02 February, 2011

Paleo Rambling

I just returned from 10 days on the left coast. I visited Vancouver BC, San Francisco, and San Luis Obispo. Also stopped for lunch in Santa Cruz. They are all great places, but San Luis Obispo, the one city I hadn't previously visited, was my favorite. This may be partially because SLO is smaller, less crowded and seems to have a slower pace. If VO opens a west coast location, a distinct possibility, SLO is at the top of my list.

In addition to visiting potential distributors and being a tourist, I spent a couple of hours at Rivendell's headquarters in Walnut Creek. Grant Peterson was a great host, gave me the full tour, and showed me some beautiful frames. We even talked about a few areas where Riv and VO might cooperate.

Every time Grant and I meet I'm struck by how much we have in common. One of our mutual interests is paleo diet and exercise. Paleo diet is based on the fact that paleolithic and pre-industrial peoples have incredibly low rates of most of the "diseases of civilization". These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimers, and many of the other maladies we consider common. Though they have a higher chance of dying at a young age, and so a lower average lifespan, once out of those dangerous years pre-industrial humans remain amazingly healthy and live almost as long as we do.

Grant gave me a copy of Gary Taubes' new book, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (which Riv also sell). I'd read Taubes' groundbreaking first book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, an exhaustively researched and somewhat dense review of diet and nutrition. Taubes was instrumental in showing a startling disconnect between current mainstream nutritional advice and what is actually based on science. He read hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and extensive historical data only to find that most of what mainstream doctors and the government experts tell us about nutrition is simply wrong. His findings also go a long ways toward explaining why the pre-industrial, or paleo, diet may be far healthier than what we eat today.

In any case, I wasn't sure it was worth reading what's basically a simplified version of Taubes earlier book, but there was that long flight home so I did. I found the new book brilliant; thanks Grant. If you're not going to look up references in PubMed, it's a lot easier and faster read while imparting all the basics of his earlier book. Buy it (from Riv, not Amazon) and you'll learn a lot; guaranteed. Just to be clear, I don't think Taubes interpretation is 100 percent perfect, but it's darn close. I'd also recommend reading the Whole Health Source, a blog by neurobiologist Stephan Guyenet.

I know I'm rambling, but if you're interested in this stuff I'll do another post with a lot of other great sources, books, and blogs  about Paleo diet and exercise.

An amusing aside, Grant and I are both interested in soap. Grant gave me a bar of the pine tar soap he sells. I can't say I was taken by the scent, reminiscent of a forest fire, though it's very very effective and definitely manly.  I sent Grant a chunk of Savon de Marseille, an artisanal and traditional French olive oil based soap. We use it not only as soap, but also as shampoo, and shaving cream. Annette says it eliminates the need for moisturizing cream; amazing stuff. As with bicycles, most of the really good stuff was developed long ago.

58 comments:

T.B.S. said...

I'm thrilled to see yet another of my favorite bicycling related businesses is also a fan of ancestral health.

Of course, some paleo people are also going soapless ;-).

Personally I stopped using shampoo (though not soap) some time ago and my hair and scalp are much better for it. People think it's odd and that you'll stink, but then I ask them if I stink and they always say no. Then I tell them I don't use shampoo.

Anonymous said...

Wow, VO considers SLO a top spot for opening a west coast warehouse? I would have thought Portland, OR would be the ideal west coast location.

According to http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/dealers/index/display/ Portland has more VO dealers than any other city. Portland also has more bike commuters and frame builders than any other US city. It also has a thriving bike economy.

Could it be the weather? Nah, VO is located in the NE. Inquiring Portlanders would like to know. :)

Chris Kulczycki said...

Anon, Less rain and more surfing. Plus, our two biggest markets are LA and San Francisco. I love Portland, really, but mostly in summer. Rain and cold, I've had enough of that.

-Colin said...

Glad to hear you liked SLO, my home town. A few bike companies originated here -- Truvativ, Lezyne, and Neuvation. I am a big fan of Rivbikes and VO - anything that makes everyday cycling more practical.

I don't know if you got to check out the SLO Bike Kitchen but they are doing their part to getting more people on bikes as well.

Janice in GA said...

I know this is just anecdata, but here's mine:
I started eating paleo a few years ago. I lost 30 lbs and did really well with it, but over time I slipped back into the Standard American Diet. :( Then my husband had two bad cholesterol/triglyceride tests in a row. He did some research and decided that paleo was the best choice for health. He and I went back on a paleo diet last autumn. He's lost 20 lbs, & his cholesterol & triglycerides went back to normal. I've lost 15 lbs so far and have almost completely cut out the meds I take for GERD. It's awesome.

I'm saving up for my next order from VO too. I've really been enjoying the fenders I bought last fall. :)

Eric said...

I've been doing a primal diet for over a year now, and have read both of Taubes' books (not to mention those by Drs. Eades, Tom Naughton, Dr. Mercola, Mark Sisson, and even Tim Ferriss to an extent). The best thing about it is having more energy to get on the bike.

Grok on!

Gunnar Berg said...

Tough to beat ramblings and digressions.

Oh, just received a set of your rando bars today. The curves feel great in the hand. I'll know more if Spring ever comes. But I digress.

Anonymous said...

As much as I'd like to see a VO store nearby, I would recommend against opening a store in California. We have the highest general sales tax rate (I pay 9.75%, including local L.A. tax) in the US and you'd be required to collect CA tax on web orders. Sure, there's "use tax", but that's difficult to enforce.

High tax is the only reason I don't buy from Riv that often.

Anonymous said...

PetersEn!

doug in seattle. said...

Grandpa Soap! The only soap I've used so far that doesn't cause me to break out in painful, dry, cracked skin all over my back and arms. I also like the smell, as it reminds me of camping.

I would be disappointed if you were to open a location in SLO. Only because I would want you to open in Seattle, where I could apply for a job! However, avoiding cold, wet winters and living in Seattle are mutually exclusive.

Dustin said...

Hope it's not considered spam, but those interested in both the Paleo diet and cycling, might take a peek at my blog:

http://paleovelo.com

For what it's worth, the cycling content is pretty much VO/Rivendell approved!

Mike said...

I'm interested in the Paleo diet stuff. I first heard about it from a Riv post and subsequently bought the Taubes book a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had time to read more than the intro chapter (and skimming the recommendations at the end), but I've started to change my eating habits and have already lost 4lbs with no additional exercise. I'd love to know more!

-jd said...

Interested in soap? Go No Poo. I haven't used soap in 3 weeks and my skin and hair has never felt and looked healthier. I'm also have recently gotten into a Paleo diet and I've never felt healthier or lost weight more easily.

Anonymous said...

I went to Riv HQ a few years ago and he gave me a bar of Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap. I was like "are you trying to tell me something?" When I used it I felt like I was washing myself with smoked bacon.

I've been there a couple of times and they're very gracious hosts.

Anonymous said...

"High tax is the only reason I don't buy from Riv that often."

Really? Their stuff is generally 15-20% above other retailers. I consider the CA tax and the loooong shipping waits from CA to the east coast to just be adding insult to injury.

David said...

The pine tar soap smell grows on you. Kinda like funky cheese--it's a little rough at first, but breeds affection.

Peter Hamtramck said...

I would love to see more Paleo diet posts.

I'm currently working my way through "Why We Get Fat" and I also have a bar of Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap in my shower that was a gift w/ purchase when I visited RIV a year ago. Both are great so far!

Matthew in Michigan said...

There's something about the paleo diet that doesn't jibe well with the cycling mindset, in my mind. I know I'm not the first to make this point, but: part of the attraction of cycling seems to me to be the reduced carbon footprint, the "sustainability" of it, the way it promotes and strengthens local communities. Paleo diets are basically promoting the opposite: higher carbon footprint, out of reach of most people in the world, not workable on a large scale. I'm not claiming that it's not healthy or that it doesn't promote weight loss-- hey, if it works for you, great -- but it seems to be at odds with the cycling mindset. Or, at least, with the VO/Riv cycling mindset.

TheGuth said...

Hizzah SLO, my hometown too (well, Los Osos, but went to grade school in SLO). In fact, my first introduction to racing was watching the crits from the back balcony of the Mission on Sundays after church. I think Highroad sports calls SLO its home too ;).

rigtenzin said...

One commenter said that the smell of pine tar soap grows on you. It did not grow on my wife or kids. They never got used to the smell and treated me like a leper when I used the soap.

Mike said...

"Their stuff is generally 15-20% above other retailers"

I'm not sure where that's coming from, but even if parts can be had cheaper at mega-bike websites, I consider Riv and VO much like LBS's or smaller businesses worth supporting. Still, a lot of their stuff is cheaper than anywhere else, so I'm a bit confused with that.

Matthew: I see where you're coming from, and you're technically correct that mean/animal products are typically have much higher carbon footprints. However, my understanding is that you should be eating free-range/organically fed meats (don't think our ancestors had chicken factory-farms) anyway, and of course local sources can be found for a lot of us.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Regarding the tax thing: I think what we get for our taxes, education, roads, public safety, programs for the less fortunate, etc, make taxes a pretty good deal. So I have no problem paying our fair share, even if it's a few percent more in CA than in MD. I know that many don't agree with that, but making the highest possible profit has never been a VO goal.

I also don't mind paying a bit more from companies I like. I buy almost everything, other than food, online and usually from the same companies I've done business with for years. So I rarely look for the absolute lowest price.

Regarding the Paleo footprint: One thing we often forget is that there is a lot of land available for raising animals that is unsuitable for farming. And Paleo is not just about eating meat. If one eliminates modern wheat, sugar, modern seed oils, and most factory food, one is not far from paleo. There are many pre-industrial peoples who get most of their calories from yams, taro, coconuts, etc, and only a small amount from fish or meat, yet remain staggeringly healthy. This is the one major point that I think Taubes misses. But the caveat is that once the body is damaged by years of eating a modern diet, the ability to process those carbs in the same way as pre-industrial peoples do is irreversibly lost, resulting in some of the modern diseases. So some of us "moderns" find it beneficial to decrease the amount of carbs we eat.

Chris Collins said...

Re: SLO,

I'm in the Bay Area now, and love my jaunts to Riv World HQ in Walnut Creek. I went to college in SLO. I'd love to move back and be your SLO rep...let me know when you're getting serious. Other SLO bike things...

For some reason TdF team Columbia-HTC was headquarter in SLO for a couple of years...and still may be.

The world famous BOB trailer was designed, manufactured, and originally sold from SLO.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify my comment on Riv's pricing: They're not 15-20% over the superdiscounters, they're 15-20% over what I pay when I order from a LBS that just gives me MSRP right off of the Q or J&B database and then free shipping if the order is over $100 or whatever. I'm not going to name them because they are competitors to VO and Riv, but I have two that I deal with (one for Q, one for J&B) and they are both genuine Good Local Bike Shops of the type that I'm just not fortunate enough to live near.

I love Rivendell and the contribution Grant has made to the industry, and I'm all for supporting innovators, but it's just impossible to justify shelling out the money for their markup on commodity items. I'll buy the genuine item over the knockoff every time (at least when they're not coming out of the same factory), but Grant didn't invent the Schwalbe Big Apple and I don't see any reason to pay him $42 for it when the MSRP is $35.

greenbiker said...

Chris,

Making more profit allows you to hire more and invest to expand. Do you think CA needs more workers or more tax revenue? CA is the 3rd most unemployed state in the US and doesn't exactly have the best record regarding tax use or rates. If both, for your money, do you think you get a better deal hiring more employees or giving that money to the state and hoping they do what's right with it? Employees pay taxes too. However, if profit is not too important, why not turn VO into a non-profit and lower some of those prices eh?

Anonymous said...

sales tax is high, because we don't have any meaningful property tax any more. overturn prop 13 and then most of california's problems will dissipate.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous: Schwalbe MSRP is $44.65 for the tires Riv sells at 42.00; not 35.XX
http://smtp.schwalbetires.com/node/1328

Riv is not overcharging. Your LBS is discounting (not that I'm going to complain about that). Just clarifying.

halfstep said...

I have a feeling that the old constructeurs would have looked askance at something called a paleo diet. No frites? Eddy had it right, ride lots.

Anonymous said...

Does the Paleo diet have any guidelines for how many donuts are recommended ?

And just as important - what types should I be eating for optimum health ? I'm guessing the ones with powdered sugar should probably be avoided, but the ones with fruit filling should probably be O.K.

Please let me know ASAP, I'm going for a ride later and I'll need to fuel up pre- and post-ride.

etherhuffer said...

Doing business in Cali could be rather eye opening for an East Coaster. Some of those jokes about flakiness have far more truth than one might want to admit. The closer you get to LA,the more people look you up and down to see what you are wearing, what your partner looks like, etc. Then come the questions about your house, your job, who you know......Barf.

Work ethic is a relative term in Cali. Customer service is an oxymoron in the Bay Area. We used to go up to Rivendell's neck of the woods to bank, shop, etc. People actually functioned up there. Down in Oakland, asking for service was a general affront to most service workers. Hope that has changed since I left there. Its hard to live that way.

RoadieRyan said...

Enjoyed your Post Chris. I was fortunate enough to find myself with some extra time at the end of some corporate training in SF last month and took the opportunity to hop the BART to Walnut creek to visit Riv. Grant and Keven were very gracious host and it was fun hour spent around bikes, bike geeks (myself included) add in the coffee and chocolate and whats not to like! Now I just need to get some training scheduled in Baltimore......

Ryan
Seattle

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm not going to publish any more comments about Riv's prices. I'm not comfortable with that subject on this blog. Besides, anyone can see what prices are on any site and decide if they are fair given the company's reputation and other values.

As for frites, a couple of times a year I have moules and frites (with mayonnaise) at my favorite Belgian restaurant. One shouldn't become a fanatic.

Anon, just get a hamburger (grass fed beef) and punch a hole in the middle. The paleo donut.

Anonymous said...

California's tax problem doesn't stem from low property taxes, it stems from unrealistic pay and benefits for public employees. Public employees were promised sky high golden parachutes for decades when the economy of California was growing almost nonstop. The can was constantly kicked down the road for a future generation to deal with, and now that it is the time of reckoning, there's a panic. Quite simply the state can not expect to survive economically if it has to tax itself to death to pay all these owed entitlements. Every city in, and the state itself will have to declare bankruptcy at some point. There just isn't enough money to realistically fill the hole that's been dug.

Anonymous said...

Something is in the air. This year one of my resolutions was to question my long-held assumptions. I ended up reading the new Taubes book and the Primal Diet a couple of weeks ago. Eye-opening and making me re-think what I *know*. Low and behold both you and Grant at Riv are talking about this as well.
Growing up with the "balanced diet" and partitioned plate (green/veggies, starch/rice/potato/roll, and a protein) its conceptually hard to accept a balanced meal missing that middle part.
And the calories in/calories out is another bit of conventional wisdom that is hard to not believe. Because we all *know* that its "true"...but... I know someone with syndrome X that was diagnosed after she started exercising MORE and eating fewer calories.
On the sustainability side of things, on the East Coast at least, this way of eating (feeding animals grass and hay, not needing grains, and smaller amounts of vegetables and fruits in season) is probably more sustainable. You would not be depended on a food supply created with large amounts of chemicals and industrial effort that is then processed and shipped out. Note, even though it seems like a lot of protein, overall the amount that you eat would be physically less.

Anonymous said...

oops - on the above post where I mention syndrome X. I left out the part that led to diagnosis: though reducing calories and increasing exercise she gained weight, which led to her being sent to specialist for diagnosis. So, we believe calories in/calories out (if effort or fuel) but there is evidence that its not that simple.

Anonymous said...

if you are really feeling adventurous and not merely primitive, why not try going vegan? even oprah and her staff are trying it this week. it's easy; it's better for your health and for the planet. but, most important, it's the morally right thing to do. and yes, SLO is one of the most wonderful places in the US.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Anon, Nutritional practices based on what Oprah does? Sorry, never seen the show.

Every bit of science shows that humans evolved as carnivores. There has never been a vegan, or even a vegetarian, ancient culture. It's one thing to be a vegan because you believe it to be moral. We can certainly respect and even admire those principles. But it's another thing to convince us that it's healthier.

rob hawks said...

Until this past summer, I had only ridden through SLO and while I liked what I saw of the town and a small bit of surrounding riding terrain, it was hardly enough to go on to judge the place. Last summer I rode the Central Coast 1000km that the Santa Cruz Randonneurs put on, and we saw quite a bit more off SLO. I really would like to go back and do a lot more riding there.

Anonymous said...

All this talk of prices is pretty tacky. That being said, I would really love to see the VO operation open up a branch on the west coast.

The wife and I plan to visit Riv headquarters this summer to test out/buy a Betty Foy. I'm really excited because I've never been to Riv--it'll be nice to see so many gorgeous bikes in one place. Moreover, I think visiting will be enjoyable because of the number of like minded people working at Riv--good people.

How cool would it be to have some of the VO folks over here in California?? I think it would be beneficial to have a business like VO in this neck of the woods.

Merlin said...

If you want a really good shaving soap, try The Gentleman's Quarter (http://www.thegentlemensquarter.com/), made in West Virginia.

On the diet topic, I think it's worth noting that there is no single diet that is best for everyone. There is a wide range of digestive capabilities -- for example, many people are intolerant of lactose or wheat gluten. Those are substances that humans have only recently (evolutionarily speaking) evolved to digest. What was once the most nutritionally appropriate diet for Man is not necessarily the most nutritionally sound diet for everyone today (especially when there is so much corn masquerading as beef, chicken, and pork).

Uncle Ankle said...

Chris: I'm fairly certain Taubes mentions that people living mostly on starchy foods can be quite lean and healthy as long as they avoid the insulin resistance inducing sugars. I don't remember an exact quote, but it's in there.

Anonymous said...

After three weeks of very disciplined, but not low-carb, dieting, I had lost nothing and was frustrated and hungry (FWIW, I'm 48, male). So, remaining committed to the goal, I bought "Why We Get Fat" from Riv and have been fascinated. After two days of very low carb intake, I dropped 4 pounds. Finding the discipline to eat this way will not be the hard part as I am not hungry. However, finding convenient food sources will be difficult as I have already discovered most accessible foods are LOADED with carbs.

Hal said...

Diets are very subjective, i.e. what works for one may not work for others. Jack LaLanne ate no processed carbs but also no meat (x/c for fish) and no dairy. Yet he died at 96 and was very active almost to the end the end. Ernest Borgnine (who at 94 may or may not be in the greatest health), says he quit eating meat 35 years ago and attributes his longevity mostly to that. I lost 100 pounds eating a low-cal diet 30 years ago and have kept it off since then mostly by watching my carbs and fats and exercising moderately. Fresh foods are almost universally thought better than processed, and meat is okay in moderation, but the development of agriculture is thought to have arisen because wild game and plants couldn't support the growing human population. My concern about the paleo diet is not only what's better for humans but what's better for planet. I prefer to limit my meat consumption and my intake of processed carbs, and when I do so I feel better and keep my weight down.

Your mileage may vary.

On the bicycling topic, I love your products! I keep a wish list (cranks, fenders, bars) for my next set of upgrades.

Eric Meyer said...

Chris... sorry I didn't know you were coming to San Luis Obispo. I would have given you the Grand Tour. I spend a bit of time at the SLO bike Kitchen... and it is a pretty fun place. We have an amazing bunch of Cyclists of all types. With respect to business here... I started my shoe company here (Simple Shoes). It is an expensive place to live but it has dropped about 30% lately. There are a lot of very interesting people here due to Cal Poly being here. Lot of Professors... interesting students... etc. The students make up an much of the job pool.

There is an Innovation and Entrepreneurial Center at the college... which is a constant source of crazy new ideas if you get involved. The university is a partner in a few small startups where students have ideas.

We are one of the early cities to put on a Pecha Kucha Event... and have had 14 so far. There is a great alternative movie theatre... great coffee... great ocean opportunities... surfing, boating, etc

Several of my friends have started large mail order companies here. There is a great fulfillment service here too if you decide to warehouse stuff here and don't want to run it yourself. The airport is big enough.

anyway...SLO is one of the nicest places on the planet IMHO

BLAH BLAH BLAH... anyway... you have my email in your system.... contact me so you get the inside scoop. I know many of the... ahem... "non lycra" type cyclists. I can introduce you to people that might be the beginning of a branch here. I am also great friends with most of architects and most of the commercial real estate guys... several of whom are SERIOUS cyclists.

I'm bummed to have missed your trip!

Bike Hermit said...

I know Grant and consider him a friend. Anything he says or does relative to bicycle design is gospel IMHO. Diet and sartorial advice, not so much.
As an ectomorph I'm afraid this is what would happen to me on the paleo diet.
Dr. Ronald Krauss, senior scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and founder and past chair of the American Heart Assn.’s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, says that while he fundamentally agrees with those advocating fewer dietary carbs, he doesn’t like to demonize one food group.

That said, he adds, those who eat too many calories tend to overconsume carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and sugars. “It can be extremely valuable to limit carbohydrate intake and substitute protein and fat. I am glad to see so many people in the medical community getting on board. But in general I don’t recommend extreme dietary measures for promoting health.”
"refined carbohydrate and sugars" might be the problem.
I think it's important not to go overboard with new(or not so new, remember Atkins?)fads

Anonymous said...

Bike, Atkins was demonized by the established medical community, but in the past decade most of what he said has been proven correct. It has been repeatedly shown that carbs, not saturated fats, are the major cause of heart disease. And most of what the American Heart Association has said has been called into question. Atkins was just ahead of his time.

Bike Hermit said...

Sorry about that broken link.Hopefully this is me touring on the paleo diet.

Anonymous said...

chris, it hardly matters that "every bit of science shows that humans evolved as carnivores." (science is conflicted on this point, btw.) in universal time we've only been farming for the blink of an eye. factory farms--the method by which the VAST majority of our meat is produced--have existed for only a fraction of that blink. now consider the amount of damage our appetites have done to the world, and to its inhabitants, in just a sliver of universal time. then consider which choice is more sustainable for the earth, if not your body.

Chris Kulczycki said...

None of us interested in Paleo nutrition support factory farms. But there is no question that mankind evolved on and is healthiest on an omnivorous diet. And pastured animals are, in fact, sustainable as is some fishing. What is not sustainable is an ever increasing population of sickly humans choking the earth. Most of sustainability ultimately comes down to reining in population growth.

Anonymous said...

How did you find Vancouver? I wish there was a shop in Vancouver that was well stocked with velo orange gear. As it is a few shops are Velo Orange dealers but carry very little so things have to be special ordered anyway. My husband has ordered from Velo Orange directly, but it took so long to get through customs etc.. would be nice to have at least one Canadian base to counter that.
Anyway, San Luis Obisco is beautiful! Apparently has one of the best living standards over all on earth.

Tom said...

Vancouver has quite a few VO dealers: Dream cycle, Jet Grrl, Rain City, Cambie will be your best bet.

adventure! said...

Ah, the rain in Portland ain't so bad after you get used to it. And "cold" is relative-we've been seeing a high of 50F when the East Coast has been buried under 50 feet of snow.

Though the thing that might stop ya from coming to Portland is all those vegans! And they bicycle!
;-)

Benterati said...

I second the Calif Central Coast.

"Diets" come and go constantly. There are only Fats, Proteins and,Carbs to play with. I Have Been vegetarian for over 40 years. When I am riding a lot or, in cold weather I increase the quantity of quality fats in my diet. Most vegetarians get plenty of Protein.
I think the average American diet is so poor that any change will be perceived as good.

Ethics and Environmental impact are worthy of consideration also.

Anonymous said...

Benterati, The paleo way of eating has been practiced for over 200,000 years. It's hardly a fad diet. The vegetarianism fad, is only a few hundred years old :<)

Brad Hurley said...

@Anonymous: the paleo diet has been practiced for 200,000 years but for most of those years the human life expectancy was about half what it is today. Most of the diseases that are related to a diet rich in saturated fats start kicking in around the age that most of our ancestors were already dead.

In 2009, the National Institutes of Health and AARP published a major study performed over 10 years on half a million people ages 50-71. THe mean who ate the most red meat had a 31% higher death rate than the men who ate the least, and similar studies involving hundreds of thousands of subjects found strong associations between consumption of red meat and colon cancer. Meta-analyses have confirmed these findings.

Fish and poulty don't carry the same risks, nor do vegetables. It's clear that "low fat" diets can be counterproductive, leading people to overconsume carbohydrates, and when those carbohydrates are refined lots of bad things happen.

I love a good steak - about twice a year. The rest of the time I live on veggies, grains, and beans, with chicken, eggs, and fish supplying much of my protein. I've never bonked on a long ride, and I'm 52.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Brad, Actually many, if not most, pre-industrial peoples lived virtually as long as long as modern humans, provided they made it through the dangerous childhood and teen years. And they were/are far healthier than moderns, virtually no diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.

Studies like the AARP study are mostly garbage science. Look at how the China Study was found to be so flawed that re-analysis found completely contradictory results. For example, people who eat red meat also tend to eat a lot of sugar and wheat. There is a huge amount of evidence that sugar and modern wheat and modern seed oils are the three main causes of the "diseases of civilization". Saturated fat, when confounding factors are excluded, is now seen as harmless, or even beneficial. Most of the nutritional advice you read in the popular media is at least 10 years behind the latest science.

Brad Hurley said...

Chris wrote:

"Actually many, if not most, pre-industrial peoples lived virtually as long as long as modern humans, provided they made it through the dangerous childhood and teen years."

That's an astounding and pretty much unverifiable fact given that no birth records exist for most pre-industrial peoples. As the Steve Austad (a leading research in the science of aging) likes to say, "If you don’t know when you were born, the odds are you’re going to be 150 years old by the time you die." But even for those who did survive past age 25 or 30 and lived long lives, you're talking about the far-right tail of the bell curve. Those people are analogous to the five-pack-a-day smokers who live into their 90s despite the odds. There are hundreds of thousands of them, but there are tens of millions of smokers who die from cancer before they reach 70. Your chances of being one of the lucky people at the tail of the bell curve are vanishingly small.

You wrote: "Studies like the AARP study are mostly garbage science." In fact the NIH/AARP study didn't just look at red meat consumption in isolation; they evaluated a number of other risk factors, and they (and other studies) have been able to isolate risk differences between people who eat a lot of red meat versus those who eat a lot of processed red meat, and even people who eat very-well-done meat versus meat cooked to medium. This is far from junk science; these studies are constructed, tested, debated, and analyzed by some of the best minds out there, with no underlying motivation other than to learn the truth.

There are good reasons why the medical and dietary establishment hasn't shifted to espousing Taubes's arguments and those of the studies he cites. They have finally accepted that "low fat diets" are counterproductive, and dietary guidelines are shifting away from that. But there's so much evidence pointing to the dangers of saturated fat and red meat in general that it's going to take time to sort out what's right and what's wrong.

Taubes could be right, of course. Science isn't done by vote, and one person who's right is worth 10,000 who are wrong. But you have to remember that Taubes is a journalist, and one who has always been drawn to controversy, and it's easy to find studies that support a contrarian view. But until a few large studies on the scale of NIH/AARP can confirm Taubes's claims, I'd rather base my eating habits on the findings of the enormous body of evidence that says eating a diet rich in red meat is not good for you.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Brad, Age, in this case, is determined by examining skeletal remains, not birth records.

Taubes is a good writer who makes complex ideas easy to understand, but he actually leaves out a lot in order to make it simple. I've read dozens of books and hundreds, if not thousands, of papers, articles, and blog posts by Phds and MDs researching nutrition. Based on years or reading I'm 100% certain that a pre-industrial diet is optimal for human health.

Also, you must recognize that the grain-fed and chemical-laden meat we get from factory farms is very different from that coming from animals eating the diet they evolved to eat. I wouldn't eat a fast food hamburger or an Outback steak more than once a year either.

Finally, there is a startling amount of politics and industrial lobbying that influences mainstream nutritional advice. You are not only being fed industrial foods, but also a bill of goods.