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  1. Petter is offline

    12th level logic wielder

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 4:19pm


     Style: BJJ, judo, rapier

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The very first moment I saw the OP, I thought to myself “This is fascinating, but it’s going to explode in a giant pile of the Naturalistic Fallacy”, and voilà! so it has, beautifully summarised by War Wheel.

    Just because it is ‘natural’, that does not make it good, let alone optimal. It is true that ancient Homo sapiens subsisted on a dient substantially different from ‘modern’ diets, but that alone is no evidence that they are superior, even for our physiologies. The fact that we evolved to eat them tells us that

    1. At need, we can subsist on them;
    2. Under the circumstances in which our species evolved, it was the best our ancestors could do.

    ...And that’s it. Evolution optimises, but in the narrow sense of tending toward local maxima (hill-climbing optimisation) rather than finding a global maximum. It’s true, of course, that ancient man evolved as well as possible, under our evolutionary constraints, to make use of the dietary items available, but that doesn’t mean that unavailable dietary items might not be better. It doesn’t even mean that we use those items optimally; for instance, refined sugar could be better than unrefined sugar, and we would not have evolved with this in account unless there were a step-by-step evolutionary process where each step represented a reproductive advantage.

    To sacrifice accuracy, precision, etc., in favour of succintness: We evolved without penicillin, but when you suffer a bad bacterial infection, antibiotics are still better than nuts, fish, or lean meat.

    It’s also worth thinking about what is optimised. Keep in mind that those ancestors of ours probably had a life expectancy of—what? 25–30 years at best? As such, any change in physiology or in diet that improved performance in young individuals was favourable, no matter the cost later in life. Hyperbolically, a diet so high in fats that every single person who ate it would have diet of cardiac disease by age 35 might still have been the best diet around if it made you stronger around age 20—almost no one reached 35, after all, so the consequences were hypothetical and irrelevant.

    I’m following this thread with a certain level of interest, and I am not saying that the diet itself is bad. I’m just saying that “our ancestors did it” is not a good argument for it. Paloelithic societies also tend to feature low life expectancies, high rates of infant mortality and infanticide, and incidents such as being eaten by lions, none of which I recommend at all.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”
  2. Jack Rusher is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 5:15pm


     Style: ti da shuai na

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    While there is substantial overlap in the advice we might give concerning diet, I feel like I have to be "that guy" about this:

    Quote Originally Posted by War Wheel View Post
    I want you to eat like original man.
    This sentence smells of what I think of as the Linnaean Fallacy. We have this fine taxonomy of species, but it's important to remember that said tree is a snapshot of a specific point in time. If we were to float, God-like, above the Omo River for the last few million years, we'd see a continuous distribution of morphology along our lineage from Homo habilis to the hot Ethiopian girl I dated at school. How does one decide which person along that ancient, unbroken chain of mothers and daughters is "original mankind"?

    Consider, before you answer, that paleoanthropologists are split over whether Neanderthals are Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, much less closer kin like H. sapiens idaltu.

    Suppose we were to choose 200K YBP (the emergence of archaic H. sapiens), then what about the ~100K year separation that nearly resulted in a speciation event in our lineage? Should we eat more like the ones who were hunting antelope in the interior or the ones who were eating fruits de mer on the coast?
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
  3. Skillful is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 5:55pm


     Style: Jiu Jitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    We can argue all day about whether we should eat like an australopithecus afarensis or a homo ergaster, but we're agreeing on more than we're disagreeing on. I personally love dairy, find that saturated fats make me feel wonderful, and have no ill effects of eating it, so cheese is a dietary staple of mine.

    My current favorite things to hate on are cereals. Cutting all grains out of my diet has put a complete end to any indigestion/heartburn/post-meal discomfort I ever experienced. And I have more energy than I did when my world was populated with glutens. And I'm not in the state of ketosis, I just get my carbohydrates from fruit and vegetable and nut and seed sources rather than from grasses.
  4. Matt Phillips is offline
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    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 9:01pm

    supporting member
     Style: Submission Grappling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Ooo goodie! I have been accused of two different fallacies by two people who know what they're talking about. Fun!

    Let's start with the Natralistic Fallacy, as I was waiting for this one.
    First off let's recap exactly what I said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    Your body evolved to thrive on a certain diet and nothing that fire or boiling water or agriculture, etc. adds to that equation can be essential to your health. If it was essential it would have been available to Man when he first emerged.
    Notice that I am not saying that something that relies on technology not present at the time of Man's emergence can not be supportive of Man's health, but rather that it can not be essential to it. If Man required (say) boiled soy beans to survive (or even perform as designed*), he would have been extinct long before he boiled his first bean.

    * You know what I mean. There is no really good word for it.

    I am not ruling out the possibility that things like Met-Rx shakes might be good for you. I am arguing that eating the diet you evolved to eat can not be bad for you. Purina Koala Chow might be good for Koala's, but eucalyptus leaves can not be bad for them. Since we do not have a theory that definatively predicts which aspects of the modern diet may turn out to be bad for us, the simplest answer to our dietary dilemma is to find our equivalent of the eucalyptus leaf, and eat that. In our case, that will certainly be more than one food source, but it can't be hundreds, (or even many tens) of them.

    The Linnaean Fallacy:
    It doesn't matter how you define the origin of Man. It really doesn't, and here is why I think that is the case:

    Man is a Primate, and a recent one at that. Of all the recent primates, some will be have been able to produce fertile (or even infertile) offspring with Homo Sapiens, and some will not. Those that can not do so, can not be "Man". I argue that those that can/could have produced fertile offspring with Homo Sapiens would have shared His diet, based on the (IMO) extremely reasonable observation that there is not a single example in Nature (to my knowledge obviously) of two animals that can produce even infertile offspring that do not substantially share the same diet.

    If you produce a counter example, I will (obviously) abandon this position.

    For clarity: I am arguing that which ever "Homo" was "Original Man" the genetic closeness to modern Man which would have been necessary to the production of fertile offspring, would also impose near identical dietary requirements. If you can breed with someone, you have to be extremely close genetically.

    Again the main point of my original post: Orange juice requires the technology to squeeze and contain the juice. Man did not always have this technology, therefor Man can not require OJ to survive. This does not imply that OJ is bad for you, but if someone tells me that drinking that much Fructose in one sitting does you no good, I will not be surprised.

    To sacrifice accuracy, precision, etc., in favour of succintness: We evolved without penicillin, but when you suffer a bad bacterial infection, antibiotics are still better than nuts, fish, or lean meat.
    Not that this is germaine to my argument, but I thought I'd point out this remains to be seen. It may have been better for the short term. Long term we may just be changing the genetic destiny of Bacteria. To the bane of men and fungi everywhere.
    Last edited by Matt Phillips; 6/02/2009 9:41pm at .
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
    Luta Livre flees the fight,
    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!
  5. Matt Phillips is offline
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    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 9:37pm

    supporting member
     Style: Submission Grappling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    (cont)

    Should we eat more like the ones who were hunting antelope in the interior or the ones who were eating fruits de mer on the coast?
    Notice that I am not suggesting that we try to recover the specifics of this diet by archaology, but rather that we infer the diet from our know dietary needs. It makes no sense to copy the cantaloupe hunters of the savanah if there is no evidence that cantaloupe has any nutrient known to support Human health.

    Here's an example of the kind of reasoning I am talking about: Man requires calcium to survive. Man was not designed to get his calcium from dairy farming. A short list of "good sources of calcium" looks like:
    Milk (low- or non-fat varieties are best if you are watching your fat intake)
    Yogurt
    Cheese
    Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choy, collards and Chinese cabbage
    Tofu
    Salmon or any fish with bones
    Calcium-fortified juices
    Almonds

    Now, milk, cheese, tofu, and calcium fortified anything are out, leaving only fish (with bones), Almonds, and green leafy vegetables. For those that lived near the water, fish are a possibility; For those that do not, they had better have access to a ready supply of Green leafy vegetables or Almonds (or some other source not on my list) or they are screwed.

    Put another way, you will not find (original) Man anywhere where he can not get calcium.

    Similarly, Omega-3's are only found in a few foods (Flax seed, Walnuts, Salmon, etc.) Humans living by the sea can (maybe) dispense with nuts and seeds; Those living in the interior obviously can not. Nor can they stalk wild cantaloupes anywhere where no Omega-3 source exists.

    Edit: I can spell "naturalistic", really.
    Last edited by Matt Phillips; 6/02/2009 10:03pm at .
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
    Luta Livre flees the fight,
    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!
  6. TheRuss is offline
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    is badder than you

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2009 11:37pm

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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Rusher View Post
    I think I've figured out why we're talking past one another. There's no doubt that the above method would get the job done. However, office workers don't strip to skivvies for a 20 minute sun bath come lunch time. The standard pattern is: awake in an enclosed house, put on trousers and a full shirt, take some form of enclosed transit to an enclosed office, then reverse that commute home to the aforementioned closed house, with the result — based on the empirical evidence of randomized blood testing — that they're just not getting enough D, even in the presence of fortified foods.
    My last word on the subject:

    I am living in the middle of the demographic you've circled, and I currently have a mild sunburn on my forearms. Roll up one's sleeves and go for a walk at lunch, or maybe go outside at some point during the weekend. Even with the order of magnitude increase over the RDI we're talking, that's still only a few minutes a week of exposure. It's not default behaviour, which is why the vitamin D deficiency you've pointed out exists, but it is not a difficult modification by any means - during the summer.

    Unless you live in Seattle, but then you're pretty much fucked anyways.

    Now, back to the Paleo Diet.

    Edit: Speaking of nuts... I'm currently using walnuts as one of my fat sources. How do they rank in the pantheon of nuts in terms of fatty acid profile?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  7. Matt Phillips is offline
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    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT

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    Posted On:
    6/03/2009 8:10am

    supporting member
     Style: Submission Grappling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Speaking of nuts... I'm currently using walnuts as one of my fat sources. How do they rank in the pantheon of nuts in terms of fatty acid profile?
    This sentence smacks of what I like to call the Linoleic Fallacy.



    Seriously though, Walnuts seem to be pretty good for both the 3's and 6's. But you knew that already, right?
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
    Luta Livre flees the fight,
    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!
  8. Cayvmann is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/03/2009 8:39am


     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Yohan View Post
    I think pauli covered briefly, what I think of the paleo diet: it is unrealistically restrictive. People. You can cut out bread and pasta, you can cut out sugary drinks. You can cut out beer, and cake, and muffins, and brownies. You can cut out bacon and pancakes and BBQ. You can cut out sweet tea.

    But god damn.

    Cut out ALL GRAINS, ALL DAIRY, etc. Who can do that, week after week. I mean seriously, it's hard enough to get on a sensible, healthy diet, and stay on it for a long period of time, but why limit yourself to like 3 things, 80-90%. It's just too much.
    You CAN'T cut out sweet tea. The very thought brings shivers to my spine.
  9. Jack Rusher is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/03/2009 9:29am


     Style: ti da shuai na

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by War Wheel View Post
    It doesn't matter how you define the origin of Man.
    It matters because evolution has not stopped. Our species, like every other species, is under continuous selection pressure. If we choose a particular point in the process as the human baseline, we are saying -- quite arbitrarily -- that the collection of mutations then present are what make a person a person while the mutations thereafter are just throw-aways.

    The mutations that allow several populations to consume dairy are the result of evolution. To say "we didn't evolve to eat dairy" is to discount the process of mutation and selection (i.e. evolution) that led the lactase persistence allele to spread so rapidly over the last 20K years. Look at that number again and consider that there were recently arrived H. sapiens so archaic that their remains look nearly Neanderthal living in Europe 40K YBP, and that 20K years is 10% of the time since the earliest known archaic H. sapiens.

    (Aside: yogurt and hard cheese made from raw milk are digestible for those who haven't got the lactase gene, and -- sure enough -- those foods have been popular in Europe for thousands of years; the horseman of the steppe were so dairy-focused that they're known in the Iliad as the hippomolgoi -- horsemilkers).

    Most of the selection pressure on our species over the last half million years has been concentrated around disease immunity and diet. The lactase persistence allele is one example, as is amylase gene copy number variation, and so on. Because humans have been developing in different niches for tens of thousands of years, these adaptations vary by region, which indicates to me that the diet of your ancestors over a timescale of, say, 5-10K years is likely the one to which you're adapted, and -- unless you're a transplanted !Kung bushman -- chances are pretty good that there are things in your ancestral diet that were not consumed by African populations 70K YBP.

    An example of this in action: there is an observed significantly lower frequency of diabetes under grain-based diets among members of the Near Eastern haplogroup J that spread from Anatolia with the rise of farming. 20-30K years of eating wild, and then cultivated, grains was enough for them to develop biological defences against the toxins in wheat. On the other end of the spectrum, the Conamara Irish have the highest incidence of a certain pre-agriculture genetic signature in Europe, and with it the highest rate of outright celiac disease when exposed to wheat.

    Cordain's Paleo diet is, from my perspective, an attempt to maneuver around the regional differences in adaptation by prescribing a kind of lowest common denominator diet that works for everyone. This is fine, of course, but for some people it's more restrictive than necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by War Wheel View Post
    Similarly, Omega-3's are only found in a few foods (Flax seed, Walnuts, Salmon, etc.) Humans living by the sea can (maybe) dispense with nuts and seeds; Those living in the interior obviously can not.
    This is a factually inaccurate. Many foods contain omega-3s, especially animal products (meat, organs, eggs, &c), so long as those animals are raised on a proper diet (the grass-fed bison steak I just ate has an omega-6/omega-3 ration of 4:1, grain fed is 21:1). One healthy population that eats neither nuts nor fish is the reindeer people of Siberia. They eat -- and I mean this literally -- nothing but reindeer, nose to tail, and live quite well on that diet.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    I'm currently using walnuts as one of my fat sources. How do they rank in the pantheon of nuts in terms of fatty acid profile?
    They're the best of the common nuts for omega-3 concentration, though they're still sadly rich in omega-6 (6/3 ration of 5-6:1). The worst of the common nuts for this purpose is the almond, which is 10% omega-6 by weight with only trace levels of omega-3.
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
  10. TheRuss is offline
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    is badder than you

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    Posted On:
    6/03/2009 9:51am

    Join us... or die
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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by War Wheel View Post
    Seriously though, Walnuts seem to be pretty good for both the 3's and 6's. But you knew that already, right?
    Yup. Omega Rx Zone led me to Wikipedia, which brought me to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Rusher View Post
    They're the best of the common nuts for omega-3 concentration, though they're still sadly rich in omega-6 (6/3 ration of 5-6:1). The worst of the common nuts for this purpose is the almond, which is 10% omega-6 by weight with only trace levels of omega-3.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Rusher View Post
    It matters because evolution has not stopped. Our species, like every other species, is under continuous selection pressure.
    Was, not is. We've gone to great lengths to select our own selection pressures, and they currently - as in, right this minute - have precious little to do with (evolutionary) fitness. Just consider how strongly our environment selects for bloodlines of people too stupid to use birth control.

    (Okay, this is very West-centric of me. Conceivably, Africa might still have legitimate survival-related selection pressures...)
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
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