Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU. Christina Warinner is a researcher at the University of Zurich, where she studies how humans have co-evolved with environments, diets and disease.
This is a very interesting video, not even as much from a perspective of debunking the paleo diet, but from the points she does make about our ancestors.
What I took from the video:
- we are not meant to eat too much meat, yes we can survive by consuming primarily meat, but not intended to base our diet on it
- our primary diet was and supposed to be plant-based
- cavemen did in fact eat grain
Nothing new to me, but just another piece of research that supports my experience. I love that Warinner stresses out local, seasonal and fresh! That is what I believe as well.
And I was always wondering, why eat like a caveman? Were they healthier than us, had longer life expectancy? I do not know, but I do try to listen to my own body, work with it and take clues it gives me to craft my own individual diet, the same thing I do with my clients. I personally have noticed that grains do not make me feel great. I soak, I ferment – and still and up bloated, heavy and the same goes for my husband. So lately I have been noticing that no matter what I try, I have to limit my grain intake to a minimum. I also want to limit nuts as much as possible, I eat very little soy, and so that leaves me with vegetables, GOOD animal protein and fruits.
I do have to say that if this pyramid on the right is correct and paleo diet’s primary foods are meat and fish – that just does not feel right to me, and Warinner’s research seems to support my experience. I am completely open minded and yet can not imagine that animal proteins are more important to our nutrition then vegetables. I stress that I am not an expert, just someone with an open mind, and eager to learn. With some common sense, I look into the research and like to summarize and share it. So my diet will have to be plant-based with GOOG animal protein and fruit.
As I was planning to post this article, a friend mentioned a new study he came across. Apparently, a little known chemical called TMAO, a byproduct of a bacteria produced in our gut after eating red meat, is actually responsible for increased risk of heart disease. The study was conducted by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic:
The researchers had come to believe that what damaged hearts was not just the thick edge of fat on steakes, or the delectable marbling of their tender interiors. In fact, these scientists suspected that saturated fat and cholesterol made only a minor contribution to the increased amount of heart disease seen in red-meat eaters. The real culprit, they proposed, was a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat red meat. It is quickly converted by the liver into yet another little-studied chemical called TMAO that gets into the blood and increases the risk of heart disease.
That, at least, was the theory. So the question that morning was: Would a burst of TMAO show up in people’s blood after they ate steak? And would the same thing happen to a vegan who had not eaten meat for at least a year and who consumed the same meal?
The answers were: yes, there was a TMAO burst in the five meat eaters; and no, the vegan did not have it. And TMAO levels turned out to predict heart attack risk in humans, the researchers found. The researchers also found that TMAO actually caused heart disease in mice. Additional studies with 23 vegetarians and vegans and 51 meat eaters showed that meat eaters normally had more TMAO in their blood and that they, unlike those who spurned meat, readily made TMAO after swallowing pills with carnitine.
After learning of the research findings:
Lora Hooper, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who follows the Paleo diet, heavy on meat, exclaimed, “Yikes!”
I guess she may be reevaluating her diet too 😉
So a substance in red meat, called carnitine — seemed to be a culprit. The problem arose when it was metabolized by bacteria in the intestines and ended up as TMAO in the blood.
Another problem is that besides it’s presence in red meat, carnitine often is added to the energy drinks on the assumption that is will speed fat metabolism and increase a person’s energy level.
Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the American Heart Association, worried about how carnitine might be affecting body builders and athletes who often take it because they believe it builds muscle.
Those supplements, Dr. Hazen said, “are scary, especially for our kids.”
Back to paleo – I know people have benefited from paleo and it is does in fact promote some very beneficial dieting principles, and yet again I have to go back to bio-individuality. We are all different and what works for one will not work for the other. Listen to your body, see how eating makes you feel, watch what you eat, reflect, and make necessary adjustments. I do think we consume way too many grains, too much flour, sugar, dairy and processed foods and not enough vegetables, greens, and fruits.
To summarize: to meat or not to meat? I get asked that a lot. While I am all about an individual approach to a diet, and I do believe that there are some basic rules everyone should apply I do have some thoughts. Meat vs. no meat – I have to say that I am not planning to be exclusively a vegan or a carnivore, my family eats seasonally and part of that, in my opinion, is eating more animal protein in a colder months and eating a more plant-based diet in the summer months. I am not ready to make a choice as far as a solid commitment to a vegan lifestyle for instance, but I am also not comfortable consuming large quantities of meat/dairy/poultry or fish either.
In closing, I have to say that I have seen numerous studies about negative effects of meat consumption on our bodies, but I have yet to see a study about negative effects of consuming too many vegetables.
To your health,
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/study-points-to-new-culprit-in-heart-disease.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&; http://balancedbites.com/2010/10/priorities-for-eating-paleo-on-a-budget.html