4

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Paleo vs The China Study

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 12, 2012 at 8:16 AM

As someone who has been following the Paleo diet for 1 year, I have some concerns. I guess I've recently realized how confused we are as a society in regards to proper nutrition and dieting. A prime example of this is the Paleo diet vs the diet discussed in The China Study. The China Study promotes a plant based diet and attributes the increase of cancer, heart disease, coronary artery disease, hypertension, etc to the increasing amounts of meat/dairy in our diet. How can two opinions differ so greatly? Also, after reading The China Study I can't help but ask, where is the substantial evidence behind the Paleo diet? Cordain spews off reasons for eating in a Paleo manner yet fails to back up his arguments up with strong evidence. I believe there are some good points the Paleo diet makes such as eating non processed natural foods. And yes, if you are going to eat meat, stick to organic free range etc. But really, eat like our ancestors? Our ancestors didn't have cars or grocery stores. I bet they ate a lot less calories than us in general, were much more active, and probably did not have as easy access to meat as we do. Can you imagine what they had to go through to obtain meat? And how sure are we that increasing our intake of red meat, eggs, coconut oil/milk is safe? I feel as if those of us who are following the Paleo diet are somewhat like Cordain's guinea pigs. Cordain really provides no longitudinal empirical evidence for his diet. The China Study, although not perfect, brings attention to some pretty strong relationships between certain diseases and dietary factors. And I still am not sold on the fact that quinoa and buckwheat are harmful for me to eat. Can anyone provide me with some strong scientific evidence/studies proving this?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:16 PM

Western Salish moved to the points of food concentration to collect either game or vegetation. I have collected both berry baskets and clam baskets. The big, easy to catch fish were at the falls when they were running, the berries and hazelnuts 100 miles away for 1-2 months a year, the wapato and camas 100 miles in another direction for 1-2 months a year, and the clams/crabs/oysters were locally abundant year round with the tides.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:11 PM

In my case it was too much wheat, not wheat itself. I was sick, fat and unhappy with too much; but am healthy, lean and happy with some.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:06 PM

Big Sista (Betty Crocker) Is Watching You.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 11, 2012
at 07:29 AM

I think it's worth noting how hard people cling to bread. Feeling that sort of NEED is probably an indication that the food is having a drug like effect. Some people have that sort of issue with wheat, I know I do. If Paleo turned out bogus and soy was shown to be a great food and rice is a dream and carbs are 1000x better than fats I'd STILL not eat wheat. It makes me sick, fat and unhappy. PERIOD.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 11, 2012
at 07:25 AM

Everything I've heard from Sisson is "Eat food, these are good supplements if you must but I wouldn't bother". He sells them but he doesn't even recommend them. How about Wolf? Harris? How about several thousand success stories? Sheesh

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 11, 2012
at 03:49 AM

@ mzrdnan- have you looked at Mark Sisson's site? He's not trying to sell you a diet pill? No not one, like fifty! ANd Cordain is certainly trying to sell you a book.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on March 13, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Lisa, I don't really know much about breads as such, I just take the grain thing at face value and try to avoid them.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Some will say "no way Jose" on any bread, especially if wheat is in it. It's up to you how important being "Paleo" is, or if you want that stuff as your "20%." (80/20 rule). The argument against grains is partly the inflammatory nature of the grain. If your CRP is good, maybe you didn't break anything yet. Jaminet's work on what humans really evolved eating is quite good, and he says 20% calories from starches by weight, but he is talking about tubers, not grains. In summary, I would avoid the bread if Paleo is important. If you must have it, you already found out the least damaging.

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Yes, I have had my CRP checked and it is normal. What is your opinion on breads with the following ingredients? Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon, organic oatmeal. When I do purchase bread it is usually Manna or Ezekiel and has basic ingredients such as that. Manna bread is salt free, 100% whole grain, high fiber, no flour, salt, fats, or oils. Yeast free, no added sweeteners, and low glycemic index. I always consume grains in the morning if at all, and stick to "Paleo" for my later meals.

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:18 PM

Thank you. I will definitely check out that link. What is your opinion on breads such as Manna bread. I purchased a bread the other day with the following ingredients... Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon, organic oatmeal. I definitely stay away from most "wheat" bread as they are mostly imitations and full of enriched wheat flour and a ton of other undecipherable ingredients

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Thanks! I will definitely be sure to check out these counter arguments!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 12, 2012
at 04:26 PM

Quinoa and buckwheat are not harmful, they're not actually grains but "pseudo grains". You can fermet buckwheat and make great crepes with it.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 12, 2012
at 03:47 PM

Your not someones guinea pig.....you are your own guinea pig :)

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on March 12, 2012
at 03:18 PM

it's hard but at the end of the day, these people aren't selling you a diet pill or anything, they're just trying to guide you to live a more natural lifestyle, but eating more lean meats and vegetables, getting more sleep, and moving slower more often...it's not a fad and it's not really anything like diet shakes or protein bars...I don't think it should be read into too much, just fuel your body properly for its purpose and the rest will take care of itself...but your stomach isn't a trash can and whether you eat more meat or more fruit and veg it must all be better than anything processed!

79b187d791eae49070a90d6ca7ee5547

(125)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Well said. Thanks for responding so well to Lisa's post. I knew as soon as I saw it, that I was bound to answer, as I've been down the same road of logic. Fortunately, I've thoroughly read Denise's great refutations of China Study and Forks Over Knives, as well as the writings of Chris Masterjohn on the topic. The only thing I would add is that Lisa check out the great articles at Westonaprice.org. Sally Fallon Morell has done some terrific work over the years of educating people on the wisdom of traditional and ancestral eating.

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5 Answers

18
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on March 12, 2012
at 08:44 AM

I can provide you with some links to people who have totally ripped apart most of the China Study if that helps you.

http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/

http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/11/28/the-china-study-and-forks-over-knives-links-to-critiques/

There are many more.

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Thanks! I will definitely be sure to check out these counter arguments!

6
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on March 12, 2012
at 10:47 AM

Hi Lisa,

How is the Paleo diet really anything more than eating, vegetables, meat, some nuts, fruit and fats such as coconut oil? How is this diet experimental? The only experimental bit is avoiding things we have added into our diet, i.e. grains, diary and legumes... if we have to soak something and process it so much to to remove toxins and make it palatable, then surely something is not right. If we have to choose, then I say we should aim for those things we could eat raw before cooking them.

Now even though almost all the leading voices in Paleo have already posted many times about the problems with grains, the point still remains even if they are somehow completely wrong. That being that if you are going to choose to eat something, why not eat something that is most nutritionally dense. So if you have to choose between some bread or the potato choose the potato or better kale.

Potato: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2
Bread: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5747/2

Honestly if the Paleo diet appears to us to be very experimental, possibly we are not eating the Paleo diet but some aberration. If the problem is eating red meat, then eat more fish, and if the issue is eating meat then we will have to really be choosy with our protein options. Soy would be pretty silly choice for us.

When the topic of eating comes up then I never say I eat "paleo", I say I try and find the most nutritional choices I can and put them in my mouth. Coupled with eating for a purpose, i.e. increasing calories on workout days, avoiding things that cause inflammation which appear to be cultivated grains which are not so much an issue if I stick to choosing higher nutrition over starchy bulk.

Although enough of my rambling bumph, in terms of a direct answer to your question: http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/ really would be the best place to start reading.

But simply if you feel you are being experimented on then what would the alternative be? If it is eating brown rice as the sole source of protein, so be it, and if it is rice and fish and vegetables then so be it. The root issue against meat I believe is blood aversion, and though this should never be minimised, if meat grew on trees I do not think we would be having this conversation. :)

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:18 PM

Thank you. I will definitely check out that link. What is your opinion on breads such as Manna bread. I purchased a bread the other day with the following ingredients... Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon, organic oatmeal. I definitely stay away from most "wheat" bread as they are mostly imitations and full of enriched wheat flour and a ton of other undecipherable ingredients

79b187d791eae49070a90d6ca7ee5547

(125)

on March 12, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Well said. Thanks for responding so well to Lisa's post. I knew as soon as I saw it, that I was bound to answer, as I've been down the same road of logic. Fortunately, I've thoroughly read Denise's great refutations of China Study and Forks Over Knives, as well as the writings of Chris Masterjohn on the topic. The only thing I would add is that Lisa check out the great articles at Westonaprice.org. Sally Fallon Morell has done some terrific work over the years of educating people on the wisdom of traditional and ancestral eating.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on March 13, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Lisa, I don't really know much about breads as such, I just take the grain thing at face value and try to avoid them.

5
Eb5ad630bb366c5f7dcf656810aa3f95

(506)

on March 12, 2012
at 09:42 AM

Yeah, the clever Denise Minger (such an ironic name for a pretty lady) did a fairly good number on the China Study at the link above.

But this is something I occasionally think about, and regularly come to this conclusion: you are SOMEONE'S guinea pig, however you eat! Ultimately, people may disparage the paleo diet as unconventional, unproven, "wacky" - but how much comeback do you get with anyone else either? Are the people dying of heart attacks able to go back in time and sue their family doctors, dieticians and governments for giving out crappy advice? Do you hear of type 2 diabetics getting compensation for their poor blood sugars and progression to insulin dependence despite following the official advice?

I know what you mean - sometimes it is scary to think "I'm trusting my health to a slightly strange bunch of bloggers", but then, who is making the most money from their advice? Is it Art Ayers, Kurt Harris, Peter Dobromylskij, Matt Lalonde - all guys waaaay cleverer than me who have looked at the research and come to largely the same conclusion? Or is it the guys doing everything they can to keep people buying statins?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 12, 2012
at 03:47 PM

Your not someones guinea pig.....you are your own guinea pig :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:06 PM

Big Sista (Betty Crocker) Is Watching You.

3
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 12, 2012
at 12:45 PM

Winger nuked The China Study back to the stone ages.

Jaminet et al have done excellent work in determining what the "natural state" diet is for humans, based on several approaches and I think it's reliable and workable for a healthy human now, and you adjust for health concerns from there.

Arrow and spearheads appear about a million years before beer cans (and wheat cultivation). People figured out how to get meat a long, long time ago and they didn't need an SUV trip to Slackmart.

I doubt you will keel over and get sick if you have a little quinoa and buckwheat. I wouldn't try to live off it. The way to really know is get CRP checked when you see the dr and watch inflammation. If it stays low, why worry?

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Some will say "no way Jose" on any bread, especially if wheat is in it. It's up to you how important being "Paleo" is, or if you want that stuff as your "20%." (80/20 rule). The argument against grains is partly the inflammatory nature of the grain. If your CRP is good, maybe you didn't break anything yet. Jaminet's work on what humans really evolved eating is quite good, and he says 20% calories from starches by weight, but he is talking about tubers, not grains. In summary, I would avoid the bread if Paleo is important. If you must have it, you already found out the least damaging.

Bfbbc73968276acf826fa5303bbe7612

(23)

on March 12, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Yes, I have had my CRP checked and it is normal. What is your opinion on breads with the following ingredients? Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon, organic oatmeal. When I do purchase bread it is usually Manna or Ezekiel and has basic ingredients such as that. Manna bread is salt free, 100% whole grain, high fiber, no flour, salt, fats, or oils. Yeast free, no added sweeteners, and low glycemic index. I always consume grains in the morning if at all, and stick to "Paleo" for my later meals.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 11, 2012
at 07:29 AM

I think it's worth noting how hard people cling to bread. Feeling that sort of NEED is probably an indication that the food is having a drug like effect. Some people have that sort of issue with wheat, I know I do. If Paleo turned out bogus and soy was shown to be a great food and rice is a dream and carbs are 1000x better than fats I'd STILL not eat wheat. It makes me sick, fat and unhappy. PERIOD.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:11 PM

In my case it was too much wheat, not wheat itself. I was sick, fat and unhappy with too much; but am healthy, lean and happy with some.

1
E8625b8af639c7a1c66cf6987ee32dde

on January 21, 2013
at 07:23 PM

I wonder if you sent 5 men hunting and 5 women foraging in an uncultivated landscape for 5 hours who would come back with the most calories. My inclination is to believe that meat was much more available than other foods. Roots require finding each plant and digging up each root, there wouldn't be groves and neat rows of plentiful plants, greens would be foraged one handful at a time. On the other hand I feel like 5 men with spears, arrows or a net can come up with something fairly quickly - they may have to wait a little longer to bag that duck or dear or fish but in the end I think the hunting wins out. Having grown up in Hawaii I have done both and they are both difficult and time consuming but a big fish was much more satisfying than a handful of guava. That being said I am still new to this diet (although already seeing great results) and I am also curious about the necessity of cutting out rice or sprouted grains. However, I don't trust any studies anymore I only trust what makes sense to me and what my body says feels good.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:16 PM

Western Salish moved to the points of food concentration to collect either game or vegetation. I have collected both berry baskets and clam baskets. The big, easy to catch fish were at the falls when they were running, the berries and hazelnuts 100 miles away for 1-2 months a year, the wapato and camas 100 miles in another direction for 1-2 months a year, and the clams/crabs/oysters were locally abundant year round with the tides.

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