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"Ancestral" weight loss registry -- good, bad, indifferent?

by (15003)
Updated November 27, 2014 at 3:32 AM
Created January 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM

So, Gary Taubes has announced the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry and CarbSane has wondered if it is a joke.

Me, I'm very skeptical. The registry seems to be well-meaning, but is problematic for a number of reasons. What do you think?

  1. Do we need a weight loss registry for folks following an ancestral approach (as opposed to a national approach)?

  2. Should the AWLR accommodate a higher carb perspective?

  3. Are you concerned about the quality of the AWLR approach?

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM

No, carbsane, I know few low carbers who even know it exists.

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15003 · January 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

mem, thanks so much for your very kind comment ... much more valuable than any upvote!!

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5477 · January 24, 2012 at 4:49 AM

Note to All: Beth has gotten precious few up votes here for a question that stimulated ALOT of discussion. Please consider that your personal reaction to the question is not a good gauge of the value of this question to all others on PH. Additionally, it is, per her norm, well written and linked.

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5477 · January 24, 2012 at 4:45 AM

Do some people have some sort of word blindness when presented with the word "or" and "and/or." ?????????

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:16 AM

Last point. As Sue said, any registry and a blog or board like this one are different animals. The NWCR does their best to verify the information so that their data has integrity. That begins with providing a name and address. This AWLR is no better than an online poll. Heck you can even join more than once from the same email address???!!! Wha? Look at any of the long term diet comparisons -- LC is predictable, 6 months of weight loss followed by regaining (of course this is on average) ... after a year? Apparently not enough to make a good showing on the NWCR.

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:12 AM

... contd. As folks should take any anonymous person's claims with same. I've seen too many people come and go from forums (and this is nothing unique to low carb) to put much into that. Anyone can claim anything. Heck, some even weigh more than they did before ever restricting carbs and they're still promoting the diet. How's that for insane!?!

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:08 AM

You just made my point Shari. This "registry" is supposedly for the purpose of analyzing data. It's not just not perfect, it's useless for that stated purpose. I guess we need another "LC weight loss success" website? That's all it can be. The NWCR has accountability, as in you have to give them a physical mailing address, sign a bunch of forms, etc. I have no problem with anonymity -- obviously -- but when it comes to claims about weight loss and maintenance, yes, you should take whatever I've said then or even now somewhat with a grain of salt. That's not the main focus of the blog.

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:01 AM

@Loon - perhaps because not enough low carbers can qualify? @Larry - the problem with your data will extend far beyond self-selection and self reported. In your response you quote the 19% who could not verify -- you neglected to include the next sentence that stated the characteristics of this group did not differ significantly from the 81% that could so they were included.

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 1:33 AM

no rutabagas? That's it, I'm not doing it...

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 1:21 AM

mem, have you done an analysis of links to the registry? Except for Jimmy Moore, I haven't heard about it anywhere except the low fat places. After all, it is a part of the National Cholesterol Education Program. What part of cholesterol aren't we edu'd on?

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610 · January 24, 2012 at 1:12 AM

A weight loss registry and a blog are two different things. We know her name now.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

@JRAC: I am a 58yr old 5'6" woman with a measured large frame (as in bone) at a weight of 130lb, 23% bdoy fat and a high activity level. My daily carb rec per the calc provided above=332gms/day. If I were 25 years old, same other stats, it would be in excess of 350gms/day. Thus, if my intake was 250 day, this would represent a 100gm/day carb reduction in nationally recommended carb intake. If I were male, and taller, heavier, etc, this number would go up substantially, often, into the 400's/gms.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 5:15 PM

@The Loon: I disagree. The NWCR is reporting the diet behaviors of its participants. Due to CW SAD recs, most of the original particpants of course reflected SAD diet loss recs. May more who have joined over the years, do not. Here's study of low carb NWCR participants that goes back to the years 98-01. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17925473&ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum Here's a list of NWCR studies:http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/published%20research.htm

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24271 · January 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Red Herring alert. Evelyn, we didn't know your real name until just this past year. Does that negate every idea you've ever had or shared? Does that nullify any contribution to the discussion you made prior to the revelation? I would argue that in fact it does not. I presume you would agree? This is more than just an outlet for stories to get out. How is this any less legit than the national registry? Or is that not legit either? I agree it's not perfect but it's good enough for now. With Larry's very open mind I see good thing happening here.

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2861 · January 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I think it is kinda silly to link low-carb to ancestral. Many low carb sites are filled with adds for frankenfoods. I also think seed oils is one of the key issues (if not the main key) that separates ancestral from other whole food approaches, while Taubes and Atkins and thus much of the low carb movement say that “all fats are healthy fats”, including seed oils.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Yeah, unfortunately my bottom line is that it's just like one of the "fun" online q/a forms you see on many sites. It's not a scientific instrument because there's no statistical sample and the questions aren't rigorous. I enjoyed filling it out but I don't think the instrument is capable of revealing new data--it would make nice fodder for a "success stories" web site, though. I didn't agree to have my pics used, but I suspect many who complete it will. I respect the stated goal, but the flaws that trouble me will disqualify the data from serious consideration.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

yes, that is right. If you have a weapons locker, I hope it is your freezer and filled with grass-fed meat.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

my rxn too. You can decide which people are actually low carb by analyzing the carb amount responses.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:51 PM

mem, I disagree. The NWCR does give a rip about what people eat. They want you to eat low fat, especially sat fat. That is very clear. They already have it in their heads that the low fat diet is the way to go.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

On the "poor quality" issue, many people in the health/weight loss field do not realize how poor quality the "other" registry actually is. They hammer for reading research, for evidence-based whatever, and then they quote the registry like it is some real study or something. Practically every link to the registry is through some low-fat, "heart-healthy" protocol. It is amazingly biased.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Even though it says "ancestral", it is mostly low carb. The diet choices on your survey don't even include most of the popular paleo/primal diet plans. You will need to split out the "other" in order to get much meaning out of it. There isn't that much overlap between Atkins and Ancestral.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:39 PM

thanks Beth, you beat me to this question

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

There's nothing stopping people from joining *both,* of course.

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1590 · January 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The average American also consumes a ridiculous number of calories (wait is that word kosher?) so a diet of 250g carbohydrate is hardly carb restricted for a normal lean person.

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Dear Evelyn, Thank you for your kind comments. And your 'constructive' criticism. I do agree with you that the data will be of poor quality. That a simple fact that plagues all self reported data, including the NWCR. You can see my response to your post here: http://www.awlr.org/1/post/2012/01/response-to-criticism-from-carbsanity.html

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Sorry Shari, often something is worse than nothing at all. There are enough outlets for the stories to get out. If what's needed is a legit registry of low carb OR ancestral means of losing and MAINTAINING weight, it should be done in a legit fashion. Perhaps something for NutSI to put together with the same sort of accountability as NWCR has in place. Start with having the participants at least think they have to provide their real names ... gasp!

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Rose said: "I'm not positive higher-carb Paleos are a large part of the community" -- shouldn't part of an Ancestral WLR be to determine that?? And there are a ton of low carbers who are so far from ancestral it's a joke to even begin to conflate the two approaches. Even Eades, who fashions himself paleo inspired was advocating DAG oil, artificial sweeteners and anything but a whole foods diet in his latest book. If there IS a success story on the 6WC fiasco they would be excluded from the AWLR but there's nothing stopping them from signing on up!

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Exactly Nance. There is nothing stopping the droves of success stories in the ancestral and low carb communities (and they are NOT one in the same) from joining the NWCR. They should if they want their legitimate voices to be heard.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Perhaps Gary overhyped you. What sort of publication venue are you looking at to share the results? I'm really curious as to your special statistical methods to detect lying. The way you are doing this will provide you NOTHING worthwhile because anyone can say anything. For example, the email I received from an Atkins success story (in the New Atkins book) who could not maintain her weight loss. This person was all over Gary's comments extolling the glories of low carbing and touting her success only a few months prior. With bad data, which yours WILL be, it's garbage in garbage out.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Yes the focus is way different. Share your unaccountable weight loss study. We don't even need your name or a working email address. The NWCR is about maintenance and being conducted in true scientific fashion. The AWLR is co-opting ancestral to mean low carb which it is not.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 5:48 AM

+1 for stimulating alot of discussion and giving the AWLR large exposure here.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:39 AM

That was my reaction also, but I've been roundly scolded and I'm so ashamed! :-))

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

I took the plunge, Larry, and it was pretty clear and easy to complete. I can't believe you didn't have a check box for rutabagas! :-))

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:30 AM

I followed your example and it was pretty painless, wasn't it? I did have to use Other quite a bit though.

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 4:16 AM

Thank you so much. Yes you may send them with your story. At the end of the questionnaire is an 'upload' button, which functions essentially like an email attachment. So try that, but either one works.

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4458 · January 23, 2012 at 4:15 AM

the calc says 300 carb grams for me & my current carbs usually vary between 50g & 150g a day give or take

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

@mem, I'm sure you're right. But I'm more likely to read a site if the opening page doesn't appear to exclude me.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:59 AM

Hey! You took one for the team--that's great!

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 3:42 AM

IF you had simply read the info and questions on his site, it would have been quite clear.The questions he asks are VERY different from the NWCR. The NWCR doesn't give a rip about what anyone eats. It is studying BEHAVIORS associated with successful weightloss.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:41 AM

BTW, +1 for the link to the calculator. It says I need 250g of carbs, so I can indeed say I'm eating "carb restricted." Fascinating.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 3:38 AM

You are doing a dynamite job, Larry. I'm on board! And thank you! Oh - I have pics, but am a bit tech challeeged. If I send them to your email,can you post them for me with my story/entry?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:37 AM

BTW, +1 for the link to the carb calculator.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:35 AM

Think what you like, mem, but thanks to this conversation I now know what Larry meant by "reduced carb or paleo" and I wouldn't have known without expressing opinions and asking questions. So I think the discussion is healthy and I edited my original response based on Larry's answers.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 3:10 AM

Don't sweat it, Larry, do yo thang!

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

Thanks for the comments. I would say that the phrase is vague on purpose. Whether you consumed a zero carb Atkins diet or a higher carbohydrate, Primal blueprint-like-diet, or something in between, there is a place to enter your data. There is also specific questions asking how many grams of carbohydrates you chose to consume each day, and a recently added ability to enter the types of fruits you eat. There is also ample space for free response. Those who specify they consume a paleo diet as opposed to an Atkins diet, for example, will be analyzed separately.

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2486 · January 23, 2012 at 2:02 AM

I'd just like to add my +1 to the problems of conflating 'carb-restricted' with 'paleo'...start with poor definitions, and even if you gather great data, your conclusions are flawed. I worry about Taubes' LC/VLC slant, as many of us tried it and crashed on those shoals.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM

@Larry, can you clarify your use of the phrase "carb-restricted or paleo" for us? Do you mean a) low carb non-paleo plus paleo, or b) low-carb non-paleo plus the low-carb segment of paleo but not medium- to high-carb paleo?

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5949 · January 23, 2012 at 1:46 AM

I think true low-carb is more like 60 grams or less.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:41 AM

@Cody, and then there was yesterday when I ate hard-shell tacos plus a little rice and beans. Probably approached 150g then.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Hi, Larry! I think it's great that you're willing to participate here. My concern is that I don't really "limit my carbs" but I limit the types of foods I eat so I'm usually between 60 and 100g of carbs. That's easy to clarify if you have definitions of what you mean by low carb. If by carb-restricted you really mean grain-restricted, why not say so? My other concern is that you say "vegetables, protein and fat" as if there were no such thing as fruit. My 60-100g of carbs always includes at least 20-40g of fruit. Could be less, could be more, just as in an ancestral environment.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:19 AM

@Rose, I'm fine with your disagreement with my disagreement. :-)) That's what this forum is all about. Perhaps the resolution can be how you define low carb--for example, I tend to use Mark Sisson's definition that up to 150g of carbs is fine. But based on discussions here I don't think that's universally considered "low."

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I dunno. First of all, I'm not positive higher-carb Paleos are a large part of the community -- growing, and vocal, but anyone who's not a regular on PH or other Paleo sites wouldn't necessarily even know that. Certainly, they're not an *old* part (go ahead, bring the hate, but it's true -- until a year or so ago, Paleo authors one and all focused on carb restriction). And "grandstanding" is one of those slippery accusations that seems to mean "getting attention for something I don't like," so I'll respectfully disagree with your disagreement, Nance.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:50 AM

I am happy for those who succeed with low carb, but does that mean I have to have my own registry if I eat medium-to-high carbs including fruit? The front page says "Limit your carbs. Join the Registry." and "vegetables, protein and fats." Sounds like I'm on the outside despite 40 lbs of weight loss.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM

If the site relates to "ancestral weight loss" how would that be low carb only? I'm fine with others succeeding on low carb, but do I have to have my own registry if I'm not?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM

I'll respectfully disagree. Grand-standing in a way that excludes a large part of your community while announcing it as an amazing community-wide development is the divisive step. Inviting everyone else in or honestly defining it as a sub-set would be much less divisive.

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Yeah, I'm pretty dismayed over the tendency we seem to be developing to eat our young. A little self-policing is nice, but this kind of public humiliation of people who are two degrees to the left or right of our own dietary/ideological preferences is really...well, it's really fucking stupid is what it is.

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Yeah, I have to admit feeling pretty dismayed over the tendency we seem to be developing to eat our young. A little self-policing is nice, but this kind of public humiliation of people who are two degrees to the left or right of our own dietary/ideological preferences is really...well, it's really fucking stupid is what it is.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:32 AM

@Lyndsay, LOL! In a few hundred years they'll look back and shake their heads I'm sure.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Finally, a forum is one thing and gearing it toward a slice of the population is just fine. A registry is a list of a population or sub-group. If they want to limit it to low carb then it should be the Low Carb Registry.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Yep, in a few hundred years, "ancestral" will probably also include "highly processed, high-fructose corn-syrup, box foods." Good call.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Gotcha, Nance. So, perhaps the registry title should somehow include the term "low-carb"? I see it includes it in the subtitle.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Treating ancestral as a synonym for low carb is both inaccurate and a grand-stand play in my view. What about high-carb ancestral? What about ancestral vegetarians? What about "a little of everything" ancestral?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:26 AM

For example, here's a quote from the About section of the Ancestral Health Symposium, which was certainly not limited to low carb: "The Ancestral Health Symposium fosters collaboration among scientists, healthcare professionals and laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective to develop solutions to our modern health challenges. "

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM

@Lyndsay, I didn't down-vote but my objection to the site is that it seems to be aimed at high publicity while implying that ancestral automatically means low carb. If that were just a question within the registry I'd have no problem but I'd still think it better to be part of a total national registry as long as we had the ability to be sorted out of the herd.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:21 AM

@Cody, my preferences are in the area of non-starchy. Despite a pretty large volume of vegetables and fruits today I'm at about 80g. I rarely break 100 but I also rarely go under 60.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM

No need to down-vote, folks, I am earnestly asking what the differences are between this registry and any other forum that does the same thing. Is there some forum or movement out there that has exclusively been using the term "ancestral" to describe a specific WOE? I'm asking what the other problems are with this new registry.

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78422 · January 23, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Nance, how many carbs do you average per day?

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11152 · January 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Yeah, it's a very lopsided segment of the Paleo/Ancestral-eating movement. Not cool.

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24271 · January 23, 2012 at 12:29 AM

I'm thrilled to death to see this. It may not be perfect but it's something and sometimes something is better than big fat nothing with a big heap of bitching and complaining on the side.

How is a higher carb perspective not represented? There is no definition of "carb restricted" that I see. Most people who are eating a paleo-esque diet and trying to lose weight are paying some attention to their carb intake. Dare I say "restricting"?

Oh and OMG there's a question about calories on the survey? What is this CICO? Is this one point short of a weight watchers collective? Heads must be exploding everywhere! Oh the drama!!!

I swear it seems no one can win around here. Everyone is so stuck in their own little worlds that they can't see the forest for their own you'll-pry-this-potato-from-my-cold-dead-hands-Gary-Taubes is-the-devil-everyone-but-me-sucks trees. We have finally perfected the circular firing squad it would appear.

Edit: I'm adding something written by a brilliant woman who said the most brilliant thing about this display here but she is far too kind a person to post it...so I will. "here is a medical student for Pete's sake who is INTERESTED and wants to gather a lot of data that could really help people and help educate Docs and other providers. Here is a guy with a Masters in Nutri science and he's in our corner. And just because Gary Taubes (who has NOTHING to do with the registry)gives him mention on his blog...we have this horrible, idiotic pile of outbursts..." I'll leave it at that but you get the point. And it's a good point I think.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:50 AM

I am happy for those who succeed with low carb, but does that mean I have to have my own registry if I eat medium-to-high carbs including fruit? The front page says "Limit your carbs. Join the Registry." and "vegetables, protein and fats." Sounds like I'm on the outside despite 40 lbs of weight loss.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Sorry Shari, often something is worse than nothing at all. There are enough outlets for the stories to get out. If what's needed is a legit registry of low carb OR ancestral means of losing and MAINTAINING weight, it should be done in a legit fashion. Perhaps something for NutSI to put together with the same sort of accountability as NWCR has in place. Start with having the participants at least think they have to provide their real names ... gasp!

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM

If the site relates to "ancestral weight loss" how would that be low carb only? I'm fine with others succeeding on low carb, but do I have to have my own registry if I'm not?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM

I'll respectfully disagree. Grand-standing in a way that excludes a large part of your community while announcing it as an amazing community-wide development is the divisive step. Inviting everyone else in or honestly defining it as a sub-set would be much less divisive.

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:08 AM

You just made my point Shari. This "registry" is supposedly for the purpose of analyzing data. It's not just not perfect, it's useless for that stated purpose. I guess we need another "LC weight loss success" website? That's all it can be. The NWCR has accountability, as in you have to give them a physical mailing address, sign a bunch of forms, etc. I have no problem with anonymity -- obviously -- but when it comes to claims about weight loss and maintenance, yes, you should take whatever I've said then or even now somewhat with a grain of salt. That's not the main focus of the blog.

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5949 · January 23, 2012 at 1:46 AM

I think true low-carb is more like 60 grams or less.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:19 AM

@Rose, I'm fine with your disagreement with my disagreement. :-)) That's what this forum is all about. Perhaps the resolution can be how you define low carb--for example, I tend to use Mark Sisson's definition that up to 150g of carbs is fine. But based on discussions here I don't think that's universally considered "low."

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I dunno. First of all, I'm not positive higher-carb Paleos are a large part of the community -- growing, and vocal, but anyone who's not a regular on PH or other Paleo sites wouldn't necessarily even know that. Certainly, they're not an *old* part (go ahead, bring the hate, but it's true -- until a year or so ago, Paleo authors one and all focused on carb restriction). And "grandstanding" is one of those slippery accusations that seems to mean "getting attention for something I don't like," so I'll respectfully disagree with your disagreement, Nance.

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Yeah, I'm pretty dismayed over the tendency we seem to be developing to eat our young. A little self-policing is nice, but this kind of public humiliation of people who are two degrees to the left or right of our own dietary/ideological preferences is really...well, it's really fucking stupid is what it is.

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Yeah, I have to admit feeling pretty dismayed over the tendency we seem to be developing to eat our young. A little self-policing is nice, but this kind of public humiliation of people who are two degrees to the left or right of our own dietary/ideological preferences is really...well, it's really fucking stupid is what it is.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Rose said: "I'm not positive higher-carb Paleos are a large part of the community" -- shouldn't part of an Ancestral WLR be to determine that?? And there are a ton of low carbers who are so far from ancestral it's a joke to even begin to conflate the two approaches. Even Eades, who fashions himself paleo inspired was advocating DAG oil, artificial sweeteners and anything but a whole foods diet in his latest book. If there IS a success story on the 6WC fiasco they would be excluded from the AWLR but there's nothing stopping them from signing on up!

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:16 AM

Last point. As Sue said, any registry and a blog or board like this one are different animals. The NWCR does their best to verify the information so that their data has integrity. That begins with providing a name and address. This AWLR is no better than an online poll. Heck you can even join more than once from the same email address???!!! Wha? Look at any of the long term diet comparisons -- LC is predictable, 6 months of weight loss followed by regaining (of course this is on average) ... after a year? Apparently not enough to make a good showing on the NWCR.

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24271 · January 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Red Herring alert. Evelyn, we didn't know your real name until just this past year. Does that negate every idea you've ever had or shared? Does that nullify any contribution to the discussion you made prior to the revelation? I would argue that in fact it does not. I presume you would agree? This is more than just an outlet for stories to get out. How is this any less legit than the national registry? Or is that not legit either? I agree it's not perfect but it's good enough for now. With Larry's very open mind I see good thing happening here.

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610 · January 24, 2012 at 1:12 AM

A weight loss registry and a blog are two different things. We know her name now.

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:12 AM

... contd. As folks should take any anonymous person's claims with same. I've seen too many people come and go from forums (and this is nothing unique to low carb) to put much into that. Anyone can claim anything. Heck, some even weigh more than they did before ever restricting carbs and they're still promoting the diet. How's that for insane!?!

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 12:59 AM

Dear friends,

I am Larry Istrail, the founder of the AWLR. My intentions for the site and registry is to try to publicize and demonstrate in a systematic manner that there is a large body of people out there who have lost weight, and got healthy on a carb-restricted or paleo diet. I realize the large stigma associated with a carb-restricted diet, and that the paleo way of life is very different. However I believe they both fall into the broad category of a diet that emphasizes real foods, specifically protein and fats, while restricting carbohydrates to some degree.

I also believe this registry is a way to shine light on the clinical trial data that exists, supporting the idea that a diet high in protein, fats and vegetables is the most effective way to get healthy. I profile this data on the site here:http://www.awlr.org/carb-restricted-diets.html

As a future physician, I want to deliver this real food message to the medical community and debunk the idea that a diet high in fats and protein not only does not kill you (as the majority of the medical community believes) but holds the opportunity to improve health and enhance weight loss without feeling hungry, as compared to what is often reported on various other low fat, high carb diets.

If you believe I can do this in a more effective manner, I'd be more than happy to hear your comments and critiques. You can email me at larry@awlr.org if you'd like.

Sincerely,

Larry

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

Thanks for the comments. I would say that the phrase is vague on purpose. Whether you consumed a zero carb Atkins diet or a higher carbohydrate, Primal blueprint-like-diet, or something in between, there is a place to enter your data. There is also specific questions asking how many grams of carbohydrates you chose to consume each day, and a recently added ability to enter the types of fruits you eat. There is also ample space for free response. Those who specify they consume a paleo diet as opposed to an Atkins diet, for example, will be analyzed separately.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Hi, Larry! I think it's great that you're willing to participate here. My concern is that I don't really "limit my carbs" but I limit the types of foods I eat so I'm usually between 60 and 100g of carbs. That's easy to clarify if you have definitions of what you mean by low carb. If by carb-restricted you really mean grain-restricted, why not say so? My other concern is that you say "vegetables, protein and fat" as if there were no such thing as fruit. My 60-100g of carbs always includes at least 20-40g of fruit. Could be less, could be more, just as in an ancestral environment.

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 4:16 AM

Thank you so much. Yes you may send them with your story. At the end of the questionnaire is an 'upload' button, which functions essentially like an email attachment. So try that, but either one works.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

On the "poor quality" issue, many people in the health/weight loss field do not realize how poor quality the "other" registry actually is. They hammer for reading research, for evidence-based whatever, and then they quote the registry like it is some real study or something. Practically every link to the registry is through some low-fat, "heart-healthy" protocol. It is amazingly biased.

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2486 · January 23, 2012 at 2:02 AM

I'd just like to add my +1 to the problems of conflating 'carb-restricted' with 'paleo'...start with poor definitions, and even if you gather great data, your conclusions are flawed. I worry about Taubes' LC/VLC slant, as many of us tried it and crashed on those shoals.

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8879 · January 24, 2012 at 3:01 AM

@Loon - perhaps because not enough low carbers can qualify? @Larry - the problem with your data will extend far beyond self-selection and self reported. In your response you quote the 19% who could not verify -- you neglected to include the next sentence that stated the characteristics of this group did not differ significantly from the 81% that could so they were included.

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160 · January 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Dear Evelyn, Thank you for your kind comments. And your 'constructive' criticism. I do agree with you that the data will be of poor quality. That a simple fact that plagues all self reported data, including the NWCR. You can see my response to your post here: http://www.awlr.org/1/post/2012/01/response-to-criticism-from-carbsanity.html

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Even though it says "ancestral", it is mostly low carb. The diet choices on your survey don't even include most of the popular paleo/primal diet plans. You will need to split out the "other" in order to get much meaning out of it. There isn't that much overlap between Atkins and Ancestral.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 3:38 AM

You are doing a dynamite job, Larry. I'm on board! And thank you! Oh - I have pics, but am a bit tech challeeged. If I send them to your email,can you post them for me with my story/entry?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

I took the plunge, Larry, and it was pretty clear and easy to complete. I can't believe you didn't have a check box for rutabagas! :-))

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM

@Larry, can you clarify your use of the phrase "carb-restricted or paleo" for us? Do you mean a) low carb non-paleo plus paleo, or b) low-carb non-paleo plus the low-carb segment of paleo but not medium- to high-carb paleo?

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Perhaps Gary overhyped you. What sort of publication venue are you looking at to share the results? I'm really curious as to your special statistical methods to detect lying. The way you are doing this will provide you NOTHING worthwhile because anyone can say anything. For example, the email I received from an Atkins success story (in the New Atkins book) who could not maintain her weight loss. This person was all over Gary's comments extolling the glories of low carbing and touting her success only a few months prior. With bad data, which yours WILL be, it's garbage in garbage out.

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM

No, carbsane, I know few low carbers who even know it exists.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 3:10 AM

Don't sweat it, Larry, do yo thang!

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 1:33 AM

no rutabagas? That's it, I'm not doing it...

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56616 · January 23, 2012 at 4:36 AM

If the founder wants to place emphasis on a big tent that includes all paleo and low-carb dieters, he should change the tagline of "Limit your carbs. Join the registry." The banner needs to be changed anyway because it's hideous. The about page also could be made more inclusive. Right now the site in general has very little on ancestral or paleo, it seems to be entirely a low-carb site.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

my rxn too. You can decide which people are actually low carb by analyzing the carb amount responses.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:39 AM

That was my reaction also, but I've been roundly scolded and I'm so ashamed! :-))

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2861 · January 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I think it is kinda silly to link low-carb to ancestral. Many low carb sites are filled with adds for frankenfoods. I also think seed oils is one of the key issues (if not the main key) that separates ancestral from other whole food approaches, while Taubes and Atkins and thus much of the low carb movement say that “all fats are healthy fats”, including seed oils.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 3:27 AM

For those who seem to have difficulty figuring out if theirs is a restricted carbohydrate diet, here is a carbohydrate calculator from a major medical center which is based on SAD recommendations.

http://www.healthcalculators.org/calculators/carbohydrate.asp?Submit=Close

Should additional help be needed in comparing your level of carbohydrate intake to that of the average American, then the fact that the average American consumed 490grams of carbohydrate, per day, as of the year 2000, may be helpful.

I was delighted to find out about this new registry in early December.

In 01 I became a registrant in the NWCR. Over the years, due to moves and perhaps changes in email, I was lost to follow-up, so am in the process of re-registering.

For those who are interested and have read criticism (if you could call it that!) of Larry Istrail's AWLR, I will share the entire questionaire for the NWCR with you here.

  1. What is your current weight?
  2. List the date (month/year) when you first reached and maintained this weight(+/-5lbs) 3a List the highest weight you have ever been (excluding pregnancy.) 3b List the last date you were at this highest weight (month/year) 3c Subtract 30lbs from your highest weight. 3d How long have you been at or below the weight in box A (without ever going over this weight.) 3e List the date you first reached this 30lb weight loss. 3f After reaching your highest weight ever, what is the lowest weight you have ever been? 3g List the date you first reached this lowest weight

NATURE and PURPOSE of the STUDY "You are being asked to take part in a research project because you have lost at least 30 pounds and have maintained that loss for at least one year. All individuals who meet these criteria for successful weight loss are eligible to participate in this study. THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY IS TO DETERMINE THE BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS. The Registry currently has more than 6,000 participants and we recruit about 500 new participants each year."

Now, let me repeat something very important here:" THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY IS TO DETERMINE THE BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS."

Now, check out this link for the AWLR where the purpose of the AWLR is described.

http://www.awlr.org/index.html

Do you notice a difference? A BIG DIFFERENCE????

"The Ancestral Weight Loss Registry is an international assembly of people who have tried a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet to lose weight or improve their health. Whether you lost 100 pounds or gained 20, we want to hear about it."

"Share your experience and help those beginning their new way of eating. As thousands register from all over the world, we hope to uncover the most effective practices for losing weight on a diet high in vegetables, protein and fats."

The intent and focus of these two registries is very, very different.

Take a look at the questionaire for the AWLR:

http://www.awlr.org/join.html

I am delighted to see this new registry with its very different focus and have been intending to join since early December when I first knew of it. I have to get a bit less tech challenged to post my before and after pics, but I just bet I can get some help with that.

All the yabbadabbado about this may be the silliest and most pitiful bunch of quack-quack I have yet read on PH!

If you want to join, then join. If you see the possibility of some good information coming out of this, then join if you like. If you don't, then don't. And if you can't figure out if your eating is carbohydrate restricted, then in the words of more than one inimitable blogger in the paleosphere: "you're just screwed."

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:51 PM

mem, I disagree. The NWCR does give a rip about what people eat. They want you to eat low fat, especially sat fat. That is very clear. They already have it in their heads that the low fat diet is the way to go.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:41 AM

BTW, +1 for the link to the calculator. It says I need 250g of carbs, so I can indeed say I'm eating "carb restricted." Fascinating.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:37 AM

BTW, +1 for the link to the carb calculator.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:35 AM

Think what you like, mem, but thanks to this conversation I now know what Larry meant by "reduced carb or paleo" and I wouldn't have known without expressing opinions and asking questions. So I think the discussion is healthy and I edited my original response based on Larry's answers.

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4458 · January 23, 2012 at 4:15 AM

the calc says 300 carb grams for me & my current carbs usually vary between 50g & 150g a day give or take

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

@mem, I'm sure you're right. But I'm more likely to read a site if the opening page doesn't appear to exclude me.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 5:15 PM

@The Loon: I disagree. The NWCR is reporting the diet behaviors of its participants. Due to CW SAD recs, most of the original particpants of course reflected SAD diet loss recs. May more who have joined over the years, do not. Here's study of low carb NWCR participants that goes back to the years 98-01. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17925473&ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum Here's a list of NWCR studies:http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/published%20research.htm

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1590 · January 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The average American also consumes a ridiculous number of calories (wait is that word kosher?) so a diet of 250g carbohydrate is hardly carb restricted for a normal lean person.

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8979 · January 24, 2012 at 1:21 AM

mem, have you done an analysis of links to the registry? Except for Jimmy Moore, I haven't heard about it anywhere except the low fat places. After all, it is a part of the National Cholesterol Education Program. What part of cholesterol aren't we edu'd on?

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Yes the focus is way different. Share your unaccountable weight loss study. We don't even need your name or a working email address. The NWCR is about maintenance and being conducted in true scientific fashion. The AWLR is co-opting ancestral to mean low carb which it is not.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 3:42 AM

IF you had simply read the info and questions on his site, it would have been quite clear.The questions he asks are VERY different from the NWCR. The NWCR doesn't give a rip about what anyone eats. It is studying BEHAVIORS associated with successful weightloss.

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5477 · January 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

@JRAC: I am a 58yr old 5'6" woman with a measured large frame (as in bone) at a weight of 130lb, 23% bdoy fat and a high activity level. My daily carb rec per the calc provided above=332gms/day. If I were 25 years old, same other stats, it would be in excess of 350gms/day. Thus, if my intake was 250 day, this would represent a 100gm/day carb reduction in nationally recommended carb intake. If I were male, and taller, heavier, etc, this number would go up substantially, often, into the 400's/gms.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 1:10 PM

A summary of the problems with this, so folks don't have to read the whole post about a lot of other stuff:

  1. No accountability
  2. No name required
  3. No followup required
  4. No accountability
  5. Maintenance not stressed
  6. Inappropriately defines Ancestral as LC and LC as Ancestral
  7. No accountability
  8. This is like an AOL poll
  9. No accountability
  10. I could be a member

Look folks, this is not the way to garner exposure and legitimacy for a way of eating. That's the goal, right? Larry Istrail may be well meaning and for all I know the nicest guy on the planet. But this is a horrid waste of time and effort if the goal is, as he states, to determine what the most effective strategies are.

This is the classic case of garbage in garbage out. Haven't we seen enough badly designed diet studies to know it when we see it by now? Even NWCR has its limitations, but it is doing its best to establish the integrity of the data upon which they do analyses and generate reports. How many diet studies rely on a single 24 hour self-report dietary recall for example.

Larry says: "As a future physician, I want to deliver this real food message to the medical community and debunk the idea that a diet high in fats and protein not kill you (as the majority of the medical community believes) but holds the opportunity to improve health and enhance weight loss without feeling hungry, as compared to what is often reported on various other low fat, high carb diets."

No peer review journal worth its reputation would accept anything that comes of this AOL-style online survey. None. So Istrail will be another Taubes, I suppose, trying once again to turn conventional wisdom on its head. WHY do you people keep doing this? What can this possibly do to debunk anything? Stop eating refined crap. I'm with you! Eat whole foods. I'm with you! Butter and saturated fats are healthy. I'm with you! Eating butter by the spoonful from a tub you keep on your desk at work? You lost me ... Never let a refined sucrose molecule pass through your lips. You even lost Sisson on that one.

Larry says: "I also believe this registry is a way to shine light on the clinical trial data that exists, supporting the idea that a diet high in protein, fats and vegetables is the most effective way to get healthy"

Here I thought we had the Feinman's Nutrition & Metabolism Society for that. I'm uncomfortable with the words the most in there. Perhaps just repeated links from Gary's blog to Istrail's reviews of peer-reviewed literature would be more effective. I also hear that petitions are popular these days.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Yeah, unfortunately my bottom line is that it's just like one of the "fun" online q/a forms you see on many sites. It's not a scientific instrument because there's no statistical sample and the questions aren't rigorous. I enjoyed filling it out but I don't think the instrument is capable of revealing new data--it would make nice fodder for a "success stories" web site, though. I didn't agree to have my pics used, but I suspect many who complete it will. I respect the stated goal, but the flaws that trouble me will disqualify the data from serious consideration.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:10 AM

So, other than the quibbles with name of the registry, are there any differences between this new low-carb blog/forum and the countless other sites that enable people to share their experiences? I wasn't aware that the term "ancestral" was tied to a particular WOE, whether it be low-carb, moderate-carb, high-carb, or the cat-eaters of Melmac, but perhaps what you're after is a simple re-branding of the registry? At least he professes to embrace the stories of those who have gained weight on low-carb, something that my super-skinny husband might be pleased to learn about. I'm not sure how it could be any more problematic than any other paleo forum.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:32 AM

@Lyndsay, LOL! In a few hundred years they'll look back and shake their heads I'm sure.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Finally, a forum is one thing and gearing it toward a slice of the population is just fine. A registry is a list of a population or sub-group. If they want to limit it to low carb then it should be the Low Carb Registry.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Gotcha, Nance. So, perhaps the registry title should somehow include the term "low-carb"? I see it includes it in the subtitle.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:26 AM

For example, here's a quote from the About section of the Ancestral Health Symposium, which was certainly not limited to low carb: "The Ancestral Health Symposium fosters collaboration among scientists, healthcare professionals and laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective to develop solutions to our modern health challenges. "

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM

@Lyndsay, I didn't down-vote but my objection to the site is that it seems to be aimed at high publicity while implying that ancestral automatically means low carb. If that were just a question within the registry I'd have no problem but I'd still think it better to be part of a total national registry as long as we had the ability to be sorted out of the herd.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Treating ancestral as a synonym for low carb is both inaccurate and a grand-stand play in my view. What about high-carb ancestral? What about ancestral vegetarians? What about "a little of everything" ancestral?

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Yep, in a few hundred years, "ancestral" will probably also include "highly processed, high-fructose corn-syrup, box foods." Good call.

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5808 · January 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM

No need to down-vote, folks, I am earnestly asking what the differences are between this registry and any other forum that does the same thing. Is there some forum or movement out there that has exclusively been using the term "ancestral" to describe a specific WOE? I'm asking what the other problems are with this new registry.

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37187 · January 22, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I actually think we'd get more attention and credit if our weight results were included in a national registry with the results of those using other approaches. As long as there's a chance to click on "paleo/ancestral" we could see how we stand within the whole.

I have a negative reaction to the AWLR because I'm not low-carb. Oh, I may be a day or 2 per week but I also have days with marrow broth but little meat.

I'm very turned off by the "low carb or paleo" phrase on the front page of AWLR. Are they taking a position that you have to be low carb to be paleo? Or that paleo and low carb are 2 different things? I disagree with both of those possible meanings.

FINAL EDIT/UPDATE: Based on Larry's responses below, and completing the questionnaire then thinking about it overnight, I believe the questionnaire is a harmless exercise that changes nothing but also won't do harm. There is no statistical sample, the questions are not rigorous (for example, I checked many boxes and still had to use Other on most questions) and the self-reporting bias is huge. The people Larry hopes to reach are unlikely to respect this data. On the other hand, it was fun filling it out and I enjoyed the debate. I learned that, to my surprise, I can be defined as "low carb" in the overall American population--I'm so used to the benchmarks spoken on PH that I thought I was moderate- to high-carb and of course I am within this community.

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11986 · January 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

There's nothing stopping people from joining *both,* of course.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 1:41 AM

@Cody, and then there was yesterday when I ate hard-shell tacos plus a little rice and beans. Probably approached 150g then.

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78422 · January 23, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Nance, how many carbs do you average per day?

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 12:21 AM

@Cody, my preferences are in the area of non-starchy. Despite a pretty large volume of vegetables and fruits today I'm at about 80g. I rarely break 100 but I also rarely go under 60.

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8879 · January 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Exactly Nance. There is nothing stopping the droves of success stories in the ancestral and low carb communities (and they are NOT one in the same) from joining the NWCR. They should if they want their legitimate voices to be heard.

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11152 · January 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Yeah, it's a very lopsided segment of the Paleo/Ancestral-eating movement. Not cool.

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5477 · January 24, 2012 at 4:45 AM

Do some people have some sort of word blindness when presented with the word "or" and "and/or." ?????????

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4029 · January 23, 2012 at 3:42 AM

I went and registered, added my voice through taking the survey and even spilled out my story about the path my improvements took. I see no reason to open up the weapons locker and pass out the arms for this. I'm willing to engage and participate.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 4:30 AM

I followed your example and it was pretty painless, wasn't it? I did have to use Other quite a bit though.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

yes, that is right. If you have a weapons locker, I hope it is your freezer and filled with grass-fed meat.

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37187 · January 23, 2012 at 3:59 AM

Hey! You took one for the team--that's great!

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2797 · January 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Please stop equating paleo with a low carb diet. Regardless of your "purposely vague" language, you connect "ancestral" with low-carb pretty explicitly. The idea that paleo has to be low carb is a (if not the) major reason for people not succeeding or sticking with the way of eating. It also keeps athletic, healthy people from adopting it.

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8979 · January 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Hi Larry! You know you have hit the big time when Carbsane goes after you.

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225 · January 23, 2012 at 6:04 AM

The website looks like crap. The asparagus resembles a bunch of limp dicks.

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