Saturday, 24 May 2014

Arthur Haines on Grains

I still largely avoid grain food but would not be averse to some grain in my diet, particularly if they grains form part of a traditional food culture and especially if they are prepared in a traditional style/method (but not necessarily using traditional technology).

But make no mistake;  most grains I'm likely to encounter in my ever day life come in the form of sugary cereals, sliced bread and heavily processed baked foods made from a few grains industrially processed to optimise profit not quality.  I can live without it.
The excellent Arthur Haines makes the case for why anti-grain rhetoric in the paleosphere lacks biological and anthropological sense.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Domestic Bottlenecks

Interesting article on  safeguarding the future of food security | Nicola Davis

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sleep Arrogance

Sleep, a tenet of the paleo model - a something covered several times over the years at Natural Messiah, now goes increasingly mainstream. The artcile notes that cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infections and obesity have all been linked to reduced sleep - which kind of ties in to a paleo viewpoint that many of our modern ailments are different manifestations of the same underlying problem; we're trying to force genes selected for a lifestyle some 40,000 years ago to adapt to a modern lifestyle that is devoid of the necessary cues that allow our genes to express themselves in a healthful way.

These cues include periodicity of:
  • Light/dark,
  • Hunger/feeding,
  • Activity/rest,
  • Temperature
From the article,
  • "...scientists have warned that modern life and 24-hour society mean many people are now "living against" their body clocks with damaging consequences for health and wellbeing.


    We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle. "
Why limit that interpretation to our body-clock?

When it comes to our survival, our body works over longer periods than 24 hours - it has to prepare for periods of days weeks and months.  It has to make sense of the world from energy flows, hormonal flows, and, other signals that pulse, ebb and flow in response to external forces.  These signals hold information.

If the signal isn't clear then our body will be confused by noise - the noise of persistent grazing, persistent indolence, persistent temperature exposure, and yes, persistent light of an eternal summer - trapped in a state where it prepares for a lean times that never come. 

Lean times signal repair, renewal and regeneration.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Trouble with Rice

An interesting article from the NYT on metal absorption in rice:

  • "'s not just arsenic and cadmium, which are present in soil both as naturally occurring elements and as industrial byproducts. Recent studies have shown that rice is custom-built to pull a number of metals from the soil, among them mercury and even tungsten. The findings have led to a new push by scientists and growers to make the grain less susceptible to metal contamination.The highest levels often occur in brown rice, because elements like arsenic accumulate in bran and husk, which are polished off in the processing of white rice. The Department of Agriculture estimates that on average arsenic levels are 10 times as high in rice bran as in polished rice."
Diversify you food sources (and eat food that does this! )

Fed Up

A calorie is a calorie but calories are only one way we can slice the nutrition-pie. Isocaloric diets are not isometabolic. Your body is not a bomb calorimeter.  Fed Up looks in to this:

  • "He has studied the effects that different foods have on weight gain and said that it is true that 100 calories of fat, protein and carbohydrates are the same in a thermodynamic sense, in that they release the same amount of energy when exposed to a Bunsen burner in a lab. But in a complex organism like a human being, he said, these foods influence satiety, metabolic rate, brain activity, blood sugar and the hormones that store fat in very different ways.

    Studies also show that calories from different foods are not absorbed the same. When people eat high-fiber foods like nuts and some vegetables, for example, only about three-quarters of the calories they contain are absorbed. The rest are excreted from the body unused. So the calories listed on their labels are not what the body is actually getting."
  • Tuesday, 6 May 2014

    The Dubious War on Saturated Fat

    The paleospere can pat itself on the back for a job well done in bringing real food back in to fashion - and specifically for yhe rehabilitation of saturated fat, the prodigal son of nutrition.

    This WSJ article suggests a victory of sorts is close,

    "Saturated fat does not cause heart disease"—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries. For many diet-conscious Americans, it is simply second nature to opt for chicken over sirloin, canola oil over butter.

    The new study's conclusion shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias."

    I hope Paleo doesn't blow it by demonising another macronutrient!  :)