nutrition of 4 ONCES of beef liver.

      …5 Pounds.

      But that does not mean you ought not eat fruit, for crissakes.

    • John on August 4, 2015 at 16:10

      “Trying to blame iron on everything is idiotic. After all, most overweight women are borderline anemic.”
      Hey, could you point me to the study that recruited overweight women, and then tested their ferritin, hemoglobin, and TSAT? I’d be very interested in reading it.

    • John on August 4, 2015 at 17:48

      I remember the debate well. The glory days! Dr. Harris helping you prepare. Sickly kid wondering why 30BAD was killing him. Johnstone rambling like a toddler hyped up on juice.

      A different time.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 4, 2015 at 18:54

      “Also, grains are piss poor in nutrient density so I’m not sure why anyone would want to consume them”

      Human civilization was built on grains, including wheat, so you must be missing something there in your logic.

      Actually, most studies suggest that the reason people should eat whole grains is because of their unique phytochemicals and antioxidants, which is believed to be the main factor behind their health promoting qualities. See my comment below for more details.

    • spanish caravan on August 4, 2015 at 21:38

      Agree with you entirely, Duck. “Nutrient density” is the biggest hokum in nutrition circles. If all you needed are nutrients, why not just swallow supplements and be done with all the vitamins and minerals? You need food for energy, whether via fat or carbohydrates, but mostly carbs since you need a minimal level for the hormones and immune system to function. You don’t even have to be sold on PHD’s “safe starches” to realize that you need a clean source of glucose. “Caloric density” is a legitimate concept, as it pertains to food reward and has implications for obesity and not being able to push away from the table. But “nutrient density” is a spurious artifact that has to be put out to pasture.

      Maybe not so spurious if you’re a junk food junkie. But after you’ve gotten the nutrients you need, it’s a useless concept.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 22:58

      I’m not convinced it’s entirely spurious. I think it has value.

      For example, it’s helpful to understand that offal, particularly liver, and: oysters, clams, mussels, are extremely nutrient dense and so rather than pop supplements, better to eat them sometimes. Eat them all al time? Of course not.

      Also, it’s not hard to make the argument that the plethora a white, bleached flour, enriched or not, as staple, is probably a nutritional problem, but perhaps not with the whole grains, which was the point of the post.

    • gabkad on August 8, 2015 at 12:18

      Hey Duckie, I was just thinking: since all flour in Canada MUST be fortified by law, wheat berries would be an option. They can’t fortify wheat berries. And they are lovely chewy things too.

    • Ian Groves on August 12, 2015 at 08:40

      As a staple, I think it’s clear that refined flour is a poor choice – but is a little so terribly bad for you? I’m thinking for dusting liver before frying, for example – maybe a couple or three times a month.
      Seeking out ‘odd’ flour replacements is not so simple unless we buy via the Internet.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 13, 2015 at 07:24


      Whole wheat shouldn’t be fortified anyway. There is a rule where they can’t fortify if the germ level is above a certain percent. Raw wheat berries probably aren’t so great on the digestive tract. There’s a reason why we ferment/cook wheat. :)


      The French do just fine on refined (unfortified) flour, but they tend to replace what is lost with other foods. For instance, chocolate (cacao) is a relatively good micronutrient substitute for what is lost during the refining process of wheat. Seems counterintuitive, but makes sense when you look more closely. A tablespoon of hemp seeds would probably have a similar result.

      In other words, a traditional baguette is not dangerous within the context of an otherwise micronutrient-rich diet.

    • ChocoTaco369 on August 21, 2015 at 17:26

      Since when did gluten become responsible for the Holocaust? It’s ridiculous to think that if you have a problem with wheat that it is automatically the gluten. There are thousands of chemicals that make up any food. Gluten is the new buzzword for Boogeyman. Lots of fear, not much evidence.

      Gluten can be more difficult to digest than various forms of animal protein, but the overwhelming majority of the population does not have issues with gluten. The percentage is so low it hovers somewhere around with shellfish allergy. Saying that gluten is bad because <1% of people cannot digest genetically modified strains of gluten well after suffering through an infancy fed nothing but Similac and other poisonous baby foods makes as much sense as saying shrimp is unhealthy because a very small percentage of the population has a shellfish allergy.

      My personal theory is that our horrible, low-nutrient childhoods full of Similac, crackers, McDonald's, Campbell's Soup and chicken fingers and french fries leads to these horrible intolerances since our bodies don't develop properly. That's why so many kids need braces and can't fit their wisdom teeth – long term malnourishment through development.

      The original John is an apologist douche.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2015 at 19:16

      I wholeheartedly agree with your personal theory. And, it’s not even new.

      Weston Price documented it in the 1920’s.

    • ChocoTaco369 on August 23, 2015 at 19:35

      Yep. I think a lot of these food intolerances we see today is due to malnutrition from inside the womb to adulthood, and the unhealthy bacteria we harbor in our guts from the food choices we make.

      I’m at that age now where lots of people are starting to have babies, and women use pregnancy as an excuse to eat junk food. After they spend 9 months on the couch poisoning themselves and their child, they spend the next 18 years poisoning them through fast food, takeout and frozen dinners.

      What’s that line on that song by The Offspring? Fat parents, they have fat kids, too?

  3. M.B. on August 4, 2015 at 14:18

    Any idea how a long fermentation of bread dough changes the vitamin content and affects our ability to digest gluten?

    • gabkad on August 8, 2015 at 12:22

      M.B. sourdough culture done right reduces gluten content because the bacteria break it down. There’s more B vitamins in properly made sourdough bread. Not sure about K2 but maybe. There’s K2 in sauerkraut and kefir. So possibly if the sourdough is permitted to ferment long enough, there ought to be some.

  4. Renaud on August 4, 2015 at 14:45

    Yep, in my opinion paleo got it wrong on grains, and similarily on dairy.

    That’s because paleo started as a great hypothesis, that led to some good results, and then got hijacked by marketers… and then get caught in the narrative “defining” paleo as “pre-neolithic food”… and anything after that as evil. To “prove” the cute story, some cherry-picked datas on so-called antinutrients, allergens, and so on (so funny: vegans prefered to cherry pick on the anti-cancer & anti-CVD properties of the same compounds). And (nearly) everybody paleo bought the non-sense.

    Paleo is a story that locked itself in its self justification hysteria.

    Paleo is not bad (lots of studies show positive and interesting effects), but were does the good comes from?
    Probably not from avoiding the Neolithic Agents of Evil per se!

    Locked in this anti-neolithic stance, paleo is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

    And how to define paleo if not by this anti-neolithic stance?
    And alternative definition would be very interesting to read, and of great interest to me.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 15:34


      That is a most excellent TL;DR.

    • LeonRover on August 5, 2015 at 03:19

      Heh, heh, Renaud.

      The fox has got among the pigeons, &/or into the henhouse.

      Once the cookbook & snack marketeers began, it had become a gimmick.

    • gabkad on August 8, 2015 at 12:24

      Leon, you mean Paleo Brownies? guffaw!

  5. Bioking on August 4, 2015 at 15:24

    I cannot believe someone asked you such a dumb fucking question as “what have you done for anyone else”. Have they seen your fucking website? It’s quality and attracts some even better comments (sorry but the commentary on this blog are amongst the best out there). You served in the armed forces (a charitable endeavour on your behalf in my mind). And best I can tell, you take pretty good care of your dogs and family. I also assume you’ve paid you fair share of taxes.

    Honestly, people that ask “that” question really fuck me off.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 15:47

      It’s very simple, Boinking.

      It was actually surgeon Dr. Dave Racette who asked me that, as though that’s his loaded gun he fires and reloads all the time.

      He doesn’t know about my 20-year stretch getting debtors out of debt without filing bankruptcy. It’s a weird thing, were you can not get recognition for a lifelong endeavor in finding your way by offering values to other people they pay for, unless it’s under the auspices of some form of institution or regulatory mechanism (not even considering that I do it better because all of that is runny shit to me).

      I haven’t written the guy off, yet, though. I have a very soft spot in my heart for people who can take a knife to others and make them better. Unlike him, I’m discriminating and far less dismissive.

  6. Alex on August 4, 2015 at 15:45

    M.B. says:
    August 4, 2015 at 14:18
    Any idea how a long fermentation of bread dough changes the vitamin content and affects our ability to digest gluten?

    I know it’s not precisely what you asked, but since it deals with fermentation, I’ve recently learned about no-knead bread dough, and I ferment it for 16 – 24 hours on the countertop, depending on my schedule.

    It tastes fantastic, but the interesting thing is that my blood sugar readings( I bought a meter when I began taking potato starch, per Richard’s recommendations) are consistently lower when eating this long fermented dough in flatbreads or pizza, then the commercial brands( frozen or delivery pizza).

    I’m not quite certain why, and your mileage may vary, but I’m thinking the yeast consumes a larger percentage of starch during those long fermentation periods.

    • M.B. on August 5, 2015 at 03:56

      You are right about “sourdough” being just flavoring now. Commercial yeast that is used now is fairly a new development – little more than hundred years. Before that all bread was made using wild yeast. If you are serious about making your own bread, you should read Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread. To get an idea, here are couple of links:


    • Richard Nikoley on August 4, 2015 at 17:39

      MB, should this work out for me I might invest in a komo grain mill, literally functional works of art.

      And yes, anxious to do not just yeast, but lactobacillus fermentation for the sourdough. Interstingly, I’ve found that the sour in true whole grain fermentation is way less pronounced than classic white bleacheched San Francisco sourdough.

      Is it true that most “sourdough” now is simply flavoring, not an actual ferment?

    • Alex on August 4, 2015 at 19:15

      Richard, if you want to try it, it’s an easy recipe.

      1000gms flour ( I weigh, but it’s 8 cups, I think)
      3 1/2 cups of water, 1 tbs salt, 1tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp instant yeast.

      Mix dry ingredients then add water. Stir to incorporate water into flour. Cover. You’re done.

      Just leave it on the counter for 12 – 24 hours. Put in in the refrigerator and tear off a chunk when you want some bread. Leave it on the counter for a couple of hours( I do 3 or 4 hours) to warm up. You’ll see it rise again as it warms up. Shape it into a flatbread if you want pizza, top it and toss it into a 450 – 500 degree oven and wait 10 minutes or so.

      I always make extra so I can have fresh bread daily, but you’ll find that the older the batch, the more pronounced the sourdoughy smell. It’s great bread.

    • Alex on August 4, 2015 at 19:20

      Sorry, one last thing. You don’t have to knead or work the dough at any time. In fact, you shouldn’t do it at all. Just stretch it gently and top it. You want to keep intact all those tiny air pockets which the yeast created. It will give you a light, crispy, bread. I plan on using a rolling pin on some dough just for a test of thin crust pizza, but I don’t expect it to be as good, texture wise.

    • Renaud on August 5, 2015 at 00:56

      I’m afraid it’s mostly true, even in France. Last time i have read a “pain complet au levain” label in a supermarket here, there was sourdough… but also yeast.

      For real artisan bread, it’s difficult to say: they offer no label, and can tell you whatever they think you want to hear.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 09:09

      I don’t know if this is true or not, but I was told by a baker that bakeries shouldn’t really even need to add (much) yeast to their doughs. Just by having the dough laying out in a bakery should inoculate it with a wide range of yeasts and microbes—they are apparently just flying through the air. And it’s not like the bakeries are sterile environments or anything.

      If you get your bread from a bakery, there is likely a wide range of microbes in the dough that are admittedly being crowded out by the addition of quick-rise yeasts.

    • Gemma on August 5, 2015 at 23:17

      My favourite article on breadmaking and wild yeasts:

      Foraging for Wild Yeast (1980)

    • Bret on August 7, 2015 at 22:31

      And it’s not like the bakeries are sterile environments or anything.

      Though they would be, if the FDA could have its way.

  7. Duck Dodgers on August 4, 2015 at 18:39

    Beyond the fact that seeds are balanced with the very micronutrients necessary to support the metabolisms found in both plants and animals, what’s rarely mentioned is that the phytochemicals in grains are actually believed to be a major factor behind their health-promoting qualities.

    Whole grains are a good source of unique phenols such as benzoic/cinnamic acids, anthocyanidins, quinones, flavanols, chalcones, flavanones, tocopherols, and amino phenols, that all have powerful antioxidant activities.

    For instance, it’s well known that oats are particularly healthy and have anti-diabetic properties. A good deal of the health-promoting effects of oats are believed to largely be from their unique phytochemicals, like avenanthramide and high levels of tocopherols.

    Nutritional and functional properties of oats: An update (2014)

    It’s not just the nutrient profile.

    * Before people start glugging oatmeal, I’ll just add that some people do have sensitivities to some of these phytochemicals—though this may be partially exacerbated by modern gut flora disruptions.

    • Renaud on August 5, 2015 at 00:48

      I like oats a lot, and i was surprised years ago to discover that they have a very good amino acid profile.

      Unlike most other cereal grains, they have a “complete” protein… and are very affordable: here (in France) i can get 1 Kg organic oatmeal for 2.6 €. That’s ~ 50g protein per euro!

      Sure, it may not be the best idea to get all your proteins from oat, but i found that fact very interesting.

    • FrenchFry on August 5, 2015 at 01:48

      Salut Renaud,

      Pareil, au p’tit dej en général, je mange des flocons d’avoine et du son d’avoine, avec de la faisselle, des myrtilles, des morceaux de pommes et un mix d’amandes et noix de cajou. Je saupoudre de graines de chia au dessus de tout ca. Quelques fois, je vais manger une tartine de pain (“artisanal”, à base de grand épeautre) et du beurre mais c’est plutôt rare. Et bien sûr, du café bien noir (“c’est noir, il n’y a plus d’espoir” … hehe).

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 07:40

      Breakfast…oat meal, oat bran, fresh cheese, blueberries, apple, almonds, cashews, chia seeds. Sometimes, the standard baguette with butter, but rare. Always very black coffee. :)

    • FrenchFry on August 5, 2015 at 08:57

      Not bad Richard, you may survive your immersion into french-speaking territories after all :D

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 09:56

      I did have to Google the oat bran, though.

      My breakfast this morning:

      – 50g Nature’s Path organic rolled oats with sugar, maple, and hazelnuts. Splash of raw whole milk on it.

      – 1/2″ slice of Sprouts Farmers Market “Seedsational” crusty bread with organic whole wheat flour, honey, sourdough culture, sunflower seeds, flax seed, poppy seed, sesame seed, pumpkin seed, millet and salt. Smeared with some organic peanut butter, and dipped in a cup of cold raw whole milk.

      – cafe bien noir aussi. :)

      – half of an American Spirit additive free ciggie. :)

    • Renaud on August 8, 2015 at 12:39

      Salut, et désolé FrenchFry, j’ai un peu raté ta réponse.

      Je pourrai bien manger comme toi le matin, sauf qu’en général je n’ai pas faim du tout à cette heure là. Je me limite donc à une grosse cafetière de kawa bien noir… sans sucre, bien sur (uniquement pour une question de goût).

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:19

      “Je me limite donc à une grosse cafetière de kawa bien noir… sans sucre, bien sur (uniquement pour une question de goût).”

      Ah, tu te “limite,” eh? Vivre les limitations!

    • Michele on August 24, 2015 at 04:33

      Salut Renaud, mais dèjeunes-tu plus tard? Ou t’attends le repas a midi? Moi non plus – je n’ai pas trop faim jusqu’a 9 ou 10 heures….

    • Renaud on August 24, 2015 at 04:50

      @michele : non, en général j’attends le prochain repas. Mais si j’avais la faim et l’envie vers 10h je mangerai peut-être un peu à ce moment là : je ne fais vraiment pas ça pour appliquer un principe ou une théorie quelconque ;-)
      En fait je crois qu’on se prend BEAUCOUP TROP la tête avec ce qu’il faut manger ou pas, à quelle heure, en quelle proportion, associé à quoi, sous quelle phase de la lune et selon quel groupe sanguin…

    • FrenchFry on August 24, 2015 at 06:46

      C’est bien vrai, trop de prise de tête. Dans mon cas, j’ai expérimenté pas mal avec les horaires des repas. Pendant très longtemps, je ne mangeais pas de p’tit-dej et parfois, je sautais même le déjeuner …

      J’ai lu des trucs concernant le rythme circadien et l’ingestion de nourriture, et comme je suis curieux, j’ai changé mes habitudes. Depuis je mange un p’tit-dej bien consistent tous les jours, vers 7h30-8h du mat. Je mange un p’tit peu vers 13h et me fais un repas normal vers 17h-18h (pas plus tard). Le week-end je mange un peu n’importe quand mais je continue à éviter le soir pour les grosses bouffes. C’est très bien comme ca et je pense que je vais garder ce rythme pour longtemps.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 24, 2015 at 07:46

      “En fait je crois qu’on se prend BEAUCOUP TROP la tête avec ce qu’il faut manger ou pas, à quelle heure, en quelle proportion, associé à quoi, sous quelle phase de la lune et selon quel groupe sanguin…”


    • Richard Nikoley on August 24, 2015 at 07:59

      Me too more and more, FF.

      I find that eating a little something pretty early, I do better all the day. French had it right all along. When I lived there, my typical was a cup of hot, unsweetened black tea and a third of a baguette with butter only.

      I must say that the enormous lunch really didn’t suit me so well. Made me pretty lethargic throughout the afternoon, often enough. Even still, I naturally lost weight down to where I had been six years earlier in college (~15 pounds), and maintained it the whole two years there.

      My breakfast is varried. Sometimes just a slice of whole grain with butter, or peanut butter, cup of coffee with h&h. Sometimes a little bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup. Sometimes a little bowl of some whole grain cereal by Kashi. Still other times, a soft-boiled egg or two with a slice of dry whole grain toast (no need for butter w soft boiled egg–the yolk is butter).

    • Michele on August 25, 2015 at 02:47

      Merci les gars….et vs avez raison…on réfléchit bcp trop…

      Richard, I also find I do better during the day when I eat something decent early. But, – and I have to play the female card here – I can’t seem to fast like you guys. On the one hand, it does my “ventre” good in terms of reducing bloat, concentration is better etc. but it seems to mess a little with my overall well being. And, I find it can make me binge later. Maybe I need another 2 rounds of Elixa. Who knows…

    • FrenchFry on August 25, 2015 at 03:34

      Salut Michele,

      Tu n’as pas forcément besoin de jeûner. Sauf que sauter un repas de temps en temps ne te fera certainement aucun mal. Mais c’est une question d’habitude que tu peux influencer avec le temps si tu en as vraiment envie mais en ce qui me concerne, je réserve maintenant le jeûne pour des occasions plus … disons spirituelles. Je vais me faire 3 jours d’un coup et ça se prépare, pas un truc à faire toutes les semaines!

      Ton besoin de manger plus que d’habitude après un jeûne est complètement normal. Le cerveau a bien compris que tu es en déficit calorique et va augmenter ton envie de manger. C’est très simple. Ce qui compte c’est que sur la durée, tu satisfasses ces besoins caloriques. Le cerveau fait en sorte que tu agisses en conséquence. C’est aussi pourquoi je dis souvent à mon entourage que pour éviter les épisodes boulimiques, il faut faire en sorte de garder de la nourriture qui n’est pas trop goûtue à la maison (genre patates, poix-chiches, etc, sans exhausteurs de goût – il est difficile de trop manger de ces aliments seuls …). Après un jeûne, si tu as par malheur des biscuits, du chocolat, et autres denrées alléchantes, tu sais d’avance le résultat … Ce n’est pas une question de volonté, on est fait comme ça.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 25, 2015 at 07:01

      Big news coming on Elixa soon. Stand by.

    • Michele on August 25, 2015 at 07:26

      Merci FrenchFry pour la reponse! Tu as raison – s’il y des cochonneries après un jeune…bon – c’est comme la scene dans le film “Chocolat” où le prêtre et trouvé dans la vitrine de la chocolaterie :-)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 25, 2015 at 12:01

      “s’il y des cochonneries…”

      You make me miss the French.

  8. Libby on August 4, 2015 at 19:39

    Hi Richard,

    Just a couple of thoughts:
    1. Weston Price determined that whole grains absolutely contributed to good health…as long as they were fresh.
    2. Our ancestors didn’t come across wheat fields of 1,000 acres of rapidly hybridized wheat. They encountered small stands of grains.
    Myself, I have a bonafied wheat allergy.

    • Supermi on August 5, 2015 at 19:04

      My wife had an allergy as well, got the nastiest and most itchy rashes in her neck that eventually spread up to her face.

      Even a tiny cross contamination would cause it.

      Well we made some changes. Her iron blood levels were sky high! yes we thought it could be it could be hemochromatosis.

      6 weeks after dumping the cast iron cookwear her iron levels are close to normal!!!

      Unrelated we went to a local pizzarea which imports all their flour and even the Buffalo mozzarella , yum… 3 weeks and 11 pizzas and tons of bread from that place later zero reaction!

      Could it be the variety of wheat? Or her iron levels or the mold we recently cleaned out of our apartment? Yes lol.

      We are headed to NYC she will have ramen, pizza and all sorts of domestic wheat, that should tell us if it is the wheat variant or other underlying but now rectified issues.

      Wishy hashimotoes and type 1 diabetes were so easy, fingers crossed for her!

  9. Libby on August 4, 2015 at 19:41

    What upi meant to say is that grains mat not be evil in and of themselves. But eating old, stored grains day in and day out, every single day… I think that’s the problem! Cheers!

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 09:22


      We aren’t entirely convinced that flour absolutely has to be freshly ground, but if you can find it that’s great. There is a study showing that Vitamin E, which is believed to go rancid quickly, can stay largely intact for year.

      Also, the Hunza were known to store ground flour in large chests. This should have caused rancidity and loss of vitamins for their whole wheat flour, but they did it anyhow.

      Of course, this makes sense since our ancestors could not harvest grains at all times of the year. It would be like suggesting that a squirrel only has to eat fresh acorns.

      In the modern world wheat bran is just a fraction of whole grain and many massed produced wheat flours are just white flour with wheat bran added (the rest of the grain is removed to avoid the rancidity and increase shelf life). So, the most important thing is to consume a true whole grain flour and not stress too much about the date of harvest.

      As to hybridization, we doubt that it matters as much as you’ve been led to believe. See my comment here for a more detailed explanation why the “modern wheat” hypothesis appears to be quite weak according to the scientific literature.

      And for a real world example, the French have no problems with their unfortified modern winter wheat. Yet according to FAOSTAT, they consume 40% more of it than Americans do.


  10. Jim on August 5, 2015 at 03:59


  11. rob on August 5, 2015 at 04:35

    I never got into the nutrient density. My problem wasn’t scurvy it was being fat.

    If I don’t get enough of a few nutrients so what?

    • John on August 5, 2015 at 06:30

      “If I don’t get enough of a few nutrients so what?” Well, so everything. Hunger isn’t just about calories or macros, it’s about vitamins and minerals as well. If you simply cut calories without any attention to quality or nutrient density, you could run into problems such as scurvy, or more likely, constant hunger. You could simply be swapping out one problem for another.

    • giskard on August 12, 2015 at 09:31

      “If I don’t get enough of a few nutrients so what?”

      So as per the “triage theory” insufficiency in a certain micronutrient will cause the body to prioritize its use for more urgent needs (life) and not have enough for more long-term uses (e.g. longevity, reproduction)


  12. Hemming on August 5, 2015 at 05:08

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your results. I’m also in the process of reintroducing grains (in the form you mention) after a long period of carbophobia and believing that anything that has touched will kill you.

  13. John on August 5, 2015 at 06:40

    One other thing I’d like to point out- the photo comparison of flours isn’t isocaloric. The carbs in the refined flours are 17, while whole grain is 73. That’s about 4.2 times as much. And, oddly, the selenium content of refined flours dwarfs that of whole wheat, which is nonexistent.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 10:44


      Still, there’s something wrong with the Mn column. Nothing on God’s green earth gives iron/manganese or copper/manganese ratios like that.

      You might try Open Office by Sun Microsystems for software. It’s open source and reads all MS Office spreadsheets, DB’s, doc’s, etc. Good graphs too, scalable as well.

      What’s wrong w/this for whole grain wheat? –

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 14:06

      Kyle, I’d agree there appears to be inconsistencies. On the graph I show, it’s about a 1-1 ration of iron to manganese (make sure you aren’t looking at magnesium).

      But, if I go to Nutrition Data, it’s more like 1-2 iron-manganese.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 17:42

      “in reality, it wouldn’t even sweeten an 1/8 of a pancake”

      Yep. But, maple syrup is nothing more than boiled down tree sap. Sugary tree saps are extremely rich in Mn and about 20 different phenolic compounds (all to help the tree with its own sugar metabolism) and there is a long history of indigenous cultures drinking tree saps. And of course the Native American Indians, who are extremely prone to diabetes in the modern world, were known to use it as a sweetener.

      Birch sap is another delicacy (just ask Tim Steele who taps his own) and the sap is also rich in Mn, phenolics and antioxidant compounds. Raw sap is best as it retains various enzymes, etc.

      1 glass of maple tree sap contains 30%DV of Mn and about 5g of carbs. When tree sap is boiled, maple sap forms Quebecol, a unique phenolic compound (discovered by Canadians, of course).

      *Not advocating for diabetics.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 19:03


      Here you go –

      Iron – 12mg
      Copper – 1.8mg

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 08:28

      Good catch, John. Should have paid closer attention. I used Fitday because it does nice graphs like that (open to other suggestions).

      What happened is that it defaults to 1 cup. For the former two, I changed them to one oz, but for the last, for some reason, it doesn’t take and you have to adjust the quantity again. So, not quite as dramatic in terms of quantity of nutrients, but proportionally the same, of course.

      In terms of missing nutrients, or less of some in the whole grain, that could be accounted for by enrichment in the 2nd graph, and also, while it was easy to get white wheat flour, unenriched and enriched, I could only find whole grain Triticale.


      If anyone has better data, shoot it up here and I’ll be happy to add it. The point, of course, is that whole grains are not really the same as “avoid grains” of the paleo narrative, which focuses on industrial grains where most of the natural balance of nutrition has been stripped away.

      So, I’m certainly open to the paleo argument that grains are bad or non-optimal to consume, but seems to me that you have to take on the real thing, not an ugly stepchild, right?

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 13:38

      “Nothing on God’s green earth gives iron/manganese or copper/manganese ratios like that.”

      Take a look at maple syrup… :)


    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 14:14


      OK, found the point of contention. The graphs are in % RDA (or Adequate Intake), not amounts. I figured something was up, because some of the nutrients are in different units of measure.

      I’ll see what I can do to fix things up.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 14:16

      LOL Duck,

      Alright, technically the way I wrote that, you’re correct. But looking at the difference in carbs, 216g MS vs. 73g for WGF, I don’t think you’ll find too many that would really want to try that. Looks like a good way to try to get diabetes.

      For the whole grain flour, if the value for Mn were 5.2mg instead of 52mg, it would fall into the accepted ranges I’ve been seeing. Wouldn’t that be reason enough to suspect a typo?

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 15:00

      Ok Richard. Thanks. I thought the extra scrutiny would pan out. Also, keep in mind that the info at the Nutrition Data site is derived from the US Govt’s. NAL database, so there’s good consistency in comparisons. Looking at their various listings for wheat flour – white, bleached, unbleached, enriched and unenriched are noted. So the whole grain wheat flour as they have listed should be exactly that, otherwise it would have been noted.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 15:23

      “I don’t think you’ll find too many that would really want to try that. Looks like a good way to try to get diabetes.”

      Nonsense. First of all, maple syrup may have anti-diabetic properties according to some papers. Secondly, nobody ever said to drink a cup of maple syrup. Switch the table to 1 Tablespoon and you’ll see that it’s only 13g of carbs and that one Tablespoon gets you %30 of your DV for Mn.

      If you’re worried about 13g-26g of carbohydrates, you’ve got bigger problems. :)

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 15:23

      “But, if I go to Nutrition Data, it’s more like 1-2 iron-manganese.”

      Something I picked up from my hemotologist’s head nurse upon remarking that I was looking for a good food to get copper w/o the iron. Immediate response from her, “Yeah well, good luck with that!” Meaning it doesn’t happen. Tie that in with a WAP article mentioning that zinc/copper ratios are higher in animal foods vs. plant foods where copper/zinc ratios are higher and you get an idea that the complexities and confounding factors make it difficult to find ready-made solutions. Yet there are general rules of thumb to go by, quant. of minerals used for carb metabolism vs. calories for instance. Include quant. of vitamins used for carb metabolism vs calories also. Low carb paleos throw out this connection entirely.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 15:30

      “I was looking for a good food to get copper w/o the iron”

      Kyle, nobody ever said to eat copper and not iron. The whole point of these posts is to promote whole foods that naturally come with the proper ratios of these micronutrients. It’s the selective removal and addition of micronutrients that gets you into trouble.

      The plants would not exist without these opposing balances of micronutrients—and quite frankly we wouldn’t either. Metabolisms are strikingly similar across a wide range of species, so all you need to do is just eat whole foods of a successful species to obtain that ideal balance of micronutrients.

      Theoretically I suppose you can obtain a balance of micronutrients from eating whole carcasses, but most omnivorous humans find it a bit of a challenge to swallow a carcass, and few people take the time to eat nose-to-tail.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 15:42

      Nonsense? Not entirely. MS would be a good adjunct for Mn sufficiency only with other Mn containing foods comprising a greater bulk of the diet. I think a 1/4 cup would be a more likely usage, say on pancakes. :) Yes, I do have bigger problems. It’s called diabetes. Also, every time I see ‘may’ in research I get chills.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 15:50

      Jesus Duck,

      No one ever said that that had been said. I was just relating something that came up in my doc’s office.

    • Amy on August 5, 2015 at 16:12

      Kyle said:
      “…looking for a good food to get copper w/o the iron.”

      Dark chocolate, from what I hear. 85%.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 16:19

      “No one ever said that that had been said.”

      Sorry, it’s just that you literally just said, “…upon remarking that I was looking for a good food to get copper w/o the iron”.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 16:26

      “Yes, I do have bigger problems. It’s called diabetes.”

      Sorry to hear that. I was mainly responding to your notion that maple syrup is a “good way to try to get diabetes.” I think a little dollop of maple syrup is just fine for most people.

    • Jed on August 5, 2015 at 16:52

      Agree. Using 1 tbs of maple syrup on any food, let alone pancakes, might work in a discussion of carbs, but in reality, it wouldn’t even sweeten an 1/8 of a pancake. 1/4 cup is much more realistic.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 16:59

      This isn’t leading up to some sort of weird food fight, is it?

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 17:18
    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 18:08

      “it doesn’t happen.”

      Yes, it does. It’s called food pairings and it was all over our big post on iron.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 19:59

      Y’all need to stop worrying about the iron in plant-based foods. Intestinal absorption is roughly 15-20% for heme iron and 1-8% for non-heme iron, when those foods are eaten alone.

      As you combine foods with iron absorption enhancers, or iron absorption inhibitors, the equation changes. Supposedly you won’t absorb more than 2mg of heme in one meal, making a single serving of meat alone rather safe.

      Non-heme absorption is poor but there is apparently no limit to the amount of non-heme you can absorb if eaten in large quantities and alongside absorption enhancers. (This is one possible way where fortification may cause issues).

      Eating meat or ascorbic acid (or HFCS) will significantly increase your absorption of non-heme iron. While eating polyphenols (found in chocolate/tea), dairy/calcium, eggs, phytates will decrease your absorption of non-heme iron.

      Therefore, it seems unlikely that chocolate alone promotes iron overload—particularly when we see that chocolate is believed to reverse the very conditions and diseases that iron overload may exacerbate.

      Let’s also keep in mind that Jeanne Calment—the oldest woman to ever live—consumed roughly 2 Lbs of chocolate per week. If chocolate promoted iron overload, she shouldn’t have lived to 122.

      I think chocolate is pretty safe. And I see no evidence otherwise.

      We never intended for this iron theory to make people scared of eating iron. And if you believed that iron is to be avoided at all costs, then you didn’t read very carefully. The point was basically to avoid iron absorption enhancers, and to not eat red meat at every single meal, if you were at risk for accumulating too much iron.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 20:08

      Oh, and chocolate has phytates, which ironically has made it a reluctant Paleo™ food. Even a small concentration of phytates will significantly inhibit iron absorption.

      You’d have to eat your chocolate with iron absorption enhancers like meat (yuk) or ascorbic acid to overcome that inhibition.

      Over time, the body appears to compensate for constant inhibitions by up-regulating absorption, to avoid anemia. But the point is that these inhibitory foods do not promote iron overload and are generally nothing to worry about.

    • Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 20:10

      “…it seems unlikely that chocolate alone promotes iron overload…”

      No one said it did.

    • Steven on August 5, 2015 at 21:53

      Richard did a post some time back about his in-laws and the foods they eat and being super healthy. Beans and such are a large part of the diet. So I sat down and had a serious think about food.

      If your grand parents do not recognize it as a food do not eat it. As in they did not have enriched breads. Additives, preservatives, colorings and nastiness in general.

      Please shut up about too much iron in naturally occurring food stuffs. Shut up about nutrient density. Shut up about too many carbs. Shut up about all of this pedantic nonsense. Figure out what your body can not handle go from there. I can’t do egg plant but I can do potatoes until the cows come home to roost. Some tomatoes and such as well.

      Go pick up a few traditional cook books written decades ago or by an authority from nowadays. Arabic food. Greek food. Italian food. Japanese food. Korean food. Thai food. Spanish food. Whatever just old world foods… Go talk to some old timers in little mom and pop diners/cafes. Gain the knowledge of the old timers before it is gone and then share the wisdom you gain. Pay attention to the food pairings they do. Cheese and berries anyone? Lamb shank boiled in a yogurt sauce? How about some bulger wheat in that salad of parsley?

      I just a dandelion salad. Simple old world food. Dandelion, finely chopped onion, little olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Bitter and sour and salty. I was craving it for a few days. My body told me so so I ate it… And frankly I do not want to know why I was craving something so bitter. I just did and I ate it and it was good.

      As far as a lack of nutrients from certain starches; oye. Think of the bugs that eat those starches. It is a nutrient dense food in the sense of what the little bad asses will make for you. In your gut.

      My parents are middle eastern and I have learned so much from my mom who has been cooking for 65 years. It is amazing how a little old lady from some 3rd world hell hole with almost no formal education knows more about diet and food than 99% of us (including me) commenters. I hang on every word she says now when it comes to food.

      And for all of that, Richard, I want to deeply thank you for a level of love and respect for my mom I gained from that one simple post about your in-laws.

      And most of all… SHUT UP AND EAT!!!

    • FrenchFry on August 6, 2015 at 02:52


  14. Charlie on August 5, 2015 at 08:33

    One of many interesting things in Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove was Gus’ sourdough biscuits. He kept his starter in a crock buried in the ground and went out every morning to pull off a chunk and made biscuits.

    Biscuits and bacon (lots of bacon) was their daily breakfast.

  15. Kyle on August 5, 2015 at 10:03


    From whence comes the data for the whole grain wheat flour as well as the source of the flour itself? 237 (mg?) manganese appears extraordinarily high.

  16. jaggor on August 5, 2015 at 11:29

    Richard, have you read the book Whole grains, empty promises by A. Colpo?

    After reading your arguments I still consider that whole grains are not necessary and may even be problematic in the long-term.

    However, the same scientific scrutinity used by Colpo to analyze whole grains and health, is the same that concluded that lowering iron stores is highly beneficial.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 14:01

      Personally, I thought this was a good/fair review of Colpo’s stance:

      Is the Whole Grain Science a Load of Crap?

      Basically he raises some very good points, but it’s not all that convincing. It requires ignoring a lot of real world examples (as well as a few billion people) to buy into his anti-grain stance.

    • v on August 5, 2015 at 14:54

      off topic- what is the advantage of having a group of commenters sign their name as duck dodgers? wouldn’t that mean that they would all have to agree on the comment before it was posted under the group name? if some duck dodgers commenters want to be anonymous, they can still be anonymous. some aren’t, like jane. a group name doesn’t make sense to me if they stand behind what they are posting.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 5, 2015 at 15:34

      I actually provided this info to Evelyn the other day. Basically, the history is that originally, Duck was one guy, or one guy with his own private collaborators I didn’t know about. It evolved into a collaborative effort that on & off is anywhere from maybe 3 at minimum to sometimes 5 or 6, and often some loose collaboration with people we go to to bounce stuff off, so it may be just one issue, maybe a bunch.

      Then original Duck drafts the post, everyone provides input to the draft, I get it ready to publish. Most comments are the original Duck himself. Sometimes, if it’s a complex reply, he’ll bounce off the team before posting.

      Also, some of the other collaborators sometimes post comments here & elsewhere.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 15:38

      I am one individual, but there is a group of people—who are far more intelligent than I—who bounce ideas off of each other and give their opinions on various matters. It’s a group effort.

      I do my best to aggregate their ideas and the concepts they introduce. Sometimes I do a good job. Sometimes I don’t.

      Btw, I’m also hoping to generally retire from all this in the next few weeks if I can help it. I feel as though we’ve all done our part here to question enough of the status quo to land at a just-eat-real-foods perspective that I’m fairly happy with and kind of excited about. From now on, I just hope to focus on eating and cooking good food. Recipes over research if I can help it.

    • Amy on August 5, 2015 at 16:19

      Please share the recipes. :-)

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 17:10

      Tonight’s dinner for two…

      – Blanch two good handfuls of green beans and set aside.
      – Husk three ears of corn and slice off the kernels.
      – Add 2 Tbsp of butter to a sauté pan set to medium heat.
      – And add the corn and heat for 1 minute.
      – Add a half cup of chicken broth and 1 Tbsp of fresh thyme to the corn and turn off the heat. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper.
      – Grill (or bake) up a fillet of salmon, brushed with a little olive oil.
      – Spoon the corn onto a plate. Top the corn with the green beans. Add a few slices of cherry and/or sun gold tomatoes and then place the salmon on top of the green beans.
      – Drizzle a little olive oil on top, and add a little more salt and pepper.

      Bon appétit!

    • Wilbur on August 5, 2015 at 17:29


      That dinner is something I’d love! I prefer my beggies as raw as possible, but some, such as corn and green beans, usually need a bit of heat. The only thing I’d do different is put some sliced red onion in with the corn. You made me decide that tomorrow I’m visiting the fish monger!

    • Duck Dodgers on August 5, 2015 at 18:12

      Enjoy! Can’t take the credit though. The dish comes from James Beard Award Winning chefs, Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier.

    • Tim Steele on August 5, 2015 at 21:30

      Hey, Duck – I can attest to the brain trust you have gathered. I wish I could be more active, but I have been quite busy lately. I do read every email and try to add to the discussion.

      On the topic of this blog post, I think the answer is: Paleo got it wrong with wheat, BUT, they hit a homerun by getting people to shun Wonder bread.

      A main reason ‘they’ say to avoid wheat is the zonulin that supposedly incorrectly signals the gut to become ‘leaky’. Unfortunate for that fact is that Lauric Acid does the same thing…and it’s found concentrated in coconut oil. So how does that work? lol

      I think that modern, fortified wheat flour is a “non-food” item. It has no redeeming qualities as fdar as I’m concerned. I have only slightly more love for modern, enriched white rice.

      I make it a game to get all of the bread I can when I eat in a restaurant, normal servings, I never say “hold the bread”. At the end of the meal, there is always a mound of bread on my plate. In a former life, it would have been in my bloated belly.

      Good job with all this!

    • Amy on August 6, 2015 at 11:43

      Yummerdoodles. :-) Thanks, Duck!

    • John on August 7, 2015 at 07:44

      Duck, I think characterizing Colpo as “anti-grain” simply isn’t accurate. In The Fat Loss Bible, he lists white rice, millet, and oats as acceptable foods (along with pseudo-grains buckwheat and quinoa). Compare that with the Perfect Health Diet, which only makes an exception for white rice. Colpo has also stated that he eats refined wheat products once or twice a week. Also, he lives in Australia, so iron fortification isn’t as big an issue, although iron fortified products do exist.

      No doubt that he has been very critical of whole grains. Hell, he wrote a whole book about that! His basic stance is that most health claims for whole grains are overblown, and not supported by the science. And when you look at the RCTs that compare whole and refined grains, keeping other dietary factors constant, refined grains are actually superior at improving mineral status in the body, likely due to the reduced phytate and insoluble fiber content. I haven’t seen any other health researcher recommend refined over whole grains, but then again, I haven’t seen any other health researcher actually cite the whole vs. refined grain RCTs, either.

      Even then, he admits that both purified IP6 and whole grains can be useful for the goal of iron reduction. Colpo praised Dr. Facchini’s success at iron reduction in a diet that included whole grains, even though it doesn’t line up with his dietary recommendations.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 09:28

      Interesting, John. I suppose he likes grains after all. :)

      Though, I’m still not sure why he’s obsessed with mineral status, but then goes ahead and publicly bashes someone with 30 years of experience studying how minerals interact in the body (i.e. Jane Karlsson, PhD). He just comes off as being angry and obtuse. I just prefer listening to someone who has a more open mind about these things.

      Plus, obtaining minerals from foods throughout the day isn’t exactly difficult to do. Just eat a few oysters or a piece of seaweed for chrissake.

    • Jane Karlsson on August 13, 2015 at 04:30

      Hey Tim,
      You remember when we talked some months ago, and you said if I wanted to write an article you’d publish it on your blog? I’m feeling I may have something brewing, dunno for sure yet. Would you publish it if I do, and could Richard publish it here as well, if he wants?

    • FrenchFry on August 13, 2015 at 04:51

      Hey Jane,

      What would that be about ? Very curious …

    • Jane Karlsson on August 13, 2015 at 06:32

      It would be a kind of addendum to what Duck is doing, with all the scientific details that I don’t want anyone except me to take the rap for if they’re wrong.

      Obesity and diabetes mainly, with bits about Alzheimer’s possibly. Dunno yet.

    • CoolBeans on August 13, 2015 at 09:26

      Jane — as I’ve happily opened up my diet, I keep getting frustrated at the few true “whole grain” options vs. fortified “multigrain” or standard refined grain products available just about EVERYWHERE…from Whole Foods to Dunkin’ Donuts to your mom and pop pizza place to any sandwich shop.

      I think this idea was floated about by Tim or someone before, but could we not put together some kind of succinct eye-grabbing form letter/petition to START contacting vendors (grocers, national food chains, the wheat & flour producers) everywhere about the potential perils of iron/synthetic vitamin fortification?

      I would envision links to the top anti-iron books and papers by MDs.

      Possible headlines:
      -Maybe Bread isn’t Bad…but Rust Is?
      -The Irony of Bread
      -Petition to remove rust from flour/wheat/bread
      -Eat like the French — Unfortified?
      -What if Iron is the Real Gluten?

      I would imagine that people would love to try unfortified real whole grain products to see if, in fact, their gluten sensitivity is really a chemical sensitivity. “Certified Unfortified” label, anyone?

      This has to start somewhere, somehow, some way.

      I’m collecting my thoughts, but I feel some pared down version of the “Iron Theory of Everything” that would be accessible to the decision makers at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Chipotle, and big chains might be the right approach. It would have more credibility if it was signed/kicked off by a team of MDs. I also picture bullet points covering:
      -fortification has not solved anemia
      -it instantly puts millions at risk (MTHFR/folic acid, thalassemia, hereditary hemochromatosis, etc.). And I think while iron could be the centerpiece, it should be in the context of all evolutionarily novel synthetic man-made fortification.

      What do you and others think? I cannot begin to thank you and the entire team enough for covering these topics and REALLY hanging in there in the comments, addressing the tough questions. Keep up the good work!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 13, 2015 at 09:34

      It’s a great idea, CB, but I’d caution against relying on the posts and comments here, as many may not care to be associated with the other shit stirring on here.

      So, best it be an “original” paper, which is to say, use anything in posts or comments, but without reference to the source.

    • CoolBeans on August 13, 2015 at 09:47

      Thanks, Richard. I completely agree — the paper ought to stand on its own and be signed by as many credible MDs as possible. That it was conceived of here is of no consequence, in my opinion, it just has to be delivered in its final form by someone reputable and willing to stick their name on it, I guess. That can be determined as time goes on.

      I’ll lend my editing/marketing eye if anyone with real credentials and technical knowledge wants to take a stab at a draft.

      I referenced paring down the “Iron Theory of Everything” post as a starting point. Certainly, the aim and intent is a big tent kind of movement, as non-controversial and straightforward a plea to “give us unfortified options, ’cause, hey, look at all these books, all these MDs, all this scientific literature, and all this opportunity for you to innovate and sell stuff.” And oh yeah, consumers “start demanding this stuff, start using some of our form letters, start sending them to your legislators, grocers, chain restaurants, mom and pop stores.”

      There’s a lot of built-in emotion with trying to add a few extra years to your dad’s life (compared to your bleeding mother’s). Ditto when you’re talking about fending off dementia/alzheimer’s.

      Big Tent stuff, I say. Let’s not wait! :)

    • John on August 13, 2015 at 10:31

      I also really like the idea and most of the titles, although “What if Iron is the Real Gluten?” is my favorite.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 13, 2015 at 11:04

      CB, I’ve been thinking along the same lines for awhile actually. In the meantime, I think the best way to get the ball rolling is for more people to do and report n=1s with unfortified wheat. If enough people have good results, I think the idea will pick up steam on its own.

      Incidentally, James Beard Award-winning chef, Dan Barber, figured this all out from a flavor standpoint and is advocating change in growing real wheat. He ridicules the idea of chefs sourcing the best ingredients from all over the world, while not giving their flour any thought whatsoever.

      Barber argues that the biggest problem with modern wheat is that it has no flavor. It’s a very interesting lecture that gives a history into how modern flour became devoid of nutrition and taste. He argues that we’ve “lost the taste of wheat.”

      Dan Barber at MAD2: The Taste of Wheat

      In the Netflix Original Series, Chef’s Table, a documentary-style episode shows his restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns serving the new breed of wheat he challenged a breeder to naturally develop (by cross-pollination) for both nutrition and taste—and diners appear to be blown away by it. He believes we can do better than the ancestral varieties if enough people demanded it.

      In another article, I saw he was quoted as saying that if farmers from 200 years ago could see us now, they would wonder why we are going back to ancestral varieties, when we have the abilities to improve upon those ancestral varieties with natural farming techniques.

      Anyhow, the point is that the tide is already turning, albeit slowly. And people experimenting with unfortified wheat, and reporting their results, is a good place to start such a grass-roots movement (pun intended).

    • Duck Dodgers on August 13, 2015 at 11:38

      Where it gets interesting is that in 1892, when the United States was experiencing it’s infamous “dyspepsia”—which was a sort of national stomach ache from the changing diet—Erastus Wiman wrote an open letter in The North American Review trying to advocate going back to promoting real, old-fashioned, whole wheat to solve the growing dyspepsia and health problems in the new modern world. White bread was known to make people constipated, due to lack of fiber in the diet. But people liked the taste of white flour and liked the idea of it being free of impurities—particularly when industrial bakers were known to add impurities to their flour (powders, fillers, etc).

      The Flour of the Future, by Erastus Wiman (1892)

      In civilized Germany, the man who should venture to adulterate or even dilute beer goes to prison, followed by disgrace and the imprecations of his fellow citizens. The man who should take it into his head to adulterate bread might do so with impunity, as long as he avoids introducing poisonous substances.

      The demand has been made for white bread ; fashion calls for it ; the millers have complied. Mechanical skill has come to their assistance, and every part of the wheat which would tend to darken the flour is being removed with a precision and thoroughness which are simply wonderful. But does this tend to make the bread better? Does it give the workingman a greater return for his hard-earned loaf? Does this refined milling process give to the convalescing invalid, to the growing child, more strength and nutriment than did the old-fashioned dark bread? The answer to the fore going questions is decidedly in the negative. Indeed, on the other hand, it is impossible to estimate the injury done by the elimination of the most valuable constituents of the grain. A prominent English physician, when discussing this question, has recently said:

      “Wheat and water contain all the elements necessary for man, and for the hard working man, too. Where is the man that can exist on our present white bread and water? There is an old joke about doctors being in league with undertakers; it would rather appear as if the millers and bakers were in the doctors’ pay, as if, were it not for them, and for the white bread they are so zealous in producing, the doctors would have less to do. Separating the bran from the flour became fashionable at the beginning of the present century. This fashion created the dental profession, which, with its large manufacturing industries, has grown up within the last two generations. It has reached its present magnitude only because our food is systematically deprived of lime, of salts and phosphoric acid, the creators of nerve bone, and tissue, which especially are so signally absent from our modern white bread.”

      What we need is a reversal of the opinion which demands a white, starchy flour…

      Notice the reference to white flour being considered responsible for dental problems?

      In other words, when modern health issues first began to rise during the Industrial Revolution, some people believed that modern refining was the main problem. They knew it couldn’t be the wheat itself, per se, because wheat had sustained civilization up until that point.

      Fortification was seen as the solution to the problem that Wiman discussed in that paper. The idea was to keep selling white bread but replace what was lost. Except that just made the problem worse.

      The entire manifestation of our modern health issues is all documented right in the historical texts. It’s just all been forgotten.

      But, Wiman was ridiculed by those who were trying to advance milling practices to make flour as pure and denuded as possible.

    • art j on August 13, 2015 at 17:57

      Does anyone know if food labeling in the U.S. requires producers to specify if iron has been added to flour or other food products? In other words, if the label does not say fortified, enriched, ferrous sulfate or something similar can you assume there is no added iron?

    • FrenchFry on August 14, 2015 at 03:04

      I just read this old article. Very interesting! At some point, he mentions whole wheat meal used in the UK by a growing number of bakers and makes a quick comparison with graham’s wheat flour, which is supposed to restore the whole wheat nutrition in flour but is a coarse product and can irritate the digestive tract … I sometimes use graham’s flour and never felt any issue really, but again, we are 123 years later :D

    • Jane Karlsson on August 14, 2015 at 06:24

      CoolBeans, the very best of luck. I will not be involved, because I’ve already tried something similar (writing innumerable letters to people in authority) and I got absolutely nowhere.

    • CoolBeans on August 14, 2015 at 07:08

      I REALLY hope you don’t (completely) “retire”. It’s truly refreshing to hear a credible post-paleo MD mind destroy the fear-mongering PaleoTM narrative that has needlessly deprived taste buds and gut bugs everywhere. I appreciate the love of and melding of history of science in your posts. AND the appropriate snark at times. ;) Its actually quite fascinating to see others expressing a fear I have shared over fucking bread. Amazing, how am idea can spread. Cheers to the Neolithic!

    • CoolBeans on August 14, 2015 at 07:18

      Would you mind sharing some of these letters? I don’t mind trying to lobby. Would also help when discussing therapeutic phlebotomy options w progressive functional doc I hope to find. I’ll give credit where credit is due if I end up using any material. Perhaps you can email me (assuming Richard can give you my email) to discuss offline?

    • Jane Karlsson on August 14, 2015 at 07:35

      I will try to find the letters. But I have far too much on my plate already, and I cannot spare any time for your project.

      BTW I’m a PhD, not an MD.

    • CoolBeans on August 14, 2015 at 08:02

      Understood. At your leisure.

      Thanks for clarifying your status, Jane. I was under the impression that one or more on the Duck Dodgers team had and MD status, and may have errantly attributed that to you. My apologies. Doesn’t matter to me, personally, only the veracity of the data and conclusions. But I was thinking in terms of political lobbying.

      Anyways, I appreciate that you have a life outside this blog and thank you for everything you’ve contributed thus far.

      If you do dig up any of those papers and care to share (even key excerpts), it would be greatly appreciated, but I do not have any expectation that you want to be involved in the lobbying game, I hear you loud and clear! :)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 14, 2015 at 08:28


      Have passed your email onto Jane with a copy to Duck.

      Best wishes.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 14, 2015 at 09:17

      “Does anyone know if food labeling in the U.S. requires producers to specify if iron has been added to flour or other food products? In other words, if the label does not say fortified, enriched, ferrous sulfate or something similar can you assume there is no added iron?”

      If an ingredient is GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) then by law I believe it does not need to be listed on the product label. I believe it is revealed voluntarily. Most people think they need more iron, so you do sometimes see it displayed rather prominently.

      But, I think one needs to look at the entire label for clues. If you you see a decent level of calcium, folic acid, thiamin and/or niacin listed in what should otherwise be a rather nutrition-less refined product, that’s a clue that something might be fortified. If you see the words “reduced iron” that means they are using a highly bioavailable form of iron.

      It can be quite confusing. For instance, when McVitie’s digestive biscuits are imported to the US from the UK, they list “0% iron” on the US nutrition label. But, if you read the ingredients closely, it says: “Wheat Flour, Sunflower Oil, Whole Wheat Flour, Sugar… Reduced Iron, Nicotinamide, Thiamin Hydrochloride.”

      So, there’s an example where the infographic does not match up with the ingredients. This leads me to believe that these nutrition labels are just a formality and a rough estimation based on the generic product that is being sold. I think it may be up to the individual company to decide how forthcoming they want to be with GRAS ingredients.

    • CoolBeans on August 14, 2015 at 10:34

      Thanks, Richard!

    • Jane Karlsson on August 15, 2015 at 03:26

      I have looked for the letters and can’t find them. Sorry. But actually they were written about 20 years ago and wouldn’t be of any use now.

      I have a problem, which is this. If I am involved in any kind of campaign, I will lose credibility in the scientific community. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Many of my scientist friends have drug company funding. I have to tread very carefully.

  17. FrenchFry on August 6, 2015 at 02:24


    It occurred to me that you are slowly drifting toward embracing the medieval peasant diet:

    and look at this one (rich vs poor) :


    I was browsing the potato hack diet thread on the MDA forums and saw those links posted by a poster. After browsing them, it reminded me of Richard’s diet progression …

    • Duck Dodgers on August 6, 2015 at 07:12

      Yes, I had a similar thought, FrenchFry. And, as we will explore in the future, our medieval ancestors practiced a significant amount of bloodletting too. :)

    • Duck Dodgers on August 6, 2015 at 07:49

      I’ve also been thinking about GTR’s “survival of the richest” post where he mentions how Prof. Gregory Clark shows that 90% of English at the eve of the industrial revolution are descendants of 10% of the rich at the early Middle Ages. If I read GTR’s post correctly, he implies that we might think of eating like rich people because of this particular English statistic. However, I’m not sure if I buy into that.

      I have in-laws who can trace their ancestry to Charlemagne and various European kings as well Dukes, Duchesses, Knights and Lords. Me, I come from pure European peasantry. But I don’t think those royal lineages make much of a difference because A) we are only talking of about 30 or so generations of highly diluted wealth and B) because the overwhelming majority of their “royal/rich” family trees are still mainly composed of peasantry that married into these families.

      See, the thing is that every generation you go back, the number of your ancestors double. So, you have 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, 32 great great grandparents, 64 great great great grandparents. Unfortunately, the math gets a little wonky if you go back 40 generations because that would be 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776 ancestors—but the world population back then was only 200 to 300 million and that doesn’t even take the smaller population of regions into consideration. So, the inbreeding takes care of the overlap.

      Anyway, even if people are descendants of Charlemagne and various forms of royalty, it I think hardly matters after generations of dilution with the sheer majority peasantry who married into these downwardly mobile families.

      And as I understand it, Gregory Clark’s work completely acknowledges this vast gene dilution…

      The Telegraph Industrial Revolution: Survival of the richest, not the fittest

      “The more abundant children of the rich had to slide down the social hierarchy to find work, bringing with them bourgeois values. Consequently, today’s population is largely descended from the economic upper classes of the Middle Ages.

      The downwardly mobile had a radically different outlook from the poor, who were more attuned to the outlook of the early agriculturalists, whom Prof Clark regards not as noble savages but “impulsive, violent, innumerate, illiterate and lazy”.”

      They are technically “downwardly mobile” but the wealthy genes (if they even exist) are extraordinarily diluted.

      So, I never quite understood how GTR made the leap from “I have royalty in my family tree” to “therefore I should eat like the rich.” But, I have a ton of respect for GTR so wouldn’t mind hearing his thoughts over a bowl of porridge. :)

    • Richard Nikoley on August 6, 2015 at 08:14

      Thing is, we can get the best of both worlds.

      Shmear of pate or dollop of caviar on a crusty whole grain slice of peasant bread, anyone?

    • Steven on August 6, 2015 at 11:03

      So in chatting with the bird (mom’s nickname) about her childhood she told me a story of when she nearly died because of a fever.

      Again, remember she grew up in a place at a time with no electricity or running water as a very young child. Washing clothes by the river and such were daily tasks for her. But I digress. Back to fever.

      The doctor called in did some blood letting on her and she swears that within hours the fever broke and the next day she was back to normal. And that was common back then.

      That crazy old lady is a wealth of old world knowledge.

    • Steven on August 6, 2015 at 11:10

      “Pease Porridge Hot”
      Chew the fat
      Stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum
      Little Miss Muffet

      So many old nursery rhymes and sayings all either about food or include food. An interesting study.

    • FrenchFry on August 6, 2015 at 12:03

      I think I have read enough here that motivates me to start donating blood. Thanks for reminding me of something I had been thinking about a few years ago but had forgotten!

    • GTR on August 7, 2015 at 04:22

      It’s just that almost everybody makes this mistake – archeologists dig some artifacts, and claim “this is how our ancestors did stuff”. Before such thing it should be established if these came from people who were ancestors to anybody.

      This even includes pre-historic times: good hunters leaving more surviving offspring than bad hunters. So most likely human ancestry is: 1) a string of good hunters, 2) rich peasant or traders 3) then eventually some downward movement like a rich person spliting his wealth among too many descendants, or war bands taking someone’s wealth.

      I’ve read Gregory Clark before a John McDougall, and it made McDougall sound like a joke – he has a chapter about what a real ancestral diet looked like, in which he tells about some ancient civilizations, in which poor people living on starch had no obesity and few degenerational dieseases, while rich ate meat and were obese, with arthritis and so on. And since the poor were majority – then the ancestral diet was starch based. The problem there is that since more people came from the rich, then it means that its those obese, arthretic ones with degenerational dieseases (if McDougall tells the truth) who we come from.

      Then he goes on with sentences like “All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch.”. That is a pure manipulation of the readers – based on the fact, that starch eaters started “having history”, and writing earlier, than non starch eaters, and they formed larger populations. Eg. at the time of the dawn of ancient civilizations Europeans were milk drinking nomads (eg. Yamnya Culture).

      So it’s not as much as an encouragment of eating like rich from the past, but understanding where to properly find ancestors in the past times. If someone wants ancestral diet – he can’t just look at typical, average people of the past for his diet, but rather at the wealthier part of this past society.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 04:45

      I would just point out that at any point in time, the rich were the minority. So the poor always reproduced more, regardless of their diet. We may descend from the rich, but even today, you can see that the poor are the majority (sorry to make such an easy statement) and their diet are starch based. So to me, all this is rather meaningless :)

      By the way, I can’t care less for what a guy like McD says. I just eat like my grand-(grand)-parents, who were quite healthy and lived long.

    • gabkad on August 8, 2015 at 14:18

      GTR, the bubonic plague didn’t care if it’s victims were rich or poor. It was after the plagues, I think, which winnowed out the population and resulted in better nutrition for the survivors through having less labourers and more pasturage. Even then, there were those who starved since 2/3 of the time European agriculture did not produce enough to feed everyone.

      Then of course there were all these damn wars. The Hundred years and whatever etc. Then WW1 and WW2. WW1 resulted in the deaths of an inordinate number of ‘upper class British men’. Probably likewise for the European contingents as well. It entirely destabilized the lives of the wealthy upper classes and like with the Bubonic plagues, gave huge bargaining power to the workers.

      So, I don’t know. It’s complicated.

    • GTR on August 9, 2015 at 12:04

      @FrenchFry – according to Gregory Clark poor had ~1,7 surviving offspring/parents, that’s below replacement, meaning they were going extinct. Rich were above replacement rates, with the richest almost doubling their population with each generation.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 9, 2015 at 16:56

      GTR, I’m not a financial genius, but I’m pretty sure, by definition, that not everyone can be “rich”. If the rich double in size after 1 generation, that doesn’t make 50% more people richer. It’s just a dilution of wealth—unless substantial economic gains come with it. Yes, the English were seeing substantial gains in their empire, but does Gregory Clark’s hypothesis apply outside of England? My understanding was that the figures in his hypothesis was only about England.

      Help me understand it if I got that wrong.

      I’m just imagining that the “rich” constituted maybe 1% of the population or, I dunno, 10% of the population? Even if 90% of England was below replacement, we are still talking about enormous dilution without enormous gains in the economic center.

      Also, even in genetics term, it just takes 1 marriage to a single commoner to dilute “rich” genes by 50%. Every generation of marriage to a commoner across an entire family tree where ancestors double with each generation translates to substantial genetic dilution.

      I’ve done a fair amount of amateur genealogy research and from conversation with others—as well as the ancestry of my own extended family—I was under the impression that if someone has royal lineage in their family tree, it’s maybe one or two royal lines out of thousands within a single pedigree.

    • FrenchFry on August 10, 2015 at 01:17

      I don’t think that to descend from “the rich” makes much sense anyway. The rich have the same genes as the poor, we are one species. And the dilution DD is alluding to makes the “rich genes” a very moot point. What matters to me, a layperson in these matters to be sure, is that humanity is still standing and has grown to enormous proportions, roughly proportional to our ability to transform things, i.e. access to and use of energy. Legumes and grains helped in this for sure.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 10, 2015 at 08:32

      In terms of debunking, it wasn’t hard to find a lot of criticism of Clark, including this review that was published in the Journal of Economic Literature:

      A Review of Gregory Clark’s
      A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World

      Fairly scathing. I dug a little further and it turns out a lot of people don’t agree with Clark. So, if his hypothesis is considered weak in terms of economic/personality values, I have a feeling it’s probably just as weak in terms of metabolism inheritance.

      In terms of criticizing the personality traits that Clark hypothesizes on:

      From: A Review of Gregory Clark’s
      A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World

      “The problem with either genetics or socialization is that heritability is so low by either channel that Clark’s mechanism could not spread middle class values through English society. Loehlin (2005) found that the intergenerational correlation of personality traits was only 0.13. If we ignore issues related to assortative mating on the grounds that English society was as “fluid” as Clark contends, then the correlation in personality traits between a man and his grand son would be only 0.017 = (.13)^2. Locating personality in the genes would also imply low transmission (Feldman, Otto, and Christiansen 2000; Bowles and Gintis 2002; Bowles 2007).”

      Inheriting a rich food metabolism isn’t even a “thing” as far as I know. :)

  18. GTR on August 6, 2015 at 12:59

    Grains might be not the biggest problems of Paleo diet. In his book about the Paleo diet Loren Cordain acknowledged that this diet is not proven for people over 60. If modern theories of aging being programmed into our genes in order to get rid of us quickly turn out to be true, then Paleo and similar diets (including PHD especially) might on the wrong side of the aging equation. Partially saved by stressful excercise regimens and IF usually associated with such diets.

    The theories say that we basically have time-bombs in our genes. That worsen our state and finally eliminate us “artificially” – unnecessairly from the individual’s perspective, that is even if there’s no wear-and-tear or injuries that make a particular individual unable to function. It’s just a ruthless program that starts running. In case of humans it’s a program for a slow decline. In other species the program of elimination is more obvious.

    “After laying her eggs, the female octopus stops eating and slowly starves to death. Lest anyone doubt this is an example of
    programmed death, the locus of the program
    has been discovered in the animal’s “optic gland”. This organ can be surgically emoved,
    after which the animal no longer knows she is
    supposed to starve herself; hence she survives
    to breed another season.”

    Aging program in the genes is specific to species. Human aging is a program of slow worsening of health. Some animals have no much aging – that is tissues from young don’t differ that much from the tissues of old (they can still worsen from wearing out or accumulation of injuries, but not from programmed aging).


    The plus of the aging program is an accelerated evolution. Genes with aging win, because they are changing faster.


    But it is not necessairly good for the civilization – you have people with education and experience whose health starts to decline thus decreasing efficiency, causing excessive expanse on healthcare, and a need for pensions.

    The usual conclusion from programmed aging theory is that natural is not good – in fact nature wants to worsen our state with time, and then prematurely get rid of us. Diets and lifestyles based on assumptions of emulating nature have this fatal flaw inherited in them. The solution to degeneration from aging would more likely be artificial, non-natural.

    • GTR on August 7, 2015 at 02:06

      The lognest living mammal is bowhead whale, suspected of living up to around 200 years:

      This is also one of the “neglible senescence” species – that is its parameters don’t get much worse with time time (this is excluding injuries etc.).


      Humans are quite bad at senescence, that is although longevity is reasonable, the parameters of human drop considerably with time. And this is unnecessary from the point of view of the mechanics of the organism – it could easily provide for good parameters into the old age. Organism could make more hyaluronic acid to prevent wrinkles, or produce some telomerase to lenghten telomeres, or regenerate thymus to allow immune system to continue to train immune system there.
      Programmed theory of aging implies that to stop this unnecessary aging there need to be some non-natural, artificial intervention – supplements, drugs, lifestyle changes. Emulating natural, is a wrong path, leading to the trap of the aging program.

    • David on August 6, 2015 at 23:21

      I just saw this old post on the PHD website from Paul on this topic-
      “In humans evolution does care about ages 50-70. Maximum lifespan of chimps and gorillas is 50-60, but in humans it is 120. We are the longest lived of mammals and have clearly been selected for longevity long past reproductive years. That proves evolution does care about grandparents.
      As our book discusses, lipid peroxidation in mitochondria appears to be a major factor shortening lifespans, so are cellular energy excess and micronutrient deficiencies, and our diet minimizes all three factors, so it looks like PHD should be a longevity-maximizing diet. That’s supported by the supercentenarian stories at the end of the book – all supercentenarians seem to eat PHD-like diets. “

  19. sassysquatch on August 6, 2015 at 03:54

    I’ve heard ‘raw milk’ mentioned a few times in these posts. An advantage to living in California. Not so easy to get in most states. I settle for non-homogenized ‘Grassmilk’ or ‘Kalona Supernatural’.

    • Bret on August 8, 2015 at 08:40

      “Not so easy to get in most states.”

      So true, especially in Arizona, where there is hardly any grass and therefore hardly any raw milk I would be willing to consume, even if it did exist for sale. Ah well.

    • John on August 8, 2015 at 10:55

      Raw milk can be purchased fairly easily in Arizona. I know, cause I brought some at Sprouts when I went for a visit last year.

    • Bret on August 8, 2015 at 19:40

      I’ll check it out. Never been a Sprouts guy. Was it grass fed? I’m not too excited about raw milk unless it’s from a grass fed cow.

  20. Gemma on August 6, 2015 at 14:01


    super interesting, but why do you believe it is written in our genes? Why is everybody focused on GENES?

    • GTR on August 7, 2015 at 01:45

      The first aging genes have been identified as far back as 2008. Notice experiments included trying “wear and tear” to age animals, but it failed, but when the aging genes were disactivated it resulted in anti-aging.


      “To see whether damage accumulation ultimately affected these transcription factors, the scientists exposed worms to oxidative stress, infection and radiation, but nothing affected the factors’ expression. The changes “seem to be intrinsic to the genome of the worm,” Kim says—not brought on by outside influences. In addition, when the researchers stopped the expression of ELT-5 and ELT-6, which typically become more active in old age, the worms lived 50 percent longer. “I was totally surprised,” Kim remarks.”

      Secondly – Telomeres, though not being genes themselves, are a part of a genetic system, and they are one of the clocks of aging.

      In addition to aging time-bomb, there’s a second bomb in the human genome – cancer. Unlike aging which is for the benefit of the genes (faster evolution), acocrding to the newest theories this is just a side effect of the way evolution worked when going from simple organisms, simple body blans, cells rapidly dividing – to complex body plans, cells not dividing outside of control etc. It was done by keeping the old genes, but disactivating them by surpressor genes. As such cancer is suspected to be atavism – when the surpressor genes stop working due to mutations etc. – old genes for things like multiplying without limits, or for simple, low-differentiation structures start working.


      So it’s not like nature is good for us at old ages – there are two big bombs in the genes. One is an accident – cancer, but the other looks “intentional”, as if nature wanted to get rid of us too early as compared to what the organism can withstand, by including artificial damage program.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 02:23

      Interesting thoughts …

    • GTR on August 9, 2015 at 12:01

      Since “debunking” part seems to be obligatory on this blog, here’s the debunking of the cancer theory that I’ve linked to:


      Both don’t actually dispute the fact that there are boms in the genes, just the origin of it (stayed there from old times vs. the genetic machine being prone to problems).

      Couldn’t yet find a good debunking of programmed aging theory.

  21. Skateman on August 6, 2015 at 15:17

    I’ve never posted here before, but I’ve been a lurker for a little while and was greatly interested in your iron hypothesis. I really think you’re on to something there, and it has definitely caused me to modify my diet somewhat – particularly pairing my meats with dairy. I also make sure to eat a lot of gelatin to offset the methionine in my relatively protein heavy diet (I lift a lot of weights). I’m too lazy to make bone broths, though, so I go the Great Lakes gelatin route. That said, I think you’ve gone off the rails a bit with your embracing of grains. I can tell you from personal experience that my lipid profile (and those of others I know) improved ridiculously when I gave up all grains, including oatmeal. Triglycerides dropped well below 100, HDL rose to over 70 and LDL levels stayed in the low 100s. The results were replicated with many people I know who thought they were eating a healthy diet – e.g., oatmeal in the morning, turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread for lunch, and meat and vegetables for dinner. By switching the oatmeal for eggs and eliminating the bread for lunch (Still have meat with salad), their lipid profiles improved just like mine. I would also note that they all lost 10-15 pounds and have kept the weight off.

    The medieval peasant diet is not something you want to replicate. From the paleolithic to the neolithic age humans shrunk half a foot and their teeth started falling out (not just English royalty). While positive for civilization due to specialization of work (and diseases from domesticated animals that wiped out unprotected and competing hunter/gatherer societies) farming and the resultant consumption of grains for most calories was an absolute disaster for human health.

    For an animal to be healthy it should generally do what it was meant to do, from an evolutionary perspective (e.g. your back will hurt less if you sit on the ground rather than a chair most of the time). This is really all you need to know. Did humans eat some grains throughout the evolutionary process? Certainly. But grains didn’t comprise much of their total caloric intake. At that time animals were ridiculously plentiful. The average paleolithic man in Europe was something like 5′ 10″ 170. With moderate exercise that suggests almost 3,000 calories a day of consumption. They would have had to eat a lot of meat, and fatty meat at that, to accomplish that given that fruits and vegetables (in that sort of caloric density) typically aren’t as consistently plentiful.

    I’ll be interested to read how your experiment goes. I suspect that you’ll see your various health markers deteriorate if you start eating grains again in any significant quantity, even those you perceive as healthy.

    Concerning the idea above that paleolithic man wasn’t meant to live past a certain age, that’s ridiculous. In hunter gatherer society elderly women still contributed massively to food production through gathering well into their 70s and beyond. If they didn’t have value, we wouldn’t have evolved to go through menopause. Elderly males would have been important for wisdom regarding war, politics, hunting, etc. I suspect their fitness was such that they would have been able to fight and hunt into their 70s as well.

    You do good work and I greatly respect the research you guys have done. But you’re now falling into the same trap that the scientists have over the past 50 years – you think you can understand the human body, deterministically, to figure out exactly what’s happening when we eat different things and why. You can’t. It’s too complicated. Stick with the evolutionary heuristic. Zoos are even doing it with their animals now with terrific results.

    I know this is a long post but I have one final thought. You site the Blue Zone cultures as evidence that grains are O.K. First, I would note that the Hunza may not be a great example as their longevity may have been greatly exaggerated. But putting the Hunza aside, I think the answer to the riddle is methionine. What the calorie restriction studies showed us was that lowering protein increases life span – but these same life extension benefits can be achieved through increased glycine. Why? Who the hell knows? But we can look at the evolutionary heuristic for guidance – animals and paleolithic man ate the whole animal, not just muscle meat. You can potentially live a long time by eating little protein. But you’ll be skinny and weak. If you eat that way growing up you’ll be short, too. I suspect you’ll still suffer many of the diseases of civilization as well, just at lower rates. That’s great. But I think it would be even better to try to completely sidestep the diseases of civilization by not eating what my species didn’t evolve to eat and also eating lots of protein (to grow tall and maintain muscle mass when older) offset by gelatin. That, I think, is the true promise of the paleo diet.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 6, 2015 at 18:10

      “From the paleolithic to the neolithic age humans shrunk half a foot and their teeth started falling out (not just English royalty).”

      The idea that grains are not a good food for humans comes from the study of ancient skeletons. The bones of early farmers were found to have lesions which were thought to be due to iron deficiency as a consequence of eating grains instead of meat. It only became clear a few years ago that the lesions were not due to iron deficiency, making the original hypothesis rather flawed.


      The skeletal lesions were perhaps due to episodes of starvation or something else. We don’t really know. But, I’m not sure why grains would be the culprit when all they did was end up powering the rise of Western civilization.

      I would also point out that there are many, many cultures besides the Hunza who thrived on grains. The Paleo™ narrative is just not very convincing.


    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 10:07

      Also a simple Google search would show that the ancient Egyptians did indeed have lots of cavities.

    • GTR on August 7, 2015 at 04:31

      “But, I’m not sure why grains would be the culprit when all they did was end up powering the rise of Western civilization.”

      Grains were used as a currency, even in Roman times lower rakned soldiers or workers could be paid in grains. They were also used as a form of accumulating capital – as they could easily be stored. The sedentary nature of inhabitaton plus the encouragment to store grains made buildings a good investment. Buildings in turn allowed to survive wars with nomads, hunter-gatherers and so. Especially if filled with grains that allowed to survive long siege.

      There’s nothing about the individual health in this story. Grains were beneficial – and perhaps even necessary – economically, independant of their health value.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 04:39

      It’s a bit (in fact a lot ) more than skeletal lesions. How about the fact that men shrunk from 5′ 10′ to about 5′ 5″? How about the fact that their teeth started falling out? How about the fact that the first evidence of the diseases of civilization only began to emerge in the skeletal record in the neolithic period? How about the fact that when zoos begin to replicate conditions and diets more consistent with what the animals evolved to do, their health improves dramatically. The heuristic that an animal is best served by acting and eating as it evolved to do is unassailable. Deviate from what you evolved to do at your own peril. And I’ll put my health markers and general fitness up against anyone who eats significant quantities of grains, organic or not.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 04:49

      But someone will tell you: what about McCarrison and the Hunza ? Their “exceptional” health (not my word or opinion, I don’t know these people) is actually attributed to their consumption of apricots (or even the apricot stone, can’t remember what Jane Karlsson wrote exactly). But their reliance on whole wheat is very well documented.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 05:27

      The Hunza longevity mythology may well have been greatly exaggerated. I would also note that Otzi the iceman ate lots of organic grains and got plenty of exercise. But guess what? He had tons of cavities, arthritis, and atherosclerosis despite only being 46 at death. And we see this pattern of poor health in grain consuming societies across antiquity.


    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 05:38

      I am not defending anything really, but cavity issues might have been caused by severe lack of the “saint-trinity” of vitamins (A, D3, K2) and bad oral and gut flora. Just saying because I was also deficient myself and had bad teeth. Today, I have a good amount of these vitamins and I have no cavities, but I eat grains and starches about every day, just not so often in the form of flour if that is a confounder.

    • Renaud on August 7, 2015 at 05:48

      I think we can just forget about the Hunzas, they are not even one of the Blue Zones peoples.

      Concerning teeth health and grains, i won’t say your statement is untrue, but maybe the problem is not about the grains themselves.

      Consider that harvesting and milling was not as “well done” as in modern times: there was A LOT of dust, sand, stone fragments and other residues in the grains they ate. That is a major factor for their teeth problem, since an heavy abrasion pave the way to all the other teeth problems.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 05:57

      My reply got eaten! Anyway, I said that in my case, I used to be deficient in A, D3 and K2. My teeth were not good way back. Today, even though I eat high carb, grains, etc, I have had no cavities for years. I have a better gut flora and A, D3, K2 are (I think) in good balance now. I also eat more nuts than I used to (which was close to nothing), especially seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, after reading about magnesium, manganese, etc. My sea-food consumption has drastically increased as well. So I believe I just increased my mineral status in general.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 06:01

      Perhaps, but poor milling wouldn’t explain the heart disease and arthritis at 46.

    • Renaud on August 7, 2015 at 06:08

      Of course not, but for that there may also be other factors to account for, beside the evils grains.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 06:13

      Until we find those other factors, I’ll stick to a diet more consistent with my species’ evolution (which has worked wonders for my health markers). You guys are all overthinking this now.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 06:23


      I don’t think we overthink anything. I just don’t like restrictions when it comes to foods and I see that whole grains are not the “enemy”. Of course, cheap flour and products based on those (that include cheap oils and sweeteners + flavors), that’s another story. But groats and porridge made out of whole grains are just fine and I won’t mind eating those regularly so long as I feel great.

    • Renaud on August 7, 2015 at 06:27

      If what you’re doing works for you, that’s all well and good!
      I was paleo years ago (and LC, then keto) and had great results.

      I just try to avoid underthinking, oversimplification and overgeneralization, in order not to unnecessarily paint me into a (nutritional) corner.
      Even if this corner is a healthy one, i see no reason to forbid me to consider the other ones.

      Blaming grain in the context we are talking about is like blaming meat for injuries and broken bones among paleolithic tribes: meat is certainly somewhat involved in the process, but is NOT the cause.

      BTW, my comments do not imply that anyone HAVE to eat grains to be healthy… in my view, that would be as stupid as saying that avoiding them is THE way to go.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 06:38

      I don’t like restrictions either. It would be great to eat a quart of chocolate ice cream and drink a six pack of beer every night but, alas, to be healthy I avoid such consumption

      “groats and porridge made out of whole grains are just fine.” They are definitely better than refined, fortified grains, especially for cultures that eat little protein and relatively few calories. But there are no studies showing the inclusion of such foods are superior to a diet of just meat (including collagen), fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Heavy consumption of grains isn’t consistent with our long-term evolutionary history (a red flag). And as Otzi and various mummies around the world show us, the diseases of civilization were rife in societies that made a habit of getting most of their calories from even organic, whole grains.

    • Renaud on August 7, 2015 at 06:50

      Skateman, in no way am i telling you’re doing it wrong.
      But simply considering (for example) that none of the blue zone eats like you certainly open the possibility that other ways than yours may work pretty well.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 07:28

      For a neolithic diet, the Blue Zone diets are superior, no question. But Blue Zoners still get the diseases of civilization, just at modestly lower rates. In fact, this meta-study showed that lower rates of heart diseases and cancer, etc. were only very modestly better than the average diet (less than 10% better).


      That’s not going to cut it for me, sorry.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 08:31

      Renaud is correct about dust, sand, stone fragments and other residues in the grains as being the main cause of their dental issues. See the following paper:

      Teeth and Bread in Ancient Egypt

      Sugar, especially refined sugar, has been blamed by many investigators for causing much of the dental disease which is so universal in modern times. Pathological changes in teeth and their surrounding tissues, however, are not confined to the present generation, as they are to be seen in all populations commencing with neolithic man.

      This is especially true of the ancient Egyptians. Students of the human remains found in the Nile Valley have discovered, in the skulls they have examined, evidence of the presence of every pathological and non-pathological abnormality known today. Yet sugar cane and other sources of refined sugar were unknown prior to the Arab conquest in A.D. 640. Honey was extensively used as a sweetener in that country, but its use would not have had the same deleterious effects upon the teeth.

      Examination of ancient skulls taken from cemeteries dating from pre-dynastic until Ptolemaic times reveals the fact that the fundamental cause of dental disease at that time was widely different from the origin of dental disease in modern man. In the latter instance the disease is initiated by a break down of the enamel of the tooth, i.e. by dental decay. In ancient Egyptian skulls cavities in teeth are infrequently seen, but in all age- groups there is gross attrition, that is, wear on the biting surface of the tooth. This was frequently so extensive, even in early adult life, that the dental pulp became exposed. This tooth-forming tissue became infected in the course of time by pathogenic organisms and died. The infection then passed into the surrounding apical tissues, resulting in abscess formation.

      Another type of dental abscess sometimes seen today is the result of inflammation causing the breakdown of the gingival tissues around the margin of the tooth. In ancient times, this type of abscess formation was extremely common, but again for a different reason. Unequal wear of the biting surface of the teeth, due to the attrition, caused abnormal pressures on the supporting tissues during mastication. This led eventually to degeneration of the tissue and abscess formation. Thus in ancient times there were two types of dental abscess, apical and periodontal, the former due to the death of the pulp and arising at the apex of the root; and the latter due to the breakdown of the supporting structures and arising at the side of the root. In both instances the abscess was initially due to wear of the biting surface of the tooth.

      Skateman, you’ve obviously been led astray by a misguided Paleo™ narrative. The Ancient Egyptians in fact had very few cavities.

      And I have to point that anyone with dead/infected teeth and pulp would be under a massive inflammatory load, which could easily explain any of the other health issues that you mention.

      In fact, I’d also mention that the Neolithic populations did quite well despite the health disadvantages that come along with attrition. Somehow the human race survived.

      The Paleo™ narrative is to ignore these realities. If that makes you feel better about your diet, go for it. In the meantime, I’m going to go make a sandwich.

      PS—It was only in the past few months that I realized that fortified bread gives me psoriasis, while artisanal breads do not. Hmm…

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 09:38

      Skateman said: “but poor milling wouldn’t explain the heart disease and arthritis at 46.”

      Sure it would. You’re just not thinking hard enough. As I mentioned before, dental “attrition” (the wearing down of teeth) was the overwhelming problem in the neolithic, due to poor milling. This leads to dental infection, which leads to inflammation, which promotes arteriosclerosis.

      There’s even a paper about dental infections and atherosclerosis.

      Dental infections and atherosclerosis (1999)

      “This report reviews the current evidence indicating that oral conditions (specifically periodontitis) may be a risk factor for atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations and provides new preliminary data. This review is done in the context of the research indicating that inflammation plays a central role in atherogenesis and that there is a substantial systemic microbial and inflammatory burden associated with periodontal disease. Our review concentrates on 5 longitudinal studies that show oral conditions being associated with the onset of coronary heart disease while controlling for a variety of established coronary heart disease risk factors. In addition to published evidence, preliminary findings from our Dental Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study also indicate that periodontal disease is associated with carotid intimal-medial wall thickness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis, adjusting for factors known to be associated with both conditions.”

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 10:04

      I think the problem you’re having is that you’ve found a theory – “Grains are O.K.! The paleo people are stupid!” – And now instead of thinking critically you simply martial any association or connection you can find to bolster your theory. It’s not up to me to prove that an animal should eat and act in accordance with it’s evolutionary history. That is an iron law. It’s up to you to show that grains are O.K. If your argument is that poor milling causes dental disease, which in turn is the reason they lost five inches of height and began suffering all the diseases of civilization, that’s pretty weak. Particularly as the Cleveland Clinic for one notes “There is research to both support and refute the possible link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, and more studies are needed to see how the two may be linked.” If that’s what you want to hang your entire argument on, that’s pretty weak.

      The Mediterranean diet gives you less than a 10% reduction in risk for the diseases of civilization according to the meta-study I sited earlier. That’s not very good….but keep eating your healthy whole grains.

      BTW what does your lipid profile look like Duck Dodgers?

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 11:39

      “Also a simple Google search”

      Well, there’s your problem. You need to actually read the papers to be able to comment on them.

      The Rühli paper that the sensationalist article refers to actually says… “Eighteen percent of all mummies in case reports (n=85) showed dental disorders. Out of these, nine mummies showed severe abrasion of teeth and seven individuals apparently suffered from carious lesions.”

      So, severe attrition was observed and only 7 out of 85 mummies actually had carious lesions, which were likely promoted by attrition (dental attrition is well known to increase the risk of caries).

      The idea that cavities were rampant in Ancient Egypt is false, and citing sensationalist stories does not change this fact. Please do your research more carefully.

      “It’s not up to me to prove that an animal should eat and act in accordance with it’s evolutionary history. That is an iron law.”

      Yep.. And, you may not have noticed that we’ve continued to evolve since the Neolithic era. I’m not sure you get to draw the line of “evolutionary history” ending at the dawn of the Neolithic. That’s literally ignoring an timeline in our evolutionary history. But, if ignoring reality is your thing, not much I can do about that. Gut flora allows diets to change more rapidly than evolution does—otherwise, for example, Asians would not be able to digest polysaccharides in seaweed.

      “BTW what does your lipid profile look like Duck Dodgers?”

      Not sure what my lipid profile has to do with anything. It’s excellent, btw. Though, my ferritin was a little high at 170. I’m not sure how it’s relevant since I was Paleo/PHD myself and only recently re-introduced whole grains a few weeks ago. Additionally, I’m not aware of studies where whole grains cause lipid profiles to worsen. Not that I care at this point. I’m no longer impressed by the narratives of dietary gurus.

      Anyhow, you are free to believe as wish, but the Paleo™ narrative is just not convincing anymore. And so, I choose to eat whole grains, because I can. And because I no longer have the symptoms and skin inflammation that came from eating fortified grains.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 11:46

      Btw, finding a few cavities here and there doesn’t really mean all that much. You can find cavities in just about any species of animal, going back about almost 600 Million years ago:

      From: Caries Through Time: An Anthropological Overview

      “Caries is a very old disease and it is not exclusive of the human species. Evidences of dental lesions compatible with caries have been observed in creatures as old as Paleozoic fishes (570-250 million years), Mesozoic herbivores dinosaurs (245-65 million years), pre- hominines of the Eocene (60-25 million years), and Miocenic (25-5 million years), Pliocenic (5-1.6 million years), and Pleistocenic animals (1.6-0.01 million years – Clement, 1958; Kear, 2001; Kemp, 2003; Sala et al., 2004). Caries has also been detected in bears and other wild animals (Pinto & Exteberria, 2001; Palamra et al., 1981), and it is common in domestic animals (Gorrel, 2006; Shklair, 1981; Wiggs & Lobprise, 1997)…

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 12:17

      What’s interesting is that you blame inflammation from dental disease for the diseases of civilization suffered by the Ancient Egyptians (and, amazingly, all ancient neolithic peoples) in one post. And then turn around in the very next post and claim they (the Ancient Egyptians) didn’t have significant dental problems. Which is it?

      So you’ve been eating this way for just a few weeks. I think if you’re going to be telling people to go out and eat grains again you should post your health markers before and, say, 6 months after your experiment. That’s called having skin in the game rather than just making condescending unsupported statements like “the paleo narrative just isn’t convincing anymore.” If you say so…

      Sure, we have continued to evolve. This is evidenced by the fact that today’s indigenous people who adopt the modern diet get significantly higher rates of the diseases of civilization. But the fact that even supposed evolved developed world citizens still get such diseases at startling high rates suggests that this evolution you speak of still has a long way to go. I mean, hell, the Mediterranean diet people still get 90%+ of the diseases of civilization that those of us eating the standard modern diet do, which should tell you something.

      But I’m serious. You’re doing great after two weeks and you’re using this as evidence in support of your new diet? Let’s see how you’re doing in six months. By then you’ll probably have a brand new theory (complete with all sorts of weak associations) and condescendingly go around telling everyone else how unconvincing their arguments are.

    • RVE on August 7, 2015 at 13:01

      I’m with Skateman here, I find this experiment to add in wheat grain ill advised.

      Also, the duck dodger (Jane Karlson) already had this exact discussion with the infamous colpo, I found colpo quite convincing, the duck dodger not so much.

      Judge for yourself: http://anthonycolpo.com/the-whole-grain-scam/

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2015 at 17:54

      “And I’ll put my health markers and general fitness up against anyone who eats significant quantities of grains, organic or not.”

      Start with Clarence Bass.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2015 at 18:09

      “It’s up to you to show that grains are O.K.”

      Interesting take on onus of proof since the world population of 7 billion is largely accounted for by grain agriculture.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2015 at 18:17

      “I find this experiment to add in wheat grain ill advised.”

      Excellent. Do let us know if one single person heads your dire warning to not even experiment.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 18:18

      “What’s interesting is that you blame inflammation from dental disease for the diseases of civilization suffered by the Ancient Egyptians (and, amazingly, all ancient neolithic peoples) in one post. And then turn around in the very next post and claim they (the Ancient Egyptians) didn’t have significant dental problems. Which is it?”

      Not sure while you’re having trouble following this. Dental caries from attrition is not the same as tooth decay from sugar-eating bacteria. The literature is pretty clear that dental issues were mainly due to attrition—wearing down of the enamel due to grit in their flours. Try to keep up.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 18:36

      “You’re doing great after two weeks and you’re using this as evidence in support of your new diet? ”

      Um no… All you need to do is pick your head up and look around at populations that eat real, unfortified, grains to see the evidence. As we’ve already mentioned, according to FAOSTAT the French consume 40% more wheat than Americans do, yet the French have considerably less chronic health issues than Americans do.

      “the duck dodger (Jane Karlson) already had this exact discussion with the infamous colpo”

      Colpo took private emails and published them without Jane’s permission. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a private dialog with a scientific researcher before, but they do not appreciate bloggers publishing their comments without their explicit permission. Colpo had no such permission.

      This is pretty simple. If you have health issues, then do whatever works for you. But, honestly, there is no convincing evidence that whole grains cause problems for everyone. The evidence just isn’t there. But feel free to imagine it.

    • Skateman on August 7, 2015 at 19:48

      “It’s up to you to show that grains are O.K.”

      “Interesting take on onus of proof since the world population of 7 billion is largely accounted for by grain agriculture.”

      Sorry guys, you really need to stop using this line of argument as it makes you sound intellectually dishonest or just plain foolish. Agriculture allowed specialization, it allowed food to be transported, it allowed us to domesticate animals which gave us diseases we developed defenses against which competing hunter gatherer societies did not. This is why societies that ate grains succeeded. It had nothing to do with the health benefits of the diet. And you know this. It’s basically the inverse of the moronic argument that cavemen only lived to be 35, as if they dropped dead at 35 or something, completely ignoring infant mortality. But you know this. And the fact that you keep bringing this argument up doesn’t reflect well on you.

      Duck Dodger is a PHD, huh? I see what the problem is. That kind of education leads to overconfidence and arrogance in your ability to comprehend what is basically an infinitely complex system. I’m in the financial business. You know who the guys are that always lose everyone’s money? It’s the damn PHDs. They think they know everything (the same geniuses who told us to stop eating saturated fat and start eating low fat high carb diets). They lack humility when facing something that even their shiny diploma and all the computing power in the world can’t figure out. I promise you, you know a lot less than you think you do. The only difference between you and me is that I’m aware of my limitations. That’s what makes the evolutionary heuristic the best and really the only model here to navigate this system. An animal should do what it evolved to do for optimum health. Start messing with the system, and unintended side effects and repercussions emerge. So yes, the onus is on you to show that grains are healthy, not me. A diet of meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts is what we spent most of our evolution eating. We know this is safe. We know it just as well as we know that a lion eating zebras is safe for the lion. Maybe eating organic grains will turn out fine. But you certainly haven’t proven it. Again, the Mediterranean diet still gives you the diseases of civilization at a 90% rate. That’s not very good, and it’s an issue you refuse to address. You make it sound like the French are some paragons of health when in fact they get all the same shit we do, just at slightly lower rates. Great. If you’re O.K with just a modest reduction of risk then go for it. But I’m not, and I suspect most of the people reading your blog aren’t either. Also, sure feel free to experiment. But if you’re going to put this new theory out there and tell everyone else how stupid they are, then I think you should have some skin in the game and post your health markers both before and after a reasonable amount of time. Seriously, lets all come back in six months and see how your experiment went.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 20:00

      “Sure, we have continued to evolve. This is evidenced by the fact that today’s indigenous people who adopt the modern diet get significantly higher rates of the diseases of civilization”

      Many who used to buy into this line of thinking are now having doubts about the validity of this argument. Take Stephan Guyenet for instance, who had a 2008 post slamming grains. As of 2011 his post now has a bold-typed disclaimer on it, saying:

      Update 8/2011: as I’ve learned more about human genetics and evolution, I’ve come to appreciate that many Europeans actually descend from early adopters of agriculture more than they descend from the hunter-gatherers that previously occupied Europe. Also, 10,000 years has been long enough for significant genetic adaptation. Read The 10,000 Year Explosion for more information.

      Yes. Long enough for significant genetic adaption.

      That’s called having the stones to incorporate new information into your own hypotheses and realize that you can evolve your own understanding to acknowledge that Paleo™ logic has major flaws in it. This is a quality not seen in many Paleo™ authors.

      The 10,000 Year Explosion hypothesizes that those indigenous cultures you cite as evidence would obviously be more susceptible to higher rates of the diseases of civilization since they didn’t take part in the rapid explosion of evolution that Europeans did…


      We have evolved at an explosive rate since the Neolithic. Our skin color changed. Our brains changed. Our guts changed. Our disease resistance changed, our personalities changed. Even our pets have evolved considerably.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 20:03

      Duck Dodger is a PHD, huh?

      Nope. Not sure where you got that idea from. You must be new around here.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 20:12

      “So yes, the onus is on you to show that grains are healthy, not me.”

      Heh.. I don’t think so. Maybe you should tell that to the significant scientific community that advocates whole grain consumption. Perhaps you didn’t get the message, but we are no longer in the Paleolithic era. Therefore, the normal human diet consumed by billions of people around the globe already includes grains. Unlike you, we are not convincing anyone to eat outside of the normal human diet or what nutritional researchers already recommend.

      In fact, it is you who is trying to turn back the clock to a time that we have already evolved beyond. Therefore, the onus is on you to convince everyone that all of humanity has made a great mistake. In the meantime, please leave us in peace to eat like normal Post-Paleolithic Europeans who have a life.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 20:22

      “A diet of meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts is what we spent most of our evolution eating. We know this is safe. We know it just as well as we know that a lion eating zebras is safe for the lion.”

      You’re delusional. Even Vilhjalmur Stefansson did not believe that meat-based diets promoted longevity. In fact, he observed that meat-eaters aged rapidly:

      From: “Adventures in Diet,” Part III, By Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Harper’s Monthly , January 1936

      While meat eaters seem to average well in heath, we must in our conclusion draw a caution from the most complete modern example of them the Eskimos of Coronation Gulf, when he was anthropologist on my third expedition, that the two chief causes of death were accidents and old age. This puts in a different form my saying that these survivors of the stone age were the healthiest people I have ever lived among. I would say the community, from infancy to old age, may have had on the average the health of an equal number of men about twenty, say college students.

      The danger is that you may reason from this good health to a great longevity. But meat eaters do not appear to live long. So far as we can tell, the Eskimos, before the white men upset their physiological as well as their economic balance, lived on the average at least ten years less than we. Now their lives average still shorter; but that is partly from communicated diseases.

      It has been said in a previous article that I found the exclusive meat diet in New York to be stimulating – I felt energetic and optimistic both winter and summer. Perhaps it may be considered that meat is, overall, a stimulating diet, in the sense that metabolic processes are speeded up. You are then living at a faster rate, which means you would grow up rapidly and get old soon. This is perhaps confirmed by that early maturing of Eskimo women which I have heretofore supposed to be mainly due to their almost complete protection from chill – they live in warm dwellings and dress warmly so that the body is seldom under stress to maintain by physiological processes a temperature balance. It may be that meat as a speeder-up of metabolism explains in part both that Eskimo women are sometimes grandmothers before the age of twenty-three, and that they usually seem as old at sixty as our women do at eighty.

      Stefansson even wrote an article in JAMA hypothesizing on why they age rapidly.

      Stef died of a stroke at the age of 82 if you didn’t know. Few low carb authors ever did much better, by the way. So, there is zero evidence that low carb diets promote longevity. Therefore, it would appear that you are the one with the risky untested diet.

    • spanish caravan on August 7, 2015 at 22:11

      I don’t need to barge in here. But if I got a nickel every time I heard a story like yours, I would be rich as Croesus. Seriously, you sound like a broken record. It’s the same story told over and over again, Skateman. It’s the satiety inducing effect of protein and fat that’s reducing your caloric intake, which is entirely responsible for your supposedly “stellar” lipid markers, which you wrongly believe to be markers of excellent health. Health is a lot more than that, son. We’re talking about immunity, hormonal homeostasis, susceptibility to chronic and degenerative diseases — all of which require consumption of sufficient fiber and resistant starch, which whole grains and starches offer in abundance. Your type of diet may give you six pack abs but does not guarantee long-term health nor longevity. Seriously, talk about recent Paleo/LC leaders who’ve been dropping off like flies.

      I can tell your’re wet behind the ears and that your health journey is just starting. And what a scenic route you’ll be taking in your health journey, as it will be a protracted one. Btw, those lipid markers you bragged about aren’t terribly impressive. You don’t have to do Paleo to have Trigs under 100. If I felt you knew how to interpret those biomarkers as a time series, as you suggest, I’d comment more but I won’t, since it will just be too abstruse. You’re taking a page off of that retard Nassim Taleb, who’s swallowed the malarkey that DeVany’s fed him and now consider himself a nutrition expert. Both couldn’t find their rear ends in the dark with power flashlights.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2015 at 23:16

      Well you sure seem to be getting increasingly agitated with each coment. Wonder why.

      This is not about eating industrial junk food, or even grains as they’re typically served up. It’s about eating them whole, ancestrally.

      The science of the gut biome changed everything. Problem is that most paleo promoters simply tried to integrate it into the existing narrative rather than realize it rewrote the whole narrative. Just in the last few days, new science that isolated specific gut bugs that can prevent type 1 diabetes. The auto-immune associations with gut health are astounding and no matter how you slice it, this is going to come down to feeding them and whole grains are a powerful tool in that arsenal.

    • RVE on August 8, 2015 at 01:16

      “Excellent. Do let us know if one single person heads your dire warning to not even experiment.”

      You make it sound if it is some innocent pitridish experiment, but that is not true is it? You’re playing with your health here and other people might follow your example. I just think Skateman offers a valid counterpoint. A much needed counterpoint because you guys seem to be in a echochamber. You guys are being all kumbaya about your “non dogmatic” forward thinking stance seemingly unwilling to admit that people’s concerns about wheat grain is not paleo dogmatism, but a valid concerns based on good logical reasons.

    • Renaud on August 8, 2015 at 02:14

      “That’s what makes the evolutionary heuristic the best and really the only model here to navigate this system.”
      Yes, that’s what it is: an heuristic. As such it points to an acceptable solution, not necessarily the optimal one, not necessarily the only one.

      “An animal should do what it evolved to do for optimum health”
      As such we evolved to “overeat” in time of abundance… should we realy continue to do that?

      Beside that, this is easy with animals having a very specialized digestive apparatus. That’s far less clear with more versatile species like ours.
      More so if you add food harvesting and preparing technologies on top of the stack.

      Also, evolution is a process, not a divine edict, drived by “counting points” at the species level, and not optimising for individual well-being or longevity at all. It basically make no sense to say we should do what “Evolution designed us for” (amen).

      Evolution (once again, a process) led us to a set of abilities by selecting successive adaptations under environmental pressure.
      That’s all, there is no optimal here.
      We are *able* to eat meat, we are *able* to eat grains, for evolution “purpose”, at our individual concerns, that’s ALL.
      That’s not to say all diets are equally health promoting, but what makes them so is more complex than what we “evolved for” or not.

      So, we never evolved FOR eating meat. NEVER.
      We survived and evolved BY eating meat.
      And that may have given us some adaptations/abilities.
      Not purposes or requirements.

      “Start messing with the system, and unintended side effects and repercussions emerge”
      Yes, your specie may overcome famine and spread all over the world ;-)

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 05:15

      “You’re playing with your health here and other people might follow your example.”

      I’m pretty sure that’s what happens on every food post or article that’s ever been written. The key is understanding that. This blog has a long history of self-experimentation. You must be new around here. Were it not for this blog and its self-experimentation, much of the Paleo/Primal world would still be clueless about the importance of fiber and resistant starch.

      If you didn’t realize it, you’re mainly talking to a group of people who used to be diehard LC Paleo dieters who found that the diet did not live up to its promises. And so, we began experimenting with starches, and fibers, and honey, and legumes, and the overwhelming majority of the experimenters had beneficial results. So much so that it turned our perspective of Paleo on its head and we began to question every aspect of the flawed dogmatism. This is just the next step in that journey. It may not work for everyone, but that’s the risk of self-experimentation.

    • Skateman on August 8, 2015 at 05:50

      “Maybe you should tell that to the significant scientific community that advocates whole grain consumption.”

      From the geniuses that told us saturated fat causes heart disease and we should replace butter with margarine.

      “It may be that meat as a speeder-up of metabolism explains in part both that Eskimo women are sometimes grandmothers before the age of twenty-three, and that they usually seem as old at sixty as our women do at eighty.”

      One guy’s opinion in an uncontrolled study from 1936 does not constitute any sort of evidence.

      I do not follow a low carb diet. With the amount of athletic activity I do, I’m probably at 150+ grams of carbs a day easy mainly from fruit and starchy vegetables.

      I see that you’re still not addressing the fact that the Blue Zone Diets like the Mediterranean don’t greatly reduce your chances of getting the diseases of civilization. I see you’re still not interested in posting your health markers for others to see both pre and post experiment, putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak. But keep posting references to opinions from decades ago and making associations without proving causation.

    • Skateman on August 8, 2015 at 06:00

      “Seriously, you sound like a broken record. It’s the same story told over and over again, Skateman. It’s the satiety inducing effect of protein and fat that’s reducing your caloric intake, which is entirely responsible for your supposedly “stellar” lipid markers, which you wrongly believe to be markers of excellent health.”

      I eat 2,800 calories a day, easily. 150+ grams of carbs. I eat lots of starchy vegetables and fruit. My lipid profile has been consistently, ridiculously good since I started eating this way five years ago. Before that, it was terrible (high triglycerides and almost non-existent HDL).

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 06:02

      “I see you’re still not interested in posting your health markers for others to see both pre and post experiment”

      Are you talking to me? I didn’t write the post dumbass. And I never told anybody what to eat. And you certainly don’t have the right to demand medical information from a commenter on a blog who didn’t write the post your complaining about.

      You need to get your facts straight before you go around evangelizing failed dogmatism to people who already discarded it.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 06:12

      The problem Skateman, is that you seem to have a very closed mind. We frown on that here.

      Here’s the kind of perspective that we have respect for:

      “I know, too, that the body is affected differently by bread according to the manner in which it is prepared. It differs according as it is made from pure flour or meal with bran, whether it is prepared from winnowed or unwinnowed wheat, whether it is mixed with much water or little, whether well mixed or poorly mixed, over-baked or under-baked, and countless other points besides. the same is true of the preparation of barley meal. The influence of each process is considerable and each is a totally different effect from another. How can anyone who has not considered such matters and come to understand them possibly know anything of the diseases that afflict mankind? Each one of the substances of a man’s diet acts upon his body and changes it in some way and upon these changes his whole life depends.”
      ~ Hippocrates

      Hippocrates would fit in well here. You? Not so much.

    • Skateman on August 8, 2015 at 06:59

      “I didn’t write the post dumbass. And I never told anybody what to eat.”

      You contribute to the posts here. You make non-stop lengthy comments. You are being dishonest to say you don’t have a part in what’s being posted or that you don’t tell people how to eat. If you’re going to go around telling everyone else how stupid they are, I think you should put your money where your mouth is. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. But I don’t know why anyone would bother to listen to you. Also, the fact that you have to resort to name calling reflects very poorly on you.

      Using ancient Greek quotes for your “evidence” now? Still not addressing the only very slight reduction in diseases of civilization in the Blue Zone areas? Still conclusively calling a narrative “failed” while providing no robust empirical evidence to back up your what you say beyond vague correlations and historical anecdote? And I’m the one being close minded? No, I just demand something more robust. If that’s being close minded, so be it:) By the way, I’m all ears for controlled studies. Observational studies and anecdote, not so much.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 07:51

      I don’t tell people what to eat. I tell people what other people ate or eat and let them decide for themselves. If you disagree with those interpretations, I could care less. You don’t go around demanding medical information from someone who simply points out what other cultures eat. Get a clue.

    • Skateman on August 8, 2015 at 09:18

      In the comments above, after a very cursory search, I found that you wrote:

      “In the modern world wheat bran is just a fraction of whole grain and many massed produced wheat flours are just white flour with wheat bran added (the rest of the grain is removed to avoid the rancidity and increase shelf life). So, the most important thing is to consume a true whole grain flour and not stress too much about the date of harvest.”

      That sure sounds like advice to me. And there are plenty more examples all over this blog.

      “Demanding medical information”

      I just think you should have skin in the game if you’re going to go around telling everybody else how stupid they are. But I’m not “demanding” anything. Whether you want to back up what you suggest with anything beyond historical anecdotes and weak observational studies is up to you.

      But keep trying to knock down that straw man. Keep making the non-sequitur that since there’s 7 billion people on the planet, grains must be good for our health (and when called out on it, keep not addressing it). Also keep not addressing why the Mediterranean diet only results in a very small reduction in risk for all the diseases of civilization. What you don’t say speaks volumes.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 10:47

      I don’t advocate any particular diet in my articles. I take no responsibility for whatever fad diet you choose to eat. And I really don’t care what your opinion is. The real question, is why do you even care to prevent a other people from experimenting with foods? What are you, the Food Police? Get a life.

    • Skateman on August 8, 2015 at 13:00

      Eating in an evolutionarily consistent manner isn’t a fad. In fact, it’s exactly what you’re trying to do. We just differ on where the evolution begins and ends. I entered into this forum to have a reasonable debate. I have remained respectful throughout. Your responses have been nothing but unsupported speculation (e.g. the diseases of civilization suffered in antiquity were entirely the result of dental issues), historical anecdote which isn’t worth a damn, and ad hominem attacks. That is disappointing.

      I don’t care what you eat. I’m only calling you out now and suggesting you have some skin in the game because you’re so incredibly arrogant and condescending. Now that your responses have further devolved into childish petulance, I think my work is done. Have a good weekend.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 13:11

      “Also keep not addressing why the Mediterranean diet only results in a very small reduction in risk for all the diseases of civilization. What you don’t say speaks volumes”

      What is there to address? Do you have any evidence that your diet eliminates or even significantly reduced diseases of civilization? Do you even know what causes diseases of civilization? Basing a diet on an anthropological estimation is a risky strategy, particularly if the estimation is incorrect. For instance, there is evidence that humans have been eating grains for over a 100,000 years.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on August 8, 2015 at 13:40

      1. i got an impression that Duck Dodgers is still quite young. so what works for him? (her? ver? them?) may not work for everyone.

      2. Skateman’s request is a fair one: anyone who puts out nutritional advices should be prepared to disclose himself fully.

      3. i agree that with Duck is very condescending
      his presentation is in want.


      ps2. my diet has been a cross between PHD + WAP for a few years. i.e., moderate amount of white rice & properly prepared whole grain & beans.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 14:15

      “Skateman’s request is a fair one: anyone who puts out nutritional advices should be prepared to disclose himself fully.”

      Curmudgeon, I do not put out “nutritional advice” in my articles. Nor do I promote any particular diet. Nor do I stand to profit off of anything I say. I am not qualified to dole out nutritional advice. Therefore, I disagree. Let’s be clear. Nothing I say should be considered “advice.” I am merely reporting. Mark Bittman and Jane Brody do not publish their lipid profiles. Heck, I don’t think Atkins even published his lipid profiles.

      I really don’t care what people eat. If you want to eat like the Masai, I can help you research what they actually did. If you want to eat like the Inuit, I can help you research what they actually did. If you want to understand what real flour is, I can tell you what that consists of. This is not “nutritional advice.” I don’t tell people what they can and cannot eat in my published articles.

      “i agree that with Duck is very condescending”

      Yep. That’s my style. Need a hanky?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 21:59

      “You make it sound if it is some innocent pitridish experiment, but that is not true is it?”

      Don’t play stupid cunt with me.

      Neither I or anyone else here owes you anything. We’re proposing an experiment anyone is free to try or not, and it’s based upon the fact that grains have been a human staple for 10,000 years, a time in which population grew exponentially to over 7 billion and average longevity is highest ever.

      Obviously they have worked wonders for lots of individuals and populations and it’s far from unreasonable to see is the work for you, though used properly and not by means of junk and cheap foodstuffs.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:10

      ” It basically make no sense to say we should do what ‘Evolution designed us for.'”

      Ha, leave it to the Cartesian French to have to tell you morons that practicing evolution like a catechism is way ‘carte’ before the cheval.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:27

      “From the geniuses that told us saturated fat causes heart disease and we should replace butter with margarine.”

      False alternative.

      “One guy’s opinion in an uncontrolled study from 1936 does not constitute any sort of evidence.”

      So, how many guys are you?

      “I see you’re still not interested in posting your health markers for others to see”

      What, now you want one guy’s blood work, or, is is it just you want to have your cake and eat it too?

      What is your age? Because, if it’s less than 35, we laf. There are a few billion guys on the planet who can eat anything in any quantity until 30-35 and still be lean, drink, and fuck all night and go to work next morning.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:42

      “and almost non-existent HDL”

      Poor little wanker. What a fucking little worthless shit you are, and you’re telling people what to do?

      My HDL has never measured under 80, even eating SAD for decades, and has measured over 110 twice that I’ve reported, you little pussy. Here’s a 133, you pathetic twat:


      And even cranking on carbs, less than a year ago, 89, you weak piece of shit that can’t even get your high density up.


      What, you can’t even get it up? What are you, a limp high density?

      Search the blog for even more.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:50

      “Also, the fact that you have to resort to name calling reflects very poorly on you.’

      You’re a petulant boring fuck who repeats herself endlessly.

      I’m fooled by neither your masculine pseudonym, nor your asserted prowess at skating.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 22:53

      “Still not addressing the only very slight reduction in diseases of civilization in the Blue Zone areas?”

      A stupid cunt will always ignore that point. The point of Blue Zones is longevity. It is the point.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:01

      “That sure sounds like advice to me. And there are plenty more examples all over this blog.”

      You are giving advice to NOT try something out, the most cunty sort of Luddite advice there is.

      Of course, liars always do that. They admonish others to not do what they’re actually doing in that very instant. That’s how stupid they are when they get their pink panties in a bunch at the suggestion that someone not just follow the catechism and figure it out for themselves.

      You’re entire psychodousche here is predicated on waving hands, advising people not to follow a simple suggestion.

      And for the record, not one single DD contributed to a word of this post, not one single one had a preview or even knew it was coming. This is my blog, fuckface, and the DD are probably shaking their heads right now, but it always is what it always is.

      And, I’m going to very soon just start deleting your comments, especially the long ones, willy-nilly, because I do not play fair, either.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:09

      “I have remained respectful throughout”

      You’re a lying cunt.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:22

      Wow, I always thought Curmudgeon was smart. Not anymore. Wrong on three counts.

      I knew this article would make enemies, telling people I was going to try an experiment of HIGH UNQUESTIONABLE TABOO. I didn’t even tell everyone grains are the cat’s meow. Just I was going to try, in a specific way. Of course, I have reasons why, which I explicated, and even gave other reasons why the Paleo catechism is wearing thin, since we’re seeing wrong after wrong.

      BUT GRAINS ARE DIFFERENT!!!!! IF WE DON’T HAVE GRAINS TO BASH PER SE, WE GOT NOTHING! I don’t care. If WHOLE grains consumed in thoughtful, ancestral ways do well for you AND YOUR GUT, then fuck Paleo, right? Fuck curmudgeon, skatecunt, and anyone else, right? What is this? Afraid that someone does better on whole grains done right than 16 oz ribeyes with a side salad erroneously called Paleo?

      Realize that in the context of experimentation, what you have here are hand wavers. That’s all. DON’T TRY IT!!!

      Pathetic, and really serves to tell you who the real assholes are. Literally, they would rather wave you off an experiment that might do AND YOUR 100 trillion GUT BUGS well, but they are just so loath to have that risk out there, making them look less than right about everything.

      Well, Curmudgeon goes onto my fucktard list. Don’t care.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:36

      “Using ancient Greek quotes for your “evidence” now? ”

      That’s Hippocrates and every medical professional in modern times reveres his oath. Moreover, the quote is wholly apropos.

      And that tears it. Skatecunt is gone.

      Deep dishonesty will always expose.

    • Jen W. on August 9, 2015 at 09:21

      I was wondering when this was going to start happening, as it was becoming quite clear that Skaterman wasn’t interested in having anyone “prove” their point, but getting to impose theirs on top of others. And the fact that Skaterman, NOT ONCE mentioned the GUT BIOME’S role in Evolution also spoke wonders. Seems to me this was a case of what Nassim Taleb calls “Narrative Fallacy” striking again. Skaterman is so caught up in their own narrative, that they will ignore ANYTHING counter or try to come up with some reason NOT to change narratives without having even TRIED a different one.

    • GTR on August 9, 2015 at 12:11

      @”Interesting take on onus of proof since the world population of 7 billion is largely accounted for by grain agriculture.”

      But is it sustainable? Not a good argument if it’s just a bubble, overshot etc.

    • spanish caravan on August 9, 2015 at 14:01

      Skateman, that’s a sufficient level of carbs. If you’re nomal and have no diabetes, I would do a little more. But if you’re taking advantage of the satiety (or nausea) inducing effect of the protein-fat combination, that’s totally understandable. But that’s exactly what it is. Low-carb diets are good for appetite control. However, that’s happening because you got rid of food reward items (sugar/salt/umami/caloric density), not because there’s anything wrong inherently with natural carbs like grains and starches.

      People have religious conversions after they lose weight on a LC diet. I did too and was under its sway for about 3-6 months. However, I constantly started questioning how it happened. If you really probe deep, you’ll realize that it wasn’t really carbs
      but the food reward inherent in processed foods.

      If you doubt, compare boiled potatoes vs. potato chips with regard to macronutrients, sodium, and caloric density. That should give you an answer right there.

    • Jens on August 19, 2015 at 12:19


      in addition to the no grains drivel, his/her mention that eating gelatin in conjunction with a high protein diet might improve longevity/lower risk of disease cuaght my attention.
      First time I hear about this and in principle sounds interesting. Anyone knows more about this or have any reputable source to look into?

    • Jens on August 19, 2015 at 12:19


      in addition to the no grains drivel, his/her mention that eating gelatin in conjunction with a high protein diet might improve longevity/lower risk of disease caught my attention.
      First time I hear about this and in principle sounds interesting. Anyone knows more about this or have any reputable source to look into?

    • Frenchfry on August 19, 2015 at 13:02

      Hey Jens,

      You can read Ray Peat himself about it:


      Eating only protein sources too poor / rich in certain amino acids has some consequences. If you decrease methionine rich sources, or get enough gelatin that has a compensating effect due to being rich in glycine (but poor in methionine), you will mitigate these consequences.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on August 19, 2015 at 13:11

      @DD et al.

      1. i’m not qualified to debate the iron & grain issues; nor do i consider myself smart, have i mentioned i’m only a layman?

      2. the problem i have is more with the presentation then the messages. yes, i prefer less combative & more humble style.

      i can agree on some problems due to excessive iron. that does not equate of me finding your presentation agreeable.

      (that does not mean you have to be “huggy huggy hanky hanky)

      i agreed w/ Skateman’s on few points, that it is fair to ask one to reveal yourself.
      (main reason i have w/ CarbSabe, i can’t take her seriously as a thinker nor profound scholar)


    • Jens on August 19, 2015 at 13:25


      thanks for that. I had seen that link already, but I know Ray Peat is kind of polarizing around here.
      Does anyone have any experience supplementing a high protein diet for strength training with gelatin? Don’t want to start chugging jell-o after training just due to a pair of articles.
      Thanks in advance.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 19, 2015 at 19:47

      “i agreed w/ Skateman’s on few points, that it is fair to ask one to reveal yourself.”

      In terms of my choice to remain anonymous, since I don’t make money or personally benefit from my writing, there is no incentive for me to expose my identity, which would be nothing more than a distraction from the published research being presented.

      None of my arguments are dependent upon my identity or credentials, per se. Appeals to authority get us nowhere so I prefer to discuss evidence. Queries about me imply a desire to distract from the evidence I’ve presented in my writing. My writing isn’t about me. If you believe my anonymity creates a problem then I respectfully suggest that you consider a different perspective. Rather than regard me with suspicion for correcting the false statements of others and providing new evidence free of charge, you might ask yourself why people who profit from their books, affiliations, advocacy, and research should be trusted when I have shown you how poorly researched, illogical, or dishonest their claims can often be.


    • FrenchFry on August 20, 2015 at 01:22


      It does not matter that the article is from Peat. It remains very informative. As to protein needs, you can’t rely on gelatin alone! you need to mix gelatin with high quality protein sources. Gelatin will help rebalance the amino acid distribution of your overall protein intake. It is a very important dietary component / supplement in a muscle meat fixated culture.

    • Jens on August 20, 2015 at 05:37


      thanks for your further comments. Yes, in no way would I eat only gelatin. That’s why I mentioned it as a supplement to a high protein diet (maybe I failed to mention of muscle origin).
      Anyone else has experimented with this or has more info? I am still not fully convinced of eating jell-o everyday (even if without sugar) and if it has a considerable effect or maybe only a negligible effect (which I guess for high endurance sports could still be relevant).

    • John on August 20, 2015 at 09:10

      When I had done weight training previously, I would be often be sore for a couple of days after the workout. When I started to pay attention to gelatin and glycine intake, that soreness has decreased markedly. I’ve made better gains recently that I was five years ago. I’m sure it’s due to a variety of things, but I believe that gelatin helps me to consistently train 3 times a week, and that’s big.

  22. michael goroncy on August 6, 2015 at 19:45

    There is something wrong with the ‘Health food industry’.
    Health food stores are heavily stocked with grains and other suspicious products that make dubious claims.
    But! Do you think I can find any ‘Organic Paleo Cigarettes’…nah

  23. tyler on August 6, 2015 at 19:50

    Great post and discussion! I love the blog Richard! YYou’ve slayed a lot of dragons the last few years!

    I am stronlgy considering reintroducing wheat (organic, whole grain, home processed into a long ferment sourdough). I am generally healthy (read: asymptomatic). I am not a celiac. My final hesitation with wheat revolves around wheat germ agglutinin. Any thoughts on it? Can home processing degrade wga? If so, how? Any papers to cite would be appreciated.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 6, 2015 at 23:32

      “You’ve slayed a lot of dragons the last few years!”

      I get compliments all the time but my favorite are the implicit ones, where someone has been paying attention. It’s a big payment and I appreciate nothing quite as much.

    • FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 01:26

      As far as I remember (so please double check), rice has WGA. Sounds weird but I think it does.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 08:44

      “My final hesitation with wheat revolves around wheat germ agglutinin”

      There is nothing to worry about, so long as your wheat is cooked…

      Chris Kresser: What Science Really Says About the Paleo Diet – With Mat Lalonde

      Mat Lalonde: “It turns out that most lectins, especially the most well-studied ones like wheat germ agglutinin, PHA, which is in legumes, which is phytohaemagglutinin, they are deactivated by heat. These proteins are very sensitive to heat, and they’re destroyed. So people waving their hands in the air like, “Oh my God, these things are really toxic!” and whatnot. And it’s true. They are very toxic. We have the research to show that they are toxic in animals in vitro when they’re fed to animals, but it turns out that they’re feeding raw legumes or pure isolated proteins to these things, not cooked food.”

      That’s a great podcast episode. Mat talks about a lot of the things that the Paleo™ narrative got wrong. For instance…

      Mat Lalonde: “But I had been giving a nutrition talk for a long time, and I’d been relying on antinutrient information that came from a talk that was given to me by Loren Cordain, and it turns out that most of the information that was in there that I never bothered to double check, I should’ve double checked, was wrong. And when I was standing up there and I was really condescending, that was to him. I was like: Listen, dude, we need to have a match right here, right now, because you have been putting out this information and it’s completely wrong, and I can discuss where the failings are.”

      I suppose Paleo™ was still helpful in that it got us to take a closer look more closely at all the things it got wrong.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 09:08

      tyler, after not eating wheat for a few years, it took me about 3-4 weeks to regain tolerance to (unfortified) wheat. There were times it did not make me feel great (minor joint pains, fogginess, etc.). I even had to back off a bit at one point after experimenting with raw museli grains, which did not go well. But after the re-introduction period, I now feel terrific on real whole wheat bread.

      We’ve been continuing to look into this and as best as I can tell, the main digestive problem with fortified wheat is that the iron they use has been shown to “significantly” inflame the gut independent of the dose:

      Ferrous Sulfate Supplementation Causes Significant Gastrointestinal Side-Effects in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2015)

      Many of the chronic diseases we mentioned in our previous article can actually be traced to an inflamed gut. And since fortified iron is generally poorly absorbed, it may in fact be that the iron fortification is just inflaming guts and not even causing iron overload in many people. This was the “double whammy” effect we talked about in the article.

      That paper suggests that the levels of ferrous sulfate found in less than a pound of flour might be less inflammatory, but they weren’t ready to rule out the possibility that those very low levels of ferrous sulfate might also be inflammatory.

      The key quote: “Nonetheless, if there is a benefit in terms of lower side-effects with lower doses of ferrous sulfate then the threshold appears very low (i.e. ≤ 20 mg iron per dose or per day, Figure D in S1 File). 20mg is the amount of ferrous sulfate that might be used a pound of flour.”

      You can see how even low-grade inflammation would make it difficult to digest wheat, its compounds, and how it would promote various health issues.

    • Art Jackson on August 8, 2015 at 04:59

      Do you know if food labeling laws in the U.S. require companies to state that the ingredients include “enriched” flour or if iron has otherwise been added? I’ve read conflicting reports of what types of flour are enriched and don’t know if simply reading the label will always tell you what you need to know. Thanks

    • Duck Dodgers on August 19, 2015 at 19:51

      Not sure, Art Jackson. If an ingredient is GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) then by law I believe it does not need to be listed on the product label. I believe it is revealed voluntarily. Most people think they need more iron, so you do sometimes see it displayed rather prominently.

      But, I think one needs to look at the entire label for clues. If you you see a decent level of calcium, folic acid, thiamin and/or niacin listed in what should otherwise be a rather nutrition-less refined product, that’s a clue that something might be fortified. If you see the words “reduced iron” that means they are using a highly bioavailable form of iron.

      It can be quite confusing. For instance, when McVitie’s digestive biscuits are imported to the US from the UK, they list “0% iron” on the US nutrition label. But, if you read the ingredients closely, it says: “Wheat Flour, Sunflower Oil, Whole Wheat Flour, Sugar… Reduced Iron, Nicotinamide, Thiamin Hydrochloride.”

      Yep, that product is enriched. So, there’s an example where the infographic does not match up with the ingredients. This leads me to believe that these nutrition labels are just a formality and a rough estimation based on the generic product that is being sold. I think it may be up to the individual company to decide how forthcoming they want to be with GRAS ingredients.

  24. FrenchFry on August 7, 2015 at 01:32

    tyler, I did a quick search for you:


    • tylor fitzgibbon on August 7, 2015 at 23:34

      Richard, Duck and French Fry,

      Thanks guys! Appreciate it! Really do. You guys have been on a splendid journey! Thanks for sharing it with me! And thank you for your honesty! I wonder where this road will take you next. I will keep visiting this blog to find out!

      It is so nice to finally realize that healthy eating does not equate to restrictive eating and in fact quite the opposite is true. What a relief! What freedom from the grip of paleo induced food-phobias. Honestly, all that worrying about food has probably had a bigger adverse effect on my health than anything else in my life over the last few years. Thanks to the help of this blog and a few others (Vegpharm, wholehealthsource, etc.) and my friend scholar.google.com I have come around to thinking that true fitness implies a resilience to stress not avoidance of it! As far as the diet component goes it seems it just comes down to eating a variety of whole foods using traditional preparation. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, thoughts and experiments.

      Man, I sure would love to hear Kurt Harris chime in on all this. I have a feeling he’s smiling, nodding his head silently somewhere.

      I love my cooking and love my ferments. I can finally get to work on the previously taboo Grains section of Sandor Katz lovely book, The Art of Fermentation. Looks like a nice three bean chili with mushrooms, onion, carrot, tomato, spices, ground pork and beef, cheese, rice, a crusty morsel of sourdough bread for dipping and maybe even a home-brew to wash it down is on the menu this week!

      Health and happiness to you!

  25. Name on August 7, 2015 at 03:00

    Yes, “Paleo” was wrong about grains.

    Also legumes and dairy. They were basically the tenants of the paleo diet.

    To say Paleo TM was incorrect or incomplete about most of its assertions would be putting it mildly. Why people who are realizing this, whilst still trying to cling to the Paleo label is still a bit confusing to me.
    (Actually it isn’t really, I do think I understand why people are clinging to Paleo label.)

  26. Haas123 on August 7, 2015 at 08:22

    I’ve been experimenting with Einkorn and it is quite tasty. Interestingly, it has a huge amount of Lutein and zeaxanthin compared to other wheat varieties.

    Given the cost of shipping to Canada I have started growing my own (they grow surprisingly well), but for people in the US I would definitely encourage a look at it.


  27. Jason Down55 on August 7, 2015 at 10:02

    I’m an admitted novice so let me ask two novice questions.

    1. If avoiding iron additives and moving away from cooking with cast iron what is my best options for cooking surfaces?

    2. Isn’t their an issue with our diets if they require us to bloodlet on a regular basis? Is the suspected need to do this to counteract iron buildup from non-natural sources or is their another rationale. This just reminds me Paleo females losing their periods and everyone not realizing that “hey, this might be an issue”.

    Thanks for entertaining.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 7, 2015 at 19:05

      1) FWIW, Ray Peat answers that question here.

      2) Diet is a factor, but in general, it’s very common for iron to accumulate in tissues as healthy humans age as there is no major mechanism (beyond sweating) to excrete excess iron. Everyone absorbs and maintains iron in different ways depending on a multitude of factors. Get your iron levels tested and talk with your doctor to decide if giving blood is a good idea or not.

    • John on August 8, 2015 at 11:06

      The issues that go beyond diet include loading disorders, being sedentary, getting older, being male, not having hookworm or other helminths, inhalation (from pollution, smoking, or working in the iron industry), transdermal absorption (if you walk barefoot over iron rich soil), and transfusional iron overload.

    • Jed on August 8, 2015 at 15:58

      What about mucous? Every morning, like clockwork, after breakfast, while on the crapper, my nose runs a lot and I have to blow it at least twice, and then no more mucous till the next day. It’s been like this for decades. Can this be my body’s way of getting rid of something, like excess iron? Or something else it’s trying to get rid of?

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:30

      “then no more mucous till the next day.”

      How about crapping? Next day? Perhaps a correlation in the works?

  28. Dan on August 7, 2015 at 10:23

    Basic for me. I don’t care what the Hunza ate, it makes me sick… autoimmune DH. It makes a lot of people sick. It makes a lot people sick slowly in seemingly mysterious way. It makes more people sick than we generally accept, how many times do I have to read a vapid MSM article spouting that only one percent of the population has coeliac and nobody else need worry about gluten or grain. As if one percent of is a small number and as if no other cthink our food supply is highly overdependent on it and we as a society would be healthier if we ate a lot less of it. I generally recommend that to family (especially those I’ve passed my genes down to) and friends but they can take it or leave. I will also not call anyone an asshole, F*tard ro

    • Dan on August 7, 2015 at 10:26

      sorry for the fat finger reply, but you get the point

  29. sassysquatch on August 7, 2015 at 11:50

    I find it interesting that some ‘experts’ have examined Egyptian mummies and the Iceman and told us that many of them show signs of heart disease and arthritis. What exactly does several thousand years of being dead, do to arteries, blood vessels and bones? And, what exactly should they look like?

    According to Pritikin, almost ALL 19 and 20 year old American soldiers that died in combat in Korea and that were autopsied, showed signs of heart disease. But obviously, if they all had survived the war, there was a good chance that ‘X’ number of them, would have lived for 80+ years.

    And as Dr Sarno has pointed out many times, “quite often the Xrays of patients who’s spines look like ‘train wrecks’ and show signs of severe arthritis, suffer from NO pain and disability.”

    So I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in these ‘experts’ ability to diagnose the supposed ailments of long dead corpses!!

    It seems like they have enough trouble diagnosing the living!!

  30. CoolBeans on August 8, 2015 at 14:49

    Richard, Duck Dodgers, great interesting work, again.

    Since there has been citation of Ray Peat’s writings with respect to iron’s dangers, was wondering if you would be willing to highlight your differences with him on the topic of wheat/gluten? He’s staunchly opposed to it. I think he’s a brilliant thinker, but has some blind spots. Wonder if anyone’s reached out to him in relation to these recent iron/grains posts?

    Thanks for all the interesting posts and comments!

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 16:14

      Hey CoolBeans,

      To clarify, I had nothing to do with this particular post. We have members of the group who have a lot of respect for Peat, but I’ll admit that I don’t know much about him other than I disagreed with his take on persorption (it seems less like a defect and more like a way to help deliver needed compounds throughout the body). I only linked to him about the cookware and his general take on iron.

      For the record, I don’t think anyone can do wheat/gluten. Once the damage has been done in some individuals, it renders their guts unable to do things that normal/healthy people can do, and sometimes damage can be irreversible.

      On the other hand, despite all the handwringing going on in the comments, I’ve yet to hear anyone explain, clearly, why a healthy person cannot tolerate wheat. Either way, I’m not recommending people anything unless they want to. The iron post was meant to be diet agnostic. It’s not a recommendation.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 8, 2015 at 18:19

      Whoops… Meant to say that I don’t think everyone can do wheat/gluten. Some people just won’t be able to tolerate it due to health issues.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:28

      Cool B:

      I think Peat, as it is with so very many, are way, way, way late to the party on the gut biome.

      I have many Google alerts, so I’m seeing so much research daily that its effect on me is as a fire hydrant and I just need to settle down and put it in a book.

      I’m at the point where talking about this stuff with someone who’s not talking about the gut microbiome almost primarily, it like trying to talk to the chimpanzees in the forrest, and they all start screeching at you in unison when they don’t understand you, or misunderstand you.

      That’s condescending, and it’s on purpose. Hear that, Curmudgeon?

    • edster on August 8, 2015 at 23:39

      @Richard, very much looking forward to the book. Wondering whether you’ve also considered at some stage putting all the information into a wiki so that it can be continuously kept up to date. (Put it behind a pay-wall, ask for donations, get sponsorship, use advertising, whatever works to cover the costs and effort of the contributors).

    • Richard Nikoley on August 8, 2015 at 23:47

      it’s a cool idea, ester.

      my off cuff reaction would be to solicit for folks to take it and get it all online and pledge to work it for a while, until such time as others come in with the passion and take it forward.

      ok, this is going on my master list of stuff.

    • John on August 9, 2015 at 00:22

      In general, I think Ray Peat prefers sugars over starches (from fruit/oj/honey/milk and even refined sugar), although he has mentioned eating rice an potatoes (and is a big fan of potatoes, although more for the amino acid breakdown of the protein.) I only remember hearing him talking about wheat/gluten/flour once, and it was something to the effect of “In the US, bread is fortified with iron. That should be reason enough to avoid it.”

    • sassysquatch on August 9, 2015 at 09:58

      You are so right on the gut biome. It is a life changer for ALL of us.

      I haven’t read ‘Animalpharm’ for quite some time.

      I wonder if she’s still bashing raw potato starch supplementation?

      On the other hand, Tim Steele’s ‘Vegetablepharm’ is awesome. It keeps me on track with RS and the rest of what works for Gut bug food and health.

    • CoolBeans on August 10, 2015 at 06:55

      Thanks, Duck. No disclaimers necessary with me, I understand the setup and context.

      Can you clarify what damage is irreversible in what types of situations? I can’t decipher if you’re speaking about Celiacs or Crohn’s patients, anyone with some kind of “IBS” history, Hashimoto’s or auto-immune conditions, all of the above, some of the above.


    • Duck Dodgers on August 10, 2015 at 08:13

      I’m mainly referring to celiacs.

      One collaborator told us… “I think that part of the problem in studying diseases is failing to understand that the initiation/cause of the disease is distinct from the continuation. The cause would be related to genetic risks, but continuation would be related quite separately to therapy/cure. Celiac is related to genes for antigen presentation, HLAs, involved in starting the disease, but removing the initiating factors will not cure the disease… The iron-mediating event may be in the initiation of celiac, so the sharp rise in bodywide iron that initiated celiac may have passed and even anemia may not have an impact on the course of the disease. Ferritin and hemoglobin may be low at the time that symptoms are noted, but the initiating conditions are history. We also don’t know if subsequent sharp reduction in blood heme by bloodletting initiates iron regulation mechanisms differently on people who are already anemic. There are probably many different types of metabolic syndrome. Each type probably responds differently to blood loss. The population impact of abundant/limited dietary iron and how it is sequestered by other dietary components will have multiple outcomes that will be lost in aggregate statistics. It is surprising that trends can be detected, but it just means that differences don’t compensate.”

  31. CoolBeans on August 10, 2015 at 08:37

    Interesting. Thanks for clarifying. I am not a celiac, but had quite bad IBS for years before “cleaning up the diet,” including removing all grains. Little by little, I’ve opened up the diet in parallel ways to Richard and others here who kept questioning the wisdom of low carb dogma and anti-nutrient hysteria. I’ve been conducting all manner of dietary experiments on myself for years.

    Before my recent experimentation with all sorts of grains (refined, whole grain, oats, corn, ancient organic cereal mixes, german rye bread, etc.), opening up my diet (more fruits, legumes) gave me mixed results with respect to loose bowels.

    The “miracle” for me has been incorporation of the saccharomyces boulardii yeast/probiotic. Taking a few of these in the morning makes me able to digest just about anything. And I have fartage again, which I welcome as a sign of fermentation — something absent on meat and veggies paleoTM, which was initially pleasant, then began to concern me. The only weird thing is that after my initial first-thing-in-the-AM void (smooth, normal-ish stuff), I do have a strong urge for a messier second BM, about 20 mins later. Temp solution is to take one SB probiotic at night. I haven’t read anything about SB being detrimental longer term, perhaps just unknown. But it seems to have a role in repairing the gut lining and in potentiating other probiotics. Perhaps running back to back to back to back to back (lost count now) courses of Elixa in conjunction with the SB have helped. I’ve taken to just randomly taking probiotics now, along with higher quality store-bought ferments (yoghurt, pickles, etc.).

    But wheat itself (save for some upset stomach eating regular restaurant pancakes — iron fortification or the industrial process?) has not bothered me, save for about a month of itchy hives on my inner thigh. But I stuck it through, and now the sensitive itchy area seems 99% normal.

    So, to bring this all together, I’ve VERY much wanted to abandon orthorexia and this irrational fear of food, but I was SO burned with past IBS, that sometimes the anti-gluten propaganda does nag at me. I just don’t wanna be doing anything that long-term recreates the circumstances which contribute to gut issues. I realize nobody can truly truly answer my personal idiosyncratic health issues. But I sure do appreciate the lively discussion here and that the Duck team and Richard stick around to address questions. I’ll try to do my part to post periodic updates of any revelations. Might as well throw in that moving towards far less meat, btw, has been easier than I expected. Sure, there was a transition period on learning how to re-aportion calories, but if you gradually shift, it can be done (if desired).

    Thanks, as always, for the food for thought.

  32. ProfAyers on August 11, 2015 at 09:22

    BTW, I think that wheat has components that are both beneficial and harmful to all people.  Healthy people have adequate detox systems and they benefit, whereas people immunocompromised by gut dydbiosis will suffer to varying extents. All seeds protect the seed embryo with toxic phytochemicals, enzyme inhibitors and toxic proteins. Compare Huntingtin, the protein that causes Huntington’s disease, with other polyglutamine, polyQ, toxic proteins in the seed protein amino acid sequences that follow.

    Gliadin, a major protein of wheat gluten is compared to Huntingtin and with Avenin from oats. The gliadin and avenin are initially chopped up by gastric proteases into shorter protein fragments, peptides. The stretches of glutamine (Q) remain intact and become covalently linked to transglutaminase that subsequently gets dragged into cells lining the gut. In most cases, the cells just slowly die without symptoms. Otherwise, in the presence of inflammation and immune defects, the cells can trigger an immune reaction against the proteins internalized, including the transglutaminase, which leads to celiac, Hashimoto’s, etc.

    >gi|100783|pir||A27319 gliadin – wheat

    >gi|90903231|ref|NP_002102.4| huntingtin [Homo sapiens]

    >gi|166555|gb|AAA32715.1| avenin [Avena sativa] oats

  33. Mark J on August 11, 2015 at 17:02

    How does all of this jive with the theory of gut inflammation being caused by acellular (i.e., flour) carbohydrate consumption?

    From Chris Kresser’s recent podcast:
    “This concept of acellular versus cellular carbohydrate and the importance of it to the gut microbiome comes from one of my favorite research papers ever, which was written by Professor Ian Spreadbury, and he’s actually going to be a presenter at the Ancestral Health Symposium conference in New Zealand, the New Zealand version of that conference, which is happening in October of this year. And the paper is called “Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity.” That’s a mouthful. The study will be in the show notes, so you can check it out. The full text is free, and you can read it if you’d like, but the basic idea is that all carbohydrates that were part of the ancestral diet, which would be tubers, fruits and vegetables, plant parts like stems and leaves, store their carbohydrates in fiber-walled, living cells, and those cells remain largely intact during the cooking process, and they also resist digestion or absorption in the small intestine, and therefore, the fiber remains intact all the way down to the colon, where it then becomes food for beneficial gut bacteria that are living in the large intestine. So those are the cellular carbohydrates, and they’re, like I said, found in all ancestral carbohydrate sources.

    On the other hand, in the Western or industrialized diet, you have a lot of acellular carbohydrates. These are things like flour, sugar, and other processed starches that have no living cells. These industrial foods are much higher in carbohydrate density than anything the microbiota of our upper GI tract would have encountered during our long evolution. And these foods, because they have no living cells, they’re absorbed higher up in the GI tract, and they can stimulate the overgrowth of bacteria in the upper GI tract, AKA SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and they preferentially will feed some species of bacteria over others, and that can in turn lead to an inflammatory gut microbiota.”

    • Duck Dodgers on August 11, 2015 at 18:21

      Well, at first glance, the authors of the paper that Kresser refers to seem to have a huge Paleo™ bias. The paper often talks about the low inflammation found in grain-free populations, such as the Kitava and other HGs.

      A few things to keep in mind. Europeans appear to be well adapted to grains (i.e. The 10,000 Year Explosion), while hunter gatherers are not. Therefore, the two populations are probably not very comparable.

      The authors also seem reluctant to acknowledge that there are and have been healthy grain eating cultures.

      And while the paper mainly focusses on how refined grains are inflammatory, I don’t believe they acknowledged that whole grains have been shown to have favorable impacts on the microbiome—at least in healthy/grain-adapted people. (I’m not sure a HG whose ancestors were never exposed to grains, would have the same response).

      Finally, the authors seem confused as to how high fat diets can cause metabolic derangements, while carb avoidance seems to sidestep metabolic derangements. Again, they seem poised to promote Paleo™ diet but can’t reconcile this. They remark that a unified theory would need to “somehow” explain this.

      In Kresser’s podcast he discusses that red meat disrupts the biome but seems to dismiss it as possibly being another factor (like hamburger “buns”).

      Sadly, while Kresser knows all too well about the dangers of iron, (see his excellent AHS presentation) the word “iron” does not appear anywhere in the entire transcript. This is a little disturbing since many studies implicating red meat actually zero in on the heme iron in red meat. I’m not sure why he avoids the issue.

      The iron theory can explain why high fat diets appear to promote metabolic derangements, possibly through increased iron intake into cells. Though, members of the group are still working on researching the finer details.

      My guess is that the authors started writing the paper from a Paleo™ viewpoint, and did their best to highlight grain-free populations while ignoring healthy grain-based populations.

      Incidentally, just a few centuries ago, Carl von Linné (1707-1778)—the father of modern taxonomy and one of the fathers of modern ecology—wrote scientific texts about how bread was well known to be one of the most health promoting foods.

      Of all foods bread is the most noble: Carl von Linné (Carl Linneaus) on bread (2007)

      This was a common theme, as we saw with the Hippocrates quote, above in the discussion.

      Within 200 years, Westerners went from considering bread to being one of the healthiest foods to now being the cause of all modern health issues. Amazing what happens when you fuck up the recipe for bread.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 11, 2015 at 18:59

      It is very easy to get grains in whole form or nearly so, in various ways…rolled, toasted, puffed, soaked, coursly ground, etc.

      The hilarity of this thread is that tons of people are thinking Dark Wonder Bread.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 13, 2015 at 09:22

      Another great quote showing how well wheat was regarded until recently, this time from Thomas Hodgkin (1798 – 1866) — the prominent British physician and pathologist who first described Hodgkin’s Disease…

      The means of promoting and preserving health. Lecture II, on the Articles of food, solid and fluid, by Thomas Hodgkin (1841)

      Of alimentary vegetable substances.

      The farinaceous seeds are unquestionably the most important of this class. Their introduction has been marked amongst the earliest steps in the progress of civilization, and may be noticed amongst the first historical traditions of the most ancient nations of the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Thus the Greeks paid divine honours to Ceres, as the introducer and cultivator of wheat and other grains; and the ancient Peruvians paid similar honours to Manco Capae, who gave them maize or Indian-corn, and taught them how to cultivate and use it.

      Of Wheat.—This appears to be the oldest and most valuable grain with which we are acquainted; but we know not the country to which we are indebted for it. It contains a large quantity of starch; a highly nutritive principle; and a larger quantity of gluten, the most nutritious of all the vegetable principles, than any other grain.(1) It likewise contains sugar; and a small portion of phosphate of lime, the essential constituent of bones, on which their firmness depends. It is far superior to every other kind of grain, for the formation of bread, which is emphatically termed the “staff of life” and, in all civilized countries, forms so large and considerable a part of our diet, that the word “bread” is become almost equivalent with that of “food.”

      Seeing, then, that wheat, in the form of bread, is of so great importance as an article of diet, it will be worth while for us to dwell a little upon the varieties of bread, and on some points connected with its use…

      He goes on to explain how white flour seems to cause some health issues and that bread is ideally fermented and should be thoroughly baked to make it digestible.

      But, how funny that gluten was once considered to be “the most nutritious of all the vegetable principles.” :)

    • Rob2 on August 13, 2015 at 20:57

      Great Post, very enlightening DD and others. My N=1 experiment with a return to grains in my diet, has been without any ill effects other than some slight heartburn at the start. I have found that switching to sourdough bread eased this. Apart from the bread and occasional breakfast oats, I get my grains very well fermented by consuming some excellent craft beers from time to time.

    • Rob2 on August 13, 2015 at 21:09

      PS. I forgot to add that I have no concern with iron fortified flour in the bread, because I live in Australia and flour is not fortified with iron.

    • hackberry on August 24, 2015 at 03:15

      Hildegard von Bingen (1098 to 1179) already called white flour “kitchen poison” and only considered spelt properly digestible – with its “fragile gluten”? – and not the other grains. Quite a bit earlier than the alleged “more toxic strains introduced in the middle ages” and, I think, before iron fortification. The are many histories out there, anyone’s bias can be confirmed.

  34. John on August 14, 2015 at 16:03

    By the way, have you tried popped sorghum? It’s done and tastes exactly like popcorn., but it’s about 1/4 the size. The thing that I really liked about it was that none of the shells got stuck in my teeth like always seems to happen with popcorn, even if I ate the unpopped sorghum kernels. I simply used Bob’s Red Mill Sorghum, and popped them in a little bit of coconut oil.

  35. David on August 19, 2015 at 03:47
  36. hackberry on August 23, 2015 at 13:23

    History and nutritional science (speculations) with respect to grains are of little interest to me. It’s the political economy that’s of interest. Grains were the means of domesticating cattle and then, learning from that, humans. This powerful steppe crop invaded the world and changed the landscape. Grains, slavery and elite power, – that’s the history of nutrition worth caring about. Everytime you eat an industrial grain, you vote for the elite’s control over the masses.

    • hackberry on August 23, 2015 at 14:11

      Indeed, but what do they control and kill them *with*?

      Agency is always there in the equation, but tools and our co-evolution with them, that’s where history turns and power is distributed. Money is virtual grain, combined they’re the currencies of civilisation and the stuff that makes living and dead presidents.

    • hackberry on August 24, 2015 at 01:57

      Posthoc makes (only) sense in a linear paradigm. In a systemic analysis causes and effects don’t work that way. Sufficient conditions need not be necessary, but they have a specific path along which their co-constitutive properties are revealed.

      If you search for top-down, linear, single causal effects, then that’s what you’ll find.

    • hackberry on August 24, 2015 at 02:41

      Yes, I can see it is meaningless. Nevertheless, it’s your reponses in which I find no meaning. The “natural” part really loses me. That’s the word often deployed by charlatans to trick the fools and to assume authority, the highest one at that: God, she who defines natural and normal. It sounds to me like your philosophy of technology is rather different from your political philosophy and that you vote for “power over others” in the former.

      Of course there is no need to be consistent, composite beings we all are, after all. Nevertheless, this tech-neutrality position is at best naive and certainly prevents any meaningful understanding whether one wants to praise or put down, or even just analyse neutrally. And plays perfectly into the hands of the 1% in charge. You might not vote for president, but you vote for presidency.

      Anyway, here is a quote on grains in context from Patrick Whitefield’s “The Living Landscape” indicating how a choice of plant technology is anything but neutral, but can change landscapes profoundly and give shape to all forms of life to follow:

      “By the time agriculture arrived in north-west Europe the cereals [originating from the Middle East] has been improved by plant breeding and the methods of cereal farming were well developed. It was an efficient and well known package. No one went to the trouble to invent a northern form of agriculture using the indigenous edible plants. If they had the landscape might look very different now, perhaps more like native woodland and less like an imitation of the south-west Asian steppe. Animal farming was part of the same package, and here too exotics reigned. It wasn’t the native roe and red deer but the imported cattle, sheep and goats which made up the herds”.

      Quoted in Simon Fairlie’s “Meat: A Benign Extravagance”, who continues:

      “We were colonized, and had we not been, we might have developed commercially viable varieties of … well the two indigenous plants that Whitefield mentions are “hazelnuts and the starchy tubers of bulrushes”. It’s interesting that the indigenous hazelnuts in Crawford’s trial are not significantly less productive than his walnuts which originated in Eastern Europe, whereas bulrush tubers were a non-starter. Both were accessible plants that absorbed a generous amount of sunlight because they were in areas too wet for trees to grow, or on the edge of the forest canopy. As clearings expanded it’s easy to see how bulrushes, realint upon copious quantities of water, were outcompeted by wheat, barley and rye, whilst hazel hung at the margins.”

      Every path has its specificities and creates its particular dependencies. Whether necessary or sufficient, things go on, they happened, continue to unfold along those lines. Linear cause and effect thinking is largely irrelevant in a systemic context rendering the “posthoc” label meaningless. We only have “after this” facts to work with and, as it were:

      “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

    • Richard Nikoley on August 23, 2015 at 14:00

      “Grains don’t kill people, people kill people.”

    • Richard Nikoley on August 23, 2015 at 14:03

      I’ll take that post hoc argument seriously when you post a pic where you’ve cut off your opposable thumbs.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 23, 2015 at 14:45

      It’s a meaningless and irrelevant discussion. Lots of people can be killed with sticks & stones. There’s nothing fundamental about grains or currency, other than they’re just more tools.

      A hammer can be used to build shelter or smash a skull. Nuclear technology can power cities or annihilate millions.

      There is no tool that’s not a multi-purpose, but there is nothing inherent in any of them that makes it imperative to kill people with them and the vast majority of people who have ever lived have not, because in fact it is not natural to do so. What is natural, however, is a propensity to seek authority and its “automatic knowledge” external to us, and that’s where the liars, manipulators, frauds, mystics and brutes come in.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 24, 2015 at 07:25

      This is all just nonsense blather.

      Humans are tool makers who mold the environments around them. They are part of the evolutionary landscape too, and yes, that means some will prosper and others will falter, and it doesn’t even require any overt or malicious use of force.

      Same in nature. Beavers build a damn, and oh shit! Some ecosystem downstream crashes.

      Mine is the true way of the wild, including humans with big, tool making brains and an ability to understand physical laws and integrate them.

      The only way to undo such a thing is by force, ironically employing all the tools and understandings you spurn.

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