There’s a deep sense of irony in adding to a never-ending series of headlines on a study that shouldn’t have had any attention paid to it at all. But the publication on the dangers of the “paleo” diet that’s spawned countless headlines is so flawed that it’s worth exploring why it got so much attention.
I hate how the popular press covers nutrition and health. Popular journalism on this is a garbage fire. Its terrible.
You get dubious results like this ampped up to full volume. You get an emphasis on in individual isolated studies instead of a focus on broad scientific evidence. You get idiots like Dr. Oz and Michael Pollan taken as credible experts on things, and even given TV shows to spew their garbage. You get blatant pseudoscience that contradicts the scientific consensus taken as a credible/sensible opinion.
Yes, yes, you can tell me all about why I definitely shouldn’t be eating those mashed potatoes in a moment. But right now, I’ve got some news for you (and some potatoes to eat).
A new study in September’s Quarterly Review of Biology attempts to do some forensic reconstruction of ancient human diets using an interesting method: looking at physiological changes and the nutrition that would have been necessary to support them. Of particular interest to the researchers were a pair of salivary amylase genes that began to rise a million years or so ago, along with the rise of cooking.
What always bugged me about ‘paleo’… ancient humans ate whatever was handy. If grains and tubers were nearby, that’s what people ate. The diet of someone in the tundra is vastly different from someone in Polynesia, whose diet was different from someone in the rain forest.
…cauliflower is currently undergoing a revival as a saving grace for low-carb or Paleo dieters. In fact, my cauliflower rice article was one of the most popular, and it seems the uses of cauliflower are getting more and more inspired – or strange; I’ll let you decide.
Reconstructions of human evolution are prone to simple, overly-tidy scenarios. Our ancestors, for example, stood on two legs to look over tall grass, or began to speak because, well, they finally had something to say. Like much of our understanding of early hominid behavior, the imagined diet of our ancestors has also been over-simplified.
Realistically, the current diet is “Paleo” in the sense of “literally” meaning “figuratively”. There’s numerous other words we have in our vocabulary that really have no place being used, such as mental diagnosis like “sociopathy” and “psychotic” (which have been deprecated due to stigma from misuse). I really enjoy language and vocabulary as a topic, but find myself at odds about slang. Sometimes people are creating words out of gibberish (“asshat”, “brotown”) though we have words to communicate similar meaning already – I’m reminded of an article that wanted to create words to mean “innuendo” and/or “pun”. I’m still trying to figure out what the difference, if there is one, between a “fad” and an “internet meme”. I thought the idea of the meme was that the core idea endured, so I’m probably looking at the wrong aspects to determine that.
According to Emma Kowal of Harvard University, yawning evolved in our hunter-gatherer ancestors to be a highly efficient method of bug-consumption. Her argument is thoroughly and impressively researched, logically presented, undeniably captivating, and hilariously wrong.
BAHFest is “a celebration of well-researched, logically explained, and clearly wrong evolutionary theories.” Winners are awarded a sculpture of Darwin shrugging skeptically.
There is so much controversy about the right diet for optimum health and fitness and it seems like the rules are constantly changing… …The truth is that they are all variants of the “eat more vegetables” diet, which in my opinion, is the only diet that has ever been proven to really work.