6

votes

How do you respond to "Paleo is a fad diet" articles?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 27, 2012 at 4:07 AM

I've just found this article about the 8 reasons the Paleo diet should be extinct

It gives the same old flawed arguments we see over and over - hunter gathers did eat grains, hunter gathers died young etc etc.

So, do you ignore these articles, or argue your point? Personally, I find it a bit too hard not to comment...

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:42 PM

..then again Jake, are you still Ashley?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:41 PM

+1 Jake for calling out the BS, even though I don't agree that this guy has any good science behind it either. Hey, if we don't know what really happened in the past, we don't know.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Melissa, do you always just trash people who disagree with you?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:33 PM

I'll do red herring, but straw has too many carbs and so I avoid them.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 06:06 AM

Examples? Or are you just a common hit and run troll?

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:41 PM

He's since corrected it. But I think he's still a bit off on the "He wrote a book, he's a paleo evangelist, so we can't trust anything he says because he's biased" aspect of it. If the book was the only thing from him, with nothing else, maybe. But he's got tons of peer-reviewed papers on this over 15 years of work as a professor. He's not coming from nowhere without a background, and disregarding that out of hand doesn't help your argument at all.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:33 PM

The kid is SO busted! It looks like something a kid wrote too. Maybe the author will try again after growing up.

B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:59 PM

Of course it could also be that Josh's last name is Ashley. Who knows?

Medium avatar

(2301)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:55 PM

All I have to do to know that grains are unhealthy is eat them.

B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:53 PM

Korion - when you create an avatar at gravatar.com, you associate that avatar image with your email address. Then that image shows up on any site that makes use of gravatars, so long as you've used the same email address when signing up. Looks to me as if Josh signed up here as 'Ashley' but used his regular email address, and that's why a photo of Josh appears as the avatar belonging to 'Ashley'. So, yeah, looks like Josh is trying to be 'Ashley' in order to have her praise the article he wrote.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:03 PM

The license fee for my clam digging has stayed the same. Make te switch to plankton fed.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:01 PM

+1. I view the paleo lifestyle as the ideal. Eat meat. Move constantly.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:57 PM

You might say I realized that I was a zombie victim of my ancestors habits...

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:55 PM

@nance and tearing into those plates of food is what gave my sedentary grandparents obesity and CV problems. I've made a conscious choice not to do that because I was unconsciously headed down the same path.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 27, 2012
at 05:50 PM

The best part is how he relies pretty heavily on a handfull of pretty random sci papers, mainly because they are open access. Must suck not to be an academic.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:50 PM

@thhq, Well, 60 years ago it was perfectly natural for (lean) people to tear into a huge plate of food, more food volume than you'd get in a super-sized fast food meal, and go back for seconds followed by dessert an hour or so later. Now, we call it gluttony? Many of those lean people had office jobs, you know. What changed was the food.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Very nice job, Talldog, even if you are preaching to the choir.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:44 PM

+1. There's tons of scientific evidence on the benefits of the 50% carb Med diet and the negatives of eating a diet high in red meat. Paleo dieters cannot just put on the blinders when it's convenient.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:39 PM

What? I thought it was Lauren.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:37 PM

What's different now is mass gluttony and sloth, resulting in mass obesity. Don't pin it all on low fat or fructose or grain. We're not just zombie victims.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:32 PM

Obvious troll is obvious. Wants to see fuss created. Has account. Will comment on this thread.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:28 PM

I'd never have seen this if you hadn't dragged it in, and it's gotten more analysis here than at its original post. Better to leave some sleeping dogs alone.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:25 PM

Read the first two sections. Saw "Paleo doesn’t endorse the use of grains – not even the whole wheat variety." The wheat variety of while grains? Then: "Loren Cordain released her book ‘The Paleo Diet for athletes". This guy sure knows his stuff!!!! Doesn't deserve a comment. P.S. May be a troll.?

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Grass fed ground beef just went up from $4.99/lb to $6.99/lb at one of the stores I frequent. :(

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:23 AM

Are you the author? Why do you use a picture of Josh as an avatar but call yourself Ashley... If you're the author, I guess it's normal you say it makes a lot of sense.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:16 AM

Are you kidding me? There is tons of research around grains and dairy.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:13 AM

It is published, Suz :)

028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

(812)

on February 27, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Actually, not so fast. We still want to pull people away from the so called whole grains, from sugar industry and Monsanto. The more crops they grow, the less resource can be used for our favorite products.

Fb10cf8e5dbac271762e13721181d5dc

(453)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:47 AM

are straw men and red herrings paleo?

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 27, 2012
at 05:06 AM

I've left a comment with a very similar answer April (wonder if it will be published?!) I also couldn't help responding to his question: "Why is this better than an egg on 100% wheat toast with a glass of milk for breakfast?" Well.....

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 27, 2012
at 05:04 AM

Good point Livia!

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17 Answers

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20
Medium avatar

(10663)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:50 AM

Fundamental Hole #1: "Do we really know what the caveman ate?" No, but we definitely know what they DIDN'T eat. Over-processed/refined foods cooked in vegetable oils.

Fundamental Hole #2: "What was available to cavemen was highly location-dependent." Yeah, exactly, that's why everyone who eats a Paleo diet now most likely include things that all humans in different parts of the world during the Paleolithic period ate. Coconuts, animal meat, tropical fruits, seafood, roots and tubers, etc.

Fundamental Hole #3: "We can't accurately replicate it." Well, no sh*t. I can't recall the number of times I've seen on Paleohacks alone that the Paleo diet is not about exact reenactment. It's about eating as optimally as we can with what's provided to us in this day and age. There are some things that are out of our control, such as how food is grown.

Fundamental Hole #4: "Cavemen did not live long enough." Oh my gosh. Like, dude. They didn't have medicine, vaccinations, antibiotics, surgery, etc. back then as we do now. They suffered from infections and accidents and natural disasters. Back then, natural selection optimized reproductive fitness, not longevity. The whole purpose of life was to produce offspring, and the fact that humans are still around today, I say they did a pretty damn good job of that.

Fundamental Hole #5: "10,000 years is not enough time to ensure an adequate adaptation of the human genome to properly handle the products of agriculture." Modern humans developed through this diet for almost 2.5 million years. We're not designed to eat processed/refined foods. Cordain quotes Eaton and Konner who say "the human genome has changed little over the past 60,000 years, whereas our diets have changed dramatically."

Fundamental Hole #6: "No particular food group has caused any significant change to the human digestive system." From physical anthropologist Katharine Milton at UC Berkeley: "Human ancestors about 2 million years ago routinely began to include meat in their diets to compensate for a serious decline in the quality of plant foods. It was this new meat diet, full of densely-packed nutrients, that provided the catalyst for human evolution, particularly the growth of the brain. The human digestive system is fundamentally that of a plant-eating primate, except that humans have developed a more elongated small intestine rather than retaining the huge colon of apes - a change in the human lineage which indicates a diet of more concentrated nutrients."

Fundamental Hole #7: "I highly doubt that all, or even most cavemen were able to supply roughly two-thirds of their diet with animal sources." Again, every location was different in their diets. Some were high-carb, some were high-fat. Paleo isn't about taking one tribe and saying that theirs was the superior/correct version of the Paleo diet.

Fundamental Hole #8: "They weren't trying to 'be healthy.' They were trying to survive." Do you really think humans in the Paleo period had any idea what health was? Do you think they were worried about cholesterol, stroke, etc.? Whatever food you put into your mouth now is you just "trying to survive" because energy is energy and your body needs it. But the bottom line is, they survived (and were successful) on meat and vegetables.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:13 AM

It is published, Suz :)

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 27, 2012
at 05:06 AM

I've left a comment with a very similar answer April (wonder if it will be published?!) I also couldn't help responding to his question: "Why is this better than an egg on 100% wheat toast with a glass of milk for breakfast?" Well.....

5
65cd65934c5159b47968dc3802ca9fe6

(303)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:46 AM

I view the paleo diet as more of an ideal, rather than a strict re-creation of something. Obviously, most of the food we eat today looks very little to nothing at all like what our ancestors ate, even if we are eating a "strict" paleo diet. Most types of fruits and veggies we eat probably didn't exist then. Do you think they broccolini? I doubt it. I view the paleo diet as more about principles. It's about eating clean food, not industrial food like vegetable oils and wheat. Our ancestors lived short lives probably because of harsh living conditions, not nutrition. Plus, there just wasn't medical care if a serious injury or accident happened, so a lot of people died that way too. Critics of the paleo diet who throw out the lifespan fact don't bother to look at those factors.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:01 PM

+1. I view the paleo lifestyle as the ideal. Eat meat. Move constantly.

4
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:59 PM

What constitutes a fad depends on the era you live in.

For the several thousand years prior to 1950, the idea eating a low-fat diet was unheard of. Everyone ate fat, including animal fat, as a large part of their diet.

Processed foods are a recent invention. If you walked through a 1900 grocery, you'd find fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit, and bread (baked that morning), and most of it would go bad if not sold and eaten in a few days. Walk through a modern grocery, and you'll find the majority of the shelves stocked with processed items that were made months ago, and most of the items have expiration dates years in the future.

For most of history sugar was hard to come by. In fact, the most common sweetener for thousands of years was plain old fashioned honey. Until the industrial revolution, processed sugar was rare, expensive, and in limited used. There's a reason deserts and candy were called "treats"--they were the exception, not the rule. Today, sugar is so cheap and common that even vitamins contain sugar. Modern, processed foods contain a level of sugar undreamed of for most of history. Almost 20% of the calories of the average American comes from one item: high fructose corn syrup--20%. That much sugar consumption is (by history's standards) a fad.

Which is closer to the way people have eaten throughout most of human history? Eating fresh meat, vegetables, and fruits; or eating a low fat diet of processed foods that are high in sugar?

Eating a low fat diet of processed foods that are high in sugar is the fad, because it's so recent--less than 60 years old.

Eating natural, whole foods is not a fad. It's getting back to the way people ate for thousands of years, before the recent processed food--we know better than thousands of years of history--fad.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Very nice job, Talldog, even if you are preaching to the choir.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:57 PM

You might say I realized that I was a zombie victim of my ancestors habits...

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:37 PM

What's different now is mass gluttony and sloth, resulting in mass obesity. Don't pin it all on low fat or fructose or grain. We're not just zombie victims.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:55 PM

@nance and tearing into those plates of food is what gave my sedentary grandparents obesity and CV problems. I've made a conscious choice not to do that because I was unconsciously headed down the same path.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:50 PM

@thhq, Well, 60 years ago it was perfectly natural for (lean) people to tear into a huge plate of food, more food volume than you'd get in a super-sized fast food meal, and go back for seconds followed by dessert an hour or so later. Now, we call it gluttony? Many of those lean people had office jobs, you know. What changed was the food.

4
910404bebbcbd2505810c8cd8db31966

(380)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:44 AM

Don't bother commenting or trying to sway anyone. If everyone ate paleo, or even a large percentage, imagine the price increases we would experience on all our favorite products! The scandinavian butter shortage on a large scale?? No thanks!

028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

(812)

on February 27, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Actually, not so fast. We still want to pull people away from the so called whole grains, from sugar industry and Monsanto. The more crops they grow, the less resource can be used for our favorite products.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:03 PM

The license fee for my clam digging has stayed the same. Make te switch to plankton fed.

F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 27, 2012
at 05:04 AM

Good point Livia!

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Grass fed ground beef just went up from $4.99/lb to $6.99/lb at one of the stores I frequent. :(

3
80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on February 27, 2012
at 06:35 AM

Take the penguins' advice, Suz: "Just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave." The CWer's metformin habit will soon speak for itself.

2
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on February 27, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Honestly, it really isn't worth responding point by point. I try not to force my views on people who wouldn't believe me if I told them the sky was blue. It works for me and people who ask me for help.

1
C26942a79fbd94cf7c383c596c847d06

(213)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Ignore it and move on. Do what works for you. Chill out with a steak and let the grainys/veggies/vegans get angry. We can control our temper with more tryptophan and serotonin in our full-fat meaty favor!

1
474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on February 27, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Despite his self-proclaimed "research-based guy" status, I might argue that the due diligence is lacking. He is under the impression that Loren Cordain is female, which is an indication he hasn't read/listened much. (at all). See the excerpt below.

It wasn???t until 2005 where Loren Cordain released her book ???The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance??? that it really came into the spotlight.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:39 PM

What? I thought it was Lauren.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:41 PM

He's since corrected it. But I think he's still a bit off on the "He wrote a book, he's a paleo evangelist, so we can't trust anything he says because he's biased" aspect of it. If the book was the only thing from him, with nothing else, maybe. But he's got tons of peer-reviewed papers on this over 15 years of work as a professor. He's not coming from nowhere without a background, and disregarding that out of hand doesn't help your argument at all.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:38 PM

The first three points aren't too bad. Seven is a stretch and eight is completely stupid. So I am going to go back and downvote Ashley's comment.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:50 PM

When is a "fad diet" not a "fad diet"? For diets, IMHO, when it's sustainable on its own. The issue with calorie restricted diets is that they're not sustainable long term. You just can't live with 500 calories/day and the limited menu from that. Compare that to all the meat/veggies/fats on a regular Paleo variant. Sure there's no grains, but that's a restriction on type, not amount.

0
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 27, 2012
at 04:48 PM

I need to do better with avoiding reading articles I know will annoy me, but yes I do comment on them sometimes (couldn't help but throw my .02 on the linked article). Also, I found his grammar to be subpar for a "Best-Selling Fitness Author." :/

0
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:02 AM

No one really "eats Paleo" because Paleo was in the past.

What we do is use that information to make the best choices.

Nature studied and experimented with human nutrition for over 2M years. All of a sudden some nobody researcher with a grant from agribusiness is going to figure out something better!?

0
A03adfdd71be77f20e07d800bc19e3c4

(390)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:37 AM

As for myself, I do not respond to those articles or people who criticize me for following Paleo. I emphasize the good stuff, and show them sites like Paleohacks. Haters are going to hate.

Having said that, people do have a right to their own opinion, even if that opinion is slightly bizarre to me. As long as they don't force me to conform with their lifestyle or choices I am fine with that.

When I discuss Paleo I do not focus on the "grain and dairy is bad for you"-theme. I tend to focus more on the "chemical additives don't belong in the foodsupply"-theme. Most people agree with that, and most people find it easier to adopt. If you then show them a random item of packaged food and discuss the ingredients, most people I know will start to wonder, and more easily accept my ideas.

0
028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

on February 27, 2012
at 08:16 AM

Interestingly, most those articles goes on and on about what paleolithic people eat, how their life expectancy is, but in the end they usually comes down to a few points. "whole grains are okay", or "dairy is okay", "saturated fat is bad", or "meat is bad."

We have scientific evidence that these points are not true: about why wheat is bad for us; about why it's common practice for athletes to eat starch around workout time instead of around meal time; about the problem with dairy; and about the lipid hypothesis.

I usually share some of these thoughts, because this is why we believe in paleo, and eat either paleo or near paleo.

It's interesting -- and actually disturbing that they bash the paleo diet so much in the title or abstract, calling it a fad, while acknowledging so many points of the diet.

-3
562dcd04ff7da8b9cb471414a421bbe4

on February 29, 2012
at 05:03 AM

The more and more I think about it, people who follow Paleo really do have their blinders on. In one sense, they're ahead of the game, in that they know to keep highly processed foods out of their diet. In another, they turn a blind eye to anything that may hurt their "rulebook" - even if the science is there. A shame, really. The Paleo community had so much potential.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 06:06 AM

Examples? Or are you just a common hit and run troll?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Melissa, do you always just trash people who disagree with you?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:42 PM

..then again Jake, are you still Ashley?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 25, 2012
at 08:41 PM

+1 Jake for calling out the BS, even though I don't agree that this guy has any good science behind it either. Hey, if we don't know what really happened in the past, we don't know.

-3
C19295d3b1074ebd8826ac0839e7dbe7

on February 27, 2012
at 08:52 AM

What evidence is there that states that whole grains and dairy are unhealthy? And I mean real, scientific, unbiased research?

This article acknowledged many of the positives of Paleo which is more than I can say for some of these articles. Interestingly, the author already responded to your comment Suz.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on February 27, 2012
at 05:44 PM

+1. There's tons of scientific evidence on the benefits of the 50% carb Med diet and the negatives of eating a diet high in red meat. Paleo dieters cannot just put on the blinders when it's convenient.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:16 AM

Are you kidding me? There is tons of research around grains and dairy.

Medium avatar

(2301)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:55 PM

All I have to do to know that grains are unhealthy is eat them.

-7
7dcd1e48f2e46753b12c374fdfb29837

on February 27, 2012
at 07:20 AM

I'm sorry to say it, but that article makes a lot of sense, and your point by point rebuttal is almost embarrassing in a sense because it really doesn't accurately counter the complaints made in that article.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 27, 2012
at 10:23 AM

Are you the author? Why do you use a picture of Josh as an avatar but call yourself Ashley... If you're the author, I guess it's normal you say it makes a lot of sense.

B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:53 PM

Korion - when you create an avatar at gravatar.com, you associate that avatar image with your email address. Then that image shows up on any site that makes use of gravatars, so long as you've used the same email address when signing up. Looks to me as if Josh signed up here as 'Ashley' but used his regular email address, and that's why a photo of Josh appears as the avatar belonging to 'Ashley'. So, yeah, looks like Josh is trying to be 'Ashley' in order to have her praise the article he wrote.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 27, 2012
at 09:33 PM

The kid is SO busted! It looks like something a kid wrote too. Maybe the author will try again after growing up.

B525b3e4b1d6f1cdceec943cdec6eb7d

(1680)

on February 27, 2012
at 07:59 PM

Of course it could also be that Josh's last name is Ashley. Who knows?

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