4

votes

Paleo Summit Hack-a-thon: Mat Lalonde, 2/29

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 29, 2012 at 2:19 AM

What: The Paleo Summit (see also this post)

Who: Mat Lalonde, Ph.D. ??? Research Biochemist, Harvard University

Topic: Invalid Inferences: An Organic Chemist???s Perspective on Paleo. Are common Paleo claims as scientifically valid as we think they are? What does the research really say about antinutrients? Harvard biochemist Mat Lalonde expounds the importance of keeping the Paleo movement credible by ensuring that claims surrounding the diet are scientifically sound.

What did you think of Mat's presentation?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

2 eggs is far from 50g of protein in the AM tho...

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on March 04, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Hmm, a year or so ago, Matt was eating and defending the practice of eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. His diet seems to have radically changed.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 01, 2012
at 05:10 PM

He looked pretty good in the OPT video ... think that was taped late Q4? I think he looks like the love child of Keanu Reeves and Jean-Claude Van Damme ;).

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 01, 2012
at 01:37 PM

ROB I was thinking the same! He is definitely not eating that many calories, I wonder how he is performing or where is strength wise? Is he still as big?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2012
at 03:19 AM

true, but being low carb from high carb is a big change

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 01, 2012
at 01:06 AM

Well, he's showing up at our neighborhood parties, right? So he's a member even if he's ashamed of it. :-))

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on March 01, 2012
at 12:08 AM

one chapter in that "how to" book must be titled "Do actually try." I feel too many people allow fear from past experiences to prevent them from trying something new--of course doing this intelligently will mitigate the unpleasant experiences (and describing how to do that is a task for the scientist.)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 11:32 PM

but he says he's not in the community :)

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:29 PM

It seems like he doesn't eat much but how is he so big. Damn genetics.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:17 PM

And to comment on my comment... he makes a similar point himself (about synthesizing information from different research methods) much further on in the presentation.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:03 PM

LOL, I haven't! Maybe I'll get the opportunity to do so this summer at AHS 2012.

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:35 PM

+1 for the voldemort reference.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Assuming some people have 'evolved' to tolerate them better, do we really know how far along that evolution we are?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Well how do we know grain tolerance follows a normal distribution?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 09:04 PM

the normal distribution makes you go hmm??? why?

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:24 PM

I take it you haven't met many Harvard PhD? ;-)

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:23 PM

I'm an epidemiologist, and I think he slightly mis-interprets population based research. It goes both ways, population research (i.e. good epidemiology) can generate hypotheses. It can also confirm or disprove whether bench science works in real life. For instance, antioxidant supplements look good in vitro, but population studies show that they may actually have a negative overall effect on real people, in the real world. Ideally, we build a scientific understanding by synthesizing good quality, critical research from several research approaches.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 29, 2012
at 05:27 PM

@Beth: I think those sorts of criticisms of logic are valid, but I would also counter that just because gene expression has changed, that doesn't mean it is changed beneficially. I'll say more when I finish watching the talk.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 29, 2012
at 03:50 PM

Until midnight tonight. If you miss it, check out the links in my post below.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:44 PM

Love Mat Lalonde. Can't wait to watch, how long does the video stay up for?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 29, 2012
at 03:08 PM

He thinks epidemiology is just fine for generating hypotheses, but that too often folks make an inappropriate leap from correlation to causation.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Haven't listened to this (yet) or his AHS talk, but it really sounds like he doesn't think much of epidemiology, after all, it's observational science rather than experimental (while chemistry is predominantly experimental in nature). And he's taking the "Robb Wolf" line that the majority are intolerant of grains/legumes. Perhaps in paleo circles this is true (after all, many end up here for that very reason!), but in the population at large I'm not convinced this is the case.

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8 Answers

12
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Like me (and Harris and Richard and Carbsane and lots of us), he doesn't always play nice, but I think his influence is really really important in encouraging scientific rigor and curiosity. I wish he'd write a book. We know paleo can work, science can help us figure out why and knowing why can help us target variations of the diet to individuals. I firmly believe that a successful diet involves acknowledging the normal distribution and trying to "pin the tail on the donkey" to find your place there (or your range dependent on other variables) through self-experimentation and other tools. It's clear he does that in his own life, so he's talking the talk and walking the walk. There needs to be a book on how to do that. I also like that he says we mostly aren't "adapted" to things, rather than that we aren't "designed."

I do differ in opinion in that I tend to think that the sci evidence shows a lot of issues with grains aren't issues with proteins, but issues with carbohydrate malabsorption. But I'm open to both ideas being right.

I also hope Carmody will present at AHS! SHe is great (a student of Richard Wrangham).

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on March 01, 2012
at 12:08 AM

one chapter in that "how to" book must be titled "Do actually try." I feel too many people allow fear from past experiences to prevent them from trying something new--of course doing this intelligently will mitigate the unpleasant experiences (and describing how to do that is a task for the scientist.)

7
65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

on February 29, 2012
at 06:07 PM

Sort of funny how he took the time to trash talk Andrew Badenoch over a months old debate stemming from AHS 2011.

You'd think highschool level antics would be beneath somebody with a doctorate from Harvard, hahah

If nothing else, Paleo is an excellent source of entertaining drama -

  • Robb Wolf vs. Crossfit, Inc.
  • Taubes vs. Guyenet
  • Lalonde vs. Badenoch
  • Anything involving Kruse

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:24 PM

I take it you haven't met many Harvard PhD? ;-)

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:03 PM

LOL, I haven't! Maybe I'll get the opportunity to do so this summer at AHS 2012.

5
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 29, 2012
at 02:35 PM

If you've seen Mat's AHS11 presentation or watched his interview with EvolutionTVOL, there's not much new in this one. His basic issues with paleo claims:

  • Just because our genes are identical to paleolithic man???s does not mean our diet should be identical. How those genes have been expressed (epigenetics) are considerably different today and that makes a difference.

  • Lack of grains/dairy and freedom from diseases of civilization is an observation ??? correlation is not causality.

  • Just because a food wasn???t available before the agricultural age doesn???t mean we???re not able to tolerate that food. Rather ???there???s been insufficient time and insufficient evolutionary pressure for complete adaptation to seed consumption to arise in homo sapiens and as a result, individuals that tolerate grains and legumes should be considered the minority, not the majority.???

One new bit of info in this presentation was Mat's diet. His old diet used to consist of a large Japanese yam for breakfast, meat and veggies (some starchy) for lunch, and a can of sardines after workout. (Wow.)

He changed his diet after he started suffering from low blood sugar before lunch. (Also wow.) His new diet is 2 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, meat and veggies (some starchy) for lunch, and a sweet potato after workout. The deal with the carbs-only dinner is similar to Paul Jaminet's neo-Agutak meal. Providing calories but not protein promotes autophagy.

On the weekend, he eats a pound of bacon or sausage for breakfast with 4 duck eggs with a snack late in the day if necessary. This monster protein/fat load helps (according to Mat) avoid metabolism slow-downs from what is essentially caloric restriction during the week.

Not the approach I would have guessed!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on February 29, 2012
at 03:08 PM

He thinks epidemiology is just fine for generating hypotheses, but that too often folks make an inappropriate leap from correlation to causation.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 29, 2012
at 05:27 PM

@Beth: I think those sorts of criticisms of logic are valid, but I would also counter that just because gene expression has changed, that doesn't mean it is changed beneficially. I'll say more when I finish watching the talk.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:23 PM

I'm an epidemiologist, and I think he slightly mis-interprets population based research. It goes both ways, population research (i.e. good epidemiology) can generate hypotheses. It can also confirm or disprove whether bench science works in real life. For instance, antioxidant supplements look good in vitro, but population studies show that they may actually have a negative overall effect on real people, in the real world. Ideally, we build a scientific understanding by synthesizing good quality, critical research from several research approaches.

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:17 PM

And to comment on my comment... he makes a similar point himself (about synthesizing information from different research methods) much further on in the presentation.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Haven't listened to this (yet) or his AHS talk, but it really sounds like he doesn't think much of epidemiology, after all, it's observational science rather than experimental (while chemistry is predominantly experimental in nature). And he's taking the "Robb Wolf" line that the majority are intolerant of grains/legumes. Perhaps in paleo circles this is true (after all, many end up here for that very reason!), but in the population at large I'm not convinced this is the case.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:29 PM

It seems like he doesn't eat much but how is he so big. Damn genetics.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 01, 2012
at 05:10 PM

He looked pretty good in the OPT video ... think that was taped late Q4? I think he looks like the love child of Keanu Reeves and Jean-Claude Van Damme ;).

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 01, 2012
at 01:37 PM

ROB I was thinking the same! He is definitely not eating that many calories, I wonder how he is performing or where is strength wise? Is he still as big?

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on March 04, 2012
at 12:03 PM

Hmm, a year or so ago, Matt was eating and defending the practice of eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. His diet seems to have radically changed.

4
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:28 PM

Matt's views tweak the Why but not the What. Basically, he reaches the same destination but follows a different path--a more rigorously logical one.

I like his warnings about invalid assumptions and he should be encouraged to blow that horn every time someone interprets science in that manner.

IMO, he's a good man to have around and I'm glad he's in the community.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 11:32 PM

but he says he's not in the community :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 01, 2012
at 01:06 AM

Well, he's showing up at our neighborhood parties, right? So he's a member even if he's ashamed of it. :-))

3
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 29, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I love what he has to say, and am a big fan... but the whole bell curve thing makes me go hmmm.. I thought this after AHS as well. His whole point is to be scientific and research based, but this bell curve simply seems like his hunch.

And btw, his new meal pattern looks a bit like voldemort's leptin reset.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 01, 2012
at 03:19 AM

true, but being low carb from high carb is a big change

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Assuming some people have 'evolved' to tolerate them better, do we really know how far along that evolution we are?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 09:04 PM

the normal distribution makes you go hmm??? why?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

2 eggs is far from 50g of protein in the AM tho...

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Well how do we know grain tolerance follows a normal distribution?

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3

(837)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:35 PM

+1 for the voldemort reference.

1
627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

on February 29, 2012
at 05:30 PM

I have not listened to much of Matt and thus loved this presentation. He seems to be really on top of things. He comes across as a genius for sure and is someone I will continue to learn from.

His weekend breakfasts that include a pound of bacon or sausage are killer.

0
9c4ba98a3b480408bcf207f558fe659b

(355)

on March 01, 2012
at 08:07 AM

I really like Matt and I think he came across better here than anywhere I've seen, though his style has never bothered me.

I hadn't heard his take on phytates before. It is a little at odds with Stephan Guyenet's (who goes to some trouble to avoid it). I would love to hear more about this.

Another nail in the coffin of high-heat cooking? I can add Matt to the list of those who avoid it which includes Stephan Guyenet and Chris Masterjohn.

Matt's own diet is interesting too. It would seem it is low-reward and low-calorie (weekdays anyway).

Also, another win for potatoes! I am now even less worried about alkaloids.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 01, 2012
at 06:57 AM

Great info on fruit. I like what he eats as well.

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