Bullshitproof Diet

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Happy New Year, #ScienceBabeShills! After many moons of seeing people take New Years partying a little too hard before starting their new diets (tomorrow of course, ahem), I’m sipping a diet coke and feeling okay because I managed not to get drunk. I had a wonderful time hanging out with my friend Amanda who runs Modern Mainstream Mama. We got way dolled up and put out a spread of treats that weren’t compliant with any diet- sushi, chocolate, cheese and crackers (gluten free for my craptacular immune system), and it was nomtacular. 

So tomorrow, of course, I start my detox. (ahem).

Er, more accurately, I am being more careful with my diet.

As there should be anytime you change your diet, there was a discussion with my doctor because I’m not technically overweight. I’m at the top of the ‘healthy end of the BMI scale. However, (1) I did gain back about 15lbs of my weight loss from a few years ago (and damn it, those jeans need to fit), and  (2) as I’m doing some media and I’m aware that people will be picking apart every picture of me for every stray fat particle. I’m aiming for the middle of the healthy BMI range. Nothing major. So I’m working out more and counting calories. You know… insanely reasonable stuff.

And still not eating organic and still eating GMOs because of course.

So since it’s the New Year and everyone might be tempted to start a fad diet, it’s a good time to talk about a few of my favorite fad diets. Let’s go for three tiers of a good idea gone horribly wrong: gluten free, Paleo, and the mother of all bullshit diets, Bulletproof.

And for shits and giggles, we’ll have a bonus round of every insane diet that we can find on the internet.

So let’s start with going Gluten Free because the other two incorporate this into their dietary plan. First, I’ll tell you that I am gluten free. Why? I have celiac disease. I AM THE 1%, SUCK IT MICHAEL MOORE!

Er, um, wrong meeting. 

Celiac disease is the one legitimate reason that people cut gluten out of their shopping lists (not to be confused with a wheat allergy, but that’s for another blog entry). Celiac is an annoying little freak of an autoimmune disease in which your body reacts to gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. The reaction damages the lining of the small intestine and you’re unable to adsorb nutrients. In many cases the disease is not diagnosed right away and there are a handful of co-morbidities that can be caused by this, including various dietary deficiencies, gall bladder malfunction, and even cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms vary from person to person and can appear at any time in your life; 34% of cases are diagnosed after the age of 20. I was diagnosed at 29. 

First, what’s not bullshit with going gluten free? If you have celiac disease, you need to go gluten free because strict adherence to the diet is the only currently known treatment for celiac disease (it both treats the symptoms and can prevent some of the really nasty potential co-morbidities). A lot of really painful symptoms for me went away. That’s way, way not bullshit. 

So… what is the bullshit here? 

It’s not really a diet designed to make you lose weight given that one of the symptoms of celiac disease can be  weight loss. So if you truly have the gluten disease and you remove it from your diet, odds are you’ll gain a little weight back. I understand this is anecdotal, but by the time I cut it out of my diet I was deficient in vitamins B and D and slightly anemic. I also gained back about a little weight after I stopped eating gluten. So I cut out wheat, pasta, bread, beer… and gained weight. Because everything else in my diet was finally being absorbed.

(And that would be the weight that I’m trying to lose again now, but without the whole ‘being constantly sick’ thing).

After a few years of dealing with this and seeing people with various degrees of understanding of what it meant to be gluten free, here are few signs of what it means when someone is hopping on this as a trend:

If someone says they’re “cutting down on their gluten,” they don’t have a gluten problem. This is an all or nothing thing.

If someone cuts it out of their diet but has “cheat” days if something is yummy enough? They either don’t understand the gravity of their situation or they probably don’t have a gluten problem.

If someone cuts it out and still drinks beer? They probably don’t have a gluten problem.

If someone cuts it out to lose weight? They probably don’t have a gluten problem.

It’s a weird diet trend. But with a few exceptions it’s a safe, albeit rather ineffective, diet if you’re going on it arbitrarily. So then why do I give a shit what people choose not to put into their body? Because (1) you know I can’t lay off bullshit and (2) a lot of people go into restaurants saying they’re “gluten free” lately. Some irrational bloggers even tell people to lie that they have allergies to avoid certain ingredients.

This can affect me. 

When someone with an actual wheat allergy or celiac disease goes into a restaurant and says they have an allergy, do you think the chefs and waitstaff are more or less likely to take us seriously after they’ve dealt with twenty fakers in a row?

You’d be wrong if you guessed ‘more.’ And I’ve had contaminated food before. I’m definitely not the only one. This is a diet for people with a medical condition. 

Gluten is not bad for you just because it’s a component in lot of things that have calories. It’s also not bad for you, someone without celiac disease, just because it’s bad for someone else. Cutting out gluten from your diet because it’s bad for people with celiac disease would be like cutting out peanuts because it’s bad for people with a peanut allergy. You can relax and enjoy the sticky buns from Flour in Cambridge, MA that I miss so damn much. And please do because they’re fucking delicious and those wonderful dream makers deserve your patronage (and if they find a way to make something gluten free over there, I’ll be back home in two weeks).

But for everyone who did take up this diet arbitrarily, I have a message for you ..

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Courtesy of my friends at We Love GMOs and Vaccines

We’re done with gluten woo, right? I mean, that’s all there is to it, gluten is fine for everyone except those of us with ridiculous immune systems, we can move on now?

Wait…. people took it a step further? Shit.

Of course they did. Because Paleo is a thing.

So the Paleo diet became trendy a handful of years ago mainly amongst the Cross Fit tribe of super humans. It’s spread to other athletes and non-athletes alike looking to improve their health. Paleo sounded like a good idea and maybe even sounded scientific. The premise of Paleo for fueling was to eat the types of foods that our paleolithic predecessors had access to pre-modern agriculture. From this you would live a healthier life because many diseases (especially autoimmune, because that seems to be the woo center of the universe) were caused by our modern diet.  Sounds simple enough, since of course the cavemen all lived free of autoimmune disorders, cancer (but doesn’t eating meat cause cancer? Which woo is right?!) psoriasis, heart disease, premature ejaculation…

Well…

How scientifically sound is Paleo? 

First, let’s look at what Paleo allows you to eat (from thepaleodiet.com) 

  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

Well that sounds kinda like Atkins plus fruit… Now their list of things that are off limits: 

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils

Hmmm…

There’s good and bad to this. The good? I can’t eat gluten so EAT ALL THE COWS!

(ahem)

But Paleo, as in… paleolithic? Not a chance. The premise is even flawed. Even if you avoid GMOs and eat all organic (which we know is bullshit), your diet isn’t going to look like the caveman’s diet.  Through selective breeding of crops and cattle, all the species we see now are drastically different than what our paleolithic ancestors had to choose from.  The meat extravaganza is more than a little bogus because they could only eat what they could catch, and fruits and nuts were way easier to hunt down. Avoiding processed foods is useful for weight loss because they’re a dense source of calories, but for healing disease or any of their other far reaching claims? There’s a full absence of evidence. And as for the claim that eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the exact diet of our obviously much healthier ancestors, go ahead and eat the paleolithic bananas.

You know, like this one: 

Inside_a_wild-type_banana

The other premise of the Paleo diet that’s flawed is that a lot of our diseases are only lifestyle diseases of the modern world. My rule is ‘citation or GTFO,’ and I have a citation that says atherosclerosis was common even pre-agriculture. It’s not the GMOs, it’s not even the sugar. It’s just a disease that happens when you live long enough and you have certain genetics. There’s even some evidence that the cavemen may have had sweets, and subsequently, tooth decay. All of this was pre-modern agriculture.

When you get down to it, Paleo is a new fancy low carb diet masquerading as a lifestyle (and contributing to the gluten-phobic crowd). You have a chance at losing weight because you’re restricting your dietary choices so much and hence you’ll probably cut calories. Some have even called the diet orthorexic because it restricts whole food groups. But make no mistake, this is not similar to the diet of our ancestors. Besides, why would you want to live like them? Why would you even want to go back 115 years? 

startwithscience2

Now onwards to the mother of all gluten free woo, the Bulletproof Executive. The website is run by a biohacker douchebag named Dave Asprey who claims that he doesn’t exercise and eats 4,500 calories per day and he has a pretty rocking body. Now look at the tag on the bottom of his website

Can you really lose 100 pounds without using exercise, upgrade your IQ by more than 12 points, and stay healthy by sleeping less than 5 hours? It took more than 15 years and $300,000 to learn how to reach the Bulletproof® state of high performance. And it’s all here on the blog for you.

Well those don’t sound like overblown completely full of shit claims at all. And it’s not like he’ll do anything nutty like tell us to eat sticks of butter like a candy bar or-

asprey

Scrumptious.

And of course, he’s selling a diet that’s kinda like Paleo… BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! He claims there’s science behind his diet because grains contain opiates (they don’t), grains cause cancer (not really?), demonizes veganism (as though that makes his diet work better?), and makes a lot of claims that are just somewhere between pseudoscience and complete bullshit. He sells pricey MCT Oil to allegedly help brain function. Spoiler; it’s a souped up coconut oil. He also sells super expensive coffee that’s allegedly “toxin free” and tells you to blend about 600 calories of butter into it (because you know the cavemen were roasting coffee beans and whipping butter into it).  My friend and one of my favorite health writers, James Fell, tore him to shreds already. From James’ article…

Do I have a problem with butter? Absolutely not. I eat it regularly, always favoring it over margarine, which I find a pale imitation. But I use butter wisely, meaning I don’t go hog wild on the stuff because it has a high caloric density. One little tablespoon of butter has as many calories as almost a pound-and-a-half of fresh spinach. Guess which is more filling. Guess which contains more nutrients.

Oh James, we love you. Those twelve extra IQ points aren’t being put to good use, are they Dave?

For inquiring minds, I’m just going with eating a little less and exercising a little more. Because sanity.

Let’s be honest, some diets are just silly. Nobody would actually eat for their chakra type given that there is no proof of a chakra, right? And it’s not like anybody would eat a diet made entirely of grapefruits or soup made of cabbage, that wouldn’t happen.  And the blood type diet? I mean, a lot of people don’t know their blood type, this is just getting funny, nobody would ever sell a book based on this, right? A cookie diet, there’s no way this is a clever money making plan because people wouldn’t fall for this one, right? And of course the alkaline diet, people don’t actually believe we’re turning your body into a chemistry set, right? 

 

And for the last time, nobody is going to build an industry on detoxing your system with juice, right? 

 

-Science Babe

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64 Comments

  1. One other part of the paleo diet that drives me crazy–claims that you will live longer, etc. Even if there *was* such a thing as a standard diet eaten during the paleolithic age, and our bodies were adapted to eating it, back then if you made it to your thirties you were and old man/woman. A diet that killed 100% of the people who made it to 70 would’ve been fine for most of the population back then, because almost nobody lived that long. In fact, a diet that let you grow fast, reproduce at 15 or so, then die at 30 would have worked just fine for them.

    An emphasis on lean meats and veggies isn’t necessarily a bad thing–it sounds a lot like the Mediterranean diet, which is generally pretty healthy. But all the crazy crap about cutting out dairy and legumes, and then Cordain’s even crazier crap about the acidity of the food–it makes my head hurt.

  2. Love this! I work in the fitness industry and constantly hear of all the latest bullshit diets. There only one main source I’ll look to for real nutrition and hes completely based on science. Layne Norton!

    • I think a lot of these end up being low calorie because, since you restrict and entire macro group, you cut out a lot. You also lose water weight initially. Keto has also been shown to be useful for some kinds of seizure control.

      Basically any form of calorie restriction will result in weight loss, I always recommend that someone should consult with a doctor or registered dietician.

      • Holy cow – this comment is 100% dietitan approved. Thank you for using science, correct vocabulary, and of course, common sense. Love this whole blog.

        • Ive dont quite a bit of research on Ketosis and its obvious that the body uses two primary metabolic pathways. One being Ketosis and one being Glycolysis. Its clear that Ketosis utilizes fats as energy, while Glycolysis utilizes the glucose (glycogen) stored in your blood and liver.

          I cant buy into the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” mantra fully.

          We also know that proteins (4kcal/gram), fats (9kcal/gram) and carbs (4kcal/gram) are metabolized, stored and utilized differently in the body.

          Do you think being in a state of ketosis versus glycosis and changing your diet from low-fat to low-carb changes how your body maintains weight? (as well as gene expression and activating/deactivating bodily functions)

          I think there is a lot of solid science behind ketosis, but you do raise a good point, its hard to maintain high calories. I think there is a lot of evidence showing that maintaining a calorie deficit is good for you anyways…

          • Wait wait wait…. so the first law of thermodynamics is a ‘mantra’ now??? holy crap how did I miss that?

  3. Primal is a variation of the paleo diet that I try to follow. This one does allow certain dairy and even sugar and potatoes, though it does advise to go easy. Seems like a pretty reasonable thing to me. The big premise is that the majority of our healthy is based on what we eat and that exercise should not be done to exhaustion.

    Though I have fallen off the wagon a bit, while I was on it, I found myself losing an average of two pounds a week then stabilized at the 172 range. I am 5′ 10″, so that was a good weight for me. The year before, when I was simply exercising and not as careful about my eating, I wasn’t losing anything.

    So, even if the Paleo/Primal diet is not exactly scientific, it hardly seems to be harmful.

      • Paleo type things is almost the closest thing to reasonable out there, in my opinion. Although: I’m not giving up my yogurts or my semi-weekly slug o’milk. Heh.

    • I recently switched to Paleo/Primal to help adjust to my failing thyroid. After switching over I felt amazing. I lost a ton of weight, had more energy, my IBS went away and I stopped having hot flashes after I ate. All good things.

      Also I’m still eating a ton of carbs, but just not in the form of legumes or grains (with the exception of Quinoa). I did this all on the recommendation of my doctor and nutritionist.

      A big part of the Paleo/Primal thing as discussed with them, is that while the paleolithic thing is selling point, it’s mostly about nutrient uptake. When I read a lot of blogs on it — ones pointed out to me by said doctor and nutritionist — they often talk about the presence of certain molecules that interfere with nutrient uptake.

      I’m a scientifically-minded person and I agree there’s a ton of junk science out there. And while there’s a lot out there about Paleo/Primal that’s based on junk science, I believe there’s also a community of people out there looking at why Paleo/Primal works for people from a scientific perspective.

      At this point, going back seems insane to me; and frankly dangerous to boot. As much as there is a need to debunk the dangerous pseudoscience out there, please be careful to make sure that people talk to their doctor’s and other qualified health professionals before making any major dietary changes. I think it will be better for many in the long run.

  4. I get your point about there be a difference between the 1% of celiacs and all the other gluten-free folks. One of those folks is me. I did not go gluten free to lose weight. I did it because it gives me sporadic migraines, sporadic nausea, chronic fatigue, and gives me acne. When I cut it out, I was sick for 4-weeks coughing up phlegm. I stayed off it (as in not even soy sauce) for 2 straight years. Since then, I’ve started to try it occasionally, or as you’d call it “cheat.” It’s hit or miss as to whether I’ll get sick, but still pretty consistent that I’ll be fatigued.

    My point with all this is that it’s not ridiculous to eliminate something from your diet that makes you feel like shit. Gluten is unquestionably ties to my fatigue problems. I am not, to my knowledge, a celiac, but I know that gluten is something I should avoid. That doesn’t make me delusional or a sheep for jumping in this GF fad. It’s easy to take an all or nothing stance on things like this, but it’s naive to say that gluten (or any other food) is completely fine for EVERYONE other than the 1%.

    It’s completely legitimate to point out that gluten-free isn’t an effective diet to lose weight. However, the way it impacts the gut bacteria in various people a is legitimate issue. I’d eat gluten everyday in a heartbeat if I didn’t have a price to pay for it. This isn’t a fad diet or a weight loss gimmick since I’ve been off gluten. It’s a necessity if I want to not sleep 12-14 hours a day.

    • I have seen a correlation to my chronic sinusitis and gluten intake. I have had severe chronic sinusitis for as long as i can remember. When i go Wheat free (gluten included). All of my symptoms of sinus infections go away. I know wheat (or gluten) has been linked full body inflammation (metabolic inflammation) and has been linked with chronic sinusitis, ear infections symptoms, swelling, fever, Leaky gut disease, immune suppression, psoriasis…. on and on and on.

      i found a link to 200 diseases linked to gluten. I have confirmed non of these, but i guess they come from real medical studies.

      http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/200-clinically-confirmed-reasons-not-eat-wheat?page=2

        • In a short-term comparative study of gluten ingestion of celiac patients and a non-celiac gluten-sensitive group (NCGS is a clinically defined population), researchers found a significant increase in mRNA for IFN-γ after gluten ingestion. (Broitvett et. al – Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108:842–850; doi:10.1038/ajg.2013.91). There there are no conclusive correlations between non-celiac sensitivities and diseases per se, but I see nothing wrong with avoiding a food if you see a personal negative correlation, especially under the consult of a medical professional. I don’t think it’s right to be rude to people who aren’t asserting false claims. The scientific community has to be welcoming.

      • It may not be gluten–there are other trigger proteins in wheat as well as FODMAPS. Food sensitivity profiles are unique to individuals and the medical and research community is only beginning to characterize and understand the many sources of food sensitivities. So we are on our own for the most part. If eliminating a food or group works for you, that’s great, even if we can’t yet provide you a clear mechanism of action.

  5. every time I get dragged to a health food store… I see the same diet, being marketed under different names.

    It started off as Atkins.
    Then they genericked it to Lo-Carb.
    Now the trending word is Paleo.

    I understand there’s -some- science behind the low-carb plan… But throwing in marketing buzzwords like “local,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” and “ancient” seems to make the diet books fly off the shelves.

    Someone should really start a transparent movement to advocate fear-based marketing… Have it be a graduate degree from a liberal arts college 🙂

  6. My favourite is all that baking those paleo-sheep do with coconut flour….you know, just like the cavemen.

    There was also a recipe I saw once for paleo duck a l’orange, that had me slapping my forehead….because again, our Palaeolithic were such gastronomes.

    • There in lies the problem, poor understanding of the goals of the diet. The goal isn’t to eat the same things, the goal is to approximate a similar nutritional profile with modern foods.

      • Pearls before swine, Erik. Pearls before swine. That’s just a straw man, and a very immaturely constructed one at that. Anyone can see through their childish nonsense.

  7. also, they didn’t COOK their food for the most part, including meat. sorry, i’m not for raw heart and liver. ever. because eww.

  8. I fear dietary wrongdoing is the price that you will have to pay for being not able to/too lazy to research a certain field of needed information; therefore follow guidelines based on assumptions of the next best food babe type of pseudo bollocks person. Survival of the ………?

  9. I’m following the Keto/low carb diet currently bc a recently published article showed that it benefited blood lipid composition and that you could achieve weight loss with less muscle loss. It won’t magically cause weight loss; you still have to count calories. And whatever weight you do loose at first is likely to be water weight. So no, I don’t believe it’s magic, and I am following it precisely because it seems to be evidenced based. I am aware that I could simply count calories and not restrict food groups, but in my case, I find that it is helping to add discipline and structure to my eating habits. When I go back to a normal diet, I hope to transfer the awareness and thought that goes into meal planning on this diet.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html?referrer=&_r=0

    Upon rereading the article, I concede that the average keto does not differentiate that much between saturated and unsaturated fats. It also does not allow many fruits or any legumes. It does aim to increase the percentage of one’s daily calories that come from fat though. My point about higher fat diets being more beneficial than we though stands though.

  10. I’m following the Keto/low carb diet currently bc a recently published article showed that it benefited blood lipid composition and that you could achieve weight loss with less muscle loss. It won’t magically cause weight loss; you still have to count calories. And whatever weight you do loose at first is likely to be water weight. So no, I don’t believe it’s magic, and I am following it precisely because it seems to be evidenced based. I am aware that I could simply count calories and not restrict food groups, but in my case, I find that it is helping to add discipline and structure to my eating habits. When I go back to a normal diet, I hope to transfer the awareness and thought that goes into meal planning on this diet.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html?referrer=&_r=0

    Upon rereading the article, I concede that the average keto does not differentiate that much between saturated and unsaturated fats. It also does not allow many fruits or any legumes. It does aim to increase the percentage of one’s daily calories that come from fat though. My point about higher fat diets being more beneficial than we thought stands though.

  11. I wanted to be investigated for celiac disease because I have first degree relatives with celiac and have suffered from digestive disturbances for as long as I can remember (which I pretty much cured by eating real food and taking better care of myself, surprise surprise). So, I did what most people do, I went to see my family Doc (yup, I encourage everyone to have a family Doc and I am a registered naturopathic (gulp!) doctor in the regulated province of Ontario!!) I was told to simply avoid gluten without undergoing testing for it which I doubt this doc will be the first and last to do. I politely and humbly educated this doc on the hierarchy of diagnosis with gluten elimination being after a positive IgA transglutaminase (and a total IgA) and a gut biopsy. Because here is the kicker: if you eliminate gluten and the person feels better is it because they have celiac disease or because they are eating less refined crap in general? Once it’s been avoided there is a higher chance of getting a false negative reading if IgA transglutaminase is tested. I have also had this reported to me by other patients. So, I hope everyone learns a thing or two about celiac….for all our sake. Oh, and I tested negative for celiac so I still eat gluten containing products from time to time…

  12. I’ve got a good. A “friend of a friend” is an absolute magnet for internet and fringe “thought”. She tried to cure her (reputable doctor diagnosed) milk allergy by going……wait for it……gluten free! Guess what? It didn’t flipping work!! I’m sure you’re as shocked as I was to learn of this outcome. I mean, a bachelors in chemistry and roughly 15 years in the food industry could never have prepared me for this. It’s not like they’re two totally different proteins or anything

  13. So the gluten thing – there are over 20million in the US with auto-immune issues (per the NIH) and over 20 million with IBS. It’s been proven in studies that gluten, fodmaps etc. cause digestive distress.

    Gliadin, a protein in gluten triggers an auto-immune response. So people with auto-immune issues ranging from eczema to hashimoto’s can benefit from going gluten free.

    I’m surprised constantly at how many “science” based people are so quick to dismiss gluten free as a fad without reading the science that’s out there.

    Do scientists a favor – promote their work and discuss it on your blog. Scientists like Fasano, Gibson & Umberto Vollata are doing important work here.

    Instead of dismissing gluten free as a fad, promote their work.

    Many people eating gluten and having digestive, endocrine related or neurological issues will benefit from gluten elimination.

    Of course they need to go their doctors and get tested, but most doctors aren’t keeping up with science either.

  14. The problem with ketone diets is not that it’s unhealthy, it’s mostly unnecessary.

    The basic argument is that ketogenic diets help you lose fat by manipulating your body chemistry, increasing metabolism of body fat. Combine this with calorie restrictions done during the low carb period, you lose weight fast and then you add on carbs until you reach your desired weight.

    The point however is, you can reach your end goal with just reducing calories , albeit slower given the dieticians advice 100 calorie deficit daily.

    It’s claims on hitting satiety is true and chemistry wise, it’s basic claims on body thermogenics is accurate. It’s just that its not needed .

    Some of its proponents claims are however preposterous. Claims about how carbs are the enemy ignore how pre 18th century had most people eating mainly carbs and remaining thin. While an emphasis on ‘protective foods’ in the form of meat and fat and vitamins became prevalent by 1930s,certain diets like the Irish potato diet shows its entirely possible and nutritious to survive on carbs as main source of energy. Ditto to WW2 research, pioneered in Britain ‘re rationing by dieticians that showed it’s also possible,(albeit,with fortified calcium for wholemeal grains to compensate for nutrient loss.)

    The only thing true is that low fat diets ignore how important fat is for taste and satiety and manufacturers attempts to compensate is not working to reduce food pangs.

    • People who go crazy about keto diets do make a lot of those claims about carbs being evil and all. The thing is that surviving on a high carb diet isn’t a problem if you’re body is properly adapted to a high carb diet and you are eating a calorie deficit on a regular basis. You talk about people being thin on high carb diets in the 18th century but you forget that most of those people did not have the unprecedented access to cheap food we have today. There are certainly examples of people who were not thin in the 18th century and most of those people tended to have a common trait, they had lots of money so they didn’t have to scrape by on calorie deficits.

  15. There’s still a lot of nonsense out there. Is there a genuine science based weightloss routine / healthy diet that works? Is it simply down to caloric intake?
    What do you think of the CSIRO diet?
    I’ve seen people have some success with it, but there is a lot of meat in it apparently.

  16. Just ordered Marlene Zuk’s “Paleofantasy”. Can’t wait to read a good debunking. This one’s whet my appetite!

    Now, if we could just get a Paleo person to eat what cavemen REALLY ate for animal protein; field mice and bugs, anyone??? I think most of them watched too many episodes of the Flintstones… I’m amazed nobody’s serving up a ‘bronto’ burger. (With no bun, of course.)

  17. what about intermittent fasting? I remember watching a doco by Michael mosely he seemed to think there was benefits, I have just never thought of Michael mosely as pseudo-scientific but is was only a TV show and he is a presenter I know none of it is evidence

  18. I think a reduced gluten diet might helps some people-and by gluten reduced I mean NOT packing away all the bread sticks while you’re waiting for pizza and pasta at Faizolis or NOT killing an entire 12 pack of beer on Saturday afternoon.
    (BTW, first time viewer, the banner is confusing; isnt that your Lex Luthor on the left hand side of the banner?)

  19. Science Babe – I’m disappointed in you for not doing your research. You have accepted the mainstream this-is-what-i-assume-paleo-diet-is-because-its-called-paleo definition of Paleo Diet and based your assumptions around that. Paleo Diet does not say that we should eat what Paleo man ate. It does not advocate hunting our meals or cooking on a campfire. And as you stated, there’s no way you could eat the exact same fruit, vegetables or animals as back then.

    Paleo is rooted in evolution and biology which I would assume you, as a scientist, would agree with. The Paleo in Paleo Diet comes from that notion, not that we should mimic the diet of the caveman. If you accept that we are evolved from Paleo man then our digestive systems are evolved based on what the Paleo man ate. And in terms of the grand timeline of man, the start of the Agricultural Revolution and especially the boom of processed food in the past 75 years represent a very small percentage of that. So the idea is to try and eat foods in a form that is as close to what our bodies evolved eating in the context of modern day society.

    For example, red meat. The red meat of today in the US is largely CAFO and corn fed. Well cows were not meant to eat corn. They are biologically evolved to eat grass so we have to pump them full of hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive. Additionally the meat itself is high in Omega 6s which are inflammatory while grass-fed beef is more of a 1:1 ratio. Much of the demonization of red meat can be attributed to this so Paleo advocates grass-fed beef for this reason.

    At the root of it all Paleo is about eating whole foods, unprocessed foods, foods without sugars added, foods that aren’t man made. For the record I no longer eat Paleo 100% but my own hybrid. I’ve educated myself on why Paleo specifically advocates the elimination of specific foods (like peanuts for example) and I’ve made my own personal choices of whether it’s worth whatever consequence.

    Also I want to address gluten. I’m not celiac and I’m sorry you are. That’s got to be very difficult in today’s world. But I am gluten intolerant. And lots of people tell me that’s not a thing. To those people I say “Come join me in a small ventless bathroom about 4 hours after I’ve eaten a few slices of pizza and then you tell me.” Celiac is no joke, but it’s not one or the other. Gluten intolerance is a thing and eliminating gluten has made a radical difference on my GI system. I thought I was lactose intolerant most of my life but cutting out dairy never worked. It wasn’t until I tried Paleo and cut out gluten that I noticed a radical change in my health and trips to the bathroom.

    I’m sorry my diatribe went on so long. But I feel like you were criticizing without knowing the facts. I agree that too many people try diets for quick weight lose and then give up. I think that’s what makes them fads, not the diets themselves. Last, I will leave you with a thought. You are defining the word DIET as: “such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight”. I would have you consider this definition in the context of those diets: “such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight”. Namely, a way of eating does not always have to be about losing weight.

      • Actually Greg’s diatribe did not scream of “you stepped on my religion”. He was sensible, states he doesn’t eat Paleo 100% and apologized for the length.

        This is why I get so frustrated with the information that’s available. So many people just dismisses every contrary argument. Surely disease and infection couldn’t have been killing people 115 years ago, therefore no point in looking at the diet of the outliers and the paleolithic period, well they barely survived child birth so don’t make me laugh.

        I think you offer good information; I just don’t understand why you’d make fun of a response for a laugh. Honestly, I’d rather not be treated like a troll so don’t bother responding. Feel free to delete this comment. I think I just responded out of frustration.

      • Sci-Babe, I think what is striking a chord with me is that you are making a sweeping generalizations with respect to Primal/Paleo/High Protein/Low Carb. As a scientist myself, I don’t think it’s quite fair to lump the four hour wonder bread d-bag with other, more reputable writers/bloggers/fitness people.

        I like your work. Down with Food Babe! She’s a hack with respect to science. But, let’s not emulate her in the fallacy department.

  20. I actually LOVE some of the Bulletproof approach for the following reason.

    1) I want the calories! I have a tendency to lose weight and I work out probably more then I should. BP coffee keeps me alert and FULL all day! Instead of drinking 4 cups of coffee, all I need is ONE now. Saves me $$$$$$ on coffee. Not science but $$$$$$.

    2) I need more body fat, trying to go up to 10%.

    3) I need sustained energy instead of sugar crashes when on the road and high fat is the only way to do it (from my experience n=1).

    Those three reasons are good enough for me.

  21. What foods do you eat? Do you prefer to eat organic as much as possible if you can avoid GMO’s?

    Roundup gets in all foods when they get watered, roundup is in the water supply, but organic willl have less of it than foods sprayed directly with it. I really wish there was truly organic foods to putchase. The only way to get real organic is to grow it.

  22. Know-it-alls are the people I deem to be most unreliable as a resource. It’s the ‘Experts’, and I use that term loosely, who can accept a “contrary argument”, thank you Larry, and not just try to get a laugh by the sheep, that are usually right. What I feel from your comments is that you think people won’t see how bad your disease is if the 1% increases with the addition of gluten intolerance. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and after 20 years, going Gluten Free has by far had the most positive impact on my health. First time reader of your blog…and last.

  23. I was perusing your website here hoping to find some scientific debunking of applied kinesiology for food allergies. Two nurses were advocating this last night and it was driving me crazy. They were also espousing the benefits of diagnosis of digestive issues using Iridology. How did we get to this point where nurses dismiss medically researched practices? Any experience with these two methods of finding food intolerances?

  24. Gday. Great article Yvette! I bought into the bulletproof idea, only 2 find 3 months ago my cholesterol had soared to 8 mmol/l … bad apparently. 🙂 Got that down to below 5 since by going low fat. I’ve recently been reading about Dr John McDougall’s ideas on diet, which is interesting. But I think we all have such different biological makeups/enzyme profiles etc. it’s difficult to warrant blanket diet advice. For myself for instance, seems I don’t tolerate fats and dairy very well. And knowing some people that suffer from Celiac disease, I agree that there is much hysteria (and fanaticism) that surrounds the gluten free movement… it hangs a cloud over the view of those that do have Celiac and intolerance sadly. Heard you first on the Dr Drew podcast, and I believe it was your conversation about fats/triglycerides which has potentially saved me from heart and other issues.Keep up the good work dear!!

  25. Actually there is one other problem with “grass fed” beef, butter etc…. It’s simply not true. Most farmers who primarily raise herds on grazing are in climates with four seasons, so use feeds for the winter. So no meat or dairy is every going to be 100% grass fed. Plus it’s still not a guarantee of higher quality produce.

  26. I’m finding it disturbing that this blog entry correctly indicates the alkaline diet is based on bogus science, but there is an ad for “alkalinefoods.net” in the sidebar. (Square box with a hand graphic that says, “how alkaline is your body?” and a click-here to take the test) What the what?

  27. Ughhhh I hate the life expectancy argument – so flawed. It always overlooks the fact that babies and young children are factored into it, which makes averages back in the day significantly lower. We have much lower infant/child mortality rates now because of advances in medicine. Google “life expectancy without infant mortality rate” and you’ll find plenty of legitimate sources citing that humans lived well into decade 7 and beyond.

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