6

votes

is the "One size-diet fits all" concept wrong?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 19, 2011 at 7:22 PM

We in the paleosphere are convinced ( I think for good, sound reasons) that paleo diet is best for everything important: to get a fit, lean body; to lose weight; to obtain more longevity; to fight cancer; to fight cardiovascular problems, etc. By reviewing other schools of thought, I arrived to the conclusion that they (say vegetarians, Ornish type, traditional anti-fat, etc) usually think along the same line: their diet is "THE BEST" for every conceivable, relevant goal. My question is: what if everybody is wrong and the diet that is perfect to be fit for instance is not that good for longevity? what if the best anti-cancer diet is not that good in terms of cardiovascular health? This is just a concern, what I would like to hear from you are good reasons why a particular diet that is optimal for one relevant goal should also be good for other goals?

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on August 20, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Optimal is in the eye of the beholder.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on August 20, 2011
at 03:08 AM

@Jay: How do you propose testing and defining optimal?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 20, 2011
at 02:02 AM

I like your responses Rose. And i have to admit i do tend to get caught up in my own philosophy (and Fight Club :). But, in the end I do think that diet is a bit like other things such as sunlight/vitamin D. We all need it, but to varying degrees. We should all eat the same foods, just to varying degrees.... would be how I see it. I can not disagree that personal history would play a HUGE role in your reaction to certain foods though. And not just what you ate prior to paleo, but the pollution in your town,job stress...anything that might compromise an essential body system, ect...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:44 AM

And I also think it's likely that within traditional groups, there were individualized eating patterns. We already know of HGs (and others) who had rules for pregnant women, newborns, the aged, warriors, etc. And bans on foods for certain people. It also strikes me as probable that there've always been picky eaters, voracious eaters of anything, and a wide range of variation in between. It's probably a mistake to assume any culture is monolithic; there might have been a fair amount of within-group variation.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:40 AM

Philosophically, I want to agree with this. When the environmental rubber hits the genetic road (or should that metaphor be the other way around?), though, I think there are speedbumps. Clearly people with different melanin profiles will respond to sunlight differently -- not like different species, but enough to affect individual health. Other variations of practical significance abound: Lactose tolerance. Susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. Fast twitch vs slow twitch. And so on. So tho I LOL'd at the "precious snowflake" dig, I've little doubt genes do matter, as well as personal history.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:27 AM

but is customization "optimal"? I think what many consider customizing is "well I can eat organic dairy without my body protesting too much so what the hey!"...just saying.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:01 AM

hell i think people staying out of the grocery store aisles is the best first rule or idea. a close second is turn the TV off

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on August 20, 2011
at 12:58 AM

there is no 'we'....paleo diet is your diet. it is a one size fits only you. your diet will NOT work for anyone else but you. you figure your diet out by listening to how you feel & react not only to food, but sleep, workouts, people, life, sun etc...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 19, 2011
at 10:04 PM

+1 for the great caricature of a vegan forum.

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 19, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Exactly - the paleo lifestyle is a continually evolving paradigm.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on August 19, 2011
at 07:36 PM

optimal depends upon the organisms epigenomic programming. That is why there is a huge variability

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8 Answers

10
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on August 19, 2011
at 07:41 PM

Paleo is wide open for customization.

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 19, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Exactly - the paleo lifestyle is a continually evolving paradigm.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on August 20, 2011
at 03:08 AM

@Jay: How do you propose testing and defining optimal?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:27 AM

but is customization "optimal"? I think what many consider customizing is "well I can eat organic dairy without my body protesting too much so what the hey!"...just saying.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on August 20, 2011
at 12:27 PM

Optimal is in the eye of the beholder.

6
07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on August 19, 2011
at 07:57 PM

We are? I really hadn't noticed that beyond a few minority (albeit loud) voices. Most of the "paleo" community is, even if it's a relatively new phenomena, pretty vague on what they think EVERYONE needs to do. Sure, you'll here the obvious stuff most people seem to agree on, namely that large doses of PUFA should be avoided, that wheat is probably never a great idea... And obviously no one advocates a whole foods + junk foods diet. But other than a few people who are VERY convinced that say, carbohydrates are bad for everyone, or everyone should avoid dairy, legumes, grains of all kinds, etc.. Most bloggers seem to take the approach of accepting that some people simply do well on certain tweaks, like dairy, high carb, non-gluten grains, zero carb, and fruit.

If you went on a vegan forum and said, "I generally like this diet but when I eat fish I feel and look healthier" people would try to convince you that what you're doing is ridiculous and you should listen and follow the words of your guru because, goddamnit, they're doctors and they know EVERYTHING, see look! THE CHINA STUDY!!! They may or may not throw in a few pictures of fat people eating fish and vegan athletes/bodybuilders.

I don't get that impression here or really anywhere else in paleosphere. And I think if you looked for it, you could easily find blogs about how, say, dairy is great for muscle building, but probably not a great idea if you've got cancer.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 19, 2011
at 10:04 PM

+1 for the great caricature of a vegan forum.

5
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 19, 2011
at 08:30 PM

I would say why would a diet that we have evolved over 100's of thousands of years not be the best/optimal for longevity, et al? This is the lifestyle nature provided for us to give us everything we need. Only humans have the egocentric ability to question what naturally works and think they can do better. If we live the paleo lifestyle there would probably be little need for specific goals, sadly that is not the case.

2
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:53 PM

The main problem with Paleo is that it encompasses such a LONG period of time in our evolutionary history. Humans are so diverse, and come from different climates, that to say that "all starches are bad" "all dairy is bad" "too much fruit is bad" is ludicrous and misleading. At what point does one say, "I'm gonna eat like Grok during the Mousterian Paleolithic period because that's the best way!"

So, while I think it would be best if everyone could eat relative to their genetic background (caucasian, african, arabic, asian, native american, etc), that's idealistic and not likely to happen. I don't believe it's best to cut out so many healthy foods simply because they did not grow on one's particular native continent. Just because I'm a white girl doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't eat plenty of fruits, simply because 15,000 years ago I could only get them in summer and early fall. I live in Florida, this stuff is here year round! You can bet your booty a cavegirl would have taken full advantage of the subtropical bounty.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 19, 2011
at 07:40 PM

Individual diets for individuals. I think, though, that paleo is a good place to start. One can always then dial in specific things (more restrictions on things like nightshades, less restrictions on dairy, etc...)

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:01 AM

hell i think people staying out of the grocery store aisles is the best first rule or idea. a close second is turn the TV off

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:24 AM

As Tyler Durden (spelling from Fight Club enthusiast?) says... You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

In my view we are less different in requirements as a species as many would lead you to believe with talk of biochemical individuality and climate and ancestory and so one. Can you mate with someone? Then you two are of the same species and there should be an optimal diet for that species. If we were not so screwed up in our processing of food we would naturally just eat and not have to think about it. But, we do have individuality. Individual fitness goal, longevity goals, and what not. There has already been discussion of what the super elite give up in long term health for short term glory. These are the actual differences or individual factors in my mind. Well that and how badly off the deep end you are due to the SAD diet you may have previously adopted. Otherwise, there is just a list of foods you can eat as a species and foods you should not.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 20, 2011
at 02:02 AM

I like your responses Rose. And i have to admit i do tend to get caught up in my own philosophy (and Fight Club :). But, in the end I do think that diet is a bit like other things such as sunlight/vitamin D. We all need it, but to varying degrees. We should all eat the same foods, just to varying degrees.... would be how I see it. I can not disagree that personal history would play a HUGE role in your reaction to certain foods though. And not just what you ate prior to paleo, but the pollution in your town,job stress...anything that might compromise an essential body system, ect...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:44 AM

And I also think it's likely that within traditional groups, there were individualized eating patterns. We already know of HGs (and others) who had rules for pregnant women, newborns, the aged, warriors, etc. And bans on foods for certain people. It also strikes me as probable that there've always been picky eaters, voracious eaters of anything, and a wide range of variation in between. It's probably a mistake to assume any culture is monolithic; there might have been a fair amount of within-group variation.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:40 AM

Philosophically, I want to agree with this. When the environmental rubber hits the genetic road (or should that metaphor be the other way around?), though, I think there are speedbumps. Clearly people with different melanin profiles will respond to sunlight differently -- not like different species, but enough to affect individual health. Other variations of practical significance abound: Lactose tolerance. Susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. Fast twitch vs slow twitch. And so on. So tho I LOL'd at the "precious snowflake" dig, I've little doubt genes do matter, as well as personal history.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on August 19, 2011
at 09:59 PM

Paleo is the concept of knowledgably putting food into your mouth. One size can never fit all but through knowledge and our constant questioning of science we can achieve more.

0
Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

on August 20, 2011
at 12:56 AM

For me, paleo is eating in regards to our/your evolutionary history. We can make broad assumptions that everyone here is a Homo sapiens sapiens (except for Stabby), and from that come up with general ideas on optimal diet. The individual then needs to figure out the optimal diet for their evolutionary history, or their genes.

The optimal is going to be different for everyone, since for the most part, everyone has different genes.

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