Modern Cavemen

No, not those Geico guys. From a NY Times article:

The caveman lifestyle, in Mr. Durant’s interpretation, involves eating large quantities of meat and then fasting between meals to approximate the lean times that his distant ancestors faced between hunts. Vegetables and fruit are fine, but he avoids foods like bread that were unavailable before the invention of agriculture. Mr. Durant believes the human body evolved for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and his goal is to wean himself off what he sees as many millenniums of bad habits.

It goes through other ways people are trying to emulate our remote ancestors. At times, the interviewees sound rather socially inept.

Another caveman trick involves donating blood frequently. The idea is that various hardships might have occasionally left ancient humans a pint short. Asked when he last gave blood, Andrew Sanocki said it had been three months. He and his brother looked at each other. “We’re due,” Andrew said.

My view: in theory, evolutionary fitness/nutrition sounds promising. But there are really no controlled studies showing it works better than other lifestyles.

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The diet could not be

The diet could not be replicated until recently, due to the lack of dietary protein after the agricultural revolution. It is not surprising that there are no studies, not only for the fact that hunters are bashed constantly for their love of the latest killing tools.

I tend to agree that paleolithic man had it right. No cheese, no beer and plenty of Psilocybin-rich mushrooms.

Caveman Excercise

The emphasis on sprinting in the caveman workout is likely misguided from an evolutionary point of view. Our ancestors likely jogged a good portion of their prey to death, which is reflected in the fact that distance running is one of the few physical activities humans do relatively well. If you can run five miles, you have most of the animal kingdom beat.

...but you can walk almost

...but you can walk almost as fast as you can jog, without wearing and tearing your joints.

I'm not saying they never jogged - many hunter gatherers DO jog, but they do it barefoot (different foot strike) and they do it over natural, uneven terrain as opposed to concrete. The pace is also typically varied, as opposed to the "fixed heart rate" model of most long distance runners.

From a performance standpoint, sprint training will build cardiovascular endurance and capacity at least as well as "cardio" in about 1/4 of the time.

Also, look at a sprinter and look at a long-distance runner. Who looks healthier?

Sprinting

I think the sprinting was not about catching food but more to prevent becoming food.

O

O RLY?

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

Read Dr.Eades' "Protein Power Lifeplan" and "Good calories, bad calories" for more studies than you'll know what to do with.

Anecdotal: My own results and the results of everyone I know who have done paleo have been nothing short of miraculous.

For fasting/IF specifically, check out: http://www.leangains.com/

Social ineptitude aside, giving blood helps your body reduce levels of stored iron, something that wasn't an issue until we began eating agricultural foods that promoted increased iron storage. Unfortunately, your body doesn't have a repository for iron, so it tucks it away into your joints, thyroid, etc, causing all sorts of problems. Dr. Eades' theory is that parasites (prevalent in modern hunter gatherer societies as well as past societies) removed a substantial amount of blood -- and consequently iron -- preventing excess iron storage and the accompanying oxidation of said iron.

That being said, some people take it to far. If there is a modern technology (e.g. whey protein) that has proven benefits and few costs, I've got no problem incorporating that into my paleo lifestyle.

Keenan

I don't consider the type of data in "Good calories, bad calories" to be great data. It's decent data, not great data.

Great data would entail controlled, prospective studies of a large number of people. Almost no such studies exist in nutrition and fitness.

There's anecdotal data over the internet with various types of diet and exercise programs. Pick a diet, and you'll find a website with people claiming it works like magic. Pick an exercise program, and you'll find a website showing before-and-after pics of personal transformations. This doesn't mean that that particular diet or exercise program is better than the others.

If that's your standard for

If that's your standard for data regarding fitness/diet, I think you'll be disappointed for awhile. You're right -- almost no such studies exist in nutrition and fitness.

I've found the studies that I have read compelling, but if you disagree I won't argue that point. Apart from controlled studies, though, we have studies of currently living hunter-gatherers and we have years of skeletal data showing poor health whenever a particular people adopted agriculture in favor of hunting and gathering.

I'm also impressed by the fact that the paleo theory that grains & excess starch and fructose are inflammatory, fattening, etc makes sense biochemically and seems to be reflected in studies of those particular things. I find this alignment of theory, known biochemistry/physiology, and empirical/anecdotal evidence to be promising and unique to the paleo lifestyle when compared to other diets/fitness plans.

I think you're overestimating the data

I'm also impressed by the fact that the paleo theory that grains & excess starch and fructose are inflammatory, fattening, etc makes sense biochemically and seems to be reflected in studies of those particular things. I find this alignment of theory, known biochemistry/physiology, and empirical/anecdotal evidence to be promising and unique to the paleo lifestyle when compared to other diets/fitness plans.

There haven't been any significant advances in the knowledge of metabolic physiology for decades. What we know today, we knew 30 years ago. Physiology doesn't tell us one way or another if Paleo is best.

Presumably the human will

Presumably the human will have evolved somewhat between hunting and gathering and now, so that our current optimal diet may not be identical to the "cave man's".

That said, it is painfully obvious that we're not well-adapted to our current diet, so a cave man diet may well be much closer to what we need.

No. The only obvious

No. The only obvious evolution trait we acquired was persistence of lactase, which was simple enough a mutation to get in the mere instant that the 10 000 years of agriculture represent on such scales. The digestive tract of humans is very very similar to that of a dog, as yo ucan check for yourself in the preview pages of "The vegetarian Myth", and extremely different from that of herbivores. The switch to agricultre might have killed off those less resistant to the many toxins contained in cereals and legumes, though.

I'e been on a paleo diet for several months now, and fitter than ever :)

Thanks for pointing it out.

Thanks for pointing it out. I found it at B&N, read a bit of it, and bought it. I found the comparison to dog and sheep in that book to be compelling. The arguments in the rest of the book (that we are killing the planet, drawing down its finite resources, and must abandon all agriculture and become hunters - she makes the Unabomber look moderate) are also interesting. As she jokes in a recorded speech, unlike Michael Pollan's book, which is food and funny stories, her book is food and apocalypse.

It's the only one we know

No. The only obvious evolution trait we acquired was persistence of lactase, which was simple enough a mutation to get in the mere instant that the 10 000 years of agriculture represent on such scales.

We've only recently figured which genes we have. We still don't know what most of them do. Evolution sped up after the development of agriculture. Lactase is obvious because it's phenotypically obvious: drink milk, get poopy. That doesn't mean there aren't significant evolutionary changes that are less aparent. We don't know yet and won't for a while.

Yall should checkout the

Yall should checkout the Tarahumara peoples, if you do not already know about them.

Paleo diet good for diabetes

I have (unwittingly) been following the paleo diet to control diabetes (very low carb- high protein/fat)-I don't know what it does for non-diabetics, but for me it has kept blood glucose within normal range 9without meds) and cholesterol low, but I notice I have become increasingly sensitive to all sugars/starches- they will spike my glucose far more intensively than they would before I went on the diet.

Liberty/Diabetes/Paleo Lifestyle

These three topics also align with Wes Bertrand's Healthy Mind/Fit Body blog and podcast.

Wes also does the podcast Complete Liberty, which I've been following for a few months.