[ExI] pale diet again: RE: It's not only the fittest who survive.

Harvey Newstrom mail at harveynewstrom.com
Sun Apr 17 02:58:13 UTC 2011

Max More <max at maxmore.com> wrote,
> There are a range of opinions about this in the paleo community. As a
> 30-year advocate of low-fat eating, I have made a huge shift in deciding
> that animal fats are not a bad thing (so long as they are not combined with
> high levels of carbohydrates).

I personally don't believe in low-carb.  Almost everything bad about
carbs is skewed toward sugar and short-chain quickly digested carbs. 
That is, foods with a high glycemic load.  Longer-chain carbs that are
digested slowly seem a lot safer and healther.  That is, foods with a
low glycemic load.  So instead of being "low-carb", I try to be
"slow-carb".  But in my opinion, the human mitochondria and human brain
seem to efficient at utilizing carbs to eliminate them as totally
unnecessary.  I think we are too efficient and need to slow down and
temper our carb intake, but I still see it as a primary energy source. 

I also still think saturated fats are bad.  But I temper this opinion
with the knowledge that mammals create our own saturated fat.  Even if I
don't supplement my diet with extra saturated fat, my body will make its
own, and I still get plenty in the modern American diet even if I don't
want it.  However, the body needs a lot of essential fatty acids, even
if I want to avoid saturated fat.  So in the realm of fat, I am not
"low-fat".  I am "unsaturated-fat".

I think both "low-fat" and "low-carb" are confusing terms and don't
distinguish between good carbs and fats versus bad carbs and fats.  And
studies that look at "low-fat" and "low-carb" versus "high-fat" and
"high-carb" also are of little use if they don't distinguish between. 
So a high saturated fat diet of meat would be lumped with a high
olive-oil diet in statistical analysis of "high-fat" diets, and the
conclusions would be unclear about what to eat.  The same is true with
"high-carb" diets of pure sugar lumped with whole grains as if they are
similar diets.  So again, I think the studies are hard to interpret. 
(Old cholesterol studies have the same problem, not distinguishing
between "good" HDL and "bad" LDL cholesterol.  A study of
"high-cholesterol" isn't clear what they raised or lowered compared to
the control group.)

So for me, as I said in another post, I like to be more specific as to
which macronutrients I want to minimize or maximize for my diet.  And
then I choose foods related to those.  It is less important to me
whether they are meat-based or veggie-based.

My current dietary evolution is toward:
- more mono-unsaturated fats, same poly-unsaturated fats, less saturated
- more fiber, more long-chain carbs/whole grains, less short-chain
- more protein

> Have you read[....]

I have not read these source  A very quick (and unfair) review seems to
show that they present ideas I have already seen before as I studied
these dietary issues.  So I do not expect them to change my mind, to be
honest.  But I want to take more time to look at these and become more
knowledgeable about them.

I don't want to step on anybody's toes, but thus far, I am not convinced
that Paleos ate "low-carb".  Evidence for grain use is admittedly weak,
but that could easily be because grains don't survive archaeological
timeframes as easily as animal bones.  And I certainly don't believe in
a vegetarian primative civilization as some have imagined.

> > I also doubt the lack of grains in the diet.  Archeological evidence
> > shows that grains were routinely gathered and used in paleo times.
> That contradicts everything I've seen. I'd be interested in the evidence
> that you mention. We had this discussion a few months back. The skeptics of
> paleo could only come up with rather weak evidence of apparently rare
> consumption of any kind of grains.

- Gorham Cave in Gibraltar contained fossilized grains in the habitat
and feces of Neanderthals from 40,000 years ago. 

- Shanidar Cave in Iraq and Spy Cave in Belgium contained Neanderthal
fossils with tooth tartar containing plants, legumes, and grains.  They
prove that the foods were cooked by Neanderthals.  And they chose
multi-latitudinal sites to demonstrate the use of cooked grains as a
wide-spread phenomenon. 

- A supporting pdf shows pictures and catalogs a dozen different starch
grains found that were used to prove that the grains were cooked by

> Whatever our differences on these issues, can I assume that you would agree
> that the vast increase in consumption over the last few decades of refined
> carbohydrates -- especially high-fructose corn syrup -- is a very bad thing
> for health?

Oh, very definitely!  I totally agree with this.  I am very much trying
to eat much lower on the glycemic index.  But in keeping with the above
evidence of a Paleo diet, I am including whole grains in my
lower-glycemic diet.

Harvey Newstrom, Security Consultant, <www.HarveyNewstrom.com>

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