Archive for the ‘Natural Diets’ Category

Paleo Dieters Eat Crickets, Jack Eats Crow

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

I’ve criticized paleo eaters in the past for not taking their diet seriously and eating bugs (see my article Can a Natural Diet Require Supplements?).

But on Monday, the NY Times ran an article about a paleo dieter who started an energy bar company that uses crickets as the protein source (Energy Bars That Put a Chirp in Your Step).


“According to the two men’s research, the insects are 69 percent protein by dry weight as compared with 31 percent for chicken breast and 29 percent for sirloin steak; they provide more iron than beef does and nearly as much calcium as milk. They produce one-eightieth the amount of methane that cattle do, and need one-twelfth their feed, based on 100-gram portions of each. And they can reproduce quickly and don’t require acres of grassland to graze.”

A move from people eating mammals and birds to crickets is something I can get behind.


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Discover: Even Our Ancestors Never Really Ate the Paleo Diet

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Sad news for the Paleo Diet theory:

Even Our Ancestors Never Really Ate the “Paleo Diet”


“Essentially all of the great apes and their ancestors appeared to have eaten a C3-based diet, consuming fruits, leaves and other plants. Modern humans, on the other hand, rely much more on C4 plants, which include grains like wheat and corn.”

Paleoveganology: Food For Thought

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Paleoveganology has an interesting article up: Food For Thought.


Consider the following two statements.
1) Homo sapiens are more adapted to meat-eating than other primates.
2) Meat-eating is unhealthy, at least in large amounts.

There’s no necessary contradiction in those two statements, but I think a lot of paleo and low-carb folks think there is.

And, to be fair, so do a lot of vegans.


Paleo Diets

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

In July, Scientific American ran an article, Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians, by Rob Dunn of the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University.

I found it to be a well-balanced article on the subject of how our pre-historic ancestors ate. Here are some particularly interesting excerpts:

“…And so if you are serious about eating a really old school paleo diet, if you mean to eat what our bodies evolved to eat in the “old” days, you really need to be eating more insects.

“But, we know our human digestive systems DID evolve to deal with agriculture and the processing (fermenting and cooking) of food.…some human populations evolved extra copies of amylase genes, arguably so as to better be able to deal with starchy foods…several human populations independently evolved gene variants that coded for the persistence of lactase (which breaks down lactose) so as to be able to deal with milk, not just as babies but also as adults.

“So, what should we eat? The past does not reveal a simple answer, ever. …The recent adaptations of our bodies differ from one person to the next, whether because of unique versions of genes or unique microbes, but our bodies are all fully-equipped to deal with meat (which is relatively easy) and natural sugars (also easy, if not always beneficial), and harder to digest plant material, what often gets called fiber.”

Even though I appreciate this article, and think it is useful for people to send to their paleo-eating friends, I don’t agree with the assumption that if we knew exactly what our ancestors ate (and it was consistent throughout time) it could override today’s nutrition science. Not everything our ancestors ate was necessarily optimal and we can only know what was and what wasn’t by examining different eating patterns using modern methods.

That said, I would be elated if paleo-eaters gave up their chicken legs and spare ribs for insects in an attempt to eat more naturally. More power to them!

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B12 Follow-Up: Can a Natural Diet Require Supplements?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Speaking of B12, I just updated Can a Natural Diet Require Supplements? The changes are so extensive that I decided to just link to the article rather than reproduce the changes here. I hope people who get, or have, this question about a vegan diet will find it helpful.

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Thank you!

PaleoVeganology: It’s Curtains For The Expensive Tissue Hypothesis

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Interesting post by PaleoVeganology arguing that the efficiency of carrying adipose tissue by way of bipedalism, and not meat-eating, is what allowed human brains to grow larger than other primates:

It’s Curtains For The Expensive Tissue Hypothesis

Cooking food has also been argued to be what allowed humans to grow their brains larger than other primates. ‒ Nutrient Composition of Foods & Diet Analysis