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What if we're all wrong? What if Paleo is good for health but bad (suboptimal) for lifespan?

by (24523)
Updated about 21 hours ago
Created April 13, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Please excuse the overly broad and lengthy question.

What if how we are eating is good for health and makes you a happy Crossfitter or Movnatter, but is not optimal for lifespan? Not that there is any one "paleo diet", but most of us eat lots of meat, some vegetables, limited fruits, and maybe tubers.

Many would rather have a limited number of happy years than be a calorie-restricted longetivity beanpole. On the other hand, many enjoy sandwiches and cupcakes, and are on paleo for overall health reasons despite it not being optimal for their tastebuds. What I'm getting at is that it is not a slam-dunk decision to go full-on paleo. I did it because of health issues, but for someone who loves food and eats fairly healthy, I'm not sure if "full-on" paleo is the best choice. Sure, restrict gluten, veggie oils, and fructose. But 80/20 or 70/30 gives you some delicious non-paleo meals if you "live to eat".

Here are some reasons why full on paleo might be not optimal for longetivity. This is presented as a devil's advocate argument, as there are many reasons that paleo is probably great for longetivity.

-Protein restriction for longetivity

-Neu5Gc- a molecule found in red meat that may or may not have something to do with cancer

-Dioxins- a toxin found only in animals products, even in organic pastured animals.

-Saturated fat- this is the weakest argument. Many of us probably eat more saturated fat than our ancestors did, when eating lots of coconut oil and the like. Those with familial hypercholesterolemia might take heed?

So here's the real question: I've seen more and more people being uber-strict paleo. I myself aim for uber-strict paleo. But in the halcyon days of youth, there were few things I liked better than a meal of a bacon-double cheeseburger on a kaiser bun with seasoned curly fries and a malted chocolate shake. We cannot know if being super strict outweighs the benefit of indulging sometimes (assuming you still enjoy wheat and sugar without guilting yourself to death). And people seem to follow what paleo experts say essentially right after they read it. Heck, when Kurt Harris hinted that he had upped his carb intake, some people wondered if they should add rice krispies to their diets too instead of analyzing his logic. Are we being too strict, following paleo leaders too blindly, discounting potential lifespan issues with paleo, or none of the above?

To whit, one of the most important predictors of lifespan has been how easy-going we are. Those who live past age 100 tend to have lower stress levels, regardless of diet. In fact, almost all ate some kind of junk food. (yes, selection bias here, but still...)

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215 · August 04, 2013 at 3:10 PM

How often do you eat foods that aren't paleo

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2944 · April 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM

Sounds great, good luck!. You might find there is reduced (or no) reliance on bread products when you get into to. I know that not having sandwiches at lunch made me be a bit more creative! :)

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120 · April 06, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Yeah stress definatly seems to be the elephant in the room when it comes to disease and wellbeing. It seems that this is a point so often overlooked when discussing how our ancestors lived. As i understand it our ancestors would have spent up to 20 hours a week hunting and gathering.. a far cry from the 40plus hours a week in modern society.

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9402 · April 06, 2012 at 2:50 PM

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/columnists/stock-report/so-basically-everything-in-moderation-right/article_4ba28698-6ccb-11e1-95d0-001871e3ce6c.html

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:14 AM

There will always be people outside the norm - but isn't this a Paleo site? Reducing stress, of course, is great - and I have backed away from the rat-race 2 a great degree and cherish this time. The question is are grains 'real food' to the body?

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:10 AM

Well, every now & again - you get the 'everything in moderation' quote. But if we are to believe the Cordain/Wolf writings on grains - we'd surely want to keep them out of our diets. I can't risk the fall-out of eating wheat. I don't know that I am a celiac (I might be-I remain untested)- but everything it does to me makes the thought of a piece of cake completely revolting. I'll eat some crappy candy now & again - but never wheat. There r too many other foods to eat that don't mess w/me as much. Aren't we looking at the big picture? It's not just our bodies - but the properties in some foods.

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:03 AM

I skimmed the post and see that much of what is written covers what individuals who follow Caloric Restriction believe. CR is well-respected and proven in many species to extend lifespan. A CR Paleo diet would be one way to increase our chances of extending our individual lifespans. Genes definitely have something to do with it - but we can also do much by assisting our bodies in going into hyper-efficiency via (at the present) the only proven method - restricting calories. The calorierestriction.org group has a searchable database going back 12 to 13 years. 'Lot's of amazing info there.

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178 · May 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Or maybe 3 squares of 85|90% Chocolate in some almond milk, nuked and stirred! My kind of cocoa!

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24523 · May 05, 2011 at 1:36 PM

sehr gut.......

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9647 · May 01, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Thanks, Dr. R. Just wanted to let you know I saw this also, and will be looking into these ideas, including your writing.

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15583 · April 28, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Many thanks Ron, very interesting observations.

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15583 · April 28, 2011 at 8:01 AM

I think (and every-one thinking about health generally) definitely underappreciates sleep. It seems to be one of the most important things for a long life, but people naturally focus more on how *virtuous* you are in diet or exercise. For me, the stress-downsides of virtually any change to diet would be negligible, I'd quickly embrace it, so even the smallest optimisation would be a net gain. The stress of fasting/boring exercise constantly... well even if the stress didn't kill me, I might choose not to go for the extra life anyway!

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3521 · April 28, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Woops, I meant gelatin. I have the knack of always sticking those together.

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2297 · April 28, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Marrow (yellow marrow) that we eat is pretty much just fat storage cells. Possibly some collagen matrix in there to hold it together, but not protein-rich.

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1722 · April 27, 2011 at 9:50 PM

I have added my responses to Stephan on that thread as an edit to my answer above. They had been kindly posted as comments by Stephan on his site, but they were written quite a bit later and so last and I'm afraid lost in the comment section. Thank you for your interest.

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1722 · April 27, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I have added my responses to Stephan on that thread as an edit to my answer above. They had been kindly posted as comments by Stephan on his site, but they were written quite a bit later and so last and I'm afraid lost in the comment section. Thank you for your interest.

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3891 · April 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

I've heard many good things about Eugene. A friend lived there in the mid 90s and he still talks about it with fondness. I'm stuck where I'm at until I'm done with my degree. Eugene is far away, but it's not removed from consideration.

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Dr. Rosedale, I think we would all be interested in seeing your response; if you do find a link you could post it by editing this answer, and then the thread will be bumped up to the top of the list. Thanks for your contribution!

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1722 · April 16, 2011 at 4:37 PM

donat; right on both points..

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1722 · April 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Kamal; Great to meet an alumni here.The first and most important aspect in the quest for answers is to ask the right questions..thanks for yours. Also, briefly looking at my conversation with Stephan Guyenet, it appears my last response to his response didn't make it in. If i can dig it up I'll try to post it..

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25467 · April 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Totally disagree with this super outliers tell us a lot if we are willing to critically look at them. Read Malcolm glad stones book on this very topic.

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24523 · April 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Rob-- I didn't think that marrow had much protein. Is that not true?

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 8:13 AM

I don't think I find casein addictive. Alcohol and caffeine only. Fortunate, I suppose.

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Old post from Dr. Mike Eades on intermittent fasting versus calorie restriction: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/intermittent-fasting/fast-way-to-better-health/ But my eyes hurt so much from looking at the computer I haven't even read it yet, or re-read it. Time to stop. Why didn't we just start another thread on this? Maybe this new one fits the bill kind of: http://paleohacks.com/questions/33352/does-a-paleo-lifestyle-compress-morbidity-and-decelerate-mortality-more-than-gomp

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525 · April 15, 2011 at 8:24 PM

He seemed like such a character. He will be missed.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 5:51 PM

David- that was indeed the dilemma. Is eating some sourdough bread or having beans sometimes a big deal? Should one do fasting, eat liver, etc if they don't like it? How much should evidence frame our eating versus enjoying it and letting the chips fall as they may? Is eating even the main thrust of paleo, or is stress reduction and sleep cycles and stuff underappreciated?

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 5:48 PM

donat-- that's cool that you're critically approaching Kurt Harris's manifesto. It takes cajones around these parts to say anything negative about his views. I do agree that the starting point is the ancestral diet, and the scientific method modifies that approach for optimal health and/or lifespan. The interplay of health, longetivity, reproductive success, and repair is something that should be paleohacked more!

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78422 · April 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

@WCC_Paul: No, I won't. Very few places do I get to tell jokes about hormesis!

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236 · April 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

I have a 99 year old great aunt who never married or reproduced. She also ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, smoked for about 70 years and used bowling for exercise. Somehow, you have to wonder if the gene pool gets involved.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Agree with all this. I personally find optimising and micromanaging fun, I'm always a little surprised when I come across some-one who proclaims that if they had to think about [some detail of health] then it would be so stressful that they would just give up and eat pizzas all day, rather than trying to be paleo. I'm also pretty 'strict' naturally (although that carries the wrong connotations) there are just virtually no foods that are sufficiently motivating that I'd *have* to cheat on them or lose my mind. Maybe dairy sometimes, but I think I find casein literally addictive :P

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Normally my response is the same as yours Stephen, whenever any-one expresses reservations about paleo ('well why on earth should any-one think that they need gluten grains, dairy or vegetable oil for anything?!') but in this case, for some reason, I interpreted Kamal's dilemma as being just generally eating paleo (typically lots of meat, permitting moderate carbs etc.) versus something else for optimal. I certainly don't think the optimal diet would be unpaleo (e.g. +grains) but probably requires quite a bit more than just eating paleo wholefoods just-like-our-ancestors.

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279 · April 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

@Kamal Notice that Rosedale's point is not about health(span) vs longevity but health(span)/longevity vs reproductive success, --quite different in content and consequences (I generally love your posts by the way)

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279 · April 15, 2011 at 2:20 PM

At last, the voice of reason, --welcome Dr Rosedale! The conflation of optimal for health-span and optimal for reproduction is also one of the main reasons (there are equally strong others) why KGH's earlier manifesto: "The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology." is so wrong, that in my view it borders on being silly. It should be exactly the other way round. Evol biol and paleo are excellent for hypothesis generation, but these need to be disciplined by hard science.

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3202 · April 15, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Now lets get all the best from Paleo together with best longevity diet. We might need the extra time to convince the "high carb crowd". I guess I'll have 3 eggs this morning instead of 4.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Also, see David Moss's answer above for comments on your lively back-and-forth with Stephan Guyenet.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Great answer. Equating a healthy diet with a longetivity-providing diet seems to be a frequent logical error. Not that they don't significantly overlap. Also, I googled you and saw that you went to Northwestern for med school. That's my alma mater -- go U NU!

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22913 · April 15, 2011 at 1:23 PM

agreed and edited. important enough to not be an "etc"

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22913 · April 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

its an important etc.

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10768 · April 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM

I think the chocolate syrup would be tastier in heavy cream! .drools a bit.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Thanks for the translation Paul ;). I quite agree, if amount of energy were the issue then we could just eat some more and have high growth and long-lived (doesn't seem to work out for most over-eating people!). My own suspicion is that even super healthy starch-eaters won't have such low insulin, blood glucose, glycated haemoglobin etc as healthy (commensurately undamaged) low carbers. Ketosis is another matter of course and I'd expect that it has similar upsides/downsides to CR/starvation in general, namely it seems to be generally therapeutic over and above being carb sensitive.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Thanks for the translation Paul ;). I quite agree, if amount of energy were the issue then we could just eat some more and have high growth and long-lived (doesn't seem to work out for most over-eating people!). My own suspicion is that even super healthy starch-eaters won't have such low insulin, blood glucose, glycated haemoglobin etc as healthy (commensurately undamaged) low carbers. Ketosis is another matter of course and I'd expect that it has similar upsides/downsides to CR/starvation in general. I'm not sure about...

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Oh, well, there he is.

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:21 AM

Joke is: Tea = polyphenols? Alright, pretty soon Thomas is going to give us all some hormesis punches if we keep commenting on his answer ...

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

glucose, not the fructose) are going to be fine since they just have occasional insulin boosts (and they also won't have high blood glucose, but that's another issue). The question is would they be even better off without the high levels of starch in the diet? That is, compare two groups, both with insulin sensitivity, one is high-carb, the other is low-carb. Does the latter live longer, ceteris paribus? Stephan says "I'm skeptical." Anyhow, I (Paul) have been carb-cycling, but even on the "refeed" days I probably don't have much more than 60-70g of CHO.

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Indeed. The best part is in Stephan's response to Rosedale's response to Stephan's #2: Stephan says: hey mate, do the math, repair doesn't require very much energy. ["Dude" translated to "mate" for UK audience.] So what does this mean for the current discussion? Attempt: There's always enough energy for repair, that's not the issue; the deciding factor is whether or not the extra growth-and-reproduction from the fed state is going on. But Stephan thinks that as long as you don't have chronic high insulin then you're OK; the Kitavans with their high-starch diet (i.e., just the [Continued]

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2427 · April 15, 2011 at 5:46 AM

In paleo time, that attitude would have had you eating poison.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM

That is the right link at the right time. Thanks.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 11:46 PM

If there's hormesis tax, I may just have to join the Tea party :(

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 11:25 PM

Yeah, I'm with you. So there was a little sophistry in the first paragraph also. I guess I was trying to make a point and didn't want to have to make too many qualifications. I still think it was in the spirit of Kamal's question though.

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545 · April 14, 2011 at 10:36 PM

You neglect to mention another diet- a mostly paleo-diet, but some leeway in neolithic foods that are still fairly benign- i.e. occasional white rice, organic sourdough-fermented rye bread, perhaps some carefully prepared pastries, and maybe a little added sugar here and there. Just staying way from vegetable oils, refined flour and white sugar alone could be enough to keep someone very healthy, and long-lived.

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1132 · April 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM

@travis, I worked in Eugene, Oregon, I don't think it's too far from you? there are good things going on there, go there....

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Actually Stephan had an interview Dr Rosedale which addressed this point http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/12/dr-rosedale-replies.html question 2.

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:44 PM

NB Stephan had an interview with some-one about insulin addressing this (IIRC Stephan was arguing against this other person that repair/maintenance ought to be easy and low cost, so why would there be a trade-off) but he seems to have taken it down.

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:43 PM

@Paul. I agree, I think it's 'bad' nutrition in the sense of being overnourished, with high insulin constantly. I do seem to recall early menses being associated with stress though, will look it up. @Kamal. If its CR + optimal nutrition, there should be the ingredients, I guess obviously if you *starve* then you can't repair, but I think the point is that what resources you have are being directed to repair- the body is simply trying to sustain and maintain itself with all it can, rather than investing in quick growth->reproduction->death.

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3891 · April 14, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Careful Kamal, the IRS probably has something in its millions of lines of mind-numbing documentation about a hormesis tax. ;-)

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

See, I think about adding liver because I know it's good for me, but then I change my mind because I don't actually like it at all. What fun is being healthy if I am constantly forcing myself to do things I don't like because they are "good for me". I've learned to eat a lot of things I didn't like before, but I have my limits.

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3891 · April 14, 2011 at 7:47 PM

@oliverh: There is something to moving at a more human pace. I strongly believe all the hurry-up-and-go is deadly over the long term; the modern world is incompatible with our nature. I've slowed my life way down and it has helped so much. I was investigating slowing down long before I went paleo, but the two mix nicely. For example, all the cooking I do requires that I stop to plan meals and take my time, rather than rushing to get some junk to shove down my gullet. Nourishment alone is centering, but so is saying "X can wait until tomorrow. I'm going to play Wii with my kids and wife."

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

What about happiness, Stephen? I assume you are including that under stress, but I think it should be it's own category.

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Hahaha Dave! I know! I know! Terrible habit. :p

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM

And I am not doing paleo for later, I'm doing it for now.

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Points for chocolate syrup squirting! Even if I cringed.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Here we go, old-school KGH (from an earlier version of the Get Started page; I may or may not have this saved on my computer): "Insulin is a phylogenetically old hormone. It is a biological messenger that in excess, is metabolically saying the following to your tissue and organs: 'Go ahead and store energy, mature, reproduce and die.'"

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Early onset of menses? More common in poor nutrition or good nutrition? I had always read poor, but according to the David side of the discussion (in line with some things KGH has said I know) it would make more sense if early menses comes with good nutrition. The body is saying: times are good, so now's the time to reproduce. But I would refine a bit to find a solution. Attempt: Early menses comes with high carbohydrate. This was normally taken as a sign of plenty, but now is associated with bad diets. Thoughts, gentlemen and others?

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78422 · April 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

wcc_paul- Do they ever punch you in the face and then say, "Hormesis, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" Hahah, good story.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Medical literature has "QUALYs" (quality-adjusted life years) and "DALYs" (disability-adjusted life years) to indicate quality of life vs overall years lived. I think those metrics are a bit generic though. Paleo folk should come up with their own metrics. Just for kicks though, because we're not really doing studies that need such specification.

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18412 · April 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Jae - Kamal touched on what you mention in his question, about longevity. In fact, even the very title of his question addresses it. So I don't understand why you mention it as a "but" in your comment. Also, defining what is Optimal is not so gray. We are always discussing what is optimal for health. That's what we do. Let people decide for themselves what is optimal for them, but deciding what is optimal 'in general' is critically important.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I understand the CR autophagy part, and the reproduction part, but am not sure about the repair part. Are reproduction and repair mutually exclusive? If you CR really hard, there might not be enough raw ingredients for repair.

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Ah, I'd read the exact opposite, hence CR. Autophagy reliant on lack of nutrients too of course. Evolutionary reasoning would be that when 'fed' we focus on growth and reproduction, rather than repair, whereas when starving we defer reproduction. Plus being 'fed' means higher insulin, IGF, more growth and thus more cancer. The only reason I eschew deep ketosis atm is because supposedly the constantly raised cortisol and gluconeogenesis (to produce a little glucose) is stressful. Nephropal mentioned 'winter vs summer mode' too.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Dioxins seem to be present lower in the food chain in pretty high amounts. For example, see here for some cow data...http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15787974

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Interesting. From a purely non-scientific viewpoint, I might think that being in "starving mode" too often might give the body the signal that it's cool to go ahead and die (rather than the converse signal that it's time to get lean and mean). Being in "fed mode" enough might tell the body that it's time to repair stuff and keep the body in tip-top shape. But that's pure speculation.

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6157 · April 14, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Agreed. I think Paleo is a very useful heuristic for figuring out many of the ways we can undo damage caused by SAD and NAD and other environmental factors. I think that when people start to speculate on what is "optimal," we run into lots of issues (both scientific and philosophical).

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Actually I'd probably favour *more* (or at least closer to) ketosis, rather than less (for longevity). It might not have been paleo to be in ketosis that often (although I don't know, given potential temporary food shortages), but I still think it might be optimal (via mimicing starvation). Fwiw I'm currently following 'Optimal Diet' recommendations and staying just on the edge of ketosis though.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Jae- I totally agree. Optimal lifespan could be through looking at life-extension type studies and supplementing heavily, which may or may not help you live longer (I think Dr. K is a good person to evaluate this -- awaiting his blog). Or it could be through having a basic paleo diet and just chilling out and seeing where life goes. Differs depending on who you talk to. Paleo could also mean other non-dietary things, such as living a life full of social interaction and interacting with nature.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Oh yeah, I didn't even consider the paleo-honing stuff like minimizing oxidized cholesterol. After going through long periods of ketosis without thinking about it too much beforehand, I wonder if I should be less willy-nilly in diet experimentations.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

great answer. a defining characteristic of being paleo is being open to change.

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12369 · April 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM

This is the perfect answer!!!!! I love it!!!!

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12369 · April 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Deserves consideration if you are eating high on the food chain - but most of us are eating low on the food cahin. Dioxins bioaccumulate in fatty tissues - so they would be highest in the fatty tissues of higher carnivores, not in the fatty tissues of the cows, pigs and chickens etc we like to eat. There are many other cancer causing contaminants that we should be worried about before dioxins in my opinon

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

very well said !

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

science can only provide answers for about 10% of life's questions -follow your intuition

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

THANKS LB! I know crzy! I struggled a bit with trying to be perfect, but it's just not in the cards for me. I had to learn to be not perfect and accept myself for what I know I can accomplish and be less stressed about it all!

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

moderation in all things, moderation included - with credit to whoever first coined the phrase

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I know crzy! I struggled a bit with trying to be perfect, but it's just not in the cards for me. I had to learn to be not perfect and accept myself for what I know I can accomplish and be less stressed about it all!

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6157 · April 14, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I appreciate this question, Kamal, and I think it's worth talking about. But I think any discussion of what is *"optimal"* is bound to be plagued by definitional problems. For me, by definition, 70 healthy years is more optimal than 100 unhealthy years. As Paul points out below, stress reduction *is* "Paleo" the way he chooses to define it. For me, "uber-strict" Paleo includes periodic protein restriction. =P

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12407 · April 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM

that's awesome, melissa.

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115 · April 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM

"Take heart kamal, we will all go one day. For now we have discovered a better path, we have discovered it because we are open to change, and in the future we will change again if necessary and convincing evidence is presented to us. There is no guarantee that any of us will take the next breath, Paleo or not. So lets rejoice life and enjoy the moment." -well said!

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115 · April 14, 2011 at 1:56 PM

there's a dogmatic out there flipping out after reading this post, ha ha

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Get ready, the revolution is coming! And I could still be hit by a bus any day...

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12174 · April 14, 2011 at 5:42 AM

I believe you mean the cool grandma triathlete. Hollaaaa!

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17949 · April 14, 2011 at 4:05 AM

lol, I hope we're ridiculing anyone who says that.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:03 AM

Stabby-- yes, I started incorporating more gelatin in my diet when I'm too busy to make bone broths. Some of these things are grasping at straws, but not any more so than eschewing most vegetables because of toxins or not eating carrots because of fructose content.

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17949 · April 14, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Also Chris Masterjohn has a good article on dioxins. Can you say dose makes the poison? http://www.westonaprice.org/environmental-toxins/239 Neu5Gc is that straw-grasping. I read their study where they injected Neu5Gc molecules into GMO mice and then injected the antibodies, creating an artificial environment of sustained inflammation and killing the mice. But that's not how the immune response works. It is efficient if we eat right and interestingly enough in that study they also did one group with a COX-inhibitor and there was little effect. paleo produces CRP that is barely readable.

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17949 · April 14, 2011 at 3:40 AM

Get that blog up, Dr. K! My short answer is that the anti-meat crowd grasps at straws, equivocates, and strawmans. What that means? Well let's just wait for Dr. k's blog! The protein thing is a little interesting. I posed the question to Robb Wolf and Mat Lalonde on the next The Healthy Skeptic podcast, I think there is some evidence that methionine restriction can help. So just eat more gelatinous parts and fat if that happens to be true, sheesh. There is no doubt in my mind that longevity means running mostly on fats, reducing inflammation, insulin levels, nutrient status, stress... paleo

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5136 · April 14, 2011 at 3:23 AM

the weird thing was that i was looking him up to post something about him to this thread and just happened to notice on Wikipedia his date of death was today.

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5136 · April 14, 2011 at 3:20 AM

i'm sure he's causing trouble somewhere still.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:16 AM

lolololol. If I don't finish my taxes by Friday, I'm calling the Treasury Department and leaving a message: "Hormesis".

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56616 · April 14, 2011 at 3:14 AM

nooo that's so sad :(

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:50 AM

I will sometimes insult my friends and then say "Hormesis." Very effective.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:35 AM

Yeah, not done yet, but it's going well. And I'm definitely going to stick with it. What's two months if I can learn that tomatoes are making my joints hurt or that dairy is mucking up my sinuses? Peace. By the way you can email Patrik to ask about the thing with your website (http://paleohacks.com/questions/10373/meta-what-are-patrik-paleohacks-policies-when-it-comes-to-self-promotion/31001#31001). Also I'll put an announcement on my blog: I can guarantee you that at least 10 distinct human beings will see it.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:24 AM

No, you shouldn't go to a damn restaurant. Your results would be marred, and your blog would go down the toilet. I'm only partly kidding--I'll have to check out your posts to see how it all went.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:23 AM

No, you shouldn't go to a damn restaurant. Your results would be marred, and you blog would go down the toilet. I'm only partly kidding--I'll have to check out your posts to see how it all went.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:13 AM

Oh, I meant tricky as in "sophistical" and "disrespecting clarity," not as in "complex." I was trying to poke fun at myself. ... Your question. I actually have a pretty quick response to this, and one that I really think is true: researching paleo is a lot of fun for me, it's kind of a hobby. So it helps me unwind, and reduces stress. But you also asked about energy spent on eating strictly. Well, yeah, I'm doing this elimination thing right now and sometimes I *really* *really* wish that I could just go to a damn restaurant. It would save me time and thereby make everything else less rushed.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:08 AM

No Paul, using that many parentheses and brackets is always funny.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:03 AM

Yes, that was a tricky mental exercise, but worth it. Let me flip it back on you. Would you suspect that some paleo people could take a bit of mental energy being spent researching paleo and eating strictly, and use that to improve stress reduction and sleep quality? How's that for a leading question?

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 1:57 AM

Yes, we are. Dioxins are well known to be highly mutagenic and teratogenic. Polychlorinated benzene compounds are a a couple levels above plant toxins from plants that we typically eat in terms of harm to humans. In a theoretical material safety data sheet, I suspect the LD-50 would be magnitudes of order higher for any common plant toxin that is eaten in today's society.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 1:48 AM

Melissa- I was googling Eland body composition after reading your answer on the other thread, and (naturally) only found American and European Elk body compositions. That's when I realized I was spiraling down the path of paleo over-analyzing, and posted this hack. So indirectly...thanks for the inspiration :)

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Ah, I see. No, fortunately (or unfortunately) I'm forcing myself to eat liver and spinach regularly, so the chips aren't falling as they may.

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22913 · April 14, 2011 at 1:38 AM

So were gonna call out dioxin and not the 80000 plant toxins? Real and artificially added and GMed?

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56616 · April 14, 2011 at 1:01 AM

we both know you were referring to american elk when you were saying that the fat content of wild elk led to a change of option. I don't call an Eland an elk, though I suppose it's a cape elk.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 12:57 AM

[I'm trying to be funny by the way, just in case I failed (at making it obvious that I was trying to be funny -- not at being funny, because I know I failed at that).]

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 12:56 AM

Well, Kamal, if you found Jack's answer so thought-provoking why didn't you vote it up? Geez Louise ... OK, OK, I have rectified the situation.

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25467 · April 14, 2011 at 12:45 AM

This is where my future blog will go.....where the rubber meets the road. How paleo effects longevity.....it's all that matters to me

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4400 · April 14, 2011 at 12:03 AM

For me, Paleo has hugely reduced stress. Now I'm not worrying about impending diabetes. I don't have to wonder if my senior moments are early Alzheimers, or whether I'll die before my time of cancer. Any of those things could happen, but the risk is reduced enough that I can just enjoy life knowing that my prognosis is probably as good as I can make it. It's also stress-reducing that my sleep is goo, my stomach doesn't ache, I can skip meals when life requires it, etc.

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160 · April 13, 2011 at 11:59 PM

I guess the point I was trying to make (which was rather poor), is that lots of people will look for any excuse to not do what they know they need to do, and that is eat healthier. I have friends who tell me, "but all those scientists who are suppose to know what they are talking about can't even agree, so I'll just eat what I want and let the chips fall where they may". I tell them that instead of speculating, do your best, but just DO it!

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889 · April 13, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Kamal... upvote for using the phrase 'mixed elk messages'...:)

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195 · April 13, 2011 at 11:34 PM

As Sean Croxton stated in is blog article "This is Silly" at Underground Wellness: "the underlying theme never really changes: Just Eat Real Food. And not just that! Get to bed on time. Keep your stress levels in check. Participate in loving relationships. Have a social life. Get some exercise. Go barefoot (blog coming soon on this topic). Get some sunlight. Be happy. In a nutshell, LIVE." http://undergroundwellness.com/this-is-silly/

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM

He's right about the "special group". Ok, I will admit it. I belong to a cabal, led by Kamal. We plan to undermine everything Paleo stands for. We'll have you all eating Ding-Dongs, Twinkies and Doritos before long.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I know. When I can't find any other justification, I can always use the hormesis card. It always works!

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Melissa-- you're sending mixed elk messages. Unless you're talking North America now and not Africa. This is what your excerpt said in the other thread: "This animal [“Cape-elk” or eland] has a great deal of fat...The breast is likewise extremely fat, and is always looked upon as a great delicacy. The flesh is universally of a finer grain, more juicy and better tasted than that of the hart-beest."

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25467 · April 13, 2011 at 11:02 PM

This will be the major focus of my blog.......it's where the rubber meets the road.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Those old people with a pleasant pace...it's fun being around them and it would be nice to become one of them later down the road.

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56616 · April 13, 2011 at 10:59 PM

Native people killed elk as the last choice. It has the worst tasting fat and not a lot of it.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Jamie-- what is the "special" group? Tell me or else I'll downvote you. (just kidding)

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Yeah man, I use that all time. Next time someone sees me eating a chocolate buttercream cupcake, I'm just going to look them in the eye and say "Hormesis".

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Okay okay. But dioxins are still something that wasn't in meat way back when. Deserves consideration.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 10:52 PM

Yes, Kamal and then there is the whole field of hormesis...sometimes a little of something toxic can turn out to be good for you: http://gettingstronger.org/hormesis/

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Jack- you betcha. I was looking at these articles about the fat content of wild elk, and was like "what the heck am I doing?!?". Balancing the thirst for knowledge and perfection with the ability to live an easygoing lifestyle without thinking about paleo all the time -- that is a question.

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1132 · April 13, 2011 at 10:51 PM

i'll try and get a photo with her tomorrow... if she doesn't beat me up

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1033 · April 13, 2011 at 10:51 PM

A friend offered me a beer and I said " I felt it wasn't good for me" his reply: "Yea. but it may be good for your soul." I don't think being too strict is good for the body, soul or mind (which are all connected anyway) - I took the beer and he was right.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:48 PM

No! Or yes? Depends. What irks me is those paleos who will tell you "you're seriously going to eat that cornbread??" Yeah, I'm going to eat it. The human body is not this wispy, wimpy weakling. We can handle a regular meal with family at times. (I hope)

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18412 · April 13, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Kamal - Did my answer on your other sat fat thread spawn this question sorta? We are totally on the same level of thinking here.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 10:45 PM

In addition to the above, I think there are social situations where we hurt ourselves more by being "strict" than by just eating what is there. Imagine yourself at Thanksgiving Dinner. You haven't seen many of your family members for a year or more and instead of being "thankful" and enjoying your meal, you opt to be a "pain-in-the-ass", nitpicking over every item of food, if not flatly refusing to eat the cherry pie. Is the damage this attitude inflicts really worth it?

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Interesting point. It could be that eating 20% of your calories from rice/potatoes has a survival advantage, or eating big colorful salads actually do something tangible for health. Who knows, the evidence flits this way and that when you get down to details.

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1132 · April 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

stress levels, absolutely, I don't think it's at all good to get too obsessive about diet, she isn't at all, she will reach 100.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Yeah, I'd say paleos are a pretty sharp crowd. The one confounder is that people wonder how strict to be, and how much this will change their happiness. It's a tough call.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:35 PM

You know, maybe we put in some stressful paleo compaliance times now, and reap the benefits of it later?

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12174 · April 13, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Well, I know that sometimes I wonder if my stress (ergo = cortisol?) over general paleo compliance issues is more deleterious health-wise than just relaxing and truly enjoying that piece or a few of sushi. :)

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Great point! I'm adding a tidbit to the end of my question now...

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1722 · April 15, 2011 at 9:59 AM

In answer to the question, "Is a Paleolithic diet the best diet for longevity?"..

As a doctor that has been promoting a high-fat, low carbohydrate, and restricted protein diet for almost 2 decades, I have long been saying that one cannot use paleolithic nutrition as a basis to determine optimal diet. Although a paleolithic diet may not be a bad diet and often is good(depending on which paleolithic diet one is talking about), the entire premise of using paleolithic nutrition as a basis to obtain an optimal diet is flawed. ??

Nature is concerned about reproductive success, not about significant post-reproductive health and lifespan. In other words, nature really doesn't give a whit about how long we live unless it pertains to reproductive success.?? Therefore, we cannot look to nature or count on nature or what's ???natural??? to tell us how to live a long healthy (post-reproductive) life. To obtain an optimal diet (as opposed to just a better diet that would be virtually any diet that deviates from the standard American diet) one must use modern science that one could even consider to be ???unnatural???. ??(See short excerpt from my book below.)

The science of insulin and leptin clearly reveal that a diet high in non-fiber carbohydrates is extremely unhealthy and shortens lifespan. Furthermore, considerable and robust science tells us that excess protein (any protein beyond that necessary to build, repair, and maintain oneself) is equally detrimental (see links below to a couple of PowerPoints of talks I have given). Oil and fat is really the only relatively safe fuel to burn, and ones diet should consist mostly of this along with the necessary protein and minimal non-fiber carbohydrates, whether or not this sort of diet was paleolithic.

From p.46, "The Rosedale Diet" ?? HarperCollins ??? LONGEVITY ISN???T ???NATURAL????? "Within the billions of years that life has evolved on earth, we may have become smarter, more complicated creatures than our single-celled predecessors, but the fact is, we are here for pretty much the same reason. As Mother Nature sees it, whether you are a single-celled organism, a multicelled nematode, a bird, a dog, a cat, or a human, you are here for the primary purpose to reproduce and pass your precious genes (the library of life) on to the next generation. After that, you???re expendable. My patients are shocked when I tell them that there is nothing ???natural??? about trying to live as long a life as possible. You may want to hang around to be a healthy 120 and spend your last decades playing with your great-grandchildren, writing your novel, or traveling the world, but Mother Nature has other ideas. Mother Nature???s primary concern is to keep you alive long enough to reproduce, and maybe a bit longer after that to care for your young. That???s it. Some scientists believe that our cavemen ancestors followed an ideal diet for our health and longevity because they ate the ???pure??? and ???natural??? diet that we all evolved from. In reality, the so-called ???paleolithic diet??? followed by cavemen was not necessarily ideal for long-term health; in fact, it was sort of random. Cavemen ate whatever Mother Nature made available to them at the time. Keep in mind, Mother Nature didn???t give a whit about eating for a long healthy life; she just wanted cavemen to make more baby cavemen. You see why I say there???s nothing ???natural??? about the quest for longevity? If anything, in order to achieve longevity, you have to circumvent Mother Nature and consider some ???unnatural??? alternatives. By that I mean you have to ???trick??? Mother Nature at her own game.??

Nature has very ingenious ways to help a species survive. When food is scarce, as it often was for our more primitive ancestors, in order to ensure the survival of a species, nature developed a method of keep??ing an organism alive through times of famine so that it could reproduce at a later, more opportune time. Reduced food intake turns on genes that protect the body against aging, allowing it to hopefully outlive the famine. Instead of spending lots of scarce energy to make babies that couldn???t survive, the body focuses its energy on maintaining and repair??ing itself. As soon as there is enough food available to support effective reproduction, the body switches gears and reduces its emphasis on maintenance and repair and directs its energy toward reproduction.

When you are in maintenance and repair mode, the body???s ???body shop??? is revved up and ready to go. Calorie-restricted animals have measurably higher levels of key chemicals that allow for extended life, protect cells from damage, and promote repair. ??

You don???t have to starve yourself to turn on the maintenance and repair switch. Following the Rosedale Diet will do the same good things for your body. How does it work? Leptin is a key player (perhaps in concert with insulin) in the evolutionary tug of war between whether the body should concentrate on reproduction or maintenance and repair."??

??...and to live a long, healthy, post-reproductive lifespan, we want our bodies to concentrate on maintenance and repair. To do that we must use modern science that tells us that we must regulate the hormonal nutrient sensors that, when kept low, turn up the genetic expression of maintenance and repair.

http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2010/05/07/ron-rosedale-protein-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2010/05/07/ron-rosedale-insulin-leptin-and-the-control-of-aging/

My comments to Stephan Guyenet responses to my answer on his site Dec. 4, 2009

Dr. Ron Rosedale said... Pertaining to insulin's primary purpose: ??????Again, we must distinguish between controlling blood sugar and lowering blood sugar in a "normal" individual. Yes, I am well aware as are most people, that insulin can lower blood sugar. It does not mean, however, that insulin is controlling it. It is lowering the glucose levels as a side effect secondary to storing it as glycogen (little) and fat (lots), not to control the serum levels as we were typically taught in med school. The immediate regulation of blood glucose is left to epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisone, glucagon, hGH, all of which control it in an upward direction primarily to make sure there is an anaerobic fuel available for emergencies. Just as we would not send a man to the moon with just one mechanism to deliver O2, we have many mechanisms to increase glucose, not lower it. This may be a very good clue of our evolutionary priorities. Furthermore, as far as glucose levels are concerned, a major role that insulin plays is to inhibit gluconeogenesis that would otherwise raise glucose by default, as seen in type 1 DM, as well as type 2, i.e. why they wake up with high BS even after fasting 10 hours. This may even be more to preserve lean mass than concern about high glucose levels in a normal, non type 1 DM individual. Also, I doubt there were enough type 1s in our evolutionary history for nature to give a whit about. Granted, however, that extremely high BS leading to spillover in the urine and dehydration as typically seen only in an uncontrolled type 1 diabetic along with severe acidosis would be selected against with relevance determined by the number of these individuals. Pertaining to all others with elevated glucose;: type 2 diabetics, impaired glucose tolerant individuals, anyone shortly after eating a typical breakfast of cereal and orange juice, etc.; the chronic diseases associated with this (i.e. all the chronic diseases of aging) including CAD and cancer afflict most people after having reached reproductive maturity. Even relevant parenting (especially in our ancestral history when reproduction was likely at an earlier age???) lies beyond evolutionary selective pressure. Thus elevated glucose would not have had great pressure to be selected against and may even have conferred advantages. Type II diabetes may therefore be an example of "antagonistic pleiotropy".??????Insulin's primary, evolutionary role was established billions of years ago???long before glucose was a significant part of our diet. Insulin in found in virtually all animal life, "down" to worms and yeast (where it also takes on IGF functions). It was certainly not used to lower blood glucose levels. January 7, 2010 11:56 PM

Dr. Ron Rosedale said... Thank you for your comment about leptin. I am also aware of leptin and its role in centrally regulating glucose, insulin, and most of the hypothalamic functions... I have written a book on this.??????Pertaining to maintenance and repair:??????The energy required for basal metabolic rate should almost entirely go to "maintenance and repair" such as the maintenance of body ???temperature, the maintenance of heart rate etc. Also, you mention ???moving muscles. Whenever that is accomplished, it damages the ???muscle and there must be repair of that muscle. ??????I will quote from the recent article published in the journal Nature out of Linda Partridge's lab that you mentioned:??????"It [calorie restriction] is widely assumed to induce adaptive reallocation of nutrients from reproduction to somatic maintenance, aiding survival of food shortages.??????-From: "Amino-acid imbalance explains extension of lifespan by dietary restriction in Drosophila", Nature, Dec 2, 2009. ??????That was my assertion...that it is a popular and widely accepted (even "assumed") theory.??????Reproduction vs. maintenance and repair derives from Tom Kirkwood's very popular "disposable soma" theory... ???I think that the major point is being missed. I am talking about care and repair of the genome vs. its reproduction. The soma (body) is to take care of the genome until it can be reproduced and until it is environmentally/nutritionally advantageous to do so. Therefore all energy that goes into maintenance of the soma, whether that be for individual cells (outside of the nucleus) or the body of cells, until the genome can/should be reproduced, is energy for maintenance and repair. This allocation was apparently established during oceanic single celled life billions of years ago.??????Even so, the fact that M&R and reproduction are linked does not imply that it must be... the fact that it may be possible to unlink them does not mean that they were not linked or are not naturally linked?????????As far as Kitivans are concerned, one can debate all one wants about what ancient man ate or current societies eat... and it gets you no closer to determining the optimal diet (excepting that they may indicate what not to do). Diets evolved for reproductive success???not long, healthy, post repro life... for that we have no footsteps to follow. January 7, 2010 11:58 PM

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Also, see David Moss's answer above for comments on your lively back-and-forth with Stephan Guyenet.

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236 · April 15, 2011 at 4:27 PM

I have a 99 year old great aunt who never married or reproduced. She also ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, smoked for about 70 years and used bowling for exercise. Somehow, you have to wonder if the gene pool gets involved.

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3202 · April 15, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Now lets get all the best from Paleo together with best longevity diet. We might need the extra time to convince the "high carb crowd". I guess I'll have 3 eggs this morning instead of 4.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Great answer. Equating a healthy diet with a longetivity-providing diet seems to be a frequent logical error. Not that they don't significantly overlap. Also, I googled you and saw that you went to Northwestern for med school. That's my alma mater -- go U NU!

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279 · April 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

@Kamal Notice that Rosedale's point is not about health(span) vs longevity but health(span)/longevity vs reproductive success, --quite different in content and consequences (I generally love your posts by the way)

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279 · April 15, 2011 at 2:20 PM

At last, the voice of reason, --welcome Dr Rosedale! The conflation of optimal for health-span and optimal for reproduction is also one of the main reasons (there are equally strong others) why KGH's earlier manifesto: "The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology." is so wrong, that in my view it borders on being silly. It should be exactly the other way round. Evol biol and paleo are excellent for hypothesis generation, but these need to be disciplined by hard science.

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Dr. Rosedale, I think we would all be interested in seeing your response; if you do find a link you could post it by editing this answer, and then the thread will be bumped up to the top of the list. Thanks for your contribution!

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 5:48 PM

donat-- that's cool that you're critically approaching Kurt Harris's manifesto. It takes cajones around these parts to say anything negative about his views. I do agree that the starting point is the ancestral diet, and the scientific method modifies that approach for optimal health and/or lifespan. The interplay of health, longetivity, reproductive success, and repair is something that should be paleohacked more!

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1722 · April 16, 2011 at 4:37 PM

donat; right on both points..

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1722 · April 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Kamal; Great to meet an alumni here.The first and most important aspect in the quest for answers is to ask the right questions..thanks for yours. Also, briefly looking at my conversation with Stephan Guyenet, it appears my last response to his response didn't make it in. If i can dig it up I'll try to post it..

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1722 · April 27, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I have added my responses to Stephan on that thread as an edit to my answer above. They had been kindly posted as comments by Stephan on his site, but they were written quite a bit later and so last and I'm afraid lost in the comment section. Thank you for your interest.

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9647 · May 01, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Thanks, Dr. R. Just wanted to let you know I saw this also, and will be looking into these ideas, including your writing.

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:03 AM

I skimmed the post and see that much of what is written covers what individuals who follow Caloric Restriction believe. CR is well-respected and proven in many species to extend lifespan. A CR Paleo diet would be one way to increase our chances of extending our individual lifespans. Genes definitely have something to do with it - but we can also do much by assisting our bodies in going into hyper-efficiency via (at the present) the only proven method - restricting calories. The calorierestriction.org group has a searchable database going back 12 to 13 years. 'Lot's of amazing info there.

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 12:58 AM

I didn't start eating Paleo to increase my lifespan. I'm not even sure I want to get really old, even if I'm the cool grandma in jeans. It just doesn't appeal to me.

I started eating Paleo to get my trainer to stop talking about it. LOL. I never, ever thought I would do it for more than the 30 days. I was shocked at how much better I felt. Now, I eat this way because it has improved my health. I have "cured" a high blood pressure problem I had for 9 years. I wasn't expecting that.

I don't worry about the finer points at all. I enjoy reading and learning more about nutrition because I find it interesting, but I really just take the bits and pieces that work for me.

I don't strive for 100% uber strict Paleo. I don't want to be STRICT anything. I am really extremely happy exactly where I am at. It's weird to me because I have never been so totally happy with myself and my health and my body, but without plastic surgery, I'm just not going to fix anything to be better than it is right now. Accepting that took some time, but I really think I'm good.

I had pizza last week with my family out for a day at the movies. I squirt chocolate syrup in my mouth occasionally (ok, most nights) when I make my daughter's chocolate milk. I get a Jamba Juice when I get anywhere near one, which isn't often. Accepting that I'm not going to be perfect and learning to enjoy it instead of berating myself was HUGE, but I really think I'm there.

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

THANKS LB! I know crzy! I struggled a bit with trying to be perfect, but it's just not in the cards for me. I had to learn to be not perfect and accept myself for what I know I can accomplish and be less stressed about it all!

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115 · April 14, 2011 at 1:56 PM

there's a dogmatic out there flipping out after reading this post, ha ha

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM

And I am not doing paleo for later, I'm doing it for now.

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12369 · April 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM

This is the perfect answer!!!!! I love it!!!!

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12174 · April 14, 2011 at 5:42 AM

I believe you mean the cool grandma triathlete. Hollaaaa!

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Points for chocolate syrup squirting! Even if I cringed.

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10768 · April 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM

I think the chocolate syrup would be tastier in heavy cream! .drools a bit.

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12407 · April 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM

that's awesome, melissa.

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Hahaha Dave! I know! I know! Terrible habit. :p

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I know crzy! I struggled a bit with trying to be perfect, but it's just not in the cards for me. I had to learn to be not perfect and accept myself for what I know I can accomplish and be less stressed about it all!

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178 · May 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Or maybe 3 squares of 85|90% Chocolate in some almond milk, nuked and stirred! My kind of cocoa!

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3885 · April 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM

Let everyone ask a question to themselves: Why am I here, on this website, reading this question, reading the responses?

FWIW - I had been searching for a 'happier' life, because of a chronic low level fatigue, not looking good naked, unable to lose weight, stressed due to all above, recurrent minor infections and not getting satisfactory answers from the medical community.

Paleo/Primal, whether 90/10 or 80/20 or 70/30, whatever set-point I converged to, in my journey, has helped resolved all the above issues to a point of personal satisfaction wherein I am inclined to continue this way. Call it 'mind over matter' but I feel more in control this way, my stress levels about my own lifestyle are way way lower, in fact, I have almost stopped thinking how/when if I will die and whether this choice will become a cause for it. I am happy right now, I have been there done that (CW) and this is my currently chosen way to go.

Take heart kamal, we will all go one day. For now we have discovered a better path, we have discovered it because we are open to change, and in the future we will change again if necessary and convincing evidence is presented to us. There is no guarantee that any of us will take the next breath, Paleo or not. So lets rejoice life and enjoy the moment.

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

very well said !

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

great answer. a defining characteristic of being paleo is being open to change.

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115 · April 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM

"Take heart kamal, we will all go one day. For now we have discovered a better path, we have discovered it because we are open to change, and in the future we will change again if necessary and convincing evidence is presented to us. There is no guarantee that any of us will take the next breath, Paleo or not. So lets rejoice life and enjoy the moment." -well said!

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Here is another reason full-on Paleo may not be optimal. Despite our best efforts, we don't know EVERYTHING about what nutrients we need. It's very complex. We might think that Paleo is the "diet to end all diets" but that's just based upon what we presently know. For that reason, I think it's important to sometimes eat outside the box! In other words, eat more widely than we normally do in order to get some nutrients we might be missing. I am not saying that at such times we should eat complete garbage (like Twinkies), however, eat reasonably clean food that is not Paleo. Of course, eating an occasional nice piece of cake is a good thing, too. If nothing else, it will help you from becoming a food fascist.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:16 AM

lolololol. If I don't finish my taxes by Friday, I'm calling the Treasury Department and leaving a message: "Hormesis".

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Interesting point. It could be that eating 20% of your calories from rice/potatoes has a survival advantage, or eating big colorful salads actually do something tangible for health. Who knows, the evidence flits this way and that when you get down to details.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I know. When I can't find any other justification, I can always use the hormesis card. It always works!

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:48 PM

No! Or yes? Depends. What irks me is those paleos who will tell you "you're seriously going to eat that cornbread??" Yeah, I'm going to eat it. The human body is not this wispy, wimpy weakling. We can handle a regular meal with family at times. (I hope)

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Yeah man, I use that all time. Next time someone sees me eating a chocolate buttercream cupcake, I'm just going to look them in the eye and say "Hormesis".

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 10:52 PM

Yes, Kamal and then there is the whole field of hormesis...sometimes a little of something toxic can turn out to be good for you: http://gettingstronger.org/hormesis/

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78422 · April 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

@WCC_Paul: No, I won't. Very few places do I get to tell jokes about hormesis!

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:50 AM

I will sometimes insult my friends and then say "Hormesis." Very effective.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 10:45 PM

In addition to the above, I think there are social situations where we hurt ourselves more by being "strict" than by just eating what is there. Imagine yourself at Thanksgiving Dinner. You haven't seen many of your family members for a year or more and instead of being "thankful" and enjoying your meal, you opt to be a "pain-in-the-ass", nitpicking over every item of food, if not flatly refusing to eat the cherry pie. Is the damage this attitude inflicts really worth it?

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3891 · April 14, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Careful Kamal, the IRS probably has something in its millions of lines of mind-numbing documentation about a hormesis tax. ;-)

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:21 AM

Joke is: Tea = polyphenols? Alright, pretty soon Thomas is going to give us all some hormesis punches if we keep commenting on his answer ...

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78422 · April 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

wcc_paul- Do they ever punch you in the face and then say, "Hormesis, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" Hahah, good story.

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2427 · April 15, 2011 at 5:46 AM

In paleo time, that attitude would have had you eating poison.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 11:46 PM

If there's hormesis tax, I may just have to join the Tea party :(

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9402 · April 06, 2012 at 2:50 PM

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/columnists/stock-report/so-basically-everything-in-moderation-right/article_4ba28698-6ccb-11e1-95d0-001871e3ce6c.html

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5796 · April 13, 2011 at 10:33 PM

None of the above.

Although I cant speak for all, I'd say most paleo-ers are pretty knowledgeable about diet, fitness, and general health issues. They (we) would rather die at a normal, age but physically fit and active, than live an extended life looking out the window in a nursing home.

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1033 · April 13, 2011 at 10:51 PM

A friend offered me a beer and I said " I felt it wasn't good for me" his reply: "Yea. but it may be good for your soul." I don't think being too strict is good for the body, soul or mind (which are all connected anyway) - I took the beer and he was right.

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

moderation in all things, moderation included - with credit to whoever first coined the phrase

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Yeah, I'd say paleos are a pretty sharp crowd. The one confounder is that people wonder how strict to be, and how much this will change their happiness. It's a tough call.

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:10 AM

Well, every now & again - you get the 'everything in moderation' quote. But if we are to believe the Cordain/Wolf writings on grains - we'd surely want to keep them out of our diets. I can't risk the fall-out of eating wheat. I don't know that I am a celiac (I might be-I remain untested)- but everything it does to me makes the thought of a piece of cake completely revolting. I'll eat some crappy candy now & again - but never wheat. There r too many other foods to eat that don't mess w/me as much. Aren't we looking at the big picture? It's not just our bodies - but the properties in some foods.

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1033 · April 13, 2011 at 10:56 PM

I say have a little fun. A 95% near perfect diet with occasional cheats is longer to sustain, extreme diets are often abandoned.

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1132 · April 13, 2011 at 10:28 PM

I spend my days hanging out with a 95 year old Spanish woman who never cared about her health (she looks far better than a female version of Jack Lalanne at the same age regardless), dietary advice from her: everything in moderation; she does eat bread and legumes... no crossfit, no movnat, no pressups, pullups... just farm work... actually her pace of life is slow, but in short bursts intense, most of the time she spends just sitting talking, some gathering beans etc - if there is anything to be learnt from her?

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1132 · April 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM

stress levels, absolutely, I don't think it's at all good to get too obsessive about diet, she isn't at all, she will reach 100.

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1132 · April 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM

@travis, I worked in Eugene, Oregon, I don't think it's too far from you? there are good things going on there, go there....

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Great point! I'm adding a tidbit to the end of my question now...

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Those old people with a pleasant pace...it's fun being around them and it would be nice to become one of them later down the road.

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1132 · April 13, 2011 at 10:51 PM

i'll try and get a photo with her tomorrow... if she doesn't beat me up

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195 · April 13, 2011 at 11:34 PM

As Sean Croxton stated in is blog article "This is Silly" at Underground Wellness: "the underlying theme never really changes: Just Eat Real Food. And not just that! Get to bed on time. Keep your stress levels in check. Participate in loving relationships. Have a social life. Get some exercise. Go barefoot (blog coming soon on this topic). Get some sunlight. Be happy. In a nutshell, LIVE." http://undergroundwellness.com/this-is-silly/

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3891 · April 14, 2011 at 7:47 PM

@oliverh: There is something to moving at a more human pace. I strongly believe all the hurry-up-and-go is deadly over the long term; the modern world is incompatible with our nature. I've slowed my life way down and it has helped so much. I was investigating slowing down long before I went paleo, but the two mix nicely. For example, all the cooking I do requires that I stop to plan meals and take my time, rather than rushing to get some junk to shove down my gullet. Nourishment alone is centering, but so is saying "X can wait until tomorrow. I'm going to play Wii with my kids and wife."

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3891 · April 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

I've heard many good things about Eugene. A friend lived there in the mid 90s and he still talks about it with fondness. I'm stuck where I'm at until I'm done with my degree. Eugene is far away, but it's not removed from consideration.

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40 · June 03, 2011 at 1:14 AM

There will always be people outside the norm - but isn't this a Paleo site? Reducing stress, of course, is great - and I have backed away from the rat-race 2 a great degree and cherish this time. The question is are grains 'real food' to the body?

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22913 · April 14, 2011 at 7:31 PM

We have the one diet in the world, with Long Term evidence.

The only one based on Evolution...

I hate to bang our own drum, but in what dimension does processed food exceed what we evolved to eat?


My Caveat:

Longevity is not solely about Food. On the food front I have no doubt that Whole Food and Toxin avoidance is optimal. But there are many more issues to be concerned with after food...

Exercise
Sleep
Stress/Happiness
Environmental Toxins
Genetics
etc
etc

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

What about happiness, Stephen? I assume you are including that under stress, but I think it should be it's own category.

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22913 · April 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

its an important etc.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Normally my response is the same as yours Stephen, whenever any-one expresses reservations about paleo ('well why on earth should any-one think that they need gluten grains, dairy or vegetable oil for anything?!') but in this case, for some reason, I interpreted Kamal's dilemma as being just generally eating paleo (typically lots of meat, permitting moderate carbs etc.) versus something else for optimal. I certainly don't think the optimal diet would be unpaleo (e.g. +grains) but probably requires quite a bit more than just eating paleo wholefoods just-like-our-ancestors.

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 5:51 PM

David- that was indeed the dilemma. Is eating some sourdough bread or having beans sometimes a big deal? Should one do fasting, eat liver, etc if they don't like it? How much should evidence frame our eating versus enjoying it and letting the chips fall as they may? Is eating even the main thrust of paleo, or is stress reduction and sleep cycles and stuff underappreciated?

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22913 · April 15, 2011 at 1:23 PM

agreed and edited. important enough to not be an "etc"

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15583 · April 28, 2011 at 8:01 AM

I think (and every-one thinking about health generally) definitely underappreciates sleep. It seems to be one of the most important things for a long life, but people naturally focus more on how *virtuous* you are in diet or exercise. For me, the stress-downsides of virtually any change to diet would be negligible, I'd quickly embrace it, so even the smallest optimisation would be a net gain. The stress of fasting/boring exercise constantly... well even if the stress didn't kill me, I might choose not to go for the extra life anyway!

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Here's the way I think about it.

Set the same standard for two diets: full-on paleo eating on the one hand, and paleo with occasional neolithic indulgences on the other hand. So in one corner we have the diet that never includes the NAD; never includes an occasional meal with potatoes deep-fried in soybean oil, and never includes a white-flour sesame bun. In the other corner we have the diet that has a 20% share of such things, or let's say a 10% share of them. Now, sure, it might be the case that since evolution only cares about us until we reproduce (leaving kin selection to the side for the sake of argument), neither one of these diets will do anything for longevity. But ask yourself this: if you had to choose one -- and, well, I guess you do -- which one would you choose? How likely is it that we would have been rolling along with our natural selection-given bodies, dying early sad deaths, until we started screwing with the genes of wheat plants and pressing oil out of corn and making that 10% of our diet -- at which point, voil??, we started living much longer? It's possible, I suppose, but if I were a betting man -- and, well, I guess I have to be -- then I would put my money on the strict paleo.

But of course that's all other things being equal, including stress levels. If eating 100% instead of 90% causes you stress, then it may not be worth it. But I have a comeback for this one also. Since my entrance to the world of paleo was through Mark's Daily Apple, I've always considered stress-reduction to be part of the package; it's one of the 10 steps. So no matter how you cut it, paleo is the way to go. (I realize I'm being a little tricky here, but hey, it's fun.)

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:23 AM

No, you shouldn't go to a damn restaurant. Your results would be marred, and you blog would go down the toilet. I'm only partly kidding--I'll have to check out your posts to see how it all went.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:35 AM

Yeah, not done yet, but it's going well. And I'm definitely going to stick with it. What's two months if I can learn that tomatoes are making my joints hurt or that dairy is mucking up my sinuses? Peace. By the way you can email Patrik to ask about the thing with your website (http://paleohacks.com/questions/10373/meta-what-are-patrik-paleohacks-policies-when-it-comes-to-self-promotion/31001#31001). Also I'll put an announcement on my blog: I can guarantee you that at least 10 distinct human beings will see it.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 2:13 AM

Oh, I meant tricky as in "sophistical" and "disrespecting clarity," not as in "complex." I was trying to poke fun at myself. ... Your question. I actually have a pretty quick response to this, and one that I really think is true: researching paleo is a lot of fun for me, it's kind of a hobby. So it helps me unwind, and reduces stress. But you also asked about energy spent on eating strictly. Well, yeah, I'm doing this elimination thing right now and sometimes I *really* *really* wish that I could just go to a damn restaurant. It would save me time and thereby make everything else less rushed.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:03 AM

Yes, that was a tricky mental exercise, but worth it. Let me flip it back on you. Would you suspect that some paleo people could take a bit of mental energy being spent researching paleo and eating strictly, and use that to improve stress reduction and sleep quality? How's that for a leading question?

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 2:24 AM

No, you shouldn't go to a damn restaurant. Your results would be marred, and your blog would go down the toilet. I'm only partly kidding--I'll have to check out your posts to see how it all went.

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 8:13 AM

I don't think I find casein addictive. Alcohol and caffeine only. Fortunate, I suppose.

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545 · April 14, 2011 at 10:36 PM

You neglect to mention another diet- a mostly paleo-diet, but some leeway in neolithic foods that are still fairly benign- i.e. occasional white rice, organic sourdough-fermented rye bread, perhaps some carefully prepared pastries, and maybe a little added sugar here and there. Just staying way from vegetable oils, refined flour and white sugar alone could be enough to keep someone very healthy, and long-lived.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 11:25 PM

Yeah, I'm with you. So there was a little sophistry in the first paragraph also. I guess I was trying to make a point and didn't want to have to make too many qualifications. I still think it was in the spirit of Kamal's question though.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Agree with all this. I personally find optimising and micromanaging fun, I'm always a little surprised when I come across some-one who proclaims that if they had to think about [some detail of health] then it would be so stressful that they would just give up and eat pizzas all day, rather than trying to be paleo. I'm also pretty 'strict' naturally (although that carries the wrong connotations) there are just virtually no foods that are sufficiently motivating that I'd *have* to cheat on them or lose my mind. Maybe dairy sometimes, but I think I find casein literally addictive :P

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2949 · April 13, 2011 at 10:52 PM

I pretty much follow 80/20 (I should probably strict up for my current goals) but when I eat something non-paleo I follow one rule: I must LOVE it! I've never been a fan of chips, pastries, cakes etc so I just don't eat them even if it's there. I'd rather eat a really awesome sandwich or a delicious piece of bbq chicken or white pizza from the whole foods pizza bar. That's my advice- make sure everything you eat is DELICIOUS, especially your non-paleo indulgences!

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215 · August 04, 2013 at 3:10 PM

How often do you eat foods that aren't paleo

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15385 · May 05, 2011 at 3:43 PM

There is a lot of research that life-shortening diseases are primarily caused by either inflammation or bacteria infections. There are theories that even heart disease is caused by bacteria (you may have heard your dentist mention that flossing your teeth is good for your heart, there is research supporting this idea), and that some cancers start as infections.

This site and others are full of anecdotes from people who have first-hand experience with the paleo diet improving or eliminating inflammatory and bacterial conditions. They are many others that show that it improves or eliminates many "diseases of civilization" such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

I believe that being happy, healthy, content, and confident is probably the most important thing above all others in leading a long and happy life. If eating a paleo diet helps these things, then it is improving your longevity.

I don't think it requires any stretch of the imagination to consider that the paleo diet can improve your lifespan, and also make you happier and healthier while you're alive. It is probably also true that the people that actually live the longest aren't those that obsess about their diets and try every day to live longer -- they just live happy lives and this translates into a long life.

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170 · April 14, 2011 at 4:15 AM

My diet goal is to feel better. I eliminated lactose and gluten after a nurse practitioner told me that they might be the cause of my mysterious severe pooposity, which landed me in E.R. twice (I was also recovering from open aortic aneurysm repair--so it was more than just the worst dehydration ever they were concerned about). Eliminating grains, most dairy, and some fruit and raising the meat/fish/veggies has improved my sleep, blood pressure, overall pain level, heart rhythm, and weight is going down a bit (I've never been overweight, but I felt too heavy). All that reduces stress. My only stress away from work is adapting my food shopping and cooking to fresh ingredients and dealing with the occasional nutrition "expert" who thinks I'm stupid for eating this way. I work for CA Dept of Public Health tobacco control, and we share a floor with the 5-a-day (or is it 9-a-day or bushel-a-day by now?) program.

It seems like a given that my life will be longer than it would have been on my previous diets, all other things remaining equal. However, if someone could prove to me that my current feel-good diet is shortening my life, I wouldn't change back to the pain, insomnia, dragging-all-day misery I had. You know, dying may hurt for minutes or months, but death is pain-free. I do not fear death one bit.

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5242 · April 14, 2011 at 1:23 AM

There is no credible evidence that red meat (or other animal protein) is linked to causing cancer. Furthermore there is zero evidence that hunter gathers had cancer despite many consuming large amounts of red meat.

My conclusion? If you want to minimise your risk factors of getting cancer avoid processed foods, especially refined sugar (in all of it's forms), eat a diet which doesn't promote prolonged elevated insulin levels and avoid foods that affect gut permeability (i.e. gluten & grains).

A paleo type diet would appear to suit pretty well for longevity.

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160 · April 13, 2011 at 10:55 PM

I'm prepared for a negative vote, but the question seems like someone from that "special" group that Robb Wolf mentions in his book, "The Paleo Solution". I think Dr. Kurt Harris, as well as Robb, among other highly knowledgeable and medically trained individuals would have far better answers than I can post here, but the science is definitely in favor of eating "natural" whole foods... not all the crap we get marketed these days by big food corporations.

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78422 · April 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM

He's right about the "special group". Ok, I will admit it. I belong to a cabal, led by Kamal. We plan to undermine everything Paleo stands for. We'll have you all eating Ding-Dongs, Twinkies and Doritos before long.

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919 · April 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

science can only provide answers for about 10% of life's questions -follow your intuition

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160 · April 13, 2011 at 11:59 PM

I guess the point I was trying to make (which was rather poor), is that lots of people will look for any excuse to not do what they know they need to do, and that is eat healthier. I have friends who tell me, "but all those scientists who are suppose to know what they are talking about can't even agree, so I'll just eat what I want and let the chips fall where they may". I tell them that instead of speculating, do your best, but just DO it!

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18701 · April 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

See, I think about adding liver because I know it's good for me, but then I change my mind because I don't actually like it at all. What fun is being healthy if I am constantly forcing myself to do things I don't like because they are "good for me". I've learned to eat a lot of things I didn't like before, but I have my limits.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Ah, I see. No, fortunately (or unfortunately) I'm forcing myself to eat liver and spinach regularly, so the chips aren't falling as they may.

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:56 PM

Jamie-- what is the "special" group? Tell me or else I'll downvote you. (just kidding)

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520 · May 05, 2011 at 12:19 PM

There is a big difference in lifespan and being healthy. I don't care about lifespan.

I totally agree with Bruno: "I'd rather die at 60 and be energetic and lively then die at 80 while barely moving, taking a dozen pills a day, and just generally not being independent. It's how I look at it. Quality over Quantity!"

Indulging?

I don't see why eating some dark chocolate or pouring a bit of sugar in the espresso will ruin my health. And if my body can handle raw cheese or yoghurt - I wouldn't stress out about it. If I already have 3 tumors in my body I would strictly avoid dairy. With autoimmune issues I would strictly avoid grains and legumes. Zero tolerance! Which means: It depends on where I am and what my goals are.

No, you won???t be healthy with worrying all the time about your food. But on the other hand: I just see no benefit for me in "indulging" in crappy foods or foods that make me feel bad.

Paleo recipes are tasty and I feel good eating them. And Paleo or not: High quality real food tastes better than industrialized junk food from "Food Inc." So apart from any health issues, from a pure hedonistic standpoint I don't see why I miss something if I don't eat crap.

Except when life sucks - then you need drugs as a crutch. Junk food is addictive like heroine, tobacco and alcohol so when you crave sugar, grains, alcohol etc you know that you have some problems going on and you need drugs to numb bad feelings, anxiety , sleep deprivation, anger etc. This is not indulging, it is self-medication. It may be necessary if you can't get the help you really need. Then go for it. We all do sometimes. But it doesn't exactly improve your quality of life.

Poor Gene :-( They blame you for everything.

Genetics play a role in some diseases but in general they are just a lame excuse. Epigenetics is the real interesting field

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/imprinting.shtml

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/02/new-genetics-part-iii-genes-dont.html

There are many ways your parents, your teachers

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/childhood-trauma-tied-to-adult-illness.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18462782

or your doctors

http://paleohacks.com/questions/25448/how-to-get-what-you-want-from-your-current-doctor-regarding-paleo-suggestion#axzz1LSqMSGFk

can ruin your health or even your life . This has nothing to do with your genes. Nutrition, sleep, movement, chronic stress, abuse or humiliation, legal and illegal drugs, toxins..... everything influences gene expression.

Most people never get a chance to develop their full genetic potential. This is a social problem, not a genetic problem. Think Weston Price: Nutrition and Degenaration. Bad genes or bad food?

Nice book about why genetics are overrated:

Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers

http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922

Good book about epigenetics. Dr.Cate Shanahan: Deep Nutrition

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Nutrition-Your-Genes-Traditional/dp/0615228380/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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24523 · May 05, 2011 at 1:36 PM

sehr gut.......

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525 · April 14, 2011 at 7:55 AM

Yes, I think most Paleo advocates will say that its okay to treat yourself once in a while without too much effect on the body.

It does seem true that by leading a healthy lifestyle then it will increase longevity, but for the strictest Paleo eater, maybe they just wont make it as long as they'd have liked.

Stress is a big factor. I think when we're strict on ourselves to eat well we feel better, thus reducing stress levels, so therefore I'd say eating healthily and stress go in part, hand in hand.

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120 · April 06, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Yeah stress definatly seems to be the elephant in the room when it comes to disease and wellbeing. It seems that this is a point so often overlooked when discussing how our ancestors lived. As i understand it our ancestors would have spent up to 20 hours a week hunting and gathering.. a far cry from the 40plus hours a week in modern society.

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3184 · April 14, 2011 at 3:01 AM

Super outliers rarely tell us anything useful about living long lives. It is sort of like looking at Lebron James or Michael Jordan and studying them for what it takes to be an NBA player. Genetics. The far right hand side of the distribution is always about genetics. You can do calorie restriction and that might shift your expiration date a little, but in the end genes rule.

That said, yeah, having a slow paced, not too stressful life is good (though I might argue some of that is genetic as well--"type A" personalities can't really slow down, their phenotype is go, go, go!). Probably not working out too much and too hard is helpful. We know that physical activity is good up to a point. But maybe doing crossfit 6 days a week or MMA is going to shave a little bit off the tail end. Having some financial security helps. Having an education helps. Having a social network helps. Living in a safe neighborhood helps. But we're talking about things that probably add more to quality of life, and then add a little here and there to the final expiration date.

We have pretty good anecdotal evidence (and not so anecdotal evidence) that not eating the components of the modern industrial diet prevents various diseases of civilization. Insofar as these things tend to be the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in industrialized nations, we can be reasonably certain that avoiding those things is going to spare most of from diabetes, heart disease, and the other maladies of growing old in industrialized nations. So you eat some version of "paleo" or archevore or primal or whatnot, and you'll probably make it about eight decades relatively healthy compared to other folks in their 80s. After that, I maintain that it is a crap shoot unless you want to starve yourself and go caloric restriction. And even then, it is still a genetic lottery--there's been plenty (well as plentiful as these folks get, which is not very) of folks who make it to 100 who eat what we'd consider crap (albeit in moderation), probably smoked at least on occasion, and maybe didn't exercise a whole lot. Maybe if you have the right genes, dial everything in right (which is to say create the ideal gene x environment mix), you can make it to 120 in amazing shape. But, until we know what those genes are, you could be the phenotype that is going to expire at 70 despite living an immaculately healthy life. I simply don't think we know enough about the genes responsible for aging and longevity yet to say much useful about extending our genetic expiration date. But we do know enough about diet to make the years we have healthier. And, in my book, that's about all you can ask for.

I don't really worry about this issue anyway. In 30 or 40 years either the global economy will have completely collapsed and we're going to be living real paleo again, we'll have demolished ourselves in stupid wars, famine, or some other nonsense, or we're going to be super awesome and have the technology to reverse aging, or substantial mitigate the effects. But seriously, you make it a 3 or 4 more decades and we're probably going to be able to add on a few more decades to your life at that point. And we might just start engineering babies to thrive on corn syrup or to photosynthesize or something. Whatever. I'm concerned about being healthy right now--you focus on that every day, I'm going to guess there is a reasonably good chance you'll find yourself being pretty healthy in a few decades.

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20411 · April 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Get ready, the revolution is coming! And I could still be hit by a bus any day...

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25467 · April 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Totally disagree with this super outliers tell us a lot if we are willing to critically look at them. Read Malcolm glad stones book on this very topic.

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198 · April 13, 2011 at 11:12 PM

Well, stating the obvious right off the bat, We are all going to die. Using Paleo I'm hedging my bets at not following a downward asymptote that may or may not be very long, in favor of a line that keeps me far from the end until, the end. That is, live and die strong, instead of slowly, weakly dying.

And yet yes, there are many other thing we can fix, stress has been mentioned, and sleep is quite important. I haven't fixed my sleep, I work during the day, and work after my family goes to bed. This is likely robbing me of my health as much as bad dietary habits did before.

On the other hand, I try not to sweat diet too hard, after all an often neglected aspect of food, is the social aspect, we eat with family and friends and co-workers, and... I do believe food should be enjoyed, and the conversations and interactions that happen around the partaking of the food are also important for our psyche and ultimately our well being. If that implies that now and then I'll ingest some non-Paleo poison then, oh well, take the bad with the good. Live.

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12369 · April 13, 2011 at 10:46 PM

I have to blow a respberry at the dioxin information pffffffffftttttt! Not to mention the source is from a site that promotes veganism - so no wonder they're saying that consuming meat leads to cancer.

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22913 · April 14, 2011 at 1:38 AM

So were gonna call out dioxin and not the 80000 plant toxins? Real and artificially added and GMed?

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24523 · April 13, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Okay okay. But dioxins are still something that wasn't in meat way back when. Deserves consideration.

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12369 · April 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Deserves consideration if you are eating high on the food chain - but most of us are eating low on the food cahin. Dioxins bioaccumulate in fatty tissues - so they would be highest in the fatty tissues of higher carnivores, not in the fatty tissues of the cows, pigs and chickens etc we like to eat. There are many other cancer causing contaminants that we should be worried about before dioxins in my opinon

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 1:57 AM

Yes, we are. Dioxins are well known to be highly mutagenic and teratogenic. Polychlorinated benzene compounds are a a couple levels above plant toxins from plants that we typically eat in terms of harm to humans. In a theoretical material safety data sheet, I suspect the LD-50 would be magnitudes of order higher for any common plant toxin that is eaten in today's society.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Dioxins seem to be present lower in the food chain in pretty high amounts. For example, see here for some cow data...http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15787974

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543 · May 09, 2011 at 8:10 PM

I just started paleo (64 yrs) My son put me onto it - and I've suffered a great deal of illness pescatarian-style - I didn't go on the diet to gain years, or lose weight - perhaps I'll benefit from both! I lost plenty of weight, but I went on paleo to improve my health while I'm still around - it's worked thus far - I've thrown away my RA/OA meds, Barretts esophagus meds, I no longer use a cane, and even lost my bouts of depression (hounding me all my life) - if I die tomorrow, I'll have had increasing health these 3 mos - I wouldn't trade it! I'm sticking to this as long as I can!- I wanted to die for the last 5-7 yrs - begged for it (nothing like pain to inspire a "death wish") - I really appreciate these days of improving health and I enjoy life!

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Great question and I completely agree that Paleo <>?? optimal lifespan. I don't think the major problem with paleo is too much stress though (I don't find thinking about food/lifestyle stressful at all- rather a diversion in the good sense), rather the problem is not worrying enough about lifespan vs paleo e.g. sure we can live well and comfortably on 30%+ protein, but would we live longer/healthier on less protein (or maybe by tightening up our plant intake, micronutrients, oxidised cholesterol, levels of ketosis, activity levels etc).

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:44 PM

NB Stephan had an interview with some-one about insulin addressing this (IIRC Stephan was arguing against this other person that repair/maintenance ought to be easy and low cost, so why would there be a trade-off) but he seems to have taken it down.

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:43 PM

@Paul. I agree, I think it's 'bad' nutrition in the sense of being overnourished, with high insulin constantly. I do seem to recall early menses being associated with stress though, will look it up. @Kamal. If its CR + optimal nutrition, there should be the ingredients, I guess obviously if you *starve* then you can't repair, but I think the point is that what resources you have are being directed to repair- the body is simply trying to sustain and maintain itself with all it can, rather than investing in quick growth->reproduction->death.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Early onset of menses? More common in poor nutrition or good nutrition? I had always read poor, but according to the David side of the discussion (in line with some things KGH has said I know) it would make more sense if early menses comes with good nutrition. The body is saying: times are good, so now's the time to reproduce. But I would refine a bit to find a solution. Attempt: Early menses comes with high carbohydrate. This was normally taken as a sign of plenty, but now is associated with bad diets. Thoughts, gentlemen and others?

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24523 · April 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM

That is the right link at the right time. Thanks.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Oh yeah, I didn't even consider the paleo-honing stuff like minimizing oxidized cholesterol. After going through long periods of ketosis without thinking about it too much beforehand, I wonder if I should be less willy-nilly in diet experimentations.

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Oh, well, there he is.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Interesting. From a purely non-scientific viewpoint, I might think that being in "starving mode" too often might give the body the signal that it's cool to go ahead and die (rather than the converse signal that it's time to get lean and mean). Being in "fed mode" enough might tell the body that it's time to repair stuff and keep the body in tip-top shape. But that's pure speculation.

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24523 · April 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I understand the CR autophagy part, and the reproduction part, but am not sure about the repair part. Are reproduction and repair mutually exclusive? If you CR really hard, there might not be enough raw ingredients for repair.

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Indeed. The best part is in Stephan's response to Rosedale's response to Stephan's #2: Stephan says: hey mate, do the math, repair doesn't require very much energy. ["Dude" translated to "mate" for UK audience.] So what does this mean for the current discussion? Attempt: There's always enough energy for repair, that's not the issue; the deciding factor is whether or not the extra growth-and-reproduction from the fed state is going on. But Stephan thinks that as long as you don't have chronic high insulin then you're OK; the Kitavans with their high-starch diet (i.e., just the [Continued]

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Actually I'd probably favour *more* (or at least closer to) ketosis, rather than less (for longevity). It might not have been paleo to be in ketosis that often (although I don't know, given potential temporary food shortages), but I still think it might be optimal (via mimicing starvation). Fwiw I'm currently following 'Optimal Diet' recommendations and staying just on the edge of ketosis though.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Thanks for the translation Paul ;). I quite agree, if amount of energy were the issue then we could just eat some more and have high growth and long-lived (doesn't seem to work out for most over-eating people!). My own suspicion is that even super healthy starch-eaters won't have such low insulin, blood glucose, glycated haemoglobin etc as healthy (commensurately undamaged) low carbers. Ketosis is another matter of course and I'd expect that it has similar upsides/downsides to CR/starvation in general. I'm not sure about...

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9647 · April 16, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Old post from Dr. Mike Eades on intermittent fasting versus calorie restriction: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/intermittent-fasting/fast-way-to-better-health/ But my eyes hurt so much from looking at the computer I haven't even read it yet, or re-read it. Time to stop. Why didn't we just start another thread on this? Maybe this new one fits the bill kind of: http://paleohacks.com/questions/33352/does-a-paleo-lifestyle-compress-morbidity-and-decelerate-mortality-more-than-gomp

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9647 · April 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

glucose, not the fructose) are going to be fine since they just have occasional insulin boosts (and they also won't have high blood glucose, but that's another issue). The question is would they be even better off without the high levels of starch in the diet? That is, compare two groups, both with insulin sensitivity, one is high-carb, the other is low-carb. Does the latter live longer, ceteris paribus? Stephan says "I'm skeptical." Anyhow, I (Paul) have been carb-cycling, but even on the "refeed" days I probably don't have much more than 60-70g of CHO.

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Ah, I'd read the exact opposite, hence CR. Autophagy reliant on lack of nutrients too of course. Evolutionary reasoning would be that when 'fed' we focus on growth and reproduction, rather than repair, whereas when starving we defer reproduction. Plus being 'fed' means higher insulin, IGF, more growth and thus more cancer. The only reason I eschew deep ketosis atm is because supposedly the constantly raised cortisol and gluconeogenesis (to produce a little glucose) is stressful. Nephropal mentioned 'winter vs summer mode' too.

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9647 · April 14, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Here we go, old-school KGH (from an earlier version of the Get Started page; I may or may not have this saved on my computer): "Insulin is a phylogenetically old hormone. It is a biological messenger that in excess, is metabolically saying the following to your tissue and organs: 'Go ahead and store energy, mature, reproduce and die.'"

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15583 · April 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Actually Stephan had an interview Dr Rosedale which addressed this point http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/12/dr-rosedale-replies.html question 2.

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15583 · April 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Thanks for the translation Paul ;). I quite agree, if amount of energy were the issue then we could just eat some more and have high growth and long-lived (doesn't seem to work out for most over-eating people!). My own suspicion is that even super healthy starch-eaters won't have such low insulin, blood glucose, glycated haemoglobin etc as healthy (commensurately undamaged) low carbers. Ketosis is another matter of course and I'd expect that it has similar upsides/downsides to CR/starvation in general, namely it seems to be generally therapeutic over and above being carb sensitive.

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15583 · April 28, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Many thanks Ron, very interesting observations.

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1722 · April 27, 2011 at 9:50 PM

I have added my responses to Stephan on that thread as an edit to my answer above. They had been kindly posted as comments by Stephan on his site, but they were written quite a bit later and so last and I'm afraid lost in the comment section. Thank you for your interest.

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20 · April 14, 2011 at 2:35 AM

This is a very refreshing view. Yes, I do agree with it somewhat. The Paleo view is often too sweeping and backward-looking. Humans are adaptable and can learn to thrive on new food sources. One example is dairy: the Swiss and the Masais learned to subsist on it, perhaps developing specific genetic characteristics that made them favorable to consuming dairy in large doses. Here, the dairy was probably the non-pasteurized variety. Those living near the equator thrived on tubers (yams, sweetpotatoes, tapioca, yucca, taro). These were much easier to find, prepare and store as a food source than the hunted animals.

This is the emerging Paleo view that some people do not seem to understand. Humans did not take one path of evolution. They evolved through multiple paths, eating a variety of diets. Those along the equator consumed more carbs than those living in arctic regions. Those near the North Pole followed a ketogenic diet, as there would not have been any carb food source other than liver and occasional vegetation from the Tundra.

Yet they all thrived. Why? Because our body is adaptable ... to an extent. You should draw the line at food toxins such as sugar, fructose, and gluten. But in theory, human bodies could evolve to digest these toxins and thrive. We have no natural selection anymore. Those who can't metabolize sugar or gluten effectively are not left to die but given every possible chance to extend their lives. In other words, we have stopped evolving. In the Masai or Swiss world, those who couldn't digest dairy probably died early and the population as a whole became dairy-tolerant. This is what many people do not realize.

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10044 · April 06, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I think this is a good question. I personally would rather live a life span of 70 years in relative good health as opposed to a life span of 99 years full of aches and pains during the last 49 years of that longer span.

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2437 · April 28, 2011 at 5:09 AM

I eat strict Paleo because I feel like crap if I dont. Since I seem to have such a negative reaction to so many foods I actually eat Paleo plus no dairy, no nuts/seeds, no eggs and no nightshades. I feel great and allow myself to "cheat" with fairly harmless foods such as white rice, tea/espresso and hard alcohol (small amounts; had a coconut milk, espresso, brandy, vanilla & peppermint extract drink w/ Sunday breakfast, mmmm). I my case since eating this way lowers my inflammation and brightens my mood Im sure it will add to my longevity. If not, at least I enjoyed life while I was alive vs suffering under SAD. Im also hoping to change my epigenetic expressions to benefit my future kids.

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3202 · April 16, 2011 at 2:35 PM

I am looking for the Great Debate where we can examine the various Paleo diets and then layer on what we have deduced can optimize the results. Reproduction versus repair. Well, I have already had my 2 little groks. So I am just grateful that I have lived long enough to want to "Feel Good" over "Look Good"...but can't I have both? Confident that with so many people in this community smarter than me, I will throw my net out everyday and wait till the dust settles. Waiting, waiting...

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720 · April 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Good for health, bad for lifespan..isn't that an oxymoron?

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115 · April 14, 2011 at 2:02 PM

great question and a great batch of opinions added. even though I'm not always 100% paleo/primal/real-foods when I eat, I consider myself "enlightened" nutritionally. If I put something in my body that I know will make me feel like crap, at least I'm aware of it before eating it and WHY it does that. just a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to explain why I felt bad. I make a conscious effort to avoid things that make my tummy and/or head hurt, but ocassionally enjoy something of the pastry variety :)

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5136 · April 14, 2011 at 3:03 AM

Well, it seems Buster Martin died today, and he had something to say about this...here it is:

http://www.vimeo.com/5514672

though his birth year was disputed as being either 1906 or 1913, he still managed to make it quite some time, and in style. (running a marathon in 2008 while smoking and drinking beer, and defending himself from three attackers in 2007 by hitting one in the groin and kicking another until they all ran off)

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5136 · April 14, 2011 at 3:20 AM

i'm sure he's causing trouble somewhere still.

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56616 · April 14, 2011 at 3:14 AM

nooo that's so sad :(

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5136 · April 14, 2011 at 3:23 AM

the weird thing was that i was looking him up to post something about him to this thread and just happened to notice on Wikipedia his date of death was today.

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525 · April 15, 2011 at 8:24 PM

He seemed like such a character. He will be missed.

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1659 · August 14, 2013 at 4:33 AM

I would have to say that longevity has to do more with the amount of food that you put in your body and your activity levels.

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0 · April 15, 2013 at 12:33 AM

Well as your basic intelligent house wife, I am not up there with you folks on dietary care. However, I decided to make my family Paleo friendly. It will take time, bad habits are hard to break,and I need to empty my pantry, I can't afford to waste food, but doing the best to add Paleo meals into the mix as much as possible.

I do not believe we will ever go full Paleo. I do believe however that changes have been made in our diets for the better with the advent of more non gluten foods hitting the market, and breads made from other grains being introduced to consumers more openly.

I read an article which stated wheat as we know it is definitely not wheat as it begun it's grainy life on our planet. Original wheat was only about man, or knee high and brown, not golden and it wasn't impregnated with growth chemicals and bugoff chemicals, the dna has been changed and hence what hunters and GATHERERS may have bought to the table today's wheat doesn't match the original health wise for any human.

I will try for 70/30 for my family, why, because I look at other nations and see health benefits amongst them that have been with their peoples for centuries and therefor I don't think Paleo is 100% necessary nor do I believe that some forbidden foods are as bad as stimulated by the Paleo Gurus.

So wish us luck, I think Paleo is great, in as much as it made me come to my lazy senses as to the problems with mass produced processed foods and the harm they are doing us on a daily basis, as for Almond Milk (YUK) but I will use gluten and lactose free milk when I need to use a milk.

Let us look forward to a healthier world where we take charge of our health and well being instead of the big food companies and their allies the supermarkets.

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2944 · April 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM

Sounds great, good luck!. You might find there is reduced (or no) reliance on bread products when you get into to. I know that not having sandwiches at lunch made me be a bit more creative! :)

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2626 · March 15, 2013 at 11:55 PM

A lot depends on what the alternative is for each individual. If a paleo diet is the only option you've found for avoiding extreme obesity or atherosclerosis, or the only thing gives you enough energy to become physically active, then it's doing a lot to reduce your risk of poor health or mortality. Any hidden pro-aging effects would have to be very strong to balance those out.

They'd also have to be very strong to balance out the benefits of getting rid of sugar and refined carbs (which even pro-grain authorities don't think is a good idea), meaning that you're very unlike to do net harm by promoting the paleo diet to someone who's currently eating lots of industrialized junk.

This obviously doesn't render the lifespan question unimportant, though it may reduce the amount of time we need to spend worrying about it in the meantime.

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323 · April 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Well, if it is the case that Paleo doesn't affect or help (maybe hinder) your potential for living a long healthy lifespan, then I'm still not too worried about it. I'd rather die at 60 and be energetic and lively then die at 80 while barely moving, taking a dozen pills a day, and just generally not being independent. It's how I look at it. Quality over Quantity!

I feel and look better on the Paleo diet. That's good enough for me.

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3521 · April 16, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Does the benefit of restricting protein come from restricting methionine or all protein? If it's just methionine than we could just consume less muscle meat and more bone marrow, stock and gelatin.

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24523 · April 16, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Rob-- I didn't think that marrow had much protein. Is that not true?

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2297 · April 28, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Marrow (yellow marrow) that we eat is pretty much just fat storage cells. Possibly some collagen matrix in there to hold it together, but not protein-rich.

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3521 · April 28, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Woops, I meant gelatin. I have the knack of always sticking those together.

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126 · April 16, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Measuring lifespan and comparing based on diet & lifestyle is wrong. Why?

1) One has only one chance to live. You cannot re-live same time-frame with changed or tweaked parameters to compare outcomes at an presumptive end. So what are we comparing here?

2) Lifespan is more complex than a simple relation of... eat this, live long and prosper, eat that, die young. Involves more than what you eat. Remember that story about the guy that had just meat for the last 30 years, he died at 9x in a car accident ?!?! Based on that, how would we know how long he would live without the accident, or on a 30 bananas a day?

3) Genetic identical entities develop different behaviors, even if raised together, in close proximity. That should be a strong indication on how different we function and leaves no room to compare one that eats 30 bananas a day with meatboy for the last 30 years. Because you cannot compare apples to oranges, or... prime-rib to 30 bananas if you will :)

4) Time is relative. Some live in 1 year what other live in 2 or more. How do you add that to the equation? Yes, that included the "feel good" factor / perception of time, etc... long story here...

To me, what works best is "Do what you like" and "Follow your beliefs"

And we are not wrong while we think that each day's a gift and not a given right. Live the moment you caveman you!!!! And enjoy every second of it...

Carpe Diem!

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831 · April 15, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Isn't the point of paleo (or JERF, or whatever the term is or will become) that its 'followers' are open-minded individuals who are prepared to try something different to achieve something. Whether that something is an extra 50-60 years of life, or a better quality of life for however long they may have left due to overriding factors is irrelevant. They are prepared to try.

Perhaps paleo devotees should adopt mottos from the Scouts and Marines:

'Be Prepared' and 'Adapt and Overcome' :)

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