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Number one health tip...

54 posts in this topic

I have recently been asked to give my number one tip concerning fitness and health to a

certain health and fitness blog. Here is what I choose to write:

Eliminate sugar, grains(even whole grains) and potatos from your diet.

This modification will produce the biggest 'bang for your buck' in

health, fitness and looks, above and beyond any other single tip about

exercising or eating well can produce.

As an avid proponent of the Paleolithic Diet or stone age diet, and

according to evolutionary concepts I do not believe human beings have

fully adapted to sugar, grain and potato consumption. Humans started

domesticating such foods at the start of the Neolithic era, 10,000

years ago, which left very little time, evolutionary-wise to adapt to

such foods.

The result? A spike in degenarative diseases and decrease in stature

and bone density as demonstrated by the fossil record.

Also, the presence of many antinutrients in those foods, for example

phytic acid/phytate, (present in all grains and inhibits absorbtion of

many minerals) and the need for processing suggests this food was not

originaly ment for human consumption. (Try eating a full raw potato

and see how you feel)

To sum up, concentrate your diet around quality animal protein

products, a lot of vegtebles, (especialy green, leafy ones) seeds and

nuts and some fruit and berries. This should comprise the bulk of your

food consumption.

Ido.

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Good to see you're a Paleo advocate

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I get a little confused when the debate is whether or not to eat grains. I think that from a culinary point of view not eating grains at all, limits the possibilities by a high degree, and that alone is something to consider. One of my favorite occupations is to cook. I try to make sure that the things I eat are healthy as well as tasty - which isn't easy on a students budget. In this perspective keeping away from sugar, cream and butter is hard enough as is. But I get it, they are unhealthy period.

I would like to ask the question: Has it been scientifically proven for a fact that grains cause health problems? As presented in the previous post by Ido there could just cause to investigate this claim - but I believe there is a difference between deducting and proofing.

The problem with studies conducted by surveying, and looking retrospective on a population, is that they essentially give you an idea of what you want to examine and study further, but that is it. Knowledge is a tricky thing.

I participated in a study on insulin resistance and it's correlation to diet - I think that this might be one of the potential problems with grains. Because of my curiosity towards diet and exercise I recently asked for my data from this study.

As a measure of health, lifespan seems to a reasonable parameter, and if that is anything to go by we should all eat the Japanese, right? Do they avoid grains? No, rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet as well as fish and vegetables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

I am not opposing Paleo, and it is beyond doubt a better diet than the average Western diet is. But I don't feel convinced just yet that grains are unhealthy.

To grain or not to grain.

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Fryk: Have you read the new celiac article out yet?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... e-insights

Gah, they put it as subscribe (free I think though) now since it was so popular. Basiscally a large portion of the population are gluten intolerant... like HUGE portion. Even though it doesn't necessary "show" in most people.

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This is the disease, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_disease

Here it is stipulated that the frequency is upwards of 1% in the general population, and 5 to 10% in risk groups. Is this different from the study in the previous post?

A frequency of 1% for me does not equal that I should not eat grain.

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I agree with paleo's method of looking at the evolution of humans and using it for diet but i definetily think there are some holes. The biggest problem I see at least in the american health system is corn. Corn is in everything and unless you are a people indiginous to the americas, corn has only been available for 400 years. Corn is in every processed food you can immagine. High fructose corn syrup is the most commonly used sweetner and is dirt cheap to make. This goes for tomatoes too. Tomatoes are not used as readily as corn for sweetners and such but still are a huge part of almost every diet now. Tomatoes did not exist in Italy for most of the countries history but in the united states the tomato is synonymous with italian food. If you think grains are bad because we have only been cultivating them for 10,000, here are the two biggest staples of the american diet that most races have been eating for only 400.

Andrew

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This is the disease, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_disease

Here it is stipulated that the frequency is upwards of 1% in the general population, and 5 to 10% in risk groups. Is this different from the study in the previous post?

A frequency of 1% for me does not equal that I should not eat grain.

No, this is incorrect. Read the article.

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When I was younger I had more energy to get into these kind of debates.

The medical community takes a long time before it admits its mistakes. (in some cases, never) Investigate wisely into the research and decide for yourself. If you do not have the ability to read research, find someone who can, make sure you trust his opinion and follow it.

Having said that, I have never witnessed someone, in over 10 years of work with clients, who was taken off grains and did not show positive results in health status, body fat, performance. Period.

Ido.

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That's fair Ido.

I try to read from different sources with different points of view, this also why I stumbled across your claim simply because it is in contradiction to what I have been taught previously. I find that more reading and knowledge often tends to lead to more confusion. As there is very often in discrepancies between different sources and research projects. Therefore I try to apply a little reluctance, when I stumble against claims that contradict my "knowledge".

As for the article, it is for subscribers and apparently it is not free. But I would be happy to read it elsewhere if there was a link or something.

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That's fair Ido.

I try to read from different sources with different points of view, this also why I stumbled across your claim simply because it is in contradiction to what I have been taught previously. I find that more reading and knowledge often tends to lead to more confusion. As there is very often in discrepancies between different sources and research projects. Therefore I try to apply a little reluctance, when I stumble against claims that contradict my "knowledge".

As for the article, it is for subscribers and apparently it is not free. But I would be happy to read it elsewhere if there was a link or something.

http://www.canibaisereis.com/download/c ... prises.pdf

100x more common than previous thought.

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I've been eating completely Paleo now for over 6 months. I must say that I notice a hugely positive difference in so many aspects of my life. I am happier, I'm calmer, my skin glows, I am at an extremely low body fat, my cholesterol levels are fabulous, and my recovery times from workouts are quicker than they've ever been, my energy levels have spiked... In the past I've gone through just about every different eating plan imaginable. I've tweaked macronutrient ratios like a madman, religiously adhered to the Zone, weighed meals on a scale, done this, done that, and I must say that I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life. And the great part is, like Ido has noted before, my eating is very "general" in that I do not bicker about portions or selections (of course I don't sit down and eat four bananas and a bowl of dates).

I can understand the aversion to ditching grains and starches. They are delicious, are cheap, calorie dense, and play such a pivotal role in our food culture. But, the most simple argument I can muster is that (apart from the excellent argument that our ancestors ate a certain and simple way for over 2 million years) when contrasted micronutrient-wise to most fruits and vegetables, ounce for ounce, calorie for calorie, they are simply cardboard. In my opinion, the only outstanding health offering I can credit grains and starches for are their fiber---but even then fruits and vegetables can offer just as much fiber, if not more. Apart from convenience and cheapness, I don't see much in grains and starches.

Paleo is so simple and makes such simple sense. Unite with me my fellow cavemen and women.

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"For years CD was considered a rare disease

outside of Europe. In North America, for example,

classic symptoms were recognized in fewer

than one in 10,000 people. In 2003 we published

the results of our study—the largest hunt

for people with CD ever conducted in North

America, involving more than 13,000 people.

Astoundingly, we found that one in 133 apparently

healthy subjects was affected, meaning the

disease was nearly 100 times more common

than had been thought."

1/133 = 0,75% - look at the wiki-link, they claim 0,75%. They seem to be coherent, if it isn't indeed the same study. 1 % is still a lot, but huge might be stretching it a bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_di ... idemiology

As for the diet it seems interesting, and I consider trying it for a month or so, just to see if I feel different.

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As a measure of health, lifespan seems to a reasonable parameter, and if that is anything to go by we should all eat the Japanese, right? Do they avoid grains? No, rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet as well as fish and vegetables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

We probably have to consider that Japanese people are, on the whole, a lot more active than Americans. I spent two years in Tokyo and the vast majority of people I saw and met with spent way less time than Americans sitting on their butts watching tv, and more time outdoors, climbing the stairs at the train station, walking, etc. Most of the people don't drive their cars to work. Also saw plenty of older people still working in the fields and in their gardens. Saw plenty of moms taking their kids on their bikes to the grocery store to do their shopping. Most of their food was bought and cooked within a few days, rather than sitting in a refridgerator for a week.

I think with any demographic, there's a lot of factors to consider in determining the reason for relatively higher degrees of health, longevity, etc.

mark

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The vibrant health of japanese people are more a myth than fact, nowdays. (Especialy in urban population)

Also, drawing conclusions this way is completely wrong. Japanese eat more rice and they are healthier than americans, so eating rice is healthy? bullshit. Why dont you 'blame' their better health on their greater consumption of fish and sea food? What about other life style factors like different activity levels, higher omega-3 consumption, etc etc... I can go on and on.

Also, did you stop to consider that rice consumption, although bad is better than french fries and junk food?

Drawing conclusions like that does not work. Search 'The French Paradox' for another myth about the french - same deal there.

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Mark, Ido,

My observations while living in Tokyo was that while many Japanese were not obese, many, if not a majority of them, were suffering from symptoms of metabolic disorder.

Chiefly, many people were "skinny-fat," i.e. slim but with little to no tone, (though there were many just plain overweight and out of shape).

The most noticeable symptom to me, though, was adult onset acne and the other skin conditions. It was very, very common for people to have very bad skin. Something was wrong with hormonal production.

If one wants to see where the Japanese are heading unless drastic dietary changes occur, one only has to visit Okinawa, which might as well be Las Vegas, as far as obesity goes.

The other things you might want to consider about the so-called Japanese diet is that it's not in fact "rice-based" in the sense that you get a giant mound of rice with food on it. Typically, Japanese restaurants do serve rice with meals, but perhaps 3/4 cup to 1 cup.

The other factor is that just because the Japanese eat rice doesn't mean polished rice isn't a maladaptive evolutionary characteristic. Just because a culture has evolved to eat a certain way over the last 10,000 years does not mean it's optimal --- it just means the diet allowed them to survive long enough to transmit their genes.

Meaning, on a report card, all your diet has to do is guarantee a C-minus ... health, longevity and performance are not really considerations beyond successful transmission of the genes.

My other favorite thing about Japan was that bread was often served as a treat or desert, by the single (albeit thick) slice, sometimes covered in ice cream. In stores, loaves of bread containing only 4 thick slices were sold in the same aisle as cupcakes and other junk food.

It was a startling perspective.

jason

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Jason,

I lived in hiroshima, japan as an exchange student and noticed the exact characteristics you are describing. It was prevalent everywhere. Almost EVERY middle-aged to older person possessed a skinny-fat structure. Though obesity appeared very uncommon, pot-bellies and atrophic bodies abounded.

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Sorry to diverge a bit from the current direction this thread has taken, but I've always been confused as to what exactly people mean when they advocate eliminating sugar from their diet. Are you referring primarily to refined sugars Ido? or simply to unnecessary sources of sugar like most deserts regardless of how the sugar in them has been processed? Because I'm sure your well aware that most fruits, vegetables, and berries have significant amounts of sugar in them.

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The vibrant health of japanese people are more a myth than fact, nowdays. (Especialy in urban population)

Also, drawing conclusions this way is completely wrong. Japanese eat more rice and they are healthier than americans, so eating rice is healthy? bullshit. Why dont you 'blame' their better health on their greater consumption of fish and sea food? What about other life style factors like different activity levels, higher omega-3 consumption, etc etc... I can go on and on.

Also, did you stop to consider that rice consumption, although bad is better than french fries and junk food?

Drawing conclusions like that does not work. Search 'The French Paradox' for another myth about the french - same deal there.

I agree.

For the exact same reason.. I'd say the following may not be completely accurate.

Having said that, I have never witnessed someone, in over 10 years of work with clients, who was taken off grains and did not show positive results in health status, body fat, performance. Period.

Or was it the increase in "fresh" produce that made it happen? With all due respect to you, I've realized and noticed one thing -

The more processed the food, the more you've killed it.

A large part of western diet of grains is - bread (fermented), pasta etc. These foods are / were processed with one particular property. They'd survive not going STALE. Storage and extensibility of shelf life (for 100s of years before we got refrigerators).

For a large part of middle ages the western diet did not have easy access to FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES... IN COMPARISON with lets say a Tropical Asian country. Especially with a lot of long cold winters, you'd have to make your food survive.

On the other hand, grains have been a staple for asian countries for generations. But, they are cooked in a certain fashion with certain 'digestive enhancing' spices & herbs. Note that the grains are always largely accompanied by a decent dose of vegetables etc.

There is almost no fermented bread / thick bread or Baked food in India or anywhere in Asia. Closest thing to baking is the EMEA (Europe, Middle East)

Almost no Indian / Asian food can survive for long without refrigeration.

What's the point I am trying to make?

The cooking is designed not for storage but for fresh consumption & 'better digestion'.

(For all people who've had a lot of veggies, feel bloated or get gas should look into Indian cooking - Almost every Indian dish consists of these certain herbs/ spices - Which I found over the last year or so of Ayurveda research are "digestive enhancers").

To add another nice food for thought tangent. Ever tried Ethiopian Food?

The first time I did so in Houston... wow! it was very similar to Indian Food. Flat bread, Lots of veggies (& meat variant for the no veggies).

Might I say that Ethiopians (& a lot of African natives) are some of the best athletes. I cant recall now but there was some article citing them as genetically gifted on that angle.

The same could be said of ...Greece / Sparta etc. Spanish (Old Spain) & Greeks (being in Southern Europe) used to have warmer climates and access to spices via the ME-Asia trade routes.

PS: Anyways... Just food for thought.

I believe its the increase in the RIGHT KIND OF FOOD v/s decrease in WRONG KIND OF FOOD that makes the big difference.

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Of course it is very very bad science to deduct things from general observations, like average lifespan, a million different things come into play, and grain consumption probably plays a very secondary part in this game.

It is generally very difficult to achieve certainty without proper science. Take paleo - why do you guys think it works? Is it because we as humans are prone to exactly this diet? Could there be another cause, we are yet to discover?

Is it because of the heightened awareness on the food quality? Because you avoid sugars? E-numbers and processed foods? or one of the other proposed causes.

As for 99,25% of the population they do not have Celiac Disease, and this might be a reason to consider why paleo boosts performance health etc. Is it solely because of grains?

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For the exact same reason.. I'd say the following may not be completely accurate.

You accuse me of lying? this is my experience, not a theory. How many clients have you worked with over the last 10 years?

Also, of course processed food and quantities and qualities will get you on your way to a better body, but it will also not get most people very far - after a short improvement, boom, a wall. Taking someone from 30% body fat to 20% can be done on any diet what so ever but take him down to 6%... That is a different story. (Although I agree it can also be done with grain consumption, but it will not change the fact they are not good for you, and it will be a lot less pleasent)

'Eating everything but in moderation' works for a while. And then, poof.

Ido.

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Dude,

"I believe its the increase in the RIGHT KIND OF FOOD v/s decrease in WRONG KIND OF FOOD that makes the big difference."

Having seen, trained and practiced with people for more than 10 years, both yoga and other training, this is simply not true.

Also, have you ever enjoyed naan bread? Maybe traveled through north India, with its prevalence of Tandoori ovens? They bake plenty of food in India --- in northern India.

Food anywhere near the equator does not keep well, so it is either eaten raw or boiled into a thin gruel. The other common factor is the inclusion of chiles. This applies in India as well as South America.

They also don't eat a lot of fish in central India --- primarily because it's too hot to transport and keep fish from the coasts.

So should we infer from this that we shouldn't eat fish, use chiles and spices, and eat only raw food? No, of course not.

There is compelling evidence that when you introduce processed grains and carbohydrates to cultures throughout the world, including India, which leads the world in type-2 diabetes, you get metabolic syndrome.

This is the key factor. Otherwise, there is evidence equally as compelling that it simply does not matter what a culture eats as long as it's low in grains and sugars. There will be low incidences of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart attacks, ulcers, obesity, even tooth decay and cavities.

This means you can eat a raw-food, vegetarian diet or an all-protein and fat diet, like the Masai or Inuit, whose traditional diets contained virtually no fruits or vegetables. Once you introduce an overabundance of the grains and sugars, however ... game over.

I have seen dramatic physical, mental, and some would say spiritual transformations occur when friends have switched to a raw-food diet. I have seen equally as compelling changes when friends have switched to a Paleo-style diet.

This is on all levels: strength, flexibility, weight, bodyfat percentage --- even skin clarity and energy levels.

The key factor common to the two radically opposing diets is the removal of processed grains and sugars.

My feelings towards India are similar to my feelings towards Japan --- just because certain elements of a culture have evolved eating a certain way does not mean it is not a maladaptive trait. It is an adaptation that has allowed these people to survive well enough to pass along their genes.

best,

jason

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Might I say that Ethiopians (& a lot of African natives) are some of the best athletes. I cant recall now but there was some article citing them as genetically gifted on that angle.

Do you realy want to look and perform like an ethiopian athlete? You are on the wrong forum, my friend. They are great long distance runners, but they have never done anything worth noting in power/speed sports. I rather look like a sprinter/gymnast than a long distance runner, but that is just me.

Ido.

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Back to the original topic, hopefully.

How do you keep on the zero grain diet, or maybe more to the point is it possible to do Paleo with out a huge effort?

I mean for me personally keeping a healthy, nutritious diet takes quite a bit of planning and time. I imagine that Paleo must take up more time, is it so? Also most of the recipes of things I normally enjoy as being both healthy and delicious contain non-Paleo ingredients.

PS.Ethiopian and Kenyan are superior in long distance running because of genetics. I believe it to be the anatomy of their lower leg.

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Fryk,

Your diet will be as difficult or as easy as you make it. I am presuming you are living in either North America or Europe. I could work up various responses for India, Japan, and other parts of Asia.

To borrow from the Crossfit community the simplest expression I have ever heard: eat meats, vegetables, fruits, some starch, little salt, no sugar.

If it is not one of those things, don't put it in your mouth, don't order it at a restaurant, don't buy it at the grocery store, and don't keep it on the shelves at your home.

For me, breakfast was the toughest meal to decondition mental patterns --- but then, I had been a vegetarian for a long time, so I had been eating a high grain-based diet for many years.

Encase your determination and resolve in flexibility and humor.

best,

jason

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I am not accusing you of lying nor do I have the kind of expertise you do.

In my "limited" experience, I've noticed the increase of veggies, fruits & Raw portions help a lot despite other items.

What I have been looking into is Ayurveda and how it governs Nutrition. It follows very different fundamentals but its framework is such that, it seems that almost every diet fad or diet fact that has had / shown results (positive or negative) can be accommodated or explained on the basis of the framework.

e.g. veg, non-veg, low fat, low carb, raw, etc.

Jason -

It does talk about fish, chicken & meats, etc and their positives & negatives.

All due respect to both of you resident experts. I am purely sharing what I have learnt and noticed out of Ayurveda & how so many varying ideas fit into it. I'm sure then it must have some over-arching benefit as a framework.

As for your viewpoints. I am not here to prove / disprove, I'm here to learn & share - Open minded discussion - Maybe I went on too many tangents :).. .

PS: Do excuse me if I offended you in any manner. It was not intended. Great respect for both you guys.

For Raw / Paleo a good forum - welikeitraw.com & giveittomeraw.com

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