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Does this recent study reflect poorly on paleo?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 20, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I???ve been following paleo (about 98%) for nearly 3 weeks now. My sugar and grain intake have been negligible. My milk intake has been almost negligible. I???ve also eliminated the night shades. Other than having lost about 4 lbs. I don???t feel any better, but intend to persist for a while longer. I ran across this study this morning, which if the conclusion is true, flies in the face of paleo.
Excerpt: Fiber intakes from food sources such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans were also examined (Figure). We found that dietary fiber from grains was significantly inversely related to the risk of total, CVD, cancer, and respiratory disease deaths in both men and women. Comparing the highest with the lowest intake of fiber from grains, men had a 23% lower risk of total death (multivariate RR, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.73-0.81]) and women had a 19% lower risk of total death (multivariate RR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.76-0.86]). Fiber from vegetables and beans was also weakly associated with a lower risk of total death in both men and women. However, fiber from fruits was not related to total and cause-specific deaths in men and women.

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=227566

EDIT, for you question demanders: Does this study fly in the face of paleo? Can this result be explained using the paleo framework?

Ce2968ab71119c736ba9d83841c5718a

on September 12, 2012
at 05:50 PM

Did you read the whole study or just the conclusion? In my experience, its not that uncommon for me to come to a different conclusion than the author after reading there whole paper.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:42 AM

thhq - What does Atkins have to do with Paleo? Yams, safe starches, fruit, nuts are all fiber rich paleo foods. I eat low-carb (by SAD Standards) and am not the least bit low in fiber. As I said, I don't accept your premise. You've jumped the shark. If you want to talk about Atkins find an Atkins board to troll.

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:30 PM

What are you talking about? Where did I say fiber is banned? No, I don't avoid eating fiber. Did you read the study cited? Did you read the response articles I linked? This wasn't cited as a study on the health benefits dietary fiber. It was cited as a study that shows only fiber from grains (but not fruits and vegetables) provide a significant health benefit. And the "cc argument" is always an appropriate response when someone suggests changing you diet based on one epidemiological study.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 21, 2012
at 06:32 PM

No. My grandparents are from close to the great white north and we always ate a lot of fish, but otherwise the Nordic diet is far removed from Inuit. If you can find a copy, read the introduction to Anthony Bourdain's book The Nasty Bits, which is about a raw seal feast with the Inuit. They let him have the liver, the choicest piece. I like sashimi but I don't think I could do raw liver.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on July 21, 2012
at 03:36 PM

Ha! I'm going by how I feel.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on July 21, 2012
at 03:31 PM

This isn't Jeopardy.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 21, 2012
at 01:30 PM

Very true, you can't predict longevity through 90 days of diet, you can however measure levels of health in even a small amount of time. Better health does not necessarily mean longevity - you could always get hit by a bus, get exposed to radioactive tuna that swam near Fukushima, murdered in a movie theater by a nutjob, etc. So all you can do is improve your health now, and enjoy your current life better.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 01:13 PM

@thhq - guilty as charged: n=1 !! (Inuit n=?) !!

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 10:33 AM

@ thhq - are you?

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 10:33 AM

@thhq - nope - just think they're an amazing example that disproves a lot of nonsense like fibre is essential, or fibre is good for you etc etc - provides a reality check for all the fantasy folk like to expund here and elsewhere.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 21, 2012
at 12:52 AM

That study examines people who eat a standard american style diet. Its not relevant to people who dont consume massive amounts of carbs, vege oils, or refined sugar etc. Fiber is basically stuff u cant digest. Its slows the digestion of other things, but its pretty pointless otherwise IMO. This study is also correlation. Did you know that the very large china study found that wheat was strongly associated with a high body mass index and death via heart disease? Correlation is interesting but it proves nothing, as you can see from the fact this and the china study contradict each other...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:09 PM

@lardinmayo, some paleo enthusiasts shun fiber. 100% sure everyone dies, but if fiber gets them to Jack Lalanne age of 95 vs fiber-free overweight Atkins the fiber in diet theory is proven to increase longevity. Of course Lalanne depended more on using exercise than fiber to get there, vs Atkins style bypasses, but the fiber might have added 5% to his life anyway.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:03 PM

For sure those'll kill you dead @matthius, and it took out my grandparents in their late 70's. But would they ave lived 23% longer if they'd substituted dietary fiber for the butter is more the question here. No doubt they would've saved a lot on laxatives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thhq - How could they eat "no fiber"? Are you suggesting a liquid diet is Paleo?

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I love the irony of this post. Be right back, shoving raw cake batter and mayonnaise sammiches down my gullet because I'm gonna die anyway, YOLO. I thought Paleohacks was about optimization.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:32 PM

Fine, I gave the OP a question. Now no need to close.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:24 PM

It takes a lieftime to establish an increase in longevity. So maybe a better experiment would be eating a high amount of dietary fiber for the rest of your life. If you live to 50 the theory is disproved, if you live to 90 the theory was right, and if you get hit by a car it doesn't matter.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:19 PM

So are you Inuit?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:18 PM

What if the premise was that it would make you live longer than a "paleo" dieter that ate no dietary fiber?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:16 PM

It reflects negatively on paleo only if your version of paleo is an eating disorder. If you view paleo as being a hunter-gatherer you would've chewed lots of woody things and gotten dietary fiber, from roots to twigs to husks. You can get a lot of nutrients out of cambium, in addition to the fiber.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:09 PM

We're talking about bran. Indigestible bran. I didn't know that cellulosics were on the paleo banned foods list. Even if they are, why in the world would you avoid eating fiber in your diet? Do you skin your sweet potatoes? Trying to defeat a study on the health benefits of dietary fiber by throwing up the cc argument, with a couple amen corner junk science pieces by the usual suspects is not convincing.

C0d44d0c62dcf60e8a80ae21411ddeb9

(370)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:41 PM

"Frequently Asked Questions What is PaleoHacks.com? PaleoHacks.com is a collaboratively edited question-and-answer site. It is not a blog nor a "normal" forum. We want PaleoHacks.com to complement, not supplant, the many thriving high-quality Paleo-themed blogs that exist elsewhere."

F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

(1884)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:19 PM

Why does everything have to be in question form? Why can't this be a forum for pure discussion?

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on July 20, 2012
at 05:47 PM

This isn't a question.

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9 Answers

17
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 20, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Repeat after me... "Correlation does not equal causation."

Chris Kresser recently wrote a good article on fiber. In it he noted, "The majority of the research supporting the benefits of dietary fiber come from epidemiological studies that link the consumption of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables with a lowered risk of certain diseases such as obesity, heart disease and cancer, particularly colon cancer. Yet when tested in the lab, controlled intervention trials that simply add fiber supplements to an otherwise consistent diet have not shown these protective effects." (see http://chriskresser.com/myths-and-truths-about-fiber).

Also, I just found this write up by Mark Sisson where he addressed this very study: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/will-eating-whole-grain-fiber-help-you-live-longer/#axzz21Bauajz5 Long story short, there are numerous cofounders that make it difficult to support the conclusions being asserted.

Give it a read!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:09 PM

We're talking about bran. Indigestible bran. I didn't know that cellulosics were on the paleo banned foods list. Even if they are, why in the world would you avoid eating fiber in your diet? Do you skin your sweet potatoes? Trying to defeat a study on the health benefits of dietary fiber by throwing up the cc argument, with a couple amen corner junk science pieces by the usual suspects is not convincing.

Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on July 23, 2012
at 01:30 PM

What are you talking about? Where did I say fiber is banned? No, I don't avoid eating fiber. Did you read the study cited? Did you read the response articles I linked? This wasn't cited as a study on the health benefits dietary fiber. It was cited as a study that shows only fiber from grains (but not fruits and vegetables) provide a significant health benefit. And the "cc argument" is always an appropriate response when someone suggests changing you diet based on one epidemiological study.

11
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 20, 2012
at 05:58 PM

I reject the premise. Risk of death is 100% and no diet intervention can possibly lower that number.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:18 PM

What if the premise was that it would make you live longer than a "paleo" dieter that ate no dietary fiber?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thhq - How could they eat "no fiber"? Are you suggesting a liquid diet is Paleo?

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I love the irony of this post. Be right back, shoving raw cake batter and mayonnaise sammiches down my gullet because I'm gonna die anyway, YOLO. I thought Paleohacks was about optimization.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:03 PM

For sure those'll kill you dead @matthius, and it took out my grandparents in their late 70's. But would they ave lived 23% longer if they'd substituted dietary fiber for the butter is more the question here. No doubt they would've saved a lot on laxatives.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 01:13 PM

@thhq - guilty as charged: n=1 !! (Inuit n=?) !!

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on July 21, 2012
at 03:36 PM

Ha! I'm going by how I feel.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 08:09 PM

@lardinmayo, some paleo enthusiasts shun fiber. 100% sure everyone dies, but if fiber gets them to Jack Lalanne age of 95 vs fiber-free overweight Atkins the fiber in diet theory is proven to increase longevity. Of course Lalanne depended more on using exercise than fiber to get there, vs Atkins style bypasses, but the fiber might have added 5% to his life anyway.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 24, 2012
at 03:42 AM

thhq - What does Atkins have to do with Paleo? Yams, safe starches, fruit, nuts are all fiber rich paleo foods. I eat low-carb (by SAD Standards) and am not the least bit low in fiber. As I said, I don't accept your premise. You've jumped the shark. If you want to talk about Atkins find an Atkins board to troll.

5
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:14 PM

That's fine. Why don't you try both diets. Try paleo for 30 days, then try whatever else you think "debunks" it for 90 days and see on which you feel, perform, and look better on.

Make sure it's a fair experiment, measure and test properly. For example, every day log how long you can hold your breath while running at full speed, or how much weight you can lift, etc.

Test your A1C levels, your glucose levels, your cortisol levels, your CRP levels after each diet.

Check your digestion - the shape, size, and frequency of your poops will tell you how well it works. Do you have flatulence - if so, that's a sign of bad digestion, i.e. you're eating indigestible sugars/fiber which are feeding bacteria and causing distress.

By the way "grain intake has been negligible" doesn't work. Either you stay off them 100% of the time, or you don't. Your gut needs time to heal and to stop being permeable. This part is non-negotiable. If you haven't eliminated grains, legumes, (and optionally dairy) for the full period, you're not actually doing paleo - so you won't see any benefits.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:24 PM

It takes a lieftime to establish an increase in longevity. So maybe a better experiment would be eating a high amount of dietary fiber for the rest of your life. If you live to 50 the theory is disproved, if you live to 90 the theory was right, and if you get hit by a car it doesn't matter.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 21, 2012
at 01:30 PM

Very true, you can't predict longevity through 90 days of diet, you can however measure levels of health in even a small amount of time. Better health does not necessarily mean longevity - you could always get hit by a bus, get exposed to radioactive tuna that swam near Fukushima, murdered in a movie theater by a nutjob, etc. So all you can do is improve your health now, and enjoy your current life better.

2
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 27, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as cellulose.

Fiber doesn't provide any vitamins, minerals, or nutrients of any kind.

The cell walls of plants are formed of cellulose (fiber). Wood is cellulose (fiber). BTW, where do you think fiber additive companies get their raw materials? Metamucil lists "wood cellulose" as one of its ingredients, which is a nice way to say "finely ground sawdust obtained from lumber mills."

Fiber is fiber. The fiber obtained from wheat is not superior (or inferior) to fiber obtained from sawdust, grass, apples, or any other plant.

2 slices whole wheat bread = 4g fiber, 140 calories

1 apple = 5g fiber, 120 calories

1 orange = 4g fiber, 70 calories

1 cup broccoli = 2g fiber, 31 calories

1 cup carrots = 4g fiber, 50 calories

1/2 cup avocado = 5g fiber, 120 calories

1 pear = 7g fiber, 133 calories

1/2 cup artichoke = 7g fiber, 45 calories

1/2 cup raspberries = 4g fiber, 32 calories

And the list of non-grain sources of fiber could go on and on and on...

By any measure the fruits and veggies listed above are better dietary choices. They contain more fiber, more vitamins, more minerals, and fewer calories than whole wheat.

2
Afc0b8e755ac7cdde6b517fdadb50026

(778)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:10 PM

http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/DiabetesStudy.html

paleo with lean meats and fruits vs mediterarean

1
06894589e5710456ed32c2cd10891c05

(260)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:22 PM

Fiber is good for you, yes, but it's the other crap that's in grains that makes it bad. Your decisions should be based on multiple studies and the result of numerous sources, not just one study. I've always been open to the idea of paleo not being the "right" answer (there probably isn't just one), but all signs so far have pointed me in that direction. And you should also let the results speak for themselves- not just 3 weeks. Any detox and trial on your health should be extensive if you really want to see results. I'm still going through mine, but so far it's enough to convince me that one study won't isn't enough to derail my thoughts.

1
D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 20, 2012
at 06:10 PM

No doubt confounded right up the wazoo. Epidemiological clap trap.

Here's a balancing source for you:

http://www.gutsense.org/

Konstantin Monastyrsky definitely has the last word on poop. His bottom ('scuse the pun!) line is that ALL fibre is detrimental. Of course, some needs to be tolerated, but don't think you need fibre for "stool building" (man, I'm enjoying myself!) - our "motions" are nearly all bacteria and water (or should be).

I can be found on this site talking about the Inuit a little too often, but hey - no fibre, and no constipation either... oh, and no cancer etc etc (on the traditional diet)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 20, 2012
at 07:19 PM

So are you Inuit?

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 10:33 AM

@ thhq - are you?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 21, 2012
at 06:32 PM

No. My grandparents are from close to the great white north and we always ate a lot of fish, but otherwise the Nordic diet is far removed from Inuit. If you can find a copy, read the introduction to Anthony Bourdain's book The Nasty Bits, which is about a raw seal feast with the Inuit. They let him have the liver, the choicest piece. I like sashimi but I don't think I could do raw liver.

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on July 21, 2012
at 10:33 AM

@thhq - nope - just think they're an amazing example that disproves a lot of nonsense like fibre is essential, or fibre is good for you etc etc - provides a reality check for all the fantasy folk like to expund here and elsewhere.

0
0600b5c03ecb077fecd2b00e8ee77244

(1)

on July 27, 2012
at 07:01 PM

Thanks, Todd B., the reference to the article addressing the fiber/grains study answered the doubts.

0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on July 21, 2012
at 03:22 PM

This is in reply to the "Correlation does not equal causation" post, but I ran out of space. :-)

That post was not only right, it's key. Men who have beards die earlier than men who don't. Does that mean men who want to live longer should shave?? Of course not: it's the kind of man who shaves who happens to live (on average) a shorter life than the kind of man who doesn't. Women who took hormone replacement in the 80's had lower heart attack rates, therefore hormone replacement is good for the heart? That's what was thought until the 90's when they did some controlled experiments and found it caused heart problems. How's that possible?? Again, "Correlation is not causation." Of course, in the 80's, they thought they were controlling for smoking, etc, and they were, but they couldn't control for everything, and the kind of woman who took hormone replacement therapy in the 80's was also the kind of woman who otherwise took care of herself. The hormone replacement therapy was a marker.

So even if this study were not flawed, you couldn't conclude that grain fiber promotes longevity. In fact, given the authorities have been promoting fiber, the situation is parallel to the hormone replacement scenario: the kind of person who eats more fiber is the kind of person who otherwise takes better care of themselves, and you can't control for that well, if history is any guide.

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