Is Paleo Literal, or Mythology?

You don’t have to believe in Santa to enjoy Christmas

A couple of weeks back, one of my posts hit Lyle McDonald’s Monkey Island Forum ("The Mean Forum"). Unless you have a thick skin, you "paleotards" probably want to avoid getting involved — though it has pretty much died out by now.

Lyle asked some questions which imply some decent criticisms, so I thought it might be a good idea to address them; more so for the sake of new paleotards than us tried & true, old hand paleotards.

I just got back from dinner, OK? So I started with an attempt to eat my bodyweight in protein. I choose from the real food groups: steak, chicken, scallops, some other fish. I think something else.

Then I had a big salad. Most of the different veggies.

Now, I did have some COMMERCIAL SALAD DRESSING which I’m quite sure had some HFCS in it. I also had a couple of pieces of fresh pineapple which also increased my fructose load.

Then, at the end, called by the siren of the modern world, I ate a roll. A yeasty, doughy, grainy roll.

My question for the paleo guys: between the HFCS and grains should I expect death quickly or slow and painfully? Will I have diabetes tomorrow? What about the metabolic syndrome?

And since we’re talking about being metabolically paleo, more questions for iceguy and Valtor? Did you go forage for 3-4 hours today? And yesterday and every day before that? Or were you too busy looking foolish here and blogging about what an asshole I am? Because I think that sitting in front of your Ipad blogging for hours a day is very paleo metabolically. Oh wait.

He starts off pretty sarcastic, eh? Have patience, there’s some things that ought to be dealt with.

While we’re at it, if you guys want to be truly paleo metabolically, have you looked into malaria? What about PEM? Because both are endemic among the remaining H-G tribes? Do you go without food (save maybe the fruits/vegetables your 14 year old wife was able to gather) for days at a time for lack of a kill? What about starving for weeks on end when food isn’t available? Or do you just bop down to Whole Foods for that paleo-accurate grass fed beef and a big old cup of smug superiority?

Just curious how hardcore you guys really are.

So let’s get started. How hardcore? On a scale of a true paleo existence, probably not even 10% all things considered and if we’re being honest about it.

But then let’s admit this: fasting has profound metabolic (and likely health) effects. While most don’t do it chronically, most do it episodically. I fast daily at least 12 hours and extend that to 18-30 hours 1-2 times per week. I’ve gone as much as 48 and I’m interested in the idea of a yearly or semi-annual extended fast for up to a week. Haven’t done it, yet. It remains, however, a possibility.

Or or you willing to admit that, like the religious twats who take the bits of the Bible they like and ignore the rest, you’re just picking and choosing the easy shit and then pretending that you’re anything but a bunch of hypocrite posers?

I look forwards to your elucidation of this issue for me, thanks and have an ice day.

The "an ice day" is reference to one of my sign-offs in a previous post to Lyle.

But there is a point and it’s this: do you enjoy Christmas because it’s fun, family, warmth; you get it and, it’s all socially healthy — or do you really believe in Santa Clause…like…literally? Well, "Grok" is just the paleo version of Santa.

We’re getting the benefit of a mythology we’ve created for our own convenience. Now, in the case of a paleo-styled life, there’s a scientific basis. The idea is to take the good stuff and leave the bad (like, can we get off the "caveman" archetype, please?), and then combine it with the convenience of a modern civilization. We’re just stacking the deck in our favor.

No, HFCS isn’t going to kill you, Lyle (little difference from plain sugar and bad enough as that goes), and most of us have some fruit. Here’s a novel idea. Eat some fruit in warm months, tubers in cold months? Would that be paleo-retarded? Perhaps it’s fine to eat both year round, but is is it going to hurt, doing it that way?

And incidentally, I’m not just being a facetious asshole with some of the above questions (just mostly a facetious asshole). I’ve noticed, that like all good religious believers, the paleo guys like to pick and choose. So when someone like Valtor says ‘Oh, we’re just trying to be metabolically like caveman’, I feel it necessary to point out that the diet was only a part of the whole picture. Of course it’s the part of the picture that is easiest to fake in the modern western world.

So, see? There’s some sincerity and that’s essentially why I decided to do this. And, by the way? If you’re going to be an asshole — like Lyle & I — just fuckin’ admit it. Get it over with. You’ll thank yourself later. I hate liars and posers far more than assholes I have issues with.

At the very least, in our evolutionary past there was:

Lots of daily activity (and much of the paleocult ideas about exercise in our past is humorously wrong; we are not sprinters for example).

But we can sprint (how did that happen, outta the blue?). Do you deny that it affords no benefit, to sprint? I do it infrequently, myself, but I can’t deny the long-lasting well-being and muscle expression when I do, since I personally begin to get muscle tight all over and love doing isometrics. Same thing when I drink a bit too much whiskey — serious, I’d love an explanation for that one.

Intermittent food supply (this is sometimes debated in the literature but odds are it went on); we know from the IF and CR literature that this has profound metabolic effects.

Now you’ve hit my sweet spot. I think episodic or intermittent fasting is just the bomb; I’ve been big into it for a couple of years and have done lots of self experimenting instead of relying on research around people I don’t know or trust. My very first fast was 30 hours and I did a 30 minute high volume workout at 24 hours in. It was a profound experience that I’ve been repeating ever since, in various forms. At one point, I wanted to test the idea that one might go hypoglycemic — since that’s what animals always do when they hunt, because they’re fucking hungry — So I did. 80s fasting before the workout, 105 after. I’ve repeated it. Gluconeogenesis. It really works. Why might that be?

OK, he writes some other stuff but let’s make this readable. It’s just more of the same. But then the standard objection.

…Of course there is also the short average lifespan. When 25 is middle aged and 40 is decrepit, a whole host of diseases don’t show up b/c you die before they can occur. In fact, I’ve suggested that most of the paleo guys do that: fuck off and die when they turn 40. That’s paleo!

Setting aside the facetiousness he’s already admitted to, this is simply ignorance, perhaps excusable because it’s so pussy easy & prevalent. So I’ll just give links, ’cause I’m getting tired.

Hey Lyle: go ahead and work out the menopause deal in the context of evolution and longevity, unless, of course, you’re one of those "religious twats" who think we dropped outta the sky some  6,000 years ago.

[Some more of the same ranting.]

Make no mistake, I firmly agree that there are things to be learned from studying our evolutionary past. But Cordain and the rest are falling into the trap of a self-perpetuating ideology/cult/religion.

And that’s paleobullshit, my friend. The worst kind.

Here’s why you think that, Lyle, and I’m only making the effort because I get your central or essential objection: it’s a myth, man. paleo is Kitava to Inuit, 70% starch carb to about 2% carb, and everything in between.

This is merely — or it should & ought to be — a framework for each individual to figure out what works best for them, within the context of Real Foods.

Yes, in the end, that’s all it’s about. Let people quibble over nightshades & tubers & carb levels. If they’re eating real, whole foods, let them have their Grok-Santa. You’re attacking a red-clad straw man, Lyle. Or, let me put it this way: knowing they’ll eventually understand, how much sense does it make to assault kids enamored of the literal vision of him?

We’re onto something good here, Lyle. Maybe not perfect in the scathing light of scientific inquiry, but have you taken a look around, lately? How much stupidity do you see? And now there are people from all walks spouting evolutionary doctrine, albeit imperfectly and perhaps exuberantly too literally. That’s the way I’d expect a good thing to go, in the beginning.

You might think to thank your lucky stars.

And have an ice day.

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


  1. Brett Legree on February 20, 2010 at 05:35

    That was fucking awesome.

    Just thought you needed to know that…

  2. Ryon Day on February 20, 2010 at 09:54


    There certainly are those in the paleo/primal nutrition movement that subscribe to some sort of neo-Rousseauian “noble savage” myth. However, I find most of us are pragmatic and implement the principles and theories of the diet in an evenhanded, logical fashion. People like McDonald and to some extent Aragon force the issue into a bifurcation, accusing people who eat paleo of having eating disorders and being hypocrites for using cell phones and automobiles.

    It is most disappointing to see intelligent, articulate luminaries (I subscribe to McDonald’s RSS feed and really love his work) rely on tired old canards, ad hominems, and intellectual dishonesty to… do what productive exactly?

    • Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 15:24

      @Ryon Day


    • Webster Webski on February 20, 2010 at 16:14

      Just yesterday read a pro-fructose post by Aragon of Men’s Health fame.. A very scientific (“fair and balanced”) treatise along the lines that modern fruits bread for max sugar won’t kill ya and so fructose is not a poison (and therefore mainlining HFCS must be okay then)… But then again, the guy’s not embarrassed one bit of being an editor for Men’s Health, for chrissake. He actually uses the word “food discrimination” in all seriousness, what an asshole. Somehow it was okay for BS media like MH to “discriminate” against saturated fat for all these years, but as soon as something like fructose or cheap shitty carbs get similar treatment (based on a much more solid evidence), it all of a sudden becomes an issue and the bitch is complaining about discrimination.

      • Michael on February 20, 2010 at 16:49

        Is that the post where he is critiquing Lustig’s video? I actually thought he did an okay good job with his comments. I like Lustig but he made a few intemperate and equivocal statements in the video that left him open to Aragon’s critique.

        The problem, in my opinion, was not so much the video (although I’m sure Aragon would disagree) but Lustig’s attempted defense in the combox. He could have easily deflated the whole thing by saying “yeah, I blew it on a couple of points” since none of those points diminished his overall message. Instead he came across as an MD in love with his credentials who couldn’t bother to be questioned by the hoi polloi. Lot of that going around these days.

        I’m not sure they disagree all that much on the narrow issue of the quantity of fructose, although they apparently do disagree on its contextual effects. Lustig does believe that the harm of fructose is dose dependent. He does believe fruit is okay (at least that is what he says).

        My own personal opinion and approach is much like the Kitavans and other South Sea Islanders, fruit should be eaten seasonally. Yes even in tropical places fruit is available only part of the year.

        At any rate I am not all that familiar with Aragon, and I am making no reference to anything else he has written, but it is my understanding that Men’s Health has turned around on the saturated fat issue, at least according to Sally Fallon, who is a saturated fat devotee

        And if you are referring to another article, then please ignore all my comments.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:47

        While I haven’t read a lot about Lyle & Co’s objections to Lustig (I did read that Aragon piece and wasn’t very impressed) or mockery of the ‘fructose is bad movement’ I do tend to think that the important thing is just to cut out sugar, which is half fructose. Fruit (in moderation for me) is probably OK.

        However, have any of them ever commented on this actual study on human animals (that’s a referece to my belly laugh every time they dismiss a study out-of-hand because it’s an “animal study”)?

        That’s an enormous metabolic difference comparing 100% fructose to 100% glucose, an over a short time. Be sure and read Dr. Stephan’s post on the same study.

      • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 13:25

        Richard, did you see this entry on Dr. Davis’ blog?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:37

        Haven’t yet, but I will.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:10


        IIRC the dosing parameters in those studies were ridiculous. If I’m incorrect, please let me know.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:36

        Granted. However, they were calorically identical. So, my conclusion is that reasonable amounts of fructose, say 20-30g per day are fine, perhaps even beneficial (an inverse U pattern of benefit), whereas, many magnitudes more of glucose (say, via starchy potatoes, roots, tubers squash and perhaps even neolithic rice) are fine & dandy if you’re not trying to lose fat or are diabetic.

        Do you disagree?

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:54

        I would agree that there is no reason to eliminate modern foods from the diet as a matter of principle. If you think that x is causing y and you take out x and y goes away, then more power to you. I’m still confused as to why you guys are skeered of gluten, especially in its whole grain form.

        It’s been fun debating thus far, however, the whole time we’ve been discussing I’ve been aware of this kind of pervasive sentiment, “In the end, there’s absolutely no study they can post on that overrules my own knowledge through my own self-experimentation.”

        At the end of the day, nothing I say will matter to any of you on here.

        One last question. Does your quote here “doing my intense movements and pushing ” suggest that Paleo-asterisk eating patterns make you take huge shits?



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 14:05

        “I’m still confused as to why you guys are skeered of gluten, especially in its whole grain form.”

        I was on allergy meds of prescription strenghth seasonally as a teenager and after 40 year round. Also on GERD meds for years. Also had two gum surgeries in 2001.

        Getting off grains eliminated the need for both those meds and has actually reversed my worsening gum disease to the point that my dentist and hygienist are blown away and I don’t even go in for deep cleanings, anymore. The pockets are gone.

        If I eat bread or pizza now, I get nasal congestion within an hour.

        I’ve tested for gluten antibodies and come up zilch. So, I don’t think that either you’re celiac or gluten is fine & dandy. It’s a spectrum. I also don’t dispute that, just as in the case of lactose tolerance (intolerance was the norm, as a signal to wean), there could be a gene out there propagating rapidly that gives perfect tolerance to gluten. On the other hand, lactose isn’t the only reason some people can’t tolerate dairy. Many have the lactose tolerance gene and still do better off dairy for reasons I’m sure you’re aware of from casein to hormones. I suspect that it’s true for gains as well from lectins other than gluten to phytates, aflotoxins and so on.

      • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 15:56

        I am not “skeered” of gluten (interesting how you mimic McDonald’s snarky comments) but I do know that for over 40 years, I suffered from migraines that nearly stopped completely with elimination of just gluten, and then completely with elimination of casein (a similar protein to gluten found in dairy). Gluten intolerance is real and genetically linked. It’s not a theory. People who believe gluten intolerance is limited to celiac disease are about 20 years behind the times. And, no, I am not going to provide references. Go to etc for voluminous material. To deny gluten intolerance is ridiculous.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:14

        I was snarky long before I ever heard of Lyle McDonald. You can bet on that.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 16:49

        “It’s been fun debating thus far, however, the whole time we’ve been discussing I’ve been aware of this kind of pervasive sentiment, “In the end, there’s absolutely no study they can post on that overrules my own knowledge through my own self-experimentation.”

        At the end of the day, nothing I say will matter to any of you on here.”

        This isn’t exactly correct. I’m always open to discovering new things. For example, I began this almost three years ago, 60 pounds heavier than now, when I bought a BP monitor and discovered I could never get a reading lower than 150/95, and 160/105 was common enough. Rather than run & get on meds I did some research that indicated resistance training helps lower BP. I then reasoned on my own that rather than going an hour 3x per week that I could get more intensity limiting workouts to 30 minutes, and I opted for 2x per week thinking that might be the trick to sticking with it.

        BP began coming down within days. Within three weeks I was 140ish/85ish and now, normal. So, led by science I experimented, it worked and so it would be really silly to try and convince me otherwise.

        But just doing the exercise and not watching the diet, I was only losing 1 pound per month. At least I had stopped the gain through exercise alone. Then I went low carb, based on the science in Atkins and similar books, and after the initial substantial drop my loss increased to 2-3 pounds per month.

        Then I got Brad Pilon’s EatStopEat that includes tons of references as to the metabolic and weight loss benefits of fasting, and I reasoned on my own that since animals hunt and thus perform explosive and intense movements while fasted that I’d do the same thing. And it worked and I began losing 1-2 pounds per week and most surprisingly, my strength gains (and my trainer agrees) became more rapid.

        So, why should I care about research that says if I skip breakfast and don’t carry tupperware around and eat six times a day that I’m going to lose muslce (not saying any of you would but that either — just an example).

        And why should I give a shit about whether or not there’s any metabolic advantage or not to low-carb vs. low fat? It works for me, so all the studies in the world aren’t going to make a bit of difference.

        Finally, all I’m really doing is telling others what has worked for me and how, and they are free to test it out for themselves.

        And here’s just some the results (I get emails of thanks virtually every day, many thanking them for “saving their life”):

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:14


        Wow, 1 then 2-3lbs per month. Thank god you found out about IF or you’d have to live to 100 to lose the weight you wanted. The funny this is, though I’ve never read Pilon’s book, I generally follow an IF approach (modeled after Martin Berkhan’s stuff over at Lean Gains). It definitely fits my schedule very well, and I don’t have to bring food with me to school (but I also don’t train fasted though). By the way, nobody who actually knows anything (especially Lyle and Alan) give a shit whether or not you eat breakfast (unless doing so helps you better adhere to your diet and meet your daily caloric intake target) or how many times a day you eat (except that your eating pattern fits your schedule and helps with, rather than hurts, dietary adherence).

        Oh, I’m a big fan of squatting and deadlifting (and running on grass when I feel like it) either barefoot or in vibram five-fingers. This is something that Lyle and I disagree about, but frankly I like the feel of the floor beneath my feet (though I wouldn’t go barefoot or wear five-fingers for olympic lifts–because of wanting some more stability on the catch).



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 17:31

        Yes, if I do have shoes (Nike Frees) I take them off for squats & deadlifts. Vibrams or stocking feet.

        The breakfast deal is one of those belly laugh things for me. Whenever I hear that, my immediate response is: you mean you’re advocating that people eat when not hungry?

        blank out.

  3. gunther gatherer on February 20, 2010 at 02:11

    Hi Richard, I was thinking your experience after drinking whiskey could be the same sort of hormetic effect as the one you see from sprinting. After all, alcohol is a “survivable” poison that would fit into the scheme of hormetic theory. Your body reacts the same way it would after any other stress.

    I’m not saying do it every day, but maybe that explains why studies show that alcohol in small amounts improves insulin resistance and also prolongs life. Hey, monkeys eat fermented fruit and get bombed in the jungle, why can’t we? I have a feeling there is more purpose to phytotoxins in fruits and vegetables than meets the eye.

    • Aaron Blaisdell on February 20, 2010 at 07:48

      And I eat a donut once a week and chalk it up to a hormesis event. At least, that’s the little white lie with which I fool myself. 😉

      • Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 10:41


        LOL! Love it!

      • gunther gatherer on February 20, 2010 at 10:47

        Aaron, make that donut paleo (take out the neolithic toxins) and we could be onto something…

  4. Alex Thorn on February 20, 2010 at 02:17

    I’m sure doctor Kurt G. Harris will be along shortly to put Lyle in his place. But I for one do not want to recreate a prehistorically accurate version of the palaeolithic lifestyle complete with caves, furs, stone knives and spears! That is not – or shouldn’t be – the point of the palaeolithic way of eating. It is about eating discriminatingly from the foods available today in order to optimally match the metabolic and hormonal milieu that we inherited from our palaeolithic ancestors, which in turn evolved due to their diet, and still carry with us today. It doesn’t matter whether I get my meat from a fresh wild kill that I make with my own hands and a flint spear or from the butcher or the supermarket, I am still eating foods that I am genetically predisposed to function best on! Lyle is just a twat!

    • djinn on February 20, 2010 at 11:54

      Well said, Alex. LM is indeed a twat, but one capable of victoriously engaging several
      straw men before breakfast. ……..he does keep busy.

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:12

      Can someone call Dr. Kurt G. Harris, please? I’d like to hear his opinion on the matter.

  5. Michael on February 20, 2010 at 02:57

    I fast daily at least 12 hours and extend that to 18-30 hours 1-2 times per week. I’ve gone as much as 48 and I’m interested in the idea of a yearly or semi-annual extended fast for up to a week. Haven’t done it, yet. It remains, however, a possibility.

    I do that every year. You will be surprised at the benefits.

    My very first fast was 30 hours and I did a 30 minute high volume workout at 24 hours in. It was a profound experience that I’ve been repeating ever since, in various forms.

    My first fast (on juice) was for three weeks. It was life-changing.

    At one point, I wanted to test the idea that one might go hypoglycemic — since that’s what animals always do when they hunt, because they’re fucking hungry — So I did. 80s fasting before the workout, 105 after. I’ve repeated it. Gluconeogenesis. It really works. Why might that be?

    This is why I tell people over and over test when you do anything like this. Let the numbers tell the story, not some guys research.

    When I was heavy into Olympic Lifting I went on a long fast, without telling my trainer. My flexibility noticeably increased (you cannot do OL without the proper flexibility) and my strength increased. It was so dramatic my trainer couldn’t believe what he was seeing, since he had previously diagnosed me as the most inflexible athlete he had ever worked with. When I finally told him I was fasting he was incredulous, to say the least.

    Here’s why you think that, Lyle, and I’m only making the effort because I get your central or essential objection: it’s a myth, man. Paleo is Kitava to Inuit, 70% starch carb to about 2% carb, and everything in between.

    I hear ya, and I do hope one day this becomes a working definition of paleo :-). Then maybe we can move on to Dr. Price and Major- General Sir Dr. McCarrison, M.D., D.Sc . 😉

    In other words Dr. Guyenet’s understanding of diet (minus the gluten).

    It’s late. I’m having some tongue in cheek fun. Time to go to bed.

  6. Chris on February 20, 2010 at 03:12

    I have a thick skin but the adolescent abuse I’ve taken on the nasty forum has been a bit over the top. I’ve promoted Lyle’s material and bought almost all of his books, but while I would recommend people read his stuff , as a person – or at least in terms of his internet persona – he and his cronies come across as particularly nasty. The sort I would avoid in real life.

    In terms of the paleo lifestyle being more than just diet, that is something that a lot of the original paleo crowd always talked about – sleep, stress, fasting, relationships, physical activity. That was always in the mix with DeVany, Rob Wolf, keith Thomas, Tamir Katz

    • JC on February 20, 2010 at 08:34

      I understand that his forum is not particularly for the thin-skinned or those who wish to have their intentions validated rather than constructively criticized. I know sometimes a persons ideas get laughed at because their question could have easily been answered with an easy search. Then I understand that some people just get off on being an asshole to newcomers. After all, this is the internet and people need to learn to take everything with a grain of salt.

      With regards to Lyle as a person. I had the pleasure of drinking a beer with him about a year back and cannot say enough good things about him. He’s one of the nicest, most genuine people you could ever meet.

      Yes, he really does care that people get the help they need. He enjoys seeing people reach their goals. Just take a look at the work he puts into his books/articles. With all the articles he’s written, he could easily have another 2-3 books for sale.

      However, I understand his frustration. Masses of people come to his forums, demand answers to their questions and when they finally get the resources/answers they were seeking, it does no good. They only wanted validation for what they were going to do anyway and shit on all of us who gladly answer and help them. Add the amount of time Lyle’s been doing this and then gather all the people who’ve shat on his science-backed advice and I’m sure you could understand him being short on words every now and then…

      • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2010 at 10:20

        Glad you posted that, JC. Indeed, most of us are a lot more than just the words we write on the internet.

      • Chris on February 20, 2010 at 15:33

        But when the words on the internet are things like: “The guy at CR can suck a dick” it gets different.

        He is an intelligent guy. Fine. I have bought several of his books and learned something from each of them. But if he was to say things like that to some people in person, not in the fake world of the interwebs, he would get a smack in the face.

      • Nigel on February 21, 2010 at 07:57

        I’ve been called every possible rude name under the sun over there. It’s a bit like being in a kindergarten. I couldn’t care less, as I’m there to absorb knowledge & awesomeness.

        I find it hilarious when my dry English humour/irony/sarcasm goes whooshing right over their heads resulting in even more snarky comments!

      • Chris on February 21, 2010 at 08:06

        Nigel, I am English too and am happy to watch the children call each other names and point each other to the latest pr0n site that they find or send in photos of themselves so that they can guess each other’s bodyfat %. But at some point they need to grow up.

        As I said, if they were to speak like that to people in person they would get a smack.

        What do you mean by absorbing awesomeness anyway?

      • Nigel on February 21, 2010 at 09:37

        Chris said…
        “What do you mean by absorbing awesomeness anyway?” Blame it on my weird sense of humour. There’s a lot of awesomeness over there. It’s probably not absorbable. But I live in hope!

    • Tony K on February 21, 2010 at 12:19

      I recommend that most people just stay away from the mean forum. It has a lower info density than Lyle’s main site and the nice forums.


  7. Lucky on February 20, 2010 at 03:35

    My best friend – a militant vegan – recently made such an argument, and it irked me so much (Hey, I’m new to admitting what I eat to others and defending my diet in this fat-free world!) that I made a bet with her that I could hunt and gather my own food for three months. I’m just starting that insane bet. I know I can do it, but I realize it’s also based on myth and conjecture.

    We don’t live in the same kind of social structure that our ancestors did, a social structure with its function to help each other survive. We live in discrete houses, in concrete splashed neighborhoods, and some folks rarely venture out into community or even for a long walk.

    I’m not sure who our paleo ancestors were, what they truly ate, or how they actually lived. All I know is that eating a “paleo” diet, I have lost weight, kicked depression, gained clear skin, and feel hella wondrous! That’s enough for me (but not my vegan friend, ha ha)! I’m still taking on the bet, though, for the hell of it, because it’s fun and strange and challenging, and I’ll probably learn more about myself than some ancient people in the process.

    • John S on February 20, 2010 at 16:33

      Do you have access to a fishing pole and a local body of water? This is not an insurmountable task.

    • Cynthia on February 22, 2010 at 01:39

      Check out While not strictly paleo, they are doing some interesting stuff!

  8. NicoB. on February 20, 2010 at 03:53

    I think I saw that exact same kind of rant against hardcore lifestyle vegans…

    Change a few words, and BLAM! The rant can be use for any group…

  9. John on February 20, 2010 at 04:33

    This is the same Lyle McDonald who wrote a book (“The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook”) advocating the abuse of asthma medication as a weight-loss strategy, right? We should pay attention to anything he says why, exactly?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2010 at 10:22

      Well, John, in all fairness Lyle does know a lot about the science. Did you ever hear his interview with Jimmy Moore? Highly recommended.

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:16

      Its really odd that someone posting in the comments section of a blog that is (well, at least prior to this article) devoted to the paleo lifestyle would bring up “abuse” of an asthma medication. Are you claiming that he is advocating “abuse” because its a controlled substance? Are you claiming “abuse” because of the dose? Is it because the government banned OTC ephedra that was sold for weight loss purposes. I know how much the readers of this blog love the government and its ideas on health and nutrition.
      Is there an independent reason that I failed to mention?

      • Ross on February 20, 2010 at 20:44

        I didn’t even see the word “abuse” when I read his post. I thought that it was bad enough that someone promoted use of a drug for weight loss that I would dismiss that person’s expertise almost immediately.


  10. Jeff on February 20, 2010 at 05:22

    Good take, Richard. I am really not sure why this is so hard to understand. Newfangled stuff in our diets and exercise patterns are generally bad, not good. I don’t need a new study to tell me that I am an animal that and am suited to a particular environment and straying from that too far will be problematic. We don’t need to recreate the exact nature of the environment in order to avoid the problems with the ultra modern, do we?

    I also don’t see why this has to be broken down into so many distinct factions. Are the ideas so far apart that there is no room for the other? ZC. VLC. Some take dairy. Some avoid nightshades. Is everyone so sure of the absolute correct macronutrient ratios that it is worth bitching about it? Is Lyle arguing something so different? I understand some disagreements but I just don’t get the venom. I guess it is just human nature. I, for one, and less dogmatic. This stuff works for me, period.

    Great post as usual. I especially like how you were able to separate the BS venom from something substantial. It is just too bad you have to work to get to the good stuff.


    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:22

      Without the paleo ideology, the paleo diet is merely another diet. Its avoiding artificial, overprocessed foods while eating whole foods, engaging in periods of fasting, engaging in physical exercise, and whatever else individuals choose to make it. Nobody cares about it if its how I described it and it doesn’t stand apart. The power of the paleo diet comes from the power of the underlying ideology and arguments from evolution. If you actually go read Lyle’s posts, you’ll see that he can point to large, real errors and misrepresentation in the publications of those who popularized the diet and the lifestyle.

      I’m all for ya’ll finding a diet that works for you, that’s great. There is nothing bad to say about striving to eat whole, minimally processed foods and consuming adequate protein. What pisses people off are the unfounded claims relating to paleo-man, and the failure to recognize that we are GENETICALLY different from paleoman.

      • Ross on February 20, 2010 at 20:50

        Does the observation that I eat a paleo-lacto diet make for a sufficient acknowledgement that I’m genetically different from paleolithic man?

        I loooove me my fresh dairy, and I don’t feel any need to apologize for it. Even over on Mark’s daily apple, I’ve never felt excluded just because I enjoy dairy.

        Maybe I’ve somehow unconsciously dodged the paleo nutcases, but to me, a “modern paleo” diet is what you make of it, starting from an understanding of the diets of our paleolithic ancestors mediated by available foods and modern scientific understanding.

      • Alex Thorn on February 21, 2010 at 02:55

        Putting the word ‘paleo’ before the word ‘diet’ is merely a way of indicating that the diet is suited to the genetically expressed metabolic system we have inherited. Make no mistake, we are not genetically much different from our palaeolithic ancestors. Genes change over millennia not hundreds or thousands of years. There may be ‘epigenetic’ changes that work over shorter time-scales but they are reversible and they come with costs – such as the diseases of modern civilisation attributable to grains or seed oils or fructose. We may adapt somewhat to tolerate them without immediate deleterious effects but sooner or later there will be a cost in health.

        Therefore a ‘paleo diet’ should not be construed as a blueprint for emulating – exactly – every single nuance of our palaeolithic ancestors life; down to hunting and gathering out in the wilderness in animal skins using flint spears, living in caves, eschewing all modern conveniences and technology, etc. That’s just the spin LMcD and his ilk put on it themselves to belittle the dietary concepts. To me this is not a sign of someone of intelligence but of someone who, themselves, are ‘knuckle-draggers’!

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 06:00


        You said:

        “…genetically expressed metabolic system we have inherited. Make no mistake, we are not genetically much different from our palaeolithic ancestors. Genes change over millennia not hundreds or thousands of years. There may be ‘epigenetic’ changes that work over shorter time-scales but they are reversible and they come with costs – such as the diseases of modern civilisation attributable to grains or seed oils or fructose. We may adapt somewhat to tolerate them without immediate deleterious effects but sooner or later there will be a cost in health.”

        Evidence? Please and thank you.



      • Alex Thorn on February 21, 2010 at 07:25

        Google and Google Scholar are you friends – I suggest you make their acquaintance and use keywords such as genetics, epigenetic, etc. to find what you need. I did.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 08:12


        I want to see the evidence that YOU relied on in forming your conclusions about modern man having the same genes as Paleo man. Please.



      • Alex Thorn on February 21, 2010 at 09:43

        I do a lot of reading – on-line and elsewhere over many years – I don’t always save stuff and stuff that I have saved in the past has been lost due to computer crashes and hard drive problems. So I am not in the position to provide you with a potted history of all the stuff I have read and digested over the years. Use your own brain and find the data you need.

        This is one of the main differences I see between the people frequenting sites such as Richard’s and sites such as LMcD’s: the former, on the whole, have already done there own research before finding their way here, the latter seem to find a site then hang on the site owner’s every word, read only the studies (and/or the site owner’s take on them) quoted on that site and never do much leg-work for themselves. I guess their approach to knowledge is the same as there approach to food – convenient and take away!

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 10:15

        Hi Alex,

        I lol’d at that last line. Its funny, but not totally true. 🙂

        Anyways, I asked you for evidence, and you once again failed to provide any. If you were so well-versed in this stuff, it doesn’t seem like it would take you more than a few seconds to link me to some relevant, credible research. If this is all you got, then I’m done debating with you.



      • Alex Thorn on February 21, 2010 at 14:42

        There is no one line of evidence to point you to – it is spread throughout the anthropological and genetic literature – that’s why you need to do your own research: it is fairly widely acknowledged that true genetic changes (outside of random mutations and single nucleotide polymorphisms which are rarely carried forward on a species-wide scale) do not happen over short time-scales.

        The human genome is 99.9% homogeneous across the planet. Most of the variation within remaining 0.1% is classified as ‘neutral’ by evolutionary biologists: if you have an A in your DNA at some position in the genome, while your neighbour has a C, the chances are that it makes no difference whatsoever. Natural selection does not act on such variants, so the pattern of variation that accumulates, and the fate of any new variant that arises, depends on processes such as mutation rate, the migration of people and, most importantly, ‘genetic drift’ (the chance change in frequency of a variant from one generation to the next). 90% of human DNA is identical with chimps. Humans and chimps diverged around six million years ago, so it took six million years for that 9.9% genetic variation between humans and chimps to occur.

        DNA analysis of a hominin skeleton found in Africa and dated at 200,000 years ago (well within the palaeolithic era) has many similarities with the modern human genome.

  11. Nigel on February 20, 2010 at 05:26

    John, don’t confuse use with abuse (if you’re referring to ephedrine hydrochloride). It’s all about dose & context.

    • John on February 20, 2010 at 06:21

      So’s heroin. Doesn’t mean it’s part of a balanced breakfast.

      • Tony K on February 20, 2010 at 08:13

        John, You’re doing the same thing Lyle does. Taking something out of context and putting it out as a strawman. Rapid Fat Loss (RFL) is not a healthy way of living or eating. Lyle says that all over the book. He doesn’t even recommend that people do it. He would much prefer them to follow a more moderate path.

        He does, however, realize that human nature being what it is, people will wait until too late to lose weight for the wedding, wrestling match, reunion or whatever. RFL gives people a way to do that without blowing out their muscle mass in the process.

        I tried it. It was not a sustainable lifestyle. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks, while at the same time my weightlifting was unchanged. (That’s after losing 30 pounds by going more low carb/paleo).

        Lyle has an abrasive/abusive personality online. He did an interview with Jimmy Moore and sounded almost human. Like him or not, he’s knowledgeable and has a lot of experience. His stuff is generally aimed at people with specific athletic or body goals–not at people who are simply trying to live a more healthy life.


  12. Aaron Curl on February 20, 2010 at 05:54

    I’m not good at dealing with people like Lyle, I suppose it’s something I need to work on. While I do eat paleo, I really just consider it anti CW eating. There is just no doubt that the paleo diet is by far the best eating guide out there. Lyle must have never watched Sugar: The Bitter Truth or what does he have to say about it? I don’t run around in animal skins and kill my own food but I am an avid fisherman and hunter, so I kill and eat plenty of game, especially fish ( about 2-4 a week all season long ). I get at least one deer a year which lasts me all winter long, so I think we all have some primal instinct in us, we just quit using it over the years. As for me, I will continue to be as paleo as I want and laugh at people like Lyle who make fun of what they truly don’t understand.

    • Patrick N. on February 20, 2010 at 07:31

      Aaron Curl: “…Lyle must have never watched ‘Sugar: The Bitter Truth’ or what does he have to say about it?”

      Oh Lyle has seen it, no doubt !

      If you want to know how this subject is treated, read this.


    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:32

      Aaron Curl,

      Dr. Lustig is a very intelligent individual who is clearly passionate about fighting obesity generally and pediatric obesity specifically. I have nothing but the utmost respect for his work, with the exception of that youtube video you mention in your post above. For whatever reason–maybe because fructose is so prevalent in foods and beverages that are marketed towards children–Dr. Lustig has chosen fructose to be the evil cause of the obesity epidemic. I understand where he’s coming from and what he’s trying to do, but the youtube video in question clearly contains misrepresentations and equivocations. He could have made a compelling video in which he took a more reasonable (i.e., what the evidence says) stance on fructose consumption and given some guidelines for acceptable intake levels, but he chooses to demonize fructose in such a way that captures attention through the activation of emotion and morality. The “fructose is evil” version of the video now is much more powerful than the more balanced, reasonable video. Mayeb Lustig feels better about himself and may now sleep better at night knowing that he’s made a more compelling presentation. Who knows…

  13. laurie on February 20, 2010 at 06:05

    I have been to McDonald’s forum a few times when trolls from there have infiltrated Mark Sisson’s forum, just to see why they were so enraged about paleo/primal eating. The best thing I can come up with is McDonald feels paleo/primal is a threat to his income. He seems terribly angry at something that shouldn’t really affect him too much. I love how he rants about paleotards belonging to cults and paleo as a religion, yet I think his followers would throw themselves into fiery volcanoes if he asked them to. Way too much testosterone (real and injected) floating around on that site. Honestly, any site that has grown men flaunting their bloated six-packs as their avatars is one I stay away from. Give me lean and mean, not bloated and puffy.

    • Alex on February 20, 2010 at 09:56

      I think I’m also picking up some degree of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” in that we’re cultish paleotards because we eat the way we do, regardless of macronutrient ratios or how strictly we adhere to the general idea, but we’re also a bunch of lame-ass poseurs if we’re not actually achieving 100% cultish food reenactment.

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:52

      Dear Laurie,

      I’m one of those people who you would probably refer to derisively as on of Lyle’s “followers.” The thing you don’t understand is that if Lyle asked me to throw myself into a fiery volcano, I would first demand to see the published, peer-reviewed evidence (preferably RCTs, but if not available then meta-analyses and reviews), and then if anything at all looked off, I would call bullshit on him. Everyone who is a “follower” of Lyle follows him because they have been convinced by the evidence, not seduced by an ideology or false beliefs.

      • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 15:48

        Sorry, Michael, you prove my point. You are one of the “followers” who has been to Mark Sisson’s forum touting McDonald’s beliefs, have you not? I have not seen anything produced by McDonald that has any more evidence than those produced by Sisson, Taubes, or Lustig. McDonald is a bully – when people disagree with him, he calls them “tards.” Wow, so mature of him.

        I have been on several forums and the repeating annoyance on each one is the person who always demands “peer-reviewed evidence” whenever their take on the subject is questioned, yet that same person rarely produces the same. I do not have blind belief in either gods or humans. My training and my profession is science and I know that “peer-reviewed” has unfortunately become “peer-reviewed and who paid the bills” research. Even the peer-reviewed research has to be pored over and picked through for bias and deceit.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:12


        I’ve never actually been to Sisson’s forum. I had never even heard of him before this debate yesterday.

        I’m glad that your training and profession in science has given you the one true path to salvation–er, I mean knowledge.



  14. ToddBS on February 20, 2010 at 06:32


    I think you hit on the crux of the issue. Why would anyone take the time out of his day to bash someone else? Because he feels threatened somehow. You also nailed it on the McDonald devotees being no different than the zealots they are claiming others to be. Adding in the homoerotic tendencies of those forums was a nice touch, too 🙂

    • Skyler Tanner on February 20, 2010 at 07:28

      Lyle is the guy who wrote the book (literally) on high fat diets and going paleo is a threat to his income? His last 2 books were “The Protein Book” and “The Stubborn Fat Solution.” Both have applications in paleoland, are about how science applies rather than pushing a specific diet.

      If you’ve been in the industry for a long time and seen a lot of “big new things” promising untold riches when really it’s a charlatan pushing this product, you’d be jaded too. I’ve been a trainer for over a decade and I feel this way every. Single. January.

      • Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 10:44


        Lyle’s income is absolutely threatened by the Paleo movement. That is why he is straw-manning it.

      • Skyler Tanner on February 20, 2010 at 11:20

        They’re both fitness driven but from two totally different angles. I fail to see how the paleo movement would threaten, for instance, a 200 page protein book citing 500+ references. One is primarily aimed at the average joe while the other is aimed at high level athletes. There is room for both in the world.

      • Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 15:23


        Lyle has written more than a couple of books —

        Some may have different audiences/buyers etc etc — but I think it is safe to assume, that many of the topics he addresses in his books are also addressed by the free-form Paleo movement.

        Bottom line: the more people that go Paleo* (in its various permutations), the more his sales will suffer.

        *I am defining Paleo in this case as a principle. Namely the principle of eating in an attempt to replicate our species-specific evolutionary metabolic milieu**.

        Note that I am NOT saying Paleo is zero carb, low carb or high carb, dairy, raw or anything else — as we well know there is variation in diets between our Paleo ancestors and modern H-Gs.

        **Source: Kurt Harris MD

        Lastly, Skyler, why do YOU think Lyle is strawmanning Paleo? He is clearly an intelligent person, so it is not has if he unintelligent.

        Cui bono?

      • ToddBS on February 20, 2010 at 11:25

        I would say that yes, there is room for both. But McDonald is on the attack, so it seems he doesn’t think so.

      • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:41


        Let’s look at Lyle’s being “on the attack” as you say. The quotes that the author of this blog post used in writing this came from LYLE’S OWN FORUM. Its not the main one that is used for product support, but his own corner of the internets where he and anyone who wants to wander in can discuss anything that they want. He didn’t come here to post comments, nor did he go out of his way to write an article about it. Paleo is mentioned in his research review , but if you actually take a look at what he wrote, you’ll see that its a dispassionate review of a study, not an attack or diatribe.

        The funny thing about your remark about Lyle taking time out of his day to bash other people, is that his current level of income allows him the time to sit around and have arguments with people on his forum. I’m personally jealous of him for being able to find a way to make a living doing what he’s passionate about, and still have time to sit around on his ass mocking internet trolls who come into HIS OWN FORUM.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:28

        I’ve gotta go with Skyler on this one. To the extent that Paleo has braoder appeal than Lyle’s more technical stuff, the current appeal, or fad, if you will, will only serve to make a bigger pie and I have no doubt that Lyle will get a share of it from those people who want to really dig into the science of body recomposition.

        And that’s a good thing. Lyle’s books are valuable for many applications of people’s personal goals. I learned a lot from Rapid Fat Loss Handbook even though I only tried the actual diet for a few days and realized it wasn’t for me. But I learned a lot about fat metabolism.

        The paleo movement is going to do nothing but help Lyle and the fact he attacks it as he does, probably even more than if he were supportive of it, but that’s just speculation.

      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 20:01


        If you think that the pie is gonna get bigger – then why would Lyle strawman Paleo?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 20:34

        I’d guess because he’s a shit stirring asshole already doing enough income that he doesn’t really care.

  15. scott miller on February 20, 2010 at 08:48

    Kyle makes so many mistaken assumptions that it stands as a stunning showcase of paleo ignorance. Practically every sentence he wrote needs correction. It’s times like this when I wish I had my own blog.

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:42

      Scott Miller,

      Nice last name. 🙂 Anyways, please start correcting. I’d be happy to see you rewrite Lyle’s statements to better match the true nature of the paleolithic diet. Once you’re done, you can bring them on over to the forum for discussion. I’m being serious by the way. Thanks.

  16. Alex on February 20, 2010 at 09:31

    I agree with a few of the posters here that I just don’t understand the venom. “Paleo” is simply a more whole foods approach to eating – vegetables, fruits, better meats (grass-fed and/or local v. commercially raised), and then the little things that everyone does a little differently. Why can’t it just be that simple? I still read, digest, and search for a lot of articles by “experts” that don’t swear off grains, sugar, etc. I just take what makes sense for me and still avoid most grains and as much sugar as I can. I also don’t take paleo advice as gospel (I use dairy, etc). What is even the point of all that ranting above — that the choice to go with a more “paleo” diet is somehow “retarded?” I’m sure even he would agree that eating more fruits and veggies and picking better meats is anything but.

  17. CFS on February 20, 2010 at 09:53

    People take such a religious approach to eating. We were even compared to Christians that ‘take the bits of the Bible they like and ignore the rest’. That’s why we have extremists such as canivores, raw vegans, people who keep pursuing the non-existant optimal diet so they can achieve purity and perfection. And when they find out they can’t, they go back to the SAD.

    The Palaeolithic diet isn’t my religion and I’m not hardcore. I incorporate the aspects that are easy, convenient and most likely to result in health benefits, and I ignore the other ones. It has worked well for me and results are all I care about (40lb lost, numerous health issues cleared, feeling great). So as far as I’m concerned, Lyle is attacking a strawman.

  18. Aaron M Fraser on February 20, 2010 at 09:58

    Regarding the “we’re not out hunting and gathering our own food” – well, some of us are.

    I’m not, yet. It is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

    Why? Those in power have systematically been destroying our means of feeding ourselves – some of us do not have access to land where there are even wild animals, let alone animals that are not full of toxins from civilization’s runoff. Almost all of us have no idea how to catch/cultivate our own food, and even if we do the opportunities are sparse: the land is no longer ‘ours’, and what we do have access to is poisoned.

    Sad times.

    We have to make do with what we have, which is unfortunately very little.

  19. mrfreddy on February 20, 2010 at 10:39

    can’t decide what sounds better, Lyle-e-o-tards?

    or Mc-tards?

    Maybe combined: LyleMc-tards?

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 13:55

      If you were clever, you’d propose something involving his last name so that you could mock us while taking advantage of the hate that people have for the restaurant behemoth and its “food.”

      • mrfreddy on February 20, 2010 at 14:15

        that actually occurred to me, but I didn’t want to confuse the issues..

        plus I’m not very smart…

  20. Victor on February 20, 2010 at 11:16


    Thanks for highlighting the difference between Paleo principles and Paleo myths. I applaud you for drawing attention that we should not foster a cult of Paleo and worship Grok ( that’s so funny on several levels) – which can be a romanticized Santa.

    As for me and my family, we have been on the Paleo way since October 2009. Yes, we have cheat days, we “fall off the wagon” but even when we do, I find that eating primarily Paleo is very cheat tolerant. I attribute this to the 80-20 rule. I measure what I can measure with consumer accessible tools such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, blood glucose levels. My fasting glucose tends to be 99 which is a little higher than desirable. My A1C is 5.8%. My doc says 5.6% or lower would be better. He thinks I’m trending toward insulin resistance if I am not careful.

    So far in our experimentation, we started by cutting out all starch and grains. This is tough as an Asian Chinese. Then we did lots of organic dairy like milk, cream and cheese. Today we made the decision to cut off all dairy and monitor for effects to see what happens.

    I think the balance that will work for me long term is *some* rice – even though it has starch. Rice however is a gluten free cereal. It was through your encouragement to experiment, measure and experience it for myself that gave me permission to try and deviate from a strict Paleo canon.

    Thank you for this blog. Thank you for sharing.

    Victor Khong in Vancouver

  21. Melissa on February 20, 2010 at 13:04

    People definitely did sprint. I think he needs to look at some anthropological research, he seems to have some elementary misconceptions. There are a set of footprints that show that ancient humans were running faster than Usain Bolt! They certainly weren’t doing it over long distances though.

    “By analysing 20,000 year-old hunters’ footprints fossilized in clay, experts have established that one of the six hunters, who were chasing animals across a soft surface, would have reached a top speed of 37 km per hour. Usain Bolt ran at 42 km per hour during his 100m sprint – with all the advantages of modern training, a special running track and state-of-the-art shoes.

    With modern training and techniques, McAllister believes that aboriginal man could probably outrun Bolt. He is quoted by Reuters as saying: “We can assume they are running close to their maximum if they are chasing an animal. But if they can do that speed of 37 kph on very soft ground I suspect there is a strong chance they would have outdone Usain Bolt if they had all the advantages that he does.”

    The paleo diet isn’t about reenactment…it’s a freaking paleo DIET, not a paleo life, though we can certainly learn a lot from ancients about things like sleep, childrearing, sex, etc. The paleo diet is very very simple: eat food that is evolutionarily appropriate for our species. I’m sure we would all benefit even further from hunting our own food down, but it’s just a diet.

  22. Sue on February 20, 2010 at 15:53

    “Everyone who is a “follower” of Lyle follows him because they have been convinced by the evidence, not seduced by an ideology or false beliefs.”

    Same with the paleo followers.

    • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 16:55

      Hi Sue,

      Its nice to see someone new join the discussion. There have been many accusations leveled at Lyle that he is knocking down strawmen and thus his criticisms fail to address the true Paleo diet. That’s fine, maybe he is doing this, only Lyle knows. Since you mentioned Paleo followers being convinced by the evidence, I was hoping that you could produce the evidence that has convinced you to follow the Paleo diet. Peer-reviewed studies and journal articles would be really helpful, and I would like to see any other evidence that you weighed in order to make your decision. I’d invite anyone else who would like to contribute evidence for the Paleo “side” to please do so.

      Also, does anyone have a working definition of what it means to be Paleo or follow the Paleo diet?

      Thanks in advance.



      • Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 20:21

        Also, does anyone have a working definition of what it means to be Paleo or follow the Paleo diet?

        @Michael Milller

        I did just that in a comment above.

        “*I am defining Paleo in this case as a principle. Namely the principle of eating in an attempt to replicate our species-specific evolutionary metabolic milieu**.

        Note that I am NOT saying Paleo is zero carb, low carb or high carb, dairy, raw or anything else — as we well know there is variation in diets between our Paleo ancestors and modern H-Gs. “

      • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 20:44


        I’m not very smart. Could you please unpack that incredibly dense definition or link me to someone who does somewhere else? I looked up the word “milieu,” but I still don’t understand what it means in this context. Thanks.



      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 01:31

        @Michael Miller

        While I suspect you are being snarky, I will point you to these posts by Kurt Harris for edification:

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 05:32

        Not being snarky. That’s a seriously dense definition, and I really don’t know what “milieu” means in the context of human nutrition and metabolism. Thanks for the links. I don’t know if I’m going to listen to him because he looks smug and I don’t like this cut of his jib.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 08:10

        So I read his definitions. You know that we disagree on the his stance gluten, but if you read his final stance it clearly says, “When I apply this method, I come up with the neolithic agents of excess fructose, linoleic acid and gluten grains, and the rest is just tinkering around the edges*.”

        The key word is “EXCESS.” And you know this Patrick.



      • Patrick N. on February 21, 2010 at 09:18

        I’d like to make it clear that Patrik and myself are not the same person. I spell my name Patrick with a C.



      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 09:39

        Michael, I think you may or may not be right that you are not very smart.

        But you certainly are a hypocrite.

        Criticizing the previous poster for ad hominem and then calling me smug before you have read a word I have written? That’s based on my photograph? I suppose I should have a rapper instead, maybe that would look less “smug” to you.

        You probably disagree with my gluten grains stance (identical to Peter’s at hyperlipid) based on all the medical science they taught you for that vaunted CSCS credential. Or maybe your experience in law school gave you the insight that we are just making all this stuff up like Taubes did. Or are you just a superior thinker because Lyle taught you critical reasoning skills that the rest of us lack?

        You McDonald acolytes, who accuse everyone you disagree with of “intellectual dishonesty” are a pain in the ass. You are too boring to engage with as you are have no sincere interest in debate, just trolling and name-calling. If you really want the evidence and think those of us who blog about it (like me and those on my blogroll – Peter and Stephan and Michael Eades) are all “intellectually dishonest”, well then pubmed is your friend – you can read the primary literature several hours a day the way we do and then explain how we are being “dishonest”.

        Our opinions and analysis are offered for free. You can come and read them, or if you think we are “dishonest” you can just piss off. I don’t care at all to instruct “trainers” who think they are smarter and more honest than everyone else.

        As far as tolerating bullshit, right back at you- your faux reactionary stance lacks is pure posturing and pure bullshit. I deal with most bullshit by just ignoring it.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 09:56

        Dr. Kurt Harris, MD,

        Thank you for joining the discussion. Finally someone who has heard of PubMed before.

        Since you are clearly so much better credentialed than I am (no facetiousness–everyone can see that this is true) and you read the primary literature for several hours a day, then perhaps you might have some at your fingertips which you could provide to the curious in the audience. So far no one on the paleo “side” has presented a shred of relevant, credible evidence.

        I am literally begging you to show me something that will shut me up so I may put this little excursion behind me.


        Michael Miller

      • gallier2 on February 21, 2010 at 11:04

        There are tons of studies presented on the different blogs repeatedly cited here (PaNu, Hyperlipid, wholehealthsource, Eades’, FTA and many more), nobody will do YOUR work for you. If you’d been genuinly interested, you would have checked and read, but you prefer the convenience of regurgitating every poop of LylMcD. All the subjects you guys object to, have been dissected and explained and discussed, the problems of omega6/3 ratios, the problem that polyunsaturates block the release of TG from the liver, increased production of TG due to unnatural carb load, etc… whatever, but don’t expect anyone to make a syntheses for you.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:25


        Nice to see someone new join the discussion. Once again, I’m not asking anyone to do MY work for me. You’re the ones making the claims, you back them up. If the superiority of Paleo is so fucking abundantly clear from the evidence, then WHY HAS NO ONE SHOWN ME ANY EVIDENCE YET?!?!?




      • gallier2 on February 21, 2010 at 11:51

        There is no study that will be able to knock down your strawman. YOUR paleo definition is a strawman, it has nothing at all to do with all this is about. Richard, Kurt and others have repeatedly what it was and what it was not (food reenactment), but it somehow doesn’t reach you.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 12:02


        So far, after Richard’s recent backpedalling, his definition of paleo is, “I like to fast, sprint, eat whole foods, and gosh darn it, its better than what most Americans are doing.” That’s not much of a definition.

        And as far as Kurt’s definition. He thinks that we should avoid EXCESS amounts of gluten, fructose, and linoleic acid. That’s great. Who the fuck advocates eating EXCESS amounts of ANYTHING?

        Give me your definition then. Please and thank you.



      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 12:07

        Hello Michael

        I think it should be obvious that paelonutrition or evolutionary medicine is not cult or a diet or a thesis or hypothesis, but a methodological posture. An approach to medical and nutritional science that says we should pay attention to evolutionary reasoning when we evaluate the evidence about what is healthy to eat.

        There are many of us that have independently applied this method and become convinced of its usefelness. You are free to read what we have written, and then think whatever you want.

        In lieu of providing you with a handful of papers that don’t exist – papers that “prove” an entire methodological approach that is outside the dominant paradigm is relevant, I would invite you to read the blog entries and discussion we have all referenced.

        It might profit you to read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. You might see that you and your associates are playing the role of “normal science” in a Kuhnian sense.

        I am utterly indifferent to convincing people that don’t have the interest enough to read what I have already written and follow the dots.

        Since I am indifferent to helping people who are hostile to my ideas, I won’t expend any effort to do so with you. If you say that proves I don’t really have hundreds of papers and books and thousands of abstracts, I am indifferent to that, too.

        If I write a book, I won’t give it to, but if you pay for it you will find it is heavily referenced.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 12:28


        You and Lyle and I would guess Kreiger and Aragon are saying that de-emphasizing these agents – eating less of them in favor of more healthy foods – is baseless. Your counterclaim is that our claim that the average person eats too much of these agents and that these agents account for diseases of civilization is wrong.

        The choices are

        1) The amount of these agents is irrelevant, given appropriate caloric intake
        2) Eating relatively less of them (not necessarily zero) is, ceteris paribus, better.

        In answer to “who advocates eating excess amounts of anything”?:

        If you think eating 10% of calories as linoleic acid and 10% of calories as fructose is no worse than 3% and 2%, than the answer is you. These amounts are excessive if you want to be healthy. If you want more details, you’ll have to read.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 12:42

        Dear Dr. Kurt G. Harris, MD,

        Thank your for your response. In the time that it took you to type out that response, you could have provided me with a link to just ONE study supporting one of your claims with respect to avoiding gluten.

        And by the way, you came out and said what I’ve been saying all along. The appeal comes from the power of the underlying ideas. You say “methodological posture” and I say “ideology” or “belief system.”

        I’ll definitely look for the Kuhn book at the university library–its sounds like an interesting read. If you publish a book, I’ll probably look for it at the library too (because you can be assured that I’m not paying any money for it).

        Have an ice day.



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 12:54

        Dr. Kurt G. Harris, MD,

        Thank you for your response again.

        1. I object to your terminology. “Diseases of civilization” exists in your paradigm, and I refuse to accept that term into this discussion.

        2. You constructed a false dilemma that oversimplifies the issue.

        3. We disagree on your idea of excessive (at least based on the figures that you offer here).

        If you can fix the false dilemma, then maybe we can continue this discussion.



      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 13:15

        I am not going to hold your hand. The references are on my blog and those on my blogroll. I don’t care if you want to me provide links here, I will not.

        “The appeal comes from the power of the underlying ideas.”

        When is that ever not the case? Science is not composed of ideas based on a system of argument and persuasion?

        I don’t care if your day is ice or nice or anything at all.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 13:18

        Not interested in educating or refuting you further.


      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:19

        “after Richard’s recent backpedalling”

        I’m not backpeddling. I’m explaining things to clear up strawman confusions about what paleo, or primal, or evolutionary, or ancestral eating & fitness is all about. All those terms have differences of nuance, but are essentially the same thing on the most important aspects.

        And, there’s more. For instance, I’m into the barefooting thing, as a huge walker for many years and figuring out for myself that shoes ruin your feet:

        Again, self experimentation trumps “studies” and diktats from “authorities.”

        And I average 8 hours of sleep per night where I could barely tolerate six before. Do I need studies or “authorities.”

        I’m a longtime atheist and anarchist, based on my understanding of evolution. For the former, the notion of a creator is absurd. For the later, we evolved to account for the values, actions and influence of 30 or so other individuals in close-knitt social groups where each individual was important and integral and had real influence over the actions of the group as a whole and when things got too complex from population growth of the group, people split off to form new groups.

        Thus, I don’t need 270,000 fucking cannibals to tell me what to do and force me to pay for it and the last pathetic thing I’d ever do is go figuratively jerk off in a voting booth to get my 1/270 millionth say in my own fucking affairs.

        And there’s more, but when dealing with all the ignorance and strawmen on Monkey Island, I figured it best to stick with the three most prominent features of modeling an ancestral, evolutionary existence in a modern world.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:28


        You might want to read Kurt’s recent post about gluten grains, comments too, perhaps:

        As to not paying for someone’s book, I’ve paid for Lyle’s and will probably do so again. If you wanted to write one after taking in some of the stuff I’ve pointed to I’d probably buy that too.

        I’ve never understood this general hangup everywhere about not paying for people’s work, whether or not one agrees.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:30

        Dear Dr. Kurt G. Harris,

        You have neither educated me nor refuted me. Maybe you are the one at this point in time who needs to be educated. You proposed a false dilemma, I called you on it, and now you are taking your toys and going home.

        If you are so well-credentialed and steeped in the primary literature, then I’m certain that you understand why your little oversimplification is a false dilemma and what you can do to fix it.

        I’m declaring victory in this discussion unless you come back and fix your little false dilemma. I refuse to do it for you, but I’m not letting you get away with that little sleight-of-hand.



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:35

        Thanks for the link to Kurt’s post. The gluten thing was hashed out recently on the mean forum, and Kurt’s post isn’t adding anything new to the discussion.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:38

        Look Richard, I’m glad that you found something that works for you. Great, you should be happy. I’m really more interested in the overarching paradigm than in the details of who eats what when and how.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:56

        That’s why we’re paleo, you see, and not low carb (though paleo is low carb for most, but it’s not essential).

        So, paleo IS the overarching paradigm that resolves the issue — as I previously mentioned — of seeking behavior vs. avoidance behavior.

        To state it another way, paleoman definitely exercised seeking beahvior (food, nourishment, etc.). But, he had no grains (and Lyle’s take on the stupid study is embarrassing – ), almost no reliable sources of sugar, and all fats were naturally derived. So, he could seek nourishment with abandon.

        But now, we have all these foods paleoman didn’t have and it frankly amazes me that people look around and simply conclude it’s a function of abundance and has nothing to do with quality — it’s both: crap in cheap abundance.

        So, the low carbers go out and seek to eat their fill of low carb stuff, whether crap or not. Paleos simply avoid the crap paleoman didn’t have.

        And the reason it’s crap is because it’s not real food per evolutionary principles. Some people tolerate crap just fine, it doesn’t induce hyperphagy, and so great. But it is optimal. Well, that’s a question everyone has to discover on their own.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 16:31

        I never claimed to have educated you and I have no need to refute you as you have said nothing requiring refutation. Your definition of victory means nothing to me. Define it however you want.

        For the last time, I don’t care if you are educated or what you eat or if you believe me or what you think about anything. In fact, I would prefer that you go specifically against everything I say, as I don’t like people who insult me.

        You have “called me” on nothing. You demanded that I repeat myself for your benefit and do the work of linking to references that you already know where to find and I refused.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:52

        Dr. Kurt G. Harris,

        You created a false dilemma. You still have refused to acknowledge your false dilemma. If you are so educated and so well-read, then you should understand that you created a false dilemma.


        Michael Miller

      • Patrick N. on February 20, 2010 at 17:04

        And note that Lyle and his “followers” absolutely refuses to even take a look at animal studies. So that discards pretty much all evidence against Omega 6, Fructose, etc…


      • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 18:43


        Don’t be so silly. There is plenty of evidence out there that comes from human studies that speak to the issues of Omega 6 and Fructose. Right now your panties are in a bunch because the human studies don’t “agree” with the animal studies, and therefore don’t say what you want them to say. If you learned anything in your little frolic over on the mean forum, it should have been that animal studies are pretty much worthless when there are human studies that speak to the same issue.

        By the way, have you found any human studies that you would like to share with us?



      • Alex on February 20, 2010 at 20:08

        Any human studies on the lifelong effects excessive omega 6 and fructose are necessarily going to be observational studies, which are equally worthless. I would imagine, though, that the evidence Sue is referring to is our own personal experiences from eating a paleo diet. Personally, losing thirty pounds, having more energy, and no longer having my blood sugar crash every day is all the evidence I need.

      • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 05:45

        You should ask the food industry why they think we should be consuming excess anything, because they’re the ones filling grocery stores with those excesses. For example, we consume 300% more polyunsaturated fat than we did 100 years ago. As for the effects of these excesses on human health, have a look at and

        My diet had been largely based on whole grains and beans, per new age hippy/ayurveda health ideology. I sincerely believed I was watching what I ate and eating a healthy diet. The dietary shift that brought about my weight loss and metabolic smoothing was to drastically cut back on those and eat more meat and vegetables. A few years later, I ditched that last little bit of grain and most of the dairy. It was the shift away from addictive carbohydrate consumption that brought about the major changes, but calling what I eat a paleo diet is a fairly accurate description because it does greatly reduce or eliminate the most prominent neolithic foods. But, since the word paleo seems to be pushing your buttons, feel free to call it the Alex diet if it makes you happy.

      • Michael Miller on February 20, 2010 at 20:53


        Why would anyone think its a good idea to eat “excessive” amounts of anything, be it omega 6, fructose, or saturated fat? What good could possibly come from chronically eating something in excess?

        So, personal experience it is? Great. First, I’m sincerely happy for you that you found a diet you could stick to over the long run–we’ve all seen the numbers that show appalling rates of fat regain. So, congrats to that. I mean it.

        Second, I guess, by definition, I can’t argue with your using personal experience as evidence because the Paleo diet “worked” for you. Let me just throw this out there as food for thought: What if I told you that I think that what you believe to be the underlying mechanisms behind the Paleo diet had little to nothing to do with your great results? What if I told you that your experience sounds like the experience of many people who had never watched what they ate and didn’t exercise (on a regular basis). Had you ever eaten at a caloric deficit in the past for a long enough time to lose the weight while consuming adequate protein? Were you eating foods with high micronutrient densities? Adjusting your carb intake to correlate with your activity level? Consuming enough veggies and fiber? I don’t want to be an asshole, but I think the answer to my questions is a resounding “No.”

        Feel free to rain down the abuse born of my hasty assumptions.

        Looking forward to your response.


        Michael Miller

      • John S on February 20, 2010 at 21:25

        “Why would anyone think its a good idea to eat “excessive” amounts of anything, be it omega 6, fructose, or saturated fat? What good could possibly come from chronically eating something in excess?”

        Excess would necessarily mean any amount *in excess* of the human body’s long term ability to healthfully process that particular substance. Excess can’t simply mean “a lot”, or “more than average” and definitely not “out of balance”. Eating dog crap wouldn’t be healthy if you did it occasionally, in moderation or to so-called excess…because it’s dog crap.

      • Tony K on February 21, 2010 at 04:47

        Hi Michael,

        I think the essence of the paleo “diet” conform well with what you describe. In a lot of ways, the underlying principle is less important because people have found a way of eating that works for them. Everyone’s mileage varies however.

        I read GCBC and I’m a fan of Lyle. You or Lyle can tell me that Taubes gets the science all wrong, but his lecture at Berkeley changed/saved my life. Is it because cutting back on carbs reduced insulin, thereby allowing fat mobilization, etc? I don’t really care, but…

        It seems like a pretty good working hypothesis. If you look at Lyle’s diets, they are not that different from paleo diets. Lyle allows for a lot more variation due to differences in people and their goals. Marketed differently sure, but in the end, the diets look pretty similar to what you described.

        For me, I exercised like crazy, ate food pyramid style and steadily gained 2-3 pounds per year. At age 50, I got gout, had TG through the roof, and was on the road to a bad future. My hypothesis is that there is an effect over time from eating food pyramid style, which is too low in protein and probably fat too. And by the way, grains, even whole grains (the foundation of the food pyramid) have very low micronutrient density.

        So if Taubes or the paleo movement has the science wrong, it’s probably not that big a deal. It will work for a lot of people because of the exact reasons you stated–higher nutrient density, more protein, watching what you eat, less junk, carbs lowered to a level more commensurate with activity.


      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 20:41

        @Michael Miller

        Uh, I honestly have never thought about it.

        Ouch! This is the single most sincere and most revealing sentence that Michael Miller has written amongst these (currently) 200 or so comments.

        Ironically, Michael Miller (and his ilk) fancies himself “scientific” and proudly insists on seeing studies that show “cause and effect”and yet has no idea of why an evolutionary framework/approach might prove useful in underpinning how we think about nutrition.

        Such ignorance is painful to observe.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 05:46


        Like I said earlier, I’m genuinely happy that you found something that works for you. The problem that some of us have–I know I am not alone in this–is that we cannot tolerate bullshit. Reading or listening to people who are intellectually dishonest or intentionally misleading irritates me at a very raw, primal level. Taubes is one of the biggest offenders in this respect. I know, you don’t care, and that’s your decision.

        But I care. And I’d like to point out that Taubes would not have sold nearly as many books if it weren’t for his objectively false stance on the insulin hypothesis and his trumpeting of a so-called “metabolic advantage.” No one is claiming that there aren’t certain health benefits to a low-carb diet, but the diet is not even remotely as effective without the (false) claims behind it.

        This is something that I have an incredible problem with. Dietary adherence is one of the major factors in dietary success, and dietary adherence increases the more that someone believes in the diet. Hence my harping on the glaring errors in the foundational ideology of Taubes’ diet and to a similar extent the Paleo diet.

        I also fell in love with GCBC when I first read it. Follow a ketogenic diet allowed me to lose my first 20lbs. It was great for aerobic energy, but I felt terrible lifting weights. I was hungry almost all of the time (eating an absurd amount of protein) and fantasized about high-carb foods. Even though I was losing fat, I had some epic binges. The other thing, which to this day still happens if I try, is trouble sleeping. Nothing makes me grumpier than trouble sleeping.

        I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else of anything other than your results can easily be explained by known mechanisms that exist independently of the low-carb or Paleo ideology.



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 05:56


        So, let me get this straight. You were eating some low-protein soyboy hippydippy high-carb diet that failed to include meat and other animals products and you were fat and unhealthy?!?!?! No fucking way! Excuse me for expressing such incredible surprise at your bold claims! Let’s just be clear that vegans and other hippies who have lost touch with reality piss me off as much as hardcore Paleos.

        I’ll take a look at the blog later sometime.

        Blah blah blah food industry grocery stores, I don’t care. Take some responsibility for the fact that you made terrible food choices in the past and had a problem with controlling your carb intake. I know I did. But then I decided to take responsibility for what I was putting in my mouth.



        P.S. Using the word “neolithic” to describe food just makes you sound pretentious.

      • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 06:07

        Just an observation: it seems like a significant percentage of paleo diet proponents are middle-aged people who have had their health negatively impacted by decades of the prevailing nutritional “conventional wisdom” and who drastically improved on a paleo diet. It also seems like the loudest anti-paleo voices are people much younger, who lack the wisdom and experience. The Lyle crowd on that monkey forum strike me as a bunch of emotionally adolescent 20-somethings.

      • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 06:27


        My old diet didn’t fail to include meat or other animal products. I used to eat lots of cheese, and I would eat some fish or poultry about 3 times a week. My most vegetarian period was a couple years of strict lacto-vegetarian back in the early 1980s. Cravings for chicken put an end to that.

        Neolithic, paleolithic… you certainly do have a lot of buttons that get pushed. With your every post here, it sounds more and more to me like you’re just generally an unhappy person.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 07:05

        Eating “some fish or poultry about 3 times a week.” Ok Alex, you win, you were eating animal products, and I’m sure adequate protein. You’ve managed to end each of your posts with a rather biting ad hominem. If you want to actually engage me in discussion, then provide some relevant scientific evidence for your claims. If you can’t do that, then you’re just some guy who’s holding on to a belief system that seduced him.

        Its one button Alex. I already described that button. I have no tolerance for intellectually dishonest people who continue to propagate erroneous beliefs while ignoring contrary evidence.

        Show me the evidence behind your claims, or please don’t reply to this comment. Not one pro-Paleo poster in this comments section has posted a shred of relevant evidence.



      • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 07:24

        What kind of scientific evidence? An epidemiological study of people on paleo diets? I believe there was at least one short term study that found improved blood lipids on a paleo diet. On Whole Health Source, Stephan referred to a study that found PUFA increases production of oxidized LDL. Stories about high levels of arachidonic acid in farmed animal products have been in the news. Dr. Davis’ Heart Scan Blog has numerous entries about people greatly improving blood lipids by cutting out glutinous grains.

        As for neolithic, what term for that general idea won’t put your panties in a bunch? Pre-agrarian, perhaps? Frankly, that you think I sound pretentious for using ‘neolithic’ in a discussion about ‘paleolithic’ diets makes you sound anti-intellectual. It’s convenient terminology. Get over it.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 11:38

        Well, other than the last 4 million years of epidemiology contrasted with the last 10,000 years, there’s this:

        Also, Alex Knapp posted a lot of scientific references on this comment thread if one cares to scroll down and look for his name.

        Dr. Stephan Guyenet blogs almost exclusively about published research that suggests avoiding “neolithic” foods is a good whole health strategy.

        I think one big gap in the thinking by those hung up on the word “paleo” is that it is distinguished from other approaches like low-carb, low-fat or what have you by employing avoidance behavior instead of seeking behavior (thanks to Dr. Harris for that).

        This is why a lot of the low-carbers, for instance, seek all sorts of crap to eat just because it’s low carb while paleos simply avoid eating crap.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 11:41

        Another thing that makes me laugh about the critics over on Lyle’s forum and exposes a serious lack of depth in thinking is their making fun of sprinting by pointing out that we can’t outrun numerous species of animal predators, like cats, bears, etc.

        Well, folks, how come you don’t talk about the greatest predator of human by far, dwarfing everything else put together: other humans.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:55

        If what you say about predation and sprinting are true, then how did white people manage to survive?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:07

        Uh, are you aware of how h. Sapiens evolved white skin?

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:12

        Hi Richard,

        Uh, I honestly have never thought about it. Links?



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:19


        Your first link with all of the Cordain studies explains Dr. Kurt G. Harris’s point about the claim that Paleo-asterisk is a framework for investigation and not a diet/lifestyle/theater troupe. That’s all well and good, but I didn’t see anything like the RCTs I was hoping for–I’m seeking studies that show cause-and-effect relationships.

        I’d be careful sending people like me to the second link. She’s good, she’s real good.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:45

        Another thing you might want to think about is why west africans are more suited to sprinting and east africans to endurance.

        The only point here is that the fact that we can and do sprint to various degrees of ability is a priori proof that it afforded some evolutionary advantage.

      • Patrick N. on February 21, 2010 at 07:48

        Micheal: “…Right now your panties are in a bunch because the human studies don’t “agree” with the animal studies…”.

        No it’s because those animal studies cannot and will not be done on humans. I’m not talking about stupid 60% calories from fructose given to poor rats. I’m talking about a diet with as little as 10% corn oil results in lots of problems for mice. How can we show this in humans ? By using humans in experiments that will make them sick?

        Give me a break. There is one thing I will never agree with Lyle and the people on his forum. It’s about animal studies. Yes we must discard the stupid ones (there are lots of those). But we should not discard them all just because they are not done on humans.

        WE ARE ANIMALS !!!
        Kingdom: Animalia
        Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia
        Order: Primates
        Family: Hominidae
        Subfamily: Homininae
        Tribe: Hominini
        Genus: Homo
        Species: H. sapiens

        Please tell me why ALL studies done on other animals should be irrelevant to humans??? Even Lyle references some in his book on Bromocriptine.


      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 08:07


        Lyle addressed this issue thoroughly in his discussion WITH YOU on his forum. Feel free to quote that here for everyone to see.



      • Patrick N. on February 21, 2010 at 08:12

        Lyle has opened my eyes to lots of things for sure. But certainly not on the subject of studies done on other animals.

        I don’t think we will agree on this issue. AND that, I believe, is the crux of our impasse.


      • Patrick N. on February 21, 2010 at 09:39

        OK, I retract what I said. It is not an impasse. Lyle said “if human data contradicts animal models, the animal models don’t matter”. And I do agree with this.

        SO what studies really contradict that the amount of Omega 6 we currently intake is not a problem?



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 10:19

        Hi Patrick,

        Context please. Who is the “we” that is taking in the Omega 6 and what is the “amount” that they are taking in. Por favor.



      • Patrick N. on February 21, 2010 at 10:51

        Sorry about that, I was not specific enough.

        I meant North Americans for “we” and by “amount” the ratio Omega6 to Omega3 of 10-20 to 1.


      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:22

        Patrick N.,

        C’mon man. North Americans as “we?” That’s almost as nonspecific as it gets. Do you know what context means? At least propose a group of similarly situated people.



  23. Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 10:44

    There’s another thread on Monkey Island now:

  24. mallory on February 21, 2010 at 08:07

    i disagree aout the lyle crowd and paleo crowd…a quick skim of marks forum shows many younger people. myself, a 24 yr od female eat a “paleo” style diet and have gone from a BMI of 14 to 16 in 2 months!! i have never ever fel better in my life albite the mental troble have gaining weight. paleo is NOT at all a crowd of ALL middle aged people. given,middle aged people are more apt to being in health decline and be the oes to argue and post, but there are many younger candidates… i personally am not at ALL interested in Lyle’s views

    so a couple questions…
    what is the deal with “nightshades” in some paleo eating being bad?
    if you buy USDA meat from the market(cant afford grassfed) is it not paleo?
    i eat a lo of sour cream, grassfed butter, raw cheese, fermented veggies….paleo?
    on more…what about beans? like chickpeas…paleo?

    i know it is to each their own and what works for you…justinterested in the opinions!

    • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 20:21


      With regard to your questions, check out my site, and ask them there. A lot of people have different and very valid opinons on what constitues Paleo and what doesn’t.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 08:38


      Congratulations on overcoming your ED.

      Are you in Louisiana?



      • mallory on February 21, 2010 at 16:31

        Missisippi and thank you!

    • Tony K on February 21, 2010 at 12:06

      Hi Mallory,

      It sounds like you’re doing a lot of things right.

      I see there being a continuum from a paleo food re-enactment all the way to a more flexible approach. The strict approach would be grassfed, include organ meats, no dairy, minimal fruits, etc.

      The more flexible approach is ok with corn fed, dairy, nightshades, beans, etc.

      How you prepare the foods probably makes a difference,

      They all stay away from grains, sugar , and modern processed vegetable oils. I suppose in theory, the more strict you are the more benefit you get, but you have to weigh that against your time, money, and actual results.

      If you generally stay away from grains, sugar , and modern processed vegetable oils you have a good start, then tweak your diet from there based on your results. I recognize you from my site as well, so good luck. It sounds like you’re doing a lot right.


      • mallory on February 21, 2010 at 16:23

        thanks! i am TRYING to learn about the way to handle the foods…the opinions and advice are soo differing…i started at the weston price site and found a few blogs explaining…i made my own cream cheese this week and kefir!!! i was proud lol.

  25. Paul C on February 21, 2010 at 08:14

    Thank you for the well-reasoned honest article. I’m trying to arm myself with fluent arguments when asked questions like this, and this is great stuff.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 08:35

      Paul C,

      Why do you feel that you need to “arm yourself with fluent arguments?”




  26. djinn on February 21, 2010 at 09:45

    Michael Miller,

    Since the question here seems to have to do with LM’s dismissal of paleo diet as mythology, and yet none of the comments I see seem to support that idea, why are you spending so much energy trying to convince all these folks that they shouldn’t be criticizing LM? Is it because he’s above criticism? Or maybe his rants are ex cathedra? Yes, my diet is paleo, and yes, I’ve spent a lot of time researching to make sure I’ve got it right and no, I’m not anymore interested in trying to educate you than you are interested in learning. Where’s the science indeed. I’d be willing to argue with LM; he’s got some substance. You’re just noisy.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 10:04

      Dear Djinn,

      I’m not the one making claims about the dietary habits of paleolithic man and the relevance of those habits to how we should eat today. I haven’t made any unsubstantiated claims with respect to consumption of omega-6, fructose, gluten, or saturated fats. Paleo makes them claim, paleo provides the evidence.

      I could care less if you criticize Lyle. But I would recommend having a clue what you are talking about before you criticize him. People in the comments section have been complaining about how Lyle and Co., are a bunch of meanieheads who call then names, yet they have NOTHING to say about the substance of his stance. Yeah, Lyle can be a total asshole. But guess what, he’s almost always right. Please be my guest and prove him wrong. You can freely access his forum and ask him questions. In fact, its not that hard to find his email address. Why don’t you ask him yourself.

      And, by the way, though you may not believe me, I am interested in learning. That’s why I’m here debating you fools.



      • Tony K on February 21, 2010 at 11:49

        Troll alert

        Michael = troll

        Common troll tactic. Name calling
        “That’s why I’m here debating you fools.”

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:57

        Hi Tony K.,

        I feel like I’m the one being trolled. Up until Richard’s most recent post, all I’ve seen is name calling and “paleo works because I say it does.” But no attempts at offering up evidence. I’m going to go read the stuff that he linked. I’ll be back soon buddy.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:21


        How about spending a few hours in my archives? I’ve posted on dozens of original research, and not just on diet, but fasting, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and other stuff. There is a search function.

        Here’s another place:

        Check out his Kitava study, as well as his study comparing a Paleo diet to Mediterranean. He conducts original research.

        Unfortunately, the site appears to be down at the moment. Hopefully that’s temporary.

        Oh, and he just published this book ($$$) that I ordered the other day.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:24

        I’m going to defend Michael on this one Tony. He’s been on good behavior and has contributed to the thread. I believe that he has a genuine interest in checking into scientific research so I’m putting in some effort to point his to some and it would be great if others could too.

      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 12:51


        I disagree. Michael is clearly disingenuous, and simply a troll.


        And, by the way, though you may not believe me, I am interested in learning. That’s why I’m here debating you fools.

        Thanks for the links. I don’t know if I’m going to listen to him because he looks smug and I don’t like this cut of his jib.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 13:01

        Dear Patrik,

        What have you contributed to this discussion? Oh wait, that’s right, you were the one that said something about Lyle feeling threatened because the big bad paleo movement will steal his book sales away from him oh noes! I pointed this out before, but I’ll do it again here. Lyle’s income is such that he is able to sit around on his ass responding to people on forums, reading the primary literature, and training for speed skating. He would literally LOL in your face if you said anything to him about paleo taking away his income.

        And then, what else? You gave me–thank you very much–Dr. Kurt G. Harris’s definition of Paleo-star.

        Address me Patrik. Please. Other than that you’ve been LOLing at things you think are LOLworthy. I’m here. I’ve written a lot of comments today for you to disagree with. Let’s go.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:30


        In my way of thinking, he’s put in enough effort to get some slack. I’m all about the effort. Had he just popped in and posted things to that effect with no substance or demonstration of a willingness to be persuaded or convinced, I’d have just deleted them, as I did Frankie’s comments.

        For better or worse, that’s how I play it.

      • Tony K on February 21, 2010 at 12:33

        OK. Heat of the moment. Most of his posts have at least been respectful. I retract the troll comment. Not that anyone really cares… LOL


  27. djinn on February 21, 2010 at 10:18

    Ok, Michael; you’re not just noisy – you’re smart and noisy. 🙂

  28. Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 10:51

    Here’s an example of the level of discourse, the very clever Alan Aragon:

    “Fuck paleo… There’s only one approach to dieting, and that’s PBB (pre-big bang). It’s way better than paleo, because you get to speculate even more than the paleos do. But the best part is, you can assert an otherworldly level of self-righteousness. Consider this dialogue, for example:

    “I’m on the paleo diet. I don’t eat grains, legumes, dairy, or chocolate. Hear me roar, bitch. Hear me fucking roar.”

    [picture a guy in a glowing white robe entering the scene]

    “Paleo? Bahahahahahah… Apparently you have no idea how pre-humans ate in their celestial state.”

    The discussion would halt abruptly.”

    …And they’re calling us morons?

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:29

      Hi Richard,

      Yet another nice example of fishing stuff from LYLE’S FORUM and posting it on here OUT OF CONTEXT. See, the context is that he’s making fun of the Paleo diet. In that context, he’s not being a moron, he’s being clever and rather humerus.

      Are you having fun yet? You can’t take the beatings that you get when you go over to Lyle’s forum, so you have to bring it out here for your peanut gallery to defend you? LOL.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:12

        “so you have to bring it out here for your peanut gallery to defend you?”

        Now that’s funny, for anyone who has spent any time at Lyle’s place.

        Frankly: while this isn’t a peanut gallery by any means, you’re damn right that I brought it over here for the apparent advantages. I noticed another thread just got started over at Lyle’s, so it seems that everyone is a bit more comfortable fighting on their own turf. Perfectly normal and rational. What would be stupid is to not simply acknowledge it.

  29. djinn on February 21, 2010 at 11:37

    Richard, you’re very tough-minded. Hanging out there puts me in mind of a scientist sifting through a midden-heap, looking for data.
    I just have no stomach for that place – too much paleo eating, I guess.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 13:03

      I mostly do it for shits & giggles.

      In the end, there’s absolutely no study they can post on that overrules my own knowledge through my own self-experimentation.

      At a point it’s really absurd to have to go to studies to determine that I’m going to be better off substituting grains, sugar and franken oils in place of more meat, fowl, fish, eggs, more natural fats, more veggies and that I’m better off eating when I’m hungry, eating until I’m not, then not eating again until I’m hungry; and finally, that doing my intense movements and pushing weights around is best done hungry.

  30. djinn on February 21, 2010 at 11:42

    Um… Michael, we, uh, like got that?
    What I don’t get is your reference to a large bone.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 11:49


      Thank god someone has a sense of humer over here.



      • djinn on February 21, 2010 at 11:54

        Very good, Michael. I couldn’t resist. Good to see we can agree on the worth of humer.

  31. jerome on February 21, 2010 at 11:50

    For some reason I am reminded of an anecdote about a king who insisted that everyone in his court be shorter than him……….

  32. Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 11:55


    If you are addressing me, you are not only rude but you are confused and seem to have missed my main point. Your evaluation of my writings means literally nothing to me. I write for myself and anyone who wants to read what I write.

    People who think I am misinformed or dishonest or making thing up are invited to do my 12 steps in reverse and let me know how it goes.

    Emphasize sugar and corn oil and white flour in your diet. As long as you count calories and get enough protein, then you will be healthy and have great “body composition”. All I am saying, based on my reading of the literature and evolutionary reasoning, is to minimize these things, so if what I say is so outrageously wrong, you will get great results with that.

    So I insist if you think I am wrong, that you do the opposite.

  33. Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 11:58

    Just an admin note:

    I’m just catching up on comments, having been on the road yesterday. You folks posting here from Lyle’s place, welcome. Please read Michael Miller’s comments for an excellent example of how you ought to conduct yourselves here.

    If you step over the line, I may or may not just delete the comment, based wholly on my subjective whim and whether or not I’m just bored enough to bother responding.

    So, toss insults at your own risk. And I just deleted two comments by Frankie. I may have allowed them had they been just even a bit more substantial that one sentence gratuitous insults (one at me, one at Kurt).

    And just to head off a potential complaint, no, I am not going to be “fair” in terms of giving my regular posters more leeway than you visitors. They’ve earned their keep over months of contributions so they post with an advantage.

    So there you have it.

  34. Annon on February 21, 2010 at 14:31 Now all we need to do is figure what is indeed our natural diet.

    • Alex on February 21, 2010 at 14:45

      I’m pretty sure that none of us here are cats (nope, not even me).

      “Lesson of the Pottenger’s Cats experiment: cats are not humans”

      • jerome on February 21, 2010 at 15:01

        However, my cats are willing to admit that some humans are unusually catlike. 😉
        (time for a little light relief…….. )

  35. Sue on February 21, 2010 at 15:48

    Michael Miller said:
    “I also fell in love with GCBC when I first read it. Follow a ketogenic diet allowed me to lose my first 20lbs. It was great for aerobic energy, but I felt terrible lifting weights. I was hungry almost all of the time (eating an absurd amount of protein) and fantasized about high-carb foods. Even though I was losing fat, I had some epic binges. The other thing, which to this day still happens if I try, is trouble sleeping. Nothing makes me grumpier than trouble sleeping. ”

    So it didn’t suit you. If it had of you wouldn’t be complaining about paleo or Taubes. Perhaps the diet didn’t suit you or you didn’t do it correctly – didn’t eat enough fat, didn’t have some carbs when lifting weights. You have to individualise your diet. Studies, reading is good but in the end it comes down to how you feel eating the way you do.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:20


      You have absolutely no idea how I did my diet, so please spare me the patronizing nonsense about not doing it correctly.

      Gary Taubes is a lying piece of trash whose career is built on an intentional misrepresentation of human physiology based on bad science. Everybody knows that Gary knows he’s a fraud, but he is laughing all the way to the bank.


      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 18:11

        @Michael Miller

        I believe you are a hypocritical psychotic. I am not joking. To Sue, after she makes some reasonable guesses/assumptions about what may have been your past experiences, you respond with:

        You have absolutely no idea how I did my diet, so please spare me the patronizing nonsense about not doing it correctly.

        while previously you felt entirely free to patronize Alex with:

        Second, I guess, by definition, I can’t argue with your using personal experience as evidence because the Paleo diet “worked” for you. Let me just throw this out there as food for thought: What if I told you that I think that what you believe to be the underlying mechanisms behind the Paleo diet had little to nothing to do with your great results? What if I told you that your experience sounds like the experience of many people who had never watched what they ate and didn’t exercise (on a regular basis). Had you ever eaten at a caloric deficit in the past for a long enough time to lose the weight while consuming adequate protein? Were you eating foods with high micronutrient densities? Adjusting your carb intake to correlate with your activity level? Consuming enough veggies and fiber? I don’t want to be an asshole, but I think the answer to my questions is a resounding “No.”

        Feel free to rain down the abuse born of my hasty assumptions.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 21, 2010 at 16:38

        Yeah, Gary is a genius.

        Spending 5 years writing a 500 page book with 500 references is a sure-fire way to get rich.

        You have shown yourself to be a person of absolutely no character by slandering Taubes this way.

        Nice Job, you are a class act.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:58

        Hi Dr. Kurt G Harris MD,

        How is it possible that Gary Taubes failed to uncover contradictory evidence that refutes his central thesis during 5 years of research? It is out there. Everywhere. You know that his insulin hypothesis is wrong, you know that his slippery little explanation of thermodynamics is wrong, and you know that his claims about the advantages of keto/low-carb diets can be better explained by mechanisms which he fails to mention is his book. If you are so well steeped in the primary literature as you claim to be, then you would know that he cherry-picked the studies that fit his predetermined conclusion and ignored the ones that didn’t.

        Its not slander since I’m right. And you know that also.


        Michael Miller

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 18:32

        Hi Richard,

        Those articles were interesting reads. I’ve never seen anyone say this before, “…I formed the opinion that medical science was mostly garbage.”

        He then throws out the application of the first law to people, and then says good luck with trying to figure out the second.

        Goodbye medical science, goodbye appeals to thermodynamics.

        I feel like that did nothing but open the door to everything and anything.

        On that note, I’m out. Take care.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 16:53

        Now Michael, Taubes could be wrong, but a liar & fraud? And are you aware of his previous work in exposing frauds like un reproducible cold fusion?

        At any rate, besides the huge value in GCBC in letting saturated fat & cholesterol off the hook, all he has done is propose an alternate hypothesis and has called for studies to test it. As I understand he has been working on raising funds to that end.

        I don’t know what more anyone can expect.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:01


        It is utterly inconceivable that in his 5 years of research he failed to come across the large amount of evidence refuting the insulin hypothesis. He’s obviously an intelligent human being, isn’t he? If he read everything out there he would have seen that his metabolic magic is a bunch of smoke and mirrors. If was truly an open-minded person, he would have addressed his critics claims with something other than repeating his tired refrains about insulin and thermodynamics.



      • Markus on February 24, 2010 at 02:10


        if the insulin hypothesis can be shown to be wrong then GCBC would indeed not make much sense in this regard.
        Would you be so kind to point me in the direction of the large amount of evidene?


      • Jon Thoroddsen on February 21, 2010 at 18:22

        “ketogenic diet”
        “Eating an absurd amount of protein”
        “losing fat”

        So you were in a calorie deficit on a ketogenic diet, but eating an absurd amount of protein. This is a pretty big clue on “how [you] did [your] diet”, and I wouldn’t call it patronizing to suggest that you didn’t eat enough fats on your diet.

        Judging by your grumpiness, it would seem to me that you are still on a low fat ketogenic diet…

  36. Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 16:19

    A little light reading for you.

    Gluten (gliadin) effect on intestinal permeability”:
    Gut. 2003 Feb;52(2):218-23.
    Early effects of gliadin on enterocyte intracellular signalling involved in intestinal barrier function.
    Clemente MG, De Virgiliis S, Kang JS, Macatagney R, Musu MP, Di Pierro MR, Drago S, Congia M, Fasano A.

    Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, 2nd Pediatric Clinic, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Despite the progress made in understanding the immunological aspects of the pathogenesis of coeliac disease (CD), the early steps that allow gliadin to cross the intestinal barrier are still largely unknown. The aim of this study was to establish whether gliadin activates a zonulin dependent enterocyte intracellular signalling pathway(s) leading to increased intestinal permeability. METHODS: The effect of gliadin on the enterocyte actin cytoskeleton was studied on rat intestinal epithelial (IEC-6) cell cultures by fluorescence microscopy and spectrofluorimetry. Zonulin concentration was measured on cell culture supernatants by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Transepithelial intestinal resistance (Rt) was measured on ex vivo intestinal tissues mounted in Ussing chambers. RESULTS: Incubation of cells with gliadin led to a reversible protein kinase C (PKC) mediated actin polymerisation temporarily coincident with zonulin release. A significant reduction in Rt was observed after gliadin addition on rabbit intestinal mucosa mounted in Ussing chambers. Pretreatment with the zonulin inhibitor FZI/0 abolished the gliadin induced actin polymerisation and Rt reduction but not zonulin release. CONCLUSIONS: Gliadin induces zonulin release in intestinal epithelial cells in vitro. Activation of the zonulin pathway by PKC mediated cytoskeleton reorganisation and tight junction opening leads to a rapid increase in intestinal permeability.

    PMID: 12524403 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Gluten and neuropathy:

    Notice the reference to M. Hadjivassiliou. If you want more info on gluten’s effects on the nervous system, google and read some of his studies (oh yes, they are peer-reviewed).

    Seriously, how hard is it to google if you are really interested and not just here to aggravate?

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:28

      Oh, good god. I’ll make sure not to give my rat cell cultures at home any gluten because I don’t want them to develop celiac disease. I thought you said that your training and profession are in science?

      • Paul C on February 21, 2010 at 16:47

        Michael Miller, thank you for asking why I feel the need to arm myself with fluent arguments.

        I’ve already been hit with the “cavemen only lived to be 35” one, which is clearly a statistical fallacy, similar to the average age of diaper-wearers, which is also 35, although the only 35 year old diaper wearers are the rare medical case and forum trolls that drink 8 liters of Ruby Red Squirt daily and don’t feel like getting up to relieve themselves.

        Surely we well-reasoned persons must root out the bad logic, regardless of which side shouts it.

  37. Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 16:44

    Here’s a very recent review on fructose and obesity, I apologize for linking one that’s a free full text:

    Physiol Rev. 2010 Jan;90(1):23-46.

    Metabolic effects of fructose and the worldwide increase in obesity.

    Tappy L, Lê KA.

    Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, CH-1005 Lausanne, Switzerland.

    While virtually absent in our diet a few hundred years ago, fructose has now become a major constituent of our modern diet. Our main sources of fructose are sucrose from beet or cane, high fructose corn syrup, fruits, and honey. Fructose has the same chemical formula as glucose (C(6)H(12)O(6)), but its metabolism differs markedly from that of glucose due to its almost complete hepatic extraction and rapid hepatic conversion into glucose, glycogen, lactate, and fat. Fructose was initially thought to be advisable for patients with diabetes due to its low glycemic index. However, chronically high consumption of fructose in rodents leads to hepatic and extrahepatic insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure. The evidence is less compelling in humans, but high fructose intake has indeed been shown to cause dyslipidemia and to impair hepatic insulin sensitivity. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis and lipotoxicity, oxidative stress, and hyperuricemia have all been proposed as mechanisms responsible for these adverse metabolic effects of fructose. Although there is compelling evidence that very high fructose intake can have deleterious metabolic effects in humans as in rodents, the role of fructose in the development of the current epidemic of metabolic disorders remains controversial. Epidemiological studies show growing evidence that consumption of sweetened beverages (containing either sucrose or a mixture of glucose and fructose) is associated with a high energy intake, increased body weight, and the occurrence of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. There is, however, no unequivocal evidence that fructose intake at moderate doses is directly related with adverse metabolic effects. There has also been much concern that consumption of free fructose, as provided in high fructose corn syrup, may cause more adverse effects than consumption of fructose consumed with sucrose. There is, however, no direct evidence for more serious metabolic consequences of high fructose corn syrup versus sucrose consumption.

    PMID: 20086073

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 17:05

      I don’t see how that’s controversial. I agree: high sugar intake is the problem, period. HFCS is a red herring. It’s the enormous amounts of sugar people consume.

      The question is, given immoderate amounts of sugar consumption, is the primary culprit the fructose or glucose. I think the other study I pointed to answers that question.

      Moreover, if you read Lindeburg’s Kitava study I pointed to earlier, they get 70-80% of energy from starchy tubers yet are perfectly healthy. I doubt that would be the case for 70% of energy from fructose.

  38. Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:14

    Did you look at Hadjivassiliou’s work at all? Were you able to interpret the other abstract at all?

    “CONCLUSIONS: Gliadin induces zonulin release in intestinal epithelial cells in vitro. Activation of the zonulin pathway by PKC mediated cytoskeleton reorganisation and tight junction opening leads to a rapid increase in intestinal permeability.”

    This doesn’t say gliadin causes celiac disease. It says that gliadin induces a release of zonulin in intestinal epithelial cells which results in increased intestinal permeablility. When that happens, gliadin is able to enter the bloodstream, which can result in autoimmune response. This work has been followed up by Dr. Fasano at the University of Maryland. Yes, he does work with celiac disease patients, but he and other doctors are now recognizing that the ability of gluten (specifically gliadin) to create intestinal permeability is able to create gluten sensitivity in non-celiacs as well.

    Are you saying that animal studies are ALL worthless? So, in other words, we should only test on humans? Hmm, I am pretty sure there are some ethics boards who might oppose that. Perhaps we should only rely on anecdotal reports or observations? Oh, but no, you said those weren’t good either. Meta-analyses? Everyone with a true science background KNOWS that they can be manipulated and misinterpreted. So, just what would you have us look at, Michael? I gave you one study in the hope that you would have the intellectual curiosity to pursue looking a bit more on your own.

    Perhaps a few more? I would suggest you actually read the article this time and perhaps pursue a few of the references, because that is what we scientists do:

    Am J Med. 1988 Apr;84(4):739-49.
    Stone agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective.
    Eaton SB, Konner M, Shostak M.

    Department of Anthropology, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.
    From a genetic standpoint, humans living today are Stone Age hunter-gatherers displaced through time to a world that differs from that for which our genetic constitution was selected. Unlike evolutionary maladaptation, our current discordance has little effect on reproductive success; rather it acts as a potent promoter of chronic illnesses: atherosclerosis, essential hypertension, many cancers, diabetes mellitus, and obesity among others. These diseases are the results of interaction between genetically controlled biochemical processes and a myriad of biocultural influences–lifestyle factors–that include nutrition, exercise, and exposure to noxious substances. Although our genes have hardly changed, our culture has been transformed almost beyond recognition during the past 10,000 years, especially since the Industrial Revolution. There is increasing evidence that the resulting mismatch fosters “diseases of civilization” that together cause 75 percent of all deaths in Western nations, but that are rare among persons whose lifeways reflect those of our preagricultural ancestors.

    PMID: 3135745 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5):925-34.
    Evolution of the human diet: linking our ancestral diet to modern functional foods as a means of chronic disease prevention.
    Jew S, AbuMweis SS, Jones PJ.

    School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University , Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada.
    The evolution of the human diet over the past 10,000 years from a Paleolithic diet to our current modern pattern of intake has resulted in profound changes in feeding behavior. Shifts have occurred from diets high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood to processed foods high in sodium and hydrogenated fats and low in fiber. These dietary changes have adversely affected dietary parameters known to be related to health, resulting in an increase in obesity and chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer. Some intervention trials using Paleolithic dietary patterns have shown promising results with favorable changes in CVD and diabetes risk factors. However, such benefits may be offset by disadvantages of the Paleolithic diet, which is low in vitamin D and calcium and high in fish potentially containing environmental toxins. More advantageous would be promotion of foods and food ingredients from our ancestral era that have been shown to possess health benefits in the form of functional foods. Many studies have investigated the health benefits of various functional food ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, fiber, and plant sterols. These bioactive compounds may help to prevent and reduce incidence of chronic diseases, which in turn could lead to health cost savings ranging from $2 to $3 billion per year as estimated by case studies using omega-3 and plant sterols as examples. Thus, public health benefits should result from promotion of the positive components of Paleolithic diets as functional foods.

    Eur J Nutr. 2000 Apr;39(2):67-70.
    Paleolithic vs. modern diets–selected pathophysiological implications.
    Eaton SB, Eaton SB 3rd.

    Dept Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30327, USA.
    The nutritional patterns of Paleolithic humans influenced genetic evolution during the time segment within which defining characteristics of contemporary humans were selected. Our genome can have changed little since the beginnings of agriculture, so, genetically, humans remain Stone Agers–adapted for a Paleolithic dietary regimen. Such diets were based chiefly on wild game, fish and uncultivated plant foods. They provided abundant protein; a fat profile much different from that of affluent Western nations; high fibre; carbohydrate from fruits and vegetables (and some honey) but not from cereals, refined sugars and dairy products; high levels of micronutrients and probably of phytochemicals as well. Differences between contemporary and ancestral diets have many pathophysiological implications. This review addresses phytochemicals and cancer; calcium, physical exertion, bone mineral density and bone structural geometry; dietary protein, potassium, renal acid secretion and urinary calcium loss; and finally sarcopenia, adiposity, insulin receptors and insulin resistance. While not, yet, a basis for formal recommendations, awareness of Paleolithic nutritional patterns should generate novel, testable hypotheses grounded in evolutionary theory and it should dispel complacency regarding currently accepted nutritional tenets.

    PMID: 10918987 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Just why do you spend your time going to paleo/primal forums? If you don’t want to learn about whether paleo eating is beneficial or not and just want to promote L.M.’s stuff, then what is the point? No doubt you will find something wrong with each of the above. That’s fine. I don’t really care what you eat or what Lyle McDonald eats or what anyone else eats but me. Paleo eating makes ME feel better than I have in many years. I’ve done my research and I have actually read many studies (not just misinterpreted the abstracts) and I think paleo is on the right track. If you don’t, so be it. Again, why do you care?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 17:27


      “Are you saying that animal studies are ALL worthless? So, in other words, we should only test on humans? Hmm, I am pretty sure there are some ethics boards who might oppose that. Perhaps we should only rely on anecdotal reports or observations? Oh, but no, you said those weren’t good either. Meta-analyses? Everyone with a true science background KNOWS that they can be manipulated and misinterpreted. So, just what would you have us look at, Michael? I gave you one study in the hope that you would have the intellectual curiosity to pursue looking a bit more on your own.”

      That reminded me of one of my favorite sections from Carl Sagan (Demon Haunted World):

      The Dragon in my Garage

      • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:37

        Some people will never accept evolution either, no matter how much evidence one presents. At some point you just have to let them live with their illusions and hope they don’t reproduce.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 18:10

        Hi Laurie,

        People have made a much more compelling case for evolution than you have made for your particular cherry-picked Paleo beliefs. Try again please.



  39. Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:19

    Yes, we can all cherry pick our studies. On fructose (notice the last line in the abstract):
    J Clin Invest. 2009 May;119(5):1322-34. doi: 10.1172/JCI37385. Epub 2009 Apr 20.
    Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans.
    Stanhope KL, Schwarz JM, Keim NL, Griffen SC, Bremer AA, Graham JL, Hatcher B, Cox CL, Dyachenko A, Zhang W, McGahan JP, Seibert A, Krauss RM, Chiu S, Schaefer EJ, Ai M, Otokozawa S, Nakajima K, Nakano T, Beysen C, Hellerstein MK, Berglund L, Havel PJ.

    Department of Molecular Biosciences, UCD, Davis, California 95616, USA.
    Comment in:

    J Clin Invest. 2009 May;119(5):1089-92.
    Studies in animals have documented that, compared with glucose, dietary fructose induces dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. To assess the relative effects of these dietary sugars during sustained consumption in humans, overweight and obese subjects consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages providing 25% of energy requirements for 10 weeks. Although both groups exhibited similar weight gain during the intervention, visceral adipose volume was significantly increased only in subjects consuming fructose. Fasting plasma triglyceride concentrations increased by approximately 10% during 10 weeks of glucose consumption but not after fructose consumption. In contrast, hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and the 23-hour postprandial triglyceride AUC were increased specifically during fructose consumption. Similarly, markers of altered lipid metabolism and lipoprotein remodeling, including fasting apoB, LDL, small dense LDL, oxidized LDL, and postprandial concentrations of remnant-like particle-triglyceride and -cholesterol significantly increased during fructose but not glucose consumption. In addition, fasting plasma glucose and insulin levels increased and insulin sensitivity decreased in subjects consuming fructose but not in those consuming glucose. These data suggest that dietary fructose specifically increases DNL, promotes dyslipidemia, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases visceral adiposity in overweight/obese adults.

    PMID: 19381015 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:20

      Oh, and yes, that was a HUMAN study.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:30

        Hi Laurie,

        You’re a little late to the party with that one. Richard and I already discussed it briefly, and he agreed with me that the dosing parameters are ridiculous. This is why I asked for RELEVANT evidence. Overfeeding test subjects fructose says nothing about the effects of moderate intake int he context of a balanced diet based on whole foods.



      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:32

        And, by the way, I posted a review, and you posted one RCT with irrelevant intakes of the fructose and glucose.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 17:35

        Yes, I agreed on dose; however, the fact that fructose & glucose were compared is highly relevant, meaning that overconsumption of fructose is more problematic than “overconsumption” of glucose, if there even is such a thing. (see: Kitavans).

        I don’t understand why you guys seem to be dismissive of the obvious implications of the comparison.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:47

        Hi Richard,

        Please share with me these “obvious implications.” I’m seriously growing tired of this debate and I’m done with doing all of the thinking on my own.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 17:52

        I spelled them out above, as in the previous comment on the same subject. I asked you if you disagreed with my conclusion and received no response.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:52

        Your buddy Dr. Kurt doesn’t feel the same way about the Kitavans as you do.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 18:01

        Oh, you mean I don’t have to agree with my buddy Dr. Kurt on everything?

        Look, I’m on record going way back that in absolute perms, paleo is everything from Kitavan high carb to Inuit virtually no carb, and everything in between. And even though both populations seem to have exibited excellent health I question whether extremes are _optimal_ if that’s one’s goal.

        So, what’s optimal? It likely applies first from where your ancestors harken, i.e., European, African, Americas. Some populations are clearly mpre susceptible to particular diseases than others, such as Africans to hypertention, Native Americans to diabetes, etc.

        But, ultimately, one needs to find what works best for them. For me, that’s high fat, low to moderate carb and moderate protein, and I include dairy intermittently even though may argue that’s not paleo, but I think that’s debatable. It’s plausible paleoman sourced and hunted lactating ruminants since observing calves nursing would have been obvious as to what the food source was. Moreover, milk is an animal-based food, just like eggs, so if you can tolerate it, go for it.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 18:07

        Hi Richard,

        I am honestly puzzled as to why you have to look back to the alleged diet of Paleo man to find what you should eat. Why don’t you look forward? I feel like you have to find a way, in your own mind, to justify your diet choices.



  40. Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:26

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks for the other studies. I’ll take a look at those sometime soon. If you wanted me to focus on the non-rat studies, then why in the name of everything holy did you post a RAT IN VITRO study?!?!?!?!?!

    Why do I spend my time going to paleo/primal forums? I actually don’t. This isn’t a “forum” in the internet sense of the word, its the comments section of the blog post. The funny thing is that I’m over here because Richard Nikoley (the author of this blog post) went over to LYLE’s FORUM AND POSTED A LINK TO THIS BLOG POST. If Richard had not taken that action, I would have never fallen down this rabbit hole.

    I’m not promoting Lyle’s stuff, that’s his job. I’m in favor of honest science without an agenda. Its pretty clear to me that I’ve been debating all day with a crowd of Paleo/primal crusaders–one of the posters links to a collective blog that’s about “spreading the word.” Give me a break.



  41. Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:43

    Haha, “without an agenda.” That’s funny, Michael. You’re just a friendly guy who hangs out on forums with opposing viewpoints to your own for fun. I only hang out on forums where I think I might get more info on what interests me. I don’t go to other forums and get into “debates” there. Again, why are you here?

    And “Cheers” is a bit disingenuous don’t you think? Have you posted your bloated six-pack avatar on McDonald’s forum yet?

    • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 18:02


      It is not just Michael Miller’s “Cheers” that is disingenuous. It is his whole being.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 18:09

        Hi Patrik,

        You still have yet to contribute anything of substance to this discussion since you linked me to Dr. Kurt’s definition of Paleo-asterisk. Would you like to join in the debate?



      • Patrik on February 21, 2010 at 18:24

        @Michael Miller

        It is impossible to engage in a meaningful discussion with you as you generally not serious and not cogent in your argumentation. Moreover, you indulge in ad hominem and all sorts of other impolite behavior (hypocrisy and patronizing language) while simultaneously pretending to be above it and crying foul when others do.

        Kurt Harris has, IMO, spent far too much time and effort indulging you in this silly game.

      • Heather Lackey on February 21, 2010 at 19:20

        Agreed. Dr. Harris probably has better (and more interesting) ways to use his time. The Michael Miller thing on the whole has been largely boring, though I’m sure HE’S been greatly entertained.

      • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 18:20

        What Richard does is his concern. I read his posts because they are interesting and relevant. You’ve just lost any relevance to my world. Have fun debating whomever. And if it makes you feel all macho to say “Oh goody, I win!” well then, so be it. I’m bored.

      • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 18:45

        Hi Laurie,

        I bet you’re adorable when you pout and stomp your foot. Are your hands on your hips right now too? Goodnight hun.



      • Jon Thoroddsen on February 21, 2010 at 19:28

        Are you as creepy in real life as you come across here?

    • Laurie on February 21, 2010 at 17:45

      Oh, excuse me, blog post, not forum.

    • Michael Miller on February 21, 2010 at 17:57

      Hi Laurie,

      I like debating. Once again, in case you missed it last time, your buddy Richard (the one who wrote this blog post, who runs this little corner of the internets) posted a link to this blog post ON LYLE’S FORUM. After coming over here to post a comment or two, I’m not going to then go away and let you guys have all the fun responding to my comments and then thinking to yourselves, “Hahaha, he ran away.”

      My six-pack is getting a little bloated tonight after eating all of your ad hominems. Is pseudo-intellectual cannibalism Paleo? I haven’t, nor will I ever post a picture of my six pack as my avatar–I think its tacky.



  42. Nathaniel on February 21, 2010 at 23:09

    Throughout these comments, Michael Miller has accused paleo dieters of “cherry-picking” paleo “beliefs,” and of being hypocritical. This is one particular strawman that I would like to point out.

    Following a paleo-type diet does not require a person to embrace every aspect of pre-agricultural life. As Dr. Harris said, the paleo philosophy is more like, “What can we learn from human evolutionary biology?” and not “Let’s all live in caves and hunt with spears!”

    Choosing to shun modern processed foods and grains does not mean you have to also shun modern technology and medicine, and anyone who is criticizing “paleo” on that basis is being intellectually dishonest himself. There is no contradiction whatsoever in accepting modern science while seeking to emulate the diet that we evolved eating.

    And it doesn’t matter if we don’t know exactly what “paleo” man ate. The diets of groups in different places varied widely based on what was available. However, we do know for certain many things that they did not eat. By definition, they didn’t cultivate grains and use them as a major food source. Neither did they process and refine sugar or vegetable oils. We can safely eliminate these things from our diet without needing to speculate or theorize.

    As Dr. Harris has written about, the “paleo” type diet today is mostly a diet of exclusion, of avoidance-type behavior. It is not a religion, or a cult, or a belief system, and it is great intellectual dishonesty to repeatedly accuse it of being such things. Nobody idolizes a cave man, or idealizes life in that time period. Everyone knows it was often harsh. But that doesn’t mean that their diet wasn’t fundamentally more nourishing.

    The development of agriculture introduced the human race to food that could be mass-produced in one place and stored, which led to a population explosion and the development of civilization as we know it. And while it is evidently true that grains (and even more recently, sugar) are a cheap, relatively reliable source of food energy that can sustain human life, it is also evidently true that they bring with them a host of health problems and are less nourishing than the food we ate before their cultivation.

    Grains/sugar are quantity over quality. They can support a growing population, but at a lower overall level of health. Good enough to survive and reproduce. But for those seeking optimal health, there are simply better foods.

    I’m sure that Michael Miller will not care much for this post, since I have not provided references and citations to the many studies that I have read which influenced these thoughts. Like Dr. Harris, I have no interest in going back to dig up my sources. The information is out there, for anyone who seeks it. I’m not trying to convince anybody. I just wanted to make a comment about the intellectual dishonesty of those who criticize the “paleo” way of eating with these tired old straw-man arguments.

    • Patrik on February 22, 2010 at 01:27


      Excellent summation and very cogent. I vote this as comment of the month.

    • Heather Lackey on February 22, 2010 at 05:09

      We can safely eliminate these things from our diet without needing to speculate or theorize.

      Without studies? My god, man–are you crazy?

      (I second Patrik’s vote.)

      • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 08:49

        Hi Heather,

        At least you have good taste in music (serious).



    • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 10:02

      Hi Nathaniel,

      I appreciate the thought and effort that went into your post. Its obvious that you have spent time thinking about this issue.

      So, I’m going to, using the information that you’ve provided in your post, cobble together a definition of the paleo-asterisk diet:

      “As Dr. Harris said, the paleo philosophy is more like, ‘What can we learn from human evolutionary biology?’ and not “Let’s all live in caves and hunt with spears!”

      “Choosing to shun modern processed foods and grains”

      “while seeking to emulate the diet that we evolved eating. ”

      “As Dr. Harris has written about, the “paleo” type diet today is mostly a diet of exclusion, of avoidance-type behavior.”

      “‘paleo’ way of eating”

      Here’s what I gather, (not hunt) from your words above. Nathaniel’s Paleo-asterisk definition:

      Paleo is an overarching philosophy and exploratory framework that seeks answers from human evolutionary biology; in a practical sense its a way of eating that seeks to emulate the diet that we evolved eating, and in doing so it is characterized by avoidance-type behavior that causes the practitioner to exclude modern processed foods and grains from their diet.

      Here’s where the strawmen come in. Based on your definition, and based on what I’ve gathered from this thread and hunted from the links that have been provided to me, eating paleo can mean many different things depending on who you are talking to. Its clear that you all choose to eat this and don’t choose to eat that, and Richard is fond of the Kitavans, but Dr. Kurt G. Harris, MD is bored of them. Because of the way that ya’ll have collectively constructed the Paleo diet, there is no one Paleo diet and each person picks and chooses what they will and will not eat.

      The amorphous nature of the Paleo diet necessarily entails that any argument against it (with proper specificity) will be a strawman. No matter how I choose to formulate an argument against the Paleo diet–unless I my definition is so broad as to be meaningless–you can always yell “strawman.” “That’s not my Paleo, nope its not.” “That’s not my paleo.”

      Do you see what I am saying here? Any attempt to make it concrete is fought by your appeal to a higher philosophy/methodological approach/argument from evolution, but–simultaneously–you refuse to be labeled as a belief system or an ideology. What is left when I dispense with the naturalistic romanticism?

      Are any of you intelligent enough to write a coherent argument that:

      1. Provides a concrete, non-amorphous definition of the Paleo diet
      2. Can account for the argument I made above about strawmen?
      3. Can show that this wannabe paleonutrigenomics is a non-redundant means of uncovering truths about human nutrition, physiology, or metabolism?

      I would really appreciate it if someone could make an attempt at any one of the three.

      Thank you very much in advance for your time.


      Michael Miller

      • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2010 at 10:19

        “Here’s where the strawmen come in. Based on your definition, and based on what I’ve gathered from this thread and hunted from the links that have been provided to me, eating paleo can mean many different things depending on who you are talking to. Its clear that you all choose to eat this and don’t choose to eat that, and Richard is fond of the Kitavans, but Dr. Kurt G. Harris, MD is bored of them. Because of the way that ya’ll have collectively constructed the Paleo diet, there is no one Paleo diet and each person picks and chooses what they will and will not eat.”

        For the most part, you have finally understood. Now, simply drop the word “diet” when used in the typical sense of some sort of caloric or macronutrient ratio prescription. Instead, think of “diet” in the general sense. It’s a dietary FRAMEWORK (or ideology or belief system based on scientific inquiry into human evolution and reasoned hypotheses and guesses and self-experimentation) as a starting point for figuring out the specific diet that works for you.

        “you refuse to be labeled as a belief system or an ideology”

        I don’t because that’s exactly what it is.

        “Any attempt to make it concrete is fought by your appeal to a higher philosophy/methodological approach/argument from evolution”

        That’s because it can’t be made concrete because each individual needs to find his own place within the framework. I do think that if one is being careful there’s going to be a lot of similarity among people, but nobody can prescribe a diet that’s going to work for everyone or even most.

      • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 10:41

        Hi Richard,

        Thank you for posting that. After seeing that, its clear that we are in agreement, and there is nothing left to discuss. I’ll make sure to check back in here from time to time, and maybe I’ll post every once in a while. Thank you for being respectful throughout the discussion. I also want to thank you for allowing the free flow of ideas here on your blog rather than censoring or banning as many people choose to do.

        Take care.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2010 at 13:54

        Thanks Michael:

        Heres a comment on my lost post demonstrating the exact right approach to paleo.

      • tony K on February 22, 2010 at 11:01

        Hi Mike,

        In betweeen the trolling comments, you have made good comments that help crystallize thinking. I appreciate that.

        I think you answered some of your own questions.

        So first, there is no such thing as “the Paleo Diet.” Rather it is an umbrella term that captures a range of diets. What they all pretty much have in common are the following:
        1. Very low grain consumption
        2. Decrease grain oil consumption
        3. Low refined sugar consumption; most are also low in all sugars (i.e. fruit is ok in limited quantities)

        I think you’re right about the strawman thing. Of course, some people (LM) choose to take it much further and crticize adherents of paleo-whatever because they are using computers and not biting the heads off of chickens. Those are true strawman arguments.I’m sure there are some people who want to take their lifestyle further and more power to tham, but most are not interested in that. (Why should they be)?

        Trying to understand how diet has affected and changed our species is in the same vein as modern epidemiological studies can give rise to better nutritional hypotheses. It allows for thinking outside of the current paradigms, by studying health in a different context and through different funding mechanisms than by stuying modern man. There will be some redundancy, but that’s true of all science (replicating results, etc).

        Just my $0.02.


  43. Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 01:33

    Kurt — You accused Mike of boasting about his credentials. I’ll quote you:

    “You probably disagree with my gluten grains stance (identical to Peter’s at hyperlipid) based on all the medical science they taught you for that vaunted CSCS credential.”

    Tell me how this accusation makes any sense whatsoever given that Mike doesn’t list his credential after his name, but you do?

    We can begin with that little slip-up, the go from there. Go ahead.

    PS – hello “have an ice day” guy.

    • Patrik on February 22, 2010 at 03:27

      @Alan Aragon

      Really? Have you checked Michael Miller CSCS’s site lately?

      He lists his “credentials” in:

      the title tag of “World’s Fittest Blog: Fitness and nutrition. — Michael Miller CSCS | Begin your transformation with me.”

      the URL of “”

      the tagline of said URL – “Michael Miller CSCS | Begin your transformation with me.”

      the headline – “Michael Miller CSCS

      the 5th paragrah – “I went as far as to get my CSCS–the letters after my name–certification (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association).”

      Again referencing the same page – “Michael Miller CSCS

      I should also mention he lists it in his LinkedIn profile here:

      PS I LOVE that part when he highlights his credentials with: “I went as far as to get my CSCS–the letters after my name. Classic.

      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 06:08

        Patrick — That’s great detective work, but I was speaking of this discussion in particular.

        And of note, Mike has posted on my blog before, credentials missing. Same story at the 3 other forums I’ve seen him post at. But, that was a good try on your part. You seem to have your panties throroughly bunched up by the man, so credentials or not, it looks like he’s he’s got your attention.

        Clearly, Kurt took a dig at Mike’s CSCS, accusing him of ‘vaunting’ it, when the pot was calling the kettle black. That’s the point. In my view, this was part of Kurt’s attempt to do what he did throughout their entire exchange – deflect & avoid the questions.

      • Patrik on February 22, 2010 at 09:52

        Nice backpedaling Alan! Kurt did what we all did when this troll showed up, we checked out his site to see what he is about. And Michael Miller CSCS is all about his CSCS– you know, “the letters after his name.” (per Michael Miller CSCS himself)

        PS Kurt used the adjective “vaunted”, he did not accuse Michael Miller CSCS of “vaunting” his “credential” as “vaunting” is not a verb. You meant to use the verb “to flaunt”.

      • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 10:08

        Hi Patrik,

        Still not contributing anything to the discussion? Still really hung up on irrelevant ad hominems?

        I’m proud of my CSCS credential, and I think it would be foolish of me not to display in on MY OWN BLOG. I display it prominently ON MY OWN BLOG because, no matter what I have learned on my own–people want to see credentials. I’m confused as to what this has to do with the discussion here though. As Alan pointed out, Dr. Kurt G Harris, MD is the one who brought my credential into the discussion. At no point in time on this comment page did I raise my credential as a reason for anyone to listen to me or a sign that I know anything.

        If you had relevant credentials, would you not post them on your blog?



      • Patrik on February 22, 2010 at 10:18

        @Michael Miller CSCS

        I have contributed enough to this bit of trolling on your part. Thank you for making my point for me about CSCS-the letters behind your name.

      • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 10:28

        Hi Patrik,

        What point is that? That I am in fact a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association?

        Are you choosing to have you entire–now rather personal–attack on my by taking a phrase from MY BIO on MY BLOG out of context?

        What is your point Patrik?

        Any objective observer of this string of interactions would be bound to see that you are, in fact, the troll.

        I am ignoring anything that you say from now on unless you choose to post something substantive to the discussion.

        Thanks for playing.



      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 12:20

        Patrik — Out of respect for Richard’s wishes I’m gonna drop the credentials discussion (which Kurt initiated).

        However, if you’re going to launch a lame attempt at correcting me on something, at least be correct in your damn correction. “Vaunt” IS a verb, and primarily so:

        Knowledge is power.

        And words…they mean things.

        Okay, back on topic.

      • Patrik on February 22, 2010 at 16:18

        I stand corrected. Vaunt is a verb.

      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 12:37

        PS — The link midirects (the brackets were automaticlaly removed from the “1”, must be a code thing), so here’s an alternate link, go ahead & witness “vaunt” in all of its verbal glory:

      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 12:47

        PPS — Let my preempt things before you start harping on the typos: I meant to say “misdirects” and “automatically”

        Okay, NOW let’s get back on topic 🙂

      • Robert F on February 22, 2010 at 07:21

        Mike does vaunt his CSCS on the link that is attached to every one of his posts, but I don’t see Kurt’s comment being so much about the vaunting as the lameness, relatively speaking, of the credential itself. Kurt is an MD, and he’s being attacked by a dumb jock with a drinking problem who couldn’t cut it in law school and instead got certified as a fitness trainer.

      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 08:24

        Robert — Appeals to academic credentials in a discussion that isn’t about who’s got more letters means exactly zip. Using your logic, no one has the right to discuss training with Mike unless the person has a minimum of a CSCS. Does that make sense? Of course not. And how about this — you’re throwing ad hominems & false appeals at Mike while hiding in anonymity, so how credible or (un-hypocritical) does that make you?

      • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 08:45

        Hi Robert F,

        Congratulations, you’re officially on record as my first real “hata.” I like that, it makes me feel good inside when I know I’ve caused someone enough trouble that they would go out of their way–take precious time out of their day–to launch an unsubstantiated personal attack on me. As I’m reading this, there is a tiny water droplet forming in the corner of my eye, and if I push hard enough hopefully it will run down my face and become a fully formed, mature tear. Until then, I’ll have to sit here in the law school library with a huge grin on my face. You made my day.



        P.S. I’m terrible at sports, so, the “jock” part is wwwaaaaayyyy off.

    • Kurt G Harris on February 22, 2010 at 13:20

      Hi Alan

      In my very first post here, I was responding to a post by Michael Miller where he called me “smug”. I responded with some sarcasm, including mocking his credential. That’s right, I actually made fun of him on purpose.
      So, no slip-up at all. I just met hostility with a little of my own. I am sure you have seen hostility met with hostility before, no? It makes sense in the same way your criticism of me makes sense – you are sparring.

      I might add that Michael, to his credit, has subsequently rather cleverly addressed me as “Dr. Kurt G Harris MD”, the redundancy of the salutation no doubt meant to mock my credential. If you had an MD I am sure you would make sure it never appears with your signature or on your masthead, or maybe your magazine would like to include it, who knows?

      BTW, I agree with a few of your criticisms of Lustig’s video, too much women’s temperance movement and the bit about fiber totally neutralizing sugar is fantasy, but I am mystified by the sheer hatred and mockery for him and Taubes. I don’t have the energy for that kind of hatred and in fact I find it impedes my learning, but that’s just me. I know, I know, you just guys are all the only ones that just have no tolerance for “bullshit”, or so you think.

      As far as “the go from there”.. sorry, working on a post on NAFLD right now – you know, one of those lack of willpower and exercise diseases that has skyrocketed in the past 20 years and is causing kids to need liver transplants.

      Anyway, good day to you. No emoticon, I really mean that.

      • Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 14:07

        Hey Kurt,

        That’s a straight-shooting answer I can appreciate. For your edification, Mike’s “smug/cut of his jib” comment was actually a reference to an ongoing joke in that’s been circulating the internetz lately, born from this thread (warning: this site contains pics of girls in thongs):

        It was meant to be humerous; not a genuine attack on Mike’s part. As for the hatred & mockery towards Taubes, I think those words are strong descriptors, but that’s just my perspective. I think I treated Lustig pretty fairly.

        As for my lack of tolerance for BS, I don’t disagree with your implication that I & a handful of others aren’t the only ones who get riled up when BS hits the radar.

        I’ll check for your post on NAFLD.

      • Kurt G Harris on February 22, 2010 at 14:29

        Well, I want to be clear the mockery was contextual. I was not mocking that credential per se, as I have no idea if it considered a good one in the training world. It was offered more in the spirit of ” what would a cardiologist know about diet” – but that’s sort of a “paleotard” inside joke, too I suppose.

        Now that I’ve seen that link, I get it : )

        Actually, Alan, you seem pretty reasonable in the hate department, it’s more some of your commenters and comrades I suppose.

        A guy like Lustig, when he responds to you, is probably not so much responding to you as just the general tone of hostility and jeering in the whole comments thread. When you give a paper at a conference (I’ve done in my academic days), it’s not the rule to have people call you names or a liar at question time.

        I think some of your criticisms of Lustig missed the point, but I agree you were reasonably fair with him. Some folks enjoy or are better at jousting on the internets than others. Academics don’t like it much.

  44. Joseph on February 22, 2010 at 08:55

    This discussion reminds me why I do not like lawyers: they are always right, not because they have anything substantial of their own to contribute to your life, but because they can tell you why all other offerings of substance are worthless (and how much would-be benefactors of humanity ought to pay their clients for having the audacity to come up with ideas and products that are not fool-proof).

    • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 09:08

      Hi Joseph,

      Nice to see you join in the discussion. I’m actually not a lawyer, and if you ask Robert F over here, I’m actually a dumb jock. Now that you’ve placed that rhetorical burden on my shoulders, is there anything that you would like to contribute to the discussion?



      • Joseph on February 22, 2010 at 17:49

        Hi, Michael! My only contribution would be a vote for Paleo as mythology. Until we understand the human animal better, all bets are off as to what makes it tick “most perfectly.” That being said, the Paleo myth is one that has served me well, leading me to make a number of decisions that have improved my quality of life. Without the impetus of an interesting myth, I probably would not have sprung for life without wheaten bread (and would still suffer from psoriasis, acne, achy joints, and that extra roll of fat I used to carry everywhere). In principle, I am open to any new information anyone has to offer that may improve the quality of my life, and I would not turn up my nose at it simply because it did not come to me under the rubric Paleo: I suspect science will change the content of that rubric over time as we separate useful data from noise, which live inextricably entwined in my own life. My comment about lawyers is not pointed squarely at you, since you are not the only person to impugn others’ myths without offering one of your own: plenty of us do it. But I am curious to know what tricks you use to solve the puzzle we are all working on, a puzzle that is for the present (as far as I can tell) without any compelling scientific solution. Thanks for reading. And to Richard, thanks for this blog.

  45. Chris on February 22, 2010 at 09:10

    An interesting point I’ve noticed about the paleo critics. They seem to place extreme reliance on studies, as the above Mr Miller’s machine gun like requests for research links demonstrate. Now, I appreciate a good, well-designed scientific study as much as the next man. But to me they are the beginning of knowledge, not the end of it. You can never really eradicate poor study design, correlation without causality errors, measurement errors, sponsor bias, etc. So I think you need to take studies, but also engage your brain and think. Obvious danger to thinking – making spurious conclusions – but necessary it’s I believe nonetheless. If someone tells me they have 10 peer-reviewed studies telling me eating my own shit is super-healthy, I’m still not going to do it. My very general perception is that many paleo people if I can use that term, have a pretty intelligent way of challenging convention. I’m sure there are some stupid people in that group too, but I think ‘paleotards’ is definitely a poor term.

    • Michael Miller on February 22, 2010 at 09:39

      Hi Chris,

      I actually prefer the term “Paleopuds,” I think it has a nice ring to it and paleotards is too harsh (and derisive towards those who are developmentally delayed).

      Squirm, squirm, squirm. You’re position is this, “I know which evidence is superior so I’m going to cling to that and dismiss everything I don’t like.” Congratulations.

      You said:

      “Now, I appreciate a good, well-designed scientific study as much as the next man. But to me they are the beginning of knowledge, not the end of it. You can never really eradicate poor study design, correlation without causality errors, measurement errors, sponsor bias, etc.”

      Nobody who actually knows anything cares about one study. Every study must be evaluated in light of the preexisting body of evidence. And yes Chris, this body of evidence happens to include practical experience and anecdote, though the scientific evidence should take priority over those due to the built-in controls. You pointed out some problems with studies. Great. They are good reasons to dismiss one study in particular. That is why, however, studies are replicated, conclusions are explored by others, potential bias is pointed out, etc. That’s why I said before that no one who knows anything cares about one study, but instead look to the weight of the evidence that has accumulated over time. Sometimes there is a clear answer, and sometimes the intelligent person is forced to reserve judgment, or–I know this is a strange concept to many people–take a very narrow, nuanced position on an issue.

      All of what I wrote above, by the way, entails that you engage your brain and think.

      Thanks for your contribution. 🙂



      • pfw on February 22, 2010 at 10:18

        This post of yours brings up a good opportunity to ask what standard of evidence you are looking for here. You ask for studies, but in this post you mention that a single study is meaningless (rightly, of course). In order to satisfy your demand for evidence, what exactly must be provided?

        A broad review of the literature centered around a testable hypothesis seems to be the only satisfactory answer to your question. This is, of course, well outside the scope of any blog comment, and thus it seems that this entire discussion is a non-starter. So, yeah, what exactly would you accept from a “paleopud” as evidence that it’s not a totally bankrupt method of figuring out what to eat for dinner?

        I must admit to confusion at the acrimony here on both sides. There’s a level of certitude that strikes me as totally unfounded (again on both sides). Human physiology is not a solved problem. People will be reading about this argument in fifty years laughing at how fucking stupid everyone was in missing all the stuff we don’t know yet, and how wrong we all got it. Probably the most important thing to realize is that if you take an untrained person and do virtually anything to them, you’ll get an adaptive response. Quibbling over what the exact range of safe fructose consumption is when the pragmatically important point is to stop drinking a case of soda a day seems pointless, and how you get that person to stop eating SAD isn’t important so long as that method is something that’s effective in the long term.

        But maybe I don’t have enough piss and vinegar for human nutrition debates on the internet 😐

  46. Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2010 at 10:09

    Commenters. Can we please drop the discussion on credentials? Everyone has made their points, the subject is off topic and we already have over 200 comments so future comments need to address the subject matter of the post and nothing else.


  47. Jeromie on February 22, 2010 at 11:15

    I avoid grains because of the lectins: this was referenced in The Vegetarian Myth a bit, and I rather enjoyed that book. Love your site Richard, keep up the good work.

    • Alex on February 22, 2010 at 11:53

      I’m not acutely sensitive to any food, aside from starches putting me to sleep about an hour after eating them. From everything I’ve read over the years, though, I get the impression that wheat isn’t just a problem for people with Crohn’s or celiac. I could probably, with no negative impact on my health, go back to eating a couple slices of Ezekiel bread every day, which was the type and amount of wheat left in my diet after first going paleo-ish. But, why bother? I really don’t miss it, and I figure that the zero negative consequences from not eating wheat are a better bet than the risk of eating wheat, no matter how small that risk may actually be. Obviously, wheat and grains in general are deeply “ingrained” in human culture, but the fact remains that they are not essential to human health.

      • Jeromie on February 22, 2010 at 13:12

        Amen Alex. I don’t know if I’ve done any damage or not (no testing ever done) but I agree with you, “why bother?” And Starches put me to sleep as well after dramatically reducing them. I am on the page with Richard where I believe 2%(Inuit)-70%(Kitavans) carb (from glucose, as tolerated) range just depends on the person and tolerance. I don’t tolerate them well, someone else might, so they shouldn’t restrict them from their diet. I denied cake at my dad’s 50th over the weekend and you could tell some of the family was upset. It is also “ingrained” that it is okay on special occasions, but if you ask someone with Rheumatoid how they feel after eating a pretzel, why would I bother even on special occasions when I could just eat a ton of ice cream or an 85% chocolate bar and be satisified while temporarily harming myself (easily fixed with the amount of saturated animal fats I consume) instead of possibly causing leaky gut which can signal an auto-immune response.

  48. Sue on February 22, 2010 at 14:27

    Its a shame Alan Aragon came on the site to discuss credentials rather than comment on the subject.
    Also, I don’t understand the hatred etc aimed at Taubes.

  49. Alan Aragon on February 22, 2010 at 15:53

    Sue — There are plenty of aspects to the original topic. I’m open to specific questions, fire away.

  50. Sue on February 22, 2010 at 18:12

    Alan I had no specific questions for you.

  51. Cynthia on February 23, 2010 at 00:46

    I think Paleo is both literal and mythical. It’s mythical in the sense of being conceptual for those of us living in modern life– it is a “guiding concept” based on what we know and imagine paleo life was like. There is disagreement about what that life was like of course, and it would have varied depending on location and season. For example, did paleo man eat zero grains? If I was hungry and all else failed, I know I’d chew on grass seeds or throw them in a pot with whatever else I could find. Even so, I don’t imagine grains and legumes could have been a consistent source of calories, but in a pinch, they could help.

    Paleo is literal in the sense that you can choose to adopt paleo-like habits and lifestyle, which people do to varying degrees too. When aboriginal peoples were treated for their diabetes by being taken back to the bush to forage as best they could, they were then literally living the paleo life- and incidentally their disease disappeared.

    There are currently 5 studies of the paleolithic diet listed on (several in Sweden). And there are other studies listed on pubmed, but basically, the diet has not been studied that much yet. Chris Gardner discusses the paleo approach in his YouTube lecture – See about 50+min in (citing Diabetologia 2007 50, 1795- the Paleo diet improves glucose tolerance more than the Mediterranean diet). This is his 2008 lecture talking about his A to Z study comparing Atkins, Learn, Ornish and Zone diets for weight loss and health parameters, among other things. Regarding paleo, he said “Think evolution!” and suggested ditching not just refined carbs but whole grains in favor of extra veggies (while pointing out how his 25 years as a vegetarian did not prepare him to advocate meat +veggies and giving up whole grains).

    I think we will see more study results eventually, but I doubt even favorable results will affect the opinion of the paleo-bashers.

  52. Jacqueline on February 23, 2010 at 03:13

    FWIW, it doesn’t seem to me that the ‘dosing’ in the RCT discussed here:
    was ridiculous at all. As Stephan points out in his discussion, the average percent energy intake of sugars is 25%.
    For example, from the Australian ‘National Nutrient intake’ figures (for 1995 – the only ones you can get for free ) – here
    show that for teenage male Australians in 1995, Total sugars represented approx. 25% energy intake on average. Based on a 2000 calorie diet I make that 125g a day. Granted it’s not all fructose – but if it is mostly sucrose that is 62.5 g fructose/day – on average – so some people have more. However, we don’t have to guess the numbers for ourselves- the mean and median absolute intakes were 212g (mean)/ 178g(median) of sugars per day for males aged 16-18. Is that excess enough??

    • Alan Aragon on February 23, 2010 at 10:56


      Stephan appears to be inconsistent in the stats he cites. At the outset he says, “…the average American actually gets about 25% of her calories from sugar!” and a little further down, he says, “25% of calories from fructose is a lot. The average American gets about 13%.”

      I’ll quote the RCT at hand (Stanhope et al): The amount of sugar consumed by the subjects in this study, 25% of energy requirements, is considerably higher than 15.8%, the current estimate for the mean intake of added sugars by Americans.”

      So indeed, they used a fructose dose that’s artificially high for the majority of the population (3 times the average American intake), and examined its 12-week effects on obese sedentary subjects. The outcomes really shouldn’t shock or awe anyone. Like I said in my blog article, the fructose dose in this study is difficult to achieve unless you suck down about a half-dozen nondiet soft drinks per day. That’s well into the realm of gross excess. I wring things out in more depth in my blog post, for anyone interested (I recapped the debate here):

      Pardon this quick tangent, but my new article might be of interest to Richard & some of the readers here, since I touch upon intermittent fasting research, among other things:

      • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2010 at 13:08


        From the linked article:

        “If the body worked this way, the human species would have quickly become extinct. The human body is more efficient and effective than we give it credit for.”

        Yep. Good piece. I just passed the two year mark of doing 95% of my two weekly workouts fasted from 12-24 hours. I also never eat until at least an hour after completion, sometimes more. Depends on when I get hungry again.

        It has certainly been a profound experience for me. On the rare occasions where I have eaten a recent meal, like 2-3 hours before hand, I feel sluggish and often get gastric reflux.

        As to the fructose deal (And I went back & read your original post in addition to your more recent one) I think it is definitely meaningful that there was a such a profound difference between the effects of fructose & glucose, mega dose or not. What does it mean? It means that 125g of fructose per day is an OD while 125g of glucose is fine & dandy. But sucrose is 50% fructose, not 10-20% and various kinds of HFCS are even higher in fructose.

        The study implies to me that a daily dose of under 50g of fructose would probably be prudent but that glucose would have a far higher upper limit, perhaps even up to 70-80% of energy (a-la the healthful Kitavans).

        Applying evolutionary logic it makes perfect sense if you think it’s reasonable to expect that we’d have gotten a lot more energy from starchy tubers than from fruit. So, the takeaway for me is to get my fructose from fruit, mostly berries, and to get my glucose from starch, mostly potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and so on. I don’t even have sucrose or artificial sweeteners in the house, anymore, and of course avoid all processed food.

      • Alan Aragon on February 23, 2010 at 15:13

        Hey Richard,

        Thanks for the kudos on the protein article, glad you liked it.

        As for the fructose vs glucose study, is it useful information & a good hypothesis generator for future research? Sure. However, on its own, it still amounts to an exploitation of extremes. However, since the majority of the controlled research shows a lack of adverse effects of about 1/3 the dose of fructose used in this study, then the question becomes whether you apply the evidence from the perch of an extremist, or from a more moderate standpoint.

        In my field experience, as well as in the literature, absolutist/black-white dietary approaches have a greater potential to backfire into disordered eating behaviors. If shit-tons of a certain food is bad, this does not automatically mean that giving it a strict avoidance tag is good. The pendulum can swing toward adverse outcomes in both directions.

        If taking an absolutist stance works great for you – good. Keep doing it, more power to you. But in my line of work, I’d be negligent if I universally asserted an absolutist dietary approach. It just doesn’t work that way for everyone – nor is it necessary or even optimal for everyone.

        It’s been a good discussion, I’ll check back after I get caught up w/work.

      • Kurt G Harris on February 23, 2010 at 15:00


        I don’t think Stephan is contradictory, just a bit confusing. The first instance is referring to sugar. The second is acknowledging your criticism that the amount of fructose given in the study ( 25%) is high compared to the average consumption of 13% . Average sugar 25%, average fructose roughly 13%.

        I would urge you to focus on how universal the difference in effect on metabolic parameters was, and imagine a world outside trim and fit LA where there are sedentary 20- somethings that play doom all day and get 40% of total calories from mountain dew. I see these people all the time -they are everywhere and the 6 cola a day archetype is becoming as common as the 6 pack (of beer) a day one.

        Even if you think 40 or 50% of kcal from sucrose is an exaggeration, I agree with Richard and Stephan that the fact that they used a bigger but not huge dose ( 2x the mean is not biologically huge, 10x would be) does not in any way negate the significance of the findings re: the special nature of fructose. They were going for more statistical power, not trying to exactly duplicate a particular diet.

        If is clear to me (us) that fructose and excess LA are neolithic agents that we uniquely benefit from avoiding in a way that we do not benefit from avoiding glucose polymers (starch) or animal fats ( SF and Monos with less PUFA)

        Fructose is designated a “neolithic agent” by me, as a heuristic, because we encounter amounts of it EVERYWHERE that are substantially outside of our evolutionary experience. My argument does not originate from paleofantasy, but originates in clinical observation that is only reinforced by the evolutionary reasoning.

      • Kurt G Harris on February 23, 2010 at 15:09

        Actually I should have added that it does not take 6 sodas a day, three meals a day of fast food or low fat fare from the grocery store and three sodas would likely suffice.

      • Alan Aragon on February 23, 2010 at 15:18

        Kurt — I would argue that there are larger dietary counseling issues than focusing on fructose in the event of someone eating 3 fastfood meals a day (or lowfat desserts) + 3 nondiet soft drinks. Under sedentary conditions, no less.

      • Patrick N. on February 23, 2010 at 15:27

        Half the people I know eat and live like this. I think a lot of people are in need of “dietary counseling”. 😉


      • Laurie on February 23, 2010 at 17:17

        I can assure you that in high schools across the nation, many students are drinking fructose-laden drinks (juice, sport, or soda) ALL day. Add that to their high carb lunch of fries, some sort of pizza concoction, and a sugary dessert. Add that to their Pop-Tart and Starbucks frappacino that they had for breakfast. Add that to a dinner from McD’s or Popeye’s or Taco Bell with more sugary drinks and perhaps some ice cream or cookies for dessert. I have had students record a typical day of eating during our Biochem unit in Anatomy for several years now. These are typical meals and not out of the ordinary. It is the rare student who eats meals prepared from real, fresh food, even for one meal out of the day.

      • Alan Aragon on February 23, 2010 at 19:44

        I appreciate your feedback, Laurie.

        This means that mandatory parent education programs are in order. Is it feasible? Maybe not, who knows. Is it necessary? Absolutely. Is it the fault of the food? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I think parents would be better armed with the right practical tools for properly teaching their children what consitutes healthy eating patterns, and importantly, why the children should care or be motivated to carry out these patterns.

        We’re not necessarily on different teams, we just have different philosophies on how to get the job done.

        I have 2 kids, and they are very aware of which foods need to be minimized (moderated – but still enjoyed), and which foods are paramount for their development & health. They harbor no blacklist of foods to obsessively avoid — and I plan on keeping it that way. This will safeguard them from placing a “taboo mystique” on certain foods, which ultimately increases the allure of those foods in the child’s mind.

        Take the power away from the food, put it in the hands of the individual. Teach kids what should comprise the majority of their intake, and what should comprise the minority of their intake, teach them why, and then be the example. It’s a philosophy that works. It’s also a philosophy that has sustained my practice for quite some time now. It’s also a philosophy that’s backed by scientific research.

      • damaged justice on February 23, 2010 at 19:52

        How are you going to put power in the hands of the individual with mandatory parent education programs?

      • Alan Aragon on February 23, 2010 at 20:08

        You missed the point.

      • Laurie on February 24, 2010 at 13:13

        I spend a good deal of time in the science courses I teach (Biology, Anatomy & Physiology) on teaching students how to think scientifically. In Anatomy, I teach the fundamentals of biochemistry and this leads into discussions of nutrition. While I follow a paleo-like way of eating, this does not mean I prescribe this to my students. On the contrary, I present several points of view and let them decide based on as much evidence as they can gather what is best for their bodies. They often ask me what I eat and I tell them, but I always follow with the caveat that my job is to teach them to think, not to mimic me. In the many years I have been teaching this course, I have had more students come back to visit me from college and tell me that this part of the course was the most beneficial to them in college. It prepared them to analyze and synthesize data; a skill that aids them throughout life. I think this is more effective than trying to train parents.

        I feel like there is a perception by some that people who eat paleo/primal/whatever are all on the extreme end of the spectrum. I am not sure where this misconception comes from. My guess is that if some paleo folks are visiting other non-paleo forums or blogs and espousing paleo nutrition to the extreme, this might be the cause. I believe that, as with most ideas, paleo has quite a spectrum of participants. I eat some potatoes once in a while, because I like them. I never eat anything with gluten because I despise the migraine I will wake up with the next morning.

        We need to teach people to think for themselves and determine what works for them. Yes, I believe paleo is well-supported by evolutionary theory and studies. I eat that way because it is the best way for me to eat, hands-down-cased closed. Everyone else’s mileage may vary, but they need to be aware of the options to conventional wisdom nutrition at least.

      • Paul C on February 25, 2010 at 13:49

        Would the parent education programs be mandated by the same government that is providing the fructose laden school lunch food (such fat free chocolate milk – criminal!) which for many children is half of their daily nutrition?

  53. Aaron Curl on February 23, 2010 at 06:14

    Here’s some scientific evidence (my own study) that paleolithic did not spend a lot of time gathering grain for food. I am a an archery hunter and have been hunting deer for many years. 25 years ago it was commonplace for archery hunters to still hunt or spot and stalk, now most archery hunters just sit up in a tree and let the deer come to them. We evolved, why work hard and expend more energy then needed! Why would paleolithic people spend too much time gathering grains if there was abundant meat? I suppose if there were no game around they would forage and collect anything they could find to survive! As for me, I don’t care, I chose to not eat grain and I feel great not doing so!

  54. Glenn on February 24, 2010 at 09:05

    Take it as stipulated that protein does not have to be spaced out over six meals for the body to metabolize the nutrients necessary for hypertrophy. What about insuline sensitivity? You aren’t going to get the same insulin spike as you would from a high carb meal, but protein and fats are still insulinogenic–especially if you cram your entire daily protein allotment into one meal. Doesn’t spacing out meals help promote insulin senstivity over time?

    • Alan Aragon on February 24, 2010 at 12:06


      This is an equivocal area of research, so I can see your concern. A couple of earlier studies (Rashidi et al, 2003 & Jenkins et al, 1989) compared 3 meals per day with an impractical 9 & 17 meals per day, respectively. They found that the grazing pattern had slightly more favorable effects on insulin sensitivity. Another more recent trial (Stote et al, 2007) found less favorable effects on glucose & insulin metabolism with a 1-a-day vs a 3-a-day meal pattern when calories weren’t restricted. Of note, a similar trial by Stote et al published earlier the same year showed body comp improvements in a 1-a-day group vs the 3-a-day, but this trial didn’t measure insulin sensitivity.

      However, other research hasn’t consistently supported any advantage in these regards. For example, an IF protocol w/20-hr fasting cycles was found to improve insulin-mediated glucose uptake, but this trial didn’t have a control group for comparison purposes (Halberg etal, 2005). Alleviating this design shortcoming, recent research (Soeters et al, 2009) compared an IF diet with a conventional diet and found no differences in insulin-mediated peripheral glucose uptake, hepatic insulin sensitivity, insulin sensitivity of adipose tissue, or proteolysis.

      I should also mention that there’s literature showing that a haphazard eating pattern (with variable meal frequency), but not necessarily a lower frequency, negatively impacts thermogenesis, blood lipids, and insulin sensitivity (Farshchi et al, 2005 & 2005).

      Keep in mind that none of this research was done using any structured exercise protocol. I’d wager that a sound training program’s positive effects on insulin sensitivity would nullify any potential advantages of an extreme grazing pattern. Not to mention, a well-constructed diet would likely add to the positive effects of exercise; research diets typically range from sub-optimal to crappy.

      Theoretically, if you were in an aggressive hypercaloric state for the purpose of rapid weight gain, there might be a slight protective effect against impairments in insulin action by increasing meal frequency. However, I highly doubt this would translate over to maintenance or hypocaloric conditions – especially given a sound diet & sufficient physical activity.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2010 at 12:14



        Now there’s something I never, ever see. Everybody only ever posts about the “unequivocal.” 🙂

        Good job.

      • Alan Aragon on February 24, 2010 at 13:23

        Yeah, well there’s a lot of slippery areas. It keeps things interesting 🙂

  55. Alan Aragon on February 24, 2010 at 12:12

    Date correction: Farshchi et al’s research examining meal pattern’s effect on insulin sensitivity was done in 2004 & 2005.

  56. Glenn on February 24, 2010 at 12:16

    Very comprehensive answer!

    Thanks Alan.

    • Alan Aragon on February 26, 2010 at 16:55

      No probs, Glenn.

  57. Richard Nikoley on February 25, 2010 at 18:14


    If you’re still watching, I just connected some dots:

    I even laughed at the Paleo one that was pointed out in comments.

    • Alan Aragon on February 26, 2010 at 16:53


      Thanks (retroactively) for posting that, Richard.

  58. Chris on February 28, 2010 at 15:32

    Some of the issues raised in these comments are addressed in my interview with Keith Thomas:

  59. . o O ( Lyle McDonald – Rapid Fat Loss Handbook Review: Scam or Serious? ) on March 17, 2010 at 03:10

    […] You may also want to check out: Is Paleo Literal, or Mythology? | Free The Animal […]

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