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Monday, June 18, 2012

A Sensible Advocate of a Sensible "Paleo" Approach to Dieting

Reader August kindly sent me this link. This guy (Mat LaLonde) does not strike me as cranky at all. Just to be clear: I think NeoDarwinian theory is a pretty good description of how life has evolved, and I think that there are undoubtedly implications for our diet springing from that fact. What bothers me about some of the paleo advocates (e.g. DeCoster) is they seem to ignore plain facts about evolution, such as the rapid adaptation to dairy on the part of herding peoples.

But certainly, we should look to our pasts for clues as to what might be good for us. My ancestry being Northern European, I am not bothered by wheat or dairy at all. My wife's ancestry being Southeast Asian, she can't tolerate lactose or gluten. That all makes perfect sense to me. And this seems to be what Mat LaLonde -- hey, Mat, who stole that 't' from your first name? -- advocates: pay attention to what you can and can't digest properly. And our evolutionary past certainly can give us hints as to what to expect in this regard.

6 comments:

  1. I don't know if you noticed, but I mentioned Mathieu Lalonde in your last post about paleo. He's essentially the guy that convinced me to take a closer look at my diet, and he's also the guy that turned me onto paleo. Chris Masterjohn and Robb Wolf are also very good and they both have research backgrounds.

    To be honest, I don't know any prominent paleo proponents who don't take genetics into consideration.

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  2. FWIW, there seems to be a fair amount of enthusiasm about paleo diets among weightlifters. (I'm not talking about bodybuilders. I don't really know about them. I'm talking about olympic-lifting competitors.)

    But a big reason I never went whole-hog for raw-food diets for dogs is also misstatements and misunderstandings about evolution. That's even weirder, though. Because often the very same people who properly reject dominance-based training because "dogs are not wolves" embrace raw-food diets because that's what wolves evolved to eat.

    Which is completely screwy because the best current thinking on the origin of domestic dogs is that they descended from wolves willing to come close enough to human habitation to eat our garbage. This change led to the geographical separation, distinct diet and behavioral adaptation that separated the "dog" breeding pool from the wolf breeding pool - the hallmarks of speciation. And this happened at least 10K years ago. it's an awful lot of generations in which to adapt to whatever food people are willing to part with, which has to have included cooked meat & veggies, plus grains, pretty much from the get-go.

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  3. "pay attention to what you can and can't digest properly" I concur!

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  4. "What bothers me about some of the paleo advocates (e.g. DeCoster) is they seem to ignore plain facts"

    Last I ck'd, DeCoster was not paleo but rather a real-foodist. And eats a lot of "real" dairy.

    So, what was that again? The part about being bothered by ignoring plain facts?

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    1. From karendecoster.com/about: "I study health and nutrition issues and I live a paleo-primal lifestyle in terms of diet."

      So, what was that again? The part about acting like a dumb-ass?

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    2. If you google this, you can find literally dozens and dozens of places where DeCoster describes her diet as "paleo." If *she* is wrong about that, that is hardly my fault!

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