Everyone has their take on “paleo,” “caveman,” “archevore” diets. I’m going to make an executive decision by pointing out that some people think they ARE cavemen and others consider it a metaphor eating as close to nature as possible; this whole movement is boiling down to grains and conventional dairy products are bad and meat and veggies are good. People wonder how you stay healthy without grains; what’s in grains that make them a superfood? In fact, they are hurting our bodies in more ways than you realize. I read this article by Kurt Harris, MD below, and it was a bit refreshing, acknowledging that some diseases are Optional.
“I had never before heard evidence that some of the diseases I’d been seeing my whole career might be optional. Diseases like diabetes, heart disease, common epithelial cancers, diverticulitis, and appendicitis. Most medical schools don’t really treat this issue of DOCs. The background assumption was that cancer, heart disease and obesity are only issues because we live long enough to get them now, and aren’t we lucky for modern medicine? The diet/heart hypothesis – the idea that cholesterol or saturated fat or red meat was responsible for vascular disease and heart attacks – had been around for decades, but did not seem to be as woven into the fabric of culture as it is now. There was really no print equivalent to today’s 24/7 propaganda of pop nutrition via MSN and Yahoo, with perky titles about the latest worthless observational study associating a colorful plant with some tertiary biomarker of health status.
So we were taught that cholesterol and fat in the diet might contribute to heart attacks, but cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders were mostly considered just part of the human condition.
But in Gary’s book, the descriptions of populations that ate native whole-foods diets, and what happened to them when they started to eat the white man’s food, was totally eye opening and had never been hinted at in my medical school curriculum.
Gary described the common elements as carbohydrates – easily digestible carbohydrates – and this formed the basis of his carbohydrate hypothesis of diseases of civilization. Not only were dietary fats not responsible for heart attacks – and this case seems convincing to me still -but a whole suite of diseases of civilization might instead be caused by the very macronutrient that for 40 or so years has been pushed on us by governments and their confederacy of do-gooders as the antidote to the evils of artery-clogging animal fats (saturated fats) – carbohydrate. Avoid red meat. Eat more pasta and “low-fat” fare.”