Please excuse the overly broad and lengthy question.
What if how we are eating is good for health and makes you a happy Crossfitter or Movnatter, but is not optimal for lifespan? Not that there is any one "paleo diet", but most of us eat lots of meat, some vegetables, limited fruits, and maybe tubers.
Many would rather have a limited number of happy years than be a calorie-restricted longetivity beanpole. On the other hand, many enjoy sandwiches and cupcakes, and are on paleo for overall health reasons despite it not being optimal for their tastebuds. What I'm getting at is that it is not a slam-dunk decision to go full-on paleo. I did it because of health issues, but for someone who loves food and eats fairly healthy, I'm not sure if "full-on" paleo is the best choice. Sure, restrict gluten, veggie oils, and fructose. But 80/20 or 70/30 gives you some delicious non-paleo meals if you "live to eat".
Here are some reasons why full on paleo might be not optimal for longetivity. This is presented as a devil's advocate argument, as there are many reasons that paleo is probably great for longetivity.
-Protein restriction for longetivity
-Neu5Gc- a molecule found in red meat that may or may not have something to do with cancer
-Dioxins- a toxin found only in animals products, even in organic pastured animals.
-Saturated fat- this is the weakest argument. Many of us probably eat more saturated fat than our ancestors did, when eating lots of coconut oil and the like. Those with familial hypercholesterolemia might take heed?
So here's the real question: I've seen more and more people being uber-strict paleo. I myself aim for uber-strict paleo. But in the halcyon days of youth, there were few things I liked better than a meal of a bacon-double cheeseburger on a kaiser bun with seasoned curly fries and a malted chocolate shake. We cannot know if being super strict outweighs the benefit of indulging sometimes (assuming you still enjoy wheat and sugar without guilting yourself to death). And people seem to follow what paleo experts say essentially right after they read it. Heck, when Kurt Harris hinted that he had upped his carb intake, some people wondered if they should add rice krispies to their diets too instead of analyzing his logic. Are we being too strict, following paleo leaders too blindly, discounting potential lifespan issues with paleo, or none of the above?
To whit, one of the most important predictors of lifespan has been how easy-going we are. Those who live past age 100 tend to have lower stress levels, regardless of diet. In fact, almost all ate some kind of junk food. (yes, selection bias here, but still...)
asked byKamal (24543)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on April 15, 2011
at 09:59 AM
In answer to the question, "Is a Paleolithic diet the best diet for longevity?"..
As a doctor that has been promoting a high-fat, low carbohydrate, and restricted protein diet for almost 2 decades, I have long been saying that one cannot use paleolithic nutrition as a basis to determine optimal diet. Although a paleolithic diet may not be a bad diet and often is good(depending on which paleolithic diet one is talking about), the entire premise of using paleolithic nutrition as a basis to obtain an optimal diet is flawed. ??
Nature is concerned about reproductive success, not about significant post-reproductive health and lifespan. In other words, nature really doesn't give a whit about how long we live unless it pertains to reproductive success.?? Therefore, we cannot look to nature or count on nature or what's ???natural??? to tell us how to live a long healthy (post-reproductive) life. To obtain an optimal diet (as opposed to just a better diet that would be virtually any diet that deviates from the standard American diet) one must use modern science that one could even consider to be ???unnatural???. ??(See short excerpt from my book below.)
The science of insulin and leptin clearly reveal that a diet high in non-fiber carbohydrates is extremely unhealthy and shortens lifespan. Furthermore, considerable and robust science tells us that excess protein (any protein beyond that necessary to build, repair, and maintain oneself) is equally detrimental (see links below to a couple of PowerPoints of talks I have given). Oil and fat is really the only relatively safe fuel to burn, and ones diet should consist mostly of this along with the necessary protein and minimal non-fiber carbohydrates, whether or not this sort of diet was paleolithic.
From p.46, "The Rosedale Diet" ?? HarperCollins ??? LONGEVITY ISN???T ???NATURAL????? "Within the billions of years that life has evolved on earth, we may have become smarter, more complicated creatures than our single-celled predecessors, but the fact is, we are here for pretty much the same reason. As Mother Nature sees it, whether you are a single-celled organism, a multicelled nematode, a bird, a dog, a cat, or a human, you are here for the primary purpose to reproduce and pass your precious genes (the library of life) on to the next generation. After that, you???re expendable. My patients are shocked when I tell them that there is nothing ???natural??? about trying to live as long a life as possible. You may want to hang around to be a healthy 120 and spend your last decades playing with your great-grandchildren, writing your novel, or traveling the world, but Mother Nature has other ideas. Mother Nature???s primary concern is to keep you alive long enough to reproduce, and maybe a bit longer after that to care for your young. That???s it. Some scientists believe that our cavemen ancestors followed an ideal diet for our health and longevity because they ate the ???pure??? and ???natural??? diet that we all evolved from. In reality, the so-called ???paleolithic diet??? followed by cavemen was not necessarily ideal for long-term health; in fact, it was sort of random. Cavemen ate whatever Mother Nature made available to them at the time. Keep in mind, Mother Nature didn???t give a whit about eating for a long healthy life; she just wanted cavemen to make more baby cavemen. You see why I say there???s nothing ???natural??? about the quest for longevity? If anything, in order to achieve longevity, you have to circumvent Mother Nature and consider some ???unnatural??? alternatives. By that I mean you have to ???trick??? Mother Nature at her own game.??
Nature has very ingenious ways to help a species survive. When food is scarce, as it often was for our more primitive ancestors, in order to ensure the survival of a species, nature developed a method of keep??ing an organism alive through times of famine so that it could reproduce at a later, more opportune time. Reduced food intake turns on genes that protect the body against aging, allowing it to hopefully outlive the famine. Instead of spending lots of scarce energy to make babies that couldn???t survive, the body focuses its energy on maintaining and repair??ing itself. As soon as there is enough food available to support effective reproduction, the body switches gears and reduces its emphasis on maintenance and repair and directs its energy toward reproduction.
When you are in maintenance and repair mode, the body???s ???body shop??? is revved up and ready to go. Calorie-restricted animals have measurably higher levels of key chemicals that allow for extended life, protect cells from damage, and promote repair. ??
You don???t have to starve yourself to turn on the maintenance and repair switch. Following the Rosedale Diet will do the same good things for your body. How does it work? Leptin is a key player (perhaps in concert with insulin) in the evolutionary tug of war between whether the body should concentrate on reproduction or maintenance and repair."??
??...and to live a long, healthy, post-reproductive lifespan, we want our bodies to concentrate on maintenance and repair. To do that we must use modern science that tells us that we must regulate the hormonal nutrient sensors that, when kept low, turn up the genetic expression of maintenance and repair.
My comments to Stephan Guyenet responses to my answer on his site Dec. 4, 2009
Dr. Ron Rosedale said... Pertaining to insulin's primary purpose: ??????Again, we must distinguish between controlling blood sugar and lowering blood sugar in a "normal" individual. Yes, I am well aware as are most people, that insulin can lower blood sugar. It does not mean, however, that insulin is controlling it. It is lowering the glucose levels as a side effect secondary to storing it as glycogen (little) and fat (lots), not to control the serum levels as we were typically taught in med school. The immediate regulation of blood glucose is left to epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisone, glucagon, hGH, all of which control it in an upward direction primarily to make sure there is an anaerobic fuel available for emergencies. Just as we would not send a man to the moon with just one mechanism to deliver O2, we have many mechanisms to increase glucose, not lower it. This may be a very good clue of our evolutionary priorities. Furthermore, as far as glucose levels are concerned, a major role that insulin plays is to inhibit gluconeogenesis that would otherwise raise glucose by default, as seen in type 1 DM, as well as type 2, i.e. why they wake up with high BS even after fasting 10 hours. This may even be more to preserve lean mass than concern about high glucose levels in a normal, non type 1 DM individual. Also, I doubt there were enough type 1s in our evolutionary history for nature to give a whit about. Granted, however, that extremely high BS leading to spillover in the urine and dehydration as typically seen only in an uncontrolled type 1 diabetic along with severe acidosis would be selected against with relevance determined by the number of these individuals. Pertaining to all others with elevated glucose;: type 2 diabetics, impaired glucose tolerant individuals, anyone shortly after eating a typical breakfast of cereal and orange juice, etc.; the chronic diseases associated with this (i.e. all the chronic diseases of aging) including CAD and cancer afflict most people after having reached reproductive maturity. Even relevant parenting (especially in our ancestral history when reproduction was likely at an earlier age???) lies beyond evolutionary selective pressure. Thus elevated glucose would not have had great pressure to be selected against and may even have conferred advantages. Type II diabetes may therefore be an example of "antagonistic pleiotropy".??????Insulin's primary, evolutionary role was established billions of years ago???long before glucose was a significant part of our diet. Insulin in found in virtually all animal life, "down" to worms and yeast (where it also takes on IGF functions). It was certainly not used to lower blood glucose levels. January 7, 2010 11:56 PM
Dr. Ron Rosedale said... Thank you for your comment about leptin. I am also aware of leptin and its role in centrally regulating glucose, insulin, and most of the hypothalamic functions... I have written a book on this.??????Pertaining to maintenance and repair:??????The energy required for basal metabolic rate should almost entirely go to "maintenance and repair" such as the maintenance of body ???temperature, the maintenance of heart rate etc. Also, you mention ???moving muscles. Whenever that is accomplished, it damages the ???muscle and there must be repair of that muscle. ??????I will quote from the recent article published in the journal Nature out of Linda Partridge's lab that you mentioned:??????"It [calorie restriction] is widely assumed to induce adaptive reallocation of nutrients from reproduction to somatic maintenance, aiding survival of food shortages.??????-From: "Amino-acid imbalance explains extension of lifespan by dietary restriction in Drosophila", Nature, Dec 2, 2009. ??????That was my assertion...that it is a popular and widely accepted (even "assumed") theory.??????Reproduction vs. maintenance and repair derives from Tom Kirkwood's very popular "disposable soma" theory... ???I think that the major point is being missed. I am talking about care and repair of the genome vs. its reproduction. The soma (body) is to take care of the genome until it can be reproduced and until it is environmentally/nutritionally advantageous to do so. Therefore all energy that goes into maintenance of the soma, whether that be for individual cells (outside of the nucleus) or the body of cells, until the genome can/should be reproduced, is energy for maintenance and repair. This allocation was apparently established during oceanic single celled life billions of years ago.??????Even so, the fact that M&R and reproduction are linked does not imply that it must be... the fact that it may be possible to unlink them does not mean that they were not linked or are not naturally linked?????????As far as Kitivans are concerned, one can debate all one wants about what ancient man ate or current societies eat... and it gets you no closer to determining the optimal diet (excepting that they may indicate what not to do). Diets evolved for reproductive success???not long, healthy, post repro life... for that we have no footsteps to follow. January 7, 2010 11:58 PM
on April 14, 2011
at 12:58 AM
I didn't start eating Paleo to increase my lifespan. I'm not even sure I want to get really old, even if I'm the cool grandma in jeans. It just doesn't appeal to me.
I started eating Paleo to get my trainer to stop talking about it. LOL. I never, ever thought I would do it for more than the 30 days. I was shocked at how much better I felt. Now, I eat this way because it has improved my health. I have "cured" a high blood pressure problem I had for 9 years. I wasn't expecting that.
I don't worry about the finer points at all. I enjoy reading and learning more about nutrition because I find it interesting, but I really just take the bits and pieces that work for me.
I don't strive for 100% uber strict Paleo. I don't want to be STRICT anything. I am really extremely happy exactly where I am at. It's weird to me because I have never been so totally happy with myself and my health and my body, but without plastic surgery, I'm just not going to fix anything to be better than it is right now. Accepting that took some time, but I really think I'm good.
I had pizza last week with my family out for a day at the movies. I squirt chocolate syrup in my mouth occasionally (ok, most nights) when I make my daughter's chocolate milk. I get a Jamba Juice when I get anywhere near one, which isn't often. Accepting that I'm not going to be perfect and learning to enjoy it instead of berating myself was HUGE, but I really think I'm there.
on April 14, 2011
at 01:23 AM
Let everyone ask a question to themselves: Why am I here, on this website, reading this question, reading the responses?
FWIW - I had been searching for a 'happier' life, because of a chronic low level fatigue, not looking good naked, unable to lose weight, stressed due to all above, recurrent minor infections and not getting satisfactory answers from the medical community.
Paleo/Primal, whether 90/10 or 80/20 or 70/30, whatever set-point I converged to, in my journey, has helped resolved all the above issues to a point of personal satisfaction wherein I am inclined to continue this way. Call it 'mind over matter' but I feel more in control this way, my stress levels about my own lifestyle are way way lower, in fact, I have almost stopped thinking how/when if I will die and whether this choice will become a cause for it. I am happy right now, I have been there done that (CW) and this is my currently chosen way to go.
Take heart kamal, we will all go one day. For now we have discovered a better path, we have discovered it because we are open to change, and in the future we will change again if necessary and convincing evidence is presented to us. There is no guarantee that any of us will take the next breath, Paleo or not. So lets rejoice life and enjoy the moment.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:41 PM
Here is another reason full-on Paleo may not be optimal. Despite our best efforts, we don't know EVERYTHING about what nutrients we need. It's very complex. We might think that Paleo is the "diet to end all diets" but that's just based upon what we presently know. For that reason, I think it's important to sometimes eat outside the box! In other words, eat more widely than we normally do in order to get some nutrients we might be missing. I am not saying that at such times we should eat complete garbage (like Twinkies), however, eat reasonably clean food that is not Paleo. Of course, eating an occasional nice piece of cake is a good thing, too. If nothing else, it will help you from becoming a food fascist.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:33 PM
None of the above.
Although I cant speak for all, I'd say most paleo-ers are pretty knowledgeable about diet, fitness, and general health issues. They (we) would rather die at a normal, age but physically fit and active, than live an extended life looking out the window in a nursing home.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:56 PM
I say have a little fun. A 95% near perfect diet with occasional cheats is longer to sustain, extreme diets are often abandoned.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:28 PM
I spend my days hanging out with a 95 year old Spanish woman who never cared about her health (she looks far better than a female version of Jack Lalanne at the same age regardless), dietary advice from her: everything in moderation; she does eat bread and legumes... no crossfit, no movnat, no pressups, pullups... just farm work... actually her pace of life is slow, but in short bursts intense, most of the time she spends just sitting talking, some gathering beans etc - if there is anything to be learnt from her?
on April 14, 2011
at 07:31 PM
We have the one diet in the world, with Long Term evidence.
The only one based on Evolution...
I hate to bang our own drum, but in what dimension does processed food exceed what we evolved to eat?
Longevity is not solely about Food. On the food front I have no doubt that Whole Food and Toxin avoidance is optimal. But there are many more issues to be concerned with after food...
on April 14, 2011
at 01:29 AM
Here's the way I think about it.
Set the same standard for two diets: full-on paleo eating on the one hand, and paleo with occasional neolithic indulgences on the other hand. So in one corner we have the diet that never includes the NAD; never includes an occasional meal with potatoes deep-fried in soybean oil, and never includes a white-flour sesame bun. In the other corner we have the diet that has a 20% share of such things, or let's say a 10% share of them. Now, sure, it might be the case that since evolution only cares about us until we reproduce (leaving kin selection to the side for the sake of argument), neither one of these diets will do anything for longevity. But ask yourself this: if you had to choose one -- and, well, I guess you do -- which one would you choose? How likely is it that we would have been rolling along with our natural selection-given bodies, dying early sad deaths, until we started screwing with the genes of wheat plants and pressing oil out of corn and making that 10% of our diet -- at which point, voil??, we started living much longer? It's possible, I suppose, but if I were a betting man -- and, well, I guess I have to be -- then I would put my money on the strict paleo.
But of course that's all other things being equal, including stress levels. If eating 100% instead of 90% causes you stress, then it may not be worth it. But I have a comeback for this one also. Since my entrance to the world of paleo was through Mark's Daily Apple, I've always considered stress-reduction to be part of the package; it's one of the 10 steps. So no matter how you cut it, paleo is the way to go. (I realize I'm being a little tricky here, but hey, it's fun.)
on April 13, 2011
at 10:52 PM
I pretty much follow 80/20 (I should probably strict up for my current goals) but when I eat something non-paleo I follow one rule: I must LOVE it! I've never been a fan of chips, pastries, cakes etc so I just don't eat them even if it's there. I'd rather eat a really awesome sandwich or a delicious piece of bbq chicken or white pizza from the whole foods pizza bar. That's my advice- make sure everything you eat is DELICIOUS, especially your non-paleo indulgences!
on May 05, 2011
at 03:43 PM
There is a lot of research that life-shortening diseases are primarily caused by either inflammation or bacteria infections. There are theories that even heart disease is caused by bacteria (you may have heard your dentist mention that flossing your teeth is good for your heart, there is research supporting this idea), and that some cancers start as infections.
This site and others are full of anecdotes from people who have first-hand experience with the paleo diet improving or eliminating inflammatory and bacterial conditions. They are many others that show that it improves or eliminates many "diseases of civilization" such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
I believe that being happy, healthy, content, and confident is probably the most important thing above all others in leading a long and happy life. If eating a paleo diet helps these things, then it is improving your longevity.
I don't think it requires any stretch of the imagination to consider that the paleo diet can improve your lifespan, and also make you happier and healthier while you're alive. It is probably also true that the people that actually live the longest aren't those that obsess about their diets and try every day to live longer -- they just live happy lives and this translates into a long life.
on April 14, 2011
at 04:15 AM
My diet goal is to feel better. I eliminated lactose and gluten after a nurse practitioner told me that they might be the cause of my mysterious severe pooposity, which landed me in E.R. twice (I was also recovering from open aortic aneurysm repair--so it was more than just the worst dehydration ever they were concerned about). Eliminating grains, most dairy, and some fruit and raising the meat/fish/veggies has improved my sleep, blood pressure, overall pain level, heart rhythm, and weight is going down a bit (I've never been overweight, but I felt too heavy). All that reduces stress. My only stress away from work is adapting my food shopping and cooking to fresh ingredients and dealing with the occasional nutrition "expert" who thinks I'm stupid for eating this way. I work for CA Dept of Public Health tobacco control, and we share a floor with the 5-a-day (or is it 9-a-day or bushel-a-day by now?) program.
It seems like a given that my life will be longer than it would have been on my previous diets, all other things remaining equal. However, if someone could prove to me that my current feel-good diet is shortening my life, I wouldn't change back to the pain, insomnia, dragging-all-day misery I had. You know, dying may hurt for minutes or months, but death is pain-free. I do not fear death one bit.
on April 14, 2011
at 01:23 AM
There is no credible evidence that red meat (or other animal protein) is linked to causing cancer. Furthermore there is zero evidence that hunter gathers had cancer despite many consuming large amounts of red meat.
My conclusion? If you want to minimise your risk factors of getting cancer avoid processed foods, especially refined sugar (in all of it's forms), eat a diet which doesn't promote prolonged elevated insulin levels and avoid foods that affect gut permeability (i.e. gluten & grains).
A paleo type diet would appear to suit pretty well for longevity.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:55 PM
I'm prepared for a negative vote, but the question seems like someone from that "special" group that Robb Wolf mentions in his book, "The Paleo Solution". I think Dr. Kurt Harris, as well as Robb, among other highly knowledgeable and medically trained individuals would have far better answers than I can post here, but the science is definitely in favor of eating "natural" whole foods... not all the crap we get marketed these days by big food corporations.
on May 05, 2011
at 12:19 PM
There is a big difference in lifespan and being healthy. I don't care about lifespan.
I totally agree with Bruno: "I'd rather die at 60 and be energetic and lively then die at 80 while barely moving, taking a dozen pills a day, and just generally not being independent. It's how I look at it. Quality over Quantity!"
I don't see why eating some dark chocolate or pouring a bit of sugar in the espresso will ruin my health. And if my body can handle raw cheese or yoghurt - I wouldn't stress out about it. If I already have 3 tumors in my body I would strictly avoid dairy. With autoimmune issues I would strictly avoid grains and legumes. Zero tolerance! Which means: It depends on where I am and what my goals are.
No, you won???t be healthy with worrying all the time about your food. But on the other hand: I just see no benefit for me in "indulging" in crappy foods or foods that make me feel bad.
Paleo recipes are tasty and I feel good eating them. And Paleo or not: High quality real food tastes better than industrialized junk food from "Food Inc." So apart from any health issues, from a pure hedonistic standpoint I don't see why I miss something if I don't eat crap.
Except when life sucks - then you need drugs as a crutch. Junk food is addictive like heroine, tobacco and alcohol so when you crave sugar, grains, alcohol etc you know that you have some problems going on and you need drugs to numb bad feelings, anxiety , sleep deprivation, anger etc. This is not indulging, it is self-medication. It may be necessary if you can't get the help you really need. Then go for it. We all do sometimes. But it doesn't exactly improve your quality of life.
Poor Gene :-( They blame you for everything.
Genetics play a role in some diseases but in general they are just a lame excuse. Epigenetics is the real interesting field
There are many ways your parents, your teachers
or your doctors
can ruin your health or even your life . This has nothing to do with your genes. Nutrition, sleep, movement, chronic stress, abuse or humiliation, legal and illegal drugs, toxins..... everything influences gene expression.
Most people never get a chance to develop their full genetic potential. This is a social problem, not a genetic problem. Think Weston Price: Nutrition and Degenaration. Bad genes or bad food?
Nice book about why genetics are overrated:
Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers
Good book about epigenetics. Dr.Cate Shanahan: Deep Nutrition
on April 14, 2011
at 07:55 AM
Yes, I think most Paleo advocates will say that its okay to treat yourself once in a while without too much effect on the body.
It does seem true that by leading a healthy lifestyle then it will increase longevity, but for the strictest Paleo eater, maybe they just wont make it as long as they'd have liked.
Stress is a big factor. I think when we're strict on ourselves to eat well we feel better, thus reducing stress levels, so therefore I'd say eating healthily and stress go in part, hand in hand.
on April 14, 2011
at 03:01 AM
Super outliers rarely tell us anything useful about living long lives. It is sort of like looking at Lebron James or Michael Jordan and studying them for what it takes to be an NBA player. Genetics. The far right hand side of the distribution is always about genetics. You can do calorie restriction and that might shift your expiration date a little, but in the end genes rule.
That said, yeah, having a slow paced, not too stressful life is good (though I might argue some of that is genetic as well--"type A" personalities can't really slow down, their phenotype is go, go, go!). Probably not working out too much and too hard is helpful. We know that physical activity is good up to a point. But maybe doing crossfit 6 days a week or MMA is going to shave a little bit off the tail end. Having some financial security helps. Having an education helps. Having a social network helps. Living in a safe neighborhood helps. But we're talking about things that probably add more to quality of life, and then add a little here and there to the final expiration date.
We have pretty good anecdotal evidence (and not so anecdotal evidence) that not eating the components of the modern industrial diet prevents various diseases of civilization. Insofar as these things tend to be the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in industrialized nations, we can be reasonably certain that avoiding those things is going to spare most of from diabetes, heart disease, and the other maladies of growing old in industrialized nations. So you eat some version of "paleo" or archevore or primal or whatnot, and you'll probably make it about eight decades relatively healthy compared to other folks in their 80s. After that, I maintain that it is a crap shoot unless you want to starve yourself and go caloric restriction. And even then, it is still a genetic lottery--there's been plenty (well as plentiful as these folks get, which is not very) of folks who make it to 100 who eat what we'd consider crap (albeit in moderation), probably smoked at least on occasion, and maybe didn't exercise a whole lot. Maybe if you have the right genes, dial everything in right (which is to say create the ideal gene x environment mix), you can make it to 120 in amazing shape. But, until we know what those genes are, you could be the phenotype that is going to expire at 70 despite living an immaculately healthy life. I simply don't think we know enough about the genes responsible for aging and longevity yet to say much useful about extending our genetic expiration date. But we do know enough about diet to make the years we have healthier. And, in my book, that's about all you can ask for.
I don't really worry about this issue anyway. In 30 or 40 years either the global economy will have completely collapsed and we're going to be living real paleo again, we'll have demolished ourselves in stupid wars, famine, or some other nonsense, or we're going to be super awesome and have the technology to reverse aging, or substantial mitigate the effects. But seriously, you make it a 3 or 4 more decades and we're probably going to be able to add on a few more decades to your life at that point. And we might just start engineering babies to thrive on corn syrup or to photosynthesize or something. Whatever. I'm concerned about being healthy right now--you focus on that every day, I'm going to guess there is a reasonably good chance you'll find yourself being pretty healthy in a few decades.
on April 13, 2011
at 11:12 PM
Well, stating the obvious right off the bat, We are all going to die. Using Paleo I'm hedging my bets at not following a downward asymptote that may or may not be very long, in favor of a line that keeps me far from the end until, the end. That is, live and die strong, instead of slowly, weakly dying.
And yet yes, there are many other thing we can fix, stress has been mentioned, and sleep is quite important. I haven't fixed my sleep, I work during the day, and work after my family goes to bed. This is likely robbing me of my health as much as bad dietary habits did before.
On the other hand, I try not to sweat diet too hard, after all an often neglected aspect of food, is the social aspect, we eat with family and friends and co-workers, and... I do believe food should be enjoyed, and the conversations and interactions that happen around the partaking of the food are also important for our psyche and ultimately our well being. If that implies that now and then I'll ingest some non-Paleo poison then, oh well, take the bad with the good. Live.
on April 13, 2011
at 10:46 PM
I have to blow a respberry at the dioxin information pffffffffftttttt! Not to mention the source is from a site that promotes veganism - so no wonder they're saying that consuming meat leads to cancer.
on May 09, 2011
at 08:10 PM
I just started paleo (64 yrs) My son put me onto it - and I've suffered a great deal of illness pescatarian-style - I didn't go on the diet to gain years, or lose weight - perhaps I'll benefit from both! I lost plenty of weight, but I went on paleo to improve my health while I'm still around - it's worked thus far - I've thrown away my RA/OA meds, Barretts esophagus meds, I no longer use a cane, and even lost my bouts of depression (hounding me all my life) - if I die tomorrow, I'll have had increasing health these 3 mos - I wouldn't trade it! I'm sticking to this as long as I can!- I wanted to die for the last 5-7 yrs - begged for it (nothing like pain to inspire a "death wish") - I really appreciate these days of improving health and I enjoy life!
on April 14, 2011
at 12:12 PM
Great question and I completely agree that Paleo <>?? optimal lifespan. I don't think the major problem with paleo is too much stress though (I don't find thinking about food/lifestyle stressful at all- rather a diversion in the good sense), rather the problem is not worrying enough about lifespan vs paleo e.g. sure we can live well and comfortably on 30%+ protein, but would we live longer/healthier on less protein (or maybe by tightening up our plant intake, micronutrients, oxidised cholesterol, levels of ketosis, activity levels etc).
on April 14, 2011
at 02:35 AM
This is a very refreshing view. Yes, I do agree with it somewhat. The Paleo view is often too sweeping and backward-looking. Humans are adaptable and can learn to thrive on new food sources. One example is dairy: the Swiss and the Masais learned to subsist on it, perhaps developing specific genetic characteristics that made them favorable to consuming dairy in large doses. Here, the dairy was probably the non-pasteurized variety. Those living near the equator thrived on tubers (yams, sweetpotatoes, tapioca, yucca, taro). These were much easier to find, prepare and store as a food source than the hunted animals.
This is the emerging Paleo view that some people do not seem to understand. Humans did not take one path of evolution. They evolved through multiple paths, eating a variety of diets. Those along the equator consumed more carbs than those living in arctic regions. Those near the North Pole followed a ketogenic diet, as there would not have been any carb food source other than liver and occasional vegetation from the Tundra.
Yet they all thrived. Why? Because our body is adaptable ... to an extent. You should draw the line at food toxins such as sugar, fructose, and gluten. But in theory, human bodies could evolve to digest these toxins and thrive. We have no natural selection anymore. Those who can't metabolize sugar or gluten effectively are not left to die but given every possible chance to extend their lives. In other words, we have stopped evolving. In the Masai or Swiss world, those who couldn't digest dairy probably died early and the population as a whole became dairy-tolerant. This is what many people do not realize.
on April 06, 2012
at 01:14 PM
I think this is a good question. I personally would rather live a life span of 70 years in relative good health as opposed to a life span of 99 years full of aches and pains during the last 49 years of that longer span.
on April 28, 2011
at 05:09 AM
I eat strict Paleo because I feel like crap if I dont. Since I seem to have such a negative reaction to so many foods I actually eat Paleo plus no dairy, no nuts/seeds, no eggs and no nightshades. I feel great and allow myself to "cheat" with fairly harmless foods such as white rice, tea/espresso and hard alcohol (small amounts; had a coconut milk, espresso, brandy, vanilla & peppermint extract drink w/ Sunday breakfast, mmmm). I my case since eating this way lowers my inflammation and brightens my mood Im sure it will add to my longevity. If not, at least I enjoyed life while I was alive vs suffering under SAD. Im also hoping to change my epigenetic expressions to benefit my future kids.
on April 16, 2011
at 02:35 PM
I am looking for the Great Debate where we can examine the various Paleo diets and then layer on what we have deduced can optimize the results. Reproduction versus repair. Well, I have already had my 2 little groks. So I am just grateful that I have lived long enough to want to "Feel Good" over "Look Good"...but can't I have both? Confident that with so many people in this community smarter than me, I will throw my net out everyday and wait till the dust settles. Waiting, waiting...
on April 15, 2011
at 03:01 PM
Good for health, bad for lifespan..isn't that an oxymoron?
on April 14, 2011
at 02:02 PM
great question and a great batch of opinions added. even though I'm not always 100% paleo/primal/real-foods when I eat, I consider myself "enlightened" nutritionally. If I put something in my body that I know will make me feel like crap, at least I'm aware of it before eating it and WHY it does that. just a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to explain why I felt bad. I make a conscious effort to avoid things that make my tummy and/or head hurt, but ocassionally enjoy something of the pastry variety :)
on April 14, 2011
at 03:03 AM
Well, it seems Buster Martin died today, and he had something to say about this...here it is:
though his birth year was disputed as being either 1906 or 1913, he still managed to make it quite some time, and in style. (running a marathon in 2008 while smoking and drinking beer, and defending himself from three attackers in 2007 by hitting one in the groin and kicking another until they all ran off)
on August 14, 2013
at 04:33 AM
I would have to say that longevity has to do more with the amount of food that you put in your body and your activity levels.
on April 15, 2013
at 12:33 AM
Well as your basic intelligent house wife, I am not up there with you folks on dietary care. However, I decided to make my family Paleo friendly. It will take time, bad habits are hard to break,and I need to empty my pantry, I can't afford to waste food, but doing the best to add Paleo meals into the mix as much as possible.
I do not believe we will ever go full Paleo. I do believe however that changes have been made in our diets for the better with the advent of more non gluten foods hitting the market, and breads made from other grains being introduced to consumers more openly.
I read an article which stated wheat as we know it is definitely not wheat as it begun it's grainy life on our planet. Original wheat was only about man, or knee high and brown, not golden and it wasn't impregnated with growth chemicals and bugoff chemicals, the dna has been changed and hence what hunters and GATHERERS may have bought to the table today's wheat doesn't match the original health wise for any human.
I will try for 70/30 for my family, why, because I look at other nations and see health benefits amongst them that have been with their peoples for centuries and therefor I don't think Paleo is 100% necessary nor do I believe that some forbidden foods are as bad as stimulated by the Paleo Gurus.
So wish us luck, I think Paleo is great, in as much as it made me come to my lazy senses as to the problems with mass produced processed foods and the harm they are doing us on a daily basis, as for Almond Milk (YUK) but I will use gluten and lactose free milk when I need to use a milk.
Let us look forward to a healthier world where we take charge of our health and well being instead of the big food companies and their allies the supermarkets.
on March 15, 2013
at 11:55 PM
A lot depends on what the alternative is for each individual. If a paleo diet is the only option you've found for avoiding extreme obesity or atherosclerosis, or the only thing gives you enough energy to become physically active, then it's doing a lot to reduce your risk of poor health or mortality. Any hidden pro-aging effects would have to be very strong to balance those out.
They'd also have to be very strong to balance out the benefits of getting rid of sugar and refined carbs (which even pro-grain authorities don't think is a good idea), meaning that you're very unlike to do net harm by promoting the paleo diet to someone who's currently eating lots of industrialized junk.
This obviously doesn't render the lifespan question unimportant, though it may reduce the amount of time we need to spend worrying about it in the meantime.
on April 16, 2011
at 04:07 PM
Well, if it is the case that Paleo doesn't affect or help (maybe hinder) your potential for living a long healthy lifespan, then I'm still not too worried about it. I'd rather die at 60 and be energetic and lively then die at 80 while barely moving, taking a dozen pills a day, and just generally not being independent. It's how I look at it. Quality over Quantity!
I feel and look better on the Paleo diet. That's good enough for me.
on April 16, 2011
at 03:51 PM
Does the benefit of restricting protein come from restricting methionine or all protein? If it's just methionine than we could just consume less muscle meat and more bone marrow, stock and gelatin.
on April 16, 2011
at 03:41 PM
Measuring lifespan and comparing based on diet & lifestyle is wrong. Why?
1) One has only one chance to live. You cannot re-live same time-frame with changed or tweaked parameters to compare outcomes at an presumptive end. So what are we comparing here?
2) Lifespan is more complex than a simple relation of... eat this, live long and prosper, eat that, die young. Involves more than what you eat. Remember that story about the guy that had just meat for the last 30 years, he died at 9x in a car accident ?!?! Based on that, how would we know how long he would live without the accident, or on a 30 bananas a day?
3) Genetic identical entities develop different behaviors, even if raised together, in close proximity. That should be a strong indication on how different we function and leaves no room to compare one that eats 30 bananas a day with meatboy for the last 30 years. Because you cannot compare apples to oranges, or... prime-rib to 30 bananas if you will :)
4) Time is relative. Some live in 1 year what other live in 2 or more. How do you add that to the equation? Yes, that included the "feel good" factor / perception of time, etc... long story here...
To me, what works best is "Do what you like" and "Follow your beliefs"
And we are not wrong while we think that each day's a gift and not a given right. Live the moment you caveman you!!!! And enjoy every second of it...
on April 15, 2011
at 05:10 PM
Isn't the point of paleo (or JERF, or whatever the term is or will become) that its 'followers' are open-minded individuals who are prepared to try something different to achieve something. Whether that something is an extra 50-60 years of life, or a better quality of life for however long they may have left due to overriding factors is irrelevant. They are prepared to try.
Perhaps paleo devotees should adopt mottos from the Scouts and Marines:
'Be Prepared' and 'Adapt and Overcome' :)