The Dream

Most fitness programs are the same and only differ in how they apply the basic elements of fitness and health:

  1. To get stronger/gain more muscle, you have to lift more weight or do more work.
  2. To lose fat, you will have to lower calories or burn more than you take in.
  3. To get better at an activity, you will have to practice the activity.

Unless you’re a genetically abnormal individual, this holds for everyone…you are not special. Once you accept that, the notion of health and fitness becomes pretty boring or thousand-yard stare inducing. You don’t get something for nothing and will have to work for any changes or improvements you make. This is where framing or “the dream” comes into play.

To create an emotional commitment to a program, create a mythology. Once the mythology is in place, with a nice story likely filled with narrative fallacy, one is better able to commit to the endeavor about to be embarked upon. Examples:

  • The Atkins Diet:  take carbohydrates intake down to nearly zero, focus on protein and fat consumption, which increases satiety and improves insulin sensitivity. You can still overeat but, because of the protein, it becomes a chore and you tend to lose weight. Boring, right? Since this was clearly a PR problem, the diehards changed the name to “Paleo” in honor of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Now where there was once science there is a story: human beings roamed, picked, and killed for thousands of years and we’re nearly genetically identical. The image of roaming the outdoors lean, tanned, and warm sounds fantastic when you’re hunched over your monitor, overfat, in some 68* office building. Add in the notion that if you occasionally fast you don’t need to worry  about calories; our ancestors didn’t eat all the time because kills weren’t regular. So by not eating for a combined 48 to 72 hours each week, you can eat whatever you want. That amount of not eating adds up to 6 to 7 thousand calories per week, which is nearly 2lbs of fat loss based on the maths. But calories don’t matter, remember?
  • The Mediterranean Diet: take a look at the peoples of the countries that border the Mediterranean north shore. They’re lean, tan, don’t wear socks with their loafers, and seemingly eat endless pasta…what is their secret? The answer, supposedly, is that in addition to eating pasta, breads, and salads, they eat more fat in the form of monounsaturated extra virgin olive oil, fattier cuts of meat, and cheese. In addition, they enjoy red wine on a regular basis. So that’s the story, the reality of this is tenuous at best. Americans will see this and think “I’ve already got bread and pasta, I just need to add olive oil and wine!” First, there is no “one” Mediterranean Diet, as pointed out by Scott at Fitness Spotlight. Second,  fattier cuts of meat are used , usually in the form of pork fat, for cooking and flavor. Finally, not only are the portions smaller, but the calorie-bomb dressing is considered a condiment, not a soup. So once you remove the story, it comes down to this: eating smaller portions, with more veggies, and higher fat meats mean your lipids improve and you are satisfied with less total calories. Less total calories. And don’t even get me started on the lower stress lifestyle.
  • The Zone Diet: the problem isn’t the foods, it’s the ratio of the macronutrients in the foods. By moving closer to the “magic” ratio of 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, your body will become a fat burning furnace and you won’t have to worry about how much you eat, only what percentages you ingest. Never mind that there is a complicated system of tracking your food intake that basically sticks everyone to around 1200 calories…it’s all about the ratio. The reality of it is that if a person is eating around these ratios, they’re going to keep their blood sugar fairly stable, eat enough fat and protein to sate fairly quickly and cover essential fatty/amino acid requirements, and increase fiber by encouraging less refined carb sources. Them’s the facts: less crappy food, more sating protein and fat, thus lowering your food intake. Reducing calories. Sense a trend here?

Look, I love a great story, only I’m not going to bullshit clients into thinking that the latest miracle diet is going to solve their waistline woes. It is just the newest, or most recently recycled, way to package lower calories. It’s no different than those fucking ab devices that sell on late night television. They slip the diet in the back door of the advert,but that is what is going to get you that “slim sexy stomach you’ve always wanted.”

So what do I tell my clients? How do I get them to lose weight? Simple:

  1. I give them the rant I just gave you, so they start to recognize the bullshit they’re being force-fed. I also tell them they are at fault for their weight, just as much as they’re at fault for their earned degree.
  2. I move them toward eating more real food. Not only does it taste better, but food in its natural packaging tends to sate way better because of the reasons listed above: more fiber, more protein, more bulk. This isn’t for any “paleo diet” reasons: we’re a melting pot, so a paleo diet for someone from Tibet is different than a paleo diet for someone from Samoa. I have a 67 year old client who recently was complaining that she was “too full” on her diet while losing weight. I had her increase her protein intake from meat…that’s it. That’s a complaint most individuals looking to lose fat would like to have.
  3. I manage emotional issues with eating. I give them Lyle’s talk about cookies, namely 2 won’t ruin your diet…unless you think they did and thus eat a whole bag, runing your diet. I move them closer to Berardi’s 90% adherance policy, which gives them freedom to enjoy social engagements without guilting themselves into a binge or a hermitage.
  4. I tell them to buy cookbooks and relearn how to cook. I’ve reviewed Gourmet Nutrition on here before, but I’m also a fan of  “Two Dudes One Pan” because of the simplicity of every dish. You’ll eat less and it will taste better.

So that’s it: the dream of a magic diet, the story that keeps you hooked, the notion that your body isn’t smarter than you…I hope I broke it down enough to get you to step back from what you are doing and see if you’re not following a little bit of lore.

35 thoughts on “The Dream

  1. I know that you’re focusing on figures – fitness and fat-loss – but it’s a bit much to lump the frankenfood-loving of the Atkins admirers (not all, and not Atkins himself) in with the eat-for-health Paleo peeps. You also vastly over-generalise what a ‘paleo diet’ involves – it’s certainly not all about fasting!

    People often take an interest in nutrition due to their own physiological responses – weight gain, allergic reactions, diseases like diabetes, cancer… etc. Most are interested in losing weight and looking hot naked. But along the path they gain an understanding of what healthy eating is – real food, as you put it. Of course we should eat real, whole food. It’s what our bodies are designed to do.

    And as a result, eating ‘fake’ foods or foods that our bodies aren’t designed to cope with (i.e. grains) is unacceptable. Two cookies has ruined your diet (note that diet means food intake, not ‘recipe for fat-loss’) if that cookies is made of sugar and grains.

    Your weight-loss ideals already line up with the ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ lifestyle, and it would be helpful to note that both encourage eating local, organic produce. Your argument about paleo diets being different due to location is illogical – paleo/primal isn’t an eating plan where you have to eat exactly what ‘the book’ prescribes, it’s about eating what nature offers you. Whether you are from Tibet/Samoa or still live there, you shouldn’t be eating foods that have been imported from another country. We’re the same human animal, after all. So I don’t see what point you are trying to make there. And fasting isn’t necessarily a part of a primal/paleo/whole foods way of life…

    What the way of life is includes not eating grains (improved dental health, heart heart, digestive health), not eating refined sugar (improved blood glucose control, metabolic activity, hormonal balance), and covering your nutrient requirements with protein and fruit/vegetables.

    Look past the vanity of how food affects your waistline and start looking at how we can stop the escalation of diabetes, cancer, heart problems and other trauma. If we can get the general populace following a much safer, healthier, natural eating plan by selling them the (true) story, then so be it. Our health system and grandchildren will thank us.

  2. I normally agree with the majority of what you write, and I really like that you take a scientific approach in the sea of misinformation. As you (correctly) point out, for many people the narrative becomes more important that the actual substance or what works.

    That said, I do have a few minor nitpicks with how each diet is represented:

    Atkins: I agree with you completely. It’s adherants insistence that carbs are all that matters, in the face of overwhelming GOOD evidence to the contrary really irks me.

    I don’t think it’s quite fair to lump the Paleo approach in there with Atkins though. I am heavily influenced by this school of thought, and through trial and error have found that I feel better (and have digestive issues) when I don’t eat grains. I still end up with 20-30% of calories from carbs though, which I don’t think comes anywhere near the level of restriction imposed by Atkins.

    Zone: I’ve never done the zone, and find it to be overly complicated and a general pain. From what of the book I’ve read, I’ve also found it to be loaded with psuedoscience. My minor issue here is that when people talk about the degree of calorie restriction they are generally calculating calories based on the “block” formula the zone uses, but not accounting for the calories that are not represented by this. In the Zone’s (convoluted) accounting system, you only count the “primary” nutrient of a food. For example, if an egg is one protein block, the fat is not counted, despite contributing to the caloric intake for day. The zone is most certainly calorie restricted, but not as much as people portray it.

    1. Hey Chris,

      I welcome healthy debate and appreciate how you approached this.

      1. I had to do some level of lumping, as I’m not a fan of 2 thousand word posts, which I could have turned this into. What got me going was another blog post about how people fail their diet because of fruit and how it should be eliminated. So paleo turns into atkins. To me paleo was always a “real food” diet: pick it, grow it, pull it, kill it. Apples grow so I enjoy 2 every day.

      2. The pseudoscience kills me for the zone, but thanks for clearing up the block system. I’ll be the first to say that, if a person is eating like pure crap, the zone is a nice first step. Working with clients, very few are ready to go pure paleo, so meeting them in the middle is something that the zone accomplishes. The next step would be moving closer to paleo and seeing what happens.

      And that’s really the point of these posts: nothing is black and white. The average person is likely going to thrive on paleo, while a long distance bicycle rider will need more calories, often in the form of ready to use carbohydrates. View the situation, apply the principles that work, make adjustments, repeat.

  3. to comment further on the previous comments left.

    Paleo and Atkins, though similar in some ways are not correct.

    I have a BIG problem with the fact that you are openly admitting putting the two together to save space (keep your post from being too long). I understand keeping your posts shorter to keep readers interested but when cutting out important information and therefor falsely representing something because of it. That just seems wrong to me.

    About as wrong as you stating that paleo tries to go low carb because a post you read stated that fruit should be cut to loose body fat. Cutting fruit (sugar/carbs) may reduce body fat, but that does not mean that is paleo, that means someone is modifying paleo to their own needs/wants. Stating this is paleo is inaccurate and falsely stated in attempt to save space? I find this quite misleading.

    On another note… you are quite ahead of other trainers, actually being interested in nutrition and not recommended whole wheat bagels and granola bars as “snacks”. I wish more professionals working with the public would recommend the “eat real food” line.

    1. Rayna,

      Thanks for the comment:

      1. I don’t think I’m falsely representing paleo by equating it to atkins, especially when certain individuals reduce carb intake to the point that it resembles atkins stage 1 (minus the frankenfat from canola/veggie oil). They’re both ketogenic if they’re both relying on fat for fuel. That is the crux of my argument: as prescribed (and we know how people like to mess with recommendations right out of the gate) atkins and paleo are ketogenic or nearly ketogenic. This isn’t a bad thing and is responsible for the majority of the hormonal milieu. The devil and the application is in the details as with every dietary plan. Often what happens is that if a person isn’t “pure” paleo, they get lumped under the “standard american diet” banner, which is hyperbolic and unfair, frankly. Clarence Bass, the superstar of aging, eats mostly real food in natural packaging, adds good fat but is nowhere near paleo with his carb intake. His numbers look good and his bodyfat doesn’t lie…so is he eating a SAD? No, of course not. It’s that 90% similarity that matters: real food, regular exercise, adjusting to your body’s reactions.

      I appreciate the compliment; the average age of my client is 50; the last thing they need is to be eating high GI anything. The only time that was recommended were to my clients who were competing in Primal Quest. Calories that are easy to carry are all that matters when you’re on your feet all day in the middle of nowhere, Utah. Some granola (home made) in addition to dried fruit/jerky/nuts/the occasional energy bar works fine in that instance. Again, fit the recommendation to the situation.

  4. And as a result, eating ‘fake’ foods or foods that our bodies aren’t designed to cope with (i.e. grains) is unacceptable. Two cookies has ruined your diet (note that diet means food intake, not ‘recipe for fat-loss’) if that cookies is made of sugar and grains.


    Our bodies are not designed to cope with grains? Are you serious? I mean seriously serious? or just kind of serious?

    Cookies made of sugar and grains never ruined my diet. They have never given me any problems whatsoever.

    1. Hi JC,

      I don’t have access to my research database, but a Google search of “grains human diet” brought up Loren Cordain’s ‘The Late Role of Grains and Legumes in the Human Diet, and Biochemical Evidence of their Evolutionary Discordance’. It would be a strong starting point for your own research –

      Cookies may have never hurt your fat-loss, but unless your genetic make-up is uniquely mutated to handle grains, they certainly hurt your health. Diet doesn’t simply mean ‘means of eating to lose weight’.

  5. I know what diet means. Why would grains be widely available and be eaten for centuries if our bodies weren’t able to “handle” them?

  6. Is that your way of saying the Cordain study is too complicated for you? Fine, here is a Mercola article that accessibly addresses the traditional way of eating grains (by sprouting them, a process which breaks down the harmful phytic acid):

    It is currently proposed that around 2-3% of the world’s population suffers from gluten sensitivity. Millions of people live in permanent digestive distress, having to deal with stomach cramps, symptoms akin to IBS, excess mucus production, and other woes. And that’s ignoring the potential dangers of refined grains! Most people do not know how their body reacts to grains until they try eliminating them from their diet – have you tried this?

    Unless you are eating sprouted grains, you could be doing damage to your system. And even if you are lucky enough to have a body that has evolved to cope with grains, and you choose to eat refined grains, then at best you are consuming calories wastefully, as the nutrition within the original grains has been stripped away. With all the delicious, nutritious food available, why are you choking down cardboard, especially when most of the time it’s merely serving as a napkin (pizza bases, pasta, sandwich bread and wraps…)?

  7. Jezwyn:

    I appreciate your clarification — that when you said “our bodies are not designed to cope with grains” what you meant was that the vast minority of people with gluten sensitivity have trouble with some grains. Very useful clarification.

  8. yup, I have tried it. Does nothing special for me. Others I know operate on diets rich in carbs/grains with no ill effects either. I understand some people have problems with gluten but it’s a small population.

  9. Oh boy, more Taubes/Paleo wankage.

    We can sum this up:

    Sane Person: Why?
    SP: OK but where’s the evidence?

    Evidence doesn’t mean shit to this crowd. A believer with a cherry picker doesn’t need facts.

  10. Charming. Did any of you bother to follow the links I posted?

    My note about the ‘vast minority with gluten sensitivity’ was to highlight the millions of people who suffer devastating consequences of consuming grains. The arguably lesser effects of consuming grains are elucidated in the pages I linked to.

    Since you don’t follow links, I’ll paraphrase:

    – Our teeth can heal themselves. Secondary dentin grows to ‘cure’ caries formed via normal eating. The acids in grains prevent secondary dentin formation. Dentists around the world are pleased. Yes, there are multiple studies proving this.

    – Grains have been associated with minerals deficiencies, perhaps because of high phytate levels. A diet high in grains may also reduce the body’s ability to process vitamin D. Fact. There is certainly more than enough evidence to prove it.

    – From Mark Sisson: Researchers now believe that a third of us are likely gluten intolerant/sensitive. That third of us (and I would suspect many more on some level) “react” to gluten with a perceptible inflammatory response. Over time, those who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions: dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and other digestive conditions, autoimmune disorders, and Celiac disease. And that still doesn’t mean that the rest of us aren’t experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously.

    – Researchers have found that lectins, the mild natural toxins found in high levels in most common grains, inhibit the natural repair system of the GI tract. The effects of this inhibition can cause major problems with our immune systems, and are linked to auto-immune diseases.

    Happy now?

    Even Skyler agrees that grains are generally rubbish, and should be avoided. While it could be proposed that our tolerance of grains will increase, much like the increasing tolerance of lactose shown in Asian communities, the growth of portion size has meant that we are consuming more grain, particularly more processed grain, than ever before. Even in cultures that have consumed comparatively vast amounts of grain for centuries, the average portion size is around one quarter of what a serving of rice/noodles is to a Western audience.

    I’m not some “believer” who cherry-picks facts. Why would I be? I’m someone who devotes a huge amount of her time to analysing research and reading as widely as possible in order to consider all of the information before drawing conclusions. Yes, I have read the work of Taubes and Cordain. I have also read countless studies and books that support grains as the foundation of the ‘nutrition pyramid’. But most of all I have read objective research, from broad studies of how a vegetarian diet affects the human body, through to micro-analysis of different species of nightshade and how they impact stomach acid. I do this to learn as much as I can.

    I then engage with others online in order to learn more. And if I’m asked to provide support for any points I make, I do it. It’s not up to me to make the asker read it. I would assume that if the question comes from a place of curiosity and a desire to learn, the asker will do so. But so many people seem so happy to ignore any facts, merely desiring to side with either side of their perceived black/white dichotomy. It’s not a dichotomy; your results may vary; but when looking at how diet impacts the world at large, you can’t simply assume that what works for you works for everyone.

    So how about instead of joining “this crowd” to bad-mouth “that crowd”, you pull your head out of your ass and do some actual reading? You might even learn something.

    1. First, everyone play nice. Be snarky, play your cards with aplomb, but keep the personal insults down.

      Second, thanks for clarifying GGP; the thing that I feel needs to be clarified, and I hope I’ve tried to make this point, is that what you are doing 90% of the time is going to yield your results. And then you have specific situations:

      1. Right after a workout, you are insulin sensitive; you’ve earned carbs. This doesn’t mean some sort of massive binge on pounds of pasta/bread, but if you want it that’s the time to minimize insulin “damage.” I’ve also posted how the GH spike is increased with carbs post workout, if that is important to you.
      2. The incredibly lean. You made a note about how I focus on figure and my reason is that many markers improve with leanness. I also made a post in the past about how overfat/obese cannot efficiently deal with their situation. In fact what I wrote was”

      Well pity the poor fatty as impaired glucose and fatty acid uptake means that both ASP and insulin are acting in a synergistic manner to send those mixed meal calories on the fast train to fat city. ASP and insulin are elevated during a fast, especially for obese individuals, making fat loss a rather challenging proposition. If you minimize or eliminate one half of the equation, especially the most efficient half, you’re going to make your fat loss endeavors a lot easier.

      Such is why I focus on figure, or specifically fat loss to improve health. The paleo community has brought vitamin D/K2 intake to my attention along with the grain intolerance face by many. In my profession, my clients are going to improve all of their health markers by eating closer to paleo and leaning out. If they continue to have issues after those situations are met, then we move on to specifics (such as grain reduction/sprouted substitution, etc.).

      One more time: I like the paleo diet. More real food, more hunger blunting fat and protein, improvements in health via proxy. I don’t think it is magic, calories still do count (though if you’re eating such filling food you won’t have to count them until you near really lean, but I suspect most people who paleo aren’t after that).

      Great conversation and references, for those who supplied them

  11. You claim to dedicate a “huge amount of time” to research, yet you’ve somehow missed the decades of research supporting the beneficial health effects of whole grains on cancer, heart disease and other illness and quote flakes with zero credibility like Mercola and Taubes. Research is published, peer-reviewed and considered in light of the overall body of research. Mercola makes shit up as he goes along.

    Even the phytic acid you seem hell bent against has beneficial health effects in reducing oxidative stress of the intestinal tract and reducing incidence of colon cancer (which you would know if you had dedicated even a handful of minutes to actual research.)

    Like most dietary religious nuts, you decided 6 months ago that you knew everything about everything, subscribed to the cult of paleo and anti-grain, saw some impressive results and then completely abandoned rational thought.

    More veggies and lean meats are always a good thing, paleo does that right. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having them on a sandwich (and many benefits overwhelmingly supported by the weight of evidence.)

  12. Saying that “there are multiple studies that prove this” is a little different than actually proving something. There is a huge number of people every bit at healthy as you are in your “primal” sate who eat plenty of grains. Your “studies” would suggest that they should be falling apart but they are not. A reasonable person would therefore question what, if anything, your “studies” prove.

    About the Mark Sission point you raise: who says a very small inflammatory response is a bad thing? The body responds with perceptible inflammatory responses all the time — without those perceptible inflammatory responses, our bodies would suffer terrible damage.

  13. By the way, a minority of people have real problems with eating meat or fat. Under your theory, we should all be concerned that the rest of us are experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously!

    Hey, some people are allergic to peanuts and other nuts! Let’s try your theory: we should all be concerned that the rest of us are experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously!

    Some people are lactose intolerant. Again, let’s apply your theory: we should all be concerned that the rest of us are experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously!

    See that? Using your approach, you can say that anything is dangerous to all of us because it is dangerous to a tiny minority of people.

  14. And antibiotics. Some people are horribly allergic. So we should all be concerned that the rest of us are experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously. In fact, the same is true of all modern medicine.

    So maybe we should all go “primal” in that regard too and stick only to medicine that was available tens of thousands of years ago!

  15. akaran- seriously, wtf is your problem? You are on a primal blog… what do you expect to find?

    My only conclusion is that you are a pathetic, lonely person who is so insecure that you have nothing better to do with your time than to come on here and try to put your obviously argumentative, non educated point of view out there and personally I’m really sick of seeing your posts. You are arguing like my boyfriends 12 year old daughter. Actually I think she may argue more constructively.

    Again- this is a primal board.. yes… we have primal opinions. I would think even someone as naive and thick headed as you as you would have figured that out by now.

  16. How dare he recommend people auctally be objective instead of nit picking studies

    Grains are evil bro and if you eat them your penis will fall off and your children will get rabies

  17. Rayna:

    Please advise on how I can make my argument more primal. Based on your post, a primal argument consists of a string of desperate sounding insults. Based on your post, a primal argument does not address substance, facts, or evidence, but rather just vents displeasure. Is that how primal argument works? You tell me, okay?

    By the way, do you even realize how completely silly you sound when you say you have “primal opinions”? Just think about it.

  18. cute-

    i believe a primal argument would be a bunch of grunting and noise, but containing no real information.

    a good example would be… every post you’ve posted so far.

    I don’t believe a primal argument is what is necessary here, I believe what we need is an intelligent argument… lets say… providing evidence.

    I know! I know! Since the paleo/primal people have already cited legitimate studies why don’t you provide one to back up your side! Now remember… it has to be a good source, with good controls and reliable information. Oh and not biased ( I.E. a study on how wheat effects the diet paid for by a bread company). Go ahead… you apparently have more than enough free time to spend on the internet, you find one and when you do, you come back and let us know! Good luck! 🙂

  19. Hey, Rayna:

    While you are busy grunting and making other noises, try addressing the actual argument I made.

    It is pretty straightforward: Gril Gone Wild says that grains are very bad for some people and that’s certainly true. But then she says that grains might be bad for everyone because we should all be concerned that the rest of us are experiencing some milder negative effect that simply doesn’t manifest itself so obviously!

    The problem with that argument it that it suggests that *everything* is dangerous to health. You don’t need any sort of study to see a problem with Girl Gone Wild’s argument — all you need is the ability to think rationally. Is thinking rationally consistent with “primal opinions”?

  20. You kid’s play nice now.

    Akaran –

    The issue here is that you seem to be holding others to a different standard of evidence than yourself, and you seem to have chosen this venue as a sounding board for your disagreement with the paleo/paleo diet.

    The reasons that people suggest avoiding grains/legumes, etc are fairly well outlined online, and a little poking around would easily find them. A little more investigation would revel a number of peer reviewed studies with very suggestive, if not fully conclusive evidence. Your initial posts make it clear that you have not done this research. Your analogy to peanut allergies serves to illustrate this, since peanuts are a legume that is actually proscribed by both the paleo and primal diets. This is something you would know if you had taken the time to do some basic reading on the dietary approaches you are attacking here.

    Now if you choose not to accept that evidence, or feel you can cite equally compelling counter evidence this is fine (although again I might question your choice of venue for the argument). There are actually a number of issues where I disagree with the online community, or at least feel that the scientific evidence is not clear. (Such as the impact, if any, of saturated fat on CHD risk).

    By all means, if you feel you have something NEW to add to this debate, I sincerely hope you do so.

    However, both your argument, and the counter arguments being presented to you in this thread are nothing new, and nothing that anyone who has taken the time to do their own homework has not encountered.

    This is why people are being rude to you. You are being dismissive of others while bringing little new points to the table. Again, this has little to do with the argument itself, and everything to do with the fact that you clearly do not understand what you are attacking. I suggest you take the time to educate yourself, them come back when you can avoid making a fool out of yourself in public.

    Start here:

    I am now going to demonstrate my primalness by peeing on your leg and flinging feces at you.

  21. I’m commenting no further. I think Chris said what needs to be said and until you provide something concrete the debate is over.

  22. Chris:

    To be clear, I have not voiced any disagreement with the paleo diet. In fact, I have addressed a very narrow issue: it does not follow that grains are bad for everyone just because they are bad for some vast minority of people with gluten sensitivity.
    They may be bad for people for a lot of other reasons, just not the reasons Gild Gone Wild asserted.

    It is telling, I think, how worked up people have gotten based on my challenging such a narrow issue.

  23. Akran – I agree with you on that actually. I think the paleo approach is fascinating, but some people do appear to defend it with a dogmaticism that approaches religious zeal.

    I believe the standard arguments against grains are as follows:

    Gluten: (obviously this only applies to gluten grains)

    Although the percentage of the population with full blow celiacs disease is quite low, I believe a might higher percentage will show signs of GI irritation when given a stool test*. Andectodal evidence links constant low level inflamation to a number of autoimmune diseases. (*I’m not going to dig up this reference at the moment, but I believe you can find it without looking too hard).

    Other grains, rice etc:

    The issues here are not as clear as with gluten grains, but rice still contains phytic acid, which binds to a number of minerals and prevents the body from absorbing them. Stephan at whole health source has written extensively about this, and the fact that healthy cultures that use grains tend to soak and ferement them extensively which breaks down a significant amount of the antinutrients and lectins.

    Personally as an anectodal observation (sample size of 1), I feel and perform better when I avoid wheat containing foods. I’m not nearly so clear on where I stand with non-gluten grains, and I seem to do just fine with moderate amounts of rice. Obviously studying this in humans, and eliminating other variables is very difficult. I’m aware of a study showing good changes in pigs when they were switched from a cereal based diet to a paleo(esque) one.

    I’ve also seen a pretty dramatic change in my blood lipids since making dietary changes, but it difficult to say if its the omission of grains, or the addition of much more fruits and vegetables. Again, this is anectdotal and I don’t expect it to win any arguments, or pass any scientific muster, but it has largely convinced me.

  24. Hey Rayna, why don’t you yell and scream a little more? Nothing says solid argument like an Appeal to Tantrum.

    Who needs critical analysis when you can cherry-pick your facts and construct a wall of ignorance? And then you can cap it off with stamping your feet and screaming like a child!


  25. PS Rayna –

    I read your links. Or more accurately, I’ve read them all over the years of wading through Paleo apologist crap.

    When you can come up with a compelling argument that actually frames your “facts” within a larger model of human nutrition and physiology, I’ll accept it.

    As it stands, your reductionist bullshit is the definition of cherry-picking: you pick out the facts you like and summarily dismiss anything that disagrees with your favored conclusion. That’s called intellectual dishonesty.

    By all means, post more links and yell more. Creationists do the same thing, for the same reasons, and it works so well for them.

  26. lol- years of what? I just learned about paleo like a year ago…. ha ha ha… your name fits you right. I’m glad you’ve been following my posts for years…. ????????

    since you’ve now just discredited yourself….as far as cherry picking goes- I personally haven’t even pointed out anything except for the fact that people were arguing like children. That was my ONLY point. Not sure what I cherry picked.

    But since you called me out directly, I thought I’d let you know. I haven’t posted any links and I’ve played little to no rule in the grains drama going on here.

    I’m not sure WHAT you’ve been reading… but it obviously hasn’t had anything to do with me. LOL.

  27. Rayna:

    It is awfully entertaining to see *you* complain about people arguing like children. So far, your participation in this thread has been nothing but a string of insults aimed at me without a word actually aimed at addressing the very limited and narrow argument that I have raised. In fact, I have not seen anyone actually address the very limited argument that I raised.

  28. rayna, your recent indoctrination into the Paleo Cult is extremely obvious; you didn’t need to point it out.

    Your canned arguments and inability to reason beyond them is evidence enough of that.

    By all means, continue being “primal”*

    * Which seems to entail screaming like a child and being utterly unable to analyze evidence in a critical manner.

  29. Scooby Dooby Doo,
    Where are you
    We got some work to do
    Scooby Dooby Doo,
    Where are you
    We need some help from you now

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