I'll start out with my answer. Neither was Paleo, but both made contributions in the direction of Paleo. Of the two I think Keys contributed more.
My reason for asking such a question is that I just prepared an N=1 comparison of diets and longevities for various people and groups. The best outcomes were Lawrence Ferlinghetti (coffee and poetry), Jack LaLanne (high carbs and exercise), the Okinawans (high carbs and fatty pork) and at the top Ancel Keys at 100 (Med diet).
Not knowing a lot about Ancel Keys I immediately waded into a toxic swamp of HFLC criticism. The origin of this criticism appears to be Robert Atkins, with his heavy critique of the 1960's low fat diets, in the Diet Revolution. Ancel Keys became the very devil due to his study connecting saturated fat with heart disease. A media-driven character assassination of Keys persists down to the present day. Here's a particularly brutal example, courtesy of Dr. Eades
Given Keys contributions to science (whether you like his theories on cholesterol or not), and to the winning of WW2, and as a vetted researcher (instead of a journalist selling HFLC books), is it really helpful to anyone to indulge in vicious ad hominem attacks like this? There's a longevity benefit to being calm and contemplative, confronting opposing ideas with reason rather than with high cortisol manic ranting. Thinking and acting like Ferlinghetti can give you a lot more years.
But as I said earlier, both Atkins and Keys made contributions to what Paleo is.
-Atkins resisted the demonization of fats, from meat in particular. The use of ketosis as a rapid weight loss tool to treat obesity would not have seen the light of day without his efforts.
-In reaction against the unhealthy Nordic "white food" diets (preserved meats, fatty/sugary fried pastries, lots of dairy, and no fresh fruits and vegetables), Keys created the Med Diet, based on his longevity studies. It was not designed to be a weight loss diet, so differs from Atkins. While this diet includes grains, it emphasizes the liberal use of olive oil, so it is not a low fat diet. It avoids added sugar and processed foods, and uses a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. It includes seafood, but other meats are discouraged. Moreover, Keys was a guinea pig for his own diet, eating this diet for 50 years and living it out in Italy.
In the sense of what I set out to do - find the best diet for healthy longevity - Keys is a clear favorite over any other approach. His diet translates easily into a Paleo approach. With the use of sweet potatoes and rice in place of grains, and inclusion of more meat, the Med becomes Paleo.
I visualize a hybrid of Keys Med with Cordain Paleo meat and safe carbs, combined with Cordain/LaLanne exercise and Ferlinghetti contemplation, as the best shot for being healthy at 100.
asked bythhq (10601)
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on October 21, 2015
at 07:45 AM
I'm kind of surprised this question has gone completely unanswered.
Most "Paleo" followers aren't exactly trying to gain more knowledge about nutrition and the history of nutrition in general.
Ancel keys, by far contritubuted more towards the knowledge of nutrition. It's not even a debate. All Dr Atkins did was tried to discredit his reaseach within his fad diet book back in the 70's. His reasearch was that sloppy that he didn't even know anything about the 7 country's study that he was trying to discredit.