Author Topic: Cordain, hero or heretic?  (Read 12912 times)

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Offline aariel

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Cordain, hero or heretic?
« on: October 04, 2009, 10:34:50 am »
What's this groups POV on Cordain's paleo diet work?

I searched for  "Cordain" and got zero hits, which seemed odd.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 04:55:07 am by TylerDurden »

Offline DeadRamones

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2009, 01:54:29 pm »
I thought about buying the book so I can use for reference. After reading tons of reader review. I get the impression that it was gimmick marketing.

Some reviews claim that the author insist on cutting off the visible fats & shuns saturated meat fats. Highlights the use of flax oil,marinating & cooking with flax oil. Insist eggs should be seasonal, but prefers a wide variety of organic fruits/veggies. Which we all know comes from different climates of the world. Paleo for athletes, I read that there is a recommendation for drinking Gatorade. Now I can see how drinking Gatorade might help an athlete but in no way is that a paleo style of nutrition.

It just seems like there were to much contradictions & targeted towards the low carb craze. I really hate to review this book,because I don't have it nor did I read it. It seems to me that the Con's out weight the Pro's in order for me to purchase this book.

Online TylerDurden

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 04:48:51 pm »
Cordain has stopped recommending flax oil, according to reports.

As for the claims re non-palaeo foods, Cordain is merely trying to reach the mass-market so allows people to cheat(if they want to). In private, he's not too keen on gatorade, I think.

The main criticism of Cordain is that he was against the notion that palaeo diets were high fat(he now accepts moderate amounts of fat, not low, I think?).
.  Given mine and others' experiences re the difficulty grassfed cattle have in putting on fat-layers( as opposed to grainfed cattle which easily add on fat-layers), and other concerns, I reckon Cordain has a point re moderate amounts of fat in Palaeo times.
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2009, 09:47:40 pm »
My objections to L. Cordain's diet are:

1- It is lean cooked meat and veg., including fruit and nuts. NOT eaten by paleolithic man; not effective in curing my disease.

2- He calls it "The Paleolithic Diet". This is a lie, and has deceived many including me, costing us years of unnecessary suffering.



Offline SkinnyDevil

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2009, 10:45:49 pm »
I can accept that paleo-humans cooked on rare occasion (I recall as a child playing with my food over an open fire while camping), and I can even accept that in some cases the older one gets the less one has a taste for fat, but I can't accept Cordain's position that "paleo" means steamed broccoli instead of rice, baked chicken instead of rare steak, oil & vinegar instead of bleu cheese salad dressing.

All of these were my first exposure to Cordain in an article with several paleo-folk and an interviewer.

Cordain is perhaps well-intentioned, but he should be careful in choosing words like "paleo" to describe his position. There is no doubt that there is no proper consensus on what paleo-era humans ate (even ignoring geographical differences, the arguments rage as to how often meat vs veggies were consumed), but I see no way that anyone can accept without qualification that "paleo" could possibly mean "steamed, baked, and processed seasonings".
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Offline DeadRamones

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2009, 11:45:13 pm »
 I understand that Grass-fed & wild animals are leaner. I just don't think it's true for paleo dieter to trim off the fat.Unless you are trying to restrict calories for weight loss. I also understand that reaching the main stream media will increase revenue. so suggesting raw meat would be corporate suicide since it's a taboo subject. I feel like it's Selling Out. By suggesting to trim off visible fats,cook with flaxseed oil, replace lard with nut/fruit oil.

This book might be good for beginners or someone transitioning from unhealthy eating habits.The only reasons I can see the author suggesting to trim visible fats, is for liability. I'm guessing he doesn't want one of his readers to suffer from some sort of diseases or heavy weight gain & try to blame/sue him. Also so his readers will lose some weight(because of the calorie restriction) while new to the diet.



Offline aariel

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2009, 12:00:59 pm »
Here is a review of the book from Sally Fallon--granted she is more neolithic than paleo, but she does make many good points.

http://www.westonaprice.org/bookreviews/paleodiet.html

As for the leanness in grass fed animals...

From talking to a grass-based farmer, there are two major challenges. First, the genetics for most meat animals have been selected for grain fattening for so long that when you put that kind of animal on 100% pasture it's not going to fatten well. He even went so far as to import some Devon beefs from NZ because they have been breeding for a long time on nothing but pasture. All pasture dairy farmers do the same thing for the same reason--NZ has the best genetics for an all pasture diet.

The other problem, especially for beef, is that mad cow has the meat inspectors all paranoid and they have regulations that force slaughter at a young age. Here in Ontario it's 30 mo. max. Traditionally, the older the beef, the better the quality, the higher the fat content and the higher price at market. 5 year old beef is a premium product in many markets across the world. In the past, hunters would have sought out the older males because of their larger stores of fat. The regulations also force the carcass temperature down too soon for hardly any of the natural breakdown process to occur. Even during the first few hours after death, there is significant chemistry going on to break down tissues that would make the meat more tender.

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2009, 05:54:25 pm »
This 30-month example re slaughter illustrates how difficult it is for grassfed animals to put on fat. Plus, even animals in the wild have to take years to put on sufficient fat-layers, given they have to contend with fat-loss during each winter, so the genetics of domesticated animals isn't too relevant .I've heard c.5 years is necessary to add on really large layers of fats on wild natural diets, and by that time most such herbivores will be eliminated by predators etc.

As for Cordain, he already debunked Sally Fallon's rather emotional diatribe against him. Here's his answer, below:-


Quote
"Needless to say, Sally Fallon's review bothers me -- not from a personal basis, but rather because it attempts to cloud the real dietary issues for readers like you, who may not have a sufficient background to know what is factual and what is hype. Further, this review attempts to discredit a very powerful new scientific concept (evolutionary medicine) that is being used worldwide by scientists in a wide variety of disciplines to answer complex health questions.

I do not know Sally Fallon, but I suspect that she has "an axe to grind" because of a debate I had with her co-author, Mary Enig, on whether or not dietary saturated fats were healthful or harmful. My research group and I believe that the high amounts of dietary saturated fats in the western diet promote atherosclerosis because they down-regulate the LDL receptor (a concept for which the Nobel prize in medicine was awarded in 1984). We do not believe that dietary saturated fats are the sole or even main cause of atherosclerosis, but rather are a part of many dietary elements that promote heart disease.

It is natural and healthy for scientists to disagree on scientific and medical issues as this is the process called "peer review" which ultimately moves science forward. Unfortunately, the internet is not a peer reviewed forum, and literally anyone can say anything they care to say. As far as I am aware, Sally Fallon is not a scientist, nor has she ever submitted any of her ideas to the peer review process in scientific journals. Does this mean that Sally Fallon's ideas have no merit?  No, they simply have not been adequately tested using the scientific method. All of the information I present in my book is substantiated by peer reviewed scientific articles that I have published, along with my research group or by other scientists from diverse fields.

Sally Fallon's review attempts to debunk the Paleo Diet concept by using a satirical tone in which she misleads the reader by taking information out of context and emphasizes specific points without examining the larger picture. The first paragraph of her review represents an example of this deliberately misleading prose. There is no doubt that hunter-gatherers ate the entire edible carcass of animals that were hunted and killed, and the fatty portions of the carcass were relished more than the lean muscle tissue. We have pointed this information out in many of our scientific papers. However, there are two key points that Fallon fails to mention.

The first is the total fat content of wild animal carcasses varies seasonally throughout the year in a cyclic waxing and waning manner. Studies of caribou over a 12-month period show that the total carcass (organs and all) fat  by weight for 7 months of the year average less than 5 %; for 9 months of the year it average less than 10 %. For 3 months of the year total carcass fat falls between 11-17 %. In contrast 99 % of the beef in the U.S. is produced under fed lot conditions in which the animal is always slaughtered at the peak or highest body fat % which typically exceeds 30 % by weight. An animal that has a body fat of 5% by weight equals 34 % fat by energy, whereas an animal that has a body fat of 30 % by weight equals 85 % fat by energy. Hence the total fat content of feed-lot produced domesticated animals is not even remotely close to that of wild animals.

The second point of deception in Fallon's review revolves around the types of fats available in the total edible carcass of wild animals over a 12 month period. From our recent paper analyzing the fat content in the tissues of wild animals (see webpage for article), we have been able to show that the dominant fats (> 50 % energy) in organs are polyunsaturated (PUFA) + monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids, whereas the dominant (>50% energy) fat in adipose tissue is saturated fat. Further, by employing allometric regressions that scale organ mass to tissue mass and then by analyzing the fat content and fatty acid composition of each organ, it is possible to calculate the total edible carcass fatty acid composition as it varies throughout the year. Our results (in press) show that for 9 months or more of the year, it would have been impossible to obtain >10 % of the total carcass energy as saturated fats.

In my book, The Paleo Diet, it was not my objective to precisely and exactly imitate the dietary practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, but rather to synthesize a diet from commonly available modern foods that would emulate the nutritional characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets. Few modern people would be willing to eat brains, intestines, liver, kidney, gonads, lungs etc. Nor do few modern, westernized people have access to wild animal meat and organs on a year round basis.   By removing skin and excess fat from domestic meats available at the supermarket and then by adding in healthful oils, it is possible to simulate the entire carcass fatty acid profiles of wild animals. Consumption of the fatty cuts of meat (chicken with skin, hamburger, beef ribs etc) on a year round basis is vastly at odds with the nutritional patterns of hunter-gatherers. It’s not that hunter-gatherers didn’t want to eat fatty meats; it’s just that a year round source did not exist. Hence, my recommendation to eat lean meats trimmed of visible fat along with healthful oils provides a diet with approximately 10 % or less of total energy from saturated fats - a value that mimics values in hunter-gatherer diets. From our paper (Cordain L. The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24), you can examine in more detail the fat profile of modern diets based upon Stone Age food groups.

The second paragraph of Fallon’s critique again represents a satirical ploy to invalidate the entire concept of evolutionary nutrition based upon irrelevant information.  In the first place Paleolithic people (hominins living during the Old Stone Age - approximately 2.4 million years ago until 10,000 years ago) did not cook in pots as pottery was first produced ~9,000 years ago. Secondly, oil extraction from any plants is not known to have occurred until ~ 6,000 years ago. But again, even though Fallon is unaware of this information, it skirts the real issue. It is virtually economically impossible or culturally deplorable for most western people to eat the entire carcass of wild animals throughout the year. Consequently certain beneficial changes must be made to foods commonly available at the supermarket to achieve the general nutritional characteristics of pre-agricultural diets. The addition of canola oil to lean domestic meats increases the MUFA and n-3 concentrations of the entire meal so that it more closely resembles the fatty acid concentrations that are present when the entire carcass of a wild animal is consumed. The addition of various spices, lemon juice etc. improves the flavor of the meat and makes it more palatable. Although this combination of spices certainly would not have been available to historically studied hunter-gatherers, there is extensive ethnographic evidence to show that various spices and plant parts were components of Holocene hunter-gatherer diets. The addition of these spices in no way impairs the nutritional qualities of the diet and in fact may add many valuable phytochemicals and antioxidants.

In the typical western diet refined sugars comprise 16-18% of the total daily energy. Clearly, there are numerous health problems associated with this enormous intake of empty calories. However, for many people it is difficult to make sudden behavioral changes, particularly when it comes to comfort foods, such as highly sugared processed foods (ice cream, cake, cookies, candy etc). Although fruits would be a much better choice for taming the sweet tooth, diet sodas can help people to make this transition. We never have suggested that diet sodas were part of pre-agricultural diets, but neither were fatty meats, milk, butter, cheese, whole grain breads or the salted foods that Fallon so highly recommends.

The third paragraph of Fallon’s diatribe becomes personal and insulting - not just for me for any educated person. I prefer to let the data and information speak for itself, regardless of a person’s gender, racial background or academic affiliation. Information should not be accepted or rejected upon who generates it, but rather upon the merit and objectivity of the idea. I personally find it repulsive to prejudice an individual or person based upon personal issues or characteristics that are unrelated to the information being presented.

In the third paragraph of her review, Fallon once again mistakenly suggests that we indicated that hunter-gatherers ate low fat diets. This never has been the case. Apparently, she has not bothered to read our paper (Cordain L, Brand Miller J, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SHA, Speth JD. Plant to animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in world wide hunter-gatherer diets. Am J Clin Nutr 2000, 71:682-92) in which we say "Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45-65% of energy) of animal food. And "the fat intake would be comparable or higher (28-58% energy) than values currently consumed in modern, industrialized societies."

Fallon brings up the notion of political correctness (pc) in her review. As scientists, we utilize the scientific method to form and test our hypotheses and let the chips fall where they will regardless of any pre-conceived notions. Although it may be politically correct to state that saturated fats are not necessarily healthful when consumed in the high amounts in the typical U.S. diet, it is terribly politically incorrect to recommend limiting grains of any kind (whole or processed) or dairy products. Our dietary recommendations have no basis in political correctness, but rather reflect what the data indicate.

In Fallon’s 4th paragraph she completely misleads the reader by stating that: "He says that Paleolithic peoples had no carbohydrate foods like grains or starchy root foods—never mind reports of grains found in the fire ashes of some of the earliest human groups, or the widespread use of tubers among primitive peoples, usually fermented or slow cooked." This statement steps far beyond the bounds of truth. We go on record as stating that Pre-Agricultural people ate few or no grains, however we have never suggested that they did not eat tubers. Again, if Fallon would take the time to read our scientific papers, she would be aware of this. In our AJCN 2000 paper (Table 3) we show that tubers, roots and bulbs would have comprised 23.6 % of all the plant food consumed by the average hunter-gatherer. Grains are virtually indigestible unless the cell walls are broken via (grinding or milling) and the starch is gelatinized by cooking. Hence the appearance of stone grinding tools (mortar and pestle, saddle stones etc) heralds the widespread use of grains in hunter-gatherer societies. The first primitive grinding tools do not make their appearance anywhere in the world until the late Paleolithic (~15-20,000 years ago), and the first hunter gatherer society known to have made wide scale use of grains were the Natufians who lived in the Levant ~13,000 years ago.

The next statement in this paragraph is highly objectionable, false and is totally ignorant of the actual data regarding the fatty acid composition of the tissue of wild animals. "He says that there isn’t much fat in wild animals (did he check with any hunters while writing his book?) and that what fat these animals had was highly politically correct—low in "lethal" saturated fat and rich in monounsaturates and omega-3 fatty acids. Did he look up the fatty acid profile of buffalo fat while researching his book? Obviously not. If he had, it would have ruined his whole theory because buffalo fat is more saturated than beef fat."  Apparently, Fallon again has failed to do her homework. If she would take the time to read our paper (Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002; 56:181-191.) she would know that our conclusions are based upon hundreds of hours of painstaking analysis. I don’t believe Fallon has ever analyzed the tissues of any wild animals - we have, and our scientific results are much different than her opinions.

Here’s another completely false statement: "And obviously he didn’t check up on canola oil, which he recommends as a source of omega-3 fatty acids—because virtually all canola oil is deodorized, a process that gets rid of the omega-3s." This statement shows how anyone can say anything on the internet with absolutely no systems of checks and balances that are normally provided by the peer review process in scientific publications. Any reader who wants to can access Medline (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi) and find numerous studies showing that canola oil contains about 10% of it’s total fatty acids as omega 3 fatty acids. Here are 2 citations (Dupont J et al. J Am Coll Nutr 1989;8:360-75; Ayorinde FO et al. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2000;14:608-15).

In regard to salt, Fallon again does the reader a disservice by not adequately presenting the data. The systematic mining, manufacture and transportation of salt have their origin in the Neolithic. Dragging and gathering salt from dry lakebeds is known to have taken place on Lake Yuncheng in the Northern Province of Shanxi, China by 6000 B.C. The earliest evidence for salt exploitation in Europe comes from salt mines at Cardona, Spain dating to 4200 - 3600  B.C. It is likely that Paleolithic or Holocene hunter-gatherers living in coastal areas may have dipped food in seawater or used dried seawater salt in a manner similar to nearly all Polynesian societies at the time of European contact   However, the inland living Maori of New Zealand lost the salt habit, and most recently studied inland hunter-gatherers add no or little salt to their food on a daily basis. Further, there is no evidence that Paleolithic (2.5 million years ago until 10,000 years ago) people undertook salt extraction or took interest in inland salt deposits. Collectively, this evidence suggests that the high salt consumption (~10 g per day) in western societies has minimal or no evolutionary precedent in all hominin species prior to the Neolithic period.

Fallon’s final paragraph represents opinion unsubstantiated by factual data. Again, if she would have taken the time to read our paper (Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002; 56:181-191.), she would have known that a modern Paleo Diet contains almost 8 times the RDA for vitamin A. Consequently, her statement that high protein diets lead to vitamin A deficiency is nonsense and completely untrue. Although hunter-gatherers did not consume dairy products, their bones were robust and resistant to fracture and rarely exhibited signs and symptoms of osteoporosis which is endemic in western populations. As we have outlined at my website as well as in the JANA paper and elsewhere, these people maintained strong bones because they were in calcium balance - meaning that calcium intake exceeded calcium losses in the urine. When the diet is net alkaline-producing, calcium balance can be maintained at lower calcium intakes.

Our recommendation to rub flax oil on meat prior to cooking was based on information published by the Flax Council showing that no oxidation occurred to flaxseed when cooked at 662 F for 60 min. Apparently, flax oil may respond differently than flaxseed for unknown reasons. Because of the new information we have rescinded our previous recommendation and suggest that flax oil be added after cooking (see website--click here for more information).

Fallon wraps up her diatribe by saying that we indicated diet sodas were part of hunter-gatherer diets. This statement is a ludicrous attempt to discredit our scientific work and the work of hundreds of dedicated scientists throughout the world who realize the value of evolutionary nutrition in treating multiple diseases of civilization. The most powerful and pervasive idea in all of biology is evolution through natural selection. It has only been in the last decade that this organizing template has been applied to nutrition and health. Great strides are now being made in understanding how clinically demonstrated principles underlying proper nutrition can be traced to our genome. Our genome was conditioned and shaped by environmental selective pressures that occurred long before the Agricultural Revolution. Since the appearance of our genus Homo, more than 2 million years ago, there have been at least 100,000 generations. Since the Agricultural Revolution of 10,000 years ago there have been only 500 human generations. Our genome simply has had insufficient time to adapt to the foods ushered in during the Neolithic (fatty meats, dairy products, whole grains and salty foods). "
taken from:-  

http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/

  
« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 09:19:45 pm by TylerDurden »
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Offline DeadRamones

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 08:20:16 pm »
Thanks Tyler, That cleared up alot. If a revised edition of the book came out. Maybe I'd buy it lol.

Offline aariel

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2009, 09:41:06 am »
This is gold--thanks Tyler.

While I agree with most of his "I'm a scientist, she's not" responses. It is interesting that he contradicts himself by first dismissing her critique because she is not a "scientist", but then later says the source of  an ideal shouldn't matter, only it's merit.

While his analysis of fatty acids in wild animals is interesting. I think it misses the point. It's almost like he thinks hunters hunted the same thing every day of the year--like how we now shop at the grocery store. There are numerous accounts of hunters being highly selective of which species, which members of a species, what time of year and even which body parts they ate. They had a very deep understanding of exactly which tissues they wanted for very specific purposes of health. Something that Cordain isn't even attempting to characterize with his over simplified, reductionist scientific method. It was very common for hunters to go after very specific animals during a season, harvest many of a specific type (alpha males) and then cache up that food for later use. So I think the entire exercise of trying to deduce the lipid profile of a Paleo diet is a nearly futile effort. Although I do agree that there is a huge difference in the lipid profiles of grain fed meat vs. pastured meat vs wild game.

The other major problem with his whole response is that he totally seems to have missed the main point of the criticism.  He freely admits in his response that he is doing exactly what he is being criticized for--that is, trying to distort a Paleo diet to fit within the narrow confines of conventional nutritional theories. He never questions the notion that a high fat diet is bad, or that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad. I happen to think these are all fine and have little to do with chronic disease. Unfortunately the majority of nutrition and medical researchers don't agree with me. Too bad for them reality isn't based on democracy. Conscensus is frequently wrong--just look at the history of mercury as medicine, female hysteria cures, Vioxx, the list is endless. Of course there are consensus ideas that are true, but the trick is trying spot the impostors at any given moment in time.

The other major problem he has is that his faith in peer reviewed journals is not balanced. It's true that peer-reviewed journals are "where the action is" in most fields. But the peer-review process has a dark side. It's the process by which descent is suppressed and industry bias plays out. Peer-reviewed journals are not a market place of ideas. They are mostly intellectual propaganda. I am reminded of Max Plank's quote:

"An important scientific innovation rarely
makes its way by gradually winning over and
converting its opponents. What does happen
is that its opponents gradually die out and that
the growing generation is familiar with the
idea from the beginning. "

So in many ways peer-reviewed journals are where wrong theories go to die.

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2009, 10:13:55 am »
I've been trashed too many times in the past by Fallon/Enig/Price supporters to want to comment on Cordain vs. Fallon, but I will say that I disagree with both on some things and agree with both on other things and I learned something from both, so why not check them both out (for both there are free Youtube videos, articles and interviews online that you can access before you decide what if any book to buy)? Surely it's better to get a variety of perspectives on a topic as important as nutrition and health.
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Online TylerDurden

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2009, 06:55:27 pm »
While his analysis of fatty acids in wild animals is interesting. I think it misses the point. It's almost like he thinks hunters hunted the same thing every day of the year--like how we now shop at the grocery store. There are numerous accounts of hunters being highly selective of which species, which members of a species, what time of year and even which body parts they ate. They had a very deep understanding of exactly which tissues they wanted for very specific purposes of health. Something that Cordain isn't even attempting to characterize with his over simplified, reductionist scientific method. It was very common for hunters to go after very specific animals during a season, harvest many of a specific type (alpha males) and then cache up that food for later use. So I think the entire exercise of trying to deduce the lipid profile of a Paleo diet is a nearly futile effort. Although I do agree that there is a huge difference in the lipid profiles of grain fed meat vs. pastured meat vs wild game.

This still doesn't contradict Cordain's point that during times of widespread famine or winter or simply a lack of supply of the right species, animal-fat would have been a much rarer find- simply put hunter-gatherers just didn't have the luxury of usually being able to choose the prey they wanted. And storage opportunities were rather limited during fridge-free epochs!

Quote
The other major problem with his whole response is that he totally seems to have missed the main point of the criticism.  He freely admits in his response that he is doing exactly what he is being criticized for--that is, trying to distort a Paleo diet to fit within the narrow confines of conventional nutritional theories. He never questions the notion that a high fat diet is bad, or that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad. I happen to think these are all fine and have little to do with chronic disease. Unfortunately the majority of nutrition and medical researchers don't agree with me. Too bad for them reality isn't based on democracy. Conscensus is frequently wrong--just look at the history of mercury as medicine, female hysteria cures, Vioxx, the list is endless. Of course there are consensus ideas that are true, but the trick is trying spot the impostors at any given moment in time.

The problem with the above is that study after study has shown that foods high in (cooked)saturated fats are extremely unhealthy. Now, if there were only 1 or 2 studies(or even a few dozen) one could discount the results but when there are masses of studies available showing 1 side and precious few supporting the Fallon side, then it's pretty obvious that the masses of studies attacking cooked saturated fats are representing the  correct view.

That said, while the results of the studies damning cooked saturated fats are incontrovertible, there is a serious problem with their definitions. For example, there is now strong evidence to indicate all the studies done on cooked saturated fat-heavy foods actually were damning the consumption of heat-created toxins such as AGEs:-

"[Another confounding issue may be the formation of exogenous (outside the body) advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and oxidation products generated during cooking, which it appears some of the studies have not controlled for."] It has been suggested that, "given the prominence of this type of food in the human diet, the deleterious effects of high-(saturated)fat foods may be in part due to the high content in glycotoxins, above and beyond those due to oxidized fatty acid derivatives." The glycotoxins, as he called them, are more commonly called AGEs" from the original paper:-

http://www.pnas.org/content/94/12/6474.long

Quote
The other major problem he has is that his faith in peer reviewed journals is not balanced. It's true that peer-reviewed journals are "where the action is" in most fields. But the peer-review process has a dark side. It's the process by which descent is suppressed and industry bias plays out. Peer-reviewed journals are not a market place of ideas. They are mostly intellectual propaganda.

The problem is the alternative is even worse. That would involve blindly trusting in Aajonus and Fallon and other dubious people(most of whom avoid using more than the occasional scientific reference). When I first started the diet, many RVAF newbies complained bitterly about the lack of scientific proof for raw diets - I duly did some serious checking and found that, in actual fact, there's a hell of a lot of studies supporting the benefits of a raw diet and the disadvantages of a cooked diet. For example, there are now 1000s of studies done on the dangers of heat-created toxins caused by cooking(such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, AGEs etc.); then there's the multitude of studies on the dangers of dairy and grains and  on the benefits of bacteria(there's even now a mainstream scientific hypothesis, called "The Hygiene Hypothesis" which puts forward the notion that being deprived of bacteria and parasites is actually bad for us.So, in actual fact, science is for the most part backing our decidedly non-mainstream diet.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 07:10:40 pm by TylerDurden »
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2009, 10:38:47 pm »


That said, while the results of the studies damning cooked saturated fats are incontrovertible,

Not.

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2009, 01:05:08 pm »
I've been trashed too many times in the past by Fallon/Enig/Price supporters to want to comment on Cordain vs. Fallon, but I will say that I disagree with both on some things and agree with both on other things and I learned something from both, so why not check them both out (for both there are free Youtube videos, articles and interviews online that you can access before you decide what if any book to buy)? Surely it's better to get a variety of perspectives on a topic as important as nutrition and health.

Yeah I take the same basic approach. In my experience I've never been able to find a person or organization that didn't have a significant load of shit falling out of their mouths now and again. I couldn't even tell you right now which ideas I hold to be true that are actually false. (no one can)

I've been trying to collect as much information as possible and frequently see interesting patterns, confirmations, contradictions, etc.

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2009, 01:36:29 pm »
Tyler,

I agree that there is a large body of studies investigating the dangers of chemicals produced by cooking and that there is definitely something going on in the cooking process.

I've looked at a lot of these studies and many others related to meat consumption and cancer. And virtually all of them are very poorly designed.
In support of your basic point, many study cooked meat and conclude that meat is bad when in fact another body of research seems to indicate that it's the cooking, not the meat.

But there are many more examples of similar lack of controls or unjustifiable conclusions.
The meat they use for testing is usually conventionally raised, grain fed meat.
The grain is often GMO and contaminated with numerous pesticides, the animals are given pesticides for parasite control and non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones, and raised under near constant stress and given synthetic vitamins and chlorinated/fluoridated water and on and on the list of novel molecules or industrial cultural practices goes. Any one of these could have a statistically significant influence in the study outcome, but almost none of these factors are controlled. And many of these novel molecules are known carcinogens. So while they are looking for meat to be the cause of cancer, they are overlooking literally hundreds of common synthetic molecules, many of which are know to be carcinogens. And there are almost no studies looking at the cumulative effect of all these molecules.

So at the end of the day I discount most of these "meat is bad" studies since they have no clue what the hell they are actually studying. Instead they are just engaged in a semi-religous activity, not hard science. Taubes talks about this at great lengths in "Good Calories, Bad Calories".

And I completely agree with you when you say, "The problem is the alternative is even worse. "

So here we are in the middle.
On the one side we have pseudo-scientific people occasionally using science to bolster a point and on the other we have our best and brightest, mostly well intentioned people who are frequently engaged in intellectual facism and self-deception of the highest order. If you haven't already checked out the "How to Think About Science" series on CBC radio, you really should invest the time--you won't be disappointed.
http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/science/index.html

It's not the first time I find myself stuck in no-mans land. It's like buying food. The grocery store is a train wreck, but the "health food" store is no better with all vegan and soy crap. I end up getting my food directly from farmers. I just got 15lbs. of cavity fat from a 100% pastured beef--for free! I had to go to the slaughter house to get it, but that's a small price to pay for some good quality fat.

Cheers,

Paul

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2009, 06:01:46 pm »
Tyler,I've looked at a lot of these studies and many others related to meat consumption and cancer. And virtually all of them are very poorly designed.
In support of your basic point, many study cooked meat and conclude that meat is bad when in fact another body of research seems to indicate that it's the cooking, not the meat.

But there are many more examples of similar lack of controls or unjustifiable conclusions.
The meat they use for testing is usually conventionally raised, grain fed meat.
The grain is often GMO and contaminated with numerous pesticides, the animals are given pesticides for parasite control and non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones, and raised under near constant stress and given synthetic vitamins and chlorinated/fluoridated water and on and on the list of novel molecules or industrial cultural practices goes. Any one of these could have a statistically significant influence in the study outcome, but almost none of these factors are controlled. And many of these novel molecules are known carcinogens. So while they are looking for meat to be the cause of cancer, they are overlooking literally hundreds of common synthetic molecules, many of which are know to be carcinogens. And there are almost no studies looking at the cumulative effect of all these molecules.

It's perfectly true that scientists are sometimes studying just  processed meats. But if you check, many studies focus also on less processed meats, albeit mostly grainfed meats, and they show similiar, if slightly reduced results. Another point is that those studies focus specifically on the molecules created by the cooking process, such as advanced glycation end products, hetertocyclic amines. These molecules have been shown,in isolation to have extremely harmful effects - cooked grassfed meats also have these harmful molecules, no matter how full of healthier nutrients they are(and many such nutrients (eg:- omega 3)are significantly damaged by cooking, anyway). So, in some ways it would be much healthier to eat raw grainfed meat than to eat cooked, grassfed meats, as that would involve a dramatic drop in the intake of heat-created toxins.

Quote
So at the end of the day I discount most of these "meat is bad" studies since they have no clue what the hell they are actually studying. Instead they are just engaged in a semi-religous activity, not hard science. Taubes talks about this at great lengths in "Good Calories, Bad Calories".

The trouble is that Taubes seems to be just a self-publicist author, not a serious food-scientist. And many criticise his own reviews of studies.


« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 06:11:34 pm by TylerDurden »
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2009, 06:20:49 am »
It's perfectly true that scientists are sometimes studying just  processed meats. But if you check, many studies focus also on less processed meats, albeit mostly grainfed meats, and they show similiar, if slightly reduced results. Another point is that those studies focus specifically on the molecules created by the cooking process, such as advanced glycation end products, hetertocyclic amines. These molecules have been shown,in isolation to have extremely harmful effects - cooked grassfed meats also have these harmful molecules, no matter how full of healthier nutrients they are(and many such nutrients (eg:- omega 3)are significantly damaged by cooking, anyway). So, in some ways it would be much healthier to eat raw grainfed meat than to eat cooked, grassfed meats, as that would involve a dramatic drop in the intake of heat-created toxins.

The trouble is that Taubes seems to be just a self-publicist author, not a serious food-scientist. And many criticise his own reviews of studies.

Taubes is a science journalist, not a scientist. Which is a rather rare breed since you have to have the technical chops to understand the science in great detail, but also have the skills of a journalist to tease out what's relevant and write about it in a way that is accessible. GCBC was written for professionals. He's working a more mainstream version that's more accessible.

From my observations most of the critiques against Taubes are pretty uniformed (i.e. they haven't read his book, or they did and didn't understand it or couldn't face the stagerring truth that their entire career is baseless) and typify the "circle the wagons" mentality that is common in academia whenever anyone comes along and points out that the proverbial emporer has no clothes on. You can certainly find bits and pieces to quibble over in GCBC, but the general thesis is spot on--they're not asking the right questions in most nutrition studies related to obesity or chronic disease. The classic example is a high-fat vs. low-fat diet. There have been no large scale, controlled studies to compare the two--so we don't know which is in fact better at reducing chronic disease or extending life expectancy. The first such trial was ended after the initial round because the preliminary data was so overwhelmingly against a low fat diet and they'd already committed to low fat.

Have you read GCBC?

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2009, 06:27:18 am »
...
So here we are in the middle.
On the one side we have pseudo-scientific people occasionally using science to bolster a point and on the other we have our best and brightest, mostly well intentioned people who are frequently engaged in intellectual facism and self-deception of the highest order. If you haven't already checked out the "How to Think About Science" series on CBC radio, you really should invest the time--you won't be disappointed.
http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/science/index.html ...
Thanks for the excellent link.

One of the interesting things about diet is that the most "savage, primitive" peoples in the world seem to have gotten it more right than many of the world's leading "scientists." It's rather humbling. Usually in my experience, when there is a difference about diet/health between hunter-gatherers and scientists, the HGs turn out to be the ones who are more correct.

This doesn't mean we should abandon science, just improve how we do it and how we think about it, and by the looks of those books at the link you provided, it looks like some people are already at work trying to do just that. Science is a toolkit that can be used well or poorly. Here's hoping that we figure out how to better use it.
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2009, 05:01:46 pm »
Have you read GCBC?

Not yet. I'd read so many poor reviews of the book(with multiple backed-up facts discounting his claims) that I was somewhat discouraged - plus, whenever someone like Fallon or Taubes makes idiotic claims of conspiracy theories, it's a sure bet that their data is so weak that they need other non-factual means to convince the reader -plus good scientists generally don't self-publicise to that extent - self-publicising is more a characteristic of those practising bad science, who wish to convince through argument rather than solid data. Also, like I said, his claims are directly contradicted by the multitude of scientific studies out there. Simply put, if there are masses of data claiming 1 view, and only a tiny amount supporting an opposite view, then by the law of probabilities, the first view is most likely to be the correct one.Some studies can be badly run, some run fraudulently etc., but one can't claim the same for all of them! (Although one cannot convincingly argue against such mass of actual results, one can certainly rightfully criticise the definitions or interpretations of results, such as damning all fat-intake when the studies show the most harm comes from cooked animal fat, not raw animal fat, say).

Given the near-infallible deity-like status that Taubes seems to have(along with Weston-Price and to a lesser extent, Aajonus) within the raw low-carb community , I've already decided to read the book so I can post a suitable review. Trouble is that I still have the Weston-Price and Aajonus books to do which are rather more relevant to the RVAF community. Still, I've written some good reviews of Stefansson's and Audette's books, so far.
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2009, 07:26:53 am »
Yeah, you were more positive of NeanderThin than I expected. Perhaps because it's the only book so far that speaks positively and specifically about both Paleo and raw? Ray ate mostly RVAF himself, but I'll bet his publisher wouldn't have published the book if he didn't put warnings about bacteria in it.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2009, 05:29:21 pm »
Yeah, you were more positive of NeanderThin than I expected. Perhaps because it's the only book so far that speaks positively and specifically about both Paleo and raw? Ray ate mostly RVAF himself, but I'll bet his publisher wouldn't have published the book if he didn't put warnings about bacteria in it.

Well, I give credit where credit is due and that was a rawpalaeo site, so naturally in any review  I criticise any overt anti-raw or anti-palaeo ideas . I didn't know Audette ate mostly raw, I was pretty sure he ate mostly lightly-cooked or seared at the least.
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2009, 06:12:10 am »
Well, I give credit where credit is due and that was a rawpalaeo site, so naturally in any review  I criticise any overt anti-raw or anti-palaeo ideas . I didn't know Audette ate mostly raw, I was pretty sure he ate mostly lightly-cooked or seared at the least.
That's what I meant by mostly raw--90% or more of his meat is raw, with just the outsides lightly seared for some seconds--although he did cook his bacon more thoroughly. His thinking was to kill off the bacteria, but the worst effects he ever got from raw meat were mild diarrhea, so he wasn't paranoid about bacteria and parasites like most people. If he had been aware of the Inuits eating high and fermented meats and fish and Vonderplanitz's work, I think he probably would have tried foregoing the searing altogether, since he said that 100% raw would be optimal if it weren't for the risk of infection in modern, urbanized society.

In other words, Ray was very positive about raw Paleo, but there just wasn't as much public info available at the time he researched Paleo about the benefits of meat bacteria and the overblown nature of the concerns about pathogenic infection. He is still probably the closest thing to a proponent of the RPD of any of the diet book authors and "experts." Vonderplanitz is more knowledgeable about raw food, but Audette was favorable to that and more knowledgeable about the Paleo aspect.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2010, 05:55:24 am »
Just wanted to drag up this old thread I'd never read.

Getting back to the subject of the thread - what is the consensus of Cordain's views about the importance of the acid/alkali balance?  I haven't read any of his work so may be completely wrong (wouldn't be the first time!!)  :)  but a (very!) quick look at this website gives me the impression that he recommends a diet largely based on fruit/veg including cooked tubers, along with lean meats.  His emphasis seems to be on eating mainly so-called alkaline producing foods to avoid Ca excretion leading to osteoporosis and other problems.

Hasn't this acid/alkali theory being thoroughly debunked?!  I, for one, am stuffed if there's any truth in it as I currently exist on little but raw fatty meat and fat (including raw butter following animal fat sourcing difficulties).

Clearly, he seems to have no problems with cooked food either.  But, he seems to be revered here more than others. 

Tyler, particularly, but also other long-standing respected members - what are your views of Cordain and his diet with regard to Acid/Alkali balance, cooked veg, low fat etc?
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2010, 07:50:17 am »
My recent take on acid / alkali balance is it is only relevant with cooked meat.

Even with raw meat, I believe my urine bubbles bubble too much only if I eat amounts of raw protein that are above what I can perfectly digest.  I'm fine with some 600 grams of raw meat a day.  Above that my urine bubbles too much.  I do get less bubbles on raw fish.

I disagree with Cordain when he pushes CANOLA oil.  That's just crap.
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Re: Cordain, hero or heretic?
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2010, 08:46:07 am »
Just wanted to drag up this old thread I'd never read.

Getting back to the subject of the thread - what is the consensus of Cordain's views about the importance of the acid/alkali balance?
I'm skeptical of its importance and I suspect that it is overly simplified and doesn't take some factors into consideration, else how explain Lex's increased bone density on a largely-raw carnivorous diet and my partial firming, rather than loosening, of teeth and the resolution of my chronic kidney stones, instead of exacerbation?

Quote
it probably doesn't  I haven't read any of his work....
You can get his free newsletter here: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/newsletter/. He is the leader of an international network of respected scientists who share an interest in evolutionary nutrition, medicine and lifestyle. You can find the blog of his core team here: http://thepaleodiet.blogspot.com/.

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so may be completely wrong (wouldn't be the first time!!)  :)  but a (very!) quick look at this website gives me the impression that he recommends a diet largely based on fruit/veg including cooked tubers, along with lean meats.
His view on tubers is mixed. What specifically are you referencing with regard to tubers? My understanding is that he generally discourages eating them except as an energy aid for athletes like runners (for example, Usain Bolt and other Jamaican sprinters eat lots of yams, especially a "yellow" variety of African yams that grow abundantly in Trelawny, Jamaica http://www.stea.net/tyfaboutyam.html). What I'm curious about is what food(s) did African yams replace in the diets of African hominids who adopted cooking?

Quote
His emphasis seems to be on eating mainly so-called alkaline producing foods to avoid Ca excretion leading to osteoporosis and other problems.
That's just one part of his voluminous published research, which you can find here: http://www.thepaleodiet.com/published_research/. He also has accumulated what I believe is probably the largest library of Paleolithic nutrition research in the world.

Quote
Hasn't this acid/alkali theory being thoroughly debunked?!
I wouldn't rule out that there could be some elements of truth in it. For example, maybe it has some effect in the context of a SAD that includes lots of wheat. As far as applicability to other diets, like RPD, I believe it has been debunked, yes.

Quote
Clearly, he seems to have no problems with cooked food either.
IIRC, he warns against certain forms of cooking that are widely regarded as unhealthy (such as deep frying).

Quote
But, he seems to be revered here more than others.  

Tyler, particularly, but also other long-standing respected members - what are your views of Cordain and his diet with regard to Acid/Alkali balance, cooked veg, low fat etc?
I like and respect Dr. Cordain, but I don't revere anyone. I abhor and condemn guru worship and I try to be more a fan of ideas and facts than of gurus. That said, my favorite things about Dr. Cordain are...

> the open-mindedness, curiosity and honesty that enable him to acknowledge where even his harshest critics are right and that enabled him to consider and recognize the value of Dr. Boyd Eaton's theory of Paleolithic nutrition to begin with
> the objectivity and humility that enable him to change his mind and publicly admit error (rare qualities among diet experts and gurus)
> his diligence and thoroughness in citing sources to support his hypotheses and points (I wouldn't be surprised if he holds the world's record for most references cited)
> the fact that he is in the trenches doing scientific research and thus doing more than most to advance the fields of evolutionary nutrition, medicine and athletic performance, not just acting the critic or proselytizer
> and his politeness and reasonableness even with people who strongly disagree with him.

Unfortunately, his early excessive exuberance regarding certain plant foods like fruits, winter squashes and certain nightshades (he now warns against nightshades--even tomatoes--for people with autoimmune disorders, which includes most moderners, IMHO), and his early warnings against saturated fats (since moderated) and promotion of flaxseed and canola oils as cooking oils (since retracted) partly influenced me to include too much of those plant foods and not enough animal fats in my diet and I suffered a relapse of symptoms as a result (luckily this influence was moderated some by the writings of Ray Audette, Dr. Eades, PaleoFood forum members and others, plus my own experience and instincts), but it was an honest and understandable mistake. Some low carbers and zero carbers, such as William, still haven't forgiven him for these early mistakes. But who among us is perfect? If even someone who suffered from some of his advice, such as me, can recognize his contributions, then surely he can't be all bad.

I try to give kudos where it is due, even to those I disagree with on some important points, and to not hold grudges. I view grudges as generally unproductive and irrational and I've noticed that the people most prone to them tend to be guided more by emotion and zealotry than reason and open-mindedness and I have found it pointless to argue with them (unless I think I can wring some drips of value out of the exchange, such as putting my own hypotheses to the test), which is why I early on gave up debating William on most matters, not just Dr. Cordain.

I disagree with Cordain when he pushes CANOLA oil.  That's just crap.
He now warns against using CANOLA oil, including in his newsletter and latest book (http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Diet-Cookbook-Loren-Cordain/dp/0470913045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284078278&sr=8-1).

Unfortunately he is apparently still not fully aware of the hazards of cooking, such as the importance of negative effects from resulting Advanced Glycation End products, but his open-mindedness suggests to me that he will move further in the right direction in the future. Leading experts who share some of Dr. Cordain's views, such Prof. Stephen Guyenet and Dr. William Davis, already have already bravely started moving in our direction (of rawness) by acknowledging the importance of the damaging products of cooking like AGEs.

In my experience I have found that it pays to be "hearty in my approbation, and lavish in my praise" and stingy with criticism. Where I have ignored this advice from industrialist Charles M. Schwab and author Dale Carnegie, and Stephen Covey's advice to "seek first to understand," I have tended to regret it. As long as someone lives there is the chance they may change their mind. Even current enemies may be future allies.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 09:00:20 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

 

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