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Paleo for Everyone, All the Time, for Universal Health Improvement

I noted this a few days back, here. And now Stephan-the-Great has really done a wonderful and fascinating job interpreting the whole deal. Read the whole thing, please, but here's the punchline.

On to the results. Participants, on average, saw large improvements in nearly every meaningful measure of health in just 10 days on the "paleolithic" diet. Remember, these people were supposedly healthy to begin with. Total cholesterol and LDL dropped, if you care about that. Triglycerides decreased by 35%. Fasting insulin plummeted by 68%. HOMA-IR, a measure of insulin resistance, decreased by 72%. Blood pressure decreased and blood vessel distensibility (a measure of vessel elasticity) increased. It's interesting to note that measures of glucose metabolism improved dramatically despite no change in carbohydrate intake. Some of these results were statistically significant, but not all of them. However, the authors note that:

In all these measured variables, either eight or all nine participants had identical directional responses when switched to paleolithic type diet, that is, near consistently improved status of circulatory, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism/physiology.

Translation: everyone improved. That's a very meaningful point, because even if the average improves, in many studies a certain percentage of people get worse. This study adds to the evidence that no matter what your gender or genetic background, a diet roughly consistent with our evolutionary past can bring major health benefits. Here's another way to say it: ditching certain modern foods can be immensely beneficial to health, even in people who already appear healthy. This is true regardless of whether or not one loses weight.

This solidifies my thinking along several lines:

  1. It's not about weight / fat loss, primarily (these study participants were overfed to keep them from losing weight during the study).
  2. It's not about carbohydrate within reason (they kept the same carb ingestion levels as before).
  3. It is all about Real Food all the time. Just dump the shit. Eliminate all grains, all legumes, all sugar, all processed vegetable oils, and all products derived therefrom. Eat as much as you want of the following: natural fats (animal, olive, avocado, coconut), meat / fowl / seafood, vegetables (starchy ones within reason), fruits (focus on berries), and nuts (peanuts aren't nuts).

It is so simple, so enjoyable, you'll feel better than you can remember in your entire life, and it works 100% of the time for 100% of the people.

Shit: Don't. Eat. It.

Later: I see Dr. Eades has a post on it, too.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

4 Comments

  1. Paleo Newbie on February 23, 2009 at 13:24

    Am I doing something wrong? So I have logged all my foods and calories on an online calorie tracker and I am averaging only 1100 kcals a day! This cannot be healthy. I have tried to follow meats, veggies, fruits and nuts but I cannot even come close to what I think I need (I am male, 5'9'', 193 lbs). I do moderate intensity split style weight training 3 days a week ~45mins, interval training 2 days a week ~30mins. Here is a breakdown of what I approximately eat:

    Breakfast
    Coffee with 1tbsp cream
    2-3 patties turkey sausage

    Lunch
    1 6oz chicken breast(or 8 oz chuck tuna) and salad
    apple
    serving of almonds

    Dinner
    Fish or chicken or steak 2 sides of fresh veggies
    small side salad.

    There is an extremely large void where the refined carbs used to be. My wife and I are wary of adding sat fats. Does this look anywhere reasonable?

  2. Dan Bartlett on February 23, 2009 at 13:45

    I eat a WAPF style diet, which emphasises healthy animal fats and nutrient dense whole foods (some grains etc, but soaked/sprouted/leavened). The WAPF website is excellent, and has lots of information regarding the truth about saturated fats. Here's a great place to start

    Sally Fallon (the main person behind the WAPF) encourages putting enough (pasture-fed!) butter on bread so that you can see your teeth marks in it when you bite through!

  3. Dan Bartlett on February 23, 2009 at 13:47

    She also wrote a good critique of the Paleo diet book that may interest you:

  4. Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2009 at 14:02

    Sorry it took so long.

    I believe you said you were losing weight before, right? If so, have you accounted for those calories? You know, whether you like it or not, if you're losing fat, then you ARE on a high (saturated) fat diet by means of your own adipose tissue. Are you concerned about all the fat coming out of your cells and clogging your arteries?

    https://freetheanimal.com/root/2008/12/all-diets-are-high-fat-diets.html

    Other than that, I assume you're only eating 1100 because you're not hungry for more? If you're hungry, why not eat a bit more.

    Also, have you compared the nutritional breakdown of what you're eating with what you used to eat? Like this:

    https://freetheanimal.com/root/2009/01/vitamin-supplements-part-three.html

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