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Do we really know what Paleo people ate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 24, 2011 at 3:07 PM

The main arguments that Paleo subscribers (myself included) put forth are: 1) our Paleolithic ancestors ate animal protein almost exclusively, 2) grains were not eaten, and 3) our digestive systems have never evolved to handle grains, which leads to modern chronic diseases like heart problems, cancer, and diabetes II. Leigh Peele argues that Upper Paleolithic man did eat grains, and that our digestive systems have evolved. Although he thinks the Paleo diet is a good one, he questions the thinking and assumptions that are behind it. http://www.leighpeele.com/the-paleo-diet-fad-religion-or-solution Comments, please.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 26, 2011
at 04:00 AM

@Alan - I was guessing that's what you meant, but I've had people try to argue the idea that Paleo enthusiasts (?) suggest eating "all meat" which we (all/most) know isn't a good idea

1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

(373)

on April 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Yes, I should have included fat. My bad.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on April 25, 2011
at 06:14 AM

I think when he says protein, he really just means meat, fat included.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:23 PM

Yeah, it sort of matters since she's got no credentials and doesn't even seem to grasp that the Paleolithic extends back 2.6 million years, not to the early Mousterian (as is her claim). If she can't even get that correct, anything else she says is not worth paying attention to. Then she breaks out that old canard about life expectancies (confounding this with lifespan, as usual). Idiots post crap on the internet all the time, it doesn't mean it is worth discussing. There should be a vetting process and Leigh Peele's ignorance shouldn't get her in the door.

E5d59ab6d79320caf1e991cdc7971326

(801)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:12 PM

Something to add: Robb Wolf's post on Optimal Foraging Strategy is a big piece of the puzzle that many people overlook. This explains a lot about variations in food choice, use of grains in certain situations, etc. http://robbwolf.com/2011/01/10/neanderthal-a-go-go/

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:07 PM

yeah look up rabbit starvation.

1e58ba5c171a122541d8b4873f604327

(229)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:06 PM

not that it matter, but Leigh Peele is a she not a he

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:32 PM

she is a fitness blogger from Washington. She is into whole foods not processed but she eats all food groups and focuses on low body fat generations

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:15 PM

i agree with Jims answer. I think we can tolerate grains and omega sixes...and even fructose in small doses. I just think that what the SAD prescribes now is acute and chronic toxicity. That is where the line is crossed.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:12 PM

I see your asking my question in another format......imitation is a form a flattery! LOL I like that what I wrote got you to think. Means my question had its intended effect.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:11 PM

does it matter? I thought we discuss questions based upon the questions merit?

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5 Answers

4
1e58ba5c171a122541d8b4873f604327

on April 24, 2011
at 06:38 PM

The old "I'm with you trick". You say "while he (she) thinks the Paleo diet is a good one.....", she automatically generates some good will and will get more readers than if she says "I disagree with the Paleo diet". She claims to think it is a good diet, then attacks it's basic foundations and concludes that grains are not bad, which is one of the fundamental principles of the thing she claims to support! Then she uses a bunch of little logical tricks to knock down the paleo philosophy.

1) The "fad diet" argument is the grain lobbies best friend. Here's what it boils down to: which has been around longer? No one argues that grains were introduced "recently" into the picture. Peele herself argues about 10,000 plus or minus, but it is as close to fact as we can get that "humans" introduced grains into their diets some time in the last 10-100k years, which is a very small number compared to the time that we did not eat them. Calling a no-grain diet a "fad" is complete nonsense, the grains are the fad that need to be supported by evidence. Show me a study that adding grains to a paleo diet made someone healthier, then I will take notice!

Peele had me on the hook in the beginning, but she really started to lose traction when she said "obesity is caused by excess calorie consumption". While not exactly wrong, it is like saying "death is caused by lack of blood flow to the brain". Sure, but what caused that? Calorie restriction has been dis-proven as an effective long-term solution for obesity.

the "there are very few studies that support a grain free diet" argument, which is not actually an argument and holds not logical importance. There are also very few "studies" that show that if I bash my head against a wall, it will hurt. That does not lead me to bash my head against a wall.

Peele advocates a "moderation diet". "Everything in moderation" is another one of those, "sounds wise, must be true" tricks. Everything? What about arsenic? Oh only foods? What is a food?

The question should not be "is eliminating grains from your diet supported by evidence". It should be "is ADDING grains to your diet supported by evidence. We know we lived for millions of years without them, so the burden of proof needs to be on the grains.

1
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:30 PM

E5d59ab6d79320caf1e991cdc7971326

(801)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:12 PM

Something to add: Robb Wolf's post on Optimal Foraging Strategy is a big piece of the puzzle that many people overlook. This explains a lot about variations in food choice, use of grains in certain situations, etc. http://robbwolf.com/2011/01/10/neanderthal-a-go-go/

1
3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 24, 2011
at 03:55 PM

I'm sure upper Paleo people ate some grains here and there, but they weren't a significant portion of calories, like our recommended "six servings a day" because the Paleolithic era is defined by being pre-agricultural. I don't have a problem with gluten that I can recognize, so did my people evolve to handle it? Who knows.

I don't think any of our ancestors ate animal protein almost exclusively. I'd bet they ate mostly fat like most of the indigenous cultures we've seen in the recent past. I'm not sure people can eat mostly protein.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:15 PM

i agree with Jims answer. I think we can tolerate grains and omega sixes...and even fructose in small doses. I just think that what the SAD prescribes now is acute and chronic toxicity. That is where the line is crossed.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:07 PM

yeah look up rabbit starvation.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 26, 2011
at 04:00 AM

@Alan - I was guessing that's what you meant, but I've had people try to argue the idea that Paleo enthusiasts (?) suggest eating "all meat" which we (all/most) know isn't a good idea

1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

(373)

on April 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Yes, I should have included fat. My bad.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on April 25, 2011
at 06:14 AM

I think when he says protein, he really just means meat, fat included.

0
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on April 24, 2011
at 08:01 PM

Fascinating, I have to say, certainly thought-provoking.

0
9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Who the hell is Leigh Peele?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:11 PM

does it matter? I thought we discuss questions based upon the questions merit?

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:23 PM

Yeah, it sort of matters since she's got no credentials and doesn't even seem to grasp that the Paleolithic extends back 2.6 million years, not to the early Mousterian (as is her claim). If she can't even get that correct, anything else she says is not worth paying attention to. Then she breaks out that old canard about life expectancies (confounding this with lifespan, as usual). Idiots post crap on the internet all the time, it doesn't mean it is worth discussing. There should be a vetting process and Leigh Peele's ignorance shouldn't get her in the door.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:32 PM

she is a fitness blogger from Washington. She is into whole foods not processed but she eats all food groups and focuses on low body fat generations

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