The Thing That Separates Paleo From All Other Health/Nutrition Concepts

standing-ape-manUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the internet is chock-full of information about diet and health. The non-digital, real world is as well. Thoughts, opinions, and ideas about healthy living circulate in cafés, fitness centers, and classrooms all over the world. One of the characterizing features of this information is that it’s very heterogeneous. Virtually nobody seems to be in complete agreements about anything.

Some YouTubers loudly claim that the key to a lean and mean physique is to adhere to a high-volume, high-intensity strength training program, whereas others argue that a less strenuous exercise routine agrees much better with the human body; some nutritionists make the case that we would all be best off if we ate a vegan or vegetarian diet, while others cherish meat and claim that animal source foods are an essential part of the human dietary template; some medical doctors argue that many diseases and health problems can be prevented via proper diet and exercise, whereas others put all their faith in the pharmaceutical industry; and so on…

Why is there so much conflict and confusion?

Read more from my article at Pete Evans’ website…


  1. The accompanying photo is a bit “primitive”…. in terms of our understanding of human evolution, isn’t it?

    • Hi chol, it’s always constructive to have counterarguments to think about, thank you for the link.
      However, I think that article takes very poor arguments in its support.
      Rather than being an understanding of evolution, I argue that it’s a mis-understanding.
      It’s very unlikely that “detrimental” SNPs have been “forced” randomly through bottlenecks.
      Furthermore, where is it written that these mutations are deleterious?
      It’s not a single gene associated with a specific function. Any feature is controlled by a huge array of genes.
      Evidence and RCTs show that whenever we embrace an evolutionary lifestyle, we have very little incidence of modern disease.
      Moreover, since they are skyrocketing lately, are we having a positive selection toward disease triggering genes (since genetic drift is highly unlikely in huge societies)?

      • Thank you for your comments Alessio. You are right; the term “deleterious” is probably not a good one. The article, out of Stanford U., is contributing to a conversation in which simplistic hierarchical, South to Northward, black to white notions of evolution are brought into question. It also brings into question an ideal human diet as opposed to a population or allelic based one. Even the term “evolutionary lifestyle” could be brought into question. See the following excerpt from the article as an example.
        “In summary, our results provide support for the hypothesis that positive selection acted to sweep derived alleles in the FADS region, which are associated with enhanced metabolism of MC-PUFA to LC-PUFAs, to near fixation in African populations. There has been considerable debate on how early humans escaped the developmental vulnerability to obtain sufficient DHA and AA necessary to maintain brain [8], [13], [23], [24] size and complexity, especially in light of studies suggesting that only trace amounts of LC-PUFAs could have been synthesized from plant-derived sources [25]. The evidence presented here from the 1 KGP and HGDP data suggest that a ‘game changing’ event (one or more mutations in the FADS cluster), likely occurred early at a time that could have dramatically impacted the rapid expansion from central source populations, ∼60–80 kya. Klein has suggested that modern patterns of culture and technology were due to a sudden change in cognitive capacities entailing some form of neurological mutation [26] which Mellars suggests occurred ∼80 kya [7]. While it is not possible to determine the cognitive impact of a mutation in the FADS cluster ∼84 kya, it is likely that suddenly having the capacity to more efficiently convert plant-based MC-PUFA to LC-PUFAs would have been an important advantage that would have facilitated expansion and movement into a variety of ecological locations.”
        This article brings into question one of many very romantic notions, here, the notion that Scandinavian or Mediterranean populations high consumption of seafood lent itself to an evolutionary bump or even more dangerously “intellectually superior” populations when in fact it might have silenced or downregulated or changed altogether an already pretty efficient plant conversion capacity. It also disrupts the linear narrative of “out of Africa” which the picture, my original point, suggests. Not everyone left Africa, or worse, for those who stayed, remained in a perpetual frozen state. And yes, you are correct ‘deleterious’ is qualifying facts which is unnecessary.

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