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The Paleolithic Diet and Its Modern Implications
Chet Day ^ | Unknown | An Interview with Loren Cordain

Posted on 03/07/2002 6:16:05 PM PST by Pharmboy

Adapted from:

The Paleolithic Diet and Its Modern Implications

An Interview with Loren Cordain, PhD

by Robert Crayhon, MS
Reprinted by permission from Life Services

Can hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution be wrong? What are we really "designed" to eat? Are high carbohydrate "Food Pyramid" diet standards a health disaster? What do paleolithic fossil records and ethnographic studies of 180 hunter/gatherer groups around the world suggest as the ideal human diet? Find out in nationally acclaimed author and nutritionist Robert Crayhon's interview with paleolithic diet expert, Professor Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

Robert Crayhon, M.S. is a clinician, researcher and educator who was called "one of the top ten nutritionists in the country" by Self magazine (August 1993). An associate editor of Total Health magazine, he is the author of best-seller Robert Crayhon's Nutrition Made Simple and the just published The Carnitine Miracle (M. Evans and Company).

Dr. Loren Cordain is a professor of exercise physiology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and is a reknowned expert in the area of Paleolithic nutrition.

Robert Crayhon: I'm very happy to welcome Dr. Loren Cordain. He is a professor of exercise physiology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and an expert in the area of Paleolithic nutrition. Dr. Cordain, welcome.

Loren Cordain: My pleasure to be here.

Robert Crayhon: There has been in the past 40 years or so much interest in the area of low fat diets, and it seems that the media and USDA with its food guide pyramid is now convinced that a healthy diet is one that is predominantly carbohydrate, low in fat and protein. There is also little regard for the quality of the fat or protein. But are we really just in some great agricultural experiment? Has the last 10,000 years of agriculture really been the bulk of what the human nutritional experience has been? And is this grain-based, high carbohydrate diet truly ideal for humans?

Loren Cordain: There is increasing evidence to indicate that the type of diet recommended in the USDA's food pyramid is discordant with the type of diet humans evolved with over eons of evolutionary experience. Additionally, it is increasingly being recognized that the "food Pyramid" may have a number of serious nutritional omissions. For instance, it does not specify which types of fats should be consumed. The western diet is overburdened not only by saturated fats, but there is an imbalance in the type of polyunsaturated fats we eat. We consume too many Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3 fats. The Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio in western diets averages about 12:1, whereas data from our recent publication (Eaton SB, Eaton SB 3rd, Sinclair AJ, Cordain L, Mann NJ Dietary intake of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during the Paleolithic Period. World Rev Nutr Diet 1998; 12-23) suggests that for most of humanity's existence, prior to agriculture, the Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio would have ranged from 1:1 to 3:1. High dietary Omega-6/Omega-3 ratios are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and tend to exacerbate many inflammatory disease responses.

Further, the USDA food pyramid places breads, cereals, rice and pasta at its base and recommends that we consume 6-11 servings of these items daily. Nutritionists at the Harvard School of Public Health (Willett WC. The dietary pyramid: does the foundation need repair? Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68: 218-219) have recently publicly criticized this recommendation because it fails to distinguish between refined and complex carbohydrates and their relative glycemic responses. Dr. Willett further pointed out that there was little empirical evidence to support the dominant nutritional message that diets high in complex carbohydrate promote good health.

Both the fossil record and ethnological studies of hunter-gatherers (the closest surrogates we have to stone age humans) indicate that humans rarely if ever ate cereal grains nor did they eat diets high in carbohydrates. Because cereal grains are virtually indigestible by the human gastrointestinal tract without milling (grinding) and cooking, the appearance of grinding stones in the fossil record generally heralds the inclusion of grains in the diet. The first appearance of milling stones was in the Middle East roughly 10-15,000 years ago. These early milling stones were likely used to grind wild wheat which grew naturally in certain areas of the Middle East. Wheat was first domesticated in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago and slowly spread to Europe by about 5,000 years ago. Rice was domesticated approximately 7,000 years ago in SE Asia, India and China, and maize (corn) was domesticated in Mexico and Central America roughly 7,000 years ago.

Consequently, diets high in carbohydrate derived from cereal grains were not part of the human evolutionary experience until only quite recent times. Because the human genome has changed relatively little in the past 40,000 years since the appearance of behaviorally modern humans, our nutritional requirements remain almost identical to those requirements which were originally selected for stone age humans living before the advent of agriculture.

Robert Crayhon: What happened to our health when we switched from a hunter-gatherer diet to a grain-based one?

Loren Cordain: The fossil record indicates that early farmers, compared to their hunter-gatherer predecessors had a characteristic reduction in stature, an increase in infant mortality, a reduction in life span, an increased incidence of infectious diseases, an increase in iron deficiency anemia, an increased incidence of osteomalacia, porotic hyperostosis and other bone mineral disorders and an increase in the number of dental caries and enamel defects. Early agriculture did not bring about increases in health, but rather the opposite. It has only been in the past 100 years or so with the advent of high tech, mechanized farming and animal husbandry that the trend has changed.

For rest of article please click on Source above.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; atkins; crevolist; dietandcuisine; godsgravesglyphs; huntergatherers
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Just 'cause I love all you Freepers so much I want you to live a long time. Eat like cave men and women.
1 posted on 03/07/2002 6:16:06 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Where can I buy mastodon steaks?
2 posted on 03/07/2002 6:19:21 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Pharmboy
Do you think my cheering squad looks like cave men and women?

Gimme a 'D'
Gimmie an 'O'
Gimmie an 'H'
What's it spell?

DOH!

Have you contributed any yet?


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3 posted on 03/07/2002 6:19:56 PM PST by Jen
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To: AFVetGal
I gave extra today (since you asked).

Best,
PB

4 posted on 03/07/2002 6:22:11 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Miss Marple
Aaaahhhh. You must SPEAR the mastodon.
5 posted on 03/07/2002 6:22:45 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Thanks for your financial support of FR! We are in the final stretch of the FReepathon. Then the cheering squad will pack up their pom poms.
6 posted on 03/07/2002 6:23:48 PM PST by Jen
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To: Pharmboy
Eat like cave men and women.

Especially you FReeperettes.

7 posted on 03/07/2002 6:23:50 PM PST by dighton
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To: AFVetGal
Gjorgk say: "Bring me Neandertal female in middle."
8 posted on 03/07/2002 6:24:33 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Absolutely true. An archaeological study was done at a site in Turkey which was an early Neolithic village. Down deep in the strata, human remains are found which show a fairly healthy population. But in the shallower strata, the skeletons show typical signs associated with agriculture:

heavy muscle-attachment marks (from heavy labor), degraded joints (same), bone deformation (malnutrition), shorter stature than the older skeletons (poor diet), "starvation rings" - periods of no bone growth (famine or lack of adequate food).

We paid a price for the Neolithic Revolution:
we got high population and civilizations as we know them, but also a near-famine existence for so many for most of recorded history.

9 posted on 03/07/2002 6:28:34 PM PST by petuniasevan
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To: petuniasevan
Exactly. Our bodies are set to defend against energy LOSS. All of our enzymes, hormones, etc. are tuned for "feast or famine" rather than the constant abundance that agriculture has brought.
10 posted on 03/07/2002 6:38:00 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
You are sick and twisted! ;-)
11 posted on 03/07/2002 6:42:15 PM PST by Jen
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To: dighton
Be careful, though. It can get dangerous out there.


12 posted on 03/07/2002 6:43:00 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
> Both the fossil record and ethnological studies of hunter-gatherers... indicate that humans rarely if ever ate cereal grains nor did they eat diets high in carbohydrates.

Uh, oh. It does not look good for Fruit Loops.

13 posted on 03/07/2002 6:43:20 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Pharmboy
True, but you might mean to say, "modern agriculture". That's a product of the Industrial Revolution, artificial fertilizers, and pesticides/herbicides.
And don't forget hybrid crops and crop rotation techniques.

If I could kick my sugar habit, I would lose 25 lbs in no time, as I work hard.

14 posted on 03/07/2002 6:43:58 PM PST by petuniasevan
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To: Pharmboy
article very much like "eat right for your type"-MANY TX FOR POSTING
15 posted on 03/07/2002 6:45:40 PM PST by 1234
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To: AFVetGal
Hey...c'mon...to a Neandertal she's a centerfold!


16 posted on 03/07/2002 6:46:52 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Sabertooth
See #12.
17 posted on 03/07/2002 6:47:07 PM PST by dighton
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To: Pharmboy
I trust you realize that a "paleolithic" diet means eating old stones.
18 posted on 03/07/2002 6:48:41 PM PST by T'wit
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To: 1234
You're most welcome. From your moniker I would guess that you are a basic, no-nonsense type of human. That would go well with a hunter-gatherer diet.
19 posted on 03/07/2002 6:49:14 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
bttt
20 posted on 03/07/2002 6:49:35 PM PST by Don Myers
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To: T'wit
Old stones at that.
21 posted on 03/07/2002 6:50:32 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: blam; thefactor; classygreeneyedblonde
Ping*
22 posted on 03/07/2002 6:54:57 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
How do "old stones" differ from "old stones?" Did they eat italicized stones? But you only find those in Italy, don't you?
23 posted on 03/07/2002 6:54:58 PM PST by T'wit
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To: T'wit
When I re-read your original post all I could say was "D'oh!"

Game, set and match to you, my friend. No Twit you; certainly a wit.

24 posted on 03/07/2002 6:56:37 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
When I was big into low carb eating I belonged to a low carb listserv and Ray Audette the author of Neanderthin was a member. Have you read his book?

I was very interested in his posts and even made some of the beef jerky recipies in a dehydrator. He was big into making pemmican too if I remember right.

I wasn't able to lost weight on the Atkins diet but I did feel the best I've even felt in recent memory. I know that carbs are pure poison for my body but want the reward of weight loss that goes with the diet. That I could never achieve.

So now I feel like crap and I'm fat : ( WWAAAA...think I'll have another beer.

MKM

25 posted on 03/07/2002 7:07:58 PM PST by mykdsmom
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To: Pharmboy
I am going to stick to a tender neolithic diet. Old stones are too tough and they've lost most of their flavor.
26 posted on 03/07/2002 7:10:12 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Pharmboy
You'll do just anything to get a photo of breasts into Free Republic, won't you?

:-)

27 posted on 03/07/2002 7:11:30 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Pharmboy
I hope people will take into context the fact that paleolithic humans rarely lived into their 30's. A diet suited for paleolithic hunter-gatherers isn't necessarily going to be ideal for us today, because, with very few exceptions, we don't live like cavemen.
28 posted on 03/07/2002 7:17:22 PM PST by Snuffington
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To: Pharmboy
YUP; O positive blood type.
hope folks are familiar w/"eat right for your type"-fregards
29 posted on 03/07/2002 7:17:46 PM PST by 1234
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To: mykdsmom
> but want the reward of weight loss that goes with the diet.

High protein, very little fat of any kind, and enough carbs to keep your tummy from making disgusting noises. Keep calorie intake under daily energy use. You will lose weight.

30 posted on 03/07/2002 7:19:05 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Pharmboy
Want to live until 30? Fine eat like a caveman. The Chinese and Japanese eat a high carb diet (they eat mostly rice-not General Tso's Chicken) and they have the highest life expectancies
31 posted on 03/07/2002 7:21:13 PM PST by arielb
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To: mykdsmom
THE KEY, the ABSOLUTE KEY is to eat a well balanced diet, eat what you crave, what your people (your ethnic group, not some cave ancestors) eat in moderation, don't be a pig, and STAY AWAY FROM CRAP. Also, you got to move, you got to move, as the Rolling Stones sang.

In point of dietary fact, no amount beer is too much, look at the Germans, they drink enough beer to float a boat, and they still excell at sports!

32 posted on 03/07/2002 7:21:30 PM PST by jocon307
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To: T'wit
Evolutionary theory suggests that the diet of Paleolithic Man was designed to maximize health during breeding years rather than long life per se. I guess the author wasn't trying to say: "Suck rocks!" (Or even "Rock sucks!")

Perhaps an Oxygen movie title here: "Andrea Yates, the Breeding Years"

33 posted on 03/07/2002 7:27:20 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Pharmboy
The fossil record indicates that early farmers, compared to their hunter-gatherer predecessors had a characteristic reduction in stature, an increase in infant mortality, a reduction in life span, an increased incidence of infectious diseases, an increase in iron deficiency anemia, an increased incidence of osteomalacia, porotic hyperostosis and other bone mineral disorders and an increase in the number of dental caries and enamel defects. Early agriculture did not bring about increases in health, but rather the opposite. It has only been in the past 100 years or so with the advent of high tech, mechanized farming and animal husbandry that the trend has changed.

Just what I've been saying around here, over and over.

Agriculture was not developed because it was easier than hunter gathering, except when attempting to hunt and gather in an overpopulated world.

Technology has always been the art of making more from less--and usually the more is of an poorer quality than the original.

34 posted on 03/07/2002 7:28:19 PM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Pharmboy
the diet of pre-agricultural humans was derived primarily from animal based foods.

So why do we have teeth designed for a mixed diet, one which is not primarily meat? Our intestines would be shorter too if meat was our predominate food.

35 posted on 03/07/2002 7:29:51 PM PST by LarryLied
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To: T'wit
You'll do just anything to get a photo of breasts into Free Republic, won't you?

Chickens have one breast. Men have one breast. Woemen have one breast and two tits.

36 posted on 03/07/2002 7:30:43 PM PST by rightofrush
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To: Snuffington
The diet of the Paleolithics was one designed for a short life i.e. 30 to 40 years. A high protein and fat diet would be advantageous because of the high caloric content. This would allow them to live and reproduce and then die at a relatively young age. The reason we are now a agricultural society as opposed to a hunter society is the agricultural society is superior to the hunter in reference to longivity. The reason the agricultural society suffers so many diseases is they live a hell of a lot longer and get old. The hunters died young.

PS
I am hoplessly addicted to a high protein diet.

37 posted on 03/07/2002 7:32:53 PM PST by cpdiii
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To: Pharmboy
BUMP
38 posted on 03/07/2002 7:34:47 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: rightofrush
> Woemen have one breast and two tits.

Maybe we haven't dated the same woemen.

39 posted on 03/07/2002 7:37:39 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Y'know, I was thinking earlier that Demosthenes used to walk around with a mouthful of rocks. The old explanation was that he was working on his pronunciation and oratory skills. I think we just found the truth: he was on a paleolithic diet.
40 posted on 03/07/2002 7:40:48 PM PST by T'wit
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To: Pharmboy
Excellant and interesting article generally. Of cours they have got it wrong on the the reason for the transition from the paleolithic (hunter gatherer) way of life to the neolithic (agriculture based) way of life.

"If we examine the fossil record, it suggests that a number of environmental pressures may have forced humans to adopt agriculture, including increases in human population densities and the depletion of easily hunted game."

Certainly increases in population were a consequence of this transition, and not the cause of it. The reason that humans gave up the care-free and easy life of the hunter-gather for the boredom and drudgery of agriculture is that they had discovered brewing and wanted a stesdy source of grains for making beer. The transition is allegorically represented in the Bible by the story of the fall.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3

41 posted on 03/07/2002 7:55:24 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: T'wit
Maybe we haven't dated the same woemen.

Mine always seemed happy, not a bit of woe in the bunch.

42 posted on 03/07/2002 10:55:10 PM PST by rightofrush
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To: Snuffington
Not true--old, bad data. They lived longer than we thought and when agriculture came, the diseases came with it.
43 posted on 03/08/2002 2:34:08 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: arielb
The key--if you eat high carbs--is to eat a very low fat diet. High carbs combined with high fat is the killer. The carbs bring the high insulin levels and that, in turn, causes more fat to be stored.

Much more natural to eat lower carbs and eliminate cereals.

44 posted on 03/08/2002 2:36:04 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: LarryLied
Predominate is the key word here--between about 50 and 60% of total calories. Our small intestines are in between the lengths of the pure carnivores and the herbivores. We are obligate omnivores.
45 posted on 03/08/2002 2:38:37 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Aurelius
Wow. Great insight with the brewing and cereals for the start of agriculture. Never thought of that...you just might be right!
46 posted on 03/08/2002 2:40:53 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
What would you do Without FR?????

How would You Feel without FR??? Suppose one day you tried to log on and Free Republic wasn’t there?
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Insight into world affairs, brilliant wit, sharp retorts, instant information gratification are a few of the things that make FR so vital.

How would you keep on top of things without FR?
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47 posted on 03/08/2002 2:49:55 AM PST by grammymoon
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Andrea Yates future book... “I Loved Them to Death”.
48 posted on 03/08/2002 3:07:13 AM PST by johnny7
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To: grammymoon
Hey grammy--check the thread and the record. There is an appeal already posted above and I gave on Wednesday!!

Freegards,
PB

49 posted on 03/08/2002 4:53:57 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
Not true--old, bad data.

I'm unaware of any data that shows their average lifespan was beyond 30 years. Care to share?

Besides, my point is not that they lived better or worse than Neolithic farmers. My point is they lived nothing like we do today. A diet suited for their lifestyle may not be well suited for ours.

50 posted on 03/08/2002 6:08:48 AM PST by Snuffington
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