The Paleo Diet: Caveman Cure-All or Unhealthy Fad?, my latest article for The Atlantic, is online now. I was expecting to write a more balanced thing, but working through it, my conclusion sort of shifted towards the negative.

Posted: Wednesday July 27, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Categories: Meta · Comment feed: RSS, atom

 

Comment

  1. CB    Jul 27, 02:56 PM #  

    Eat lots of plants, very occasionally some high protein. ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ (available on streaming Netflix) gets it about right.



  2. Andrew    Jul 27, 03:29 PM #  

    You may want to read ‘Why We Get Fat’ by Gary Taubes or many other books that explain the health effects of refined carbs before making flip statements such as:

    ‘But if there’s a charge to be levied against carbohydrate-heavy foods like bread and pasta, it’s that they make it easy for us to eat way too much, not that they’re bad in and of themselves.’

    Unless you are a nutrition expert it is difficult to understand why you would be hired to write an evaluation of diets. And if you are a nutrition expert, it would be hard to imagine you wouldn’t know anything about the research on carbs and insulin resistance. At very least you would understand how quickly refined carbs are converted to sugar, which you are willing to concede may have its issues.



  3. NicFitKid    Jul 27, 05:25 PM #  

    Paleos kinda sound like the Straight Edgers of the diet-conscious community.

    Maybe for a truly hard-core Paleo diet, only eat what you can hunt, catch, gather or garden (no food purchases allowed), and do it all on foot. Combines locavore, exercise, and scarcity all in one go.

    There’s probably somebody out there already doing this, most likely with a twitter feed or something.



  4. Dennis Morrow    Jul 28, 08:58 AM #  

    Your article in the Atlantic stated that there are no “truly” long-term studies of the low carb diet. I guess truly long-term might mean many years, but you must know there are quite a few low-carb diet studies of six months – one year, that all came to positive conclusions about weight loss as well as reduction in cholesterol and overall health benefits.

    Your statement: “Paleolithic diets surely varied by region, but mostly they probably consisted of a few staple foods, with periods of abundance and not infrequent periods of scarcity.” The fact that Paleo man ate less quantity and sometimes were close to starvation may have its own inferences related to health, but that statement only reinforces the paleo principle that for hundreds of thousands of years early man had a fairly specific diet, and therefore our body processes those foods best. The Paleo diet doesn’t recommend living like a cave man, only drawing from the same food types as paleo man for a diet program. Your statement actually supports that conclusion.



  5. Squathole    Jul 28, 10:48 AM #  

    I don’t doubt this diet works well for some people and not others, for all sorts of reasons, and under widely differing circumstances relevant to those individuals’ genetics, lifestyles, tastes, habits, mental conditions, etc. I’m confident of this because it’s true of all diets. There’s people out there who swear by spring water and lettuce leaves, and others who do best when they’re chewing bloody meat twice daily.

    We’re all working with the same basic digestive mechanics, but we all function very differently on the fuel we ingest.

    Oops. Gotta go (get it?).



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