Episode 4 Your Life Owner’s Manual
The Paleo Diet and Darwinian natural selection explained. The logic for a low carb diet.
Thank you to all of our listeners. Sharing some of your time with us each week is a huge gift and a great source of motivation if we are feeling a bit lazy about the podcast. This week we were joined by listeners in the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Germany and the Netherlands. Welcome all. We want this to be a two way conversation so please go to our website yourlifeownersmanual.com and use the comments box to tell us about you and what you are interested in. If we get questions that lend themselves to a short answer will answer them in the next show. In some cases the answer may be a show of its own. In this case we will work the answer into the logical flow of the shows.
A question we got about our last show:
Q Is the diet really that simple?
1. Make a list of carbs
2. Put it in order from the easiest to the hardest to eliminate or substitute for
3. Start with the easiest and work your way down the list until you lose as much weight as you want.
A1 Michale Polan in the opening of his book In Defense of Food started with the statement “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Then he said, OK I’ve told you everything I know and now I have to get 250 pages out of it somehow and he does brilliantly. This is our book recommendation of the week. You can get it as a free audio book by going to our website and the show notes for this show. Click on the Audible.com button and sign up for a free trial membership which includes the free book. You keep the book even if you cancel the membership so you have nothing to lose.
While you are at the website please also check out the recipes, tips and recommendations. We will post a recipe a week so check back weekly and add delicious low carb recipes to your recipe file.
A2 Yup. There are lots of fine points we can get into and we will in time. We should have made it more complicated so we could make millions on a big book on the topic. We also should have had a bunch of pills you had to take, made by us to make more millions, but that is not the point of this podcast. We are trying to bring you the best information possible. If that information is dirt simple you might use it to your benefit.
A couple of fun notes:
Seinfeld has “weighed in” on the Bloomberg ban on large soft drinks. “I don’t think I’m in favor. I’m in favor of continuing the accelerated Darwinian process of early death and weeding out most of the population through sugary drinks.”
Or as a comedian said in one of our favorite stand-up routines “It’s time to thin the herd”.
How Natural Selection Actually Works
There is a problem with his logic however. First, natural selection only comes into play for factors that impact survival prior to reproduction. This is the reason why natural selection has had no effect on cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and type II diabetes and chronic inflammation.
The other problem with his logic is the fact that the diseases associated with overweight and obesity are not quick killers. They are chronic disorders that shorten life but not before a long span of decreased quality of life and extensive and expensive medical care.
A few other notes about life span:
1. Our goal is not to live forever. Our goal is to live well for the years that we have. We are more focused on the quality of life than the quantity.
2. Longevity is mostly a function of genetics. Nothing is more important than selecting the right parents. Genetics sets your biological clock to expire at some point. If you die from nothing else you will die from old age when the clock runs out.
3. Free radical damage is the second factor in aging after the biological clock. This is so important we will do a show on this topic alone. We have discovered a powerful way to prevent free radical damage and will keep that as a teaser for future shows.
Getting back to the topic of today’s show.
In our last Episode we took you through a journey that ended with the adoption of a low carb way of eating. We did little in that episode to provide you with the logical and scientific arguments for why this way of eating might be the best long term approach for many people. A lot of people who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the low fat approach to eating will be shocked and appalled at the quantity of fat we eat on the “low carb” diet which is actually a rather high fat diet. Let’s start with some nutrition basics:
There are only four sources of calories:
• Protein and
Alcohol is separated out as a fourth category because it follows a metabolic pathway that is fundamentally different from starches and sugars we label as carbs.
If calories are kept constant, a reduction in one of the four caloric sources must be balanced with an increase in one of the other sources. So if we reduce carb calories we have to increase protein, fat or alcohol intake. Increased protein intake usually means an increase in fat intake because many proteins are also high in fat.
All of you thinking Woo Hoo, cut the carbs and up the booze. We will get back to you on this option later. For now let’s look at the other two options.
If we reduce carbs and increase protein beyond a certain level our bodies will break the protein down into glucose and therefore metabolically we are right back to where we were on a high carb diet.
The conclusion you cannot escape is that a low carb diet must of necessity be a high fat diet and it is. A lot of people have grown fat phobic. As we pointed out in the last episode we not only were in this category, we actively and energetically promoted the concept.
A major change of mind on this topic took a long list of logical and scientific arguments as well as some hands on experience.
This is a good time to do the disclaimer again, we are not doctors, registered dieticians or anything of the sort. We are two reasonably intelligent people who have read and studied these topics extensively and we have experimented on ourselves. Before making any major changes seek professional guidance from a health care provider you trust. We also encourage you to read and study on your own so that you can have an intelligent and informed discussion with your health care provider. We will share with you the sources that we have read so you can do the same if you wish.
We have been around a long time and agriculture has not. The “Paleo” diet is based on the fact that our Paleolithic ancestors lived without agriculture for 2.5 million years. This meant a diet of meat, fish and vegetables and nuts with very little grain to speak of and no sugar with the exception of honey and fruits. Fruits were typically only part of the diet in fall and served to fatten our ancestors up in preparation for the lean days of winter. There is evidence that grape juice was kept in skins where it fermented into wine, so wine was part of the Paleo diet but beer had to wait for agriculture and some would argue the desire for beer what the major impetus for the development of agriculture.
The argument is that those who thrived on the Paleo diet reproduced and those who did not were removed from the gene pool. Survival of the fittest is all about who gets to reproduce and which offspring make it to adulthood. According to this logic we are all the inheritors of a body ideally suited to eating the Paleo way.
The reason we have not adapted to the post-Paleo diet is that the impact of our diet occurs after the prime years for reproduction. If a diet based on agriculture causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc. and there is a lot of evidence that it does, the deaths from these causes would not result in the susceptible genes being removed from the pool because the genes get passed on before the disease develops.
In the last generation in developed countries we have moved past a diet based on agriculture to a diet based on industry. Our food is now manufactured from agricultural products. The agricultural products themselves, while living things, are mostly man made from their genetics through every aspect of their growth and processing.
In addition The McGovern Commission aka. The United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs which existed from 1968 to 1977 resulted in the publication of Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
In early 1977, after years of discussion, scientific review, and debate, the US Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, led by Senator George McGovern, recommended
Dietary Goals for the American people
The first Goal focused on energy balance and recommended that, to avoid overweight, Americans should consume only as much energy as they expended. Overweight Americans should consume less energy and expend more energy. (This is known as a starvation diet)
For the nutrient-based Goals, the Senate Committee recommended that Americans:
• Increase consumption of complex carbohydrates and “naturally occurring sugars;”and
• Reduce consumption of refined and processed sugars, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
For the food-based Goals, the Committee recommended that Americans:
• Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
• Decrease consumption of:
o refined and processed sugars and foods high in such sugars;
o foods high in total fat and animal fat, and partially replace saturated fats with
o eggs, butterfat, and other high-cholesterol foods;
o salt and foods high in salt; and
• Choose low-fat and non-fat dairy products instead of high-fat dairy products (except for young children).
Back to Basics
Let’s go back to the fact that there are only four kinds of calories (macronutirents)
The percentage of each of these in the diet is important. If you follow the guidelines above, most of your calories will come from carbohydrate. For example a one cup serving of skim milk contains 1g fat, 12g sugar and 9g protein. This is a high sugar drink!
A complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) is a chain of glucose molecules bound together that will ultimately be metabolized as glucose just a bit more slowly. Some polysaccharides (complex carbs) are insoluble and pass through our system without being digested we call this fiber.
From 1977 to present a wide range of low fat products have been brought to market and people are using them. This translates to a high carb diet.
How’s that workin for ya
America is facing an obesity epidemic.
Two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese.
By 2030, experts predict 42 percent of Americans will be obese.