How long has the paleo diet existed as a modern ideology? Are there any people who have been eating this way for 40+ years and still feeling great/healthy?
I made the mistake of reading counter arguments for paleo and many suggest that while early man did hunt and gather the majority of what they were gathering was vegetables, not to mention the NHS and others who won't stop touting the dangers of meat consumpton, coupled with my own lack of benefits thus far on the diet
Is anyone worried about committing to this diet for the next 30 years and then getting diagnosed with bowel cancer or something similar?
I have a theory that the reason people feel great at the start of paleo is that it's working their adrenal glands in the same way caffeine does, only for them to crash out after a few months
It's so damn frustrating why can't we all be carnivores with sharp teeth and only eat beef or something??
I have relatives that live up north (I am in Western Canada) - they have been living according to traditional ways all their lives & have done so for many generations - they never wanted to be controlled by the 'white man'. They never eat processed food, sugar, don't drink or smoke, etc. They still hunt & fish, grow vegetables, work hard and they do not have cavities, diabetes, or any other of the common ailments of modern society. My great aunt & uncle are in their 90s and they both are very active, minds are sharp, have never taken any 'pills' ( have had broken bones, etc though). This community has about 50 people in it and all follow the ways of the ancestors. They are definitely role models for me and I respect them greatly. When my kids are grown and gone I am probably going to move up there to live.
Use Kurt Harris' interpretation of Paleo as "eating that which is essential."
This way, you can remain within the same dietary framework for your entire life while having the flexibility to change the things you eat as you learn what is actually needed by the body.
I can't really comment on long-term paleo lifestyle, but I do make a point to not believe any of the news headlines, such as "Red meat causes cancer," or "canola oil prevents cancer." we need to start reading the original research articles. We need to look at their methodology: how did they eliminate confounding variables? who are the subjects? ...
About red meat and cancer: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20663065
I can't find the article right now but I think the study that showed a positive association between red meat and bowel cancer grouped processed meats and unprocessed red meat together.
If you are concerned about red meat consumption, I am sure there are other protein/fat sources that you can include in your diet. Some cultures that consume little red meat due to limited access are perfectly healthy. I guess you can eat fish instead of red meat. Even conventional wisdom says fish is healthy. I think elimination of processed food (including vegetable oil, hydrogenated oils, excess sugar, chemicals) is key to obtaining optimal health. What you choose to eat doesn't really matter as long as you eat primarily whole foods and incorporate all nutrients...
It sounds like you're really asking "Are there any long term zero/VL carb paleos?" Paleo does not mean not eating plenty of vegetables. Even low carb paleos often eat piles of greens, berries and other non-starchy plant food. A lot of paleos also eat tubers such as sweet potatoes. Paleos who have insulin resistance are more likely to eat on the lower carb spectrum, while insulin sensitive paleos who work out a lot often eat higher carb. What we know is that paleolithic era humans did not eat any significant amount of grains, beans or concentrated sugars, & no refined oils, grains or sugars.
So yes, paleolithic humans certainly lived long term on a paleolithic diet - which varies. Modern hunter gathers such as Inuits lived for many years on extremely low carb diets. African "pygmies" (various tribes lived on primarily (but not exclusively) plant food especially mombongo nuts. Kitavans eat lots of starches mostly from tubers with coconut and fish and fruit.
Not 40+ years, but 15 years paleo and appears to be doing great.
Also, there are numerous examples of modern day hunter-gatherers and other "primative" societies that live mostly free of lifestyle/dietary diseases.
The diet part of Paleo is mostly about avoiding those things that cause your body damage, e.g., processed foods, sugar, refined grains, seed oils, etc. If you are uncomfortable with eating a lot of red meat, then don't. A diet of fish, vegetables, coconut oil, fruit and nuts is still a Paleo diet.
I believe that whether we hunt more animals or gather more vegetables and fruit depends entirely on climate zone and season. I grew up in a climate zone with four seasons where for as long as humans have inhabited that area they ate all the plants they could get in the summer (and later added dairy around 5 thousand years ago) and relied almost exclusively on meat in the winter plus the few roots and tubers they could save and then had to fast more in the spring, which is the origin of lent. My grandmother and her generation still lived pretty much paleoish, I myself was raised more on eggs, dairy, meat, fish, and vegetables (and lots of berries in the summer) than on grains. Cold cereals in a box didn't exist then, we ate some oatmeal or buckwheat in the winter and sourdough bread from rye year round, that was basically it. Occasional lentil soup. My grandmother didn't even know how to cook pasta. All that dumpling and pasta stuff is eaten further south. I was raised in Northern Germany.
I started ditching PUFA oils and using coconut oil back around 1999. In 2003, I ditched most of the grains, beans and starches, shifting more strictly paleo a few years after that. I generally eat meat only once a day and not in huge amounts. My diet is much lower in carbs than when it was largely vegetarian and heavily based on grains and beans, but I have never done VLC/ketogenic beyond trying to a few times and not being able to endure the brain-splitting headaches. I have no idea whether this is ideal in the long term, but it's got to be better than carrying around 30+ pounds of excess subcutaneous fat and having to sleep off crashed blood sugar every afternoon.
What's your evidence for your adrenal theory? You suggest "crashing out in a few months," but we know there are people who have been doing contemporary "paleo" for at least a few years.
I don't buy the adrenal theory, but I do think there is something to the observation that starting paleo can cause an early surge in energy and even weight loss. We see this with almost any diet that restricts processed foods and refined sugars, though--it's by no means unique to paleo. And it seems from postings here on PH that just as many people report the opposite experience, feeling tired and sickly upon starting.
As for long-term, given how many people live in the world, I find it highly likely that many people exist here and there who have eaten a paleo diet for many or even all of their years...they simply do not recognize it as such. It's just what they eat. Some actual hunter-gatherer people still exist as well. Inuits come to mind, for one, and at least one researcher who joined them in their natural diet suffered no ill effects.
What I'm perhaps most interested to see is that parents having gone paleo are now raising babies/children on paleo (of course, breastfeeding is about as paleo as it gets....). That could be considered something of an experiment, at least in the sense that most of us in the west have no personal experience with this and are relying on research and a lot of common sense and educated guessing. But I will be very surprised if paleo children show any signs of diet-related problems, and will not be surprised if they lack common childhood ailments (obesity, autism, acne, ADHD, etc.). I believe paleo children will prove the movement, but of course that's just wild speculation on my part.
Many people forget that our close cousins, the Neanderthal, were nearly completely carnivorous. Most people actually have a little Neanderthal DNA in them.
As it stands now, the meat consumption of a typcial Paleo-ite would not be sustainable for the entire American population, and that is why you see the USDA telling everyone meat will kill them.