As someone who has been following the Paleo diet for 1 year, I have some concerns. I guess I've recently realized how confused we are as a society in regards to proper nutrition and dieting. A prime example of this is the Paleo diet vs the diet discussed in The China Study. The China Study promotes a plant based diet and attributes the increase of cancer, heart disease, coronary artery disease, hypertension, etc to the increasing amounts of meat/dairy in our diet. How can two opinions differ so greatly? Also, after reading The China Study I can't help but ask, where is the substantial evidence behind the Paleo diet? Cordain spews off reasons for eating in a Paleo manner yet fails to back up his arguments up with strong evidence. I believe there are some good points the Paleo diet makes such as eating non processed natural foods. And yes, if you are going to eat meat, stick to organic free range etc. But really, eat like our ancestors? Our ancestors didn't have cars or grocery stores. I bet they ate a lot less calories than us in general, were much more active, and probably did not have as easy access to meat as we do. Can you imagine what they had to go through to obtain meat? And how sure are we that increasing our intake of red meat, eggs, coconut oil/milk is safe? I feel as if those of us who are following the Paleo diet are somewhat like Cordain's guinea pigs. Cordain really provides no longitudinal empirical evidence for his diet. The China Study, although not perfect, brings attention to some pretty strong relationships between certain diseases and dietary factors. And I still am not sold on the fact that quinoa and buckwheat are harmful for me to eat. Can anyone provide me with some strong scientific evidence/studies proving this?
I can provide you with some links to people who have totally ripped apart most of the China Study if that helps you.
There are many more.
How is the Paleo diet really anything more than eating, vegetables, meat, some nuts, fruit and fats such as coconut oil? How is this diet experimental? The only experimental bit is avoiding things we have added into our diet, i.e. grains, diary and legumes... if we have to soak something and process it so much to to remove toxins and make it palatable, then surely something is not right. If we have to choose, then I say we should aim for those things we could eat raw before cooking them.
Now even though almost all the leading voices in Paleo have already posted many times about the problems with grains, the point still remains even if they are somehow completely wrong. That being that if you are going to choose to eat something, why not eat something that is most nutritionally dense. So if you have to choose between some bread or the potato choose the potato or better kale.
Honestly if the Paleo diet appears to us to be very experimental, possibly we are not eating the Paleo diet but some aberration. If the problem is eating red meat, then eat more fish, and if the issue is eating meat then we will have to really be choosy with our protein options. Soy would be pretty silly choice for us.
When the topic of eating comes up then I never say I eat "paleo", I say I try and find the most nutritional choices I can and put them in my mouth. Coupled with eating for a purpose, i.e. increasing calories on workout days, avoiding things that cause inflammation which appear to be cultivated grains which are not so much an issue if I stick to choosing higher nutrition over starchy bulk.
Although enough of my rambling bumph, in terms of a direct answer to your question: http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/ really would be the best place to start reading.
But simply if you feel you are being experimented on then what would the alternative be? If it is eating brown rice as the sole source of protein, so be it, and if it is rice and fish and vegetables then so be it. The root issue against meat I believe is blood aversion, and though this should never be minimised, if meat grew on trees I do not think we would be having this conversation. :)
Yeah, the clever Denise Minger (such an ironic name for a pretty lady) did a fairly good number on the China Study at the link above.
But this is something I occasionally think about, and regularly come to this conclusion: you are SOMEONE'S guinea pig, however you eat! Ultimately, people may disparage the paleo diet as unconventional, unproven, "wacky" - but how much comeback do you get with anyone else either? Are the people dying of heart attacks able to go back in time and sue their family doctors, dieticians and governments for giving out crappy advice? Do you hear of type 2 diabetics getting compensation for their poor blood sugars and progression to insulin dependence despite following the official advice?
I know what you mean - sometimes it is scary to think "I'm trusting my health to a slightly strange bunch of bloggers", but then, who is making the most money from their advice? Is it Art Ayers, Kurt Harris, Peter Dobromylskij, Matt Lalonde - all guys waaaay cleverer than me who have looked at the research and come to largely the same conclusion? Or is it the guys doing everything they can to keep people buying statins?
Winger nuked The China Study back to the stone ages.
Jaminet et al have done excellent work in determining what the "natural state" diet is for humans, based on several approaches and I think it's reliable and workable for a healthy human now, and you adjust for health concerns from there.
Arrow and spearheads appear about a million years before beer cans (and wheat cultivation). People figured out how to get meat a long, long time ago and they didn't need an SUV trip to Slackmart.
I doubt you will keel over and get sick if you have a little quinoa and buckwheat. I wouldn't try to live off it. The way to really know is get CRP checked when you see the dr and watch inflammation. If it stays low, why worry?
I wonder if you sent 5 men hunting and 5 women foraging in an uncultivated landscape for 5 hours who would come back with the most calories. My inclination is to believe that meat was much more available than other foods. Roots require finding each plant and digging up each root, there wouldn't be groves and neat rows of plentiful plants, greens would be foraged one handful at a time. On the other hand I feel like 5 men with spears, arrows or a net can come up with something fairly quickly - they may have to wait a little longer to bag that duck or dear or fish but in the end I think the hunting wins out. Having grown up in Hawaii I have done both and they are both difficult and time consuming but a big fish was much more satisfying than a handful of guava. That being said I am still new to this diet (although already seeing great results) and I am also curious about the necessity of cutting out rice or sprouted grains. However, I don't trust any studies anymore I only trust what makes sense to me and what my body says feels good.