Weston Price vs. Paleo

51 Comments

I received a great question from Pete that underscores some nuances of paleo/low carb eating. The topic of fat, particularly sat’d fat is an interesting and potentially contraversial one. here is Pete’s question:


Pete Kennedy
Rob, I am a huge fan. Thanks for the tremendous work. I am a recent convert to the Zone/Paleo/IF and am down 17lbs in 3 months. I just ordered a side of grass feed beef and entered a CSA for fruits/veggies.

A couple of questions for you. I have read from previous posts that you are critical of the Weston A. Price Org. Part of this is due to their being critical to the Dr. Cordain’s and Dr. Sears’ books. I have found good in all 3 so I am looking for a little advice.
– How many eggs a day? Go with Dr. Cordain’s advice of 6 a week? Weston A. Price as well as many PM and Crossfit blogs say you could almost eat unlimited eggs. I don’t understand Cordain’s reasons for limiting eggs due to the fat/protein ratio. I though Sat Fat and Cholesterol was no longer the evil once thought. If we are supposed to up our fat content, aren’t eggs perfectly acceptable.
– Are egg yolks bad? Once again Weston A. Price says the yolks are source of all the goodness (vitamins and other brain food). So should we heed to Dr. Sears’ advice of avoiding yolks?
– I am confused about the focus on lean meat in the paleo regime. As above, if saturated fat is not bad, why the focus on lean meat?
– What is your view of fish oil versus cod liver oil consumption? Take both or one?
– What is your view of raw milk and other dairy versus cutting dairy completely out?
– Finally, is fasting one day a week (24+ hours) as good as the daily 15-19 hr fasting window for long term health gains? I tried the daily fasting window last week and gained weight as well getting a lot of constipation. Any suggestions?

Sorry for the long laundry list but it is my first posts of hopefully many more. Thank you, Pete

Now I like 90% of what the Weston Price site has to say and really the points of departure are minutia when you get right down to it…but that can be enough to get some folks pretty riled up! Pete alluded to some of the issues I’ve had in the past with WP material, specifically the (in my opinion) personal attacks leveled at Prof. Cordain for his position on Sat’d fat. Sally Fallon and Mary Enig have really taken him to task on this topic and not in a nice or professional way. It burns my ass because Prof. Cordain always conducts himself with class and professionalism. He sticks to the facts as he sees them, states his case and provides ample opportunity for rebuttal. This SHOULD be how scientific inquiry occurs.

“…my theory is this, it’s based on this data set and makes these predictions…what does YOUR theory contain? What is YOUR theory based on? What does it predict?”

Instead of this exchange of ideas and debate of the facts, when people start to loose… things get personal. On a short list of people who have made debates with Cordain personal I can include: Fallon/Enig, Colpo, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell (remember the Protein Debate?). This is the same type of bullying that made Ancel Keys successful in promoting the diet heart hypothesis and began the demonetization of fat…which leads us to the heart of most of Pete’s questions which I think boil down to: What about the total fat in the diet and what about sat’d fat?

Cordain Tackles this question by looking at evolutionary biology, specifically: What was the composition of the diet of our ancestors? Using ethnographic information and whole body rendering and analysis of the fatty acids of wild animals such as deer Cordain has some models that indicate wild meat has/had a pretty low fat content in general and a low sat’d fat content in a particular AS COMPARED to grain-fed, feed-lot meat. His recommendations are geared towards emulating the fatty acid profile of our ancestors, hence the recommendation to eat lean meat in general and supplement with nuts, seeds and fish oils to round things out. Fallon/Enig pull from ethnographic info involving the tendency of our ancestors and modern hunter gatherers and pastoralists to favor fatty meats, whole fat dairy etc. Nothing is odd about this tendency and it is right in line with optimum foraging strategy: Achieve the greatest return on food energy for the least energy output. The problem is Fallon/Enig forget that feed lot meat can be upwards of 40% fat by weight whereas wild meat is 10-15% at SPECIFIC times of the year when the animals are the fattest. Additionally the saturated fat content is much lower in wild meat due to the lower glycemic load of plants vs. grains commonly consumed by farmed critters.

Doe this mean the clueless Mcdougalites might be right? Are low carb diets a sleeper-cell of impending cardiac death caused from…BOMP, BOMP,bomp!!!! SATURATED FAT!!!!?

Well…NO.  Atherosclerotic lesions and vascular damage are  complex processes that involve an ever growing list of factors, some dietary (lectins, glycemic load), some environmental (sleep, light exposure, stress) and some genetic (immune response). Prof. Cordain has made this VERY important point several times:

Our ancestral diet did not contain large amounts of sat’d fat. Sat’d fat appears to be a factor in the development of an atherosclerotic blood profile. Sat’d fat consumption at levels above those found in our ancestral diet it is not a guarantee of heart disease development. 

So, what does the fracking Cave-Man on the street take from all this? Is it OK to eat eggs? Yes, it is. Try to get omega-3 enriched eggs. They taste better, contain loads more antioxidants AND the fatty acid profile is much more in line with (drum-roll…) our ancestral diet. The recommendation from Sears and Cordain to eat lean meats is so you minimize sat’d fat intake (because of the grain feeding) and then to round things out with nuts, seeds and fish oil…to emulate our ancestral diet. It looks like ratios of fat are more of an issue than any total amount. The Inuit traditionally ate upwards of 70% of their calories from fat but the lions share was mono-unsat’d.

Pete had a few other questions:

Fish vs. Cod-I  like a mix of fish oil and cod liver oil. You can’t get all you supplemental n-3’s from cod liver oil due to the vit’s A&D, so round things out with standard fish oil.

Raw Dairy-See how you tolerate it. Find some grassfed variety if possible (remember that ancestral fatty acid profile?)

Fasting-No one knows! Get a dialed Paleo/Zone diet. Get your performance rocking, your sleep solid…all with a basic 3-5 meals per day plan. THEN introduce some IF. Do you feel or perform better? Is your sleep and recovery better? No? ditch it. It’s not a cure-all. It might help many things, it might also screw a number of things up.

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  1. owen bruhn
    April 11, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Hi
    One of Weston Prices main points was that at the time of his research in the 1930s he showed that people werent getting enough of the fat soluble vitamins. However, to get fat soluble vitamins it seems there is a pretty good chance you will have to consume some fats\oils along the way. Too much fat is a problem. Too little must be a problem too.

    Anyway, I’ve been trying to fit the WP stuff into my personal paleo model and started taking cod liver oil a few months ago:-
    -Vitamin A (Retinol), for me anyway, is not the same as carotenes- lots of carotenes in my diet wont do it. However, cod liver oil makes a difference ie reduced infections etc

    – Vitamin D is hard to get enough of in the diet. Cod liver oil and regular safe sun bathing (dont get burnt) will get Vitamin D up to where it should be.

    – Prices activator X seems to be Vitamin K2.Unfortunately K2 is not in cod liver oil. To get enough k2 means you have to rely on meats and organ meat(brain, salivary glands,pancreas are rich with some K2 in other organs) OR eat dairy products (butter oil or certain cheeses), fermented soy(natto) ======== [Robb, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on K2]============

    OB

    Owen-
    I’m not familiar with K2 metabolism or the implications here. I’ll do some reading.
    Robb

  2. owen bruhn
    April 11, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Forgot to include eggs in the list of things that have K2 in them. This is actually a pretty good reason to have a few eggs every week I think.
    OB

  3. Geoff Aucoin
    April 12, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Interesting stuff, indeed, keep it coming!

  4. Charles
    April 12, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    For anyone interested in this topic (I guess you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t), buy Weston Price’s original book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.”

    Yes, it was written in the 30s, and much scientific progress has been made since then. But to really get a sense of how degraded what we call “normal health” has become, you need to read about all the groups he found living on traditional diets, and the state of their health.

    He was a dentist so he focused on dental caries (though not exclusively). And what he found was that in most if not all of these groups, dental caries were almost non-existent, definitely an incidence down in the single digits. And a massive increase in poor teeth was totally correlated with eating a more westernized diet.

    How many people do you know that have had no cavities in their lives? So right there, we can see how our view of normal health is far from the potential for health if we eat a nutrient-dense, diet with good fats and minerals.

    Like I say, read the book, get the source material. It opened up my eyes as to what we are really talking about here.

    Fantastic Book indeed.
    Robb

  5. Brad
    April 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Please, tell me that coffee is not a lectin containing legume? If it is, just lie.. please.

    You are safe amigo. Step away from the ledge…
    Robb

  6. Naomi
    April 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Very well written, I love how fluently it reads. Thanks :)

    Thanks Naomi!!
    Robb

  7. Pete Kennedy
    April 13, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Rob, appreciate your response to my questions. Your knowledge as well as the time and research in answering these topics is without equal. Please let me know when you publish your own book.

    However, I can’t go without one question for you. What is a healthy cholesterol? I used to be below 130 but I am now around 180 with this diet. This might be a good thing, though. Taubes talks about a Japanese study in which those with little overall cholesterol were more at risk for cancer and other diseases. My cholesterol might just be adjusting to normal levels due to pretty much living my whole life under the “low-fat lie.”

    thanks once again, Pete

    PETE!!

    That’s a good question and I don’t know that there is a single answer to that. Cordain has a piece looking at the cholesterol’s of hunter gatherers and his assessment was “the lower the better” but there is no doubt about a threshold at which stroke and other disease appear to emerge. I also think the cholesterol levels of the Inuit and Ache are quite high, yet they suffer no ill effects because of the ratios of blood lipids and the low inflammatory state due to no refined carbohydrate intake. I need to give this some more thought, go through some old papers and do a post on the relative blood chemistry’s between a healthy high and low cholesterol level. No simple, easy answers, that is for sure!

    • Katherine
      November 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

      You can’t just look at the total cholesterol number! The ratio of LDL HDL and Tri’s is very important,so is the size and type of the particles. Do your research. My Total is 280 with 90 being HDL! Tri’s are 67!!! Particles are large and fluffy. I’m not concerned about my total number!!

  8. yael
    April 14, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Thanks for posting, Robb… I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms!

    Ha! You charmer you! You say that to all the boyz!
    Robb

  9. Mike OD - IF Life
    April 14, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Great post….good stuff…even inspired me to do a whole tribute to the Inuit!
    http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/2008/04/13/the-inuit-paradox-high-fat-lower-heart-disease-and-cancer/

    Anyways….you nailed it as usual:
    – Trim your meats (or eat grass fed)
    – Eat Your Omega 3 eggs
    – Love the MUFAs
    – Get the Omega 3s
    – Avoid the Omega 6s (esp in high fat grain fed meats)
    – Drink coffee and have a shot of tequila on the weekends

    MOD-
    Just the weekends for tequila!? You are loosing your edge my friend! Or perhaps I’m self medicating!
    Robb

    Wait…I might have added that last one by accident….

  10. Mark J. Cooper
    April 14, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Hi Robb,
    Another great post.My honest belief is that
    the WAPF are superior in the current knowledge of
    overall nutrition–especially the needed prepara-
    tion of foods i.e.soaking,sprouting,and especially
    fermenting.Our society has totally lost touch with
    this aspect of preparing and storing foods since the advent of refrigeration and the birth of the
    processed food industry.
    Back to Basics!!Especially grass fed meat
    and pastured poultry and eggs.
    Thanks, Mark

  11. Murph
    April 14, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Robb,

    Great post as always. I really appreciate the effort you put into this site. It is a phenomenal resource.

    Thanks!

    Murph-
    Thanks for the props! I really want to spenjd more time on this thing…I have a lot of topics in que that I just don’t get to.
    Robb

  12. Craig
    April 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    “Additionally the saturated fat content is much lower in wild meat due to the lower glycemic load of plants vs. grains commonly consumed by farmed critters.”

    Can you expand on this? How does glycemic load relate to saturated fat synthesis?

    Craig-
    my memory on this is fuzzy but high insulin levels combined with ubiquitous acetyl/citrate units (the little carbon backbones the pump through the krebs cycle) leads to an increase in Sat’d FA production as compared to a more titrated carb intake. Animals can shift this a bit via desaturase enzymes but it’s not really the natural state. Int he original piece I neglected to mention the skewing of the n-3/n-6 FA’s in grain feed situations. This is likely MORE of an issue that the sat’d fat ever is…bad on me for forgetting to weave that into the story.
    Robb

  13. Marc
    April 14, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Robb,
    Thank you so very much for this one!
    Good clarification with out getting overly tehcnical! KUDOS.

    Marc

    Thanks Marc!
    Robb

  14. Greg Battaglia
    April 14, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Robb,
    First off, great post!

    If n-6/n-3 ratio is more of a factor than saturated fat content (and I agree that it is) than why substitute grain-fed fats for nuts, which are also quite high in n-6 and low in n-3 (much of which are ALA anyway)? I know you can add in fish oil, but something tells me that eating a lot of nuts probably can’t be safely balanced by fish oil considering the disparity between n-6/n-3 in nuts. Am I wrong in assuming that you don’t eat a lot of nuts? None of your meals seem to include nuts.

    Greg-
    I tend to go in cycles where I will eat more almonds, pecans etc. The n-3/n-6 issue is what prompts folks like Sears and Cordain to recommend walnuts and macadamias as they have a favorable profile, albeit the shorter n-3 variety. Brad did an interesting analysis of this topic on Fitday or some other site and found it VERY hard to stay in that 2/1-1/1 ratio that is typical of our ancestral diet. Might this be an argument for eating lean meats and supplementing with coconut oil? More sat’d (short chain) but no problem with n-3/n-6? Possibly. Olive oil is quite high in n-6…it just becomes a minefield of “eat this…don’t eat that”. I do think it is entering the realm of minutia!
    Robb

  15. OPT
    April 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Robb, great answers..
    when i go to WAP org or meet any advocates of that style, the energy/chi…whatever is just not right…just my experience…his work – fantastic, his advocates…just not nice people
    that does not mean that in the end you can’t put out good info if you’re mean – but to me it seems like if you are not open to other ideas in human evolution, you’re hiding something…sidenote, i do not get that when i read or listen to Cordain
    another note, when i did place clients on higher purine diets/higher sat fat profiles based on lower carb/inslin management reasons, those that followed “cleaner” animal fats – grass fed more so that grain fed and “cleaner” eggs…they had much more success long term in fitness/consistency/blood work scoring and BF% profiles…so if both ideas were combined – i.e. cleaner animals and wild meats, we might have a winner..
    i have also been lucky enough to live off caribou for most of my young life along with seal and grouse, all wild lean meats and i’ve done ok
    just some thoughts

    OPT- You saying “I’ve done pretty well” is possibly the greatest understatement in all of health and fitness! HA! I Think once we have wild/grassfed meat as the main protein source the fat content becomes irrelevant. The ratios are good and things look peachy from both the WAP and Cordain perspective.
    How’s your training comming along?
    Robb

  16. OPT
    April 17, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Pete, ask this guy for the best info on cholesterol, it is more about the particle size now of the bad than the score in general…read Dr Ravnskov’s book “cholesterol myths” as well – fascinating

    ravnskov@tele2.se

  17. Greg Battaglia
    April 19, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Robb,

    That’s interesting what you said about it being VERY hard to hit the 2:1 ratio. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that it really wasn’t realistic with any significant quantity of nuts. I thought olive oil was mostly n-9? Anyway, maybe Sears was right all along. The Zone is lower in overall fat, which if supplemented with fish oil could easily create a favorable n-6/n-3 ratio. Throw in low GI fruits and veggies and starchy carbs PWO and you might have it nailed. After all, not all H/G’s were/are low-carb.

    OPT and Robb,
    I’m pretty sure that the n-6/n-3 ratio found in the muscle meat of grass-fed/wild animals is only slightly better than that of grain-fed, although the sat. fat content does appear to be significantly lower in GF meat. I believe most paleos got their n-3’s from brain tissue and bone marrow. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Greg-
    Yes and no. HG’s ate the most fat dense portions of the animal preferentially, sometimes to the point of rendering down the bones and hooves! Distribution of FA’s does vary with a critter, however it reflects dietary ratios for sure. In the case of brain vs. marrow the brain was certainly a major source of EPA/DHA while marrow was predominately n-9 (mono-unsat’d).
    Robb

  18. G PharmD
    April 21, 2008 at 2:31 am

    I love your stuff!! you ROCK, dude..

    (i may even go get my a** kicked with those Diablo devils soon for fun ;D)
    I’m just getting into some WAP (didn’t learn this doing my nutrition degree at Cal *uurrrggh*) and was wondering has the Wulzen factor been figured out yet? It was the heat-sensitive component in pasture-fed cows which helped people’s joint stiffness and pain. You probably get plenty of Wulzen factor (and K2/Activator X) from Pedrozo’s Dairy and Cheese, right!!?

    Came across this but didn’t know if it’s been confirmed yet…?? (Is Wulzen stigmasterol??)
    http://www.greenpasture.org/node/68

    btw, TJ’s (aren’t they the BEST?) carries a pasture-fed sharp cheddar — omg it’s really tasty…

    Mike — I like your idea of coffee and tequila *heh* (Peets&Patrone r my poison)
    THANKS!

    G-
    I’m really not sure what that X-factor is. It sounds remarkably like low insulin levels and good fatty acid ratios…it may be something more but I’m really not sure.

    Coffee & Tequila:Tow great tastes that go great together!
    Robb

    g

  19. J Jones
    April 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    g –

    I don’t know if you are talking about us (any time I see the word ‘Diablo’ I assume it has to do with my gym, ego is a bitch), but you NEED to come to the Shed if you are. Consider it a direct invitation to come down for at least a few workouts for free.

    We are very PRO Robb, Performance Menu, Catalyst Athletics, and Greg E (I guess I’ll throw him in there so he doesn’t feel bad, I mean, he writes okay sometimes).

    Robb, nice article – I did have a slightly related question regarding cholesterol levels (as in the ones “The Man” measures for “health”). I am going to get tested for a new life insurance plan pretty soon and I was wondering how my Paleo/Zone diet was going to make my numbers look. I am looking to score the extra discounted “Super Preferred” (a life insurance title that everyone reading this blog and the Catalyst Forums should get automatically), and the biggest factor for males is the height to weight ratio and my level of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

    I guess I am looking for the best way to lower that particular number using Paleo/Zone methods (cut back on some of the ‘bad’ fats and increase my ‘good’ fat intake for example). Right now my diet is woefully lacking in grassfed/game meat, but rich in fish oil (14g a day or so). According to Fitday over the last month (and assuming I input everything right), my averaged daily macro breakdown is 45% fat (breakdown is 16% sat, 4% poly, and 13% mono fat), 32% carbs (incl alcohol), and 24% protein.

    About a month back I dropped the Anabolic diet to go back to a more Athlete’s Zone. The Anadiet was difficult to implement properly with an extremely busy schedule (couldn’t eat enough ‘good’ protein, and ended up trying to supplement with crap sources just get my numbers up). I am still IFing about 2 – 3 times a week in 16 – 20 hr sessions.

    I admit I am curious to see what the numbers show under my ‘normal’ conditions, but my wallet more concerned about the $20 – $40 a month I’ll save if I can score the ‘super preferred’ rating. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

    -jj

    You Brother! We had “Big” Jake Woods come and train w/us the other day…he said you guys are killing him the right way! The cholesterol stuff should be pretty good to go. We have a pharmacist who went from the “high risk” CVD category to “low normal” in a month of basic paleo eating and CrossFit. I suspect your numbers will be stellar considering the much higher fitness level you have, I know your food is better than his was (about 80% compliance on his part)…and your just dead-sexy!
    Let me know how that goes…it’s interesting stuff.
    Robb

  20. g
    April 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Robb — never thought of that combo! you’re so full of wickedly good ideas… —g

    thanks Much!
    Robb

  21. Tim
    April 25, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Sally Fallon gives a “thumbs down” review to Loren Cordain’s book, “The Paleo Diet.”

    I was considering adopting thisdiet but certain things she points out at the link have me worried aout Cordain’s thesis,3 points stand out:

    1.”Cordain makes a lot of other crazy claims. He says that Paleolithic peoples had no carbohydrate foods like grains or starchy root foods–never mind reports of grains found in the fire ashes of some of the earliest human groups, or the widespread use of tubers among primitive peoples, usually fermented or slow cooked.”

    2. “Cordain says that primitive man did not eat salt. Yet we know that salt was available in many parts of the world, principally from brine on the seacoasts and salt flats in the interior. Salt-rich blood from game was collected and used in food preparation. In Africa, ashes of sodium-rich marsh grasses were added to food.”

    3. “Cordain’s Paleo Diet is not only absurd, but also dangerous. High levels of lean meat lead to vitamin A deficiency and a host of health problems, even heart disease, which Cordain’s high-protein diet is supposed to prevent. There’s no good source of calcium in his diet and no salt, so vital for digestion. He recommends rubbing flax oil on meat before cooking–a recipe for creating carcinogenic oxidation products. And then there are those diet sodas. . . bound to cause trouble in a diet so lacking in protective nutrients.”

    http://www.westonaprice.org/bookreviews/paleodiet.html

    Tim finds the answers to all things Paleo in the FAQ. See below
    Robb

  22. Tim
    April 25, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Sorry,found this:

    http://www.thepaleodiet.com/faqs/

    In Fallon’s 4th paragraph she completely misleads the reader by stating that: “He says that Paleolithic peoples had no carbohydrate foods like grains or starchy root foods—never mind reports of grains found in the fire ashes of some of the earliest human groups, or the widespread use of tubers among primitive peoples, usually fermented or slow cooked.” This statement steps far beyond the bounds of truth.

    We go on record as stating that Pre-Agricultural people ate few or no grains, however we have never suggested that they did not eat tubers. Again, if Fallon would take the time to read our scientific papers, she would be aware of this. In our AJCN 2000 paper (Table 3) we show that tubers, roots and bulbs would have comprised 23.6 % of all the plant food consumed by the average hunter-gatherer. Grains are virtually indigestible unless the cell walls are broken via (grinding or milling) and the starch is gelatinized by cooking.

    Hence the appearance of stone grinding tools (mortar and pestle, saddle stones etc) heralds the widespread use of grains in hunter-gatherer societies. The first primitive grinding tools do not make their appearance anywhere in the world until the late Paleolithic (~15-20,000 years ago), and the first hunter gatherer society known to have made wide scale use of grains were the Natufians who lived in the Levant ~13,000 years ago.

    and this:

    The next statement in this paragraph is highly objectionable, false and is totally ignorant of the actual data regarding the fatty acid composition of the tissue of wild animals.

    “He says that there isn’t much fat in wild animals (did he check with any hunters while writing his book?) and that what fat these animals had was highly politically correct—low in “lethal” saturated fat and rich in monounsaturates and omega-3 fatty acids. Did he look up the fatty acid profile of buffalo fat while researching his book?

    Obviously not. If he had, it would have ruined his whole theory because buffalo fat is more saturated than beef fat.”

    Apparently, Fallon again has failed to do her homework. If she would take the time to read our paper (Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002; 56:181-191.) she would know that our conclusions are based upon hundreds of hours of painstaking analysis.

    I don’t believe Fallon has ever analyzed the tissues of any wild animals – we have, and our scientific results are much different than her opinions.

    Tim-
    I highlighted that last piece because it is typical of the tactics used in these types of situations. Fallon, like the Vegetarian Doc’s need only make a statement “This is dangerous, that information is wrong….” and then these people back up the statement with NOTHING. The onus is then placed on Cordain to “prove” his position…then the argument is changed slightly and it’s just around and around. Cordain lays out some very specific theories, data to support them and predictions (made up of peer reviewed research) to test them and create dialogue on the topic. The nay-sayers do no such thing.

    There are many aspects of the first Paleo diet book for which Cordain was not particularly happy. The editors wanted reams of recipes, all of which needed to be modified for a “transitional” diet, hence things like diet sodas were included and Fallon crucified Cordain for these inclusions. In your above post you mentioned you have reservations eating a “paleo” diet based on some of Fallons assertions. All I can say is do what makes sense, see how you feel and tinker from there.
    Robb

  23. Jules
    April 27, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Hello Robb! I really enjoy your blog. I had a question about food neuroticism. When I eat Paleo, though I feel better I don’t lose much body fat (and at 32% body fat, I need to lose body fat). I think a lifetime of overeating has left my hunger senses all out of whack, so eating when hungry and stopping when full leads to overeating.

    However, if I try something strict, like the Zone, I get crazy and neurotic and end up freaking out on food cravings, as one of your readers mentioned in a previous blog entry.

    What would you recommend for someone like me? Should I pick a specific caloric limit, minus keeping track of macronutrients, and stick with that? Or what?

    Jules-
    Well…I think if we keep that composition sound that is the biggest result for the least effort. Are you sticking with mainly meats & veggies? If You stay on the lower carb side of paleo I think you will start leaning out. Limit nut consumption…kinda classic Atkins intervention stuff. Have you messed around with that? The food-demons issue is a tuffy and it is why I am hesitant to launch people into the zone straight out if I think there might be some food issues lurking. That’s my first thought, limit the carb content a bit, as well as very dense fat sources like nuts. No counting necessary! Yet!
    Keep me posted on your progress.
    Robb

  24. Jennifer Higgins
    April 28, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I am an advocate of Price’s work and Cordain’s work with my clients. They aren’t mutually exclusive necessarily. I agree that the unfortunate tone of the WAPF/Cordain debate was unnecessary, but without resorting to identifying a problem with the character of WPAF members (I’m pretty nice I think) I’d like to point out one of the major differences between Cordain’s approach to food and eating and WAPF: Cordain does not take it down to the level of soil maintenance and farming. He advocates the best option at the local supermarket and isn’t necessarily committed to local and organic principles (obvious elements of hunter-gatherer diets). He is in the lab, at the chain supermarket and in his university. The WAPF organization doesn’t advocate buying lean supermarket meal and trimming the fat, they advocate buying pastured meats with good fat ratios from farmers and ranchers practicing proper food-raising techniques. They are in the field, on the farm testifying before Congress about the dangers of soy and saving the archives of researchers whose stuff was almost lost like Price and Pottenger. THe WAPF is concerned with the ability of individuals and families to have a sustainable, healthy food supply not controlled by corporate agribusiness. This is not an element of Cordain’s work. For those of us looking for peak performance, health and planetary well being there is value from both sources.

    Jennifer-
    you are absolutely right, there is much to be learned from both camps and they have much more in common than not. Prof. Cordain DOES talk about the superiority of grassfed meats but like you say, he has not championed that cause…the guy is a proliffic researcher so I guess that work will be left to folks like you and me!
    Things are changing…whole foods and Trader Joe’s are two of the largest distributors of grassfed meat. Here in Chico the California State University agriculture program offers grassfed meat. Agribusiness will do what people demand of it. Conversely, supporting grassfed meat and dairy products (like the Pedrozo dairy listed in my blog roll) allows family owned business to not only compete but thrive because people are willing to pay a premium for the quality they want.
    Thanks for the great comment! (You are indeed “very nice”!)
    Robb

  25. cheese whiz
    April 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Ok, I’m gonna totally dork out on you about the activator X…
    It’s believed that WAP’s activator X is vitamin K2, which helps activate vitamin A- and vitamin D- dependent proteins and aids in the health of teeth, bones, the immune and circulatory systems and the brain…and yes! You get great levels of that from hard raw-milk cheeses from grass-fed cows. :)
    I got that info here: http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/vitamin-k2.html#dental
    And to totally dork out on this kind of stuff, check out anything by Jerry Brunetti: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8841234327210711547
    I learned a lot from him on the connection between my pature’s health and my cows’ health, and the nutritional value of my cheese, but he’s got some incredible insight on all things vitamin/good fat/insulin related.

    might have to try that coffee and tequila combo…

    Straight from the mouth of the Cheese-whiz Folks! She’s cute, she’s smart…she sells cheese.
    Robb

  26. g
    May 1, 2008 at 3:13 am

    JJ — I’m meeting Luca this week :) I’m going to check you guys out…. I need to get some add’l life insurance coverage too. I had heard that doing triathlons may increase the premiums??!! (wtf?) could that be true? Should I hide my extra-curricular activities (incl Peets & PATRONE’S)??

    BTW about lipoproteins — if you are vitamin D deficient, considering getting more sun or supplements. My HDL cholesterols totally ROCK! They went up from 70 to 84 mg/dl after my vit D went from 20 ng/ml (totally deficient/osteoporotic range) to 60 ng/ml (no change in diet/exercise/wt, seriously). Vitamin D raises E2 and testosterone levels too! NOT THAT you probably need any more J/K! *heh*

    Cheese Whiz… I like cute girls, esp those who… sell cheese! Thanks for the Brunetti link!
    I enjoy ‘dorking out’ about vit D and A, pasture-fed milk *and breastmilk* (promise, K2 later)

    http://drbganimalpharm.blogspot.com/2008/03/free-to-wear-sunscreen-vitamin-ds-co.html

    -g

    G-Easy hitting on the Cheese Whiz! She’s one of our girlz!
    Robb

  27. Kelly the Kitchen Kop
    May 2, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Hi Robb,

    This is my first time at your site and I LOVE IT – I’ll never miss another post! I found you through Scott Kustes at Modern Forager – he did a guest interview at my blog (just posted it) and included a link to here.

    Anyway, this post title caught my eye (I’m pretty big into WAP principles, because for the most part they just make common sense) and I’ve read each comment here, all so interesting! My question: you mentioned needing to take cod liver oil AND fish oil to get enough omega 3’s because of the A&D in c.l.oil. From what I’ve read, the natural A&D in c.l. oil is not harmful in fairly large doses (and even quite beneficial)…have you read differently?

    Thanks!
    Hey Kelly!!

    Great site! You are right, natural vit A&D have a low relative toxicity as compared to synthetic forms but it makes me a little nervous to recommend that folks take 10-16g of EPA/DHA in a cod liver oil form. This is an absolutely stunning amount of fat soluble vitamins. It may in fact be fine…perhaps even beneficial…but that is a huge potential load to consume on a daily basis. I will do some more reading on this and see what I can track down. I do recall an account of Inuit who eat sparringly of polar bear and other arctic liver sources due to the very high levels of vit-A. This might be a good place to look.
    Robb

  28. g
    May 2, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Yeah… I have a hard time restraining myself around hot dorks (incl you! J/K!!! *heh*) don’t let it go to your humble head… objectively speaking. I’m so glad I discovered CROSSFIT and you dudes/gals! Luca, my warrior-trainer is pretty cool. I’ve survived Day #1! ;D

    Ha! I’ll take any compliment I can get!
    Robb

  29. Methuselah
    July 27, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Hi Rob,

    I sometimes wonder whether the preoccupation with the subtleties of these diets (what you refer to as ‘minutia’ in your post) is counter-productive. I have been pre-occupied with having the perfect diet for 10 years now. 2 years ago I emerged from several years of a ‘perfect’ low fat diet. I exercised far too much, got less that 20% of calories from fat, but otherwise ate loads of vegetables, fruit and oats. I did not even eat bread. Needless to say, I was always hungry and carried a napsack full of fruit everywhere I went. My partner will tell you that I was a nightmare because I was so obsessive about eating regularly and eating exactly what I considered to be the right stuff at the right time.

    Looking back, I think I was actually damaging myself in a way other than the obvious. I mean pychologically – I was just too uptight about the whole thing.

    Now I am pretty much Paleo. But I am Paleo in a very Art De Vany way – I make it random. I have started to let circumstances create the randomness rather than contrive it. In other words, if we run out a certain food, I eat lots of what we do have instead. This may mean I eat 10 eggs in one day but I think nothing of it. Other days I get stuck with nuts and carrots. Sure, I try to buy in good quality meat and fish so that I have what I need most of the time – but when I get it wrong I don’t jump into the car and go buy some.

    I figure that in the end it will all balance out anyway; but if the balance ends up being slightly wrong because I do not obsess over the detail, I wonder whether the fact that I am a more relaxed individual carries sufficient health benfits to make it a better path?

    Methuselah
    Pay Now Live Later

    Methuselah-
    There is no doubt one can obsess with this stuff. This is one issue I have with the Zone as it can just launch some folks into OCD activity…I think what you are describing is “orthorexia”…compulsive need to eat “correctly”. I don’t know what the right answer is here…some folks are quite sick from things like gluten and need to really pay attention to that lest they face serious health problems. Other folks can suck the life out of any situation.

    I really have a problem with gluten so I’m pretty fanatical about minimizing my exposure…but i’ll kick up my heels and have corn tortillas with a few meals out each week. Tequila on the rocks with lime is the NorCal endorsed drink of choice…I really value feeling good so i usually opt for clean, low carb foods but I have fun when the opportunity permits.

    It IS funny however that someone who does not eat a single healthy item and does not give a fuck what they eat is not singled out as “obsessively bad”…it does seem a double standard of sorts.

  30. MS RD
    November 3, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Eating well is not hard. Follow your hunger and satiety cues. Eat everything in moderation. Eat a wide variety of all types of foods. Eat a balance of nutrients over time. In the end, without thinking so hard, you will get enough of everything you need. Most of all, enjoy your food, respect your food and your body, and where the food comes from.

    I like this on the surface…but it completely ignores the LACK of satiety cues when wee eat refined foods and/or too many carbs. People start down the Ezekiel bread,oatmeal, brown rice & lentils highway and never come back. Quality and types of food DO matter.

  31. MS RD
    November 3, 2008 at 12:07 am

    BTW, vitamin K2 is made by intestinal bacteria.

    Thanks Catarina!

  32. Lori Jean
    November 11, 2009 at 11:58 am

    How many egg’s & how much meat would I have to eat daily to obtain the nessasary amount of k2 I needed? And what kind of meat should I eat?

  33. Chris Kresser
    May 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    It’s interesting to revisit this question in light of recent studies by Krauss & colleagues which have demonstrated that saturated fat 1) increases HDL, 2) decreases triglycerides, and 3) decreases small, dense LDL.

    Since LDL particle size, triglycerides and HDL are far more tightly correlated with heart disease than normal LDL (which is weakly correlated at best), it’s very difficult to argue that saturated fat is a risk factor for heart disease.

    If you look at the WHO MONICA study from 2005, they looked at the 7 countries in Europe with the highest sat. fat consumption, and the 7 countries with the lowest. Guess what? The 7 countries with the highest intakes of saturated fat (including France, Austria & Switzerland) had the lowest mortality rates from heart disease, and the 7 countries with the lowest intake of sat. fat (Georgia, Tajikstan, Azerbaijan) had among the highest mortality rates from heart disease.

    In a doozy of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers divided women into four quartiles according to their saturated fat intake. The women in the lowest quartile had the fastest progression of atherosclerosis, and the women in the highest quartile actually experienced a reversal of atherosclerosis.

    In 22 of 26 studies done on this subject, there was no relationship between sat. fat intake and fatal or non-fatal heart disease.

    I respect Cordain and his work, and I agree with him on many subjects, but I think he’s wrong about saturated fat.

    • Robb Wolf
      May 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

      Chris-
      This is still a grey area for me but it may not be appropriate to lump all sat’d fats together. Steric is likely cardio protective, Lauric neutral, palmitic (due to actions on LDL production and Leptin/Insulin sensitivity) may be a problem. Cordain has modified his stance on this over time. I’d not characterize him as dogmatic on this but rather looking towards the best information available.

  34. Blossom Oregon
    October 11, 2011 at 9:02 am

    What are your thoughts about Weston A. Price diet during pregnancy, particularly raw milk.

    Thank you.
    Liz

  35. Barry
    November 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    There is one thing that all of you seem to be missing. Although wild animals do have leaner muscle meat, they still have plenty of fat around their organs. When native hunters find lean cuts of meat, they add the fat from around the kidneys and other organs to it. This fat is greatly valued by native groups. The two native groups today that eat along the same principles of Paleolithic are the Austrailian Aborigines and the African Bushmen. Look into books written by Anthropologists to verify this information. Native hunters and all natural health people who thoroughly understand nutrition know that protein with little to no fat is a disaster in the body for a number of reasons.
    As far as saturated fat goes, our cell membranes are approximately 50% saturated fat and our heart requires saturated fat for proper function. If you don’t eat enough saturated fat, the body will make it. Arteriosclerotic plaques contain about 74% unsaturated fats and not as much saturated fat as previously thought.
    The problems in our diet today are not grass fed or wild saturated fats, they are fake trans fatty acids, over consumption of rancid polyunsaturated fats, refined sugar and flour products, synthetic fortified foods, processing that strips food of all it’s nutrients and all of the chemical contaminants in our food supply.

  36. Mike
    May 21, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Doe this mean the clueless Mcdougalites might be right?

    Hmmm that sounds personal to me Robb! :-) Ouch.

    ahaha

    p.s. Is that Doe a Deer, or is it a typo :-)

  37. Mike
    May 29, 2012 at 5:52 am

    What’s your view on the recent emerging buzz that the typical hunter-gatherer tribe eats only once a day? If humans can only absorb around 35g of protein at one time, this would mean that even H-Gs eating very high protein diets would ACTUALLY be on very low protein diets. This is huge no?

  38. Susan
    August 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Thank you for the thoughtful and positive response. I whole-heatedly agree we all get much further in our quest for “truth” when we are respectful and open to opposing views.

    I do have one thing to add. You mention Fallon/Enig referring to Price’s observation that hunter/gatherers prefered the fatty meats, and you reminded us that today’s feed lot meat is 40% fat vs 15% for wild meats. I know that Fallon/Enig are huge proponents of grass fed beef/pastured meats etc that would more closely mimic their natural diet. Do you know how modern pastured/natural diet farmed meats compare to wild meats both in terms of fat and other nutrients?

    Also I know they argue that to properly digest and assimilate protein, one needs to have adequate fat intake. (Forgive me, the WAPF web site is currently down so I can’t cite to exact info). Do you know anything about this?

    Many thanks,
    Susan.

  39. Harvey Pekrul
    September 30, 2012 at 12:41 am

    It takes very little time to read advice and know instantly that they know not what they speak. Problem #1 Omega 3 eggs are a marketing scam; the birds get fed the lowest possible quality omega 3 grains obviously not fit for humane consumption. #2 Man did not start out as hunter gatherers, that came after tools where invented; we were opportunist scavengers. #3 in order to tout a diet it has be the real deal i.e. a miracle diet that could heal modern day problems like all inflammatory diseases, OCD, Autism, and Mental Health Issues. Discovered in 2004, Neurologist and Nutritionist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride cured her sons Autism, by recognizing the link between hypersensitivity and bad gut flor called Leaky gut Syndrone. See Gaps.me

  40. Vicki
    March 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    So much valuable info here along with good humor, I’ll have start visiting more often.

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