29

votes

Can we judge the quality of a (modern) person's diet by how they look?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 08, 2011 at 1:41 AM

This issue comes up frequently in nutrition circles, for obvious reasons. And the answer may seem obvious as well: Of course you can judge whether someone's diet is helping them or hurting them by how they look. But I'm not so certain.

There are a couple of arguments on the "yes" side. One is that in addition to morbidity and mortality info (such as is available), we (especially the "we" in the Paleosphere) give some consideration to the issue of how attractive traditional people eating traditional diets look. Even before Weston Price codified some of the markers of health/attractiveness in the groups he studied, explorers and missionaries remarked repeatedly upon the "vigorous" and "handsome" appearance of the so-called primitives they journeyed among.

Another argument relies on insights into sexual selection from evolutionary biology: Attractiveness is a serious proxy for health in this view. It's how members of a species determine who owns the highest-quality genetic material, and whether it's worth it to hit that.

And deteriorations in health are very often accompanied by unmistakable deteriorations in attractiveness, no matter how undiminished the beauty of the sufferer's soul remains.

There may be more arguments for the "yes" column, and that's one of the things I'm looking for in this question, I guess. I'd like to hear what you all think those are.

Here are the arguments I've got in the "no" column. The first and most persuasive to me is that attractiveness as a proxy for biological fitness -- defined as how well-adapted an organism is to its environment -- is about the organism's adaptedness to its entire environment, not just to its current diet. The entire environment includes things like air quality, sleep, sunshine, social well-being, plus a whole raft of things we've not yet identified as having an impact on health.

Making it even more unreliable as a marker for the healthfulness of the subject's current diet is the fact that we now know that what your parents did before you were born will have an impact on your health -- and what their parents did, and so on, and so on. And in the modern industrial world, many of us may be paying for the sins of people we haven't even met. (I could have bundled this with my expansion of the word "environment," but that graf was getting too long.)

While we're on evolutionary biology, Michael Rose explains very clearly the problem of adaptive pressure ceasing once a subject is past the reproductive stage. This very simple but clever insight may be behind the whole process of ageing -- we may get old simply because there's nothing telling our bodies what to do after we spawn. And this may be why middle age often hits women so much harder than men in the attractiveness department (when does the reproductive stage end for men?).

Finally, there's a less abstract argument: We all know people who look great no matter what they shove in their pie-holes. I'm chuckling as I write this, thinking of one slender woman in particular who recently got some notoriety when she was mentioned by name in a recent post by a prominent blogger (who was writing about a recent prominent kerfuffle, lol). I first "met" her as a fellow zero-carber, when she was puting herself out on FB and other places as an example of how fit ZC could make a person. She's now a VLCer and decries her former diet as being unhealthy, and tells people how much healthier she is now that she's including more carbs in her diet. But by her own admission, she looked much the same ten years ago, when she was eating processed junk food; five or so years ago, when she was a vegetarian, and I can vouch that she looks no different on VLC than she did on ZC. I don't doubt her report that she feels better, but my point is you couldn't tell by looking at her.

Okay, I've run my keyboard enough for one question. What do you guys think -- do looks tell the tale of a diet's healthfulness? Is "attractiveness" a fair index?

P.S. Although this question was inspired by it, I don't mean this to be a referendum on the discussion of whether it's socially appropriate to weigh in publically on various individuals' hot/notness, which came up in a different question. I mean this in the much more general sense implied by the title of my question.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 28, 2013
at 09:07 PM

I work in an old peoples' home, trust me, stretch marks disappear. None of the residents I have worked with (including some very large women) have stretch marks (and I have worked with I would say over 100 in the past 3 years, and yes I see their entire bodies).

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 09, 2012
at 01:29 AM

Oooh, silver!!!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 13, 2011
at 05:56 PM

I mean I'm cautious about stretching it too far. Obviously the brain "rewires" itself (to use an out-of-fashion machine-age metaphor, yes), but only to a certain extent, I think. We are not endlessly malleable. To apply it to this discussion, I think a useful question would be, so, is it possible to change someone's sexual orientation? As I noted somewhere else, *behavior* can change, but *desire*? That seems to be pretty persistent (although there's evidence that women are a bit more malleable in this regard).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 13, 2011
at 05:53 PM

Thanks for the links, mem; will watch soon. This is an argument that rages around the field of evolutionary psychology, so I have a passing familiarity with it. I'm cautious about the idea of neuroplasticity, I admit; this guy's take seems about right to me: http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2010/11/limits-of-neuroplasticity.html

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 11, 2011
at 10:26 PM

(con't) for parts two and 3 of the same presentation - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UIKekgXvjA&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6jkNVJN-sM&feature=related

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 11, 2011
at 10:24 PM

Rose: The very term "hard wiring" belongs to another and past, time of brain understanding. The brain is increasingly understood now in terms of "neuroPLASTICITY" rather than hardwiring, a term which arose out of the the idea of brain as machine. These may be meaningful to you, and of course, there is much, much more beyond them, but they are a good overview. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJxASN-_WtU

E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

(2226)

on September 11, 2011
at 05:27 PM

The woman in that picture is definitely attractive. Very.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 10, 2011
at 11:45 PM

edrice: I didn't run the video, just looked at the pic, which was enough to see comparable basic features and that the subject would be a good comparison, albeit one who is at least 10 years younger than Ornish. He is also good as a known paleo eater. The alcohol thing: pleny of paleo eaters drink alcohol and are quite out about it - why not - ie., norcal margarita, etc. Methinks you are assuming re: level of intake. Eyebags are a non-specific symptom which can be related to many conditions and show prominently sometimes with lighter skinned folks with aging (loss of subcutaneous fat in face.)

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 10, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Okay I will be checking in for you Kamai: (o) (o)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 10, 2011
at 02:04 PM

mem, when I first saw the picture of the guy in your link, the first thing I thought when I saw the bags under his eyes was that he's a heavy drinker. Sure enough, he wasn't two minutes into his first video when he lifted a glass of scotch., so this is probably was not the best "appropriate" sample to choose. BTW, this really lends further credence to judging health by looks.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 03:31 AM

No. Not your fault at all. I learned so much along the way it could not have worked out any better! Very thankful for your commentary.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 10, 2011
at 02:32 AM

My fault, BHC. In trying to cover as many bases as possible, I was verbose, and buried my point in a bunch of details. Not the first time I've taken the long way around. But "does attractiveness = health" is also an interesting question; a lot of the studies cited in this thread support the idea that it does.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 01:06 AM

You're correct...I spelled it wrong. I hope you don't try and steal my lunch money too.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 01:02 AM

hmmm...now I see I did not thoroughly read your question Rose. "Health of the diet." People jumped to attractiveness=health...including me.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Here's a link for a much more appropriate comparison, and our guy in this pic is about 10 years *younger* than Ornish...Scroll down for the big pics... http://freetheanimal.com/

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 10:42 PM

@Patrik: Ah, yes...life as the meat market...how very reptilian of you... Yes, it is true, many do choose to live there" - to function out of their reptilian brains only. Yes, it is clearly a choice and one that is dominant in poorly integrated humans.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 07:48 PM

Urgh, I almost hate to wade back into this; it's gotten so personal. But I do have to say I agree with Patrik here, about casting aside wiring. It's no more possible to do that than it is to decide not to pee anymore. Or to put it in realistic terms, you can grit your teeth and have sex w/someone you're not attracted to; that's gone on, I'm sure, since the dawn of (human) time. But you can't stop being attracted to people you're attracted to, no matter how you act on it (or not). Your body wants what it wants. It may not apply to all *acts* of mating, but certainly applies to the impetus.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:50 PM

mem - that wiring is impossible to "cast aside". It drives us all unconsciously.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:48 PM

@mem -- they aren't overriding anything. Mating is not about absolutes, it is about what you can actually get on the mating market - which is often different. Those same male nerds who are mating with their nerdy females are definitely attracted to females found in porn (i.e. hardwired for WHR etc etc) but they cannot get it.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:44 PM

BHC - First, spell "ad hominem" correctly. Second, learn the actual meaning of the term as you are misusing it.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:40 PM

@Ambimorph -- who said it was infallible?

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 09:07 AM

Heh..Here are 5 African American women I work out with most days, ages ranging from 45-78 weighing in: "Baby, black don't crack." This is followed by a look that says: Do you not have eyes to see with fool? Yup, I do. (It's for the real science types...)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:54 AM

P.S. The question isn't can you judge someone's *health* by how they look, but can you judge the health of their *diet*? I'm not trying to be clever here, but I *am* trying to get some light on the question of whether any given individual's appearance is an advertisement for or against a way of eating. And I think nothing in this thread has made the case that it is -- for that, you really do need a larger data set.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Nah, it's not a cop-out. It describes the facts accurately. My father-in-law had a 98 Buick that ran great until he sold it. My 98 Buick needed three transmissions. Until you see the larger set of data, you'd really have no basis for saying that an entire decade of Buicks were crap (they were; their loss ratio as a group is execrable. It's just my father-in-law's was apparently made on a rare good day by a rare good crew). When it comes to assessing the health of someone's diet, I think hard-wired instincts got us about as far as the industrial food revolution; now we need numbers.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Nah, it's not a cop-out. It describes the facts accurately. My father-in-law had a 98 Buick that ran great until he sold it. My 98 Buick needed three transmissions. Until you see the larger set of data, you'd really have no basis for saying that an entire decade of Buicks were crap (they were; their loss ratio as a group is execrable. It's just my father-in-law's was apparently made on a rare good day by a rare good crew). When it comes to assessing a person's health, I think hard-wired instincts got us about as far as the industrial food revolution; now we need numbers.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:27 AM

** cries in the corner humiliated **

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:27 AM

*cries in the corner humiliated*

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 03:00 AM

@Ambimorph: Love the Charles Washington quote. Thank you!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:54 AM

No, I agree you probably do much better than chance there, too, Patrik. It's just not infallible. That's why I said "not *as* reliably"...

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 09, 2011
at 02:43 AM

Patrik. I understand where you're coming from...but it's not going to be perfect. You can't control it. It's just like your toddler...you have to just allow the evolution of it and guide with hopefulness and responsible suggestion. Just like me...you challenged me and I want to learn due to your urging. But the control freak aspect of it is going to make you crazy. Let people have discourse and learn rather than criticize and control--it's not good for you and it makes you seem ill-spirited when you are probably not that way at all.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 09, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Ugh. Patrik. Ad Hominum again...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Shari -- with all due respect, it doesn't show in your thoughts on this.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:32 AM

BHC - it is a travesty b/c this site about skepticsm/science/evolution as applied to nutrition.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@mem - thank you for pointing out the obvious.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@Ambimorph -- you are very incorrect, of course I can and I do -- I can spot formula-fed babies a mile away. Am I always right? Prob not. More often than chance would allow? Fo' sure.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:25 AM

This answer is silly cop-out. Never have been so disappointed in the PaleoHackers.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 01:40 AM

(con't) Furthermore, it is my assertion that we are going to be seeing more and more of this "biological hardwiring" for ostensible health (as in repro/fecundity) being overridden due to evolutionary necessity. Evolutionary necessity is not static. We are shaping it. We may not be happy with where we "get to" but nonetheless, we are going there.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 01:13 AM

My point is that it is being repeatedly asserted that we are *hardwired* to seek out, in mates, physical indicators of ostensible health. First of all *health* is a big category. Secondly, there are huge numbers of people who are very obviously *overiding* usually totally *unconsciously* this *hardwiring*. This was only a *single* example of a very specific group, but also a very (imho) very evolutionarily important group. I will be the first to say that diet is very important. But a physical appraisal is still a very inadequate yardstick, although certainly *not* without significance. And...

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:56 AM

@Patrik: And often, if not very *frequently* that "wiring" is entirely cast aside, more and more in modern culture, for a variety of assortive mating reasons/goals.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:54 AM

(con't) A general comparison of persons of the same ages and weights, will demonstrate a pretty remarkable difference in the degree of facial wrinkling and other body elasticity measures between white and dark skinned persons. Bone structure has *much* to do with what skin does as it ages as well. In this Ornish comparison, the deck is stacked! But yes, I agree that Ornish should be far less critical of the diets that *I* happen to support, lol. However, this comparison convinces me of nothing.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:53 AM

@melissa: My issue is even simpler. We are comparing two people of two different races, who are endowed with very different skintypes. They also appear to have markedly different bone structures. Much darker skined people typically have signifcantly *thicker* and *more elastic* skin. Women, for instance, are far less prone to the kinds and degree of stretch marks from birthing or weight loss, than women with white skin.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Also, it is simply not true, and not true in *any* field of this kind, that someone who is selling a "weightloss book" and is "pudgy" doesn't have the *knowledge* to guide others to very successful weightloss. *Knowledge* and *appication of knowledge* are two entirely different things. What we apply in life is governed by alot of complex and often competing factors.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:37 AM

And I am in agreement as well. This is scientific thought *well* applied.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:32 AM

In terms of *objective* measures of health, a 320lb person *can* be far healthier than a 220lb person. 15% of the obese and morbidly obese fit this criteria. This does not make obesity something to aspire to. But indeed, you can have a person who is very attractive - erm, *hot* and *fit*, who has multiple, non-observable health issues, albeit, perhaps (and perhaps not!) well controlled, and guuuuuuureat looking skin.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 11:15 PM

MASTERHACK FTW!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:44 PM

I agree with that saying of his too, Ambimorph. And not only in the sense that he apparently meant it in, of fat being the spur to analysis and action, but I've often thought of excess fat accumulation as being the body's preferred strategy for combatting even worse insults, in the same way that cholesterol is -- they are maybe more firefighter than fire. I've even wondered if that's why a slightly higher BMI is correlated with a bit more longevity; slimmer people may suffer the same dietary/environmental insults, but lack the "safety" strategy of fat storage.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Not sure if this makes things better or worse Patrik but just so you know I spent 6 years of my life studying hard science undergrad and post grad so a county bumpkin I am not. I love science and I had an excellent academic eduction. I've been blessed with an even better education given to me by life itself. Sort of like "Academia comes down out of its ivory tower and says hello to the people on the street." I don't think that's a bad pair of glasses through which to see life.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Excellent. Spread, paleohacks tentacles, spread! I can't believe we've had postings from Jaminet, Masterhack, Kurt Harris, Dr. Rosedale, etc etc.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Plus Curated Wellness has the gift of pithiness, which I clearly do not. ;)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:42 PM

Applying this to human populations, I think Curated Wellness and Ambimorph have the right perspective: You need to slice up the data (population groups) by diet type and at least one other variable (pick any environmental factor), and make sure you've got enough population in each slice to be meaningful.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:40 PM

To pay the mortgage, I rent myself out to a car insurance company as a data & reporting analyst. Much of my job consists of calculating loss ratios (claims/earned premium) for blocks of policies, sliced up by car model, dealer, year of manufacture, length of contract, and so on. To judge the performance of a "block" requires much more data than a single vehicle or policy. Plus you have to select meaningful parameters (make/model, say, vs. first letter of customer's last name). Finally, you have to let everything earn out (die, in human terms), to know the final outcome.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:36 PM

This isn't an answer that generated a lot of emotion one way or the other, but after mulling it over for quite a while, I think that this perspective, plus Ambimorph's comment to Patrik's answer, below (http://paleohacks.com/questions/63435/can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-modern-persons-diet-by-how-they-look/63465#63465), captures the nature of the problem very well. Other answers have been "emotionally" correct, or have offered good technical perspectives, but issue really boils down to how much insight into dietary health can be gleaned from physical attractiveness.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Well said. Just because you haven't solved everything, doesn't mean you haven't come a long way.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Rose, I was suddenly reminded of something Charles Washington said. I don't agree with him about everything, but I still think it was a particularly clever point that "only the lucky ones get fat." That is, often it takes an affront to our looks that is not resolved by conventional wisdom to create the impetus to learn what's really going on. The implication being that there are slim people eating the SAD whose health is deteriorating, and they'll never find out, because it hasn't drawn their attention.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:29 PM

True, Nance, those seem to respond faster.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 07:21 PM

but have they gotten worse on your diet? That's the question to ask IMHO.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 07:14 PM

Patrik "For you to engage on this site w/o such an understanding is really a travesty." Why the histrionics? I mean there a lot of things that are a travesty...but seriously..

2d4ff23c8ce7fb00708fa88ceffd4087

(408)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:05 PM

I can't believe that dude up there is actually 60, I would pass him for 40. (not Ornish)

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:03 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way Patrik. It's not that I don't like your answers I just happen to think you are using this information inappropriately. I have said clearly that I don't begrudge you your studies. It is using that information on an individual basis that I find faulty or misguided. I happen to think that seeing the world only through paleo-colored glasses may not be the best choice in every instance. That's all. Surely we can agree to disagree can we not?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:56 PM

Shari --- I will repeat, you seem like a very nice & thoughtful person, that noted, your answers/comments on this thread show very little understanding of evolutionary theory/processes. For you to engage on this site w/o such an understanding is really a travesty. I think you should take the time to read up on them. Please see Dr. Cate's or Melissa's answers, if you don't like mine.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Don't worry Kamal -- I have been pulling Dr. Cate into PH via email. :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I agree you can't go by weight, as I've lost about 30 lbs but still have 50 lbs to go. However, I do think you can tell by looks--brighter skin, healthy hair/nails. Those have been significant changes for me and I've noticed slim people with sickly skin tone and limp hair. I've actually lost a little of my gray; I was pretty even silver when I started and I now have steel gray streaks. My skin got MUCH brighter and it faded in my July 4th splurge but got brighter again within a week. My nails are tougher too.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 06:01 PM

I don't think this issue was about whether or not we'd mate with people who don't look healthy. I think it was about whether or not there are any markers in someone's appearance that tell us whether or not they are healthy. Clearly my nerdly looks are a result of assortive mating, but the acne breakouts I've suffered periodically are a result of unbalanced diet and hormones.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Agreed, Rose. I also think the the different sides may be looking at individuals vs. collectives. Obviously if you are talking about the population as a whole or a person over time, then Patrik is right. Obviously if you take one snapshot of a person, then Shari is right. The reason this is still a good question, IMO, is that we are often guilty of conflating the two. You can use your judgment reliably on yourself and your toddler because you have a baseline. You can't use it as reliably on a stranger at the store.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:42 PM

I should put up a web page with my photos of four generations in my own biological family. We show a very similar course of decline from my great-grandmother down to me (especially me prior to four years ago).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Dr Cate goes heavily into the generational aspects of diet. She had one very interesting example of 4 generations of one Hawaiian family simultaneously standing in her office and describing the general decline of each succeeding generation, from the great-grandmother with perfect skin and teeth, to the snaggle-toothed great granddaughter with skin problems.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Uh oh, Deep Nutrition all up in paleohacks! Dr. Cate, I'm going to ask a really complicated question about joints at some point, and you have to answer. This means you'll have to periodically check paleohacks, okay? It's going to be related to this: http://paleohacks.com/questions/28181/paleo-and-pain-which-issues-are-you-interested-in-nightshades-bone-broths-pu#axzz1XIljRMZi

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Yes, mem, I would agree Ornish is disadvantaged from the start, being that his mother and grandmother ate conventional diets, he probably works in an office a lot and doesn't exercise, and he has unalterable features that may not be desirable in our culture. But you know...it's like what right does he have to tarnish something like the Himba diet? He should have some humility and admit that there is something to be learned here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:43 PM

And now Bill Clinton is becoming a veg*n at Ornish's behest and will be joining the Eisenhower Paradox.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Would anyone like to make a conjecture as to why there is a big problem with the comparison of these two pictures to begin with???? Will will *never* be eating Ornish's diet. But there really *is* a big problem here with comparing these two people.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Ed, it's in my cart on Amazon; guess I should pull the trigger...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:36 PM

I don't know if it makes him a hypocrite *per se*, but it makes him a bad gambler, lol. And his followers, too.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:34 PM

Rose, you should read her book and you will soon swoon till you're swoonless.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 PM

If Mr. Ornish didn't attack high-fat in the first place, his appearance would not attract comment, but it makes him look like a hypocrite.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 PM

it's not really about Mr. Ornish looking bad or not, it's really about him promoting the idea that high-fat diets make you diseased and fat, which is clearly not true and makes him vulnerable to attack when it is found that not only at people on these diets NOT fat...they look hell of a lot better than he does.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 08, 2011
at 03:59 PM

Oh, I love the crystal image as well...

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 08, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Yes, but I see people using weight in that scenario almost exclusively...weight can be an indicator of health, but like you said, there are plenty of fit looking people who eat SAD, and there are people who eat well, and still have excess body fat.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:25 PM

And let me just add that all HG had was "knowledge" based on visual clues. Thankfully we don't have to rely on that alone anymore. Now we have true knowledge that these factors of selection don't really tell us the truth on an individual basis. We now know that you do have took beyond physicality because that woman with the perfect waist hip ratio may have had a hysterectomy or may have PCOS or any number of other issues grok knew nothing of that may prevent her from procreating. Or hell she may just not want children. You'd have to actually talk to someone to know that.

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:22 PM

What?! There is a guy in the picture?!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:17 PM

people who are wealthy are perceived to be more attractive. people who smile are perceived to be more attractive. and, im sure that people who are "paleo" *cringe* are perceived to be more attractive by individuals who are stakeholders in the "paleo movement".

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:09 PM

Patrick, I understand where you are coming from. I know many people think and feel as you do. In the end many men end up pair bonding with a female with a less than ideal waist to hip ratio and lived to tell the tale. There is so much more to a person, so much more we must learn about them beyond any supposed physical indicators of health and reproductive capacity if we are to truly know their health status. And we aren't cavemen and women anymore. I'm pretty sure many a grok missed out on a fine woman because he made assumptions based only on what was seen. His loss I'd say.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:09 PM

rose, this is a wonderful question. erudite and compassionate and interesting to boot.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:08 PM

i like this answer. so the beauty you're referring to is structural. see, i can see how this would coincide with evolutionary advantages attained through bone structure. i don't see how slight adiposity, acne, or other superficialities coincide with that being that they're culturally unappealing but have nothing to do with gaining a structural advantage.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:05 PM

"...driven by the same forces that shape crystals in caves and ripples in sanddunes." ::swoon:: Seriously, that gave me chills. Fascinating link, too.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:03 PM

A quote I read somewhere and always liked: "'You never can judge a book by its cover.' Which is true, but if you then open the book, and the first page is nonsense and curse words and a picture of someone doing physiologically inadvisable and unhygienic things in a bathtub, you are allowed to assume the book is not for you. You don't have to read the whole book to figure that out."

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:01 PM

Ambimorph, coming from someone who's asked my two all-time favorite questions on PH (Least toxic green veggie; Stress of ketosis), that's a big compliment. And yes, ask some more powerhouse questions, please. :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:22 PM

I also draw some non-foolproof conclusions from my observations, lol. When I moved to Eugene (veggieville) a few years ago, I noticed that folks here didn't look quite as healthy as in the Bay Area. I still think there are a lot of factors besides diet (sunshine is a big one, and there was way more unemployment here than there at the time). But I've never been wrong yet when I've surmised that someone watery-looking is a veg*n (or when an unhealthy dog is kibble-fed, lol). The reverse isn't always true, however; lots of people and dogs look fine on those diets.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:14 PM

She sounds awesome! And I especially agree about the number of variables in play.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 07:04 AM

No. I don't want to argue with you anymore. I'll look up the studies and I'll be back and we'll see if you respond. In the meantime I'll send you a copy of "How to Make Friends and Influence People." :). Joking aside I can see about your cortisol levels. You are intense! I miss this from my college debate days so I loved it up until the part where you implied I'm an idiot. I AM grateful for the back and forth with you, Melissa and others. I plan on learning and coming back. (you think best to respond to you in these little boxes after i study? Add or edit my answer? What is protocol?)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:45 AM

Please point out where I have made an ad hominem comment.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 06:15 AM

Patrik. I think your passion is great. Don't let this get the best of you and make your answers come off as brash maybe? I'd like to verbally rip you to shreds right now but I don't think you're trying to be a jerk--you just aren't using a lot of diplomacy. You're going more and more ad hominum and that just distracts from the discourse.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:08 AM

It disappoints me that an answer such as Shari's -- one that has no evolutionary context or argument is getting voted up on PaleoHacks -- where we are trying to hack nutrition from an evolutionary POV. [For the record, nothing against Shari, seems like a lovely person - only the quality of this answer]

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:01 AM

@NambyPamby, 1) that dude doesn't look the picture of health. He looks totally mediocre. If you want to make the point of someone who does look healthy, but might be messed up inside -- try Dean Karnazes - http://tosic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/dean-karnazes.jpg 2) Nobody is arguing that any one impression could be wrong! There are WHOLE INDUSTRIES (plastic surgery etc etc) built on fooling the oppposite sex because the good health signal IS WORTH FAKING TO GET BETTER MATES BECAUSE LOOKS SIGNAL HEALTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 06:00 AM

yes. great observation Rose.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:58 AM

I do not want to be mean. Ok. barrel chest, bird legs not great combo. I wouldn't call picture of health. Wow! That chic looks fantastic though. And I think it is a swoosh Kamal.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:55 AM

It would not make any evolutionary sense if attractiveness (subjective about what we as a species perceive as beauty) & health were decoupled! That is, if we were attracted to people entirely regardless of their health condition. Not a good way to maximize reproductive success.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:50 AM

BHC - "I'm arguing that handsomeness does not indicate health anymore due to current environmental factors and diet." -- sorry, we cannot argue intelligently about this as you need to read up on the lit.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:49 AM

BHC - of course, I agree that that a slim/lean person doesn't *necessarily* indicate healthfullness -- but it is prob a better signal than someone very overweight.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Well, I do think some of this back and forth here is happening because the "sides" are operating from different premises. One single look at someone may not be enough to judge health or fitness, but seeing someone over time may provide better data.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 AM

BHC -- read what I have written now more than 1,000x on this page. Appearance/attractiveness signals *SOME* health information - not all, not black&white, plenty of room for grey.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:43 AM

@Shari - you are INCORRECT. I certainly CAN look at an individual and can make judgements. I gave two examples in my answer. I look at my son & I look at myself, and make inferences & JUDGEMENTS about our respective health states EVERYDAY. If I didn't, I wouldn't be a good parent. I do use "scientific reasoning" - I make a hypothesis about my observation & then test it. Sure, I could be wrong in my hypothesis - but that doesn't make it less scientific. You are drawing conclusions from outliers & applying them to the entire sample. This is precisely NOT a scientific way.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:43 AM

I'm sure this kind of before and after comparison can be useful in a practice. It's one of the pieces of data a lot of the rest of us lack when we aren't well acquainted with people, and judge them on a single appearance (or, ancestors forbid, over the internet).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:41 AM

This is an interesting rule of thumb; I like it (it's attractive!). And clearly modern industrial populations are more difficult to assess, because we're numerous beyond imagining, sprawled out all over the place and eating a bajillion different things. Makes a paleo paradigm seem like the safest bet, if only we could figure out exactly what it is, lol.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:37 AM

oops, swoosh. i guess i need to become more of a nike fan.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Is that a nike "swish" tattoo on his shoulder? That is a blatant sign of a bad mate. And maybe high CRP too.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Yeah, these are the kinds of things I'm getting at, where the visible data is an imperfect proxy for invisible things. And your point about metabolic or genetic problems makes me realize that my whole question could have been rephrased as: Does health depend entirely on diet? Which makes me further realize that my own answer is that a good diet is *possibly* a necessary but by no means sufficient condition for health. Which leads to: no, you can't tell if a person's diet is healthy by how they look. Too many other variables are in play.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:33 AM

he doesn't look good to me. Ladies can you weigh in? I certainly am not attracted. Very skinny, bad posture, nothing particularly interesting about the face, doesn't have the attractive V-shape most women like. The woman is much hotter, though still not really really hot or anything. Not much in the way of WHR.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Patrik. I think in your mind you are assuming I'm saying an overweight individual indicates no health problems from appearance. I'm arguing a slim/lean person doesn't necessarily indicate healthfulness.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:05 AM

and also if your diet makes your look WORSE than you looked before, you should also refrain from pontificating on how superior it is. That doesn't preclude you from writing about health. I write about health all the time without advocating for a certain diet.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:04 AM

Melissa...yes that gaining community business is scary stuff.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:03 AM

I don't need a study to tell me that someone selling a weight loss book who is pudgy probably doesn't have all the answers about weight loss and probably should refrain from pontificating on the subject and maybe next time they should try to write another kind of book about health instead

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:57 AM

LOL! Well that's one way to look at it Patrik. Can you not see how while studies make show some correlation you cannot look at a particular individual and draw any conclusions about their health? Well you can but you may very well be wrong. You want free reign to look at someone and make assumptions about them. Fine. Do that. But please don't say there's some kind of scientific reasoning to that on an individual basis. As you said "...Imperfect? Yes. Highly variable? Yes. Maybe even false at times? Yes...." We agree on that.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:56 AM

Patrik. Where you draw the conclusion I'm arguing from emotion I do not know. Anyway...we'll just agree to disagree. I think your conclusion is still unsupported and faulty but I have enjoyed the debate and I'm appreciative of the chance to argue like this. I'll keep my mind open and read some more studies as you suggested.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Patrik. We are not arguing what we're hard wired to do--I agree we are hard wired to select handsome mates. I'm arguing that handsomeness does not indicate health anymore due to current environmental factors and diet. There is gray area but I think appearance is largely unreliable.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:45 AM

perfect. (citation, not correlation)

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:43 AM

Believe me Patrik it would be a lot easier for everyone if appearance and attractiveness indicated health level--health costs could be decreased substantially. I'm sorry. I just don't think it's persuasive in present day. There are too many variables.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:41 AM

"Meta-analyses suggest a weak association of attractiveness with mental health and a moderate association with physical health (Feingold 1992, Langlois et al. 2000)."

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Shari -- 1) glad to hear you are doing well & improving. 2) Your thought "I agree that there may be correlation but simply looking at someone tells you almost nothing IMO." is a contradiction. If you believe that there is a correlation, than it has tell you something! 3) You are making my point for me --- at 220 you looked better than at 320 -- your appearance showed your better health!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Shari, no one every criticized you or anyone like you. I think this whole argument we're in is a straw man at this point. The original people criticized were people who have looked worse and worse over the years and not just an effect of normal aging.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:39 AM

well I found that image when looking for images of tight lacing

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:36 AM

BHC --- you are moving the goal posts & arguing from emotion, not rationale thought.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:34 AM

BHC - we still carry the evolutionary/genetic hard-wiring to look for health signals i.e. smooth skin, facial & body symmetry & thousands others -- yes, that wiring CAN BE AND IS OFTEN FOOLED i.e. botox or fake breasts -- but it still remains, and still serves a purpose, imperfect as it is.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:32 AM

BHC -- yes, of course, gorgeous people get sick. When did I say they didn't?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:32 AM

BHC - see Melissa's comment on Shari's answer above. Plenty of work/studies showing correlation between attractiveness & health. Facical symmetry through diet or lack of parasite load. Seriously, one could spend years reading just about that.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Patrik I agree that there may be correlation but simply looking at someone tells you almost nothing IMO. When I was 220 you would have seen me and thought I was a sick person eating a SAD diet and doing no physical activity because the only information you had about me was what you saw. The truth would have been that I was someone eating a near perfect paleo diet, exercising effectively and has lost 100 lbs and was well on my weight to losing another 70.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 AM

got any correlating subjective judgment of looks to health?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:28 AM

Corsets + fake breasts then too? ;)

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:25 AM

That's true Melissa but I would contend you could still call Jessica Simpson...the pro-active blondie chick hot with or without pimples.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:22 AM

there are already tons of studies tying markers of attractiveness to health. WHR and facial symmetry for example, have been studied quite a lot.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:21 AM

BHC, I think pimples are definitely not hot, but maybe it's just me...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:21 AM

healthy at some variation of sizes, with an upper limit, is my opinion. You end up with causes like this http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/09/02/2011-09-02_worlds_heaviest_mom_donna_simpson_open_to_reality_show_im_not_embarrassed_about_.html "Then, as an adult, Simpson said she found the Internet and got pulled into the "Gaining Community," a group of like-minded, like-bodied adults who embraced their curves." in my experience the HAES community can be as rabid as the vegan animal rights community in their unwillingness to see what's unhealthy

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Patrik...mabye you've broadened the question to include appearance "indicators." I think the spirit of question relates to "attractiveness" as an indicator of health. Pimples, skin disorders may be indicators but I think we talking about hot/not hot attractivenss factors here.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:15 AM

Patrik, there was a historical period in the West were tight-lacing was considered beautiful

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:11 AM

I probably wrote it poorly and maybe not being clear...what I'm saying is that our wired ancestral tendency to "select" healthy/attractive mates no longer applies due to the health damages under the hood from our "modern" diet. What we took years to perfect through selection has been wiped out in the last 10 K by bad eating. In other words...gorgeous people get sick. THAT is irrefutable.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I agree with both Patrick and Shari. Which means that they secretly probably agree with each other to an extent. Like Shari, I could never judge anyone based on looks because it's so unreliable, and because judgement is so 1800's. It's a new millenium, why judge others when you can just get gratification through accumulating points on paleohacks?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:00 AM

@BaconHealChic -- I have no idea what you are saying. Your comment is a non-sequitur -- I suggest you read up on the biology of attractiveness.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:59 AM

Shari -- I don't know what to say -- what I am saying is irrefutable & hardly controversial. Appearance does correlate with *some* information about health. Imperfect? Yes. Highly variable? Yes. Maybe even false at times? Yes. But nonetheless it does provide information, and we are hardwired to pick up on it.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:57 AM

I will say this though-- the correlation between how much you genuinely smile and how healthy you are is probably stronger than the correlation between looks and health. That is because stress and chillaxamatude is such an under-rated aspect of health maintenance.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:55 AM

@Kamal - 1,000% agreed. This whole thing that appearance has zero correlation with health is complete BS.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:55 AM

Plus you can never go wrong with the word "kerfluffle."

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:55 AM

And while the extremes of "looks" are not idolized in most any society, I am highly dubious of the whole Deep-Nutrition-Perfect-Face stuff. Some guys like girls with curves, some like walking sticks. Some girls like skinny hipsters, some like Tim Tebow.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:53 AM

Evolution has already been outrun by the diet of the last 10 K years otherwise we would be healthy on SAD.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:52 AM

Patrick and Shari- I wouldn't actually think it's that complicated. There is an mild to moderate correlation between looks and health. A cross-sectional study could look at this, if the NIH was crazy enough to fund it, and find out what the (very roughly estimated) correlation coefficient is for different aspects of "looks" and different aspects of health. In some societies, the correlation is probably quite high. In the US, I'd guess not so much. There are just too many ways to circumvent the correlation (chronic cardio and borderline anorexia, stress-related overeating, etc etc).

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:49 AM

Well the only thing I would add is that there are some what I would call "sturdy" women in the gym who can out-bench me--they are carrying some extra bodyfat. In fact, my bench went down initially with some leanness. I wonder which is healthier...I don't know. Also, for women bone loss more prevalent in smaller/less muscular/lean women as they age just by virtue of less weight bearing activity. Again I don't know which is healthier overall. I have a muscular 6 year old that puts the other kids to shame. She consistently fell in the overweight stats for physicals as a toddler.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Yeah, Rose sets the bar pretty high. I'd better step up my game!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:46 AM

"attractivness never serves as a marker for health whatsoever" -- riiiiigggghhhtttttt -- try to outrun evolution/biology...good luck with that.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:45 AM

@Patrick I think before and after may tell you something but w/o context it's hard to pass judgement. If it's a guru telling you that you can look healthy and strong and they are falling apart externally, yeah judge away. But if someone's just doing there things, there's too many variables to make it an adequate assessor.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:44 AM

Not going to touch your "healthy at any size" comment. I'm sure you can imagine what I think about that, lol.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:43 AM

Shari - I down-voted your question b/c I think it is remarkably inaccurate. OF COURSE looks aren't a perfect measure and OF COURSE there are outliers -- but so what? Looks are a very imperfect measure of health, but are a measure of health nonetheless -- one that we are biologically hardwired to respond to.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:43 AM

I'd argue with that bottom line of yours. It may. It may not as well.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:38 AM

No. I think we cannot look at someone and draw any conclusions about who they are and how they live based on their appearance. yes a healthy diet can make many look "better" but what is better? I look a hell of a lot better than I did before but to see me without having seen my "before" you might think I needed to cut down the carbs a bit or hire a new trainer. I think a red face can just as easily be sunburn or rosacea as it can be some indictment of one's diet. And as well all know you can look hot as hell and eat like a disgusting pig.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:35 AM

For reference...weight loss in early twenties of about 55 pounds caused stretch marks on hips/upper legs and stomach. Weight loss stretch marks went away in early thirties.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:35 AM

I honestly don't know why anyone would downvote this unless they just thought I was being lazy. Maybe since I am normally so verbose they thought I sounded rude or something? Honestly, my answer was really just what came to my mind. I think it's a great question and has produced a great discussion. I just didn't feel I had much to add I guess.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Yes...mine went away in my mid 30's--after my skin became more elastic...bittersweet. For example, when the skin is tight during pregnancy you can see them all purple and perfectly...after the skin is slack again you can't see them over after a period of time. That is my experience anyway.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:25 AM

I've always thought over the years that the people who shop in natural food stores (where I shop) did not look healthy and had a sometimes emaciated or worn-out skin look. I assume, though i don't know that a lot of them were vegetarians or attempting to be vegetarians.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:21 AM

So, Shari - you really think that how one looks has nothing to do with healthfulness of diet?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:20 AM

Melissa - no actual culture thinks the woman on the far right is beautiful. There might be a few ppl who do -- but she is not a beauty ideal (biological or cultural). Interestingly enough, what women think is beautiful (wrt women )is often very different than what men think is beautiful. See diffs in women in fashion mags & porn mags. Both are caricatures of beauty -- but vastly different.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 03:01 AM

+1 - Heh, try offering up info about the metabolisms of the formerly obese and see the downvotes you get, lol!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 02:50 AM

+1 - So, so, real. My generation was supposed to be the generation that has the totally unrealistic emphasis on being "forever young." PH has completely and totally disporven that, lol as Baby Boomers are in a very clear minority here. Anyhow, great answer!

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:45 AM

People generally don't downvote just because they disagree. There wasn't an argument made, so perhaps that is it. Although personally I don`t think an argument needs to be made.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:45 AM

People generally don't downvote just because they don't disagree. There wasn't an argument made, so perhaps that is it. Although personally I don`t think an argument needs to be made.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Woah; Shari. You know, I guess I don't understand downvoting. I downvote only when I think an answer is really counterproductive or leading someone down a wrong/harmful track, and then only when I'm extremely confident about that. If I just disagree without real evidence, or think it's a dumb answer, or it's about matters of pure opinion, I don't vote at all. (Just so you don't think I think those things about your answer, I'll confess I upvoted you ;) )

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:40 AM

Well, this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the ZCers ask the most intelligent questions.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 02:37 AM

BaconHealsChic, mine are caused by weight loss. Do those go away? It's been four years now :(

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

After puberty stretch marks, weight training/muscle stretch marks and pregnancy stretch marks...I can tell you that they fade over time--almost to disappearing.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I very much like the way you distinguished between cultural and biological markers of beauty (former English lit grad student here, and the blind refusal to consider biology *real* in any meaningful way is what made me leave -- true story). The difficulty of teasing them apart reminds me a bit of the difficulty distinguishing satiation from satiety in food reward theory, lol. So good job giving me something to chew on.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:31 AM

Thanks Stabby. I've gotten a bunch of downvotes for my answer so I appreciate the validation, lol.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 02:23 AM

" "no matter how undiminished the beauty of the sufferer's soul remains." That is beautiful!

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:20 AM

You'd get a +1 from me anyway, but I especially loved your "hot/notness" phrasing.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:16 AM

I agree. That pretty much sums it up gor me too.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:15 AM

Thanks, Melissa. Are you sure you weren't looking for the word "windy" instead?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:15 AM

Perfect example. Thank you.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:43 AM

Rose, you write amazing questions.

  • 3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

    asked by

    (11996)
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18 Answers

best answer

11
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:51 AM

I feel like it is a good indicator of health in a population but not on an individual level. Outliers, bell curves and all that jazz.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:37 AM

And I am in agreement as well. This is scientific thought *well* applied.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Nah, it's not a cop-out. It describes the facts accurately. My father-in-law had a 98 Buick that ran great until he sold it. My 98 Buick needed three transmissions. Until you see the larger set of data, you'd really have no basis for saying that an entire decade of Buicks were crap (they were; their loss ratio as a group is execrable. It's just my father-in-law's was apparently made on a rare good day by a rare good crew). When it comes to assessing a person's health, I think hard-wired instincts got us about as far as the industrial food revolution; now we need numbers.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:41 AM

This is an interesting rule of thumb; I like it (it's attractive!). And clearly modern industrial populations are more difficult to assess, because we're numerous beyond imagining, sprawled out all over the place and eating a bajillion different things. Makes a paleo paradigm seem like the safest bet, if only we could figure out exactly what it is, lol.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:33 AM

Nah, it's not a cop-out. It describes the facts accurately. My father-in-law had a 98 Buick that ran great until he sold it. My 98 Buick needed three transmissions. Until you see the larger set of data, you'd really have no basis for saying that an entire decade of Buicks were crap (they were; their loss ratio as a group is execrable. It's just my father-in-law's was apparently made on a rare good day by a rare good crew). When it comes to assessing the health of someone's diet, I think hard-wired instincts got us about as far as the industrial food revolution; now we need numbers.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:27 AM

** cries in the corner humiliated **

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:25 AM

This answer is silly cop-out. Never have been so disappointed in the PaleoHackers.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:40 PM

To pay the mortgage, I rent myself out to a car insurance company as a data & reporting analyst. Much of my job consists of calculating loss ratios (claims/earned premium) for blocks of policies, sliced up by car model, dealer, year of manufacture, length of contract, and so on. To judge the performance of a "block" requires much more data than a single vehicle or policy. Plus you have to select meaningful parameters (make/model, say, vs. first letter of customer's last name). Finally, you have to let everything earn out (die, in human terms), to know the final outcome.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 01:02 AM

hmmm...now I see I did not thoroughly read your question Rose. "Health of the diet." People jumped to attractiveness=health...including me.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:42 PM

Applying this to human populations, I think Curated Wellness and Ambimorph have the right perspective: You need to slice up the data (population groups) by diet type and at least one other variable (pick any environmental factor), and make sure you've got enough population in each slice to be meaningful.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:36 PM

This isn't an answer that generated a lot of emotion one way or the other, but after mulling it over for quite a while, I think that this perspective, plus Ambimorph's comment to Patrik's answer, below (http://paleohacks.com/questions/63435/can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-modern-persons-diet-by-how-they-look/63465#63465), captures the nature of the problem very well. Other answers have been "emotionally" correct, or have offered good technical perspectives, but issue really boils down to how much insight into dietary health can be gleaned from physical attractiveness.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Plus Curated Wellness has the gift of pithiness, which I clearly do not. ;)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 10, 2011
at 02:32 AM

My fault, BHC. In trying to cover as many bases as possible, I was verbose, and buried my point in a bunch of details. Not the first time I've taken the long way around. But "does attractiveness = health" is also an interesting question; a lot of the studies cited in this thread support the idea that it does.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 03:31 AM

No. Not your fault at all. I learned so much along the way it could not have worked out any better! Very thankful for your commentary.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:54 AM

P.S. The question isn't can you judge someone's *health* by how they look, but can you judge the health of their *diet*? I'm not trying to be clever here, but I *am* trying to get some light on the question of whether any given individual's appearance is an advertisement for or against a way of eating. And I think nothing in this thread has made the case that it is -- for that, you really do need a larger data set.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 09, 2011
at 03:27 AM

*cries in the corner humiliated*

13
C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:56 PM

"ZCers ask the most intelligent questions"

I love this topic.

It helps to break down the aspects of growth that make our bodies beautiful. There are two major organ systems we use for evaluating appearance: skeleton and skin/subQ fat. Diet affects both until our growth plates fuse. After our growth plates fuse, our diets cannot alter skeletal growth (other than to keep the bones strong enough to prevent collapsing into themselves to cause kyphosis, or dowager hump--the old age curves of the spine), so from this time on, diet affects our appearance primarily because it can modify how our skin looks, how much fat we have and where the fat gets distributed.

The funny thing is, most of us talk openly about our skin/fat-related beauty. With a few exceptions, people tend to agree that acne and scars are disfiguring and that boobs belong on women not men. But when it comes to the evaluation of skeletal beauty, things like the shape of a face or the width of the pelvis, suddenly that's cultural?

Naaw.

Skeletal beauty (in humans) is characterized by long limbs, a long waist, a wide face, and wide hips in women and shoulders in men. The shape of a person's skeleton is dependent partly on genetics and partly on spontaneous chemical reactions that are driven by the same forces that shape crystals in caves and ripples in sanddunes. In other words, skeletal growth is a kind of controlled crystalization process. And like all crystallization processes when uninterrupted they obey a certain pattern that has to do with a profoundly interesting mathematic equation called phi.

For more info, check out http://www.beautyanalysis.com/

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 11:15 PM

MASTERHACK FTW!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Uh oh, Deep Nutrition all up in paleohacks! Dr. Cate, I'm going to ask a really complicated question about joints at some point, and you have to answer. This means you'll have to periodically check paleohacks, okay? It's going to be related to this: http://paleohacks.com/questions/28181/paleo-and-pain-which-issues-are-you-interested-in-nightshades-bone-broths-pu#axzz1XIljRMZi

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:34 PM

Rose, you should read her book and you will soon swoon till you're swoonless.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Don't worry Kamal -- I have been pulling Dr. Cate into PH via email. :)

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 08, 2011
at 03:59 PM

Oh, I love the crystal image as well...

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:08 PM

i like this answer. so the beauty you're referring to is structural. see, i can see how this would coincide with evolutionary advantages attained through bone structure. i don't see how slight adiposity, acne, or other superficialities coincide with that being that they're culturally unappealing but have nothing to do with gaining a structural advantage.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:05 PM

"...driven by the same forces that shape crystals in caves and ripples in sanddunes." ::swoon:: Seriously, that gave me chills. Fascinating link, too.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Ed, it's in my cart on Amazon; guess I should pull the trigger...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Excellent. Spread, paleohacks tentacles, spread! I can't believe we've had postings from Jaminet, Masterhack, Kurt Harris, Dr. Rosedale, etc etc.

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 10, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Okay I will be checking in for you Kamai: (o) (o)

12
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on September 08, 2011
at 01:50 AM

Do looks tell the tale of a diet's healthfulness? No

Is "attractiveness" a fair index? No

That pretty much sums it up for me ;-)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:55 AM

@Kamal - 1,000% agreed. This whole thing that appearance has zero correlation with health is complete BS.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:35 AM

I honestly don't know why anyone would downvote this unless they just thought I was being lazy. Maybe since I am normally so verbose they thought I sounded rude or something? Honestly, my answer was really just what came to my mind. I think it's a great question and has produced a great discussion. I just didn't feel I had much to add I guess.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:41 AM

Woah; Shari. You know, I guess I don't understand downvoting. I downvote only when I think an answer is really counterproductive or leading someone down a wrong/harmful track, and then only when I'm extremely confident about that. If I just disagree without real evidence, or think it's a dumb answer, or it's about matters of pure opinion, I don't vote at all. (Just so you don't think I think those things about your answer, I'll confess I upvoted you ;) )

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:45 AM

@Patrick I think before and after may tell you something but w/o context it's hard to pass judgement. If it's a guru telling you that you can look healthy and strong and they are falling apart externally, yeah judge away. But if someone's just doing there things, there's too many variables to make it an adequate assessor.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:08 AM

It disappoints me that an answer such as Shari's -- one that has no evolutionary context or argument is getting voted up on PaleoHacks -- where we are trying to hack nutrition from an evolutionary POV. [For the record, nothing against Shari, seems like a lovely person - only the quality of this answer]

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:21 AM

So, Shari - you really think that how one looks has nothing to do with healthfulness of diet?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:45 AM

perfect. (citation, not correlation)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:55 AM

It would not make any evolutionary sense if attractiveness (subjective about what we as a species perceive as beauty) & health were decoupled! That is, if we were attracted to people entirely regardless of their health condition. Not a good way to maximize reproductive success.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:03 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way Patrik. It's not that I don't like your answers I just happen to think you are using this information inappropriately. I have said clearly that I don't begrudge you your studies. It is using that information on an individual basis that I find faulty or misguided. I happen to think that seeing the world only through paleo-colored glasses may not be the best choice in every instance. That's all. Surely we can agree to disagree can we not?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:09 PM

Patrick, I understand where you are coming from. I know many people think and feel as you do. In the end many men end up pair bonding with a female with a less than ideal waist to hip ratio and lived to tell the tale. There is so much more to a person, so much more we must learn about them beyond any supposed physical indicators of health and reproductive capacity if we are to truly know their health status. And we aren't cavemen and women anymore. I'm pretty sure many a grok missed out on a fine woman because he made assumptions based only on what was seen. His loss I'd say.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:22 AM

there are already tons of studies tying markers of attractiveness to health. WHR and facial symmetry for example, have been studied quite a lot.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:41 AM

"Meta-analyses suggest a weak association of attractiveness with mental health and a moderate association with physical health (Feingold 1992, Langlois et al. 2000)."

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:17 PM

people who are wealthy are perceived to be more attractive. people who smile are perceived to be more attractive. and, im sure that people who are "paleo" *cringe* are perceived to be more attractive by individuals who are stakeholders in the "paleo movement".

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 03:01 AM

+1 - Heh, try offering up info about the metabolisms of the formerly obese and see the downvotes you get, lol!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:31 AM

Thanks Stabby. I've gotten a bunch of downvotes for my answer so I appreciate the validation, lol.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:38 AM

No. I think we cannot look at someone and draw any conclusions about who they are and how they live based on their appearance. yes a healthy diet can make many look "better" but what is better? I look a hell of a lot better than I did before but to see me without having seen my "before" you might think I needed to cut down the carbs a bit or hire a new trainer. I think a red face can just as easily be sunburn or rosacea as it can be some indictment of one's diet. And as well all know you can look hot as hell and eat like a disgusting pig.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I agree with both Patrick and Shari. Which means that they secretly probably agree with each other to an extent. Like Shari, I could never judge anyone based on looks because it's so unreliable, and because judgement is so 1800's. It's a new millenium, why judge others when you can just get gratification through accumulating points on paleohacks?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:45 AM

People generally don't downvote just because they don't disagree. There wasn't an argument made, so perhaps that is it. Although personally I don`t think an argument needs to be made.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 07:14 PM

Patrik "For you to engage on this site w/o such an understanding is really a travesty." Why the histrionics? I mean there a lot of things that are a travesty...but seriously..

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:43 AM

Shari - I down-voted your question b/c I think it is remarkably inaccurate. OF COURSE looks aren't a perfect measure and OF COURSE there are outliers -- but so what? Looks are a very imperfect measure of health, but are a measure of health nonetheless -- one that we are biologically hardwired to respond to.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:57 AM

I will say this though-- the correlation between how much you genuinely smile and how healthy you are is probably stronger than the correlation between looks and health. That is because stress and chillaxamatude is such an under-rated aspect of health maintenance.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:16 AM

I agree. That pretty much sums it up gor me too.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:55 AM

And while the extremes of "looks" are not idolized in most any society, I am highly dubious of the whole Deep-Nutrition-Perfect-Face stuff. Some guys like girls with curves, some like walking sticks. Some girls like skinny hipsters, some like Tim Tebow.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:45 AM

People generally don't downvote just because they disagree. There wasn't an argument made, so perhaps that is it. Although personally I don`t think an argument needs to be made.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Not sure if this makes things better or worse Patrik but just so you know I spent 6 years of my life studying hard science undergrad and post grad so a county bumpkin I am not. I love science and I had an excellent academic eduction. I've been blessed with an even better education given to me by life itself. Sort of like "Academia comes down out of its ivory tower and says hello to the people on the street." I don't think that's a bad pair of glasses through which to see life.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:52 AM

Patrick and Shari- I wouldn't actually think it's that complicated. There is an mild to moderate correlation between looks and health. A cross-sectional study could look at this, if the NIH was crazy enough to fund it, and find out what the (very roughly estimated) correlation coefficient is for different aspects of "looks" and different aspects of health. In some societies, the correlation is probably quite high. In the US, I'd guess not so much. There are just too many ways to circumvent the correlation (chronic cardio and borderline anorexia, stress-related overeating, etc etc).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 AM

got any correlating subjective judgment of looks to health?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:56 PM

Shari --- I will repeat, you seem like a very nice & thoughtful person, that noted, your answers/comments on this thread show very little understanding of evolutionary theory/processes. For you to engage on this site w/o such an understanding is really a travesty. I think you should take the time to read up on them. Please see Dr. Cate's or Melissa's answers, if you don't like mine.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:32 AM

BHC - it is a travesty b/c this site about skepticsm/science/evolution as applied to nutrition.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:25 PM

And let me just add that all HG had was "knowledge" based on visual clues. Thankfully we don't have to rely on that alone anymore. Now we have true knowledge that these factors of selection don't really tell us the truth on an individual basis. We now know that you do have took beyond physicality because that woman with the perfect waist hip ratio may have had a hysterectomy or may have PCOS or any number of other issues grok knew nothing of that may prevent her from procreating. Or hell she may just not want children. You'd have to actually talk to someone to know that.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 09, 2011
at 02:43 AM

Patrik. I understand where you're coming from...but it's not going to be perfect. You can't control it. It's just like your toddler...you have to just allow the evolution of it and guide with hopefulness and responsible suggestion. Just like me...you challenged me and I want to learn due to your urging. But the control freak aspect of it is going to make you crazy. Let people have discourse and learn rather than criticize and control--it's not good for you and it makes you seem ill-spirited when you are probably not that way at all.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:32 AM

Shari -- with all due respect, it doesn't show in your thoughts on this.

8
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:35 AM

Physical appearance/looks are one way to measure gene expression and health -- which is really what we want to hack, if we are eating Paleo.

Is it a perfect indicator? OF COURSE NOT!

But to claim it has nothing or very little to do with health is remarkably silly. Let me give you an example -- I have a Paleo toddler, his physical appearance is ONE of the many ways I measure whether or not he is healthy AND whether I am being a good parent by meeting his nutritional (and other) needs.

Is his skin smooth or does he have pimples? If the latter, maybe I have exposed him a food to which he is intolerant. Are his teeth growing straight? Is he relatively well-muscled & strong?

Let's get personal: me. Eating Paleo has vastly improved my health & appearance -- facial inflammation from wheat/gluten has disappeared and I have lost weight (I was never obese but carried a few more pounds than I should have).

Where am I now? My appearance is good/decent shape, but not great. Why? Cuz I don't get enough sleep or exercise and have too much stress. Cortisol is through the roof. My appearance is telling me this.

Also, I have also had what some people call "allergic shiners" since I was a child -- they are MUCH less prominent on Paleo -- but I suspect I have some unknown sensitivity that I still need to hack.

Bottom line: physical appearance DOES indicate information about health -- it certainly isn't perfect, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater by letting perfect be the enemy of good.

PS I don't believe the "healthy at any size" BS.

PPS WE ARE BIOLOGICALLY WIRED TO MATE WITH HEALTHY LOOKING PEOPLE.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:43 AM

I'd argue with that bottom line of yours. It may. It may not as well.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 09, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Ugh. Patrik. Ad Hominum again...

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:44 AM

Not going to touch your "healthy at any size" comment. I'm sure you can imagine what I think about that, lol.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:36 AM

BHC --- you are moving the goal posts & arguing from emotion, not rationale thought.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:21 AM

BHC, I think pimples are definitely not hot, but maybe it's just me...

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:25 AM

That's true Melissa but I would contend you could still call Jessica Simpson...the pro-active blondie chick hot with or without pimples.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:03 AM

I don't need a study to tell me that someone selling a weight loss book who is pudgy probably doesn't have all the answers about weight loss and probably should refrain from pontificating on the subject and maybe next time they should try to write another kind of book about health instead

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:49 AM

Well the only thing I would add is that there are some what I would call "sturdy" women in the gym who can out-bench me--they are carrying some extra bodyfat. In fact, my bench went down initially with some leanness. I wonder which is healthier...I don't know. Also, for women bone loss more prevalent in smaller/less muscular/lean women as they age just by virtue of less weight bearing activity. Again I don't know which is healthier overall. I have a muscular 6 year old that puts the other kids to shame. She consistently fell in the overweight stats for physicals as a toddler.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:21 AM

healthy at some variation of sizes, with an upper limit, is my opinion. You end up with causes like this http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/09/02/2011-09-02_worlds_heaviest_mom_donna_simpson_open_to_reality_show_im_not_embarrassed_about_.html "Then, as an adult, Simpson said she found the Internet and got pulled into the "Gaining Community," a group of like-minded, like-bodied adults who embraced their curves." in my experience the HAES community can be as rabid as the vegan animal rights community in their unwillingness to see what's unhealthy

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:05 AM

and also if your diet makes your look WORSE than you looked before, you should also refrain from pontificating on how superior it is. That doesn't preclude you from writing about health. I write about health all the time without advocating for a certain diet.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 06:00 AM

yes. great observation Rose.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Shari, no one every criticized you or anyone like you. I think this whole argument we're in is a straw man at this point. The original people criticized were people who have looked worse and worse over the years and not just an effect of normal aging.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Patrik...mabye you've broadened the question to include appearance "indicators." I think the spirit of question relates to "attractiveness" as an indicator of health. Pimples, skin disorders may be indicators but I think we talking about hot/not hot attractivenss factors here.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:57 AM

LOL! Well that's one way to look at it Patrik. Can you not see how while studies make show some correlation you cannot look at a particular individual and draw any conclusions about their health? Well you can but you may very well be wrong. You want free reign to look at someone and make assumptions about them. Fine. Do that. But please don't say there's some kind of scientific reasoning to that on an individual basis. As you said "...Imperfect? Yes. Highly variable? Yes. Maybe even false at times? Yes...." We agree on that.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:59 AM

Shari -- I don't know what to say -- what I am saying is irrefutable & hardly controversial. Appearance does correlate with *some* information about health. Imperfect? Yes. Highly variable? Yes. Maybe even false at times? Yes. But nonetheless it does provide information, and we are hardwired to pick up on it.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Patrik I agree that there may be correlation but simply looking at someone tells you almost nothing IMO. When I was 220 you would have seen me and thought I was a sick person eating a SAD diet and doing no physical activity because the only information you had about me was what you saw. The truth would have been that I was someone eating a near perfect paleo diet, exercising effectively and has lost 100 lbs and was well on my weight to losing another 70.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Shari -- 1) glad to hear you are doing well & improving. 2) Your thought "I agree that there may be correlation but simply looking at someone tells you almost nothing IMO." is a contradiction. If you believe that there is a correlation, than it has tell you something! 3) You are making my point for me --- at 220 you looked better than at 320 -- your appearance showed your better health!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Agreed, Rose. I also think the the different sides may be looking at individuals vs. collectives. Obviously if you are talking about the population as a whole or a person over time, then Patrik is right. Obviously if you take one snapshot of a person, then Shari is right. The reason this is still a good question, IMO, is that we are often guilty of conflating the two. You can use your judgment reliably on yourself and your toddler because you have a baseline. You can't use it as reliably on a stranger at the store.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:04 AM

Melissa...yes that gaining community business is scary stuff.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:43 AM

@Shari - you are INCORRECT. I certainly CAN look at an individual and can make judgements. I gave two examples in my answer. I look at my son & I look at myself, and make inferences & JUDGEMENTS about our respective health states EVERYDAY. If I didn't, I wouldn't be a good parent. I do use "scientific reasoning" - I make a hypothesis about my observation & then test it. Sure, I could be wrong in my hypothesis - but that doesn't make it less scientific. You are drawing conclusions from outliers & applying them to the entire sample. This is precisely NOT a scientific way.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 AM

Well, I do think some of this back and forth here is happening because the "sides" are operating from different premises. One single look at someone may not be enough to judge health or fitness, but seeing someone over time may provide better data.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@Ambimorph -- you are very incorrect, of course I can and I do -- I can spot formula-fed babies a mile away. Am I always right? Prob not. More often than chance would allow? Fo' sure.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:56 AM

Patrik. Where you draw the conclusion I'm arguing from emotion I do not know. Anyway...we'll just agree to disagree. I think your conclusion is still unsupported and faulty but I have enjoyed the debate and I'm appreciative of the chance to argue like this. I'll keep my mind open and read some more studies as you suggested.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:32 AM

In terms of *objective* measures of health, a 320lb person *can* be far healthier than a 220lb person. 15% of the obese and morbidly obese fit this criteria. This does not make obesity something to aspire to. But indeed, you can have a person who is very attractive - erm, *hot* and *fit*, who has multiple, non-observable health issues, albeit, perhaps (and perhaps not!) well controlled, and guuuuuuureat looking skin.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:54 AM

No, I agree you probably do much better than chance there, too, Patrik. It's just not infallible. That's why I said "not *as* reliably"...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@mem - thank you for pointing out the obvious.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Also, it is simply not true, and not true in *any* field of this kind, that someone who is selling a "weightloss book" and is "pudgy" doesn't have the *knowledge* to guide others to very successful weightloss. *Knowledge* and *appication of knowledge* are two entirely different things. What we apply in life is governed by alot of complex and often competing factors.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:44 PM

BHC - First, spell "ad hominem" correctly. Second, learn the actual meaning of the term as you are misusing it.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:40 PM

@Ambimorph -- who said it was infallible?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 10, 2011
at 01:06 AM

You're correct...I spelled it wrong. I hope you don't try and steal my lunch money too.

7
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 02:03 AM

Some markers of beauty are cultural, such as these folks which have done things to themselves that our culture does not consider beautiful, but that their culture deems to be very desirable and even a requisite for marriage...despite the fact that they can cause serious health issues!

can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-(modern)-person's-diet-by-how-they-look? can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-(modern)-person's-diet-by-how-they-look? can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-(modern)-person's-diet-by-how-they-look?

But some are biological markers selected for because they help us acquire a healthy mate. Some of these are inborn either due to genetics or early development. Others can be altered. They can be affected by diet and lifestyle. I think when these crop up they should be addressed. I actually had my first acne outbreaks after a year of doing paleo. It was quite alarming and was definitely a signal that something was wrong and needed to be questioned.

But other women have written to me telling me they have stubborn backside fat that they want to get rid of. I tell them that they need to examine whether or not this is a marker of poor health or not. Turns out it is a marker of good health and fertility and older women with that sort of fat are healthier than stick skinny folks.

People may be criticized if they write books on how to be thin that proclaim the superiority of their method while attacking other methods... while remaining pudgy themselves. I think the solution is for those people to write more honestly and then no one would even ever dare to mention it. Sorry, I'm not going to write a book about ultimate solutions on how to get rid of acne or stretch marks because it's something I struggle with and I would be a hypocrite. But if someone mentioned my terrible crooked teeth I would say I was born that way and only plastic surgery could alter that. You also can't change certain things from your past. Maybe if I had known better a long time ago I never would have gotten stretch marks in the first place, but they are there and they are not going away, though I'd be happy to hear tips about getting rid of them.

I also think it's quite amusing that people have consistently critiqued the appearances of people like Campbell and Fuhrman and no one has complained. But god forbid you point out someone low-carb/paleo who is promoting their diet for weight loss and tarnishing other diets and telling people what to do is chubby.

Here are just a few things that most humans consider attractive that have been tied to health/andor fertility:

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:20 AM

Melissa - no actual culture thinks the woman on the far right is beautiful. There might be a few ppl who do -- but she is not a beauty ideal (biological or cultural). Interestingly enough, what women think is beautiful (wrt women )is often very different than what men think is beautiful. See diffs in women in fashion mags & porn mags. Both are caricatures of beauty -- but vastly different.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:35 AM

For reference...weight loss in early twenties of about 55 pounds caused stretch marks on hips/upper legs and stomach. Weight loss stretch marks went away in early thirties.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:39 AM

well I found that image when looking for images of tight lacing

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

I very much like the way you distinguished between cultural and biological markers of beauty (former English lit grad student here, and the blind refusal to consider biology *real* in any meaningful way is what made me leave -- true story). The difficulty of teasing them apart reminds me a bit of the difficulty distinguishing satiation from satiety in food reward theory, lol. So good job giving me something to chew on.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

After puberty stretch marks, weight training/muscle stretch marks and pregnancy stretch marks...I can tell you that they fade over time--almost to disappearing.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 02:37 AM

BaconHealsChic, mine are caused by weight loss. Do those go away? It's been four years now :(

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:15 AM

Patrik, there was a historical period in the West were tight-lacing was considered beautiful

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Yes...mine went away in my mid 30's--after my skin became more elastic...bittersweet. For example, when the skin is tight during pregnancy you can see them all purple and perfectly...after the skin is slack again you can't see them over after a period of time. That is my experience anyway.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:28 AM

Corsets + fake breasts then too? ;)

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 28, 2013
at 09:07 PM

I work in an old peoples' home, trust me, stretch marks disappear. None of the residents I have worked with (including some very large women) have stretch marks (and I have worked with I would say over 100 in the past 3 years, and yes I see their entire bodies).

7
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 08, 2011
at 02:01 AM

In my experience, people look better as their health improves. I don't mean that they suddenly become attractive by societal standards necessarily, but that they have a "glow"; clear skin, shiny hair, bright eyes, relaxed...I definitely use my eyes as part of my tool bag when seeing clients. Often they look so much better at a follow up appointment, that their improvement is obvious to anyone who has ever seen them. When I see a client again, and they look grey, tired and dull, I know we need to step it up...even a person who always seems to look good no matter what lifestyle choices they seem to make give physical feedback that is visible to the naked eye, we just need to look more carefully.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 08, 2011
at 03:56 PM

Yes, but I see people using weight in that scenario almost exclusively...weight can be an indicator of health, but like you said, there are plenty of fit looking people who eat SAD, and there are people who eat well, and still have excess body fat.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:43 AM

I'm sure this kind of before and after comparison can be useful in a practice. It's one of the pieces of data a lot of the rest of us lack when we aren't well acquainted with people, and judge them on a single appearance (or, ancestors forbid, over the internet).

6
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:19 AM

This is entirely anecdotal of course but it has repeated itself many, many times over the years. Ever since I started the Zone over 15 years ago I began looking at people in grocery store lines and matching them to what I guessed would be going down the conveyor belt. And more often than not, it would be something akin to a plump, pasty-skinned bruisy-legged mother with plump kids and the check-out counter was stacked with refined starches, white bread, biscuits, cookies and sodas and all manner of deleterious nasties and not much even resembling something with a vitamin in it.

That really proves nothing but as another matter of similar interest, here is an excerpt from an email that my sister wrote to Catherine shanahan (Dr Cate), author of Deep Nutrition, which she had read a year earlier -

"Like you I have suffered from plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and a myriad of other sports injuries off and on for 30 years. I always attributed it to running too much, being active, getting older etc. I too was terrifed of fat, ate 100 calorie packs of kibbles n bits, skinless chicken and the like. It was a mess of a diet and I felt like a hot mess most of the time. Deep Nutrition has given me the generational knowledge all wrapped up in one tidy package. The reason for my writing however is that not only did the the broth heal my ailing joint and tendons but my skin looks amazing! A friend I hadn't seen in a year asked me if I had done botox, and I said "no, I did bone broth!" That coupled with the anti-inflammatory diet has cleared up my adult cystic acne as well and we are well into the dog days of summer in Atlanta. Usually by this time of year my skin is a mess as and I am happy to say it looks and feels great."

Dr Cate wrote back too and said, "Bone-Broth not Botox! I may have to steal that line."

As another point of reference I owned a vegetarian restaurant for a year and as a result knew lots of vegetarians, including my girlfriend who ran it with me. I can tell you that this was, on the whole, not the healthiest looking group of people. It could be said that that many were vegetarians because they were trying to deal with some issues, which is fair. But my own personal experience was that it was a disaster and my health deteriorated, much like Robb Wolf's description in his book. I was told I did not look healthy and I didn't. I was told that I looked much better after I stopped that crap, and I did. My girlfriend soldiered on with it and gained weight - I was so skinny at the time I had to run around in the shower to get wet - but she was not the picture of the healthy looking girlfriend I was going with and this was only a few years later.

I do draw some conclusions from all this, but they are not always foolproof.

Ed

Added 9/8/11- Here's a page from the above-mentioned book, Deep Nutrition, that touches upon some aspects of looking healthy -

can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-(modern)-person's-diet-by-how-they-look?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:36 PM

I don't know if it makes him a hypocrite *per se*, but it makes him a bad gambler, lol. And his followers, too.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:42 PM

I should put up a web page with my photos of four generations in my own biological family. We show a very similar course of decline from my great-grandmother down to me (especially me prior to four years ago).

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:25 AM

I've always thought over the years that the people who shop in natural food stores (where I shop) did not look healthy and had a sometimes emaciated or worn-out skin look. I assume, though i don't know that a lot of them were vegetarians or attempting to be vegetarians.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:44 PM

Yes, mem, I would agree Ornish is disadvantaged from the start, being that his mother and grandmother ate conventional diets, he probably works in an office a lot and doesn't exercise, and he has unalterable features that may not be desirable in our culture. But you know...it's like what right does he have to tarnish something like the Himba diet? He should have some humility and admit that there is something to be learned here.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 PM

it's not really about Mr. Ornish looking bad or not, it's really about him promoting the idea that high-fat diets make you diseased and fat, which is clearly not true and makes him vulnerable to attack when it is found that not only at people on these diets NOT fat...they look hell of a lot better than he does.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Would anyone like to make a conjecture as to why there is a big problem with the comparison of these two pictures to begin with???? Will will *never* be eating Ornish's diet. But there really *is* a big problem here with comparing these two people.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 09:07 AM

Heh..Here are 5 African American women I work out with most days, ages ranging from 45-78 weighing in: "Baby, black don't crack." This is followed by a look that says: Do you not have eyes to see with fool? Yup, I do. (It's for the real science types...)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 04:29 PM

If Mr. Ornish didn't attack high-fat in the first place, his appearance would not attract comment, but it makes him look like a hypocrite.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:43 PM

And now Bill Clinton is becoming a veg*n at Ornish's behest and will be joining the Eisenhower Paradox.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:22 PM

I also draw some non-foolproof conclusions from my observations, lol. When I moved to Eugene (veggieville) a few years ago, I noticed that folks here didn't look quite as healthy as in the Bay Area. I still think there are a lot of factors besides diet (sunshine is a big one, and there was way more unemployment here than there at the time). But I've never been wrong yet when I've surmised that someone watery-looking is a veg*n (or when an unhealthy dog is kibble-fed, lol). The reverse isn't always true, however; lots of people and dogs look fine on those diets.

2d4ff23c8ce7fb00708fa88ceffd4087

(408)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:05 PM

I can't believe that dude up there is actually 60, I would pass him for 40. (not Ornish)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Dr Cate goes heavily into the generational aspects of diet. She had one very interesting example of 4 generations of one Hawaiian family simultaneously standing in her office and describing the general decline of each succeeding generation, from the great-grandmother with perfect skin and teeth, to the snaggle-toothed great granddaughter with skin problems.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:53 AM

@melissa: My issue is even simpler. We are comparing two people of two different races, who are endowed with very different skintypes. They also appear to have markedly different bone structures. Much darker skined people typically have signifcantly *thicker* and *more elastic* skin. Women, for instance, are far less prone to the kinds and degree of stretch marks from birthing or weight loss, than women with white skin.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 10, 2011
at 02:04 PM

mem, when I first saw the picture of the guy in your link, the first thing I thought when I saw the bags under his eyes was that he's a heavy drinker. Sure enough, he wasn't two minutes into his first video when he lifted a glass of scotch., so this is probably was not the best "appropriate" sample to choose. BTW, this really lends further credence to judging health by looks.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:54 AM

(con't) A general comparison of persons of the same ages and weights, will demonstrate a pretty remarkable difference in the degree of facial wrinkling and other body elasticity measures between white and dark skinned persons. Bone structure has *much* to do with what skin does as it ages as well. In this Ornish comparison, the deck is stacked! But yes, I agree that Ornish should be far less critical of the diets that *I* happen to support, lol. However, this comparison convinces me of nothing.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 10:53 PM

Here's a link for a much more appropriate comparison, and our guy in this pic is about 10 years *younger* than Ornish...Scroll down for the big pics... http://freetheanimal.com/

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 10, 2011
at 11:45 PM

edrice: I didn't run the video, just looked at the pic, which was enough to see comparable basic features and that the subject would be a good comparison, albeit one who is at least 10 years younger than Ornish. He is also good as a known paleo eater. The alcohol thing: pleny of paleo eaters drink alcohol and are quite out about it - why not - ie., norcal margarita, etc. Methinks you are assuming re: level of intake. Eyebags are a non-specific symptom which can be related to many conditions and show prominently sometimes with lighter skinned folks with aging (loss of subcutaneous fat in face.)

5
F40555b9be81e12c2fc460e6fa7d097c

on September 08, 2011
at 02:01 AM

This is kind of an N=1 study, but the lady I'll soon describe isn't the only person I've ever met that is like this. There is an older woman named Nora at my CF box and she is a beast. This woman in her fifties can lift way more weight than I can, can run for longer (though not faster) than a lot of the girls, and is regularly "hacking" our dietary issues and handing out great advise. She's an awesome lady and an "institution", as it were, at our box. But attractiveness wise she looks like your average grandma. She's got strong legs but she's a little barrel in the middle, she doesn't look especially young for her age, while you can tell she's muscular she's just as likely as any granny to show up in the locker room in a breezy linen pants suit. She's definitely healthy and solid and I'm pretty sure that she and her husband will workout together until the day they die. Hopefully, they will continue to workout with us. But there are so many variables, and honestly our society's markers of attractiveness are unsustainable on any kind of "normal" diet with "reasonable" exercise.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 02:50 AM

+1 - So, so, real. My generation was supposed to be the generation that has the totally unrealistic emphasis on being "forever young." PH has completely and totally disporven that, lol as Baby Boomers are in a very clear minority here. Anyhow, great answer!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:15 AM

Perfect example. Thank you.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:14 PM

She sounds awesome! And I especially agree about the number of variables in play.

4
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 08, 2011
at 05:34 PM

The theory (actually, the actuality!) of assortive mating has been fascinating to me since the early 90's. I worked in a specialty area where I was near constantly convinced of it as a very, very powerful force, and got to see outcomes and clear evidence of it in my daily work with families, through at least 2 to 3 generations, and sometimes more, via gathering family medical, social and psychological history.

Certainly, assortive mating can result in an emphasis on physical characteristics that evolutionarily may signal health. But assortive mating is FAR, FAR more complex than this, and in my opinion, often completely ignores, in the extreme, the characteristics that some think are the main evolutionary drivers of mating.

Take the following article, for example...

"One provocative hypothesis that might account for the rise of spectrum disorders in technically adept communities like Silicon Valley, some geneticists speculate, is an increase in assortive mating. Superficailly, assortive mating is the blond gentleman who prefers blonds; the hyperverbal intellectual who meets her soul mate in the therapist's waiting room. There are additional incentives and pressures for autistic people to find companionship - if they wish to do so- with someone who is also on the spectrum. Grandin writes, "Marriages work out best when two people with autism marry, or when a person marries a handicapped or eccentric spouse...they are attracted because their intellects work on a similar wavelength."

"In another age, these men would have been monks developing new ink for printing presses. Suddenly they're reproducing at a much higher rate."

"At clinics and schools in the valley, the observation that most parents are engineers and programmers who themselves display autistic behavior is not news. And it may not be news to other communities either.Last January Microsoft became the first major US corporation to offer its employees insurance benefits to cover the cost for behavioral training for their autistic children. One Bay Area Mother told me that when she was planning a move to Minnesota with her son who has Asperger's syndrome, she asked the school district there if they could meet her son's needs. "They told me that the northwest quadrant of Rochester, where the IBMers congregate has a large volume of Asperger's kids," she recalls. "It was recommended that I move to that part of town."

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html

Additionally, consider, as some have already, that characteristics which are drivers of mating in humans may change greatly over time as humans evolve and cultures change.

My point here is that for many, many people, it is at best a gross oversimplfication, and is outright wrong, often, as well, to view physical characteristics as the main drivers of mating behavior. As the future unfolds, I believe that this will be increasingly true.

Additional Non-Random Mating link for info:

http://anthro.palomar.edu/synthetic/synth_8.htm

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 06:01 PM

I don't think this issue was about whether or not we'd mate with people who don't look healthy. I think it was about whether or not there are any markers in someone's appearance that tell us whether or not they are healthy. Clearly my nerdly looks are a result of assortive mating, but the acne breakouts I've suffered periodically are a result of unbalanced diet and hormones.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 10:42 PM

@Patrik: Ah, yes...life as the meat market...how very reptilian of you... Yes, it is true, many do choose to live there" - to function out of their reptilian brains only. Yes, it is clearly a choice and one that is dominant in poorly integrated humans.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 01:40 AM

(con't) Furthermore, it is my assertion that we are going to be seeing more and more of this "biological hardwiring" for ostensible health (as in repro/fecundity) being overridden due to evolutionary necessity. Evolutionary necessity is not static. We are shaping it. We may not be happy with where we "get to" but nonetheless, we are going there.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 01:13 AM

My point is that it is being repeatedly asserted that we are *hardwired* to seek out, in mates, physical indicators of ostensible health. First of all *health* is a big category. Secondly, there are huge numbers of people who are very obviously *overiding* usually totally *unconsciously* this *hardwiring*. This was only a *single* example of a very specific group, but also a very (imho) very evolutionarily important group. I will be the first to say that diet is very important. But a physical appraisal is still a very inadequate yardstick, although certainly *not* without significance. And...

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:48 PM

@mem -- they aren't overriding anything. Mating is not about absolutes, it is about what you can actually get on the mating market - which is often different. Those same male nerds who are mating with their nerdy females are definitely attracted to females found in porn (i.e. hardwired for WHR etc etc) but they cannot get it.

3
2d4ff23c8ce7fb00708fa88ceffd4087

(408)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:55 PM

I'm not overweight, but I do have skin problems that prevent people from thinking I am a healthy eater. They actually use my defects to support their argument that the way I eat isn't healthy. Who knows maybe it isn't for me, but I can't ignore the science. Health is one huge puzzle and sometimes the last piece is very hard to find.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 07:21 PM

but have they gotten worse on your diet? That's the question to ask IMHO.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Well said. Just because you haven't solved everything, doesn't mean you haven't come a long way.

3
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:30 AM

I don't know that I can add much to your already thorough arguments. Just a couple of small ideas:

Your point about the slender woman is related to another one, which is "look good on their current diet compared to what other diet"? Even if a person has a broader range of looks based on what they are eating, they probably don't go from looking horrific to looking spectacular. Someone who has a propensity to having acne, for example, may go from acute to mild symptoms based on diet, but never have the clear skin that another is blessed with no matter what he eats. We all have different weaknesses, and some are more in plain sight than others, which brings me to another point: Maybe they look relatively good, but they're depressed, or constipated, or have terrible blood glucose control. Health is not always visible.

Also, the effects of a diet can take time to show up. For instance, now that I have the experience of having lost a lot of weight, when I see a fat person, I don't automatically necessarily think they have a bad diet. For all I know they have lost 50 lbs this year so far, and their diet is fantastically healthy.

Finally, there are people who are the opposite of your example. Some people have metabolic, genetic or other physiological problems that are beyond the scope of just dietary intervention and aren't looking very different no matter what they eat either.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 03:00 AM

@Ambimorph: Love the Charles Washington quote. Thank you!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Yeah, these are the kinds of things I'm getting at, where the visible data is an imperfect proxy for invisible things. And your point about metabolic or genetic problems makes me realize that my whole question could have been rephrased as: Does health depend entirely on diet? Which makes me further realize that my own answer is that a good diet is *possibly* a necessary but by no means sufficient condition for health. Which leads to: no, you can't tell if a person's diet is healthy by how they look. Too many other variables are in play.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 08, 2011
at 08:44 PM

I agree with that saying of his too, Ambimorph. And not only in the sense that he apparently meant it in, of fat being the spur to analysis and action, but I've often thought of excess fat accumulation as being the body's preferred strategy for combatting even worse insults, in the same way that cholesterol is -- they are maybe more firefighter than fire. I've even wondered if that's why a slightly higher BMI is correlated with a bit more longevity; slimmer people may suffer the same dietary/environmental insults, but lack the "safety" strategy of fat storage.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I agree you can't go by weight, as I've lost about 30 lbs but still have 50 lbs to go. However, I do think you can tell by looks--brighter skin, healthy hair/nails. Those have been significant changes for me and I've noticed slim people with sickly skin tone and limp hair. I've actually lost a little of my gray; I was pretty even silver when I started and I now have steel gray streaks. My skin got MUCH brighter and it faded in my July 4th splurge but got brighter again within a week. My nails are tougher too.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Rose, I was suddenly reminded of something Charles Washington said. I don't agree with him about everything, but I still think it was a particularly clever point that "only the lucky ones get fat." That is, often it takes an affront to our looks that is not resolved by conventional wisdom to create the impetus to learn what's really going on. The implication being that there are slim people eating the SAD whose health is deteriorating, and they'll never find out, because it hasn't drawn their attention.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 08, 2011
at 07:29 PM

True, Nance, those seem to respond faster.

3
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:14 AM

Can't judge a book by it's cover.

I would suspect (unless you are a modern hunter/gatherer) attractivness never serves as a marker for health whatsoever...I say that only because I would think epigenetic advantages no longer apply due to modernity.

Environmental factors would now outweigh any selectivity that promulgates good health/attractiveness passed down in populations/individuals.

The individual of selective superior health sets the baseline I guess. Modern deteriorating effects of food choice, stress, environmental toxins and pharma damage reduce health--but I would think we cannot assume the attractive, selected populations health will deteriorate at a slower rate than those who started out with a lower health baseline. The baseline is therefore no longer an effective measurement.

Modernity sets a new baseline that has nothing to do with centuries old selectivity. In other words... thanks to modernity...we're all screwed (attractive and unattractive alike) despite our ancestral advantages.

If the above were true I guess it exposes even more clearly the benefit of eschewing modern foods, beauty products, pharma and and stressful lifestyle. Maybe shirking modernity is the tabula rasa needed to regain the ancient/ancestral ideal health we have lost.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:43 AM

Believe me Patrik it would be a lot easier for everyone if appearance and attractiveness indicated health level--health costs could be decreased substantially. I'm sorry. I just don't think it's persuasive in present day. There are too many variables.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 06:15 AM

Patrik. I think your passion is great. Don't let this get the best of you and make your answers come off as brash maybe? I'd like to verbally rip you to shreds right now but I don't think you're trying to be a jerk--you just aren't using a lot of diplomacy. You're going more and more ad hominum and that just distracts from the discourse.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:50 AM

BHC - "I'm arguing that handsomeness does not indicate health anymore due to current environmental factors and diet." -- sorry, we cannot argue intelligently about this as you need to read up on the lit.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Patrik. We are not arguing what we're hard wired to do--I agree we are hard wired to select handsome mates. I'm arguing that handsomeness does not indicate health anymore due to current environmental factors and diet. There is gray area but I think appearance is largely unreliable.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:34 AM

BHC - we still carry the evolutionary/genetic hard-wiring to look for health signals i.e. smooth skin, facial & body symmetry & thousands others -- yes, that wiring CAN BE AND IS OFTEN FOOLED i.e. botox or fake breasts -- but it still remains, and still serves a purpose, imperfect as it is.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:32 AM

BHC - see Melissa's comment on Shari's answer above. Plenty of work/studies showing correlation between attractiveness & health. Facical symmetry through diet or lack of parasite load. Seriously, one could spend years reading just about that.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:49 AM

BHC - of course, I agree that that a slim/lean person doesn't *necessarily* indicate healthfullness -- but it is prob a better signal than someone very overweight.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 09, 2011
at 06:50 PM

mem - that wiring is impossible to "cast aside". It drives us all unconsciously.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:03 PM

A quote I read somewhere and always liked: "'You never can judge a book by its cover.' Which is true, but if you then open the book, and the first page is nonsense and curse words and a picture of someone doing physiologically inadvisable and unhygienic things in a bathtub, you are allowed to assume the book is not for you. You don't have to read the whole book to figure that out."

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:47 AM

BHC -- read what I have written now more than 1,000x on this page. Appearance/attractiveness signals *SOME* health information - not all, not black&white, plenty of room for grey.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:00 AM

@BaconHealChic -- I have no idea what you are saying. Your comment is a non-sequitur -- I suggest you read up on the biology of attractiveness.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:46 AM

"attractivness never serves as a marker for health whatsoever" -- riiiiigggghhhtttttt -- try to outrun evolution/biology...good luck with that.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 04:11 AM

I probably wrote it poorly and maybe not being clear...what I'm saying is that our wired ancestral tendency to "select" healthy/attractive mates no longer applies due to the health damages under the hood from our "modern" diet. What we took years to perfect through selection has been wiped out in the last 10 K by bad eating. In other words...gorgeous people get sick. THAT is irrefutable.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Patrik. I think in your mind you are assuming I'm saying an overweight individual indicates no health problems from appearance. I'm arguing a slim/lean person doesn't necessarily indicate healthfulness.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 03:53 AM

Evolution has already been outrun by the diet of the last 10 K years otherwise we would be healthy on SAD.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:45 AM

Please point out where I have made an ad hominem comment.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 04:32 AM

BHC -- yes, of course, gorgeous people get sick. When did I say they didn't?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 07:04 AM

No. I don't want to argue with you anymore. I'll look up the studies and I'll be back and we'll see if you respond. In the meantime I'll send you a copy of "How to Make Friends and Influence People." :). Joking aside I can see about your cortisol levels. You are intense! I miss this from my college debate days so I loved it up until the part where you implied I'm an idiot. I AM grateful for the back and forth with you, Melissa and others. I plan on learning and coming back. (you think best to respond to you in these little boxes after i study? Add or edit my answer? What is protocol?)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 09, 2011
at 12:56 AM

@Patrik: And often, if not very *frequently* that "wiring" is entirely cast aside, more and more in modern culture, for a variety of assortive mating reasons/goals.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 09, 2011
at 07:48 PM

Urgh, I almost hate to wade back into this; it's gotten so personal. But I do have to say I agree with Patrik here, about casting aside wiring. It's no more possible to do that than it is to decide not to pee anymore. Or to put it in realistic terms, you can grit your teeth and have sex w/someone you're not attracted to; that's gone on, I'm sure, since the dawn of (human) time. But you can't stop being attracted to people you're attracted to, no matter how you act on it (or not). Your body wants what it wants. It may not apply to all *acts* of mating, but certainly applies to the impetus.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 11, 2011
at 10:26 PM

(con't) for parts two and 3 of the same presentation - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UIKekgXvjA&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6jkNVJN-sM&feature=related

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 11, 2011
at 10:24 PM

Rose: The very term "hard wiring" belongs to another and past, time of brain understanding. The brain is increasingly understood now in terms of "neuroPLASTICITY" rather than hardwiring, a term which arose out of the the idea of brain as machine. These may be meaningful to you, and of course, there is much, much more beyond them, but they are a good overview. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJxASN-_WtU

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 13, 2011
at 05:56 PM

I mean I'm cautious about stretching it too far. Obviously the brain "rewires" itself (to use an out-of-fashion machine-age metaphor, yes), but only to a certain extent, I think. We are not endlessly malleable. To apply it to this discussion, I think a useful question would be, so, is it possible to change someone's sexual orientation? As I noted somewhere else, *behavior* can change, but *desire*? That seems to be pretty persistent (although there's evidence that women are a bit more malleable in this regard).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 13, 2011
at 05:53 PM

Thanks for the links, mem; will watch soon. This is an argument that rages around the field of evolutionary psychology, so I have a passing familiarity with it. I'm cautious about the idea of neuroplasticity, I admit; this guy's take seems about right to me: http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2010/11/limits-of-neuroplasticity.html

2
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:29 AM

Alberto Salazar is a picture of health here, although we suspect his coronary arteries are teeming with inflammation.

can-we-judge-the-quality-of-a-(modern)-person's-diet-by-how-they-look?.

Looks >< Health. Evolution might favor your choice of mates based on looks, but your impression could be wrong. No matter how fit a person might look, you do not know his HS CRP number.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:36 AM

Is that a nike "swish" tattoo on his shoulder? That is a blatant sign of a bad mate. And maybe high CRP too.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 08, 2011
at 05:58 AM

I do not want to be mean. Ok. barrel chest, bird legs not great combo. I wouldn't call picture of health. Wow! That chic looks fantastic though. And I think it is a swoosh Kamal.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 05:33 AM

he doesn't look good to me. Ladies can you weigh in? I certainly am not attracted. Very skinny, bad posture, nothing particularly interesting about the face, doesn't have the attractive V-shape most women like. The woman is much hotter, though still not really really hot or anything. Not much in the way of WHR.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:01 AM

@NambyPamby, 1) that dude doesn't look the picture of health. He looks totally mediocre. If you want to make the point of someone who does look healthy, but might be messed up inside -- try Dean Karnazes - http://tosic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/dean-karnazes.jpg 2) Nobody is arguing that any one impression could be wrong! There are WHOLE INDUSTRIES (plastic surgery etc etc) built on fooling the oppposite sex because the good health signal IS WORTH FAKING TO GET BETTER MATES BECAUSE LOOKS SIGNAL HEALTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

(2226)

on September 11, 2011
at 05:27 PM

The woman in that picture is definitely attractive. Very.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 08, 2011
at 05:37 AM

oops, swoosh. i guess i need to become more of a nike fan.

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 08, 2011
at 03:22 PM

What?! There is a guy in the picture?!

1
218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on September 08, 2011
at 03:18 PM

I was "looking" at some of the female competitors at the recent IAAF World track and field championships, I can imagine many of them are pretty conventional and high carb in their approach, but some of the female long jumpers, sprinters and pole vaulters were, well my inner Grok liked it a lot: strong fit bodies, nice skin (HDTV shows it well) and some were very beautiful. Diet wise, you know they aren't chowing on Krispy Kremes and bon bons, even if they are conventional eaters, they are at elite level of fitness and exude a aura of 'being healthy'.

Obviously at the primal level all the boxes were checked for a potential mating partner - at the neolithic level - personality and intelligence, we can't really know.

0
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on April 28, 2013
at 10:52 PM

The short answer would be no. You can't tell for sure how healthy a person is by looking at them. My dad eats cheap, low quality processed meats for breakfast, a sandwich or burrito for lunch, has pasta with dinner and a huge slice of pie for dessert. He's fairly athletic and thin, and has full head of dark hair at nearly 60. While my mom has always struggled with weight and still does. Her skin isn't great. She will have eggs for breakfast, snack on fruitts, vegetables and a little dairy all day, and probably include meat with dinner and rarely eat dessert. My mom is also completely gluten free.

0
C5d5cfab77a26fa17a56f2c62b99b879

on April 28, 2013
at 10:26 PM

Strictly from my point of view, a healthy person has: (1) good posture, (2) smooth, unblemished skin, (3) clear eyes, (4) shiny hair, (5) hard, well-formed fingernails and clean straight teeth, (6) flat belly or minimal abdominal adiposity, (7) a rounded (not flat) rump, (8) gender-appropriate muscular proportionality, and (9) low or middle-range BF %.

As a rule, healthy people have good flexibility, mobility and physical coordination, do not sweat excessively in warm conditions or breathe heavily, unless exerting themselves, and have strong, vascular hands.

0
81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

on April 28, 2013
at 09:11 PM

I don't know, when I used to skip my insulin and had no control of my type 1 diabetes and was almost to the point of being physically ill some days, was eating a crappy diet and was hardly exercising at all, this did not stop heaps of lads from heading my way. As soon as I began to give my insulin again and changed to a paleo diet, I gained weight and since then no boys ... :( hahahah

0
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on September 08, 2011
at 03:07 PM

i like this answer. so the beauty you're referring to is structural. see, i can see how this would coincide with evolutionary advantages attained through bone structure. i don't see how slight adiposity, acne, or other superficialities coincide with that being that they're culturally unappealing but have nothing to do with gaining a structural advantage.

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