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Dan Fanelli
06-20-2011, 06:20 PM
The topic of eating how our ancestors ate has interested me ever since I first heard mention of the "neandertal diet". There wasn't much information about this style of eating when it first came out, and still I think most is just based on speculation and inference.

Ive been eating for the most part the way I would think we evolved to eat, with some changes for practicality reasons, but the most I think about it, the more I think needs to change.

Here are the 'Problems' associated with trying to emulate ancient humans, IMO
1)They weren't trying to be bodybuilders or ripped, they were just trying to survive - Eating the way they did might be the 'healthiest', but it might not be so good for physique or performance

2)They had a completely different environment and lifestyles - I dont think they had cars and 9-5 deskjobs and supermarkets.

3)The foods available to them were very different. - They didn't have to think about "organic" or "grass fed" and the "natural" foods available now were often not available then... (Did you know oranges are a man made fruit)???

4+) Any other problems/differences you can see with trying to emulate THEIR eating???

Dan Fanelli
06-20-2011, 06:37 PM
Okay so after thinkng about why following 'Paleo' exactly wouldn't work too well, I think ive come up with some possible solutions.

1)They weren't bb'ers - I doubt back then when food was scarce many males were over 200lbs. I know Neandertals were generally considered shorter and bulkier, but I think a lot of this was due to their harsh environment. But if you look at modern indigenous tribes, they may be lean, but they certainly dont look like Arnold.

I think the obvoius problem and solution here is looking at total calories. If you are just barely eating enough to survive, you probably will be lean, but you certainly wont be big and musculare. So in eating "paleo" now and trying to get to 200+, or 250+ the calories have to come from somewhere.

My big question would be, if 'paleo man' had an abundance of calories available could they have gotten HYUGE?

Im not sure. A lot of the foods that would have been available at that time might have been hard to eat in large caloric surpluses. Of course they were able to store bodyfat to survive famines, so there must have been the ability to overeat.

2)Different environment and lifestyles - Most of us dont have to go hunt and gather our own food, and travel by foot everywhere. This is a HUGE difference in how are body responds. IMO, we must make up for this frequency of activity by raising the other two variables (volume, intensity) to some degree. Thus we lift weights, and exercise, and there are has been endless research and discussion on all of this. I think one often missed component of this though is that frequency still may be key. Its pretty well accepted that the more often you can train and recover from exercise the better. Im starting to wonder why some form of high frequency and very high frequency full body training isn't recognized as the best method of building strength/size. (kinda rhetorical there).

3)Foods were different - This is probably the biggest area, because this is about "paleo eating". So we know our foods now are not the same as they were then. When I think of the difference, I think of our foods either containing less of beneficial things or more of detrimental things, than paleo man would have experienced.

Ex: Beef now has lower amounts of Omega-3s unless its grass fed. And now there is a concern of fish containing mercury and thus you cant eat it as a large component of your diet.

In addition to that comes the availability and cost of 'paleo foods'.

I dont know about you, but buying enough grass fed beef, wild salmon, and organic vegetables to gain weight is pretty expensive for me. Im thinking of possible workarounds to these dillemas, and supplemenation and food replacement seems the way to go.

Ex: Grass fed beef is expensive. So buy regular beef but the leaner cuts, and then supplement with fish oil tablets. Same would go for fish. Buy the cheaper fish with low mercury levels, and then take fish oil to replace what is missing.

I haven't looked so much into fruits and vegetables, but Im imagining there could be similar dillemas associated with them. Obviously, eating bananans and oranges all the time isn't going to be a good idea, but they are cheap and available so they can probably be used spaingly.

Still have more research/reading to do, but im interested in what people do or your thoughts on the subject.

JacobH
06-20-2011, 07:23 PM
This is a really interesting thread, good thoughts on the subject. My personal view on eating like ancient man is a little less in depth. I think eating the TYPES of food that man has evolved on over hundreds of thousands of years would no doubt optimize your potential for good health.(like giving a car the correct gasoline or oil) However, like you said, there were probably no early homosapiens that looked like Arnold did in Conan the barbarian. I don't think it's so much eating like the average early man in terms of total calories, but more in terms of eating the types of food that man has evolved on. And I'll also say that the optimum natural state of a man's body is probably not to pack on a ridiculous amount of muscle, Otherwise it would be much easier to do so. It will always be easier to have an average physique for most people.... Great topic.

K-R-M
06-20-2011, 08:24 PM
To me, there's no real debate. The premise of the diet is wrong to start, a diet high in protein and vegetables is definitely beneficial, but there's no need to cut out whole groups of foods. It assumes too many variables and exagerates both health benefits and the opposite of different foods.

Mark!
06-20-2011, 08:29 PM
Has anyone of any reputable status ever done an actual study on this diet? To me, there's too much BS surrounded by it. Sure, one could lose weight cutting out dairy or grains, but they could also do so doing regular-ish restrictions. I certainly don't think the diet would support a bodybuilder/powerlifter lifestyle. For an overall healthy lifestyle diet, it's fine, it highlights healthy food sources.

Dan Fanelli
06-20-2011, 09:54 PM
@ KRM, what food groups are you talking about that it cuts out?

@Mark - I agree. While I think its just about perfect for the average population, for bodybuilding purposes there needs to be some modifications....... Hence this thread. :)

Dan Fanelli
06-20-2011, 09:54 PM
@ KRM, what food groups are you talking about that it cuts out?

@Mark - I agree. While I think its just about perfect for the average population, for bodybuilding purposes there needs to be some modifications....... Hence this thread. :)

Kiff
06-21-2011, 12:01 AM
Crazy idea, look at their height/life expectancy and illnesses they had/developed from poor diets.

One interesting fact is that 80%of humans protein came from nuts and plants rather than meat until very recently, (6000) years ago when man settled. Even then it took a while to meat becoming our main source of protein.

I have one of my case studies on this matter somewhere. I will dig it out...

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 12:32 AM
Crazy idea, look at their height/life expectancy and illnesses they had/developed from poor diets.

One interesting fact is that 80%of humans protein came from nuts and plants rather than meat until very recently, (6000) years ago when man settled. Even then it took a while to meat becoming our main source of protein.

I have one of my case studies on this matter somewhere. I will dig it out...

Not really sure how height and "life expectancy"'are indicators of health and efficacy of diet. IMO nature is only concerned with people surviving to fertile age and then raising babies.

Also not really sure about the protein comment. I'm pretty sure that it's accepted that the reason we progressed so rapidly was the development of tools to extract more from carcasses and hunt/fish. That was the big turning point that let us come out ahead, and we aren't that different from the humans at that time.

Some of the points you bring up are good though. What is our goal in life? Do we want to live as long as possible, feel as good as possible,'be as big as possible, etc? I think it's some combination of these and differs.

The "paleo" diet was the beat available AT THAT time. Times are different and thus the optimal diet/lifestyle is now different. But it still is best to get AS CLOSE as possible to their diets and lifestyles.

I think a good start to this process would be not basing your diet largely around foods that were not available to our ancestors. Certain foods, in the right quantities, at the right times could give you the extra calories you need to grow. And modifications from then"optimal" can be made to make the diet more practical, cost effective, and efficient.

K-R-M
06-21-2011, 12:57 AM
Not really sure how height and "life expectancy"'are indicators of health and efficacy of diet. IMO nature is only concerned with people surviving to fertile age and then raising babies.

Also not really sure about the protein comment. I'm pretty sure that it's accepted that the reason we progressed so rapidly was the development of tools to extract more from carcasses and hunt/fish. That was the big turning point that let us come out ahead, and we aren't that different from the humans at that time.

Some of the points you bring up are good though. What is our goal in life? Do we want to live as long as possible, feel as good as possible,'be as big as possible, etc? I think it's some combination of these and differs.

The "paleo" diet was the beat available AT THAT time. Times are different and thus the optimal diet/lifestyle is now different. But it still is best to get AS CLOSE as possible to their diets and lifestyles.

I think a good start to this process would be not basing your diet largely around foods that were not available to our ancestors. Certain foods, in the right quantities, at the right times could give you the extra calories you need to grow. And modifications from then"optimal" can be made to make the diet more practical, cost effective, and efficient.

The food groups I was talking about were dairy, grain, legumes and some tubers. There are others (like different kinds of sugar), but the discrimination against them often makes very little sense.

As for this post. I'm not sure you researched as much as you think you did, Dan. I don't think I can agree with a single thing you wrote: life expectancy and height can be an indicator of health. Nature has no concerns over people whatsoever, but us as organisms do. In fact, we evolve as beings without even knowing. Some characteristics will be weeded out, our need for procreation is diminishing according to society... etc.

Kiffs point is actually a good one. Not every paleo society had a protein based diet. Many had tuber/vegetable based diets. Some even had a good amount of grain (shocker) in them. I'm not sure where you get that hunting tools is the accepted reason for our evolution either. It's a multitude of factors and tools were used for both hunting and vegetable processing (amongst other things).

As far as the Paleo diet being the best at that time... I'm not sure how this makes any sense as a statement. It was the only diet available at that time. You eat what you can. That was the diet. It varied according to where you lived. Why would it be best to eat based on speculation of what the "paleo" man ate? How would it make sense to eat the right food at the right time when the paleo man had no concept of this? Why would it matter if the new sources of food are perfectly fine? Milk is fine and has numerous health benefits. Legumes do as well. Oatmeal decreases heart disease. The list goes on and on.

I think most people should just take a few basic biology and chemistry courses. Much of their questions would be answered and there wouldn't be need to look at fad diets with questionnable science. At least, you could judge them with the appropriate critical eye.

Alex.V
06-21-2011, 07:08 AM
To add to what KRM is saying- two points: Think about population diversity over the ages, and again, consider what variables we are assuming in the "paleo" diet.

For the former- consider that many organisms have an amazing ability to adapt to their environment- our systems are able to operate under very diverse conditions, and it takes a shockingly small number of generations to make certain shifts in basic biology. This is, in no small part, because evolution within a society can often accelerate selection, and facilitate rapid removal of undesirable traits (but that's an entirely different discussion). Either way, basic point- there are too many "paleo" diets, in reality, to make broad generalizations. Early man in western africa ate very differently from neandertals, or from their asiatic brethren, and as a result there are certain major differences in our metabolisms, even across races, that blow any attempts to generalize out of the water. (Consider something as simple as variation in liver secretion of alcohol dehydrogenase across populations- and this is just one of the more obvious ones. How did that come about? What other metabolic processes are different? Are there far less obvious differences out there that affect how various people process the same foods?). So what truly IS a paleo diet? Too broad a term.

As for variables- we're controlling the environment of the things we eat. As such, the micronutrient profile of our food simply cannot be compared to a truly open environment. Period. To eat as they did, we would have to live when they did.

Paleo diet... sounds logical in concept. But so did communism.

Off Road
06-21-2011, 07:12 AM
If the Paleo peoples had a McDonald's...they would have ate there every day.

Even though I am old, I didn't live in that time period so anything I say would be purely speculation. But I assume they ate whatever they could easily get their hands on, much like we do today. If they lived in an area that was rich with game animals, then they ate meat. If they lived in an area that was rich with nuts and berries, then they ate a lot of nuts and berries. If you ask me, a true paleo diet is eating whatever you can get your hands on. The problem with that type of diet today is it's too easy to get food and we all end up fat and have unhealthy hearts because of it. But we are just following our instincts...

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 08:10 AM
Some of you guys are bringing up good points. I realized these problems with the paleo diet and that's why I created the thread. I agree there isn't ONE paleo diet as foods available varied by location, but most of the diets had similarities and over thousands of generations even greater similarities. Also, I don't think it's right to say our instinct is to eat what is available, therefore that is the correct diet, or that if paleo man had mcdonalds he'd eat it, therefore mcdonalds is healthy food. I also believe context is an important thing. A lot of the calorically dense foods like candy bars and today's fruits would have been very suited to paleo man. But it actually makes sense that WE should be eating paleo style now BY CHOICE because these foods are more suited to our needs now.

As for comments about things like grains, well certainly some people can and should eat grains, but I'm pretty sure paleo man wasn't eating large bowels of cereal or pasta. They probably chewed on some oats or had very small portions. Compare that to what the average person eats now and I think it's pretty obvious which is the "right" way.

Off Road
06-21-2011, 08:29 AM
I wasn't being serious about the McDonalds (obviously). But I was being serious about them eating whatever was available. When food is hard to come by, you aren't as picky about what you eat; you eat what is easy to get. Therefore, if you base your diet around what the ancestors did, you'd eat what was available and not give a lot of thought to what it was or how much you got (as long as it was enough). Our ancestors certainly didn't sit around and wonder if it was healthy to eat grains...

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 08:50 AM
OR I agree. And that's the premise behind the PD, eat what was available which is what they were eating. If they had all the refined foods we have available now, they would have eaten it. And it wouldn't have been healthy, but they would have survived. In current times in indusriized regions, eating isn't about survival. We now have a choice and can discriminate against certain foods.

IMO the biggest factors are:

Sugar content
Toxins
Micronutrient density
Reactions to foods that weren't previously food.

I'm don't believe any foods should be completely avoided unless you have an obvious negative reaction to them. Band also, I'd question people's definition of food. Is it anything digestible with calories, or does it have more to do with nutrients?

So limit sugar and toxins. Get as much nutrient dense food as possible (whic might need supplementation to be effective) and avoid foods in high quantities that cause reactions. Some people are allergic or intolerant to lactose, that means it should be avoided for them. And regardless of whether this happens to you, if you base your entire diet around milk, it's not going to treat you well in the long run. The same is true for grains and certain tubers.

BUT, a diet based entirely around "paleo" foods can work just fine. So while you don't need to take it that far, starting with the "paleo diet" is a good foundation, and any healthy diet should at least resemble it to an extent.

Off Road
06-21-2011, 09:00 AM
In current times in indusriized regions, eating isn't about survival. We now have a choice and can discriminate against certain foods.
Excellent point and exactly why the whole paleo diet craze doesn't make much sense to me. We have more choices and need to use that evolved brain of ours to make smarter choices. To me, Paleo just means I'm too lazy to think intelligently about what I eat. Either that or I don't have the willpower to stay away from large quantities of unhealthy foods. But I guess if it helps people get healthier, then I'm all for it.

Fun thread Dan :)

StLRPh
06-21-2011, 09:19 AM
I've skimmed through this thread so I may be repeating something that's already been covered but I like Paleo-ish eating. Lots of meat and veggies with fruits added. I also add in diary because I can digest it with no problems at all and really like cheese/milk/butter. So when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it I avoid anything made from grains and junk food.

The problem that I had/have when I eat this way is that I don't get enough carbs and also not getting enough calories. When you are eating a lot of meat and veggies it's pretty easy to stay full with a relatively low amount of calories. This is easily fixed by making sure to eat fruit and sweet potatoes (or adding rice and regular pototoes) and just being aware of it.

Is it good for bodybuilding? I don't know, not my area of interest. but I do think that you can drop quite a bit a bloat and fat in a reasonable amount of time switching over.

edit: Here's a pretty interesting thread at Marunde http://www.marunde-muscle.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19540

dynamo
06-21-2011, 09:30 AM
one interesting thing about survival is every animal does the least amount of work for the greatest reward. So yes, if you could give paleo man cookies to live on all day, he would have, simply because that would be the easiest thing to do. On the other hand, our processed foods have very little nutrient density compared to whole foods.

I assume those of us talking in this thread know a little bit about micro/macro nutrient stuff and can say with out a doubt, eating funnel cake all day and drinking coke is pretty useless on all levels, except for that dopamine rush from the sugar/fat high that everyone probably gets.

So it comes down to this, screw paleo, screw atkins, screw vegan, screw organic. What can we, as athletes eat and drink to maximize our gains. After all, speaking in terms of survival we are not doing anything to help it by burning and consuming as many calories as we do.

I find a paleo like diet, which is probably not far off from what BBers eat anyway to be the most successful for me. Grains get me bloated and groggy, and if I have too much dairy I get too gassy and bloated too.

So paleo works for me because I don't lose strength in the gym, and I continue to lose fat, I even get complements at the gym for how I am leaning out yet I haven't actually lost any pounds according to the scale and I've been adding weight to my lifts every routine cycle (no more linear gains for me).

I drink milk, but I can't do anything close to GOMAD any more, and I eat bread but not like I used to. I don't track my calories any more but I would say on an average day I don't consume more than 100g of carbs. I just fill up a bowl with meats and veggies (broccoli spinach etc etc) and eat until I am full and if any is left over I put it back in the fridge. I will do a weekly refeed where I try to get more carbs in because it seems to help with the fat loss and overall increase in mental faculties, I guess its carb cycling? And by refeed I mean maybe 1 or 2 or 3 sandwiches. So 6 slices of bread.

I'm no believer in any one diet, I am a believer in what works, and if you can put on muscle and strength by eating jelly donuts all day, then go ahead.\


tl;dr
fckk labels do what works.

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 09:52 AM
Excellent posts by the last few readers. I like thinking about what works, but still thinking logically about WHY. I don't think much of recent nutrition research has done justice to the health of our current species. The abundance of grain and corn based products and lack of quality meats, vegetables and fruits is frightening to me. B

@stlrph - you are EXACTLY the same as me, and I'm sure many others are the same as well. I can't get enough calories in by eating strictly "paleo" but I still believe the principles have merit and follow them closely. I think the basics (calories, macros, and sources) are what matters most, but after all of that is in order, looking deeper at other issues might be beneficial. For ex: seasonal availability of certain food items. Does it make sense to vary your diet at different times of the year?
Also, food combining and meal scheduling. How long was it considered almost necessary to eat 6-8+ meals a day to build muscle? And does every meal need to look pretty on a plate? Or maybe one meal might be entirely meat, while another snack or meal might just be fruits and/or veggies.

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 10:02 AM
I'd like to get this thread back on track rather than just another debate About "paleo".

Whether you call it paleo or not, what are your guys thoughts on food choices based on my first two posts above?

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 06:28 PM
Did some more searches and found some related info:

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/is-paleo-even-paleo-and-does-it-even-matter
http://robbwolf.com/2010/04/16/kids-paleo-and-nutrient-density/

A summary one might come to from those sources and just "paleo" eating in general is to avoid or limit:

*Hydrogenated oils
*processd veg. oils
*HFCS
*Added sugars
*Grains (more specifically refined grains)
*Artificial sweeteners

And a similar 'rule' would be that if it wouldn't be available to you in the quantity you are eating without going through a factory, then you probably shouldn't be eating it.

Also saw some other stuff about making compromises with paleo to ease the wallet. Most said that since meat is the basis of the diet and where most of the nutrients are, you should focus on getting quality lean meats first, and foremost. Not really sure if I agree to that, but from now on, when possible the full fat meats I eat will be the "organic, grass fed" variety, and otherwise i'll stick to the cheap stuff and leaner cuts.

As for dairy, I dont eat a ton of it, but I think its one of the things thats very beneficial if you are trying to build muscle (assuming you can tolerate it). I dont think i'll screw around with raw milk, but instead just stick to organic or milk with lactose removed.

Still interested in hearing what othes do / would do?

Mercuryblade
06-21-2011, 07:36 PM
Excellent posts by the last few readers. I like thinking about what works, but still thinking logically about WHY. I don't think much of recent nutrition research has done justice to the health of our current species. The abundance of grain and corn based products and lack of quality meats, vegetables and fruits is frightening to me. B



You can thank corn subsidies and ignorant consumers.
There is plenty of research out there and I can't even imagine a nutritionist that would think excessive portions of processed grains and a lack of fresh veggies and fruit is a good idea. The data is there, it's just not being promoted enough (in my opinion) and many people are too stubborn and stupid to adjust their eating habits.

It's all about portion control. Grains aren't bad, hell, even processed grains, sugars, artificial sweeteners- it's all fine if you can actually regulate how much you are consuming.

K-R-M
06-21-2011, 09:22 PM
You can thank corn subsidies and ignorant consumers.
There is plenty of research out there and I can't even imagine a nutritionist that would think excessive portions of processed grains and a lack of fresh veggies and fruit is a good idea. The data is there, it's just not being promoted enough (in my opinion) and many people are too stubborn and stupid to adjust their eating habits.

It's all about portion control. Grains aren't bad, hell, even processed grains, sugars, artificial sweeteners- it's all fine if you can actually regulate how much you are consuming.


Completely agree with both of your statements.

Dan Fanelli
06-21-2011, 11:48 PM
It's all about portion control. Grains aren't bad, hell, even processed grains, sugars, artificial sweeteners- it's all fine if you can actually regulate how much you are consuming.

Of course. Alcohol, Tobacco, meth, etc. etc. are all fine in moderation. But MOST people dont have the willpower to moderate addicitons, and addictions to processed foods do exist.

I am pretty good about moderating sugar, and grains, etc., but the problem is this stuff is in EVERYTHING. You cant simply just eat meat anymore, because that cow/chicken was fed corn, and thus is lower quality than it should be.

Its pissing me off ARGGG!.... If the government would stop subsizidizing these horrible industries and support small farmers we would be so much better off. Is it too much to ask to go into safeway and watch the butcher kill my chicken?/???



Ok /end rant. Heres another topic for you guys to throw around if you want. What about the idea of food availability/timing, etc. I cant name it properly, but what I mean basically, is that "paleo man" didn't eat 3-6 meals a day that contained meat. He likely didn't even eat meat everyday. When meat was obtained it had to ALL be eaten at once. Maybe he ate meat 1-2x a week, and gathered the rest of the week.

Also, food combining. Did he really put his meat on a plate next to some steamed brocolli and mashed potatoes??? Not likely. I imagine foraging was taking place all of the time, but when meat was obtained, it was eaten alone. There may have been periods of weeks/months were no meat was available, or just very small game, and then periods of weeks/months where only meat was available.

Furthermore, seasonal eating. One could look into the foods available in the region where there ancestors came from. At different times of year, different foods were available. We know moderation and variety are good things, but in the wild moderation/variety wasn't a choice, it just happened. Im sure there were foods eaten year round, but others might have only been available for a very narrow window of time.

Daniel Roberts
06-22-2011, 04:54 AM
Read Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham.

Here's a decent interview of him by the Scientific American -

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=evolving-bigger-brains-th


I'm relieved this thread hasn't any Paleo zealots in it. I argued with a guy last month that insisted that grains were the equivalent of smoking; they may not kill you now but you may develop cancer later. Cited Cordain too, which is interesting because he doesn't have the evidence to back that either. I gave up in the end, he started talking about belief not evidence.

Also referenced Wolf and Sisson (who made a Paleo exception for his supplement line, including Primal Fuel - the perfect primal, paleo low carb meal. Really, protein powder with processed coconut oil?).

Create a Unique Selling Point, if it makes money, commit to it whether there's evidence to back it or not, lose credibility amongst the intelligent and objective but milk the devout, needy and impressionable. Fortunately the gullible and ignorant far outweigh the thinkers. Standard faire for this industry.

Alex.V
06-22-2011, 08:50 AM
Create a Unique Selling Point, if it makes money, commit to it whether there's evidence to back it or not, lose credibility amongst the intelligent and objective but milk the devout, needy and impressionable. Fortunately the gullible and ignorant far outweigh the thinkers. Standard faire for this industry.

You've done this before....

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 09:09 AM
@ Daniel Roberts. It's interesting you bring up the topic of cooking. Yesterday's episode of superhuman radio was about raw meat eating. The article you linked was interesting, but still was based on just as much speculation as the paleo zealots.

The way I see it, is that cooking foods was man's first move toward highly processed foods. We spent our entire evolution eating raw foods and developing guts that were meant to digest raw foods and then suddenly introduced a MAJOR outside factor; cooking. Now it's hard to say what effect this step had on the species. I don't agree with Gorman's speculation that cooked foods are more digestible and easier on the gut. Sure, "foods" that we had not evolved to eat were more accessible at that time, but cooking also altered the digestion of foods we had been eating for thousands of generations.

If any of you get the chance, watch "walking with cavemen". I'm not sure how much of it is backed up by science, but in my view the big turning points in human evolution were ; walking upright, using tools that allowed us to hunt and extract nutrients from kills, and our communication and social development.

But cooking certainly could have been an advantage. It would allow access to foods that previously weren't eaten and possibly the ability to preserve meats longer when they couldn't be eaten all at once. But we don't know whether or not paleo man was cooking all of his food, or just foods that had to be cooked.

I think another important factor here is time. The longer we've been doing something as a species the more adapted we are to it. If you could average out all the factors over the entire human existence; and maybe a few of our recent relatives, you'd get a good idea of how we should live. So stuff like cooked meat has been around fairly long. But stuff like eating processed foods and diets based on grains is very new. One will pose a bigger stress than the other. I'm sure if humans keep eating the modern diet for thousands of years, we"ll adapt to it. But that means many will have to die off and not reproduce so that future species are more suited to the environment. Evolution favors the species as a whole, not the individuals that don't carry the right genes.

And parts of the article you posted made me laugh. The part about the raw meat being "gross" or whatever she said and that fruits chimps eat don't have enough sugar was comical. Those are luxuries of modern times that have moved us back as a sPecies. In the wild you eat what you can, you don't say "eww my bison is too rare".

Daniel Roberts
06-22-2011, 10:59 AM
The article was background reading to pique your interest. You're time frame is too recent, think Australopithecus before homo-sapien and the expensive tissue hypothesis.

Also try going on a raw food diet (Inc. Meat) and see how much free time you have left after eating.

Either way evolution and it's how's and why's is fascinating, Paleo diets aren't.

Not to say this thread isn't interesting, but Paleo has been given far too much airtime - since when did eating meats and veggies need a label?

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 11:49 AM
Either way evolution and it's how's and why's is fascinating, Paleo diets aren't.

Not to say this thread isn't interesting, but Paleo has been given far too much airtime - since when did eating meats and veggies need a label?

I agree with you completely, and when mentioning "paleo" not everyone is interested in the same thing. But for lack of a better name that's what we are stuck with.

What I'm talking about really is focusing on food quality, which really comes down to how much it's been changed by man from it's natural appearance. This would me LIMITING all processed foods and trying to get the best quality "natural" foods. It would mean avoiding all food additives and foods that are only available after going through factories.

BUT there are certainly caveats. Fish oil, vitamins, protein powders, sports drinks, etc. Can be very beneficial if used correctly and intelligently. So we now need to NOT ignore nature and our biology, and learn how to optimally survive in our current environment.

The example you brought up about how hard it is to eat completely "raw" now illustrates this need. But ignoring nature and just doing what is easiest is just as bad of an idea.

And I agree. Everything about our ancestors fascinates me. :)

Alex.V
06-22-2011, 12:07 PM
What I'm talking about really is focusing on food quality, which really comes down to how much it's been changed by man from it's natural appearance. This would me LIMITING all processed foods and trying to get the best quality "natural" foods. It would mean avoiding all food additives and foods that are only available after going through factories.

Again, given our world environment, our food is so far from what it would have been historically that the natural label is a bit ludicrous.

Other point is really, what is so wrong with certain kinds of processing? There are certain processes that fortify foods, remove bacteria, remove impurities, allow long distance shipping, etc. Are these intrinsically "bad"?

joelhall
06-22-2011, 12:22 PM
Has anyone of any reputable status ever done an actual study on this diet? To me, there's too much BS surrounded by it. Sure, one could lose weight cutting out dairy or grains, but they could also do so doing regular-ish restrictions. I certainly don't think the diet would support a bodybuilder/powerlifter lifestyle. For an overall healthy lifestyle diet, it's fine, it highlights healthy food sources.

Yes there have been reputable studies done on this style of diet, I don't happen to have things at my fingertips at the moment as I haven't been home for a few days though. However, my professional scientific opinion is the paleolithic diet as it is known, is in fact very healthy and has any number of health benefits. Of course this type of diet has succumbed to several myths as have others such as vegetarianism (very over rated in my opinion... And pretty much every other biological scientist and medical doctor I personally know).
The big problem however which has already been raised is the type of foods and archaeological and molecular evidence... I'm not convinced that our ancestors ate much beef for example, and this became nope prolific after the advent of farming.
Modern fruits and vegetables are in many instances cultivated, often to improve sweetness and flavour or to give larger yields, and some have little resemblance to their pre-agricultural varieties.
It should be mentioned there is also a strong base of physiological and evolutional evidence which adds credance to the theory (note: the word theory means something different to scientists than to laypersons, and isn't simply a guess or idea!)

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 05:52 PM
Again, given our world environment, our food is so far from what it would have been historically that the natural label is a bit ludicrous.

Other point is really, what is so wrong with certain kinds of processing? There are certain processes that fortify foods, remove bacteria, remove impurities, allow long distance shipping, etc. Are these intrinsically "bad"?

I agree... Certain kinds of processing make sense, especially in our environment. But take grains and corn for example. These two "foods" have been highly processed into many different synthetic compounds and then scattered throughout our diets (actually not scattered, because they are everywhere).

Thats why I threw the caveat in there. It takes a bit more thinking than to just say, "avoid processed foods", or "if it didn't grow out of the ground, or run, swim, or fly, dont eat it". These might be good recommendations for people that cant think, but they aren't optimal. The ex: of fish oil I gave before is a good one. Certainly there is a factory and some processing involved there, but im sure its different what happens to synthesize chicken nuggets. And people might think organges and bananas are "natural" therefore you should eat a bunch of those, but thats not true.

So ya, I agree. Not everything man touches turns to complete crap. Some medical advances have allowed us to survive what we now consider pretty minor. But a lot of the things we did in the past to make survival easier are now potentially going to mae survival harder.

--------

Kinda a separate topic here, but the paranoid side of me has a thought. If you think about the situation we are in now, our evolution during periods of scarcity has put us at harm's way now that there is an abundance(for some people). The people that are most susceptable to obesity now, are the ones that likely would do best in the times of paleo man. Their bodies are very efficient at using energy and being able to store energy. Examples of this would be people from island nations like Samoans, and Tongans, or really anyone just recently being exposed to the western diet/lifestyle. They have a strong tendency to become obese rapidly when exposed to the western diet and an over-abundance of food.

But the real problem could be where our species is in terms of evolution now. The people that are "surviving best" now are the ones that have faster metabolisms, and less eficient energy usage. They can withstand the western lifestyle and not die young. What happens if some sort of catastrophe greatly reduces our food supply. We'll then be stuck with a race of people that have genetics that dont allow them to store fat easily and have high energy usage. I dunno, I might be paranoid, but it doesn't sound good to me.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 06:03 PM
The big problem however which has already been raised is the type of foods and archaeological and molecular evidence... I'm not convinced that our ancestors ate much beef for example, and this became nope prolific after the advent of farming.

A lot of the paleo promoters I have seen suggest that you are correct. We dont know for a fact what paleo man ate. But we DO know for a fact what they didn't eat. And thats items that were not available to them. We can also look at our current biology and how we respond to different items to get clues.

I think these assertion should be what the takeaway points of what "paleo" is. Whether you call it paleo or not, or believe its what our ancestors ate, doesn't matter. If you use the basic fundamentals of whats promoted as "paleo" to form your diet you will likely be eatin g "healthy". You still need to focus on finding the right caloric intake, and macro proportions, but you have to look at the overall picture. We all know 2000kcals of mcdonalds is not the same as 2000kcals of natural foods.

I myself have and will follow most of these principles, but I dont live and die by them. I still eat hamburgers, and take whey protein, and have diet sodas. Some of these things Ive decided have a place in my diet, and some ive just decided its worth it to stray a bit from the ideal. But if I were to ignore the "paleo" principles and make my entire diet based around diet soda, hamburgers and whey protein, I probably wouldn't be too well off in the long run.

I still hold my original assertion. The closer you can get to eating the way paleo man ate (whether we know what that is or not, or if its even possible) the better off you will be. The further you get from that, the worse off you will be. And then there are the caveats.

greemah
06-22-2011, 06:35 PM
if you base your entire diet around milk, it's not going to treat you well in the long run

What do you mean by this? I have about 3-5 glasses milk per day

K-R-M
06-22-2011, 07:12 PM
@ Daniel Roberts. It's interesting you bring up the topic of cooking. Yesterday's episode of superhuman radio was about raw meat eating. The article you linked was interesting, but still was based on just as much speculation as the paleo zealots.

The way I see it, is that cooking foods was man's first move toward highly processed foods. We spent our entire evolution eating raw foods and developing guts that were meant to digest raw foods and then suddenly introduced a MAJOR outside factor; cooking. Now it's hard to say what effect this step had on the species. I don't agree with Gorman's speculation that cooked foods are more digestible and easier on the gut. Sure, "foods" that we had not evolved to eat were more accessible at that time, but cooking also altered the digestion of foods we had been eating for thousands of generations.

If any of you get the chance, watch "walking with cavemen". I'm not sure how much of it is backed up by science, but in my view the big turning points in human evolution were ; walking upright, using tools that allowed us to hunt and extract nutrients from kills, and our communication and social development.

But cooking certainly could have been an advantage. It would allow access to foods that previously weren't eaten and possibly the ability to preserve meats longer when they couldn't be eaten all at once. But we don't know whether or not paleo man was cooking all of his food, or just foods that had to be cooked.

I think another important factor here is time. The longer we've been doing something as a species the more adapted we are to it. If you could average out all the factors over the entire human existence; and maybe a few of our recent relatives, you'd get a good idea of how we should live. So stuff like cooked meat has been around fairly long. But stuff like eating processed foods and diets based on grains is very new. One will pose a bigger stress than the other. I'm sure if humans keep eating the modern diet for thousands of years, we"ll adapt to it. But that means many will have to die off and not reproduce so that future species are more suited to the environment. Evolution favors the species as a whole, not the individuals that don't carry the right genes.

And parts of the article you posted made me laugh. The part about the raw meat being "gross" or whatever she said and that fruits chimps eat don't have enough sugar was comical. Those are luxuries of modern times that have moved us back as a sPecies. In the wild you eat what you can, you don't say "eww my bison is too rare".

Can you explain the reasons why you "disagree" with Gorman?

It's well documented that it does help digestion. High temperatures causes protein denaturation, the same process that's undergone in your stomach through chloric acid (reduction of pH instead). Think of proteins as folded chains of amino acids. Each fold has a positive/negative charge (h-bonds), denaturation causes the amino acids to unfolds, an enzyme (pepsine) cuts up the proteins into peptides that are then used by your body as it needs. This is also why you don't need to eat complete protein sources, you can just add up different incomplete proteins since your digestive system sees no difference in the source. So it is a predigestive process, like your saliva and starch through amylase. Any meat eating animal can eat cooked meat, it makes no difference, the proteins are there and it doesn't diminish its "quality".

As for whether we're meant to eat raw meat, the first evidence of cooked food dates back 2 million years. We weren't homo sapiens back then. We've also been eating the "modern" diet i.e. processed grains for thousands of years. By your own logic, we've already adaptated.

K-R-M
06-22-2011, 07:14 PM
What do you mean by this? I have about 3-5 glasses milk per day

It doesn't mean anything. No one bases their diets around a single food. Basing your diet around lettuce would kill you quicker.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 07:20 PM
What do you mean by this? I have about 3-5 glasses milk per day

I mean if milk were to make up the majority of your diet, you'd be more likely to have some problems. I doubt 3-5 glasses a day is the majority of your diet. If you were only eating 3000kcals a day, and 2000kcals were coming from whole milk, you'd probably have some problems with that. This would be a little less than a gallon a day. I know people do and have done this, but long term its not a good idea.

The same would go for any other foods that are "non-paleo". (Grains, potatoes, processed foods, etc.) Its not necessarily that these foods are 'bad'. I think a lot of them do cause problems in higher quantities, but the big problem is that if you are taking in larger amounts of one food, you are taking in less of another. So if your diet is 50% processed grains, then that only leaves you 50% for all of your meats, vegetables, fruits,etc. The logic here goes like this. Meats, fruits, and vegetables in varying quanitities contain all of the nutrients needed to survive. Processed foods do not, or if they do, its with lower "density" so a higher caloric intake is needed to get the same nutrients. So if you dont end up malnourished, you'll end up obese.

I dont think we know of any exact numbers, but the 80/20 rule usually works with just about everything. So you could say that it would be pretty safe to recommend that at least 80% of your food (calorically or maybe by weight) come from "paleo" sources. And that 20% or less should come from things that are "non-paleo" And of that 20%, you'd want to minimize the contribution of things like hydrogenated oils, and HFCS.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 07:23 PM
It doesn't mean anything. No one bases their diets around a single food. Basing your diet around lettuce would kill you quicker.

True, but even if you had a variety of foods that were 'non-paleo' it would still likely cause problems. Our dietary needs, are based off the foods we've been eating for hundreds of thousands of years. Eating those food supplies the needed nutrients in the right quantities most optimally.

You could base a diet arounod a variety of things like milk, oatmeal, high sugar fruits, and protein powder, and possibly end up with the right calories and macro profile. But this wouldn't be good. And you could base a diet around a lesser variety of meat and vegetables, and you'd be just fine.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 07:53 PM
Saw this today, which was quite depressing:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss

And this is good to know:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/362685-frozen-vegetables-vs-fresh-vegetables/

K-R-M
06-22-2011, 09:16 PM
True, but even if you had a variety of foods that were 'non-paleo' it would still likely cause problems. Our dietary needs, are based off the foods we've been eating for hundreds of thousands of years. Eating those food supplies the needed nutrients in the right quantities most optimally.

You could base a diet arounod a variety of things like milk, oatmeal, high sugar fruits, and protein powder, and possibly end up with the right calories and macro profile. But this wouldn't be good. And you could base a diet around a lesser variety of meat and vegetables, and you'd be just fine.

I think you're overstating the the lack of nutrients in our diets. Our actual nutrient needs are low, all modern diets (even in the US, but mostly outside) have enough of each. Nutrient deficiencies are actually quite rare (think anorexia, starvation or protein powder only diets) if you don't take into account hormonal deficiencies (menopause). Mankind can (and has) thrive on very limited food sources. For example, the 50% of calories you left for meat and vegetables would be more than enough to satisfy all your nutrient needs, easily. Our main problem right now really is the sheer amount of food most people eat. I've seen studies correlating longevity with low calorie diets. It could make sense, much like a car engine living for more years if you drive it less. High bodyfat also comes with a wide array of health problems.

But it's not like I disagree: whole foods and high protein has definite and proven benefits This is pretty much the diet everyone should go for. But I don't see much support for the anti-grain, anti-dairy, anti-legume, etc. crowd.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 09:49 PM
@ K-R-M Ya I agree. I dont think so much theres a problem of lack of nutrients in our diets, its just they aren't coming in the right proportions. Nutrient density has definately decreased, and thus one must take in more calories to reach their nutrient needs. Im not sure, but I would think this could be one of many factors leading to obesity. Its easy enough to take a multi-vitamin and some supplements like fish oil though so I dont think this is that big of an issue for those of us that care.

Ive seen the theories about reduced calorie diets and I can see how that might be plausible. But there may be other factors, and longevity doesn't necessarily equate to health or quality of life.

As for the last part, I dont disagree really with any of what you are saying. Like I said, today I had 2 coke zeros, a nutri-grain bar, some orange juice, cheese and a piece of bread (and probably something else). Those are definately not the best choices of food, but I also focused on getting a lot of protein, nuts, meat, and vegetables throughout the day.

I also recognize the difference between wantingto be "healthy" and wanting to be as big and lean as possible. I think the more you work out the more you can get away with. Guys training hard can eat high carb diets with lots of grains and even sugar for a period of time. But a sedentary persn doing this will likely just get fat.

And really if you can eat in "moderation" its unlikely that anything will be noticeably that bad for you. But the majority of people's opinion of moderation is not correct.

This could be a typial day for an average person:

Bowl of "healthy" cereal w/ fat free milk and a banana

Some carrots and a nutri-grain bar

Sanwhich w/ 1 piece of processed turkey, and some lettuce, and a glass of juice

Bag of chips and an apple

Pasta w/ cheese, spinach and tomato sauce

Now i'll admit that could work for some people. But for the majority, (depending on the quantities) not very likely. So im not necessarily saying that grains, dairy, and legumes is harmful. But instead, using too much of these foods in your diet displaces the foods that are actually more beneficial for you.

And thats really without bringing up the other topics, like whether these anti "paleo" foods cause adverse reactions like inflammation. I dont want to even get into that. I actually like milk, grains, and legumes. But ive noticed I feel a lot better when these are used sparingly in my diet, rather than all of the time.

The big issue for me now, is that "paleo" foods are not bodybuilding friendly for all people. I myself have a pretty fast metabolism and low appetite, and I NEED to get other sources of calories to be able to gain weight/muscle. Nutrition isn't really an issue, but getting my calories and macros, without competely eating junk is now priority.

I think the next step for me, is to up my intake of yams and other tubers, and maybe bring my milk intake up a bit. Thanks for entertaining the discussion KRM

Mercuryblade
06-22-2011, 10:16 PM
Dan in all due respect, you have a bit of a lack of understanding when it comes to the mechanisms of evolution. You're clearly a smart guy and are just throwing ideas around in this thread, but you should really dig into evolution a bit more. It'll definitely help you reach some more conclusions. By the way this has been a great thread this far, lots of good ideas being thrown around.

I'd suggest reading The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, he's an atheist so the book takes that bit of a spin, I'm an atheist albeit not a militant one, and am actually pretty pro-religion (it's just not for me) so ignore the few side ramblings that jab at religion. But the book has one of the best explanations for evolution I have ever read.

You seem caught up on the idea that evolution and our concept of "the best" are intertwined. It's not so. Survival of the fittest is based on reproductive success. "Fitness" in the biological world refers to an individuals ability to reproduce viable offspring. You also have to realize that there are always limits and interplay between a myriad of factors. It all ultimately boils down to making babies that make babies. In our evolution our bodies best adapted to being able to extract enough of amount of stuff to go and make enough babies that would survive to pass along enough of the same/similar DNA and keep the cycle going. The genes and their similarities/differences are what matter, they care not if the host lives past 60 or is the pinnacle of health.

I'm echoing others with this point: the idea that going natural, or avoiding factory based products is somehow better than what modern humans have done is just dogmatic and short sighted. It's easy to grasp and easily marketable but not remotely true. Sure we've done plenty of horrible things to food that aren't the best for our systems but we've as others have mentioned- we've done a lot of things to food that's made it more awesome and safer to for us. There are plenty of naturally occurring things that can and do occur in natural of foods (cadium, e coli and others) that do a fantastic job at killing us or making us really sick.

I'd attribute you're feeling better at avoiding milk and processed foods to a combination of truths and placebo effect. I've tried low-carb dieting, or eliminating grains. I've felt like shit every time. This is me and you are you, and our bodies are probably pretty different.

Dan Fanelli
06-22-2011, 10:54 PM
Thanks mercury, I'll try to check out that book. Evolution is nor my area of expertise and I have a pretty basic understanding of ecological biology. But I'm still hesitant to believe a lot of the changes man has made are not going to come back to bight us in the butt later. It's not going to happen in our lifetime or anytime soon, but we've changed the environment so rapidly that we won't evolve on pace with these changes. It's fine if we want to ignore these factors cause other impacts we've had as humans are much greater anyways. But I still think it's naive to just ignore the current state of human health. Sure, we are reproducing and our offspring are living long enough to reproduce, but childhood obesity is on the rise, and we might be in trouble within a few generations. (I'm really not this paranoid, but I like to be honest about the worst possible situation).

Furthermore the past 100-1000 years is VERY short when you take a step back and look at our entire evolution. I'm not sure if this fact makes me feel better or worse though.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Daniel Roberts
06-23-2011, 03:26 AM
The way I see it, is that cooking foods was man's first move toward highly processed foods. We spent our entire evolution eating raw foods and developing guts that were meant to digest raw foods and then suddenly introduced a MAJOR outside factor; cooking.


The example you brought up about how hard it is to eat completely "raw" now illustrates this need. But ignoring nature and just doing what is easiest is just as bad of an idea.


Not to derail the thread, but I didn't catch the significance of your two quotes above on my first pass.

To clarify, we didn't spend our whole evolution eating raw foods, rather we evolved to homo-sapien because we discovered cooking and through it, liberated food energy (expensive tissue hypothesis).
That is to say we 'evolved' from early homo-sapien to modern homo-sapien on cooked foods - we are not going against nature by eating cooked food. Before cooking we weren't homo-sapien. So goes the theory.

Anyway, as I stated above and Mercuryblade expanded on, and you've admitted, you're looking at too small a timescale, think in hundreds of thousands and millions not tens of thousands.
Anything by Richard Dawkins on evolution, even his most recent Greatest Show on Earth will serve you well and is an easy (ish) read, but The Blind Watchmaker is particularly good.

joelhall
06-23-2011, 05:15 AM
I'm going to attempt to clarify some points, especially as there's a great deal of arguing all over the internet about what is a 'normal' human diet, etc I may post something much more in depth when I have time if anyone is interested.

Ok, so the vegetarians like to inform us that we have molars for crushing veg, and have long intestines and that vegetarians will live longer and be more healthy. Sadly none of these things is true. Molars have cusps for ripping flesh down (look at an animal with large canines and you'll notice these aren't for chewing meat! That's biology 101 as you might say). human intestines are in fact very short (less than 3x bodylength in most cases), and obviously lack enzymes such as cellulase, and many bacteria (and indeed the proliferation) which herbivores and ruminants possess. As for living longer? Well, meat eaters have a LOT more junk and processed foods available to them. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Very rare is the person who will eat naturall 24/7/365 their entire life (by very rare I mean virtually never!) As for more healthy? Toxic effects of undigested plant matter, deficiencies, lack of various nutrients in the right combinations and amounts, dangerous vegetation, fungal growth, waste products from harbivores at grazing sites... there really is an endless list which for now I don't want to get into!

Why is the vegetarian debate so important here? Mostly because a massive proportion of ancients mans diet was formed from MEAT. This is true for the vast majority of animals too. Vegetarian animals make up a small proportion of animal species.

How do we know this? I will break it down into some key areas. This is going to be very abbreviated for space...

Archaeological evidence:

We're not going back as far here, only 5 millenia or so, but there is a remarkable specimen of a chap we call Otzi the Iceman. The contents of Otzi's stomach were preserved, showing he had eaten red deer and chamois. Now I know what you're thinking, thousands of years ago humans weren't as enlightened as us as to what is healthy! Au contrare. The proof as they say is in the eating. And if you see that what someone is eating is keeping them healthier and alive in natural conditions you follow suit.

When we examine tools, cave paintings, skeletons what do we find? A great emphasis on meat eating. Why? Simply because it was better for people to eat meat.

'Woooaaaahhh! Slow down Joel, ok they might have eaten meat but that by no means shows that it is better for you!' Correct. The fact they ate it doesn't. But lots of other pieces of evidence do. This is how we scientists move from hypotheses to theories... by examining evidence. Luckily I happen to have a little on me...

2. Knowledge of ecology, biodiversity and natural environments (this is where my first degree in natural sciences comes in useful - still bored me to sleep though...):

Ok so you're out in the wilderness. Cars, supermarkets, farms, TV and Megan Fox sadly have not been invented yet (in fact you've never even heard of them... have to make do with Raquel Welch I'm afraid...).

You're hungry. In fact you and your mates are. The wives and kids are back at the cave playing Rock/rock/rock (sorry no scissors or paper yet), and you promised you'd do the shopping! So what do you get - remember this is something that is still ingrained into men's brains today... That's right, whatever there is plenty of which will feed the family and the easiest thing to grab off the shelf.

Ok you might now say 'veggies, fruits, nuts'... nope. You see that sweet bunny over there, with it's kids. You're about to smash it's head in. Why?

Well the human population was lower. There were far more habitats and animals running around (go on safari sometime or down to the rainforests which haven't been chopped down yet and you'll see what I mean), and more importantly you find it tasty. Why? Because it is and it will help you and your family not only lived but also do your day-to-day living. And it will do it remarkably well.

The majority of the animal kingdom eats meat. Even some those which mostly eat vegetation binge on meat when they can (watch apes). For obvious reasons...

1. Nutrient uptake from meat is far superior and efficient to that from plants.
2. Acids and enzymes help break down the muscle tissues to release these nutrients.
3. It provides a denser source of energy, and building blocks for various structures and molecules in the body.
4. We have much better storage for fats than for glucose.
5. Our blood, in order to keep us healthy, cannot keep a high level of sugar for very long. Trying to provide all our needs from plants would involve eating pretty much constantly (again watch herbivores - slow, sluggish, constantly eating, etc).
6. The role of carbohydrates is vastly exaggerated.
7. Many products of fat and protein utilisation ar in fact not the danger they are said to be (indeed the brain works more efficiently from ketone bodies than glucose).
8. We have to survive! This is pretty much the whole reason we eat in the first place. It's also the reason you grow muscle.

I'm not going to wow everyone with fancy words, just keep it simple. But we are now in the realms of cellular and molecular biology - my field - and so we shall examine what we know and apply it.

WINTER! Winter is a lovely time - lights, snow, people knocking at the door singing about some lad named Jesus, parties, women dressed to the nines for party season in figure hugging dresses and stilettos...

Sadly Mr Ugg would not have seen this. He would be trying to survive the winter, and not only that but trying to do various other things - go on the hunt, protect the family, build things, make things, travel, etc. For this he needs energy.

Now I know what everyone is assuming. That gut on him provides insulation to keep him warm Not the case. Muscle is very good at maintaining body heat. Fat is a pretty poor insulator unless you're chronically obses (and have muscle under there to create that heat in the first place). No I'm not making this up. animals simply do not rely on fat for warmth. They rely on the following:

Body hair/feathers
Increased metabolic rate
Extra energy usage
Moving about (and shivering)
Shelter

Why not the fat insulation myth you've heard of? Because if this were true in more temperate or warm climates you'd burn to a crisp inside, and if you kept that fat on your energy would plummet and you'd die (and not produce the much needed heat in the first place to keep locked inside). That fat serves one vital purpose to this event however - ENERGY STORAGE. Even cavemen knew the above, hence why they took fur from animals to keep them warm. That energy is stored during summer, when fruits and sugars are plentiful. Oh yes that's right by the way - sugar does make you fat! It's supposed to! Try wolfing down lots of fruit or fizzy drinks during your bulk and you'll see it for yourself.

The adipose tissue is a very dense source of stored energy.It is this energy which keeps hibernating and those entering torpor alive (oh by the way only small animals hibernate. Large animals such as bears do not). It is also what keeps our caveman going during winter. (Ever tried to find decent edible vegetation during the winter? And no we are not talking storage organs such as potatos here - don't eat them raw by the way).

Our cavemen would do what many animals do during summer - eat more. Lots of sugary things like strawberries, etc. What would be the result of this extra sugar in the blood? Fat storage. Fat stores build up over summer, much as they do in migrating birds. Our caveman now has the energy he needs to keep him alive. There are less of these rich carb foods around in winter, so this is vital. It also means he isn't kicking arse out of his insulin response all year which he'll be thankful for as he gets older.

Even so he needs to keep eating meat. And fish! Fish was awesome stuff for our ancestors, and should be a staple in everyone's diet today. He needs proteins and vitamins and minerals which are used daily and not stored. Granted muscle tissue might act as a kind of store, but fasting for up to 6 months every year is not going to do you much good. How on Earth did he get by without eating all those carbs he so desparately needs for energy?

Fact is he doesn't. Ok carbohydrates are needed for things such and glycolipid and glycoprotein maufacture, blood glucose levels, etc. But really we don't need all that many at all, especially in the cold. We need calorie dense foods and we can thank our genes for processes such as reverse glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Forget this from glycogen however, we store such a small amount it's amazing we can get out of bed if we believe the 'carbs are essential' groupies. Carbs are useful to our long-lost g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g...... g-g-g grandad so he can get chunky for winter.

Of course you have different options. You could eat the grass (don't by the way), or various berries found in winter (again DON'T, most will be poisonous). We could load up on wheat as we do today in our pasta and bread (definitely not an option unless processed). Or we could accept how our bodies actually work, listen to them and do what we need to do. Ugg would simply keep up with the bits of fruit he could still find. Telling the difference between these would be easy. Less so for leaves and so forth; due to convergent evolution and mimicry, many poisonous veg looks the same as healthy veg, and simply because he lived in the jungle did not make him an expert botanist.

So let's listen. We'll start with our anatomy and morphology. Much has been made by the anti-meat brigade about human dentition. It somewhat escapes notice (as it does when people recite the same tired old quotes), that our teeth are actually ideal for eating meat. We shall address this now, along with a few other myths. then again if we really want to debate how important the teeth and that are, we could simply look at various carnivores such as penguins. Anyway...

Myth 1: All carnivores have large canines and fangs for eating meat.
False: Carnivores tend to have these for one reason only. Go to youtube and check out videos of lions killing prey. They cannot do what we can, cannot create tools, or behave in the same way. They have build in weapons for piercing prey to kill or main prey. Try to chop up meat using the sharp point of a skewer and you will see this is wrong. Those teeth are for catching animals, and ripping bits off them. End of. We have smaller canines as we can shred our meat and because we eat smaller chunks... to the next point...

Myth 2: All carnivores swallow prey whole or in chunks rather than chewing.
False: Yes the vast majority do. Because they have to. And because they can cope with it and have a certain physiology adapted to their lifestyle. For humans we cannot just eat 2 or 3 times a year. We need to digest meat quicker and find it quicker.

Myth 3: We have only small canines and incisors: This means we cannot eat meat properly
False: Those incisors are not for eating meat at all. They're for vegetation. No animal uses the very front teeth to eat meat, that would be silly and provide a biomechinal disadvantage due to the leverage and the toughness of muscle tissue. You use those teeth when you bite a chunk of apple, not when you bite into a mixed grill.

Canines... ok here is what canines do... they pierce and grab hold of food. humans will naturally chew in the correct way. This involves using our smaller canines (because we have smaller a smaller mouth and oesophagus) to grip while the molars rip the heck out of the meat...

Myth 3 (b)... but we have molars for grinding veg...
False: No, we have molars for ripping and shredding food. A couple of chomps and our fruit and veg is ready to go down. Molars have numerous cusps on them for shredding meat open, and allowing saliva to mix with it. again they interact with the canines right where we need them. Eat meat by hand your canine holds it you rip it off sideways, and chew it with the teeth at the back.

Myth 4: Carnivores do not contain digestive enzymes in saliva. humans do therefore, we are not carnivorous.
False: This is nothing to do with our diet but our method of digestion. We begin this right from the start in the mouth, especially for carbohydrates as they are real buggers to digest! Other carnivores have various means of digestion suited to their phenotype. We don't ONLY eat meat, we eat some fruits etc too. But we don't naturally make up a massive proportion of our diet from vegetation.

Myth 5: The pH of our stomach is lower than that of carnivores, and we lack enzymes for meat eating and are sensitive to bateria, AND we produce less acid...
False. We have lots of enzymes, especially for proteins and fats. The acidity of the stomach lumen is quite sufficient to break down what we need it to, and the reason we produce less - we eat less and have better enzymes and guts.

Myth 6: the intestinal length:
False: Sorry but from experience cutting into cadavers you also would know our intestines are waaaayyyy shorter than a herbivores. We don't have them as we don't ferment like herbivores or digest cellulose. We don't need long intestines for the easily digestible fruits, etc, and small amount of plant matter we ate (which hopefully hasn't been urinated on or succumbed to diseases).

Besides which, that vegetation is much better used by the animals which need it most, the herbivores propping up the entire food chain.

Last time I peered into a body, I didn't see forestomachs, or evidence of hindgut fermentation in a human!

(starting to become bored at this point hehe)...

Myth 7: urea/toxins in carnivores blah blah...
False: Kidneys, water balance, blah blah...

Myth 8: man doesn't hunt...
False: yes he does and with his brain he's better at it than using brute speed and strength

Myth 9: All carnivores have claws etc
False: We don't, because we don't need them. Lions do not have opposable thumbs, haven't made use of tools since before H. sapiens sapiens evolved, etc. We evolved from ancestors due to eating meat (see winter above, etc).

Myth 10: But meat poses all sorts of health risks.....

Now here is the important part. Health. Meat is fine! I know, I'm disagreeing with everything you know. But I'm afraid it's right. The biggest thing which is killing us isn't meat. It's the crap we eat now!

You think human genes would have evolved to create such a large chance change in a few thousand years? Not a chance! We simply don't adapt to something because we do it. We rely on gene mutations. Google it as it's longer than I have space for.

Here is how it works (or doesn't in this case)...

Cavemen... have to eat food which is there. They don't fry it in oil. They don't shove glaze on it. They kill and eat it. Why? (wow that question is getting boring hehe) Because when you're out in the wilderness there's all sorts of bigger animals which want your food and will kill you for it. Don't waste time cooking it, or if you do don't take long. Just eat it.

Having said that, their meat hadn't been hanging up in the abbotoir, the butchers, the fridge, waiting around for weeks, etc. No wonder cooking has become so important and our immune systems aren't as used to raw meat (immunity is both innate - basic type - and adaptive - the good type).

Of course you'd have a job equating that to today. They didn't have hot dogs and sausages, pies, slices, pizzas, processed meats, reformed meats, burgers, kebabs, cultivated species, drugged up beasts, ever so strange looking foods to feed animals.

And they probably didn't take home a cow either. Think about it again - no car, no shotgun, etc. You eat what you can kill. Think small mammals, easy to catch prey, and every once in a while the delicacy of something hard to catch, if times are hard, such as deer. I doubt they'd carry a prize bull back, and certainly wouldn't want the stench of it near them and the dangerous animals the carcass would attract coming near them.

At this point I think I've whittled on enough, so will finish with what it means to bodybuilding...

Can you build muscle and get fit on a 'paleo diet'?

Yes of course. It's all there. Proteins, cholesterol, energy, fats, minerals, vitamins, altered K/Na ratio from todays diet, various molecules you never even think of...

Only problem is the amount of food you need to buy (meat isn't cheap), and most isn't like what we ate millenia ago, unless you go wild duck hunting, chasing deer, beheading hares and rabbits, etc out in the wild.

As for making sure you get enough carbs... In my opinion and that of some others I know, this can be somewhat negligable. Sure carbohydrates provide a quick source of energy, but they are not as essential as you might believe. In fact they can also lower life expectancy (limited calorie intake can increase longevity). Added to which, if you have plenty of natural fat and protein in your body... why would you bother with a fuel source which needs to be continually topped up? Make no bones about it those complex carbs end up just as the simple ones do... glucose - gone! At rest you won't be using that fuel for the muscles anyway, but fats. ATP has much better things to do with it's time.

Anyway this is only a stub I've knocked off, I'll post something better when I get back.

joelhall
06-23-2011, 05:18 AM
I should point out, that I am not a nutrition guru, or dietician, I'm a humble molecular biologist and naturalist (until I complete my medical degree). Joel

Alex.V
06-23-2011, 09:43 AM
You could base a diet arounod a variety of things like milk, oatmeal, high sugar fruits, and protein powder, and possibly end up with the right calories and macro profile. But this wouldn't be good.

Just to play devil's advocate... why not?

Assuming you'd supplement with multivitamins and minerals (we won't get into the actual bioavailability of such things), and the macros provided were precisely what you needed, what WOULD be the problem?

Again, not saying there isn't a problem in practice, but theoretically once the compounds enter the bloodstream, the body is completely ignorant to origin, and couldn't care less if said proteins, carbs and fats came from tree nuts, kale, and bison, or from whey isolate, glucose tablets, EFA tablets, and centrum.

Alex.V
06-23-2011, 09:45 AM
Joel, that was a decent rebuttal to the vegetarian argument against eating meat, but isn't really relevant to the topic...

***edit, and a few things:

-Toxic effects of undigested plant matter? Please explain.
-Brain functions better on ketones than glucose? That's a new one. Please explain.
-Nutrient uptake from meat is far superior and efficient to that from plants? This is an invalid statement as written. Please explain.

Molecular biologist and naturalist? So your degree isn't in biochemistry or human physiology then...

Dan Fanelli
06-23-2011, 06:54 PM
Wow. You guys have added a lot of meat (pun intended) to this discussion. Biochemistry is probalby my weakest of areas when it comes to this stuff (my strengths are exercise physiology and biomechanics), but im always greatful to be exposed to other perspectives.

Joel's post explained a lot of things, and whether or not its all true I dont know. But really, just being exposed to the exercise/health/fitness/bodybuilding culture and doing a bit of research we all have a good idea of how we should be eating and exercising. What interests me so much about the topic of evolution is that it can lead you to the WHY of what is best.

I'd really be interested to see if there are any studies now that connect some of what we know now, with why it might be so. With my limited knowledge on the subject, an example I can think of would be the following........

Say we look at a population like the native Samoans I mentioned earlier.
1) First off, is this population fairly homogenous in terms of there inclination to become obese when exposed to the "Western Diet/lifestyle
2) If so, what genetic factors are at play here?
3)Controlling for calories, what effect is there having them eat exclusively their diet, vs the western diet.
4)Not controlling for calories, and just allowing them to do what they want, how would the two diets compare.

Again, with my limited knowledge I strongly believe that there are genetic factors effecting what we'd observe here, and these genetic factors are a direct result of evolution, which is a direct result of the environment we evolved in.

The Samoans are just population, but further understanding of our genetics, and our past and present environment will lead to a more easily attainable optimal health.

Dan Fanelli
06-23-2011, 07:18 PM
Just to play devil's advocate... why not?

Assuming you'd supplement with multivitamins and minerals (we won't get into the actual bioavailability of such things), and the macros provided were precisely what you needed, what WOULD be the problem?

Again, not saying there isn't a problem in practice, but theoretically once the compounds enter the bloodstream, the body is completely ignorant to origin, and couldn't care less if said proteins, carbs and fats came from tree nuts, kale, and bison, or from whey isolate, glucose tablets, EFA tablets, and centrum.

Hmmm? Is that where you got the idea for your avatar? :clap:

I'll try to answer that question the best I can. Here is my belief (which I think is more than a belief, because there is science to back most of it up).

You have the crowd that says "calories are all that matters", and you have the crowd that says "calories dont matter". The problem is, they are both wrong. They both take too extreme of a view, and you can pretty much disprove them with just plain logic.

In the first case, we know that eating a 2000kcal salmon effects the body very differently than eating a 2000kcal cake.

In the second case, we know that if you 2000kcals of salmon you'll get a different end result than if you eat 4000kcals of salmon.

Maybe these people are actually that extreme, or maybe they are trying to make a point. I dont know. But I think its hard to ignore the fact that EVERYTHING matters, and NOTHING is all that matters. You have to accept that this is a complex system at work here, and if you try to reduce it to a single factor, you are going to be wrong.

Ok enough of that. So back to my assertion, and your question. Ok, lets say I eat "natural paleo foods"[ex. meat, nuts, veggies, frut] and you just eat "processed non-paleo foods" [ex. milk, oatmeal, high sugar fruits, and protein powder]. And you supplement with vitamins and minerals and whatever else, and we end up eating the same exact diet, then ya i'd agree there would be no difference.

The problem is, assuming we both stuck to the foods we were supposed to eat, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for our diet to chemically be the same. Sure, the caloric intake might be the same, and the macros might be the same. (We might be at 40/40/20, and 3000kcals) But this is why you cant reduce this complex system to one, or even two factors.

We know that eating simple sugars affects the body different than complex carbohydrates. 100g of protein from steak is different than 100g of protein from whey. The extent to how much these differences has an effect is up to researchers to determine, and probably will never happen.

I dont want to beat a dead horse with that argument, as I dont have anything to back it up other than logic. But i will also say this. Assuming the "paleo diet" is, or resembles the diet we have been eating for thousands to millions of years, then eating those foods (if even possible) will give us the nutrients we need to survive, while minimizing harmful substances. Even if you can "get by" or survive on different foods, you are leaving it up to chance that you are getting all the nutrients you need. And even if you supplement to make sure you are covering your nutritional needs, there still is the risk that these "non-paleo" foods are bringing in substances with little purpose that may even be harmful. Off the top of my head, some of these harmful substances that we are more likely to be exposed to are excess calories and simple sugars. And of course, context is important here. These are not "harmful" substances, but in our situation they likely are.

Think of this. One example of loss of food quality was that two peaches 50 years ago would supply an entire days vitamin A content. Now, it would take 53 peaches to get that same amount. If one were to try to obtain the same amount of vitamin A from this same source now, they'd be getting basically 25x the calories, and a bunch of other stuff.

With my limited understanding of evolution and biochemistry, I'd have to speculate that our bodies "learned" to store/synthesize substances that were rarely in quantities that were harmful. On the flip side, substances that were abundant and often taken in large quantities, our body can excrete.

Dan Fanelli
06-23-2011, 07:35 PM
I would think the concepts of essential and non-essential nutrients would be highly important to this discussion. Im surprised I haven't seen those for or against the paleo diet bring these factors up.

Maybe you guys can weigh in on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_nutrient


My speculation would be that Essential nutrients are those that we have always eaten. Doesn't that make sense? I mean if they are essential, then we had to eat them or we wouldn't be here.

On the other side, non-essential nutrients would be things that we didn't eat often or in large amounts. Or maybe there were long periods of time, when they weren't available and the body had to figure another way to get them.

For example, something like Cholesterol is non-essential. But assuming we were eating meat as the basis of our diet on a regular basis, WHY is Cholesterol still produced by the body. Maybe there some other factor I dont understand. But maybe its because cholesterol is needed on a daily basis, and there have always be periods of time when meat wasn't available on a daily basis. I imagine there were periods where hunter/gathers had to survive on just gathering until meat was available.

If this logic even makes sense, then you could extend it to other foods/nutrients. Water for ex. Water is the most essential of all nutrients. We can not make it, and can only survive for a short duration without it. So its safe to assume that throughout our history, man has taken in water on a regular basis, and its been available. If this weren't the case, and we were still here, then it would have been necessary for us to evolve some method of storing more water or limiting our water loss/usage.

Carbohydrates: We know they are not essential, and our body can easily synthesize enough for us to survive under normal conditions. This must mean over the course of our evolution there were long enough periods of time where we didn't take in many carbohydrates and had to develop this trait.

This line of reasoning makes sense to me, but I also recognize the argument against it that others have presented, which is..... Just because something wasn't available to paleo man, doesn't mean it wouldn't have benefitted him. And I agree to that. Im sure calorically dense gatorade and grocery stores full of similar foods would have been of gret benefit to him.

Catch
06-23-2011, 07:44 PM
Has anyone of any reputable status ever done an actual study on this diet? To me, there's too much BS surrounded by it. Sure, one could lose weight cutting out dairy or grains, but they could also do so doing regular-ish restrictions. I certainly don't think the diet would support a bodybuilder/powerlifter lifestyle. For an overall healthy lifestyle diet, it's fine, it highlights healthy food sources.

Instead of just dropping a bunch of links, I'll link you to the original post I saw about this kind of stuff on the other forum I visit. I believe they were talking about paleo or diet styles, and this is what came out of a (pro paleo) post by one of "experts" I guess you could say. Basically talks about grains, saturated fats, and all that jazz.

Basically, grains are pretty bad from everything that I have gathered from this. I still eat them from time to time, but rarely anymore>

Edit: Grains may be bad, but dairy isn't really I believe. At least in terms of milk... (Esp whole)

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=180919&currentpage=292#5821

P.S, it is the post by Eshlow, should take you right to it.
P.P.S, Sorry I'm so late to this, I know it was on the first page. But I never really saw anybody discuss it at length like we had done.

K-R-M
06-23-2011, 09:01 PM
On the other side, non-essential nutrients would be things that we didn't eat often or in large amounts. Or maybe there were long periods of time, when they weren't available and the body had to figure another way to get them.

For example, something like Cholesterol is non-essential. But assuming we were eating meat as the basis of our diet on a regular basis, WHY is Cholesterol still produced by the body. Maybe there some other factor I dont understand. But maybe its because cholesterol is needed on a daily basis, and there have always be periods of time when meat wasn't available on a daily basis. I imagine there were periods where hunter/gathers had to survive on just gathering until meat was available.

This kind of questionning would be easily answered with a basic biology course, where the role of cholesterol is explained in detail. It has nothing to do with meat or meat eating. Cholesterol is a steroid and a precursor of other steroids, like sexual hormones. Cholesterol is an essential molecule for animals. I'm not saying it's somewhat needed... it's essential for our survival, for steroid/hormone production, that is why the body needs to synthesize it. If you look at an animal cell membrane, you would find cholesterol in throughout the cell membranes in between the hydrophobic tails of the membrane lipids. Here's a perfect example of what I mean: http://liquidbio.pbworks.com/f/1194856255/cell%20membrane.png

For the digestive system, the only thing dietary cholesterol is, is another source of fats. It breaks it down the same way it breaks down other lipids (into fatty acids). It cannot simply take animal cholesterol and insert it into our cells in the same way it cannot take muscle tissue or protein from another animal and simply add it to our own. It breaks it down into useable chains. This has actually been supported by research: there's no clear link between a diet high in dietary cholesterol (think eggs and shrimp) and a high blood cholesterol. The link is between cholesterol and saturated/animal fats. I'll also add there's nothing wrong with having cholesterol in your cells (like I said, absolutely essential), but a too high amount caused by a poor diet affects membrane fluidity negatively (hence the health problems). Your body can and does synthesize cholesterol (a lipid) if you have any sort of fat intake in your diet.

In other words, I'm answering your "WHY is cholesterol still produced by the body", it's an absolutely essential part of your cell membranes, just like transport proteins or phospholipids or ATP synthase enzymes or basically any absolutely essential part of your cells needed to live. A diet with no cholesterol whatsoever but even a small amount of fat, would still cause the synthesis of cholesterol in your cell membrane.



If this logic even makes sense, then you could extend it to other foods/nutrients. Water for ex. Water is the most essential of all nutrients. We can not make it, and can only survive for a short duration without it. So its safe to assume that throughout our history, man has taken in water on a regular basis, and its been available. If this weren't the case, and we were still here, then it would have been necessary for us to evolve some method of storing more water or limiting our water loss/usage.

The analogy doesn't work in this case. Water is used both as an anti-oxydant and as a means of hydration (obviously). Your body cannot synthesize water from other sources. Your body can synthesize cholesterol from other sources, that's what it always does actually.




Carbohydrates: We know they are not essential, and our body can easily synthesize enough for us to survive under normal conditions. This must mean over the course of our evolution there were long enough periods of time where we didn't take in many carbohydrates and had to develop this trait.


But my problem is... why not eat carbohydrates? Think of how cellular respiration works, all three parts use a form of glucose. It makes all the sense in the world to offer your body an easily accessible source of fuel. Not all your calories have to come from meat or its fat. There's a point where your basic micronutrient needs are met (very early in your 2000-2500 calorie diet), after this its just a matter of thermodynamics. Anyways Dan, I really like your curiosity on these subjects, makes for very interesting discussion.

Dan Fanelli
06-23-2011, 10:24 PM
@ KRM Thanks for entertaining my curiosity. My reasoning in that post was only meant to offer up one possibility. I have no clue if its even plausible.

Let me try to explain again, and see if this is a possiblity. So I know cholesterol is essential in the body, but it can be made by the body and is not essential in the diet. One possible explanation of WHY the body ever need to make cholesterol is that there where periods of time that it wasn't present in the diet enough to meet needs, and thus it had to be made. At one time, maybe most of it came from the diet, but that couldn't be depended upon in the long run, and the individuals that survived were teh ones that could synthesize it.....

I think this could be analogous to synthesis of glycogen through gluconeogenesis. When carbohydrates are not present in the body, it starts to convert other substances to glycogen. If you are regularly eating carbohydrates this process is shut down. Couldn't it be plausible that over genertaions of regularly eating diets high in carbohydrates that the ability to synthesize glucose be lost. At that point, carbohydrates would become essential in the diet, because they were eaten so regularly in higher doses.

And I would think this could extend to almost all other substances. If its something that the body makes (therefore doesn't need in the diet) then its likely something we haven't taken in regularly. ((Did we normally take in high doses of Vitamin D in our diet, or were all our needs met through sunlight??? Also, do chimps get all their Vit D from sunlight, or other sources???))

I'll be the first to admit, my questions might be silly, and my reasoning could be completely wrong, but I still think its a possibility. ((Just like ancient aliens :) ))

And I agree with you about no harm coming from taking in carbs. I think the average person would be better off by limiting them to <100-150g and mainly from veggies and such, and then adjusting that upwards based on activity. I dont think sedentary people need 40-60% of their calories from carbs though, thats for sure.

Thx again for discussing.

dasfonzie
06-24-2011, 11:45 PM
I should point out, that I am not a nutrition guru, or dietician, I'm a humble molecular biologist and naturalist (until I complete my medical degree). Joel

i'd just like to thank you for typing all that up. if i muster the energy after i finish grad school in my field,i'd actually like to go back and get a B.S. in biochem or possibly kinesiology with a minor in biochem or vice/versa, who knows, that's to much to think about right now lol.

but i found your post very awesome

Alex.V
06-25-2011, 12:07 PM
i'd just like to thank you for typing all that up. if i muster the energy after i finish grad school in my field,i'd actually like to go back and get a B.S. in biochem or possibly kinesiology with a minor in biochem or vice/versa, who knows, that's to much to think about right now lol.

but i found your post very awesome

Yes, and littered with incorrect assumptions, false conclusions, and baseless claims. A part of me died when I read it.

Dan Fanelli
06-25-2011, 12:24 PM
Yes, and littered with incorrect assumptions, false conclusions, and baseless claims. A part of me died when I read it.

Care to elaborate on some of those?


**As a side note, ive been reading up on certain populations of people that interest me, like the Samoans and Inuit peoples.

http://sun.menloschool.org/~dspence/biology/pdfs/inuit_diet.pdf

Its a fairly good read and brings up some interesting topics.

The one that stood out to me that makes sense, is that if a group of people were living on a low carbohydrate diet, then fat must be fairly high. "Lean meats" were not really an option.

Which leads me to question, did our ancestors have a lot of sources of fatty meats, or did they have to replenish fat stores some other way? We know converting protein to fat would be a highly inneficient process, so they had to either be taking in large amounts of fat, or taking in large amounts of fructose.

dasfonzie
06-25-2011, 04:19 PM
Yes, and littered with incorrect assumptions, false conclusions, and baseless claims. A part of me died when I read it.

well care to form a rebuttal, it doesn't give you much credit when your response is a one sentence equivalent of "nuh-uh!"

K-R-M
06-25-2011, 06:10 PM
Yes, and littered with incorrect assumptions, false conclusions, and baseless claims. A part of me died when I read it.

Same here to be honest. Didn't want to open that can of worms though.


Dan, about cholesterol, it's not at all like synthesis of glycogen through gluconeogenesis. Cholesterol never had to be present in a diet to be synthesized. Your digest system doesn't just soak up dietary cholesterol then directly inserts it into your cells. It breaks it down like any other lipid. What I'm saying is a better analogy would be that when you eat animal cells, enzymes like ATP synthase (a protein) isn't just soaked in put in your cells either. It's just another protein that's going to be broken down into chains of amino acids. Your body will synthesize ATP synthase regardless of the source of protein. This is the same with cholesterol in your cell membrane. Cholesterol synthesis is essential for your cells, dietary cholesterol is non-essential in your diet.

Alex.V
06-26-2011, 10:02 AM
well care to form a rebuttal, it doesn't give you much credit when your response is a one sentence equivalent of "nuh-uh!"

Fair enough, just a moment.

Alex.V
06-26-2011, 10:35 AM
Fair enough, just a moment.

Please see my comments below, in bold. Now, bear in mind, I agree with much of what was written, particularly the statements regarding human dentition, digestive system structure, etc. However, there are a number of claims that were made that are inaccurate, lack backing, or otherwise could stand some explanation. Also note, I did inquire about a few of those up above.

Joel, I understand you may have been simplifying many things for the purposes of teh intarweb and your audience. However, a few things below didn't quite add up.


I'm going to attempt to clarify some points, especially as there's a great deal of arguing all over the internet about what is a 'normal' human diet, etc I may post something much more in depth when I have time if anyone is interested.

Ok, so the vegetarians like to inform us that we have molars for crushing veg, and have long intestines and that vegetarians will live longer and be more healthy. Sadly none of these things is true. Molars have cusps for ripping flesh down (look at an animal with large canines and you'll notice these aren't for chewing meat! That's biology 101 as you might say). human intestines are in fact very short (less than 3x bodylength in most cases), and obviously lack enzymes such as cellulase, and many bacteria (and indeed the proliferation) which herbivores and ruminants possess. As for living longer? Well, meat eaters have a LOT more junk and processed foods available to them. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Very rare is the person who will eat naturall 24/7/365 their entire life (by very rare I mean virtually never!) As for more healthy? Toxic effects of undigested plant matter, Toxic effects? Undigested plant matter is not toxic, fibrous materials are usually sent out the other end fairly rapidly. Fermentation and other undesirable effects are usually an indication of severe digestive issues. You find these sorts of things in patients with crohn's, bowel cancer, etc. Please explain what you mean. deficiencies, lack of various nutrients in the right combinations and amounts, dangerous vegetation, fungal growth, waste products from harbivores at grazing sites These last three are hardly applicable to modern vegetarians, though in a historical perspective I see your point. However, also bear in mind that animals carry parasites, their meat can be easily contaminated by their own waste after a slaughter, etc., so infection is a concern in any non-controlled food source... there really is an endless list which for now I don't want to get into!

Why is the vegetarian debate so important here? Mostly because a massive proportion of ancients mans diet was formed from MEAT. This is true for the vast majority of animals too. Vegetarian animals make up a small proportion of animal species.

How do we know this? I will break it down into some key areas. This is going to be very abbreviated for space...

Archaeological evidence:

We're not going back as far here, only 5 millenia or so, but there is a remarkable specimen of a chap we call Otzi the Iceman. The contents of Otzi's stomach were preserved, showing he had eaten red deer and chamois. Now I know what you're thinking, thousands of years ago humans weren't as enlightened as us as to what is healthy! Au contrare. The proof as they say is in the eating. No biologist would make the claim that what ANY animal is eating is what's healthiest, only that it's what's available. This is a specious claim And if you see that what someone is eating is keeping them healthier and alive in natural conditions you follow suit.

When we examine tools, cave paintings, skeletons what do we find? A great emphasis on meat eating. Why? Simply because it was better for people to eat meat. Clearly not an anthropologist. Cave paintings celebrate the hunt. Are they celebrating meat eating, or celebrating the act of a tribe conquering a large animal and establishing superiority? Cave tools aren't just arrowheads, they're mortars and pestles, rocks for crushing husks and shells of nuts, etc. Cave paintings, much like art still found around the world in more isolate tribes, celebrate accomplishments and ritual. The hunt is a ritual, in many modern tribes found in Africa, South America, etc. one's first hunt is seen as a rite of passage. Simply because they celebrated the hunt does not mean that meat itself is a staple of their diet- in fact, one could argue that it shows it is much harder to obtain, which would MAKE it an accomplishment. Now, this interpretation may be no more correct than yours, but I do not see enough evidence for either which would make either useful enough to draw dietary conclusions from

'Woooaaaahhh! Slow down Joel, ok they might have eaten meat but that by no means shows that it is better for you!' Correct. The fact they ate it doesn't. But lots of other pieces of evidence do. This is how we scientists move from hypotheses to theories... by examining evidence. Luckily I happen to have a little on me...

2. Knowledge of ecology, biodiversity and natural environments (this is where my first degree in natural sciences comes in useful - still bored me to sleep though...):

Ok so you're out in the wilderness. Cars, supermarkets, farms, TV and Megan Fox sadly have not been invented yet (in fact you've never even heard of them... have to make do with Raquel Welch I'm afraid...).

You're hungry. In fact you and your mates are. The wives and kids are back at the cave playing Rock/rock/rock (sorry no scissors or paper yet), and you promised you'd do the shopping! So what do you get - remember this is something that is still ingrained into men's brains today... That's right, whatever there is plenty of which will feed the family and the easiest thing to grab off the shelf.

Ok you might now say 'veggies, fruits, nuts'... nope. You see that sweet bunny over there, with it's kids. You're about to smash it's head in. Why? you're arguing that hunting down skinny, fast, evasive game is easier than picking fruits?

Well the human population was lower. There were far more habitats and animals running around (go on safari sometime or down to the rainforests which haven't been chopped down yet and you'll see what I mean), and more importantly you find it tasty. Why? Because it is and it will help you and your family not only lived but also do your day-to-day living. And it will do it remarkably well.

The majority of the animal kingdom eats meat. This is false, by definition. The base of the food chain (primary producers) needs to have significantly more energy than the primary consumers (herbivores). In every step of the food chain, energy is lost through biological processes, leaving little left over to carry up to the next level. Any sustainable population must have significantly more primary consumers than all predators combined. This is BASIC, BASIC biology. Even some those which mostly eat vegetation binge on meat when they can (watch apes). For obvious reasons...

1. Nutrient uptake from meat is far superior and efficient to that from plants. this is an absurd statement. What on earth are you talking about? Certain minerals and vitamins are more bioavailable from meat sources than from plant sources, but overall this statement is groundless. There are nutrients in plants not found in meat of any sort.
2. Acids and enzymes help break down the muscle tissues to release these nutrients.
3. It provides a denser source of energy, and building blocks for various structures and molecules in the body. Again, generalization. Nuts and avocados are denser nutrient sources than crab or fish.
4. We have much better storage for fats than for glucose. yes, but amazing how we can convert energy sources from one compound to another
5. Our blood, in order to keep us healthy, cannot keep a high level of sugar for very long. Trying to provide all our needs from plants would involve eating pretty much constantly (again watch herbivores - slow, sluggish, constantly eating, etc). I would hardly argue that springboks and thomson's gazelles, (which outrun cheetahs), squirrels, etc. etc. etc. are slow and sluggish. This is, again, a ridiculous generalization.
6. The role of carbohydrates is vastly exaggerated. ????
7. Many products of fat and protein utilisation ar in fact not the danger they are said to be (indeed the brain works more efficiently from ketone bodies than glucose). This last statement is blatantly untrue. The brain can use both for energy squally well. Neurons do not "run better" when provided with one form of energy over another/
8. We have to survive! This is pretty much the whole reason we eat in the first place. It's also the reason you grow muscle.

I'm not going to wow everyone with fancy words, just keep it simple. But we are now in the realms of cellular and molecular biology - my field - and so we shall examine what we know and apply it.

WINTER! Winter is a lovely time - lights, snow, people knocking at the door singing about some lad named Jesus, parties, women dressed to the nines for party season in figure hugging dresses and stilettos...

Sadly Mr Ugg would not have seen this. He would be trying to survive the winter, and not only that but trying to do various other things - go on the hunt, protect the family, build things, make things, travel, etc. For this he needs energy.

Now I know what everyone is assuming. That gut on him provides insulation to keep him warm Not the case. Muscle is very good at maintaining body heat. yes, by burning tremendous amounts of energy Fat is a pretty poor insulator unless you're chronically obses (and have muscle under there to create that heat in the first place). No I'm not making this up. animals simply do not rely on fat for warmth. Many do. Please do not generalize, it makes your entire argument suspect. Look at cetaceans They rely on the following:

Body hair/feathers
Increased metabolic rate
Extra energy usage
Moving about (and shivering)
Shelter

Why not the fat insulation myth you've heard of? Because if this were true in more temperate or warm climates you'd burn to a crisp inside, and if you kept that fat on your energy would plummet and you'd die (and not produce the much needed heat in the first place to keep locked inside). That fat serves one vital purpose to this event however - ENERGY STORAGE. Even cavemen knew the above, hence why they took fur from animals to keep them warm. That energy is stored during summer, when fruits and sugars are plentiful. Oh yes that's right by the way - sugar does make you fat! It's supposed to! Try wolfing down lots of fruit or fizzy drinks during your bulk and you'll see it for yourself.

The adipose tissue is a very dense source of stored energy.It is this energy which keeps hibernating and those entering torpor alive (oh by the way only small animals hibernate. Large animals such as bears do not). It is also what keeps our caveman going during winter. (Ever tried to find decent edible vegetation during the winter? And no we are not talking storage organs such as potatos here - don't eat them raw by the way).

Our cavemen would do what many animals do during summer - eat more. Lots of sugary things like strawberries, etc. What would be the result of this extra sugar in the blood? Fat storage. Fat stores build up over summer, much as they do in migrating birds. Our caveman now has the energy he needs to keep him alive. There are less of these rich carb foods around in winter, so this is vital. It also means he isn't kicking arse out of his insulin response all year which he'll be thankful for as he gets older.

Even so he needs to keep eating meat. And fish! Fish was awesome stuff for our ancestors, and should be a staple in everyone's diet today. He needs proteins and vitamins and minerals which are used daily and not stored. Granted muscle tissue might act as a kind of store, but fasting for up to 6 months every year is not going to do you much good. How on Earth did he get by without eating all those carbs he so desparately needs for energy?

Fact is he doesn't. Ok carbohydrates are needed for things such and glycolipid and glycoprotein maufacture, blood glucose levels, etc. But really we don't need all that many at all, especially in the cold. We need calorie dense foods and we can thank our genes for processes such as reverse glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Forget this from glycogen however, we store such a small amount it's amazing we can get out of bed if we believe the 'carbs are essential' groupies. Carbs are useful to our long-lost g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g...... g-g-g grandad so he can get chunky for winter.

Of course you have different options. You could eat the grass (don't by the way), or various berries found in winter (again DON'T, most will be poisonous). We could load up on wheat as we do today in our pasta and bread (definitely not an option unless processed). Or we could accept how our bodies actually work, listen to them and do what we need to do. This entire argument is based around a very specific sort of ancestral human- the human ancestors who lived in higher latitudes. How about the large number of our ancestors living between the two tropics? Ugg would simply keep up with the bits of fruit he could still find. Telling the difference between these would be easy. Less so for leaves and so forth; due to convergent evolution and mimicry, many poisonous veg looks the same as healthy veg, and simply because he lived in the jungle These are the sorts of jungles with long, harsh winters, I suppose did not make him an expert botanist.

So let's listen. We'll start with our anatomy and morphology. Much has been made by the anti-meat brigade about human dentition. It somewhat escapes notice (as it does when people recite the same tired old quotes), that our teeth are actually ideal for eating meat. We shall address this now, along with a few other myths. then again if we really want to debate how important the teeth and that are, we could simply look at various carnivores such as penguins. Anyway...

Myth 1: All carnivores have large canines and fangs for eating meat.
False: Carnivores tend to have these for one reason only. Go to youtube and check out videos of lions killing prey. They cannot do what we can, cannot create tools, or behave in the same way. They have build in weapons for piercing prey to kill or main prey. Try to chop up meat using the sharp point of a skewer and you will see this is wrong. Those teeth are for catching animals, and ripping bits off them. End of. We have smaller canines as we can shred our meat and because we eat smaller chunks... to the next point...

Myth 2: All carnivores swallow prey whole or in chunks rather than chewing.
False: Yes the vast majority do. Because they have to. And because they can cope with it and have a certain physiology adapted to their lifestyle. For humans we cannot just eat 2 or 3 times a year. We need to digest meat quicker and find it quicker.

Myth 3: We have only small canines and incisors: This means we cannot eat meat properly
False: Those incisors are not for eating meat at all. They're for vegetation. No animal uses the very front teeth to eat meat, that would be silly and provide a biomechinal disadvantage due to the leverage and the toughness of muscle tissue. You use those teeth when you bite a chunk of apple, not when you bite into a mixed grill.

Canines... ok here is what canines do... they pierce and grab hold of food. humans will naturally chew in the correct way. This involves using our smaller canines (because we have smaller a smaller mouth and oesophagus) to grip while the molars rip the heck out of the meat...

Myth 3 (b)... but we have molars for grinding veg...
False: No, we have molars for ripping and shredding food. A couple of chomps and our fruit and veg is ready to go down. Molars have numerous cusps on them for shredding meat open, and allowing saliva to mix with it. again they interact with the canines right where we need them. Eat meat by hand your canine holds it you rip it off sideways, and chew it with the teeth at the back.

Myth 4: Carnivores do not contain digestive enzymes in saliva. humans do therefore, we are not carnivorous.
False: This is nothing to do with our diet but our method of digestion. We begin this right from the start in the mouth, especially for carbohydrates as they are real buggers to digest! Other carnivores have various means of digestion suited to their phenotype. We don't ONLY eat meat, we eat some fruits etc too. But we don't naturally make up a massive proportion of our diet from vegetation.

Myth 5: The pH of our stomach is lower than that of carnivores, and we lack enzymes for meat eating and are sensitive to bateria, AND we produce less acid...
False. We have lots of enzymes, especially for proteins and fats. The acidity of the stomach lumen is quite sufficient to break down what we need it to, and the reason we produce less - we eat less and have better enzymes and guts.

Myth 6: the intestinal length:
False: Sorry but from experience cutting into cadavers you also would know our intestines are waaaayyyy shorter than a herbivores. We don't have them as we don't ferment like herbivores or digest cellulose. We don't need long intestines for the easily digestible fruits, etc, and small amount of plant matter we ate (which hopefully hasn't been urinated on or succumbed to diseases).

Besides which, that vegetation is much better used by the animals which need it most, the herbivores propping up the entire food chain.

Last time I peered into a body, I didn't see forestomachs, or evidence of hindgut fermentation in a human!

(starting to become bored at this point hehe)...

Myth 7: urea/toxins in carnivores blah blah...
False: Kidneys, water balance, blah blah...

Myth 8: man doesn't hunt...
False: yes he does and with his brain he's better at it than using brute speed and strength

Myth 9: All carnivores have claws etc
False: We don't, because we don't need them. Lions do not have opposable thumbs, haven't made use of tools since before H. sapiens sapiens evolved, etc. We evolved from ancestors due to eating meat (see winter above, etc). Again, what??? You're arguing the entire path of human evolution was due to our eating meat?

Myth 10: But meat poses all sorts of health risks.....

Now here is the important part. Health. Meat is fine! I know, I'm disagreeing with everything you know. But I'm afraid it's right. The biggest thing which is killing us isn't meat. It's the crap we eat now!

You think human genes would have evolved to create such a large chance change in a few thousand years? Not a chance! We simply don't adapt to something because we do it. We rely on gene mutations. Google it as it's longer than I have space for.

Here is how it works (or doesn't in this case)...

Cavemen... have to eat food which is there. They don't fry it in oil. They don't shove glaze on it. They kill and eat it. Why? (wow that question is getting boring hehe) Because when you're out in the wilderness there's all sorts of bigger animals which want your food and will kill you for it. Don't waste time cooking it, or if you do don't take long. Just eat it.

Having said that, their meat hadn't been hanging up in the abbotoir, the butchers, the fridge, waiting around for weeks, etc. No wonder cooking has become so important and our immune systems aren't as used to raw meat (immunity is both innate - basic type - and adaptive - the good type).

Of course you'd have a job equating that to today. They didn't have hot dogs and sausages, pies, slices, pizzas, processed meats, reformed meats, burgers, kebabs, cultivated species, drugged up beasts, ever so strange looking foods to feed animals.

And they probably didn't take home a cow either. Think about it again - no car, no shotgun, etc. You eat what you can kill. Think small mammals, easy to catch prey, and every once in a while the delicacy of something hard to catch, if times are hard, such as deer. I doubt they'd carry a prize bull back, and certainly wouldn't want the stench of it near them and the dangerous animals the carcass would attract coming near them. Humans were remarkably good pack hunters, and often hunted to feed an entire tribe. Spending hours chasing down rabbits is far less efficient than gathering people around to hunt large game.

At this point I think I've whittled on enough, so will finish with what it means to bodybuilding...

Can you build muscle and get fit on a 'paleo diet'?

Yes of course. It's all there. Proteins, cholesterol, energy, fats, minerals, vitamins, altered K/Na ratio from todays diet, various molecules you never even think of...

Only problem is the amount of food you need to buy (meat isn't cheap), and most isn't like what we ate millenia ago, unless you go wild duck hunting, chasing deer, beheading hares and rabbits, etc out in the wild.

As for making sure you get enough carbs... In my opinion and that of some others I know, this can be somewhat negligable. Sure carbohydrates provide a quick source of energy, but they are not as essential as you might believe. In fact they can also lower life expectancy (limited calorie intake can increase longevity) this is correlative- there is nothing to suggest that the people in these studies with lower caloric intake are in any way eating a lower carb diet. In fact, these populations studied in India, China, etc. that show those links are populations which have diets very high in vegetables and grains such as rice, and very low in meat/proteins. Added to which, if you have plenty of natural fat and protein in your body... why would you bother with a fuel source which needs to be continually topped up? This, again, makes no sense. Why would you bother with a source of energy that can quickly generate power under anaerobic conditions? Make no bones about it those complex carbs end up just as the simple ones do... glucose - gone! At rest you won't be using that fuel for the muscles anyway, but fats. ATP has much better things to do with it's time.

Anyway this is only a stub I've knocked off, I'll post something better when I get back.

dasfonzie
06-26-2011, 03:38 PM
this thread makes me want to change my second major to biochem now instead of history... but i wont because that would require like and extra two semesters to get a B.A. and a B.S. at this point

one day though, maybe. after i complete grad school for archaeology id really like to work on a B.S.

thanks for writing all that up as well Bellal, as soo nas you mentioned it I remembered the energy loss of the food chain, good point

Alex.V
06-26-2011, 04:18 PM
this thread makes me want to change my second major to biochem now instead of history... but i wont because that would require like and extra two semesters to get a B.A. and a B.S. at this point




Believe me, mate, don't ever let a little extra work now discourage you from what you want to do. Better to take an extra few semesters of work right now, while you have the time, then find yourself bored with your career in ten years and have to start back from scratch when you can least afford it.

dasfonzie
06-26-2011, 08:08 PM
Believe me, mate, don't ever let a little extra work now discourage you from what you want to do. Better to take an extra few semesters of work right now, while you have the time, then find yourself bored with your career in ten years and have to start back from scratch when you can least afford it.

I know i want to get my M.A. in my first major (linguistics with a focus in Japanese) though, and eventually my Ph.D in Archaeology. the history major will make that look like a much more attractive potential transition to grad schools. not to mention i haven't taken anything past bio 101, chem 101 and calc1 ever in my life. but if i get the chance I'm just saying I;d like to go the more hard science route

dynamo
06-27-2011, 06:56 AM
I know i want to get my M.A. in my first major (linguistics with a focus in Japanese) though, and eventually my Ph.D in Archaeology. the history major will make that look like a much more attractive potential transition to grad schools. not to mention i haven't taken anything past bio 101, chem 101 and calc1 ever in my life. but if i get the chance I'm just saying I;d like to go the more hard science route

well I would suggest you put the effort in to do what you want to do, i went from mechanical engineering to biochemical engineering and I am happy about my choice, it added an extra year because I had to take 3 or 4 (don't really remember) semesters of chemistry and biology but whatever, longest 7 years of my life, worked and went to school part time, but I am glad I did what I did. 4 year vacation or life time of accomplishment? Hmm.. also yay paleo!

Off Road
06-27-2011, 07:17 AM
Slightly (okay greatly) off topic, but I agree with the others; get the dgree you want. That's a lot of money to spend if you just intend to go back and change it later. I went from Agriculture Business, to Architecture, and finally ended up with teaching History and Math. You never know where you'll end up when you start your education. I personally think that kids start college too early and need some life experience to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

dasfonzie
06-27-2011, 07:32 AM
Slightly (okay greatly) off topic, but I agree with the others; get the dgree you want. That's a lot of money to spend if you just intend to go back and change it later. I went from Agriculture Business, to Architecture, and finally ended up with teaching History and Math. You never know where you'll end up when you start your education. I personally think that kids start college too early and need some life experience to figure out what they want to do with their lives.


for the record I'm 25 years old. also I know what my immediate plans are after getting my B.A. and that is joining the JET Programme (my minor is in Japanese and I'll have a certificate in TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language)). That's been my goal for a vey long time. I know what I want to do with what I've chosen, but academia is still going to be in my future for a very long time, so I have many paths to consider once I accomplish my initial goals(s).

Off Road
06-27-2011, 07:39 AM
for the record I'm 25 years old. also I know what my immediate plans are after getting my B.A. and that is joining the JET Programme (my minor is in Japanese and I'll have a certificate in TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language)). That's been my goal for a vey long time. I know what I want to do with what I've chosen, but academia is still going to be in my future for a very long time, so I have many paths to consider once I accomplish my initial goals(s).
Sounds like a solid plan.

Dan Fanelli
06-27-2011, 09:52 PM
Ok guys, so over the weekend i got some reading and research done. This topic is way too huge to really do it much justice here, so lets hope the researchers and experts in the field can make some substantial contributions to the scientific community in the near future.

I'd like to to examine some other corners of this topic for those of you that are still interested.


1)The idea of "protein poisoning" or 'rabbit starvation' - I'll be honest, until today I had never really heard of this or given it much thought. And upon doing some quick searches on the internet I can see why. The information out there is scarce, and it seems to be on of those things where one side is saying its just a myth or very imporbable while the other says its going to kill you.

After searching a lot, the only possible explanations I found were that if your diet is made up of more than 40% protein long term you could run into complications likely due to using protein as a major fuel source OR malnturtition.

Some paleo promoters try to scare individuals with this, and use evidence that hunter gatherers and paleo man would have gone way out of their way to obtain higher fat meats as opposed to "lean meats".

Yet many diets being promoted now suggest "lean meats" as the major source of protein. Part of this could be that diets now are not made up of mainly protein, but the other part could be that everyone is scared of fat.

My NON-expert opinion is that under normal conditions "protein poisoning" is not a concern. If you are trying to survive on a diet of just chicken breasts then ya, its kinda obvious you might run into some issues. And individuals with kidney or liver conditions might have some concerns as well.

Us on here probably dont have to worry though. If you are "bulking" on a high protein diet, its VERY hard to get more than 40% of your calories from protein. An individual taking in 4000kcals would have to get over 400g of protein a day. This would be possibl with protein powders but not likely without. And if you were doing a drastic cut, like say a PSMF where you were only taking in <1000kcals, the it certainly would be possible to get the 100g of protein to break the 40% mark. But even then, hopefully individuals doing these types of diets are using them short term, are eating a lot of leafy vegetables, and are supplementing with EFA's.

The only real probably situation I can see this occurin (outside of the actual rabbit starvation scenarios) would be an invidividual that had a crappy diet that was low in calories, and consisting of only lean meats and protein powder. But then, is it the protein thats causing the problem or the lack of other nutrients??? We know not getting enough fat in your diet causes problems. Is this augmented by the amount of protein you are taking in???

----------------------------------------

Ok that aside, theres issue of whether the macronutrient breakdown "paleoists" promote is effective for body composition purposes? This breakdown is LIKELY something along the lines of 20-30%protein, 5-20% carbs, and 50-75% fat. We can assume this breakdown to be highly effective for a hunter-gatherer that needs to keep as much fuel stored as possible, and prepare for times when calories are scarce, but that doesn't sound like bodybuiding.

So why do "paleoists" think this formula would make sense in modern times for body compositonal purposes.

Here's one possible thought to that. Say the amount of calories you need to just maintain your mass is 3000 and that accounts for all of your activity. And say you eat a diet high in fat, containing the amount of protein you need, and little to no carbs. You might be getting something like 400kcals (100g) from protein, <50g from carbs, and about 270g of fat. Now most people will say that this diet will make you fat. But if you truly are at maintanence then you shouldn't be getting fatter, UNLESS you are losing muscle. The only explanation for this would be that your ability to use fat for fuel and other processes increases.

My big question would be is there a point where the body can not continue increasing the amount of fat for fuel, OR maintain/promote muscle gain without increasing protein/carbs and thus fat accumulation would occur????

Not sure if that makes sense?, maybe you guys can comment, but im thinking this would lead back some sort of cyclical dieting, OR just the standard bodybuilding diets.

joelhall
06-29-2011, 04:37 PM
Woah sorry, haven't seen this thread for a while, think I should reply hehe

Alex.V
06-29-2011, 06:07 PM
Woah sorry, haven't seen this thread for a while, think I should reply hehe

Please do- I hadn't meant to ambush like that when you hadn't had a chance to respond, but I was asked to expound a bit on my original doubts. So do take your time.

Cheers,

-Alex

joelhall
06-30-2011, 03:23 AM
Apologies, I nodded off last night typing. Anyway, here goes... try to remember the focus is on the palaeolithic humans here.

Toxic effects? Undigested plant matter is not toxic, fibrous materials are usually sent out the other end fairly rapidly. Fermentation and other undesirable effects are usually an indication of severe digestive issues. You find these sorts of things in patients with crohn's, bowel cancer, etc. Please explain what you mean.


Fair enough: plants aren't the simple organisms we take them for... As well as the undigested cellulose, which we are familiar with as fibre, we have to contend with gluten proteins (which can invoke an immune response - and no not just in those with GI disease), bacterial fermentation, such as proteolytic fermentation, which can create carcinogens as a bi-product (which can go for meat as well) and other types of fermentation which do not only occur in those with GI disease, various toxic compounds which the body tries not to digest, such as alkaloids, poison precursors, etc. Then of course we have naturally occuring toxic compounds in foods. Added to which are the risks of accidental ingestion of extremely hazardous compounds such as cyanogenic glycosides from eating the wrong part of a fruit , or accidental breaching of a part containing the compound. Alkaloids found in tubers and leaves..., high doses of fat soluble vitamins, partcularly carotenes.... you get the picture... Human gut is just not made to deal with high levels of plant matter. Eating plants can be pretty hazardous you know, especially given mimicry.

No biologist would make the claim that what ANY animal is eating is what's healthiest, only that it's what's available. This is a specious claim And if you see that what someone is eating is keeping them healthier and alive in natural conditions you follow suit.

Well I just have. Animals can only digest what their phenotype allows them to, regardless of what is available. They stick to a preferred diet as that is what keeps them alive longest and maintains fitness. they eat what is healthiest for them. Remember there is a reason animal species prefer certain foods, and survive in niches which have plenty of those foods, rather than areas with alternative foods. Although you've made the suggestion that animals do not eat what is healthiest, then follow suit by eating the healthiest foods...


Clearly not an anthropologist. Cave paintings celebrate the hunt. Are they celebrating meat eating, or celebrating the act of a tribe conquering a large animal and establishing superiority? Cave tools aren't just arrowheads, they're mortars and pestles, rocks for crushing husks and shells of nuts, etc. Cave paintings, much like art still found around the world in more isolate tribes, celebrate accomplishments and ritual. The hunt is a ritual, in many modern tribes found in Africa, South America, etc. one's first hunt is seen as a rite of passage. Simply because they celebrated the hunt does not mean that meat itself is a staple of their diet- in fact, one could argue that it shows it is much harder to obtain, which would MAKE it an accomplishment. Now, this interpretation may be no more correct than yours, but I do not see enough evidence for either which would make either useful enough to draw dietary conclusions from

Other than our genomes not containing codes for cellulase or any symbiotic life with cellulose fermenting bateria? And of course scorched and cut animal bones within settlements, lower amount of dental decay compared with that seen in later centuries when fruit and sugar eating became more wisespread, the fact that finding vegetation during winter (not to mention a glacial period) would be pretty damn hard to do? The fact the supermarkets weren't around so human would require denser energy sources, and that a harbivorous diet would require near constant eating especially during cold weather simply to keep the organism alive? How about the extremely large amount of proteases conserved in the genome? Or the vast amount of nutrients essential to human fitness from animal products not found in plants? Besides... why do you think hunting is so important?


The majority of the animal kingdom eats meat. 'This is false, by definition.'

The base of the food chain (primary producers) needs to have significantly more energy than the primary consumers (herbivores). In every step of the food chain, energy is lost through biological processes, leaving little left over to carry up to the next level. Any sustainable population must have significantly more primary consumers than all predators combined. This is BASIC, BASIC biology.

Animalia is separated at it's lowest taxa into genera and species. The vast majority of species are meat eaters. This is VERY BASIC biology. What you are referring to is biomass of harbivorous organisms, the lost energy through the carbon cycle and that from the carbohydrate synthetic pathways. By far the largest groups here are prokaryotes, fungi and protoctists (i.e. not animals). The vast majority of animal species eat other animals. Many also ingest these other heterothrophs, or depend on them for fermentation or pre-digestion.

1. Nutrient uptake from meat is far superior and efficient to that from plants. this is an absurd statement. What on earth are you talking about? Certain minerals and vitamins are more bioavailable from meat sources than from plant sources, but overall this statement is groundless.

Animal tissue is a denser source/richer source/provides greater bioavailability of...
Protein - generally in ratios correct for animal tissue synthesis
Fat
cholesterol
Fat soluble vitamins
Creatine
Sodium
Zinc
Iron
B vitamins
Free amino acids
Phosphorus.....

again the picture is clear. The important point here is the availability of fats and proteins - vital.

Digestion of nutrients from meat is far more efficient, not having to deal with the plant cell wall, whilst the animal cell membrane is much easier to breach. Added to which our large compliment of enzymes for digestion of animal tissues compared with plant tissues - the human gut is specially adapted to eating meat making it a far superior nutrient source, more readily able to absorb digestion products through the intestinal wall, and the more complete compliments of amino acids mean less energy is used for interconversion inside the body. Added to which we have the dense animal fat intake and cholesterol for producing hormones. Digestion is quicker and more complete of animal tissue, and there are numerous nutrients found in meats which only com from meats and are essential to humans (hence why vegetarians and especially vegans often suffer from deficiency diseases). I'm sorry, but I fail to see how this confuses you.

There are nutrients in plants not found in meat of any sort.

Could you name some please?

3. It provides a denser source of energy, and building blocks for various structures and molecules in the body. Again, generalization. Nuts and avocados are denser nutrient sources than crab or fish.

And lacking the vast majority of amino acids as well as other nutrients gained from meat. Plus eating a lb of nuts compared to a lb of venison - no competition as far as your body is concerned. Of course this depends entirely on which nutrients you refer to, and what you believe the body does with them afterwards. Fats are not just fats, different types of fatty acids - varying chain lengths, saturation level, etc - have different uses within the body. The sheer calorific value does not have much bearing on human health without taking into account its unique biochemistry.

Added to which I don't know if you've ever seen wild plants - they're often not what they're cracked up to be, after being 'attacked' by insects and herbivores. Cavemen didn't have the luxury of farming until very late, and much less pesticides. Availability of vegetation for humans would not have been anywhere near what it is today.

4. We have much better storage for fats than for glucose. yes, but amazing how we can convert energy sources from one compound to another

It is amazing isn't it. Almost magical. Better to store fat than glycogen - not that you could store anywhere near enough glycogen in the first place compared with fat. How long do you think stored carbohydrate can really keep you going? Compare this to studies centred on fasting of obese subjects. They were capable of fasting for an extremely long time in human terms. There is a reason the body does what it does remember. If you were to rely on glucose for this purpose you would find yourself becoming ill and dying relatively quickly. Bodyfat really is a marveollous storage tissue.

5. Our blood, in order to keep us healthy, cannot keep a high level of sugar for very long. Trying to provide all our needs from plants would involve eating pretty much constantly (again watch herbivores - slow, sluggish, constantly eating, etc). I would hardly argue that springboks and thomson's gazelles, (which outrun cheetahs), squirrels, etc. etc. etc. are slow and sluggish. This is, again, a ridiculous generalization.

You can thank their bacterial flora for that! Something we lack. And of course their biomechanics. Ruminants were discussed in my original post. Although to be fair these animals do not really out-run the cheetah they have the benefit of having great agility due to biomechanics. The vast majority of herbivorous animals have to spend an inordinate amount of time eating simply to stay alive, and rely on economy of movement due to lower availability of glucose for mechanical energy.

6. The role of carbohydrates is vastly exaggerated. ????

Vastly exaggerated, yes. You'd be surprised how little carbohydrate the body really needs, whilst in the modern world people consume a very large amount of carbohydrates with little if any reason to. compare this to modern hunter-gatherer societies where emphasis is still focussed around meat and fruits where available, and the lower incidence of disease such as diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and so on. Many people still abide by the old calorie mantra, where a calorie is simply a calorie, and that large quantities of carbohydrates are required. This somewhat misses the point that eating takes place to replace nutrients, and that glucose, and indeed ATP do not last long inside the body, especially in high amounts, and for the most part carbohydrates from plants are difficult to release inside the gut due to plant cell walls. Fruit would be the cavemans choice here as it's quick, does not require cooking, sugar has greater bioavailability, etc. It also has a good ratio of glucose:fructose, meaning the person has the benefits of the pentose sugar entering the TCA cycle without significant rises in blood glucose.

People are told to eat more carbohydrate rich foods in the name of health. However, all that carbohydrate with nowhere to go?


7. Many products of fat and protein utilisation are in fact not the danger they are said to be (indeed the brain works more efficiently from ketone bodies than glucose). This last statement is blatantly untrue. The brain can use both for energy squally well. Neurons do not "run better" when provided with one form of energy over another/

Sadly, I'm afraid it is true. Ketone bodies provide a more efficient source of energy for the brain. The downside is they are used for synthesis, meaning unless you starve from carbohydrates the brain will not utilise them for energy. That is the need for a low amount of glucose in the body and blood sugar. I'm sure if you search pubmed for papers on brain function on high fat/low carbohydrate diets this will clear things up for you. This is a topic which has undergone a lot of study in recent years.

This is of course due to our evolutionary beginnings: Glucose was not always available in significant amounts, so rather the we could say the brain primarily uses glucose when available in the diet. Again glucose is also a much shorter lived energy source inside the body, and so relying merely on blood glucose would be dangerous for the organism.. It is important as a side note that ketosis is not confused with ketoacidosis. Papers on brain metabolism during fasting are available from the 1950s and 1960s up to today on this subject.

Now I know what everyone is assuming. That gut on him provides insulation to keep him warm Not the case. Muscle is very good at maintaining body heat. yes, by burning tremendous amounts of energy

Er... yeah? Exactly what I said stored fat was for! Muscle preferentially uses fat for energy at rest, and stored adipose tissue is a dense source used during winter for heightened metabolism in order to maintain core temperature. Heat is conserved by the mechanisms I listed.

Fat is a pretty poor insulator unless you're chronically obese (and have muscle under there to create that heat in the first place). No I'm not making this up. animals simply do not rely on fat for warmth. Many do. Please do not generalize, it makes your entire argument suspect. Look at cetaceans

What you are referring to is not adipose tissue, but blubber, used primary for energy and secondarily to aid in bouyancy. Blubber is not the same as our adipose tissue but a specialised body tissue, highly vascularised, and can be thought of as only being an evolutional 'last resort' as fur could not retain air under water pressure. Of course fat is such a poor insulator, it is not surprise that the whale needs so much blubber! Remember that the huge muscle mass is what is producing the heat, and fat is being used in large quantities in order to maintain thermostasis. For land mammals this fat covering would be hazardous and far less efficient at conserving heat than fur. Even with this blubber, cetaceans eat a massive amount of food everyday, meat and fish of course, in order to produce heat, and having as high a metabolic rate as they can sustain without leading to major health problems or death.


Our cavemen would do what many animals do during summer - eat more. Lots of sugary things like strawberries, etc. What would be the result of this extra sugar in the blood? Fat storage. Fat stores build up over summer, much as they do in migrating birds. Our caveman now has the energy he needs to keep him alive. There are less of these rich carb foods around in winter, so this is vital. It also means he isn't kicking arse out of his insulin response all year which he'll be thankful for as he gets older.

This entire argument is based around a very specific sort of ancestral human- the human ancestors who lived in higher latitudes. How about the large number of our ancestors living between the two tropics?

Even here in England the weather goes to extreme differences. As it does in much of the world. P.s. - google 'ice age' (not the film). Winter does not just happen in high latitudes, and glacial periods of course made winter look like a picnic.

As regards many of our tropical friends - well there is a reason these areas stayed underpopulated or uninhabited until rediscovered. The great migration! Cold weather (sorry the tropics have not stayed lovely for thousands of years, climate is global and open to wild fluctuations) spraked the migration of humans to other regions of the globe in search of foods. Remember that bad weather can be hot or cold, and that plants die in both! This has disasterous results for the rest of the food chain. Genetic mutation accumulation over time allowed humans to populate regions even further afield, but these adaptions do not show in our digestive systems - simply because no advantage was conferred by them.

.

Again, what??? You're arguing the entire path of human evolution was due to our eating meat?

The entire path? No! The evolution of most of it ending with H. sapiens? Yes! And I'm not the only biologist to do so. Google and pubmed will again be your friends here, but you could also try to search Nature, etc. There have been quite a few papers published on this in peer reviewed journals. You would find them interesting reading.

Humans were remarkably good pack hunters, and often hunted to feed an entire tribe. Spending hours chasing down rabbits is far less efficient than gathering people around to hunt large game.

It's also far less time consuming in smaller groups. Even modern tribes will often go for smaller, more populous animals, such as small ammals and fish. The reason? Larger animals also herd and can be pretty dangerous and are often more complex and therefore have better defence against more clever or larger predators. Not many people want to get killed trying to fetch their dinner. Large prey is more of a 'once in a while food' - yes it provides more energy, but humans are thinking animals and do not attempt suicide simply to eat on a regular basis. I would celebrate too if I brought down an 800lb beast for dinner and lived!

This is correlative- there is nothing to suggest that the people in these studies with lower caloric intake are in any way eating a lower carb diet. In fact, these populations studied in India, China, etc. that show those links are populations which have diets very high in vegetables and grains such as rice, and very low in meat/proteins.

As I'm sure you're aware, experimentation involves the manipulation of a particular variable to monitor response if any. As we have already dealt with the issue of the plant cell wall posing problems for human nutrient uptake, I'll move on... You would probably be surprised at just how low longevity can be in the poorer parts of India and China (where meat is not affordable). Around the coasts fish is a large staple, whilst in the northern parts of India such as the Kashmiri region meat plays a larger role. The reason vegetables are eaten so much is mainly due to poverty and extreme overpopulation. You will notice that there is a correlation between dietary proportions of meat:vegetables and population density. You may also notice a large proportion of Indians suffer from the 'pot belly', and small muscle mass. This is not a mistake here - it's due to over emphasis of starches and cellulose. As for the chinese - the average longevity is well below other developed countries. Those with the highest longevity eat more fish and meat.

The mitochondrion here is the key to the link between longevity and caloric intake. I'll post more on this in a separate thread fi you are interested?

Added to which, if you have plenty of natural fat and protein in your body... why would you bother with a fuel source which needs to be continually topped up? This, again, makes no sense. Why would you bother with a source of energy that can quickly generate power under anaerobic conditions?

That would be? Anaerobic conditions as everyone knows is very inefficient. In the basence of oxygen ATP is produced during glycolysis, and has a very low yield compared with the TCA cycle. Reduced coenzymes are not able to become re-oxidised, and so the TCA cycle does not occur, leading to a massive drop off in activity. Fatty acids on the other hand are used by the heart and skeletal muscle at rest as ATP has far more important uses. This also requires skeletal muscle to have a longer recovery period in order to gain full energy levels once more, which in extreme cases could put our caveman out of action for days or even weeks.

Alex.V
06-30-2011, 06:53 AM
Ah! Good! An actual debate. Give me a few on this one. :) Perhaps it's best to number the points...

joelhall
06-30-2011, 07:58 AM
Ah! Good! An actual debate. Give me a few on this one. :) Perhaps it's best to number the points...

Excellent smithers :-D

dynamo
06-30-2011, 08:38 AM
:lurk:

*waits with wide eyes*

Alex.V
06-30-2011, 08:52 AM
[QUOTE=joelhall;2487233]Apologies, I nodded off last night typing. Anyway, here goes... try to remember the focus is on the palaeolithic humans here.

Fair enough: plants aren't the simple organisms we take them for... As well as the undigested cellulose, which we are familiar with as fibre, we have to contend with gluten proteins (which can invoke an immune response - and no not just in those with GI disease), bacterial fermentation, such as proteolytic fermentation, which can create carcinogens as a bi-product (which can go for meat as well) and other types of fermentation which do not only occur in those with GI disease, various toxic compounds which the body tries not to digest, such as alkaloids, poison precursors, etc. Then of course we have naturally occuring toxic compounds in foods. Added to which are the risks of accidental ingestion of extremely hazardous compounds such as cyanogenic glycosides from eating the wrong part of a fruit , or accidental breaching of a part containing the compound. Alkaloids found in tubers and leaves..., high doses of fat soluble vitamins, partcularly carotenes.... you get the picture... Human gut is just not made to deal with high levels of plant matter. Eating plants can be pretty hazardous you know, especially given mimicry.

Gluten proteins are found in a very specific type of grain- they are hardly ubiquitous. Bacterial fermentation occurs with all foods, so this is not a relevant point. You’re absolutely correct, there is a tremendous potential for toxicity in wild plants. However, again, this exists in meat sources. Your original implication was that undigested plant matter is in some way inherently toxic. This is not true.

Well I just have. Animals can only digest what their phenotype allows them to, regardless of what is available. They stick to a preferred diet as that is what keeps them alive longest and maintains fitness. they eat what is healthiest for them. Remember there is a reason animal species prefer certain foods, and survive in niches which have plenty of those foods, rather than areas with alternative foods. Although you've made the suggestion that animals do not eat what is healthiest, then follow suit by eating the healthiest foods...

You’re a published researcher? Very cool. Incidentally, that last sentence you quoted was your own, not mine. Yes, animals only digest what their phenotype allows them to, however there are many grazing animals and migratory animals that routinely eat less than ideal foods over the course of their migrations or during fasting periods to sustain themselves. Animals are opportunists, first and foremost. I’d challenge you to name a single animal that exists on only the most nutrient-dense, nutritionally complete foods available to it. There is no environment on earth with that sort of bounty. The fossil record (and of course, current research) if nothing else demonstrates nutritional deficiencies across the board, in ALL organisms.

Other than our genomes not containing codes for cellulase or any symbiotic life with cellulose fermenting bateria? And of course scorched and cut animal bones within settlements, lower amount of dental decay compared with that seen in later centuries when fruit and sugar eating became more wisespread, the fact that finding vegetation during winter (not to mention a glacial period) would be pretty damn hard to do? The fact the supermarkets weren't around so human would require denser energy sources, and that a harbivorous diet would require near constant eating especially during cold weather simply to keep the organism alive? How about the extremely large amount of proteases conserved in the genome? Or the vast amount of nutrients essential to human fitness from animal products not found in plants? Besides... why do you think hunting is so important?

Again with the cellulase. There are many forms of carbohydrates found in “plants” that are not cellulose. I am NOT making the argument that humans were not meat eaters, quite the contrary. Yes, we contain quite a number of adaptations for eating meat. Our biology requires it. I am not stating ancestral humans were vegetarian- your statement would be a good rebuttal if that’s what I had said. What I AM stating is that you are not supporting your claim that cave paintings show that meat was the central part of their diet, calorically speaking. That is quite a leap of logic. You still haven’t supported it.

Animalia is separated at it's lowest taxa into genera and species. The vast majority of species are meat eaters. This is VERY BASIC biology. What you are referring to is biomass of harbivorous organisms, the lost energy through the carbon cycle and that from the carbohydrate synthetic pathways. By far the largest groups here are prokaryotes, fungi and protoctists (i.e. not animals). The vast majority of animal species eat other animals. Many also ingest these other heterothrophs, or depend on them for fermentation or pre-digestion.

Wait a second now, now you’re stating that the numerical majority of animal SPECIES (i.e., number of species) eat other animals. This is different than stating the majority of the animal kingdom eats meat, which, yes, refers to biomass among other things. If you are saying “more types of animals eat meat that do not”, this could be a supportable statement. However, that is different than saying “most animals eat meat”.
And you are correct, there are many other non-animals which serve as primary producers. These are not made out of meat. Simply put, what you originally stated is physically impossible- “meat” refers to the physical body of a member of the animal kingdom, and there would be no way for the majority of animals out there to subsist on the bodies of other animals. Energy loss through trophic levels is simply too high. Unless you are stating that the balance of omnivores splits the difference…. Which is a bit of a stretch (given the 90-95% energy loss through levels).

Animal tissue is a denser source/richer source/provides greater bioavailability of...
Various items
again the picture is clear. The important point here is the availability of fats and proteins - vital
Digestion of nutrients from meat is far more efficient, not having to deal with the plant cell wall, whilst the animal cell membrane is much easier to breach. Added to which our large compliment of enzymes for digestion of animal tissues compared with plant tissues - the human gut is specially adapted to eating meat making it a far superior nutrient source, more readily able to absorb digestion products through the intestinal wall, and the more complete compliments of amino acids mean less energy is used for interconversion inside the body. Added to which we have the dense animal fat intake and cholesterol for producing hormones. Digestion is quicker and more complete of animal tissue, and there are numerous nutrients found in meats which only com from meats and are essential to humans (hence why vegetarians and especially vegans often suffer from deficiency diseases). I'm sorry, but I fail to see how this confuses you.

A few problems here. Number of enzymes in the gut that are required to digest animal tissue does not in any way indicate better efficiency. This is a spurious argument. The human gut is indeed specially adapted to eat meat. It is also specially adapted to eat nuts. And legumes. And tubers. Every type of food requires its own set of enzymes. You could argue our saliva is specifically adapted to eating plants, since the main enzyme in it is amylase. You are also making the false assumption that the fact that meat is a complete animo acid source and denser source of fat makes it a superfood. Yes, I agree, meat is important, but you have made no argument (other than a few points about amino acid bioavailability) that “nutrient uptake from meat is far superior to that from plants”. Listing off a few compounds found principally in meat is not very compelling- yes, it stands to reason that they would be easily taken from meat. However, numerous vitamins (C,K), minerals (potassium), and unsaturated fats are readily found in (and absorbed from) plant sources.

( And please try not to be insulting, this does not “confuse” me. Simply because I have not attempted to tout my “credentials” in a post does not in any way mean that I consider this confusing. )

Could you name some please?

Carbohydrates.

And lacking the vast majority of amino acids as well as other nutrients gained from meat. Plus eating a lb of nuts compared to a lb of venison - no competition as far as your body is concerned. Of course this depends entirely on which nutrients you refer to, and what you believe the body does with them afterwards. Fats are not just fats, different types of fatty acids - varying chain lengths, saturation level, etc - have different uses within the body. The sheer calorific value does not have much bearing on human health without taking into account its unique biochemistry.
Added to which I don't know if you've ever seen wild plants - they're often not what they're cracked up to be, after being 'attacked' by insects and herbivores. Cavemen didn't have the luxury of farming until very late, and much less pesticides. Availability of vegetation for humans would not have been anywhere near what it is today.

No, there’s absolutely no competition. A pound of venison may contain enough calories to last a human for half a day, a pound of nuts could last a human for half a week. And again, you’re absolutely right, it does depend on what nutrients you’re referring to. But you stated meat is “a denser source”. This is a patently false generalization.

And wild plants… yes, often rather sad looking. Much like wild animals are nowhere near as rich or dense as a nice fat farm cow. Cavemen didn’t have the luxury of nice fat farm chickens, or even big fat deer (who do so well given that their predators are mostly gone).

It is amazing isn't it. Almost magical. Better to store fat than glycogen - not that you could store anywhere near enough glycogen in the first place compared with fat. How long do you think stored carbohydrate can really keep you going? Compare this to studies centred on fasting of obese subjects. They were capable of fasting for an extremely long time in human terms. There is a reason the body does what it does remember. If you were to rely on glucose for this purpose you would find yourself becoming ill and dying relatively quickly. Bodyfat really is a marveollous storage tissue.

Yes… magical. Cute. Your argument is very binary. If fat was a universally superior energy source, then why would our systems evolve to make use of glucose? It simply wouldn’t- each energy system has VERY specific purposes. You’re arguing that longer term storage is all that matters. An average, 150 pound human can store about 5500 kcal of glucose, but at least ten times that in fat. Not relevant. Simply because we can store more of one energy source does not make it a better energy system in all circumstances. Granted, you did not specifically state that in the sentence I was referring to, though you did elsewhere.

You can thank their bacterial flora for that! Something we lack. And of course their biomechanics. Ruminants were discussed in my original post. Although to be fair these animals do not really out-run the cheetah they have the benefit of having great agility due to biomechanics. The vast majority of herbivorous animals have to spend an inordinate amount of time eating simply to stay alive, and rely on economy of movement due to lower availability of glucose for mechanical energy.

A springbok can reach speeds equal to that of a cheetah. (55 mph), and sustain it for longer without overheating like a cheetah will. You stated that herbivores were slow and sluggish. Are you amending that statement to now say “herbivores that lack the digestive system required to properly digest plants”? In that case, yes, I’d agree.

And define “inordinate”? Inordinate compared to WHAT? Were they so slow, sluggish, and doomed to spend their lives chewing on plants while they slowly tried to lumber away from the spry, agile predators, they’d likely not do a very good job of surviving.

Vastly exaggerated, yes. You'd be surprised how little carbohydrate the body really needs, whilst in the modern world people consume a very large amount of carbohydrates with little if any reason to. compare this to modern hunter-gatherer societies where emphasis is still focussed around meat and fruits where available, and the lower incidence of disease such as diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and so on. Many people still abide by the old calorie mantra, where a calorie is simply a calorie, and that large quantities of carbohydrates are required. This somewhat misses the point that eating takes place to replace nutrients, and that glucose, and indeed ATP do not last long inside the body, especially in high amounts, and for the most part carbohydrates from plants are difficult to release inside the gut due to plant cell walls. Fruit would be the cavemans choice here as it's quick, does not require cooking, sugar has greater bioavailability, etc. It also has a good ratio of glucose:fructose, meaning the person has the benefits of the pentose sugar entering the TCA cycle without significant rises in blood glucose.

People are told to eat more carbohydrate rich foods in the name of health. However, all that carbohydrate with nowhere to go?

I doubt I’d be “surprised”. Now, you’re making the link between modern carbohydrate diet and diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. This is a VERY contentious topic- you cannot make the definitive link between our carbohydrate centered diet and these conditions. It’s been tried before, but the jury is still out. You are attempting to draw a conclusion that ignores a thousand other environmental factors, and there is still quite a bit of research and debate on this.

There is plenty of evidence that our diet is too focused on sugars are carbs, I will not disagree with that. But again, you’re stating the role of carbohydrates is exaggerated. As a percentage of our energy source, I’d agree it should not be central. However, simply because something makes up a disproportionately high percentage of our modern diets does not necessarily mean “exaggerated”. Who is exaggerating this? An obese American who eats nothing but bread and pizza? I would agree, in his case, he’s likely focusing on the wrong foods. Or biochemists, who study the role of glucose in the body? Again, your claim was baseless. Simply because something is a short term energy source does not mean there’s no adaptive value to consuming it!

Sadly, I'm afraid it is true. Ketone bodies provide a more efficient source of energy for the brain. The downside is they are used for synthesis, meaning unless you starve from carbohydrates the brain will not utilise them for energy. That is the need for a low amount of glucose in the body and blood sugar. I'm sure if you search pubmed for papers on brain function on high fat/low carbohydrate diets this will clear things up for you. This is a topic which has undergone a lot of study in recent years.

Why does this make you sad? Yes, ketones, on the balance, can produce more net ATP per unit. Does this mean they’re more efficient? Yes, there’s a body of promising research regarding ketogenic diets and seizure disorders, alzheimer’s, and the like, but how does this prove ketones are more efficient? (Is it a med student thing to assume they’ve out-read their audience?) Again, evolutionary biology here. Why would a system evolve to use one form of energy as its primary fuel if it was inherently “better” for the system to use another?
It wouldn’t.

Er... yeah? Exactly what I said stored fat was for! Muscle preferentially uses fat for energy at rest, and stored adipose tissue is a dense source used during winter for heightened metabolism in order to maintain core temperature. Heat is conserved by the mechanisms I listed.

Fair point.


What you are referring to is not adipose tissue, but blubber, used primary for energy and secondarily to aid in bouyancy. Blubber is not the same as our adipose tissue but a specialised body tissue, highly vascularised, and can be thought of as only being an evolutional 'last resort' as fur could not retain air under water pressure. Of course fat is such a poor insulator, it is not surprise that the whale needs so much blubber! Remember that the huge muscle mass is what is producing the heat, and fat is being used in large quantities in order to maintain thermostasis. For land mammals this fat covering would be hazardous and far less efficient at conserving heat than fur. Even with this blubber, cetaceans eat a massive amount of food everyday, meat and fish of course, in order to produce heat, and having as high a metabolic rate as they can sustain without leading to major health problems or death.

Blubber is a type of heavily vascularized adipose tissue. Your original statement is still incorrect- you mentioned that animals do not rely on fat for warmth and that its use as insulation is a myth. Cetaceans do- they precisely use it for insulation. There are also several hibernating animals that use “brown fat” to generate heat. Regardless of other purposes, including (as you mentioned) buoyancy and energy, it is definitely used for precisely what you stated no animal uses fat for. Throwing in caveats does not change this fact.

And I would hardly call it a “last resort”. It is the “only resort” for these animals.

Even here in England the weather goes to extreme differences. As it does in much of the world. P.s. - google 'ice age' (not the film). Winter does not just happen in high latitudes, and glacial periods of course made winter look like a picnic.
As regards many of our tropical friends - well there is a reason these areas stayed underpopulated or uninhabited until rediscovered. The great migration! Cold weather (sorry the tropics have not stayed lovely for thousands of years, climate is global and open to wild fluctuations) spraked the migration of humans to other regions of the globe in search of foods. Remember that bad weather can be hot or cold, and that plants die in both! This has disasterous results for the rest of the food chain. Genetic mutation accumulation over time allowed humans to populate regions even further afield, but these adaptions do not show in our digestive systems - simply because no advantage was conferred by them.


England is hardly between the tropics… The most recent ice age was an eye blink ago in terms of human evolution. I fail to see your argument here… the fossil record is hardly definitive in showing that the majority of humans evolved to endure in harsh winters. You are making generalizations about the entire human population based on a subset. This is incorrect, and telling people to look up the “ice age” does not change this fact. No need to apologize for the fact that the tropics have not always been hot. However, even in the depths of the ice age there were human populations who were not Johnny Mukluk with his huge layers of furs and penchant for clubbing baby seals.

Again
The entire path? No! The evolution of most of it ending with H. sapiens? Yes! And I'm not the only biologist to do so. Google and pubmed will again be your friends here, but you could also try to search Nature, etc. There have been quite a few papers published on this in peer reviewed journals. You would find them interesting reading.

Your condescension is misplaced. Telling me to go read journal articles that back your argument is a weak counter at best, and it’s more than slightly insulting. Modern homo sapiens evolved prior to the last ice age- you cannot definitively state that meat eating alone made homo sapiens what it is, any more so than ANY OTHER environmental factor. Any species is the product of its environment, we adapted to fill a niche that includes eating meat, but is not defined by it.



Agreed here, but you were expressing doubts that this was done (large game hunting). Quite the contrary. However, we don’t really disagree here so we can move on.

[B]
As I'm sure you're aware, experimentation involves the manipulation of a particular variable to monitor response if any. As we have already dealt with the issue of the plant cell wall posing problems for human nutrient uptake, I'll move on... You would probably be surprised at just how low longevity can be in the poorer parts of India and China (where meat is not affordable). Around the coasts fish is a large staple, whilst in the northern parts of India such as the Kashmiri region meat plays a larger role. The reason vegetables are eaten so much is mainly due to poverty and extreme overpopulation. You will notice that there is a correlation between dietary proportions of meat:vegetables and population density. You may also notice a large proportion of Indians suffer from the 'pot belly', and small muscle mass. This is not a mistake here - it's due to over emphasis of starches and cellulose. As for the chinese - the average longevity is well below other developed countries. Those with the highest longevity eat more fish and meat.

Your first sentence is precisely my point here. There are simply too many variables to pin this down… you were making a direct connection between lower carbohydrates and lower calories/increased longevity. That is a non sequitur, there is nothing to indicate that it is the removal of carbohydrates that results in this longer lifespan, and in fact in the populations in which this phenomena is experienced, their diets are often lower in meats and fats than the western diet. (Incidentally, your statement “you would probably be surprised at…” would likely not be a surprise, since it was part of my reasoning).

The mitochondrion here is the key to the link between longevity and caloric intake. I'll post more on this in a separate thread fi you are interested?
Appreciated, but not necessary, I’m pretty sure we’ve read the same stuff. Though if you're bored, please feel free.

That would be? Anaerobic conditions as everyone knows is very inefficient. In the basence of oxygen ATP is produced during glycolysis, and has a very low yield compared with the TCA cycle. Reduced coenzymes are not able to become re-oxidised, and so the TCA cycle does not occur, leading to a massive drop off in activity. Fatty acids on the other hand are used by the heart and skeletal muscle at rest as ATP has far more important uses. This also requires skeletal muscle to have a longer recovery period in order to gain full energy levels once more, which in extreme cases could put our caveman out of action for days or even weeks.

Simply because something does not have a high yield does not mean it has no purpose. Again, simple truisms of evolutionary biology- useless systems rarely flourish. Though glycolytic pathways are “less efficient” on a per-cycle basis, they are also capable of generating far higher levels of sustained power during periods of peak exertion. Why would you bother with this? Why NOT? Purely aerobic systems are exhausted at relatively low levels of performance… and good luck living out in the wild without ever needing bursts of energy. You are welcome to argue that a human in ketosis has all the advantages and none of the disadvantages of an omnivorous diet, but if that were true why would we have evolved to digest non-meat sources at all? Why would our brains be adapted to using glucose first? Why would we contain amylase in our saliva?

Again, Joel, I do not have a problem with your overall premise- humans are obligate omnivores, and meat is an important part of our diets, and was an important part of our ancestor’s diets. However, what I take issue with are your massive generalizations, and a few statements you cite as fact that are very much open for debate. That may fly when you’re just rapping at friends or impressing folks with no understanding of the field (and you want to keep it simple), but at the end of the day, many of those claims simply are not true.

dynamo
06-30-2011, 09:18 AM
:clap:

Alex.V
06-30-2011, 10:23 AM
I suck at using tags. I think I messed a few up. That's what I get for typing while in a meeting. (It was great, btw, I definitely did not respond at one point until someone said "I think he isn't on the call". whoops. )

dynamo
06-30-2011, 10:29 AM
Next time, you need to yell out "CARBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Then go back to talking about cleavage, everyone loves cleavage.

joelhall
07-07-2011, 12:57 PM
Just seen this thread again, will reply again when I get back tomorrow :)

Alex.V
07-07-2011, 01:01 PM
And here I saw you'd posted, and already pulled out Word so I could copy it over and start replying. Buzzkill, mate.

Chubrock
07-16-2011, 07:54 PM
Been awhile since I've seen a debate like this on WBB. I hope that none of our newer members, who may not be familiar with Belial, see his strength/performance numbers and user title and mistake him for your typical knuckledragger. Dude is brilliant. Like, fuckin' scary smart.