Robb Wolf: On Fruit
Notice that I did not mention fruit. Most folks are battling some kind of metabolic derangement, aka obesity, diabetes, fertility issues, depression, etc. This with a mixed bag of autoimmunity and systemic inflammation. Until you are lean and healthy, you don’t get much fruit. There is no nutrient in fruit that is not available in veggies, and fruit may have too many carbs for you. When we start talking about what constitutes “health,” we will see where on that spectrum you are. For now, just keep things simple and you will reap the greatest rewards.~ Robb Wolf, p. 214 The Paleo Solution
In the ongoing quest to clarify the relationship between the various low carb and paleo/primal diets out there, I take note from time to time of the positions on carbs in general but also certain types.
I would note that the version of paleo in Robb's book is not the buttered bacon on cauliflower with a cup of coffee with more butter in it that seems so popular these days. It's pretty much the Cordain version with lean meats, but not quite the version applied by Lindeberg et.al. in their clinical trials.
It's worth noting that Robb's second paleo meal was eggs and a half of a cantaloupe. As he tells it:
I bought a pack of ribs from Whole Foods, along with salad fixings. I made a rub of garlic and ginger powder for the ribs and set them baking in the oven. I made a salad of field greens, fennel, and sweet red onions. Two hours later, the timer on the oven rang, and I reset it for twenty minutes to let the meat “rest” (which seemed odd considering it was already dead). When the second timer rang, I cut off a section of ribs and piled my plate high with salad. I garnished the whole mess with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I ate. And ate, and ate. About six ribs and a pound of salad later I was warmly satisfied, clear headed, and I felt better than I had in years.
After one meal.
I had no gas, no bloat, and no stomach problems. That night I slept better than I had in recent memory. I woke up the next day rested and not in a fog. I made scrambled eggs with chopped basil and rounded things out with half a cantaloupe. I felt great! I had energy, I could think. I actually felt like I wanted to live.
I ran with this for two weeks, feeling better and better. I immediately lost the layer of chub that had grown around my midsection despite the fact that I was emaciated. I started gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. (pp. 20-21)
Kinda crazy that he's the world's leading expert on paleolithic nutrition. The subtitle of his book is "The Original Human Diet" -- that can't have changed now, right?
There is no NEW evidence. New to him is not new. Get it?
" Most folks are battling some kind of metabolic derangement, aka obesity, diabetes, fertility issues, depression, etc. This with a mixed bag of autoimmunity and systemic inflammation. Until you are lean and healthy, you don’t get much fruit. "
Oh ... but so no fruit for these people doesn't imply to you that fruit is bad? Fruit causes depression now? LOL. Before people go making stuff up like this, don't you think there should be some evidence? The Lindeberg study on ischemic patients was in an "ill" population, and their paleo diet included even more fruit (almost 500g). Robb likes to cite Frassetto as well that used even more fruit and honey.
Until you are lean and healthy, you don't get much fruit. Based on what? Not anything you'll find in the scientific literature that's for sure.
It's funny. How many posts and comments have there been stating something to the effect of "There is no one Paleo Diet, various ancient peoples ate completely different types of diets"? This is used as a criticism of Paleo.
Yet, when Paleo's acknowledge that there is variability in the ancestral diet and that a healthy "paleo diet" is not about reenactment and can vary widely between people, then they are criticized because now you "can't pin them down".
I get that you feel you haven't been treated well by some Paleos and you are predisposed to find fault with the ideas. It's easy to find quotes out of context that contradict each other that support your bias. On the other hand, I've had great personal success as well as success helping others with Paleo. So, I'm sure I'm predisposed to overlook inconsistencies and contradictions.
My guess is that the truth is somewhere in the middle. But, it seems like these types of posts are thrown out there as some sort of "Gotcha! Robb Wolf is inconsistent, Paleo is a fraud!" To me, a post like this tells me more about your predisposition to find fault than it does about any actual fault with Paleo in general or Robb specifically.
Where has fruit been implicated in obesity, diabetes, depression, or fertility issues? Nowhere.
LC does cause a short term spontaneous caloric reduction and weight loss in most. What does that have to do with what the Original Human Diet was?
With regard to depression, no, fruit does not cause depression. But metabolic derangement can play a role. And Robb is recommending limiting fruit to help counter metabolic derangement. Don't confuse something that can, in some situations, be successful as a therapeutic treatment with the underlying cause of a larger problem. That is the very thing for which you criticize Taubes (e.g., just because low carb can help with weight loss, doesn't mean carbs cause obesity).
I said it is "worth noting" that his second meal included half a cantaloupe -- notice that according to him he was a metabolic mess before going paleo, then after just two meals he was much better. So how can he implicate fruit? He wasn't lean and healthy a the time ... by his own account which is all I have to go by. Isn't it odd that cantaloupe doesn't make an appearance in the 30 days of menus? Maybe 1/4 or a 1/8th wedge?
There are a very small percentage of people with fructose malabsorption issues that need to limit fruit. Besides that, there is no indication that fruit is anything but a positive factor in the diet. Do you really know of any? Is there a high fruit society that suffers? I don't think you will find one.
With regard to a society that suffers due to high fruit consumption, no I'm not aware of one. But again, no one is claiming that fruit is universally bad or that it causes obesity, especially on a population/society level. That is a straw man that you have adequately slayed. Am I aware of individuals that have seen significant improvement in body composition by reducing fruit intake? Absolutely. It is a recommendation to assist people in reaching a goal. It is not an indictment of fruit.
There has been a recurring theme that fruit is fattening, bad for you with sugar swings, etc., or just plain not all that nutritious for a while now. There has also been an ongoing war (not my doing, I'm just "reporting") over whether or not paleo = LC. Robb has basically taken the fence on this one, but that depends on which Robb you read.
His book is not *that* old -- late 2010. Yet he has changed his tune since. His book is subtitled "The Original Human Diet" and is tagged with Lose Weight, Get Fit, Reverse Disease.
Paraphrasing now: You don't get to eat much fruit until you are lean and healthy. People reading this book are effed up, like I was. Fruit can be problematic for this list of maladies and conditions.
There is NO other way to interpret that than that he is implicating fruit. This is based on NO evidence and NO "paleolithic principles". It is not a subject up for debate, really. Except those who still make up stuff about how fruit is fattening and needs to be restricted if you are ideally healthy by some nebulous compilation of ever-changing goal posts I might add.
The reason his diet is worth noting is that HE noted it in the book. He shared how he "went paleo" and felt better overnight! Cantaloupes are pretty high in sugar and bulky too so it takes a bit to consume half of one. So if he was feeling like crap and that helped him, why were not cantaloupes on the menus? Why limit fruit at all? He didn't. The paleo diets used in clinical trials don't seem to. Where did he get this idea?
Not every post here is a monumental thing and I find it telling how much people overreact to anything that is written about Robb here. I blogged VERY little about him. I looked into his positions because readers asked and I listened to a podcast he did way back when with Jimmy Moore.
Robb wants to have things every which way till Tuesday so long as it makes him a buck. Doesn't want to anger the paleos that eat LC, but low carb is his bread and butter. Wants to poke at the mainstream to rile the troops when the diet IN his book would be perfectly acceptable to most mainstream doctors and dietitians. He bought the insulin thing and included it in his book. Now he doesn't believe it, says he was duped, then lashes out at those who wonder aloud who duped him.
So anyway, your and Gene's support for him is touching and I'll leave it at that. But I think there's a bit too much "doth protesting" going on!
I know when I realized what lactose was doing to me and I quit ingesting it, I felt like "a new woman" after only a couple of lactose free meals.
It is interesting to me that *his* first paleo meals, that made him feel instantly better, were not included in the 30 day menus he offers up with his "used car salesman pitch" to try the diet. Not sure why the cantaloupe but the ribs are pretty obviously not on his mentor's (Loren Cordain) menu.
I have no problem with the personal anecdotes but they should mesh with the diet advice in a diet book, no?
I don't think it is nit picking at minutia to point out that a book subtitled "The Original Human Diet" should not really be about Robb's diet. This is where the various "paleo" positions on fruit and starches and dairy, etc. all fall apart. It either was or it wasn't and yet the more real and comprehensive the anthropological evidence one looks at is, the more it looks like verboten foods were a part of human evolution all along.
Paleo Shmaleo!! What everyone seems to look at are RESULTS. No one
sector in any area is more successful at losing FAT and maintaining LEAN
body mass than BODYBUILDERS. Yes steroids are part of the "game."
However, no amount of steroids can get you RIPPED (low body fat). It is
the DIET that works! BB's can get ripped with multiple approaches. Low
carb. Low fat. Caloric restriction. THEY ALL WORK!!!! Why? Who cares? If
a specific approach works, it may be wise to understand WHY it works,
but it should not be questioned if it achieves results time and time
Hormones are a big part of the answer! DUH!!!! So is
working out PROPERLY!!! So is eating SENSIBLY!!! It seems everyone in
the blogosphere is an "armchair quarterback" and a self proclaimed guru.
You know what, If you KNOW so much post your pictures to PROVE your
KNOWLEDGE. I DO!!! I follow the diet that worked for the bodybuilders in
the 80's ( before insulin) and we got ripped! I did this now and it
allowed me to get CUT not RIPPED because I only did it for 6 weeks and
not strict. It's been 3 months and I am still losing fat, even though I
am not dieting! Only not as quickly.Losing fat is not rocket
science. Sadly the fact remains that most of us refuse to do what is
required to attain the physique and health we want. I compare it to a
child complaining about not wanting to do homework. They may not WANT to
DO what is NECESSARY to achieve RESULTS but that does not mean there is
ANOTHER path to knowledge and learning!
I do believe that before someone claims authority and writes such in a book, there ought to be some sort of evidence behind it, no?
The paleo diet is never clearly defined. It is low carbohydrate, high carbohydrate, lean meat based, fatty meat based, buttered coffee and everything in between. The result is the use of paleo diet studies in support of a paleo diet that is not consistent with the employed definition of paleo diet. It's just language games dressed up as marketing.
I understand many people will say that is the point of the paleo diet. That is it self-styled, highly individualistic and tailored to an individual's needs. What works for the individual does not necessarily work for the group on average but the paleo diet, If it is to be a diet at all, is prescriptive and will advocate selection of certain foods based on certain criteria. Perhaps there is a set of base criteria and then the individual aspect comes into it.
These base criteria are inconsistent between definitions (If we all agree that paleo diet, when defined, means game, nuts, fruit, tuber and vegetables we can start there) and often restriction differences between groups are harmful as they can cause disordered eating. In certain cases restriction differences promote metabolic advantages promising "weight will be maintained while slurping down buttered coffee and butter covered bacon fried asparagus".
As an aside the paleo (Or is it primal?) obsession with butter and coconut oil is fascinating. It's re-assuring that Grok has access to sticks of Kerrygolds every morning such that he could pop them in his coffee, hop into his luxury sports car and drive to the office to attend business meetings. (Okay, this part is just tongue in cheek. But life style modifications are down played in favour of dietary modifications far too often)
Posted link isn't about Mercola but Dr Johnson. His findings suggest to be very careful with fructose and fruit intake, unless you're a bear preparing for winter :).
Show me the studies that say you NEED high fruit consumption to be healthy or lose weight. Wait, there aren't any of those studies either. Can you lose weight eating fruit? Yes. Are there circumstances where limiting fruit intake is helpful? Based on what I've experienced and personally witnessed yes.
My guess is that his fruit recommendation is based, in part, on his experience training and coaching hundreds of people. He's pretty clear that his approach is a synthesis of refined from a combination of his understanding of the anthropological record, scientific literature and personal experience (both for himself and as a trainer).
Paleo is based on the diet from the Paleolithic, but as Robb noted in Podcast 52 (yes, way back in 2010) “Paleo is a framework applied to modern humans not a historical reenactment… we're using this concept in this framework to try to make informed decisions to improve our lives, and it's not to turn it into a cult.” So, you start with a framework, then you look at the science. Then you consider your own experiences as well as the experiences of others and go from there. This is why you try it for 30 days, then add things back in and see how they affect you. This is why there is variation in recommended diets depending on a person’s health and goals. This is why there is an 80/20 principle. Can you find examples of orthorexia in some inline Paleo circles (as well as any other dietary circle you care to look in)? Sure. But if you look at Robb’s recommendations, in context, you find very reasonable recommendations to be used as a starting point which can be modified as needed. I'm sorry, but you are grasping at straws.
I normally don’t comment on your articles because I haven’t read Taubes’ books and I don’t eat low carb. If you want to go after Taubes or get into the details of the value of a calorie vs. a carb, that is fine and interesting, but I’m not going to comment unless I think I can add something to the discussion. In this case, I have read The Paleo Solution and listened to many or Robb’s podcasts, so I have a pretty good understanding of the topic. It is telling that when confronted by someone that knows as much, or more, on a subject than you (in this case, what Robb actually recommends) that you feel the need to dismiss what I write as simply a “touching” defense of Robb.
So, I’m sorry I wasted your time and mine. I will leave you to your fans who can pat regardless of what you write.
Many modern fruits contain high levels of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate reduced diets help many people with fat loss. There is clinical evidence supporting this assertion, and it's something even Evie knows from experience way back before the call from the Lindor Truffles became too strong for her. 1+1 = 2 except in Evie's little bubble.
What Robb wrote implied that fruit can be problematic. In a book of this nature, more than his say-so is needed. Why wasn't half a cantaloupe included in one of 90 meals? Just sayin'
I just think paleo is too restrictive, is ill-defined (As the popular paleo diet is not necessarily what you advocate. Also even if you argue there are multiple paleo diets there can still be those who argue high-fat, low-carb, moderate protein is the only one) and that terms such as "metabolic derangement" are over-applied. Like you said the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
No it's not a text book but his book peppered with geek-speak. You can't have it both ways, especially when Robb bills himself as a world leading expert and a former research biochemist (and cancer researcher and specializing in lipids). The fruit quote is not taken out of context and it is not substantiated and it is not something he likely learned from Cordain. Speaking of whom Robb used to highlight doing graduate study under him, but I guess someone must have pointed out that Cordain doesn't teach anything paleo or anthropology related.
There is no "paleo diet" which is a problem when you are trying to build a movement. It helps though if folks that used the term at least agreed on a framework -- gluten is satan's excrement is not a unifying credo. So Sanfilippo is right when she says she doesn't really care about what's paleo, it's a marketing pitch. But it would help if paleo didn't promote all manner of woo woo like the low stomach acid scam and betaineHCl. No thanks, there are others more qualified and genuine in their desire to improve the health of the population.
I see you are a fanboy. That's fine. You've wasted my time and you've insulted my readers, so you accomplished your mission as minion. Have a NorCal on me.
Most people know how to lose weight and are able to do so. The main issue a lot of people face is that they're able to lose weight but unable to maintain long-term. A bodybuilding approach in no way addresses the issue of maintenance.
yesteryear. We'll all look back on these books in 10 years time and
laugh at how comically incorrect and full of bro science they were. I wonder what the original human diet will have evolved into by that time. It sure as hell won't be lean meats, fruits and vegetables. That kind of diet has no staying power. It needs the butter, bacon, cream and evoulutionary Grok stories to entice people.
Back in 2010 I'm sure I listened to Robb's podcast with Jimmy but probably didn't think much of it. I decided to relisten after the response to this post. There are some gems in that podcast, done before he sold anything other than some premade paleo meals. It was quite enlightening ;-)
The mainstream medical establishment is never going to adopt a 50+ percent fat diet, because it is utterly untested and the scant few humans ever to eat such a diet lived in very different climates and had very different lifestyles AND most importantly consumed very different fats. Should keep the rebel without a clue cult diet stuff going for a while, even if there won't be as much money in it once the bubble bursts.
I did some pretty cool research the summer before I got my BS and developed a device and the manufacturing process for making it all by myself. Twas a cool project that each of us "pre professionals" were assigned. I also silvered dewers on that very same job. When I worked in the pharmaceutical industry most of the research part of my job was analytical chemistry related but so, too, was some of the hum drum side of things. I recall my first PhD scientist boss being rather unhappy at times because he didn't do a lot of real science any more, it was so much paper pushing in the drug development world. He actually enjoyed teaching me bile duct canulation surgery.
OTOH, there is a big difference between being a lab tech and a researcher. By his own (former) description as being a "bench scientist" Robb is guilty of quite a bit of resume inflation when he has claimed to specialize in lipids and even claimed being a cancer researcher. I think he was, indeed, a lab tech at a research facility. I worked mostly on antidepressants during my tenure in pharma, but I would never describe myself as a depression researcher, nor an infectious disease researcher b/c I also worked on an antibiotic or a food scientist because I worked on an artificial sweetener.
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