How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)

Ruh-roh. (Photo Credit: We Love Costa Rica)

Following our Paleolithic ancestors, our Neolithic ancestors lost an average of six inches in height. Most people now have those last 5-10 pounds that seem impossible lose. The causes for both, surprisingly, may be the same.

Robb Wolf can explain. Robb, a former research biochemist, has functioned as a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism and is co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning, one of the Men’s Health “top 30 gyms in America.” He’s also a former California State Powerlifting Champion with a competition 565 lb. squat, 345 lb. bench, 565 lb. deadlift…

I have known of Robb for several years, but I only met him through a friend a week ago. Several weeks earlier, that same friend had sent me a copy of Robb’s book, The Paleo Solution, which I ended up devouring in a few sittings. The chapters on digestion and improving digestion were particularly fascinating to me, and, for that reason, this post is a book excerpt. It details a particular problem and specific solutions. Enjoy.

Enter Robb Wolf.

A Common Problem

Below I describe several people who at first glance appear different, but in fact they all share a common problem. They had significant health issues with no apparent cause or solution and assumed they had no treatment options, as their doctors were stumped and could offer few solutions.

For you, this chapter may represent the “missing link” in your quest for improved performance and health.

Alex, Age Five

I first learned of Alex from my friend Kelly. She related a story of a little boy who was very sick, underweight, and suffering from constant digestive problems. If you like kids and other small, scurrying critters, Alex’s features and symptoms were literally heartbreaking. He had painfully skinny arms and legs, attached seemingly at random to a torso dominated by a prominently distended belly. At night Alex thrashed and turned in his bed, wracked by diffuse pain in his arms, legs and, especially, his belly. Alex had severe lethargy and a “failure to thrive.” His doctors ran extensive tests but found nothing conclusive. They recommended a bland diet of toast, rice puddings, and yogurt, but with no benefit to the little guy.

Kelly contacted me on behalf of the family and asked if I had any ideas that might help Alex. I made a few specific recommendations, which the parents enacted immediately. Within ten days, Alex’s perpetually distended belly was flat and normal. He gained six pounds in a little over two weeks and was noticeably more muscular in the arms and legs. His sleep shifted from the thrashing, restless bouts that left him listless and tired, to the sleep all kids should have: restful, unbroken, and filled with dreams. Alex’s energy improved to such a degree that the other kids and parents could hardly imagine he was the same kid. He was healthy and happy, all because of a simple adjustment he and his family made to his eating.

Sally, Age Sixty-One

Sally was referred to us by her family physician. Sally’s doctor had worked with her on a variety of issues: low thyroid, osteoporosis, gall bladder problems, depression, and high blood pressure. It was an impressive and ever-growing list of ailments that both Sally and her doctor attributed to “normal” aging. Her doc was pretty forward thinking, however, in that she recommended that Sally perform “weight bearing exercise” to help slow the progression of the osteoporosis and muscle wasting that been accelerating in the past four to five years.

When this recommendation brought Sally to us, she was a bit reluctant to get started with a strength-training program and was very reluctant to modify or change her nutrition. We were gentle but persistent.

Our recommendations focused on specific changes to her nutrition and lifestyle. Within two months Sally was off her thyroid medications, her gall bladder issues were gone, she was four pants sizes smaller, while her symptoms of depression had disappeared. After six months of training with us and following our nutrition recommendations, it was discovered that she was no longer osteoporotic.

Of all the improvements, Sally’s doctor was most impressed with the increased bone density. She asked Sally what she had modified to affect this change. When Sally told her doctor how she had changed her nutrition, her doctor pondered things for a moment, then said, “Well, it must be something else! Food can’t do all that.”

Jorge, Age Forty

Jorge started working with us primarily to lose weight. At five feet nine inches and 325 pounds, Jorge was heading down a path of significant illness stemming from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Compounding Jorge’s situation was a condition neither he nor his doctors could figure out. Nearly every time Jorge ate, he would break out in a rash and his tongue would swell. Like really swell. Jorge had to keep an epi-pen on his person at all times, similar to someone who has a severe allergy to bee stings or peanuts.

Jorge is a practicing attorney and several times a week he would dash out of the courtroom on a mad trip to the emergency room, where he would receive antihistamines to bring his tongue swelling under control. His doctors were (again) stumped. His blood work did not show a specific allergy, nor did he appear to have a full-blown autoimmune disease. Certain immune cells were obviously overactive, but in an atypical fashion that left the allergists and rheumatologists scratching their heads.

We recommended a nutritional change for Jorge, which he fought tooth and nail. God has never made a person more appropriate to be an argumentative lawyer! Part begging, part threatening, we finally won Jorge over and told him, “Just do this for a month. If it does not work, what have you lost? If it does work, what will you have gained?”

Jorge gave things a shot and his tongue swelling disappeared. Now a year later, Jorge is down to 255 pounds and making headway toward his goal of a lean, strong 225 pounds. Thankfully, Jorge now argues for us instead of against us! Not to beat up on the physicians too much, but when Jorge told his docs what he changed, they too did not believe the cause and effect staring them straight in the face.

So, What Did We Do?

It will come as a surprise for most people that the underlying cause of all the issues described above, in these very different people, was the same thing—a common component in nearly everyone’s diet. Gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye oats, and barley. Other grains such as corn and rice have similar, but less problematic proteins (we will talk about that later).

OK, calm down, I get it. Bread, pasta, and cookies are yummy. They are also likely killing you. The other sections of this book I’m willing to give you a “pass” on understanding the technical points. Most people kinda get the insulin/high-carb issue. People are slowly realizing there are “good fats.” So, I’ll not hold you responsible for that material. However, I insist you read this grain issue, ponder it, and then do what I recommend.

We are going to learn the whole story about gluten, grains, and their roles in disease. I’ll then give you quantifiable measures for determining how much healthier you are without them. Then it’s all up to you. If you want to be healthy, you will find some level of compliance that works for you.


We have all seen pictures or videos of smokers dying from lung cancer yet still smoking through tracheotomy holes in their throats. Amazing, right? How can people do that? Well, gluten consumption is on par with a pack-a-day smoking habit.

Like most things, we need to start at the beginning.

Grains Anatomy

When I say “grain,” I am talking about one of many domesticated grasses in the gramineae family. This includes staples such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, millet, rice, and sorghum. These plants are derivatives or descendants from wild grasses that have been managed and bred for 2,000–5,000 years. All grains have the following anatomy:

Bran:

The bran is the outer covering of a whole, unprocessed grain. It contains vitamins, minerals, and a host of proteins and antinutrients designed to prevent the predation, or eating, of the grain. When you see brown rice, the bran is the flakey outer covering of the rice.

Endosperm:

The endosperm is mainly starch with a bit of protein. This is the energy supply of a growing grain embryo. When you see white rice, this is the endosperm with bran and germ removed.

Germ:

The germ is the actual reproductive portion of the grain. This is where the embryo resides.

In the wild, the cereal grain is distributed by the wind, and when conditions are right, the germ (embryo) begins the process of growth using the endosperm for energy. It may come as a surprise, but plants are not benign, altruistic organisms just waiting to send their next generation of young into our mouths in the form of sushi rice or French bread. Grains, like all critters on this planet, face the challenge of surviving long enough to reproduce. This is particularly problematic for grains in that their most nutrient-dense portion (the part we eat) happens to be the reproductive structure.

Sidebar: Oats, Quinoa, and False Friends

Hey Robb, I appreciate your concern, but my dietician told me Oats are gluten-free, so no need to worry about my morning bowl of oatmeal? Yep, I love oatmeal too, but it contains similar proteins to gluten. Cereal grains tend to have proteins that are high in the amino acid proline. These prolamines (proline rich proteins) are tough to digest, and thus remain intact despite the best efforts of the digestive process to break them down. The result is gut irritation, increased systemic inflammation, and the potential for autoimmune disease.

Corn has a similar prolamine called zein. Now you can heed or disregard this information as you please, but grains are a significant problem for most people. Upon removal of these grains, you will notice that you feel better. With reintroduction of grains…well, you feel worse. Keep in mind this inflammation is also a factor in losing weight and looking good, so don’t dismiss this if your primary goal is a tight tush. What I’m asking you to do is take 30 days and eat more fruits and veggies instead of the grains. See how you do. Not so hard, right? And just to head you off at the pass, let’s tackle two other grain related topics: “Whole grains” and Quinoa.

When we factor in their anti-nutrient properties, and potential to wreck havoc on our GI tract, grains are not a sound decision for health or longevity. For the purposes of our discussion, consider dairy and legumes in the same category.

[Note from Tim: Many of you know that I consume some legumes and beans. Normal cooking will reduce anti-nutrients in both, but, when possible, I also soak them overnight beforehand in water with a tablespoon of baking soda. Soaking for 24 hours at room temperature has been shown to remove 66% of the trypsin (protease) inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil (this is what I eat most often), 59% in chickpea, and 100% in broad bean. Remember also to distinguish “in vitro” (e.g. red blood cells in a petri dish) vs. “in vivo” (e.g. after normal digestion) studies.]

Quinoa pops up frequently and the refrain goes like this, “Robb! Have you tried this stuff Quinoa (the pronunciation varies depending on how big a hippy you are). It’s NOT a grain! It’s fine, right?”

Well, you’ve likely heard the expression, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” Quinoa is botanically not a grain, but because it has evolved in a similar biological niche, Quinoa has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut. In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture.

One for Me and One for You

Some plants, like blueberries or similar fruits, have evolved a strategy of “give a little to get a little.” Critters (us included) eat these fruits, then pass the seeds in a convenient, warm fertilized package that all but guarantees the next generation. Sewage systems aside, this is a reasonable trade off. The critter that eats the blueberries gets a little nutrition in exchange for spreading the blueberry seeds for subsequent generations of blueberries.

Other plants take a different approach and try to dissuade all predation by shrouding themselves in nasty substances that are either irritants or outright poisons. Consider poison oak or poison ivy. These plants have developed chemical warfare capabilities and use oils that have a tendency to work their way through the skin of animals that come in contact with the leaves. This oil sets off an alarm that irritates the immune system. Lymphocytes and other white blood cells attack the oil and in the process release pro-inflammatory chemicals that lead to a rash. Keep this idea in mind as we talk about grains, as it will help you to wrap your mind around what is happening when we eat this “staple” food.

If we compare grains to the strategies listed above, “give a little, get a little,” like the blueberry, or “bugger off,” like the poison oak, we see that grains are much more like poison oak. If a critter eats a grain, that’s it for the grain. That does not mean that the grain goes down without a fight! Grains are remarkably well equipped for chemical warfare.

Lectins:

Grains contain a variety of proteins, some of which are called lectins (not to be confused with the hormone leptin). In simple terms, lectins stick to specific molecules and thus play “recognition” roles in biological systems.

For our purposes, we will look at wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is one of the nastier lectins, but also one of the better studied. Keep in mind, WGA (or similar molecules) are found in all grains, but it’s my opinion (and that of many other researchers) that wheat, rye, and barley, which are the gluten-containing grains, are likely the worst of the bunch with regard to health. Millet is similar to oats, in that it contains a protein only a few amino acids different from gliadin (the main problem in gluten), and it is therefore problematic for digestion. Be careful with “gluten-free” snack foods that seem too good to be true, millet-based or otherwise. Corn and rice can also be problematic, but they are safer if consumed infrequently (we will look at this later). WGA and similar lectins are problematic for several reasons:

  1. Lectins are not broken down in the normal digestive process. This leaves large, intact proteins in the gut. If you recall, most proteins are broken down in the digestive process, but the structure of some grain proteins makes them very difficult to digest (for the geeks: these proteins are high in the amino acid proline). Grains also contain protease inhibitors (dairy and some other foods also contain these), which further block the digestion of dangerous lectins. This lack of adequate protein digestion leads to serious problems, as you will see.

  2. The lectins attach to receptors in the intestinal lumen and are transported intact through the intestinal lining. Remember how amino acids and sugars are transported out of the intestines during digestion? Certain lectins “fool” transport molecules in an effort to gain entry into our bodies intact.

  3. These large, intact protein molecules are easily mistaken by the body as foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It’s perhaps unpleasant to think about, but the intestines are not the nicest place to hang out. This area is a major source of infection by bacteria and viruses, and the immune system lies primed, waiting to pounce on any invading pathogen. Not only does WGA enter the system intact, it damages the intestinal lining, allowing other proteins to enter the system. Why is this a problem? Our immune system mounts an attack on these foreign proteins and makes antibodies against them. These antibodies are very specific to the shapes of these foreign proteins. Unfortunately, these proteins also tend to look like proteins in our body.

Brother from a Different Mother—Molecular Mimicry

Proteins are made of molecules called amino acids (AA). Let’s imagine for a minute these amino acids are represented by Legos, with different shapes and colors denoting different amino acids. Imagine a string of Legos with a specific sequence; let’s say its five to ten Legos long. Now imagine another, identical set of Legos attached on top of many more Legos. The top five to ten of the long piece is identical to the short piece.

Let’s assume the short piece is WGA and the long piece is a protein in the beta cells of your pancreas where insulin is made. If the WGA is attacked by the immune system and an antibody is made against it (because the body thinks WGA is a bacteria or virus), that antibody will not only attach to WGA, it can also attach to the protein in your pancreas. When that WGA antibody attaches to your pancreas, it precipitates a wholesale immune response—attacking that tissue. Your pancreas is damaged, or destroyed, and you become type 1 diabetic. If that protein happened to be in the myelin sheath of your brain, you would develop multiple sclerosis.

Celiac:

Most people are familiar with a condition called celiac, which is an autoimmune disease caused by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and millet. It is clearly understood that celiac is an autoimmune disease caused by lectins. It is also clear that other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other autoimmune conditions occur at much higher rates in celiac patients. However, this association, for whatever reason, was largely dismissed as an anomaly until researchers recently made the connection between the development of celiac and other autoimmune diseases.

We now understood that WGA and other lectins have a significant effect on the enzyme transglutaminase (TG). Transglutaminase is an enzyme that modifies every protein we make in our body. How many proteins does TG modify folks? That’s right, all of them. Heart, brain, kidney, reproductive organs—all of them. So, if lectins can cause problems with TG, and if TG modifies every protein in our body, how many things can lectins cause problems with? I hope this is obvious—lectins can and do affect every organ system. Reproductive issues, vitiligo (a skin condition where the individual loses pigmentation in the skin) Huntington’s, narcolepsy—we have found literally hundreds of conditions in which lectins appear to be the causative factor. Not only do we have science to support this, we have observed clinical resolution of these conditions upon the removal of grains, legumes, and dairy. I hate to do this to you, but we have to go back into the intestines.

Really? Digestion? Again?

When food is emptied from the stomach into the small intestines, it is mixed with bile salts that are produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Remember, bile salts are much like soap and are critical for our digestion and absorption of fats. In addition to bile from the gall bladder, the pancreas releases digestive enzymes that are critical to digestion. And lest you forget, much of the digestive process happens at the tiny structures in our intestines—the villi and microvilli. Now let’s see how lectins interact with the intestinal lining to produce autoimmunity.

Lectins such as WGA bind to a receptor in the microvilli, allowing WGA to be transported into the body. This is the mechanism of the autoimmune cascade I described above. If the gut wall (microvilli) becomes damaged, the entire contents of the intestines can now make its way into your system. Yes, that’s as bad as it sounds. You are not only in a position to create antibodies against WGA, which leads to autoimmunity, but you now have the potential to develop multiple allergies due to a permeable gut lining and inadequately digested food. This is how you can develop allergies to chicken, beef, apples, or other normally benign foods.

Additionally, if your gut is damaged, you expose yourself to a host of chemicals that would normally remain in the intestines. This can lead to conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, which is regarded more as a psychiatric problem than legitimate medical condition.

Let me be crystal clear about this: Anything that damages the gut lining (including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, as well as alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy) can predispose one to autoimmunity, multiple chemical sensitivities, and allergies to otherwise benign foods.

As my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach says, “This no opinion is, this fact is.”

“If the gut wall (microvilli) becomes damaged, the entire contents of the intestines can now make its way into your system.” [Note from Tim: this is where the “feces in the bloodstream” post title comes from]

Full of Bile

While this digestive disaster is taking place, there are several other problems brewing. As you recall, the function of the gall bladder is to release bile salts into a meal as it is emptied into the duodenum from the stomach. When the intestinal wall is damaged, the chemical messenger, cholecystokinin (CCK), is not released. CCK usually sends the “on” switch to the gall bladder and the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes. When this signal is blocked, we do not properly digest our foods, particularly fat and protein. The lack of bile release allows cholesterol crystals to form in the gall bladder, which leads to gall stones. The standard medical practice of removing the gall bladder is effectively killing the “canary in the coal mine.” Gall stones are a symptom of a problem, an alarm. Instead of treating the cause (remove grains) we cut out the gall bladder. People who have had gall bladder removal are almost certainly undiagnosed celiacs and likely have a number of other progressive diseases. In my experience, these individuals are plagued with digestive problems, culminating in dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

Achtung!

The disruption of CCK and related hormones (PYY, adiponectin) in the signaling cascade of digestion is a really big deal. Not only is the digestive process severely damaged, much of our satiety signaling is taken offline as well. We cannot properly digest our food, we are always “hungry,” and the very food we crave, refined grains and sugary junk, happens to be the cause of the problem.

It Gets Better

Another piece of the chemical defense system used against us by grains is a group of enzymes called protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors prevent the breakdown of proteins. This means that when you consume grains you do not effectively digest the protein in your meal. Protease inhibitors also stymie the digestion of lectins such as WGA, making these already difficult-to-digest items virtually indestructible. This leaves more large proteins in the intestinal contents, which increases our likelihood of developing autoimmunity, allergies, or chemical sensitivities.

Osteoporotic Much?

If you do not have a bellyache thinking about grains by now, let’s look at one more player: antinutrients such as phytates. Phytates are important for seeds and grains because they tightly bind to metal ions (like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and copper), which are crucial for the growth and development of the grain. If the metal ions are not tightly bound by the phytates, the process of germination can happen prematurely and this can spell disaster for the grain.

When we consume grains, the phytates are still active and powerfully bind to calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. This means the calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron are unavailable for absorption. Because of the action of antinutrients such as phytates combined with the gut damaging characteristics of lectins and protease inhibitors, our Neolithic ancestors lost an average of six inches in height vs. our Paleolithic ancestors due to the Neolithic diet of grains and legumes. Are you concerned about osteoporosis or iron deficiency anemia? Do you suffer from fatigue or heart problems that might be caused by magnesium deficiency? Have you diligently consumed a “smart” diet of whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy as per the recommendations of your dietician and doctor? Do you see how ridiculous that suggestion is in light of what you now know about grains, legumes, and dairy?

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!

Here is a recap of how grains cause malabsorption issues and how that affects our health and well-being:

  1. Damage to the gut lining. If the gut is damaged, you do not absorb nutrients. We need healthy villi and microvilli to absorb our nutrients, be they protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, or minerals.

  2. Damage to the gall bladder and bile production. If you do not absorb fats and fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, K, and other nutrients, you will have problems utilizing any minerals you do absorb, to say nothing of the nutrient deficiencies from inadequate essential fats.

  3. Phytates tightly bind to metal ions and make them unavailable for absorption. Analytical chemists actually use purified phytates in experiments where it is necessary to quantify the amounts of metal ions like calcium, zinc, or iron in a sample because the phytates bind to these metals tighter than just about any other molecule. The same thing happens when you eat phytates, and this is not a good thing for bone health or iron status.

  4. Open door for autoimmunity and cancer. Once the gut lining is damaged, we are at exceptionally high risk of autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and several types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The pancreas is assailed by grain-induced inflammation due to CCK problems and elevated insulin levels. This inflammation is a potential cause of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Why does all this happen? Because grains are pissed that you want to eat them and they are willing, and able, to fight back.

Here is a short list of the problems associated with leaky gut and the autoimmune response:

• Infertility

• Type 1 diabetes

• Multiple sclerosis

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Lupus

• Vitiligo

• Narcolepsy

• Schizophrenia

• Autism

• Depression

• Huntington’s

• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

• Hypothyroidism

• Porphyria

But I’m Not Sick

Some of you, however, may think you have no issues here. You have eaten grains, legumes, and dairy your whole life and are “fine.” Well, maybe. But I suspect that is not the case. I’ll bet that if you completely remove these Neolithic foods from your diet for one month, you will notice a dramatic improvement in how you feel and perform. Why? Because if you are consuming these foods, I’ll wager you have gut irritation and other systemic inflammation issues.

A recent study looking at children with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition) found that a significant number of them had overt gut pathology, i.e., celiac. Some had a positive antibody test for celiac, but a number of kids were negative on both the WGA antibody test (a common blood test for celiac) and on an intestinal biopsy. So doctors would think there was no gluten influence in their condition. Interestingly, however, nearly all the kids showed antibodies in the deep tissues of the microvilli to . . . transglutaminase.

The study authors suspected most of the kids would at some point develop what is commonly described as celiac. What this tells us is gut damage can be fairly benign (few symptoms) but still lead to autoimmunity. Once initiated, autoimmunity can and does progress to other problems. Your doctor or dietician will likely dismiss this information, especially if you are “negative” for any of the standard blood work or lab tests for celiac. They are foolish in this regard, but hey, it’s only your health.

Trust your medical professionals, they always know best. Or, try a simple experiment: Follow a Paleo diet, and assess how you feel and perform. I know, I can hear the MDs now, that it’s “just anecdotal.” If you are going to save your ass you are not likely to get much support in this matter unless you have a forward-thinking and aggressive primary physician.

What is the ultimate gold standard in all this? How do you know for sure you do or do not have an issue with these foods? The answer seems obvious: remove the potentially offending foods! Reintroduce them after thirty to sixty days. See what happens. Now there is a caveat to this. You only need to be exposed to things like gluten once every ten to fifteen days to keep the gut damaged. This can bedevil people as they “cut back on gluten” but do not notice an improvement in their overall health. I’m sorry but there is not a pink “participant” ribbon given out for doing this “almost correctly.” You need to be 100 percent compliant for thirty days, then see how you do with reintroduction.

Now, I’ll be honest, the reintroduction is for you, not me. If I did a phone consult with you, I’d ask, “How did you do when you had that piece of bread?” I know exactly how you did—I’ve seen this scenario thousands of times, but you are the one who needs convincing. When you reintroduce gluten you will not feel good. Sorry kiddo, it’s just the way it works. Now it’s up to you to decide if health and a long life are worth forgoing some of these foods more often than not.

Does all this seem hard to believe? Well, remember how I described the effects of poison oak on your skin? It’s a similar deal here with gut irritation and lectin exposure. If you want to get the full power of this program, you need to actually give it a shot. Worst-case scenario: You spend a month without some foods you like. Best-case scenario: You discover you are able to live healthier and better than you ever thought possible.

But I Like Bread and Pasta!

Yes, I like that stuff too, but they make me sick. I suspect it makes you sick, as well. Not only do grains make you sick by raising insulin levels, messing up your fatty acid ratios (n-3/n-6), and irritating your gut, but they are also addictive. Grains, particularly the gluten-containing grains, contain molecules that fit into the opiate receptors in our brain. You know, the same receptors that work with heroin, morphine, and Vicodin? Most people can take or leave stuff like corn tortillas and rice. Suggest that people should perhaps forgo bread and pasta for their health and they will bury a butter knife in your forehead before you can say “whole wheat!” Sorry folks, I don’t make these rules, I just have the lovely task of educating you about them.

Why I had to focus on gluten-free living, exercise, and trying to get you healthy, I will never know. I should have just peddled hookers, cocaine, and pastries! So much easier.

Instead, here’s a one week food plan. There are hundreds of great options, but this is a simple menu to get you started:

Week 1

Monday

BREAKFAST: 2–4 poached eggs, almonds, small piece fruit or berries

LUNCH: Chicken fajita salad

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple, few avocado slices

DINNER: Grilled salmon, roasted green beans, side salad

Tuesday

BREAKFAST: Leftover salmon, walnuts

LUNCH: Lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiments of your choice over 1–2 burger patties, orange, almonds

SNACK: Jerky, macadamia nuts

DINNER: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli, side salad

Wednesday

BREAKFAST: Leftover chicken w/salsa, ½ avocado

LUNCH: Tuna and cabbage salad

SNACK: Remainder of tuna and cabbage salad

DINNER: Crock-Pot pork loin, tomato sauce, zucchini, chopped cauliflower, basil. Make a large portion, leftovers will be used for several meals!

Thursday

BREAKFAST: Slice of ham, 2–3 scrambled eggs, fruit

LUNCH: Leftover pork loin

SNACK: 2 hard-boiled eggs, almonds

DINNER: Stir-fry beef salad. Serve over bed of greens with balsamic vinegar

Friday

BREAKFAST: Sausage stir-fry breakfast

LUNCH: Easy ceviche

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple

DINNER: Spaghetti squash (Note from Tim: this is delicious) or kelp-noodle spaghetti: cook either choice with marinara sauce, ground meat, olive oil

Saturday

BREAKFAST: Chicken apple hash

LUNCH: 5–6 oz deli turkey, ½ lb steamed broccoli, drizzle with olive oil

SNACK: 2–3 oz turkey, carrot sticks, almonds

DINNER: Indian-style coleslaw, leftover pork loin, side salad with olive oil

Sunday

BREAKFAST: Western omelet, sweet potato hash

LUNCH: Lamb patties, tomato, lettuce, strawberries

SNACK: Turkey, avocado

DINNER: Halibut, roasted asparagus, berries with balsamic vinegar

For full 30-day meal plans, recipes, and more, this is the resource.

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Afterword: Holy religious war, Batman! Hundreds of strong comments below, including a few very smart contributions from MDs, nurses, etc.. Robb has also answered some of the most common questions in the comments.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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1,395 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. Great article! I am amazed at all the people that have posted comments that have doubts that the Paleo diet is healthy!

    I am 64 & have been Paleo for about 4 years, Gluten free-grain free- dairy free-High Fructose Corn Syrup Free-Soy free, etc for 6 years, barley & rye free for 40 years (allergy),and wheat free for 17 years. I am very healthy, take no meds, workout at the gym, work for a living & plan to work into my 70’s.

    I have spent 4 years getting the word out about gluten free – low carb – dairy free- legume free-sugar free – okay it is Paleo!, to the people that suffer with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). If anyone is interested in reading our progress you can google gfpaperdoll and Hidradenitis Suppurativa and find my posts. I would appreciate it if any of you know someone with HS that you would pass this information along to them.

    We have a lot of people in remission from their HS on the Paleo diet. Like everything else it is a choice & you have to want to… We see a lot of people that choose to not give up their bread and fast food. It is the people with HS that have not heard about the diet & are not on the internet that I worry about. I try to post on all the HS forums, although I am not all that welcome on some – with my ridiculous diet ideas… 😉

    I have posted this link to a couple of those forums & on our facebook page. Thank you guys for also including the menus – a lot of new people that are wanting to change their diet have a problem with what to make for meals & snacks. Again thank you so much for this great article!!!

    jeanne

    Houston, Texas

  2. If its allowed, this link makes for interesting reading regarding Paleo Diets. It’s not a critique of Robb Wolfs work, but instead Loren Cardaine’s ‘The Paleo Diet’.

    http://www.soalive.biz/articles/plain_paleo.htm

    It’s hard for me to kind of just let this go without offering the other side of the coin. Grains are not good. Meat is not either. Ketosis = bad. Not all carbs are created equal, and ultimately the body runs off carbs.

  3. Tim – Interesting post, and totally ~plausible~.

    BUT – it’s “supported” by anecdote & sweeping generalizations and is wrapped in a defensive / combative style that undermines the (interesting) message.

    Look – as somebody with friends in the epidemiology / health science world, it is SUPER hard to prove causation, and many health issues are multivariate. Plus, there are huge genomic differences that (for example) make a cancer treatment work great for one subset of the population, and not at all for another group.

    I’d love to read more about this topic, but with better support and less enthusiasm.

    Part of your appeal as a writer is that you cut through preconceptions based on your own testing and observation.

    This post undermines the Tim Ferris brand because it doesn’t have the “Guys – I went and did XYZ, it rocked… plus here are my observations about WHY XYZ worked”.

    – Karl

    PS – hey, I might try what the guest poster suggests… but I think you’re letting the ‘real’ TF post quality standard slip.

  4. (Oh, and I totally agree with Jimmy’s earlier comment re some of the negatives of the suggested non-Glutenous foods, ethical and otherwise. Let’s say you’re traveling – are you really better off chomping down a factory-farmed steak than having beans and rice?)

  5. Regular fasting and paleolithic nutrition is the ultimate combo for curing inflammation. My knees were sore for years when I followed a neolithic diet and I also suffered from episodes of unexplainable lethargy and lack of motivation. This all gradually disappeared after switching to paleo and intermittent fasting.

    Robb’s site is a great resource for paleo nutrition but I also recommend Mark’s Daily Apple.

    For regular fasting, Martin Berkhan’s Leangains is a fantastic resource. He dispells many myths and misconceptions about fasting. It’s not some “hippie” activity. Check out his and his client’s physique and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    Also read Brad Pilon’s book “Eat Stop Eat”. It’s a very good book about the physiology of fasting. Here is a review of the latest edition, which is even better than the last:

    http://www.leangains.com/2010/09/eat-stop-eat-expanded-edition-review.html

    Those who have their doubts about Robb Wolf’s diet really need to try it before being so critical. Same goes for fasting. I too was a doubter before I made the shift.

  6. My wife is gluten “intolerant” which is one step down from gluten allergies, but she notices INSTANTLY the effect on her gut and general feeling when she consumes wheat.

    We avoid gluten as much as possible, not 100%, but we try and in our research we found the comment….gluten: poison of the masses.

    doesn’t matter how many people you try to help, if you don’t want to help yourself you won’t change.

    Excellent article and i will look for the book (so good plug). Cheers

  7. I have been on a similar fighters diet many times in the past; however, you bring up a few points worth exploring. I am currently on day three of your program, I look forward to the journey over the next 30 days, thanks for writing this article!

    Train Hard!

  8. Ok. So I’m new to all this. I kind of like the suggestion to “get blood work done” to track real progress. But I seem to have some questions on how to get it done; and would love some guidance or tips. 🙂

    Let’s say I have keiser hmo. How would you go about convincing your doctor to do blood work every few months? And what kind of blood work would you ask for? And make sure that the doctor orders the right tests?

  9. I have a question.

    First I would like to say that I agree with the posted article and I’m a huge fan of the paleo/low carb diet. But, obviously the people who are into this type of thing are a small minority. For instance if modern doctor diagnoses a person with heart diseases, the doc will probably advice a low fat diet and not mention a word about pasta, rice, coke, sugar, etc (where according to the paleo diet, the sugar and the crabs are what caused the heart diseases in the 1st place, not the bacon or the lard). It follows that the opposite of this post is conventional wisdom and the whole low fat thing is taught in medical schools and accepted by millions of very smart doctors. These people graduate from some of the top universities in the world and I hope that they know how to interpret data from many studies that are performed. So, it boggles my mind as to how there can be such a controversy and conflicting advice. Wouldn’t you think that the main stream advice is based on some of the best studies and data out there. I’m pretty sure that the doctors are trying to help people and not hurt them. I really don’t get this.

  10. I have nothing to add or criticize regarding this specific topic but the general concern about adding “unnatural” substances to the humans diet seems illogical to me.

    Today Europeans with lactose intolerance are treated as ill, but in reality are “original” humans. The majority that can digest milk used to be the exception but their advantage put them ahead and made them the majority, eventhough cow milk wasn’t natural. Our diet has always changed depending on the environment and wether you should consume a substance can depend on your ancestors way of life.

    Tim recently posted a link regarding bacteria that help Japanese people to digest Sushi, so there is no right amount of Sushi for “the human”.

  11. Here is my humble opine on grains.

    They are not poison…period.

    The patently absurd over vilification of grains is quite the soup de jour. Really? Ok. Here is some empirical data to rough up your digestive track. If you want to live a long healthy life; grains are not the problem – if your not a celiac. You can find a wealth of info about centurions on the web. People have studied them like crazy to try to gain a glimpse on why they live so long. The common theme (drumroll) – NOT EATING MUCH. That is it. It is that simple. The problem is over consumption. Carbs are not the problem (in fact the ratio of macromolecular consumption is not at all an issue.) The issue is purely quantity. The oldest man right now lives in Montana. He is 114. In his 30’s he discovered he felt much better if he just ate breakfast and lunch and then skipped dinner. He has not eaten dinner for about 80 years. For breakfast, he often eats pancakes. Hmmm. So if someone can be the oldest human on the planet, and if most of the top performing athletes in the world consume grains – well, you make the conceptual leap. Here is the diddaly ding dong. This article is well, well written. Start: Sick people. Next: the problem. Next: The solution: to every symptom you’ve ever experienced. What is great is that some may embark on a truly healthier lifestyle from this. But mostly they will feel better from the placebo effect. Yes, when you are stuck in the same neural circuit and then you switch circuits to a more optimistic one – it is very powerful. If a drug company could bottle the placebo is would be the best selling drug ever. The FDA would brand it the first “cure-all” because it really works in almost every disease known to man. Try this: Don’t over eat. Eat good food. Be optimistic. Oh, and if you’re a celiac-don’t eat gluten.

  12. I am a cyclist, runner. Endurance. Think, 9 hour rides up the Tourmalet for L’Etape.

    Protein: recommendations for protein supplement?

    What does one do for carbs?

    Is wholemeal pasta ok?

    Man, I already miss Kit Kat chunky caramels.

    A follow up article detailing the damage caused by milk/yoghurt and legumes would be good.

    My story: Was 89kg (on a 5’7″) in July 2005. Am now 65kg body fat around 8% (and that’s during winter with too many carbs). How: no bread, or pasta. Loads of eggs, fat (avos etc), milk+protein shakes, minimal booze.

    Still eat pasta sometimes, and bread sometimes, but mainly meat, dairy+protein, nuts, seeds, etc etc.

    And Cointreau.

    Haha

  13. Thanks Tim,

    I’ll give this a shot and see how I go with my energy levels.

    Does anyone know of any good sites that track health vs food intake and can spit out graphs etc etc.

    You all would be the best people to ask!!!

    Thanks.!!!

  14. Interesting post.

    I’m surprise though to see comment about the pseudo-science that is blood-type diet (great marketing by the way)

    “oh yeah you are a type O, go on meat, type A should go on carb” does anyone is a doctor here ? seriously ….

    Adamo is a … “naturopath” 🙂

  15. Is the inuit lifestyle a healthy lifestyle? Didn’t they die significantly earlier before vegetables, fruits and grains were added to their food due to all the meat?

    What if your ancestors weren’t inuits and the food is not ideal for you, what if it isn’t ideal even for them or anyone, ever? Can you tell us more about the “getting old” part?

    What if grains benefit 90% of the population and cause big problems for the other 10 (your patients)?

    Why the huge success of grains if they caused so many problems? Unlike berries, insects and birds, they require a lot of work.

  16. @Alexey

    I think it is because when you stop eating either carbs or fats you mustn’t eat crap like Pizza, Burgers and packaged stuff from supermarkets so you automatically cut out a lot of damaging food from your diet.

  17. Thanks Robb and Tim for a great intro to Paleo living.

    Nick: I love lentils too but I find even with soaking that dried ones are a little, um, explosive. I go with the canned ones with low sodium levels for great convenience. I’m guessing someone will now tell me that canned food will kill me in some other way.

  18. This has been very entertaining reading, a great post followed by comments from strong minded individuals. I have been convinced by the paleo advocates, particulary Mark Sisson, that gluten is the cause of much of our societies general ill health.

    I have gone gluten free for weeks on end and have felt good during these phases. Symptoms returning (aching joints, bloated and tried) when I’ve returned to eating gluten containing foods. However I am particulary interested in the addictive nature of these foods, as there is sometimes an overwhelmeing urge to eat these foods e.g. that piece of gateau that can’t be resisted after a meal. This feeling has always reminded me of the overwhelming urge to smoke. I gave up smoking 4 yrears a go and it was so difficult, so I speak from experiance.

    i hadn’t though of having my blood profiles done, going to do a before and after as suggested by Tim.

  19. I am a runner. When I am at maximum training I need about 4000 calories a day to maintain my 21 BMI. I also need a lot of carbohydrates to fuel that much activity. Running 15 miles in the morning requires a lot of energy (over 2000 calories for me). Fats are nice and dense, but carbohydrates are required for aerobic energy in the body. I seek out high carbohydrate and calorically dense foods just to maintain my weight and energy needs (pizza tops the list). It seems that if I followed a palio diet I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the workouts required for my running.

    What would you recommend for an endurance athlete with over twice the daily caloric demands than the average sedentary person of the same weight?

  20. Hi Tim-

    First of all, thank you for 4HWW. It changed my life. My muse happens to be also what I love, and it’s taking off in wonderful directions.

    When I read this article last Sunday (thank you for posting on a Sunday night, by the way) I decided to “try” it for a week starting Monday morning.

    Holy *$%#.

    Today, one 100% paleo week later, I’m typing this wearing jeans I haven’t fit in FOR YEARS. I am never hungry, I have boundless energy, and what’s strange, I feel STRONGER than I have in years.

    And this is after ONE WEEK of strict paleo.

    Thank you for changing my life, again.

    Much gratitude,

    Crystal

  21. My mother-in-law had a “mystery ailment” for many years where she would get sick with wheat, but which was not celiac-related. Among other things, it caused her gallbladder to spasm, and eventually she had her gallbladder removed. This lead to recovery and she can now eat a fair amount of gluten-containing foods without getting sick. Before she’d have “one little slice” of anything with gluten in it and be over the toilet in a couple of hours.

    I have a couple of ailments as well and had been considering whether cutting out gluten entirely would help. I have a big problem with psoriasis, there’s only a little but it’s on my face (of all places!), which is a huge pain. I’m also obese (normal T4). So I think you just persuaded me! =)

  22. Also, I am amazed that people will pipe up about how “bad” a small amount of cholesterol in your diet is, but think that high-carb diets are perfectly fine. You need cholesterol to live guys….

  23. Will, you’ve got it! Raw fruit and vegetables are the only foods that don’t damage your body in some way. It’s called the 80/10/10 diet and has had amazing results for a lot of people, especially if you want to be active and athletic. Look it up…

  24. After having read this, I did a little experiment. I’ve been weaning off grains for a few months, but having them on Saturdays. This weekend, we took a mini vacation and I had far more than I’ve been having. I watched calories so I did not gain any weight. But my belly, after just 3 days, is huge. It speaks of internal inflammation. I just feel off. Lethargic, bloated, gassy, fat. I will be pleased when I learn to go 100% gluten free. Until then, keep this kind of great info coming!

  25. Thanks, Tim. I was hoping for more explanation on phytates. Robb says they bind to minerals in the gut and do not allow you to absorb them. Which I have read in other places as well. However, nuts/seeds also contain phytates, so why are they OK in a paleo diet?

  26. Tim, this kind of post bothers me a little. I know you’re not the author but it’s still your blog which gives your implied approval.

    One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about your book and your blog posts is the emphasis on getting the most return for the least amount of effort. Your version of the 80/20 rule (or 90/10 or Pareto’s law or whatever you want to call it) really resonated with me. Unfortunately, this post seems to go counter to that idea.

    For the most part, good health means cutting out the crap (oreos, McDonald’s, Sodas and so on), eating in moderation, being physically active and getting some exercise. If you want good rules on eating in particular, look up Michael Pollan. His guidelines are simple and to the point, which is exactly the opposite of this post.

    This kind of diet is 90% of the effort for 10% of the return. You’re going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out which are the bad grains, which foods contain them, where to find foods without them and how to properly prepare them and then you’ll quit. You being a generic you, not someone obsessive compulsive about their diet like you and me 🙂

    Anyway, not a major complain. I still enjoy your blog quite a bit (just came back from my latest Tim Ferris inspired vacation to Hawaii where I took the chance to run the Maui marathon). Just thought I would mention this since it bothered me.

    Regards,

    Gal

  27. I’m concerned that the chorus of praise in the comments drowns out (for the gullible) the fact that this is actually a way of eating that well over 99.9% of doctors and academic researchers of nutrition would frown on.

    That in itself doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it does imply that some conspiracy theory to explain away the gap between Robb’s miraculous claims and the opinion of nearly all experts. (Yes, I know he also has science information and researchers to support his claims, it’s a big world full of people seeking contrarian evidence so that by itself should not disarm our common sense in evaluating extreme and generally unaccepted claims.)

    I may be one of a very few people who still doesn’t accept “conspiracy theorist” as a universal smear… I’m willing to accept that conspiracies (often in very open form) among elite financial institutions and executives have large and negative influences on our lives. I’m not willing to accept that the great mass of the world’s medical and scientific community participates together in deluding the public so they can, what… recieve research grants from high-fructose corn syrup producers or something?

    Experimenting in “lifestyle design” or website A/B testing is one thing (obviously I’m interested, hence I read this site), but experimenting with your health is another; I guess a few decades will provide more evidence, but already I’ve read quite a lot about the chronic health problems that followers of Atkins/high-protein diets are developing in old age.

    In the meantime we could do much worse than learn from the wisdom of millenia in such diets as the meditteranean, which is heavy on grains but even heavier on balance, on peace of mind and enjoyment of good food, and on QUALITY OF LIFE, traits that I think often if not usually far supercede the benefits of trying to fine-tune ever gram of protein and micronutrient, etc.

    I agree with the previous poster who mentioned “feeling bad” (great catch all… could be called, “placebo effect etc.”) after BOTH reintroducing grain after a grain free month AND alternatively reintroducing meat after a low-fat, high vegetable and whole grain diet.

    Robb’s advice that people just “try it for a month and see how bad you feel reintroducing grain” is not good science, and I, like the previous poster, have had bad feelings going back to meat after some time away.

    Finally, I showed this article to some researchers at the medical university where I work (and no I’m not a doctor myself)…

    They didn’t exactly present me with a full bibliography, but addressed what I see as the articles 3 main claims against grains (which I’ve noticed that even the negative posters here have not really hit head on)…

    1) Grains provoke and autoimmune response and this is responsible for the condition known as “celiac.”

    “My” researchers pointed out that this condition affects less than 1% of the population and that any link to grain-proteins passing through the gut as the cause, which they didn’t care to comment on, would not be relevant for the vast majority of us who don’t suffer from this conditition and it’s (claimed) link to an immune system attack on body proteins that resemble those of the grain.

    2) Grains contain protease inhibitors, which lower the amount of protein that can be affectively taken up by the body.

    I was told that the actual chemical interactions inside the body are much more complicated than those that take place when such chemicals are tested in isolation… just to take things to the extreme, oxygen, the most urgently needed substance for the body, is also one of the most toxic and responsible for much of the aging process…

    Things like this should not be taken out of context. Even when one researcher I asked about this tried to research it a bit (through internet article databases) he said he couldn’t find articles that backed up the idea that eating grain greatly diminishes the amount of protein that one can absorb, and he reminded me that body building entrepreneurs in particular have long given estimates of “needed protein intake” that are phenomenally exaggerated compared to the scientific consensus.

    I mean this not as an ad hominem attack but as part of a common sense evaluation of radical recommendations about diet that could actually damage a lot of people’s health.

    3) Finally, the idea that “anti-nutrients” within the grain reduce the body’s ability to use minerals like calcium…

    First, grains have been breed by man for generations specifically to be easily digestible and a basis for their food system (many people’s eating only bread for large stretches of time due to poverty), so claiming that grain must be trying to “fight us” just because we “destroy it” is disingenuous, of course food grains have benefitted enormously evolution-wise from being easily digestible and selected for by humans.

    More specifically I was told that the levels and effects of “anti-nutrients” like phytate are mitigated by bacteria, both those found naturally in the body and those obtained through a healthy diet.

    So, cooking bread reduces it’s protein quality around the edges a bit, but you wouldn’t say you can’t get protein out of eating bread crust… in the same way some component of grains may make some ingested minerals less available for absorption, but whole grains generally provide far more minerals themselves than they “block,” so I think net benefit is what you should be looking for.

    That’s it… sorry for posting on a topic that is “outside my pay grade,” but I notice that hasn’t stopped anyone else here either 😛

    Based on what I’ve read from this book excerpt, the appeals to emotion and rejection of common sense and scientific consensus wisdom, I won’t be purchasing this book, but good luck to everyone who gives it a try.

    I really hope Tim allows this comment up, I appreciate your posts…

    PS – If anyone has any more information about the effects of this hookers and pastry diet I keep hearing about, let me know!

  28. @mrwonderful 99.9% of researchers is very far from the truth. In fact, both paleo research and low-carb research is accelerating quite rapidly, with encouraging results coming in all the time:

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Meta-analysis-of-low-carbohydrate-diets.pdf

    It’s pretty clear now that low-carbohydrate diets do as well as, if not better than low-fat diets, with better retention rates. I have not heard about your claims of Atkins followers having trouble in old age. All I’ve seen are a lot of studies showing the benefits of Atkins over other diets, the A to Z diet study comes to mind (yes, this included the Mediterranean diet you prop up). Also, the paleo diet has been shown to perform better for diabetics than the Mediterranean diet:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/h7628r66r0552222/fulltext.pdf

    The research keeps stacking up in favor of not eating a lot of our calories from carbohydrate rich sources like grains. The point of trying it yourself for 30 days is not to prove the efficacy scientifically, but to prove it only to yourself. That is all that matters in a trial of one. There is so much data pointing in this direction that I don’t think your skepticism is very well-warranted. It isn’t that hard to try for a month. If you don’t think you can impartially judge how you look/feel/perform without some scientific study to tell you, then you probably have a lot of trouble deciding what’s good for you. Stop making excuses and just give it a try. What do you have to lose?

    (Also, I’ve never heard of people being sick after abstaining from meat and then eating it. In fact, I’ve heard the opposite. I’ve heard literally dozens of stories of ex-vegans (and some ex-vegetarians) who felt nourished for the first time in years after having some meat.)

    @Gal You don’t know how easy this makes your life until you try it. I can eat one meal a day with paleo if I really want to. I usually eat two though. You have no idea what a big time saver that is. Also, you are not controlled by your hunger. It does not distract you. You are not controlled by your cravings for carbohydrate. This is another huge time saver. Beyond that, cooking and eating this way is dead simple. I cook all of my meals right now and spend very little time in the kitchen. Vegetables and meat are some of the easiest things to cook.

    It’s all automatic. You don’t have to worry about counting calories, measuring portions, etc. You just eat and weight and energy are managed perfectly. Seems like not much effort for a lot of reward!

    @Everyone else asking questions that are probably answered in the book. Buy the book. It’s $15 and I guarantee you will learn something, or at least polish the knowledge you do have.

    1. Of course Paleo would beat Mediterranean… Paleo says eat more veggies… non-stater… anyone wants to improve your diet… make sure 25% of the food you eat are veggies and you’ll feel fantastic… does everyone need to? no… we all have bacteria in our gut that are completely different and immune systems that are different… some of us are fortunate to have superior guts where gluten and lactose are fantastic for us… some of us not so much… i know people allergic to chocolate, apples, pears, uncooked veggies, eggs.. do i need to go on?

      Also… Paleo claims in the comments implies that in the 1800s (where Europe and Asia ate plenty of gluten and no meat because it was too expensive) everyone was falling over sick because of an autoimmune disease… actually, that goes for today too.. just finished my cross Europe trip and their diet ain’t very paleo… i guess all those French and Italian people are sick and don’t know it!!!… also all the Chinese, Koreans, Thais, Indians….

  29. Hi Tim, upon reading the article above, I forwarded it to EVERYONE I knew via all means, email, social media etc.

    I sat my kids down 3 & 5 and explained why no more bread, pasta’s etc, there were tears. I was and still am determined not to be the facilitator behind feeding my kids such bad habits.

    My husband is not happy with my sudden approach and after reading my email and yours he sent ME the following response. I do not have your research/expertise to respond to it. Please could you help me and I am sure countless others who are raising the questions my husband is raising below, by responding to this comment?

    ______________________________________________________________

    Comment from my husband, David. (for sure he would’ve softened it if written to u).

    Ok, your article talks about scientific research/proof but doesn’t cite any research …. something you should always be wary of.

    Everything he says about gut infection, and the effect of lectins on the gut wall may actually be correct. But he says it as if it is the case for every human being, whereas it is more likely the case for those people “intolerant to gluten.”

    Gluten intolerance is a broad term which includes all kinds of sensitivity to Gluten. A small proportion of Gluten intolerant people will test positive to Celiac Disease test, and so are called Celiacs (~0.5% of the population). But most Gluten sensitive people return negative or inconclusive results upon Celiac testing. The correct term for these people is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS) and may be as many as ~10% of all people.

    This is still not ALL people.

    It is people like your Rob Wolf (is he the one you respect or is it Tim Ferris?), who just make out that EVERY person is basically gluten intolerant and therefore have rotting guts, and then sensationalise it like he has to sell his book that wind me up.

    Where is his research that says ALL humans are intolerant to gluten and therefore have gut damage (what is needed to cause the autoimmune deficiencies he speaks of) ???

    So yes, if you are intolerant to gluten then it will have serious effects on your health. If you are gluten sensitive it can lead to serious effects. But I don’t appreciate it when he just says EVERY human is intolerant to gluten to the extent that their gut IS damaged.

    This is exactly the call of every “natural health” protagonist … ” I know, I can hear the MDs now, that it’s “just anecdotal.” If you are going to save your ass you are not likely to get much support in this matter unless you have a forward-thinking and aggressive primary physician.” So he is basically saying … “Yes, the evidence is anecdotal, but don’t let that hold you back … I HAVE THE ANSWER”.

    Now YOU may be Gluten sensitive, you aren’t celiac, but you may be sensitive. Do the experiment Vasi. Find out. But do it and find out BEFORE you take it as absolute fact and start scaring the children and giving them nightmares.

    The problem I have with this article and this author is that he assumes and tries to use evolution to suggest that ALL humans are dying from gluten intolerance. That humans simply cannot process gluten. If you read other articles, about 10% of people are gluten intolerant, and of those some are celiac. The issue may be that not enough importance is placed on the gluten sensitive, and more problems are due to it than are thought. But not EVERY human is intolerant to gluten.

    BTW, if you are going to do the experiment, be careful about what you think is gluten free. In America for example, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if a certain amount of the gluten is removed, the food product can be labelled “gluten-free.”

    Read this document Vasi…. it’s a little more level headed…. attached.

    (This was a PDF document, put out by Olive Jennings Kaiser, called Wheat Allergy, Gluten Grain Intolerances Celiac Disease from the Website, http://www.glutensensitivity.net

    The End of email from David.

    _____________________________________________________________

    BELOW is the email note I forwarded to EVERYONE to encourage them to read the email I received from Tim Ferris blog.

    To all my friends,

    I was sent this last week by a guy whose research I really value. I am reading it and feel ill. I am only half way through it all and had to send it to 3 people pronto as I knew them to be having struggles over food. I too am having major digestive issues over food but trying to figure out which ones, well what a nitemare!

    I finally finished reading the article, (it is very long), and I have sent it to everyone in my Inbox. I just want everyone to know the truth about food that we eat and be aware. I guess the reason I feel ill is because I’m kind of feeling like bread, pasta, cakes, bikkies which we all believe to be oh so sweet and innocent are not so dissimilar to cigarettes. They don’t kill you straight away but they can contribute towards an earlier death and provide you with so many additional health problems along the way.

    It is not uncommon for the food that is causing the problem to not even show up on any tests, and to even show up as being fine. I think this is also called a food intolerance instead of an allergy to a particular type of food?

    The way this guy has explained it below is in his true style that I like. He doesn’t just tell you what it does, but he actually provides you with easy to understand scientific explanations as to how our body works and what is going on in our intestines, pancreas and even our brain ie: pancreas damaged or destroyed and multiple sclerosis. My only Aunty in Sydney died 4 years ago of pancreatic cancer and I can tell you she ate A LOT of bread and things with gluten in.

    It’s just so sad and annoying that these foods do not carry a health warning, considering our body is unable to break them down in our digestive system.

    So for those of you who are bothered about any of this, here you go.

    Bye for now and wishing every one of you all the very very best,

    Vasi

  30. ahh, I just quickly read comment by Mr Wonderful. Nicely written. Tim please reply to these as I want to believe you, it makes sense to me. I do believe we are largely controlled by the Billion dollar giants. Of course they would have a team of people whose sole job it is to surf the internet and swipe out any negative articles about them. So to me this is why one can’t find a lot of truth on the internet. Most things will be posted by the grain companies, nappy companies of course. Ie: nappy companys will tell you your child has to be 3 – 4 before being able to potty train. Doh! of course they have to do that, or not as many nappy sales! oh…don’t get me started on all that!

    so yeah, Tim I just can’t wait for you to respond to the tough questions and comments from my Dave and Mr Wonderful in such a way as to convince them too. This is really what they want you to do, they want to be convinced.

    Cheers Tim.

  31. I love the idea. It seems to me that ultimately the key to everyone’s health is to experiment – try these things, follow them religiously, test the results, and decide from there.

    However, for those of us who aren’t anal-compulsive, this is not an easy task.

    What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t live in a big city, may not be able/willing to pay for extensive testing being done? How should we keep ourselves on track for these experiments and track the results? Are there any alternatives?

    And Tim, hurry up with that book. We’ve been waiting forever…

  32. I’ve had great success with low carb and lost 30 pounds — basically on a modified version of the South Beach Diet (a little more cheating than recommended). But I stalled on a plateau a few weeks ago. So I’m trying the paleo diet and it seems to have gotten me moving again. Either that or it’s because I adopted Tim’s suggestion of a glass or two of red wine at night and now I’m not stressing over it.

  33. All Robb suggests is a 30 day trial. If you don’t look, perform, and feel better you can go back to eating whatever you did before. It’s amazing how quickly people become experts when on an internet forum. Reading these comments makes me sad that this information, which can benefit so many, will fall on deaf or stubborn ears. It really is a shame when good people are dying every day from the bulcrap the government, the food companies, and big pharm is pushing to keep America sick and themselves…Rich.

  34. @ Gal

    “You’re going to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out which are the bad grains,…”

    Huh? Grains are bad. I didn’t think that was so hard to figure out. Just skip them.

    “…which foods contain them,…”

    Seriously? Some hints: Fruits and vegetables don’t contain grains. Meat doesn’t. Seafood doesn’t. Eggs don’t.

    “…Where to find foods without them…”

    Supermarket? Farmers market? Fish market? Mind you, if the bakery is the only place you shop for food, or if you insist that food HAS to come out of a factory and packet, then it might indeed be somewhat more difficult.

    “…and how to properly prepare them and then you’ll quit.”

    I have to admit that I HATE cooking, so the preparation thing is a bit of a worry. Paleo IS a bit more effort than being a raw foodist following 80/10/10.

  35. Dr. Green,

    Ok, a mature discussion is fine.

    Drs Green and Stein. Here’s how I see it. This article was written and published by Robb in support of his book. No, he does not site resources here but allegedly does in his book. Fine, personally I’ll take that at face value. Both of you came on here and attacked Robb, calling his claims “drivel”, to use Dr. Stein’s terminology. One problem, neither one of you brought forth any scientific information whatsoever besides “this is the way it is, and you should believe me because I’m a Dr.” Now many of us in Tim’s community have a disdain for that type of mentality. I would submit to you both, that if you’re going to make claims on the falsehood of Robb’s claims, then, as the guests, the burden of proof lies with you. Give us something to work with. As a whole in this community, we’ll dig and poke and prod and test in an effort to further things. As another Dr. stated, you are all great at stitching (and writing prescriptions according to my sister, a Pharm D), but not so good in other areas. Much of the information you guys were given for a long time was based on research paid for by the pharmaceutical industry among others. Sort of like Murphy’s golden rule, He who has the gold, makes the rules. With this in mind, bring us something. NEJM reports, university studies or whatever, but give us something to work with. Personally I don’t care about the Paleo Diet, though my father is mostly vegan and quite healthy. I prefer whole natural foods myself. So, let’s see what you’ve got.

  36. Hi Tim [or author],

    Took the article to heart and decided to take the 30 day gluten/legume-free challenge – at it for over a week now. i abjure blood tests, so i skipped that.

    Question: I’m vegan and opt to remain so. loading up on hemp powder, hemp seed, and chia seed is not doing the trick and not clear where the protein will come from [goal was to pass 60 grams per day. So, what can I do to secure tasty plant based protein to the tune of 60 grms per day?

    Keep these articles coming!

  37. Robb,

    I’ve sent you an email through your website for getting a seat at the seminar. I’d love to attend and my mother has expressed interest. She’s a yoga teacher here in Denmark and has offered to give you free yoga lessons while you’re here, should you be into that sort of thing. If you haven’t received my email, you can contact me at taohansen AT gmail.com.

    Jennifer,

    I’m sorry but in your attack on vaccines you are advocating harm against your fellow man. This is, frankly, unacceptable thinking.

    Just because one “non-mainstream” approach to health may be the better solution does not make ALL “non-mainstream” approaches to health acceptable. A small community of respected doctors have come out in support of the paleo diet. However, Andrew Wakefield’s research has been thoroughly discredited (lookup any following scientifically-valid research). Separating him from the controversy, which has evolved past its autism link, the science still does not support the claims.

    I am comfortable with people who practice alternative medicine, so long as their claims do not then begin to effect the lives of those around them who do not believe those claims. Advocating for anti-vaccination is a potential danger to everyone.

    Yes, vaccines are a preventative measure to diseases still widely prevalent today. Loss of herd immunity represents a major threat to the health and lives of fellow citizens. You are counseling, in effect, extreme violence on humanity. I’ll stop here before I start an ad hominem.

  38. Hey Tim! You really hit all points of “lifestyle” with your blog, and that’s just pretty sweet.

    I know you went to RKC (I was actually there with you in San Jose!) and I was wondering what you think of the beloved Warrior Diet that is so popular in the RKC community, being practiced even by Pavel himself. There are other similar diets like Fast 5 that promote intermittent fasting.

    I’d really love to get your thoughts on this style of diet. It seems intuitive, but what’s the science behind it and is it safe, and effective in the long term?

    Thanks as always for incredible content!

    Clint

  39. Hey Tim,

    Second attempt to post this. Not sure what happened to my first comment but if this is a duplicate, please feel free to delete one.

    I think my issue with this post is that it goes counter to your usual philosophy. You have a wonderful talent for picking action items that give the most bang for the buck. Your utilization of the 80/20 idea is something that I’ve sought to emulate in many ways and yet, this seems like the opposite of that approach. (I do realize you’re not the author but this is your site which gives this article your implied approval).

    I’ll let the doctors argue the validity of the science here, but even assuming this is all true, it’s still a lot of effort for very little return. For most people, being healthier doesn’t have to be this complicated. It simply means cutting out the junk (oreo’s, big macs, sodas), eating in moderation, being active and getting some regular exercise. That’s it. That’s not that hard and it will give you a huge return on your time investment. By comparison, this kind of nitpicking your diet is difficult to understand and difficult to follow. Most people won’t understand this, much less be able to follow it.

    If you want a good set of rules to follow about food, pick up some of Michael Pollan’s books. Great set of ideas there and very easy to follow.

    Thank you as always for the provocative posts and for the inspiration of the 4 hour workweek. I just came back from my latest Tim Ferris inspired vacation (Hawaii with one backpack and no plans other than running the Maui Marathon) and loved every minute of it.

    Regards,

    Gal

  40. @B

    (Tim, sorry, just noticed my first comment. No clue why I didn’t see it at first. Please feel free to delete my second post)

    “Huh? Grains are bad. I didn’t think that was so hard to figure out. Just skip them.”

    I’ll bet you a sum of money of your choice that most Americans don’t even know if rice and corn are grains. This is assuming the science behind this article is good by the way.

    “Seriously? Some hints: Fruits and vegetables don’t contain grains. Meat doesn’t. Seafood doesn’t. Eggs don’t.”

    Yes, seriously. Do you honestly believe Americans know what pasta is? How much corn is in everything we eat? Most people assume French fries fill their quota of vegetables…

    “Supermarket? Farmers market? Fish market? Mind you, if the bakery is the only place you shop for food, or if you insist that food HAS to come out of a factory and packet, then it might indeed be somewhat more difficult.”

    I usually shop for my food at the farmers market. I, however, am not the average consumer, nor is Tim. If you’re marketing this article to us then ok, but for most people this is too much effort for too little return. I would be much happier if they just focused on eating no fast food and getting a bit of exercise.

    “I have to admit that I HATE cooking, so the preparation thing is a bit of a worry. Paleo IS a bit more effort than being a raw foodist following 80/10/10.”

    Paleo should actually be a lot less effort to prepare if it were actually paleo and not some idealized supermarket checkout isle version of it. You’d be eating a lot of raw (and a little rotten) meat, grubs, insects and raw plants.

  41. Dear Tim,

    I would like to ask you five questions in reference to your post – I firmy believe that answering them will be valuable for many people interested in nutrition issues, not only for myself. So, supposing that the theses of Paleolithic diet are scientifically justified and proven to be effective (it is hard to reach the truth in the world mixing science with pseudoscientific theories, and it is even harder in the realm of contradictory test results…):

    1. Can reducing (not eliminating) gluten intake be beneficial? You’ve mentioned that grains may irritate the intestines for 10-15 days – but is it plausible that we may see some positive impact on our health by significantly limiting gluten-containing meals?

    2. How about gluten-free bread and pasta? It is still troublesome to compose meals for a typical, ‘always-in-rush’ college student, taking the Paleo rules into account…

    3. Let’s assume that we kicked out gluten from our diet. In many social situations or just eating out we may accidentaly consume something containing, for instance, flour – and then I can imagine a pretty severe reaction of digestive tract… Is there a remedy for that? If you really, really have to eat something with grains, how can you minimize the gut irritation?

    4. Have you ever thought of wider consequences of these findings? For the majority of people, bread is the most fundamental food product and a deeply inGRAINed, 😉 cross-cultural symbol of human work. If research above get a multiple confirmation with the use of scientific method and standarized tests, we’ll experience a huge revolution.

    5. I’m about to start with my plan (diet+gym: HST + HIIT recomp training+supplements). I decided to try the ABS diet without any grains, with the simple supplementation: creatine monohydrate, whey protein concentrate, post-workout gainer, vitamins and omega-3. Some of them contain a specially modified corn starch – a kind of matrix slowing down the process of aminoacids’ absorption. Others have Gln peptides (partially hydrolisated gluten). Can I use them?

    Thank you in advance for your help! I hope that “Superhuman” will soon be published and will present us a huge dose of knowledge which may be used in the manner of compound interest for health and bodybuilding purposes.

    Greetings from Poland!

    Soon-to-be-NR and Bono’s fellow ;), Martin

  42. @Jared

    While you didn’t respond to my main points (“gut damage theory” would apply to less than 1% of the population & supposed “inhibition” of protein and nutrient uptake from grains is more than cancelled out by their nutritional content) I will respond to your points.

    “99.9% of researchers is very far from the truth”

    The “don’t eat any grains” idea espoused here is not shared by I would say at least 95% of doctors and academic researchers specializing in nutrition… I feel very certain it’s more than that, but even being that conservative with my estimate… the extra 5% “believers” could be explained away as people trying to ride the next wave and take the next dollar… what about the other (at least) 95%? What’s their special agenda that makes them, as people who want to know everything about their field and help patients as much as possible, to disagree with these ideas that so many amateurs feel certain are fundamental?

    “I’ve never heard of people being sick after abstaining from meat and then eating it.”

    I didn’t say “sick,” just “feeling bad” as Robb mentioned one would feel when reintroducing grains. Myself and every ex-vegetarian I’ve heard mention it did feel this way for a while, not permanent though.

    There are plenty of such stories on the internet if you care to google it, but my point was not that such “evidence” “proves” that moderate meat consumption is bad for you, more that we should expect to feel strange after drastic changes to a highly restricted diet.

    “I have not heard about your claims of Atkins followers having trouble in old age.”

    This is the most serious omission that tells me you and other meataholics are dangerously uninformed. For the sake of time I’ll just direct you to one site, atkinsexposed.org, that has copious citation.

    High-protein diets are usually high in saturated fat that are will linked to cardiovascular problems and cancers.

    Even high-meat diets with lower fat content are linked to increased likelihood of cancers.

    Scientific American noted in January: “Cancer is most frequent among those branches of the human race where carnivorous habits prevail.”

    Despite having some of the highest calcium intakes in the world, the Inuit also have some of the worst rates of osteoporosis

    The Inuit women’s breast milk with some of the highest levels of PCBs in the world. Their blood is swimming with mercury and other toxic heavy metals.

    As for a few long-living Inuit (and related people’s), it should be pointed out that 1) they tend to have lower calorie intake and much more regular exercise (and family bonds), and 2) much of their animal consumption is actually in the form of organ meats, bone marrow, intestines, eyes, brain and other things the average high-protein dieter would avoid.

    High-protein diets lead to the accumulation of uric acid, with high-potential to, in the long-term, cause arthritic like symptoms in the joins and irreversible scarring of the kidneys.

    The acid also leaches calcium out of the bones… in fact nutrient deficiencies in general following these diets are so common that Atkins prescribed no less than 65 nutritional supplements in part to help fill the nutritional gaps created by his diet. (Of course these aren’t absorbed as well as vitamins from normal food, fruits, vegetables, whole grains.)

    The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, found that long-term Atkins adherents “suffer headaches, muscle cramps and diarrhea… They simply do not get enough carbohydrate to supply the tissues with blood sugar. That is why the organs start to malfunction.”

    Some people have become so deficient on low carb ketogenic diets that they almost went blind because their optic nerves started to degenerate.

    Their higher order mental processing and mental flexibility significantly worsens into what the researchers call “modest neuropsychological impairment.”

    Researchers at MIT are afraid the Atkins Diet is likely to make many people–especially women–irritable and depressed. In addition such diets are linked to birth defects when pregnant mothers follow them.

    In the most experimentally valid comparison so far, the Atkins Diet was compared to Dean Ornish’s high-carb low-fat diet, Weight Watchers, and The Zone Diet, and the Atkins Diet came in dead last in terms of weight lost at the end of the year. Ornish’s vegetarian diet showed the most long-term weight loss and the greatest lowering of “bad” cholestorol.

    In Europe, hospitals have already started banning the Atkins Diet, with official research boards condeming it as “negligent”[258] “nonsense and pseudo-science”[259] posing a “massive health risk.”[260]

    The American Medial Association, US Surgeon General, American Dietic Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Kidney Fund, Harvard and Johns Hopkins Medical Schools, American College of Nutrition and many others have all regularly condemned Atkins type diets (and I believe the “Paleo” diet qualifies as this type) as ineffective, misleading, unscientific, and highly dangerous.

    The fact that you are not aware of any of this while blindly recommending that others follow this extreme diet tells me a lot of what I need to know about any other points you might make.

  43. Why is everybody arguing? This is not that difficult. Try it for a month. If you feel, look, think and perform better (and you WILL), and still want to argue, then I don’t know what to tell you. He’s not asking you to change religions.

    If you feel horrible, or develop some sort of illness, I’m sure a steady diet of “heart healthy” grains will set you right back on your merry way; just like we humans evolved to do, right?

  44. @mrwonderful

    Why I don’t address your points individually is because I don’t have the time. I only have time to address the forest, not the trees. Basically you are making excuses for not trying the diet, so all the arguing in the world isn’t going to change your attitude. You honestly have nothing to lose.

    Right now, are you as lean as you wold like? How are your energy levels? Are you as strong as you would like? Are you as fast as you would like? Are you as agile as you would like? If not, why not tinker with your diet? What do you have to lose? Especially given the incredible volume of success people have had with paleolithic nutrition, not just in body composition, but also in strength, power, and energy.

    Beyond that, the atkins site you linked me is a joke. You claim to be skeptic, or demanding proof, but a vast majority of the claims made within are just people’s opinions. The same people who have been offering diet and health advice as we have become the fattest and most unhealthy generation of americans ever. Do results mean nothing to you? The ADA has had the same shtick while diabetes rates have gone through the roof. The AMA has had the same bullshit shtick as we’ve gotten obese. Are these really the groups you want to quote?

    Your quote from Scientific American is from 1892. I hope we have better science than then.

    Your quote that saturated fat is associated with heart disease is untrue:

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/91/3/535

    As far as the Inuit go. They live in a place with no freaking sun. They probably have terrible Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. This is actually a known fact. Your link between meat and osteoporosis is just a correlation.

    I am unfamiliar with the Lancet study you paraphrased (probably as a lie). Please link the study so I can see it. Your body needs 0 carbohydrates, so the idea that your organs would shut down without dietary carbohydrates is ridiculous. Gluconeogenesis? Ketones?

    I’ve heard of vegan diets leading to development issues for babies and newborns. I’ve never heard that about atkins diets. Please link the study. Sounds like a bad story some vegan dreamed up.

    Also, your citation of the A To Z diet study is a baldfaced lie. The study author admits the atkins dieters lost the most weight, and had the best blood lipid profiles. It even pains the study author to say this because he seemed biased towards plant-based diets.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/297/9/969

    It’s pretty sad to paint that study as anything other than a victory for atkins. Probably the only reason people didn’t do even better at two years out was because Atkins doesn’t go far enough and tells participants to start increasing their carbohydrate intake.

    It’s pretty sad that you swallow that site’s bullshit whole cloth without even thinking about it.

    I feel bad for hospitals in europe, since low-carb seems to have much better retention and the-same if not better results over low-fat diets:

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Meta-analysis-of-low-carbohydrate-diets.pdf

    This is all current research. Question what you think you know. Read “Good Calories, Bad Calories.” Stop listening to people who have made us all fat and sick over the last 30 years.

  45. @mrwonderful

    Gary Taubes does an excellent job of explaining how the public and the majority of the medical community managed to get things so wrong with respect to fearing fat, cholesterol and animal products in his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Starting the the 1950’s there were the problems of selection bias in the work done by scientists promoting a low-fat diet, started in part by developments in science in the ability to measure serum cholestrol levels – a case of “only searching where the light was shining”. When the gov’t got in on the action in the 1970’s, they were motivated by a desire to “do good” and wanted to recommend something and this co-incided well with the idealist vegetarian and vegan movement’s of the 1960’s who believed that consuming less animal products would solve world hunger by allowing America to export grain.

    Journalists were uncritical of these ideas initially so the public bought into the whole “cholesterol is bad” myth. Form there, it became an unstoppable force. Any doctor, journalist, or scientist who went against this wisdom wouldn’t have a magazine to publish in, respect of their peers, or be able to secure a gov’t grant.

    Even if you are ardently anti low-carb, the first few chapters of Taubes book make for fascinating reading into how this mass delusion formed.

    Also, I believe the public was fairly uncritical and not so interested in listening to opposing opions on fat and cholesterol because when asked to either give up butter and lard or ice cream and bread, people would much rather give up the fatty foods than the sweeting ones.

    On the “anit-nutrients” of grains, they haven’t been bred to be easily digestable. In fact, most forms of wheat grown in America have double the gluten content that these grains used to have. They’ve been breed to maximize crop yields. If they were made too digestable, then it would be a problem of needing more pesticides to ward off insects, birds and rodents.

    As for the net benefit or loss of the minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron from phytates in grains, take a look at this superb article, “Living with Phytic Acid”:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/1893-living-with-phytic-acid.html

    Grains tend to be a net loss of calcium and magnesium, not a gain. Traditional cultures consuming grains and legumes knew this, which is why they used such elaborate methods of preparing these foods to neutralize phytates. These were practiced by primitive people who didn’t have to contend with cholorine content in water and prescriptions of antibiotics taking the toll on probiotic cultures in the intestine. The average modern man has much worse flora profile, and is even less able to mitigate the problems of phytates.

  46. A few years ago I had a battle with a serious autoimmune disease (Guillain–Barré syndrome) that left me very sick for a few months. It causes your immune system to damage peripheral nerves (at least that is what this layman understands about it). After around three months most of the symptoms went away but I`m still left with some of the nerve damage in hands, feet and face.

    As I was reading this blog post it became clear this diet could help with some of the leftover nerve issues, more importantly help prevent another bout of this syndrome. I will try out the diet and get back to you with results.

    Thanks.

    Allan

    P.S. Tim, I copied this blog post to my Evernote account (I found out about this website from a video you did awhile ago). I love Evernote and use it daily, it has helped me become much more organized and productive.

  47. Regarding the Weston Price Foundation…

    The word on the street is that they are funded by the cattle industry and there is little solid academic leadership in the foundation.

    I’m not trying to be inflammatory or rude, I think this is a valid point.

  48. I read a couple of posts regarding The Zone Diet. I follow a more simplistic version of The Zone meaning I don’t measure my food but, I eat protein which includes all kinds of meats and seafood, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables. I have a very sensitive blood sugar reaction to foods so I eat something I shouldn’t I feel it within 45min. to an hour. I’m in the best shape of my life following this diet. I mention this because there seems to be a serious misunderstanding for some about this diet. It’s very simple and it works.

  49. Who gives a toss what “95% of doctors and academic researchers specializing in nutrition” believe if I feel shit eating grains or whatever I won’t eat it.

    “Regarding the Weston Price Foundation…

    The word on the street is that they are funded by the cattle industry and there is little solid academic leadership in the foundation.”

    Elizabeth – which street is that – the one where all the vegans live?

  50. @Elizabeth Allen: It’s known that CSPI is funded by the soy industry. They were instrumental in forcing the food industry to use trans-fat vegetable oils. Always follow the money. Anybody still confused and naive on the sources of conflicting information, follow the money. Food pyramid is put out by the USDA. Whose interest do you suppose they serve?

    To the other folks writing essays arguing against: As a few other folks have pointed out here, we’re the only ones affected by the food choices we make. If any of this is intriguing, then just try it. If you’re already healthy, then keep on doing whatever you’re doing. If you don’t agree, don’t recommend the page. Everybody here has already heard the traditional arguments. We didn’t come here or find this page looking for the same consensus view. In other words, n=1, but it’s the only one that matters.

  51. Sue, I give a substantial toss about what some of them say just as i will give credence to an informed layperson where merit is evident.

    I am impressed with much the article has to say and reading it has dusted off some mental space and also woke up something new inside.

    I believe you and I may be able to find some common ground in that the article is very refreshing and stimulating and presents ideas that may form excellent structure for what may lead a one closer to the dietary intake that will most benefit one,some all in expressing ones full potential spiritually, mentally, physically; endurance wise as well as strength wise

    And yes Sue…I suppose it may seem to be from the mean underbelly of the low-down vegan streets where there is an anal self righteous thug lurking around every corner. Who and how something is said is not as important as what is said. I think it’s a valid concern deserving of critical thinking by those that are up to the task.

    My intention is to discuss this topic and grow in my awareness. It’s obvious you are charged at this topic…I like that, you have lots of energy…it’s charged for me to. My goal is to learn from others and share. It doesn’t always go smoothly but I think this blog may be a great place for all kinds of info to be let loose and maybe some answers to be had for some.

    Thanks JS290…I will do some research on that.

    Mr.Wonderful…wanna make some babies?

  52. Jared – Thanks for the information and the reply.

    I used the ratios that are recommend on Robbs site to figure the below amounts based on a 2000 calorie intake:

    Protein – 35% of 2k cal = 700 cals /4 = 175 g

    Carbohydrates – 35% of 2k cal = 600 cals /4 = 150 g

    Fat – 30% of 2k cal = 700 cals /9 = 77 g

    I approximated that an average of 700 mg of cholesterol would be consumed based on the Monday menu selection that Robb provided.

    I would like to know if the amounts I came up with convey an average daily paleo diet intake.

    (sorry about all the cluttered incorrect previous posts)

  53. Elizabeth: “Who and how something is said is not as important as what is said.”

    I don’t agree, I think it’s more important who is doing the talking particularly in the case of vegans.

    “Mr.Wonderful…wanna make some babies?”

    He’s all yours!

    Why do you want to know about the average cholesterol consumed on a paleo diet? Do you still think cholesterol is evil?

  54. Regarding easiest to measure result, age:

    Tanabe (113), the oldest man in the world drank a glas of milk every single morning.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31439522/

    People from Okinawa (oldest in the world) eat grains, for example Toguchi (103), eats whole-grain rice every morning.

    http://www.truehealth.org/okinawadiet.html

    „Eskimos“ on the other hand, die younger than the rest of us, which makes them a questionable role model.

    Robb, do you have some statistics on mortality and grain? I’m willing to take a break eating vegetarian for 60 days to test the diet, but I need at least an indication that this diet doesn’t actually shorten my life drastically.

    1. Good points but, remember one of the main rules of Statistics…never ASSume there is a “correlation”…in this case, long life as a result of milk and/or rice consumption or short life span as a result of the Eskimo lifespan. Two very important words to remember….”lurking variables”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding

  55. Regarding vegitarians and vegans.

    Veganism and Vegitarianism began in the ’60’s and ’70’s as part of Environmentalism; from animal abuse at factory farms.

    Please understand we as a species are evolved to eat meat. Just as your car needs regular gas, not diesil or jet-fuel, no matter what.

    I think the problem you have with meat eating is the ethics part, in which case I suggest you look at Kosher, Free Range, Wild-caught, etc.

    We NEED animal protein to be healthy; but I agree “factory farms” are not the way to do it.

    Well, forty years latter, we heard your cries. It is why we have Free-Range, Grass-fed, Wild-Caught and Organic today! With your choice of ethical standards; yes! you get a choice! You want to go “old-school”, go Kosher. You want to be a “huckleberry above a Persimmon”, go Free Range, Wild Caught and grow your own vegetables!

    You won the ethics war! 🙂 You can have a steak, guilt-free now!

    -B.R.

  56. Sue:

    For me, the substance in the content is more important than the person giving the information as far as what is “mission critical”.

    Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

    — Cato the Elder

    Do I think Cholesterol is evil, no. I honestly do not know a great deal about it and I am motivated to get educated about it. I do know that it’s used for critical functions in the body…it is certainly not evil.

    In fact humans recycle and synthesize significant amounts of cholesterol just like the animals that some eat do, that’s how important it is for our bodies.

    The jury (mine) is still out regarding what the safe and functional ranges of dietary cholesterol are and what factors might produce such varied ranges.

    Thanks for your permission Sue but I think I should ask his mother first.

    Robb: It’s true I am ill informed as to the details of the Paleo diet. Thank you for your time in addressing my questions. I think it’s very important to be informed, I will do more solo research before I talk about it again.

  57. Elizabeth have you purchased Robb’s book? I’m sure it will be very informative on the paleo diet. Alternatively, read his blog. I can’t wait for my copy of the book to arrive.

  58. First i’m sorry if I have a spelling mistakes but english is not my first language.

    I just had to write some points from my favorites nutritions.

    Jonny Bowden the auther of “living the low-carb life” and a parsonal favorite of Charles Poliquin an olympic level trainer says in is book “the 150 healthiest foods on earth” :

    On grains: ” The natural diet served us well as long as population were limited and wildlife was plentiful. As the population of the world increased and supply of wild geme became more limited, it became necessary to provide an alternative or suplementary means of nourishment…

    … eight cereal grains (wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oat, rye and millet) now provide 56% of the calories and 50% of the protein consumed on earth”

    On Oatmeal: ” oatmeal has a place on virtually everyone’s “best food” list. It’s the Muhammad Ali of food – everybody loves it, no matter where you stand in your dietary philosophy. Even those who are stringent about keeping carbs low soften a bit when it comes to oatmeal. The “guru” of diabetic diet, Dr. Richard Brenstein, who, one might say jokingly, “never met a carb he didn’t dislike”, allow oatmeal once a day for is diabetic patients. And of course, it’s been a staple of the high-carb folks forever. I can still remember seeing the body-builders at Gold’s Gym with their Tupperwars full of the stuff.”

    The only two grains that are among is 150 healthiest food in the grain section are oat and quinoa. for more information on this read is book “the 150 healthiest foods on earth”, it’s a great read.

    Another dr his opinions i respect very much, comes from the world of sports and consulting a high level of athletics, Dr john Berardi use oats beans and quinoa in is gourment nutrition book.

  59. Food always brings…certain emotions and thoughts to the forefront!

    I thank you both Tim and Robb for this great subject and post.

    Its certainly food for thought and comes at a very timely moment for me.

    Ive been having recent discussions about Paleo diet.

    And this being posted now is a definate sign for me to give this a shot and try this out.

    I have multiple sclerosis and have looked at alot of food and diet informations.

    I have already been playing around with cutting certain foods and generally focusing on diet…and food ….cooking or not cooking.. for example going the raw option.

    But this is as i said before a timely good source of information.Thank you!

  60. Food always brings…certain emotions and thoughts to the forefront!

    I thank you both Tim and Robb for this great subject and post.

    Its certainly food for thought and comes at a very timely moment for me.

    Ive been having recent discussions about Paleo diet.

    And this being posted now is a definite sign for me to give this a shot and try this out.

    I have multiple sclerosis and have looked at alot of food and diet informations.

    I have already been playing around with cutting certain foods and generally focusing on diet…and food ….cooking or not cooking.. for example going the raw option.

    But this is as i said before a timely good source of information.Thank you!

  61. @ Ponder.

    My mother and my good friend’s mother are both afflicted with MS. Two different types. Progressive and Relapsing/remitting.

    The reason I asked was that, as I understand it, Washington State in the USA and the UK have the highest incidence of MS. Coincidentally both locations are thought to be areas of vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun. This is all as I understand it. But was curious. And there has been speculation that MS is related to a vitamin D deficiency. But I’m sure you probably know most of this.

  62. Somehow, this probably isn’t going to make you many friends at Italian restaurants, Tim.

    And as a proper NR, I hope your VA is commenting on your blog for you. 🙂

  63. @Jared

    Thanks for responding, I don’t honestly spend much time thinking about food/health, but this matters to me partly because there is a lot of heart disease in my family. I’m not trying to be a jerk to anyone by bringing this up.

    “Basically you are making excuses for not trying the diet…”

    I should’ve mentioned that I have tried a high-protein diet while training for college sports. I felt fine doing it, but it was only for a few months.

    “The atkins site you linked me is a joke. You claim to be skeptic… a vast majority of the claims made within are just people’s opinions.”

    The claims are cited and are from people with significant credentials, in fact people who are (from the perspective of mainstream health institutions at least) the most qualified to be speaking about these things of anybody.

    “The same people who have been offering diet and health advice as we have become the fattest and most unhealthy generation of americans ever.”

    People have not followed basic diet advice, especially in regards to limiting their portions but also in terms of eating fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains.

    “Your quote from Scientific American is from 1892. I hope we have better science than then.”

    I wasn’t aware that was the date, but the science has continued to confirm the links between excessive meat consumption and cancers, especially colon and prostate cancers.

    “Your quote that saturated fat is associated with heart disease is untrue:

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/91/3/535

    Thank you for pointing out that study… I am not opposed to eating saturated fat, but if you look closely at the results (which happened to have been funded by the National Dairy Council among others) you’ll see it’s not so clear.

    They weren’t focusing on people who followed high-meat diets, but people with more or less average eating habits, AND (from your link): “the authors noted that randomized controlled clinical trials in which saturated fat was replaced with polyunsaturated fat observed a reduction in heart disease, and that the ratio between polyunsaturated fat and saturated fat may be a key factor.”

    So even the most “soft on saturated fat” long-term study found saturated fat to be a risk factor for heart disease, albeit in a roundabout way.

    “As far as the Inuit go…”

    Obviously there are many reasons why “primitive” lifestyle peoples are not the best control groups. The Inuit actually tend to recieve a lot of vitamin D from eating the parts of seafood and meat that we don’t however.

    “I am unfamiliar with the Lancet study you paraphrased (probably as a lie).”

    That’s not really fair. I’ll link you to the Lancet study…

    http://atkinsexposed.org/atkins/134/Atkins_Diet:_Help_or_Hoax_.htm?highlightWords=lancet&highlightMethod=allWords

    You also falsely claim that I was referencing the “A to Z” diet study.

    I was instead referncing “Dansinger, M.L., Gleason, J. L., Griffith, J.L., et al., “One Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight and Heart Disease Risk,”

    …but your study along with hundreds of others is cross-analyzed by the Lancet one. In fact the total number of low-carb diet studies they looked at was 2,609. I think we can all agree that such rigor is necessary when highly-publicized individual studies (often funded by conflicting interest outside foundations) provide contradictory results.

    I’ll summarize the Lancet inquiry in their own words: “A systematic review of low-carbohydrate diets reported that the weight loss is associated with only the duration of the diet and the restriction of energy intake, not with carbohydrate restriction itself.”

    I went over your protein power link, I think a much wider net has been cast by the Lancet study, more factors accounted for, and therefore I take it as more valid.

    On the subject of studies “proving things,” I see that the Atkins foundation claims that there are “no less than 34 studies” supporting their claims about the health benefits of low-carb diets, 34 out of hundreds of studies of low-carb diets.

    On closer inspection most of them were financed by the Atkins foundation, at least a third were not actually published in scientific journals, and several do not actually seem to support their claims.

    The tobacco industry also has come up with studies showing neutral to positive health outcomes for smoking. This is something that is possible when you are a corporate entity with revenues in the billions of dollars.

    “I’ve heard of vegan diets leading to development issues for babies and newborns.”

    I’m not a vegan (even the name sounds embarassing) but I’d say that’s partly because so many vegans ignore adding good foods to their diet and so therefore don’t get enough vitamin B in particular… in many countries folic acid (a type of vitamin B) is proscribed to all pregnant women in general.

  64. Mormons live longer than Okinawans:

    http://www.mormontimes.com/article/1758/UCLA-study-proves-Mormons-live-longer

    It seems there is more to living long than just diet (though mormons are good argument as to how removing poisons from your diet is probably better than worrying about eating enough spinach).

    Personally, I think diet changes the quality of your lifespan. If you want to still be able to pick up your great grandkids, paleo is probably the way to go.

  65. @Kevin Teague – Gary Taubes is an Atkins evangelist who has made well over a million dollars from his pro-Atkins writing.

    Meanwhile, most of the experts interviewed by him for his original magazine piece have expressed strong opposition to an Atkins style diet and have felt they were totally misquoted and their opinions twisted.

    http://www.atkinsexposed.org/atkins/11/The_Diet_Fad_of_the_21st_Century.htm?highlightWords=taube&highlightMethod=allWords

    “Recent investigations have focused on the beneficial effect of food phytates, based upon their strong mineral-chelating property…The beneficial effects include lowering of serum cholesterol and triglycerides and protection against certain diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, renal stone formation, and certain types of cancers.”

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/35228109/Dietary-roles-of-phytate-and-phytase-in-human-nutrition-A-review-Amit-Kumar-Sinha

    The website you linked to is a Homeopathic group… I do not believe in homeopathy and I could not find in this article confirmation that eating grains results in a net result of certain minerals from the body.

    This does not represent medical consensus at the moment, and if the consensus changes I doubt homeopaths will be the ones who cause that. (No offense to those who have found it helpful.)

    In general I can see among supportive commenters on this thread links to other kinds of “outsider” science beliefs, like questioning global warming or vaccination, and I think some of the same motivations and tactics might be at play.

    1. Hi Mr. Wonderful (great pseudonym, btw),

      I really appreciate all of your comments and contributions to the dialogue. One thing though: where did you find the “well over a million” that Taubes has earned from his writing on nutrition?

      All the best,

      Tim

  66. Tim: just wanted to thank you for your blog! During a desperate moment, I typed in ‘how to lose 20 pounds in 30 days’ into my search engine, and your blog popped up. After losing more than 25 pounds on my own, I hit a serious plateau. Your blog and the information you have provided helped me to figure out how to step out of my ‘fat suit’ for good. I am following your plan to the letter, and I am nearly at goal. Again, thank you for all your research/life experience and courage to share it with the rest of the universe…D

  67. The issue of current populations eating a diet with a fair to significant amount of gluten has not been adequately addressed imo. Do populations who regularly consume the aforementioned culprits (dairy, gluten, etc.) experience higher rates of the suggested associated disease states? We are often reminded how the Italians or Japanese have longer and healthier lives, I am wondering if gluten associated ailments fall in line as well.

  68. Hi Tim,

    I followed a link from Facebook to this post as I became interested in leaky gut after my first encounter with darkfield microscopy. Imagine my delight and surprise to find the balance of the post was about gluten-freedom. Thanks for this!

    A chiropractor suggested I go gluten-free four years ago and it was absolutely no problem at all – a loaf of my favorite bread had sat in the fridge for a month untouched – my body was really ready to do it, plus which many of the tools I use and teach are excellent for eliminating cravings. I’d gained a tremendous amount of weight following an auto accident and paralysis in the 80’s and nothing worked to get it off. Going gluten-free reduced my belly by 4″ the first month and now a total of 8″ and 5 dress sizes. I still have more to go, but it was going gluten-free that unlocked the door.

    If you connect to me on Facebook I have a lovely album of gluten-free photo recipes I’m happy to share.

    I have one question: you took the wind out of my sails with the quinoa comment. I thought thorough rinsing removed the saponin content of quinoa. True? Not? A gluten-free doctor assured me all we had to do was rinse well. Your thoughts?

    What about other ancient grass seeds such as amaranth and teff. Any thoughts/gnosis on either of these?

    Appreciate you using your celebrity for such a cause Tim. Some people will believe it only if it comes out of the mouths of the famous and well connected. Kudos! 🙂

  69. Hi Maryam,

    Just a little technicality regarding your question:

    “What about other ancient grass seeds such as amaranth and teff.”

    Amaranth is not a grass seed. (Neither is quinoa btw, never heard of teff).

    Grains are the grass seeds, the seeds from plants of the family Graminae.

    Amaranth however is related to spinach and beets. (And so is quinoa I think.)

    From: http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/amaranth-plant.html

    “The amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) includes the previously separate family of the beets and spinaches, the Chenopodiaceae. Amaranth is not related to the Graminae, the real grains.”

  70. Sonia: “That meal plan sounds miserable. Id get depressed. Eat and be merry, or be depressed. Hmmm..”

    I think its really good and varied. You won’t get depressed on it. Of course you should enjoy what you eat so if it doesn’t suit don’t eat it.

  71. Hi, I do have issues with my stomach, especially after eating breads and pasta. For the last few years I have basically cut most of it out. I may have one slice of pizza a week, but even this bothers my stomach afterward.

    I actually just wanted to confirm what you said about wheat germ.

    I have a lot of wheat germ in the mornings with my fruit and yoghurt.

    I was always lead to believe that it is a very healthy addition to a meal.

    Should I be taking this out of my diet completely? And what about plain yoghurt?

    Thank you

  72. Just a quick note to ask something. Yestarday I saw at the end of some article a note from Tim with a link to a web page about a product like a “body supplement for exercise and sport…” but now I am trying to visit the web again, and can’t find it anymore.

    Somebody can give me the web address?

    Thanx

    Jordi

  73. Hi Tim, another very interesting article.

    Have you read Michael Pollan’s ‘In defence of food’? I remember you mentioning the omnivore’s dillema, which is also excellent, but In defence of food is really a study of the nutritionism fad and how we can maneuver ourselves through today’s food option surplus. I’m not sure that he would agree with you about the French paradox being genetic, especially given the aboriginal Australian study that he discusses, amongst other things, but I’d be interested to see a discussion between the two of you. I would imagine that you’d be pretty agreed on most issues.

    All the best and I look forward to reading your new book.

    Jonathan

  74. Tim,

    I’m glad you have an open mind, even for comments posted by a total amateur with just google and skepticism as credentials.

    This well-researched Reason magazine article:

    http://reason.com/archives/2003/03/01/big-fat-fake

    was where I saw that Taubes recieved a $700,000 publishers advance to write his first anti-carb book (as a result of the success of his NYT magazine article), so I made a guess that if that was just his advance from the one book (from over 6 years ago) that he has since then most likely cleared $1 million off his anti-carb publishing etc.

    Let me say I’m still interested in your “superman” experiments, and, maybe I speak for a lot of people when I say this, I’m very interested to know how you and others you talked to have fared with extreme diets etc., it’s just that I don’t want say my great-aunt to be jumping on those bandwagons.

    Cheers,

    M. W.

    (The name is from a Simpsons episode where Homer was considering possible legal name changes.)

  75. Adding a PS for those I know who are following the comment thread on “how to identify wheat in food products”:

    Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is often bound to a wheat flour base, anything that lists Modified Food Starch is usually wheat based unless it specifies to the contrary, Hydrolized or Texturized Vegetable Protien (TVP), regular soy sauce (look at the label, wheat is on it), vegetarian items like “veggie bacon/ham”, seitan (which is straight gluten), starch unless clarified as non-wheat, malt and malt flavorings.

    Even foods that look ‘pure’ like frozen french fries are often coated with flour, and wheat is often an ingredient in flavorings, extracts, sauces, soups, salad dressings and my former-fave candy, red licorice!

    Buckwheat is NOT a wheat product and can be eaten safely by those sensitive to gluten. Other grains which contain gluten include rye, barley and some sources also list corn. I am gluten intolerant, not celiac, and can tolerate limited quantities of corn, while some people cannot. Your body knows best – listen to it.

    Bottom line is to get used to reading food labels and educating those who purchase food for you. There are some great resources here:

    http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/gettingstarted/a/hiddengluten.htm

    Click the other links for a thorough education. Enjoy! 🙂

  76. Mr Wonderful: “Taubes recieved a $700,000 publishers advance to write his first anti-carb book (as a result of the success of his NYT magazine article), so I made a guess that if that was just his advance from the one book (from over 6 years ago) that he has since then most likely cleared $1 million off his anti-carb publishing etc.”

    So you made a guess! In your previous comment you wrote the amount as if it was factual. Of course he is going to be paid. He could have written about anything but that was his topic and he deserved to be paid because of all the research he did.

  77. @Jared, the article on Mormons compares them to other US Americans, not Okinawans (most 100 year olds in the world).

    My great grand aunt died at 103 and my grandfather is 91 but looks like 70, both consumed grains daily as well as a small amount of milk, just like the oldest people ever recorded (certainly not Mormons).

  78. Ave,

    Having read quite a few of the comments above, I find the willful ignorance appaling. It is why I abhor “customer service” jobs.

    No means no people. That means you, too.

    -Anonomouse

  79. @Robnonstop

    The rate of Centenarians in Okinawa may be a lie:

    http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978510099

    Beyond that, people in Okinawa eat around 100g of pork a day and around 100g of fish a day.

    The countries with the highest life expectancy both have lots of animal products in their diets, Macau and Andorra. The Mormons also eat grains. Did you know asians in the united states have a higher life expectancy than the inhabitants of Okinawa too?

    The point is, people with high life expectancy have very varied diets. There isn’t anything magical about it that the Japanese are doing. There are a lot of factors. In the developed world, we have eliminated so many causes of death, we should probably try to avoid the big ones now: Heart Disease and Cancer (which the paleo diet claims to do). There’s not much else you can do. All of these studies of people that live long, first they DON’T live that much longer than us fat Americans. Second, there is nothing magical about what they eat or do. They have strong communities where people remain active in old age, and a bunch of other factors. Clearly, you do not need a perfect diet to live to be 100.

    Now I think diet can have a huge impact on the quality of your years. If you can keep building muscle and staying lean and active late in life, you will have quality in your old age. I think staying active, lean, and building muscle is much easier on a paleolithic diet.

    @Brett

    It may be possible for Paleo to be a subset of the Zone, but why? The zone is a huge waste of time, and a stupid learning curve, for what results? I don’t know about you, but everytime I hear Barry Sears talk about his diet my bullshit detector is going off like mad. He talks about it like it’s magic. He’s full of shit. It’s a gimmicky macro-nutrient counting pain in the ass that has no proven results to show for what a pain it is. So why do it? Is there really a debate as to which one is easier to follow? Do you really think the 40/30/30 bullshit adds anything substantial?

    @mrwonderful

    I read your Lancet study. It seems like the authors really don’t like the Atkins diet, but ultimately have to say

    “Although the diet appears, as claimed, to promote weight loss without hunger, at least in the short term, the long-term effects on health and disease prevention are unknown.”

    That sound pretty fantastic to me. Weight loss without hunger! Imagine that. Beyond that, they admit the low-carbohydrate diets create greater improvements in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    I don’t see how this study is damning at all to Atkins, other than the spooky sounding wording of not knowing the health effects of long term low-carb. Seeing as most every single mammal in existence gets by on a low-carb diet, I’m not too worried about it.

    Beyond that, there are other studies that do hint at at least some small metabolic advantage for low-carb dieting. However, to keep saying that with calories the same weight loss is the same is a strawman. People in the low carb community do not argue that you can eat as many calories as you want and still lose weight. That’s ridiculous, and only comes from the thinking of the low-fat calorie counters. The point is that you aren’t hungry and your body adjust to a more healthy weight cutting out a lot of carbohydrate. Which is pretty amazing. Beyond that paleolithic nutrition isn’t even specifically a low-carb diet. Yes, if you want carbs they will be from more nutrient-dense sources, but you will probably have a hard time deranging your metabolism with fruit, vegetables and yams.

  80. I have to say, this is one of the most interesting blog posts I have read in a while. There seems to be a divided opinion with great points on different sides of the coin.

    My ‘2 Cents’ on all of this…. I don’t believe one diet will suit everyone…it’s not a one size fits all approach. There are too many variables when it comes to each and everyone’s body, location, blood type….etc etc… the list could go on…. If you are not feeling good on a regular basis, chances are there is something in your diet that you could change to make you feel better…what that is..well there is no easy answer to that. It takes trial and error….and eventually you will come across something that will make sense for you as you will feel the difference… It took me a long time to find something that suited me… I am not a saint with my diet either. I would use the 80 – 20 rule in many parts of my life, with my diets it’s more like >90 – <10, I do like to have a one crazy meal a week and completely over do it on the calorie front…. This keeps me sane and I also believe it keeps my system thinking a small bit so it doesn't get completely use to the norm….. this approach has lost me kg's of weight…. i've always been fit and in good shape, however this combined with an intense training program (i took up boxing at age 35 and now competing with people 10 years my junior), i have got into excellent condition, something i could never do before no matter how super fit i was…

    It took me a good 5 years to settle with my diet to get it right… and it turned out to be the most simple foods you could imagine…

    So guys, be patient, and as along as you eat natural foods, in their proper state, grown organically and local to your region, the majority will thrive on this… obviously special care has to be taken for those with allergies / intolerances, but all i will say is, put the right fuel in your body you will ABSOLUTELY feel the difference!!

    keep it real

    Shay

  81. Tim—I see a MAJOR flaw in this diet.

    It doesn’t look it allows for cheeseburgers, french fries, or BEER?!?

    Intestines be damned. I can’t do it. Life is too short.

  82. Robb,

    Thank you so much for your time and patience in answering so many comments, and especially in citing so many primary sources.

    I have two questions and would be forever in your debt if you’d take a quick moment to address them.

    1) What would you recommend for becoming scientifically literate about nutrition and diet? I’m talking self-education here, what do I need to read? Nutrition Textbooks? Human chemistry and biology? Where to start to fully comprehend the science you’re dropping here? I’m quite serious about learning it. Thank you.

    2) The China Study in light of the Weston A. Price article you posted about rats given 5% caisen dying prematurely compared to those given 20% casein and getting cancer (http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/the-curious-case-of-campbells-rats-does-protein-deficiency-prevent-cancer.html)…

    What’s your take in general on The China Study? I am trying to reconcile that study with your Paleo recommendation of lots of lean animal protein – do you have any data refuting Campbell’s assertions? Could you give a quick comment and possibly some good science/primary sources related to this?

    Thanks so much again, it is such a pleasure to see you so passionate and engaged with the community and I love to see all of the sources being linked in here.

    -Nick

    More

    1. Hi Nick,

      I’ll let Robb jump in here, too, but he might be busy. To tackle the China Study part, Masterjohn offers plenty of citations, as do a few other intelligent critics (plenty of unintelligent critics, of course). Campbell is, at best, a nutritionist with some epidemiological experience. Even his co-authors of the actual “China Study” monograph believe he draws too many cause-and-effect conclusions that are impossible to prove with correlations in the data.

      Just my two cents. I have no vested interest in anyone eating meat, but I do care about good science whenever possible.

      Best,

      Tim

  83. S**t i printed this article out and it sat on my desk for over a week. Went to read it yesterday and was so shocked i actually had to put it down a couple of times just to get myself back together.

    I’ve known about paleo for quite some time, also occasionally reading Mark’s Daily Apple, but this has pushed it over the ledge for me. I’m finally going paleo, already ordered a kilo of coconut flour just to suppress any bread cravings i might get for the next month.

    Thanks

    p.s. can’t wait for the new book 🙂

  84. I was diagnosed Celiac about 3 years ago and went gluten-free. Nine months ago I moved to Southeast Asia. I had a very bad bout of parasites (amoebic dysentery and blastocyst) a few months ago. Lately I’ve been noticing some sensitivity. I assumed it was a new sensitivity to dairy, but am curious to see what will happen if I eliminate rice from my diet. At this point, rice is the only grain I eat regularly.