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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Neolithic Counter-Revolution in Diet

Cat grass om nom nom by chris.jervis from flickr (CC-NC)


All people have silly things to feel proud of, like their country or their soccer team - one unusual thing I feel very proud of myself is Neolithic Revolution. We fucking made it! We're the only beings in the whole damn universe who broke free from bondage of evolution, and that was the main act.

Like all irrationally proud people, I get easily irritated by all misguided criticism Neolithic Revolution has been getting - by amount of pure hatred it gets you'd think it was run by Justin Bieber and involved kitten sacrifice. Not that there would be any kittens without Neolithic Revolution - it's a true fact!

The most common thread of criticism is that somehow, with literally over 9000 years of lag, Neolithic food is making us unhealthy and overweight, and if only we could abandon civilization and go back to what was eaten in Paleolithic, we'd all be happy monkey once more.

This is plainly ridiculous. There's not a single group anywhere in the world even remotely living Upper Paleolithic life any more - even those that get most of their food hunting and gathering have long history of contact, trade, and interbreeding with agriculturalists and pastoralists, and every time you look more closely you'll see they don't really shy away from a bit of farming here and there themselves.

In other words - our knowledge of Paleolithic life and diet is about as good as our knowledge of mating habits of Hogwarts students - a lot of real fun speculation, and very little hard data.


And no matter where you look - vast majority of people have been unhealthy, with huge infant mortality, and all kinds of other severe health problems. True, cardiovascular problems and obesity are a fairly recent thing, but it is just ridiculous to focus exclusively on them and blame modern diet and lifestyle, while totally disregarding sheer count of much more debilitating diseases it saves us from.

It's a lot like complaining about Internet leading to more privacy violations, while ignoring how helpful it is in fixing a far more severe problem of not having fucking Internet access in the first place. Whiners gonna whine.
Isis is an ouroboros om nom nom cat macro by benchilada from flickr (CC-NC-SA)
Isis as an Oroboros



Diet by era


Getting back on track, I took FAO data, and classified all food consumed into three big groups:
  • Paleolithic - vegetables, fruit (excluding wine), treenuts, meat, eggs, fish, seafood, other aquatic products, offal
  • Neolithic - cereals, pulses, alcoholic beverages, milk, butter, animal fats, starchy roots, spices, stimulants, miscellaneous
  • Industrial - sugar, sweeteners, sugarcrops, vegetable oils, oilcrops

For nitpickers who want to pick nits, here are exact definitions.

There are a few borderline cases I'll explain before proceeding:
  • Sugars and sweeteners (HFCS) are undoubtedly extremely recent introduction to diet.
  • A few vegetable oils like palm kernel oil and olive oil were common in traditional Neolithic, but they're a few percent of total, which is dominated by extremely recent soy, corn, sunflower etc., and they get far far more refining including partial oxidation than they ever used to. Traditional vegetable oils exist, but it would just complicate matters without changing conclusions.
  • Starchy roots category are almost all Neolithic crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and so on.
  • Minor categories without bold font are rather insignificant, and only included to make percents add up nicely.
  • Fans of Paleolithic will undoubtedly whine that modern vegetable, meat, etc. are not really Paleo due to all changes in modern agriculture, but by the same logic Neolithic foods are very rapidly disappearing as well. More seriously - in the grand scheme of things an egg is an egg, a pig is a pig, and a nut is a nut. Modern pig is far closer to wild pig than it is to a can of Diet Mountain Dew.
Still with me? Can you guess what changed in our diet between 1961 and 2007?
Our diet became a lot less Neolithic, a lot more Paleolithic, and a lot more Industrial.
Yes, we eat more Paleolithic, and we're more fatter than when we were eating Neolithic. How do you deal with that, Neolithic-haters?

Here's full list of countries for which data exists for both 1961 and 2007, percents are Paleolithic:Neolithic:Industrial by calories. Sadly there's no high quality data predating 1961, and for many countries like United States that was halfway through the Neolithic Counter-Revolution in diet.
  • Albania - 11.75%:80.75%:7.51% - 20.52%:65.36%:14.12%
  • Algeria - 9.75%:73.61%:16.65% - 11.11%:67.83%:21.06%
  • Angola - 7.89%:79.36%:12.75% - 9.32%:69.61%:21.07%
  • Antigua and Barbuda - 15.81%:57.22%:26.96% - 31.47%:46.85%:21.67%
  • Argentina - 27.36%:54.76%:17.88% - 24.13%:47.73%:28.13%
  • Australia - 24.36%:54.1%:21.54% - 25.47%:45.74%:28.79%
  • Austria - 18.21%:63.22%:18.57% - 22.02%:50.83%:27.15%
  • Bahamas - 23.15%:61.93%:14.93% - 28.53%:50.39%:21.08%
  • Bangladesh - 3.85%:89.29%:6.86% - 4.28%:84.97%:10.74%
  • Barbados - 13.98%:60.39%:25.63% - 23.63%:46.47%:29.9%
  • Belize - 11.35%:74.1%:14.55% - 19.45%:59.28%:21.26%
  • Benin - 6.94%:81.69%:11.37% - 5.59%:79.67%:14.74%
  • Bermuda - 29.55%:49.89%:20.56% - 26.64%:47.87%:25.49%
  • Bolivia - 16.84%:69.13%:14.03% - 20.5%:63.21%:16.29%
  • Botswana - 8.12%:81.73%:10.15% - 8.33%:68.47%:23.2%
  • Brazil - 10.84%:64.72%:24.44% - 18.5%:52.16%:29.34%
  • Brunei Darussalam - 11.3%:60.84%:27.86% - 18.18%:58.17%:23.65%
  • Bulgaria - 12.09%:73.62%:14.29% - 14.32%:59.42%:26.27%
  • Burkina Faso - 5.7%:82.29%:12.0% - 4.88%:82.2%:12.92%
  • Burundi - 12.63%:86.26%:1.12% - 18.25%:76.82%:4.93%
  • Cambodia - 6.9%:85.41%:7.69% - 10.36%:78.72%:10.92%
  • Cameroon - 13.2%:77.79%:9.02% - 14.16%:69.59%:16.25%
  • Canada - 19.53%:56.58%:23.89% - 20.26%:47.84%:31.9%
  • Cape Verde - 4.7%:81.66%:13.64% - 15.5%:66.54%:17.96%
  • Central African Republic - 7.06%:78.32%:14.62% - 12.51%:62.86%:24.63%
  • Chad - 5.5%:76.12%:18.37% - 4.72%:74.52%:20.76%
  • Chile - 14.27%:69.53%:16.2% - 22.35%:55.36%:22.29%
  • China - 7.84%:85.5%:6.66% - 26.97%:60.24%:12.8%
  • Colombia - 20.28%:58.13%:21.59% - 17.96%:54.0%:28.04%
  • Comoros - 10.92%:69.45%:19.63% - 12.41%:63.33%:24.26%
  • Congo - 9.8%:78.31%:11.89% - 11.48%:65.33%:23.19%
  • Costa Rica - 12.49%:58.25%:29.25% - 13.21%:54.1%:32.69%
  • Cuba - 12.87%:56.72%:30.41% - 17.15%:59.63%:23.22%
  • Cyprus - 18.96%:55.05%:25.99% - 25.71%:44.5%:29.79%
  • Côte d'Ivoire - 22.44%:67.91%:9.65% - 12.63%:71.54%:15.84%
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea - 10.04%:82.17%:7.78% - 14.28%:76.58%:9.14%
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo - 11.51%:77.38%:11.11% - 5.62%:80.92%:13.46%
  • Denmark - 12.89%:62.25%:24.85% - 22.85%:56.69%:20.46%
  • Djibouti - 10.02%:64.9%:25.08% - 9.22%:64.56%:26.22%
  • Dominica - 17.34%:54.38%:28.27% - 25.55%:53.08%:21.37%
  • Dominican Republic - 30.24%:50.15%:19.62% - 21.13%:45.9%:32.97%
  • Ecuador - 19.72%:57.59%:22.69% - 23.44%:50.79%:25.77%
  • Egypt - 9.99%:76.98%:13.04% - 13.53%:72.27%:14.2%
  • El Salvador - 9.57%:71.64%:18.79% - 12.95%:63.52%:23.53%
  • Fiji - 5.56%:70.69%:23.75% - 13.74%:59.49%:26.77%
  • Finland - 12.06%:71.48%:16.46% - 24.17%:57.14%:18.7%
  • France - 21.62%:63.01%:15.37% - 22.55%:52.99%:24.46%
  • French Polynesia - 14.2%:63.64%:22.16% - 25.66%:52.12%:22.22%
  • Gabon - 32.81%:60.46%:6.72% - 24.44%:58.77%:16.79%
  • Gambia - 4.72%:71.77%:23.51% - 5.43%:62.54%:32.02%
  • Germany - 17.41%:61.61%:20.98% - 19.11%:54.34%:26.55%
  • Ghana - 14.96%:70.04%:14.99% - 15.66%:68.45%:15.88%
  • Greece - 16.44%:62.54%:21.02% - 20.88%:52.17%:26.95%
  • Grenada - 19.96%:51.5%:28.54% - 22.75%:44.22%:33.03%
  • Guatemala - 7.94%:78.14%:13.92% - 11.88%:62.1%:26.03%
  • Guinea - 19.42%:66.22%:14.36% - 12.7%:65.3%:22.0%
  • Guinea-Bissau - 13.84%:66.61%:19.55% - 8.88%:72.67%:18.45%
  • Guyana - 9.91%:63.19%:26.9% - 13.37%:61.33%:25.29%
  • Haiti - 12.78%:71.19%:16.03% - 11.49%:67.65%:20.86%
  • Honduras - 14.6%:70.33%:15.06% - 14.01%:60.13%:25.86%
  • Hungary - 15.99%:73.08%:10.93% - 18.2%:54.28%:27.52%
  • Iceland - 23.18%:52.58%:24.24% - 29.86%:50.0%:20.14%
  • India - 3.91%:79.42%:16.67% - 6.05%:75.19%:18.76%
  • Indonesia - 5.01%:78.85%:16.14% - 10.06%:70.67%:19.28%
  • Iran - 13.05%:71.72%:15.22% - 19.0%:64.28%:16.72%
  • Ireland - 13.96%:68.21%:17.83% - 18.92%:57.09%:23.99%
  • Israel - 18.05%:54.71%:27.25% - 24.11%:46.88%:29.01%
  • Italy - 15.24%:65.83%:18.93% - 22.54%:50.52%:26.95%
  • Jamaica - 17.55%:52.07%:30.37% - 19.78%:50.2%:30.02%
  • Japan - 10.96%:73.67%:15.37% - 20.18%:52.37%:27.45%
  • Jordan - 15.15%:61.34%:23.52% - 11.56%:56.94%:31.51%
  • Kenya - 10.21%:81.37%:8.42% - 10.96%:71.23%:17.8%
  • Kiribati - 15.97%:36.76%:47.27% - 17.87%:41.66%:40.47%
  • Kuwait - 20.35%:53.3%:26.35% - 20.59%:55.01%:24.4%
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic - 5.7%:92.49%:1.81% - 12.54%:80.1%:7.36%
  • Lebanon - 18.25%:63.08%:18.67% - 19.77%:51.64%:28.59%
  • Lesotho - 6.41%:87.67%:5.93% - 5.42%:86.71%:7.87%
  • Liberia - 11.77%:78.59%:9.64% - 7.39%:70.14%:22.47%
  • Libyan Arab Jamahiriya - 12.64%:64.69%:22.67% - 14.19%:57.38%:28.43%
  • Madagascar - 10.93%:82.92%:6.15% - 8.59%:82.55%:8.87%
  • Malawi - 6.94%:80.3%:12.76% - 8.17%:80.37%:11.46%
  • Malaysia - 10.39%:66.13%:23.48% - 17.46%:55.23%:27.31%
  • Maldives - 11.62%:52.79%:35.59% - 31.66%:47.91%:20.43%
  • Mali - 7.59%:84.68%:7.73% - 7.61%:78.81%:13.58%
  • Malta - 11.15%:68.35%:20.5% - 20.93%:58.91%:20.16%
  • Mauritania - 12.88%:75.94%:11.18% - 8.49%:68.07%:23.43%
  • Mauritius - 3.87%:65.63%:30.5% - 11.67%:60.76%:27.58%
  • Mexico - 10.63%:71.76%:17.61% - 17.84%:57.94%:24.21%
  • Mongolia - 39.69%:58.38%:1.94% - 21.64%:66.94%:11.42%
  • Morocco - 7.48%:72.86%:19.66% - 11.14%:67.73%:21.13%
  • Mozambique - 4.49%:86.97%:8.54% - 4.86%:81.05%:14.09%
  • Myanmar - 7.85%:79.08%:13.07% - 13.94%:68.05%:18.01%
  • Namibia - 11.65%:72.43%:15.92% - 9.47%:73.61%:16.93%
  • Nepal - 2.92%:92.98%:4.1% - 6.57%:83.19%:10.24%
  • Netherlands - 15.62%:54.88%:29.5% - 23.71%:48.54%:27.75%
  • Netherlands Antilles - 22.11%:56.63%:21.26% - 19.48%:57.6%:22.92%
  • New Caledonia - 18.0%:59.27%:22.73% - 20.3%:55.11%:24.58%
  • New Zealand - 25.31%:57.12%:17.57% - 26.86%:46.42%:26.72%
  • Nicaragua - 10.28%:69.71%:20.01% - 7.62%:66.84%:25.54%
  • Niger - 6.39%:88.74%:4.87% - 8.12%:82.06%:9.82%
  • Nigeria - 10.03%:69.04%:20.93% - 8.41%:72.24%:19.35%
  • Norway - 19.78%:61.74%:18.48% - 21.85%:55.4%:22.75%
  • Pakistan - 4.75%:81.31%:13.94% - 6.8%:69.01%:24.19%
  • Panama - 15.72%:66.74%:17.54% - 16.01%:62.74%:21.24%
  • Paraguay - 23.41%:66.75%:9.83% - 16.12%:59.2%:24.68%
  • Peru - 12.89%:68.83%:18.28% - 15.12%:69.75%:15.13%
  • Philippines - 19.21%:66.67%:14.12% - 20.62%:65.71%:13.68%
  • Poland - 10.91%:76.75%:12.35% - 18.45%:60.73%:20.82%
  • Portugal - 16.91%:66.28%:16.81% - 23.23%:56.13%:20.64%
  • Republic of Korea - 5.32%:90.37%:4.32% - 22.31%:52.44%:25.25%
  • Romania - 9.45%:82.0%:8.55% - 15.07%:67.21%:17.73%
  • Rwanda - 25.5%:73.72%:0.78% - 19.72%:73.29%:6.99%
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis - 8.93%:50.93%:40.14% - 20.29%:48.07%:31.65%
  • Saint Lucia - 25.06%:50.34%:24.6% - 29.78%:51.14%:19.08%
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 9.56%:60.38%:30.06% - 21.06%:53.12%:25.82%
  • Samoa - 23.99%:36.67%:39.34% - 30.0%:36.99%:33.01%
  • Sao Tome and Principe - 8.04%:60.04%:31.92% - 16.54%:55.14%:28.31%
  • Saudi Arabia - 15.92%:75.97%:8.11% - 18.27%:59.75%:21.98%
  • Senegal - 7.95%:71.51%:20.54% - 8.12%:67.61%:24.28%
  • Seychelles - 8.56%:67.95%:23.49% - 19.51%:55.67%:24.82%
  • Sierra Leone - 8.22%:60.19%:31.59% - 7.24%:69.23%:23.53%
  • Solomon Islands - 11.34%:76.01%:12.65% - 8.8%:74.13%:17.07%
  • South Africa - 11.65%:68.29%:20.06% - 13.0%:65.02%:21.98%
  • Spain - 14.51%:65.32%:20.17% - 26.26%:44.51%:29.23%
  • Sri Lanka - 7.11%:66.81%:26.08% - 7.77%:65.04%:27.2%
  • Sudan - 12.25%:69.05%:18.7% - 8.99%:73.13%:17.88%
  • Suriname - 10.5%:62.34%:27.17% - 17.27%:50.4%:32.33%
  • Swaziland - 9.94%:72.8%:17.26% - 11.05%:66.46%:22.48%
  • Sweden - 15.71%:55.94%:28.35% - 21.33%:52.34%:26.33%
  • Switzerland - 18.89%:56.97%:24.14% - 22.51%:47.44%:30.06%
  • Syrian Arab Republic - 15.76%:64.68%:19.57% - 12.54%:59.61%:27.85%
  • Thailand - 13.35%:75.37%:11.28% - 16.74%:57.68%:25.57%
  • Timor-Leste - 24.68%:71.22%:4.09% - 9.99%:75.86%:14.15%
  • Togo - 4.07%:86.81%:9.12% - 4.06%:78.59%:17.35%
  • Trinidad and Tobago - 10.2%:63.93%:25.88% - 14.56%:53.62%:31.82%
  • Tunisia - 9.36%:70.51%:20.13% - 13.45%:62.22%:24.33%
  • Turkey - 15.4%:74.39%:10.2% - 13.6%:62.28%:24.12%
  • Uganda - 17.44%:68.31%:14.25% - 22.27%:61.07%:16.66%
  • United Arab Emirates - 17.52%:70.51%:11.98% - 23.45%:57.72%:18.82%
  • United Kingdom - 20.41%:56.05%:23.54% - 22.54%:53.49%:23.97%
  • United Republic of Tanzania - 11.34%:80.15%:8.51% - 10.55%:75.45%:14.0%
  • United States of America - 20.36%:50.72%:28.92% - 20.51%:43.43%:36.06%
  • Uruguay - 28.54%:52.68%:18.78% - 15.05%:62.14%:22.82%
  • Vanuatu - 19.77%:57.07%:23.16% - 17.79%:52.8%:29.41%
  • Venezuela - 18.93%:54.48%:26.59% - 17.04%:53.45%:29.51%
  • Viet Nam - 10.49%:85.45%:4.06% - 19.59%:70.94%:9.46%
  • Yemen - 7.35%:85.13%:7.53% - 8.83%:69.29%:21.88%
  • Zambia - 6.0%:85.56%:8.44% - 5.53%:80.41%:14.05%
  • Zimbabwe - 5.85%:83.99%:10.16% - 5.64%:69.28%:25.07%
Almost universally, good old Neolithic foods that served us so well for entire history of human civilization are abandoned. And two primary foods of industrial era - sugar and vegetable oil - become the new basis of diet. What people rarely mention is how at the same time Paleolithic food - meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and so on - doubled in popularity in so many countries. And some combination of Paleolithic and Industrial is destroying everyone's hearts, livers, thyroids, and attractiveness outside certain narrow niche.

To save you some eye strain, here's the list of Top Ten Least Neolithic Countries. I don't even need to mention how it correlates with obesity rankings:
  1. Samoa - 23.99%:36.67%:39.34% - 30.0%:36.99%:33.01%
  2. Kiribati - 15.97%:36.76%:47.27% - 17.87%:41.66%:40.47%
  3. United States of America - 20.36%:50.72%:28.92% - 20.51%:43.43%:36.06%
  4. Grenada - 19.96%:51.5%:28.54% - 22.75%:44.22%:33.03%
  5. Cyprus - 18.96%:55.05%:25.99% - 25.71%:44.5%:29.79%
  6. Spain - 14.51%:65.32%:20.17% - 26.26%:44.51%:29.23%
  7. Australia - 24.36%:54.1%:21.54% - 25.47%:45.74%:28.79%
  8. Dominican Republic - 30.24%:50.15%:19.62% - 21.13%:45.9%:32.97%
  9. New Zealand - 25.31%:57.12%:17.57% - 26.86%:46.42%:26.72%
  10. Barbados - 13.98%:60.39%:25.63% - 23.63%:46.47%:29.9%
    But no worries - The Neolithic Counter-Revolution seems to be reaching everyone who can afford it, so soon the entire planet will consist of walking blobs of omega-6 PUFA.
    OM NOMNOMNOM NOM by katherine.a from flickr (CC-NC-SA)

    Anonymous Heroes of Science


    You might now think that I'm some ridiculous kind of ultra-Conservative, who would like to move back not just to the Founding Fathers or their local equivalent but all the way to ancient Sumer. Not at all.

    Food of Industrial era is mostly horrible crap, but it's also very plentiful, very cheap, and some of it is actually quite tasty. I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually - a big more Omega-3 here, a bit less Bisphenol A there - and step by step it might get just as good or even better than what farming came out with. Food eaten by early farmers was also horrible and caused severe health problems, but it was plentiful, cheap, and it took only a few millennia to figure out matters of health.


    The thing is - I just don't feel particular need to be the early adopter of Industrial Diet. Early adopters are essential, as our scientific ethics committees are too chickenshit to approve genuine scientific experiments on humans, so we're doing the second best things by pretending it's all perfectly safe and letting nature run the experiment. Which trial of trans fats could even hope compete with feeding ridiculous amounts of them to hundreds of millions of people for nearly a century now? Without even telling them, to avoid placebo effect! Now that's proper science on grand scale!

    And so I'd like to thank all people who unlike me bravely volunteer to let food industry run scientific experiments on their bodies by purchasing industrial food, and not stopping even after suffering severe side effects including but not limited to disfiguration, heart failure, liver failure, depression, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and many others.

    Your noble sacrifice will not be forgotten. Actually it totally will, but keep going please? The science needs you!

    9 comments:

    id said...

    I think your best bet is to read some Michael Pollan. I don't remember if he wrote this or if it was in a lecture I saw him give (and I can only paraphrase because my memory sucks): Nutrition science is at about the same point that medical science was in the 1600s: it's showing a lot of exciting potential, but I'm not eager to let them go to work on me with a hacksaw.

    I like his take on things mostly because it's the least biased opinion I've run across.

    psykotedy said...

    Hmmm...clearly Blogger needs to figure out what to do with Google OpenID links. Sorry to sully your site.

    Anonymous said...

    Starchy roots would definitely be paleolithic. No hunter-gatherer is going to pass up some nice roots he can just dig out with a fire-hardened stick.

    Even grain, to some extent. I took a weekend class on edible wild plants, and grass seed was one of the staples. Grain of course is just domesticated grass.

    And beans...I've seen paleos argue that beans are off-limits since you can't eat them raw. Meanwhile anthropologists keep pushing back the date when humans started using fire, some of them saying it's been as long as a million years and that cooked food played a major part in human evolution.

    On the other hand, a lot of paleos drink consume dairy on the weak argument that humans can digest lactose now. If digestibility is the only criterion, why not eat the standard american diet? I'm trying to picture a caveman sneaking up to a wild bison for a quick teat squeeze.

    Apparently a lot of people view paleo as an excuse to eat a lot of bacon. (Surely there were primitive sources of nitrite.) I'd like to see them take some wilderness survival classes and learn what they're talking about. Along the way they'd learn the other part of the paleo life: hiking a good ten miles a day, off trail, which might be advisable for anyone who plans to down a lot of protein and fat.

    Anonymous said...

    Starchy roots would definitely be paleolithic. No hunter-gatherer is going to pass up some nice roots he can just dig out with a fire-hardened stick.

    Even grain, to some extent. I took a weekend class on edible wild plants, and grass seed was one of the staples. Grain of course is just domesticated grass.

    And beans...I've seen paleos argue that beans are off-limits since you can't eat them raw. Meanwhile anthropologists keep pushing back the date when humans started using fire, some of them saying it's been as long as a million years and that cooked food played a major part in human evolution.

    On the other hand, a lot of paleos drink consume dairy on the weak argument that humans can digest lactose now. If digestibility is the only criterion, why not eat the standard american diet? I'm trying to picture a caveman sneaking up to a wild bison for a quick teat squeeze.

    Apparently a lot of people view paleo as an excuse to eat a lot of bacon. (Surely there were primitive sources of nitrite.) I'd like to see them take some wilderness survival classes and learn what they're talking about. Along the way they'd learn the other part of the paleo life: hiking a good ten miles a day, off trail, which might be advisable for anyone who plans to down a lot of protein and fat.

    taw said...

    Anonymous: I explicitly said "Starchy roots category are almost all Neolithic crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and so on." in section about nitpicking. There are other kinds of "starchy roots" that were eaten before Neolithic, but they're hardly eaten now.

    A paleo with your attitude would just die. Wild varieties of potatoes, wild grasses, etc. were simply poisonous and not eaten in any significant amount. Processing required is far more than just some fire.

    We have plentiful archeological evidence of this abrupt shift in diet. Neolithic is reasonably well documented, unlike Paleolithic.

    Garth Whelan said...

    The point of paleo is to eat REAL food. Not the industrial lubricants (trans-fats) that are common in today's society. Regardless of whether or not they were eaten, grains are caloricly dense carb sources with phytic acid and lectins. Some have gluten. They have very poor mmicronutrient profiles. These are the reasons not to eat grains, not whether or not someone 10,000+ years ago ate them.

    Garth Whelan said...

    I do agree that industrial foods are the most important thing not to eat though. 80+% is just not eating the sugar and vegetable oils.

    benchilada said...

    Psst - Would you mind putting an actual link to my cat Isis as an Oroboros? Thank you very much.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/benchilada/3211371130/

    benjamin sTone

    taw said...

    benchilada: Sorry, I missed your comment. It's linked now.