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longevity and Paleo

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 19, 2011 at 6:04 PM

As you know I am convinced of the many health benefits of Paleo diet, regarding weight, vitality, cardiovascular health, etc. There are important studies on people following natural, paleo diets that enjoyed this type of excellent health, some of these studies going as far back as the one of Weston Price. On the other hand the 20th century remaining hunter gatherers were mostly living in marginal parts of Africa, the Amazone or the Arctic, and then it is no wonder that most of them did not enjoy great longevity, since they lacked access to many of the benefits of modern science (say antibiotics, for instance). The peoples with the largest longevity on Earth were mostly healthy agriculturalist or at least "neolithic" people as the ones in Okinawa or the island of Crete. My question is: what do you think of the impact of Paleo diet on longevity and whether you know of any serious, relevant scientific study showing evidence of increased longevity from (some type of) Paleo diet?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:55 AM

I respect your opinion about animal products and longevity, but citing the health of three of your grandparents seems a bit odd since I just saw another question where you said "anecdotal evidence is not "evidence." It is incredibly small scale, uncontrolled, and nearly impossibly to measure any variability". Just sayin'...

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:54 AM

I respect your opinion about animal products and longevity, but citing three of your grandparents health seems a bit odd since I just saw another question where you said "anecdotal evidence is not "evidence." It is incredibly small scale, uncontrolled, and nearly impossibly to measure any variability".

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 11, 2013
at 04:27 PM

The cover of her book is hilariously Photoshopped.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 11, 2013
at 04:26 PM

@SUSTAINEDfitness, you are an extreme outlier in terms of activity levels. The average desk dweller who runs and lifts a couple days a week does not need 100s of grams of protein, or 1000s of calories.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 03:36 PM

1500 kcal per day in meat is nowhere near enough to sustain an active person.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Very well said, Sean!

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:58 PM

I could eat hotdogs everyday and call it a meat centered diet also. Go troll somewhere else.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:57 PM

If they have kidney disorder, they are already having a negative outcome without paleo.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Yep, calorie restriction equals a long miserable life.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:56 PM

So true. There is a ton of evidence that living a calorie restriction diet can increase longevity, but then you just live a long miserable life.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on April 24, 2013
at 01:46 PM

Only if they don't drink enough water.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 19, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Regarding caloric restriction: http://www.physorg.com/news151928423.html

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on January 19, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Travis I agree with your view 100% as a way to go, but my question is whether there are existing studies that show benefits in terms of longevity

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:09 PM

A PubMed and ISI Web of Knoweldge search for "longevitiy AND paleolithic diet" turned up nothing. You are right that without prospective rigorous trials we are just speculating. Because those studies require broad institutional support, I wouldn't hold my breath. It's something like the evidence needed to find it requires the support that finding it would give. (Disclosure: I do biomedical research for a medical school and thus may be more jaded than most.)

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9 Answers

8
Medium avatar

on January 19, 2011
at 07:13 PM

I think a sound approach is to attack this question from the other direction and simply take the things we know cause damage to our health from the standard western diets and remove them. If you do this, you end up with the paleo diet, even if you are completely unaware of it as such.

I'm of the opinion that a combination of what was good from the paleolithic lifestyle with what is good from modernity will result in some surprising longevities, the likes of which we have probably never seen on Earth. I'm banking on it.

Just look both ways when you cross the street.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on January 19, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Travis I agree with your view 100% as a way to go, but my question is whether there are existing studies that show benefits in terms of longevity

7
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on April 24, 2013
at 01:14 PM

Longevity is a good question, but I'm not sure if it's the most important thing. I've stopped saying that I'm going to live longer on this diet because I may or may not. What I'm going for is "healthspan." I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I'm tired of hearing anectdotal evidence of someone's grandma who smoked for 60 years and ate cake for breakfast everyday and live to be 85. Did she spend the last 20 of them in and out of the hospital? Was she able to go anywhere without an electric wheelchair?

Maybe I'll live to be 90 just like a SAD eater, but I'll be running on the beach, making love, and eating bacon up to the end.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:56 PM

So true. There is a ton of evidence that living a calorie restriction diet can increase longevity, but then you just live a long miserable life.

4
B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on August 11, 2013
at 01:12 PM

No study with specifics on my radar, but i'll say I'm with Anon.

I want a life filled with activity, experience, and travel.

I want 80 years of quality over 100 years of cleanses, fasts, and green drinks.

I want to eat food with my family and i would rather just skip the dinner roll, then roll to Christmas dinner with jar of "super foods"

Some people live to eat and die, others eat to not die and obsess.

I am trying to be a third kind, the eat and live kind.

Quality over Quantity right

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Very well said, Sean!

2
5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

on January 19, 2011
at 08:46 PM

Travis makes a good point.

Some people also believe that caloric restriction with optimal nutrition is a life-extender that has scientific backing, and that intermittent fasting can confer some of the same benefits as caloric restriction.

"My question is: what do you think of the impact of Paleo diet on longevity and whether you know of any serious, relevant scientific study showing evidence of increased longevity from (some type of) Paleo diet?"

I do not know of any such studies, but my thoughts are that this type of eating trumps the standard diet and would in fact prove to increase longevity as compared to people eating a standard diet.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on January 19, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Regarding caloric restriction: http://www.physorg.com/news151928423.html

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Yep, calorie restriction equals a long miserable life.

1
E445f5dad18a9b92e0e3e3a80d94d005

on April 24, 2013
at 01:53 PM

Anon. That's probably the best post I've ever regarding this lifestyle. Couldn't agree with you more!

0
A6b7afacdb512b861716bca9e9226ad3

(333)

on August 11, 2013
at 04:09 PM

http://christinecronau.com/

Her book goes into the studies of health of various parts of the world on HFLC diets, if I recall correctly.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 11, 2013
at 04:27 PM

The cover of her book is hilariously Photoshopped.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on August 11, 2013
at 03:33 PM

A N=5 "study" comes from the Blue Zone book. It is noted that

1) all those populations are in agricultural zones 8-11 (that means sunshine, continuous crops, outdoors living) 2) they all eat large amounts of vegetables and not a lot of meat, although for the one that I know intimately I found gross, vegetarian-oriented misrepresentations. They all have gardens 3) shockingly, all three island populations minimize fish consumption, preferring instead pork and chickens (all three), and sheep dairy or processed soybeans (tofu and natto).

It would be good to define paleo. If it means eating 1500+ calories a day in meat, there is probably no longevity correlation, even if the meat is grass fed. It is just too much protein load and not enough potassium, Vit. C, and other nutrients.

Honestly, I pay little attention to studies and a lot of attention to ethnic studies. Why should one believe a word of what these people (nutritionists) say, after all they have done for decades. They got my father, a healthy and strong 65 years old through 5 years of margarine and then five years of corn oil, to lower his 210 cholesterol. His brain and optical nerves did not take that.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 03:36 PM

1500 kcal per day in meat is nowhere near enough to sustain an active person.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on August 11, 2013
at 04:26 PM

@SUSTAINEDfitness, you are an extreme outlier in terms of activity levels. The average desk dweller who runs and lifts a couple days a week does not need 100s of grams of protein, or 1000s of calories.

-1
F95ed4d018c1fa77065291db96d5d9f2

on August 11, 2013
at 05:15 AM

I am not sure if eating paleo is the answer. I watched my grandfather die a miserable death due to heart disease, my grandmother has altzheimers and my father just suffered from a severe hemmoragic stroke. All three of them ate a diet very heavily centered on animal products. I think that animal products should be eaten as a condiment no more than 2X a week. Check out dr. Joel fuhrman's book Eat to Live.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:55 AM

I respect your opinion about animal products and longevity, but citing the health of three of your grandparents seems a bit odd since I just saw another question where you said "anecdotal evidence is not "evidence." It is incredibly small scale, uncontrolled, and nearly impossibly to measure any variability". Just sayin'...

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:58 PM

I could eat hotdogs everyday and call it a meat centered diet also. Go troll somewhere else.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:54 AM

I respect your opinion about animal products and longevity, but citing three of your grandparents health seems a bit odd since I just saw another question where you said "anecdotal evidence is not "evidence." It is incredibly small scale, uncontrolled, and nearly impossibly to measure any variability".

-1
C15a8628c4ac63808bc431e266c5cc27

on April 24, 2013
at 12:49 PM

I am concerned that the Paleo Diet might have negative outcome or longevity for people with kidney disorder.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on April 24, 2013
at 01:46 PM

Only if they don't drink enough water.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 11, 2013
at 01:57 PM

If they have kidney disorder, they are already having a negative outcome without paleo.

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