Ancestral Diet Dishonesty ~ AHS14 Edition ~ Derectumfying Paleoism ~ Part II

In Part I, I discussed the first three of four talks at the recent Ancestral Health Symposium that were actually devoted to -- or supposed to be in some fashion -- "ancestral diets".  The IHC has a long history of co-opting select aspects of such dietary practices to fit the current interpretation of the hunter-gatherer-inspired way.  If the deluge of cookbooks from all corners are any indication, there will be no letting up soon of the trend to cauliflowpaleoize all "inferior" but nonetheless delicious and often cultural staple foods.   But now, in a most bizarre twist, we've reached the point where imposing "paleofied" versions of ancestral diets on these very peoples went off without a hitch, or seemingly any notice of the supreme irony of it all.

This assault on ancient humanity was culminated in a presentation by Gideon Mailer, PhD.  I took a screenshot of his title slide for visual impact here.  So that you won't need to clienlarge, the credo below the AHS peartichocock (I think it looks like a cross between an artichoke and a peacock) reads:  "the human ecological niche and modern health" .

When the AHS Program was first announced and I read the abstract for this talk, I knew folks were in for a load of garbage.  
How can a professor in the humanities - and not the sciences - raise awareness about ancestral health principles within a large public research institution? How can young college students - many from wheat/soy-growing economies - learn about ancestral health principles through the early-US history survey course? And why is Minnesota an ideal testing ground? The University of Minnesota system benefits from public-private partnerships between its scientific research and agricultural grain interests. Yet two prominent groups in the state - Scandinavian descendants and Native Americans - are particularly amenable to ancestral health principles. By studying early-American history (c.1400-1900) many of these and other groups might "Decolonize the Diet", moving away from grains, legumes, and a low-fat paradigm - a new and exciting project uniting the historical study of early America and contemporary health initiatives in the Great Lakes region.
Now, I realize that symposia organizers don't necessarily know the full content of each presentation, but AHS has always fancied itself to be modeled after academic conferences.    They went so far as to go back on their terms for speaking in 2013 in the name of this aspiration.**   Is the collective knowledge of the organizers and arbiters of content in this organization so lacking that not a one recognized off-the-bat how ridiculous the above sounds?   It doesn't say much for the name of their organization that their ideas about various "poster cultures" seem limited to that related by Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories , and recently regurgitated by Nina Teicholz in The Big Fat Surprise.

Revisiting Teicholz/BFS and those amenable Native Americans:

Meanwhile, the Native Americans of the Southwest were observed between 1898 and 1905 by the physician-turned-anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička, who wrote up his observations in a 460-page report for the Smithsonian Institute. The Native Americans he visited were eating a diet of predominantly meat, mainly from buffalo, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and lived to a ripe old age. The incidence of centenarians among these Native Americans was, according to the 1900 US Census, 224 per million men and 254 per million women, compared to only 3 and 6 per million among men and women in the white population. Although Hrdlička noted that these numbers were probably not wholly accurate, he wrote that “no error could account for the extreme disproportion of centenarians observed.” Among the elderly he met of age ninety and up, “not one of these was either much demented or helpless.”
Hrdlička was further struck by the complete absence of chronic disease among the entire Indian population he saw. “Malignant diseases,” he wrote, “if they exist at all— that they do would be difficult to doubt— must be extremely rare .” He was told of “tumors” and saw several cases of the fibroid variety, but never came across a clear case of any other kind of tumor, nor any cancer. Hrdlička wrote that he saw only three cases of heart disease among more than two thousand Native Americans examined, and “not one pronounced instance” of atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries). Varicose veins were rare. Nor did he observe cases of appendicitis, peritonitis , ulcer of the stomach, nor any “grave disease” of the liver. Although we cannot assume that meat eating was responsible for their good health and long life, it would be logical to conclude that a dependence on meat in no way impaired good health. {Kindle Locations 305-318}
This was one of the first transgressions of hers that I caught, and yet when I requested the page number in Hrdlicka's book on Twitter I was met with the usual it's in the book, buy it retort ... followed in short order with being called a troll and blocked.  Well, yes, in the citation stylings of her mentor and friend Gary Taubes, one can scan the notes to find the references.  Here ya go:
wrote up his observations in a 460-page report: Aleš Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations among the Indians of Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 34 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1908).
were eating a diet predominantly of meat: Joseph M. Marshall III, The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History (New York: Penguin Books, 2006).
“no error could account for”: Hrdlička, Physiological and Medical Observations, 40– 41.

“not one of these . . . demented or helpless”: Ibid., 158. {KL 6173-6179}
There is no ambiguity in the paragraph in her text attributing the purported buffalo-meat dominated diet of the Native Americans to Hrdlicka's observation.    If nothing else this is journalistic malfeasance, but to the point of this post, the degree of meat eating is the stuff of paleo-lore and the tales of Enig and Fallon (in the name of Weston A. Price).  (More here, anyone interested can read Hrdlicka's book for FREE on Google)

Surely Gideon Mailer PhD American History knows better?

Mailer's academic position is featured in his bio on the AHS site, and his talk is about a proposed college credit course to be given at that very institution, therefore I include his bio from his university as it provides a bit more information on his background.
Gideon Mailer came to the University of Minnesota system from the University of Cambridge, UK. From 2008-2012 he was an elected fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, where he lectured and supervised in American and Atlantic history 1600-1865 and in the history of intellectual thought. Before his JRF at St. John’s, Cambridge, he took his PhD (2008, supervised by Betty Wood), MA, and BA (hons) (Double-First Class) from Cambridge. His publications include a book on the American revolutionary John Witherspoon and the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment on the American Revolution, as well as numerous articles on religion in Colonial America. He is currently working on a book considering moral philosophy and the question of American slavery from the Colonial period to the Civil War.
OK ... so there's nothing there that would even indicate an interest in, or special knowledge of the Minnesota area or the history thereof.  But one might presume that a historian would be interested in incorporating some historical facts and citations in their presentation, no?  Sorry.  You'll be disappointed, though he did have a few references on the slides that will be of interest later.  Whatever intellectual skills this man has in his field, he appears to have made little effort to apply them to his study of the history, in particular of diets, of the  Minnesota region.  Perhaps he, too, has only read the Marshall book?  (Note:  I have not, I'm not even sure if the book is accurately cited in TBFS.)  

A Summary of 

I suppose before going on further I should encourage you to watch for yourself.  OK ... consider yourselves encouraged ;-)  I'll embed the video at the end.

The Dark Keys Legacy

The video begins with informing us that Mailer hails from the same hallowed halls strolled through by Charles Darwin himself.  Since then, apparently, he's migrated to the land of mostly shame -- Minnesota:
" ... home of Ancel Keys, progenitor of the failed lipid hypothesis, yada yada yada, the Seven Countries Study, we all know how bad that was ..."
Seriously folks, if at this point anyone reading this is still under the misapprehension that Ancel Benjamin Keys was a bad scientist, I am going to have to open up a throttling wing here at the Asylum.  You are either ignorant of the man's work, or an idiot.  There, I said it.  Seriously.  The man's scientific credentials stand on their own as it is.  But if you believe in "let food be thy medicine", or that "you should know your insert pet biomarker here, as it is the best indicator of your health", or even just that degenerating health and disease are not forgone conclusions of aging, Keys is your guy.  Sorry for your lots ... longer version here.

Keys' legacy in Minnesota and the university is a source of pride Gideon, not shame.  You are a disgrace to even imply otherwise.  And that holds even if every last shred of the diet-lipid-heart hypotheses were shown to be completely wrong -- which they are simply not.  Just so that it's not all Keys' work, Mailer throws in Alexander Fleming used antibiotics to fatten animals and even considering giving penicillin to babies.   Keys and Fleming are the "darker aspects" of the University's history where public health is concerned.  I think he mixed up his slides a bit as he cited as problematic the initiatives to promote grains at the university.

Ahhh but there's good!  Positive aspects are there and they can be taught in a US history course!

  • Mayo Clinic:  Helped to pioneer ketogenic diets for treatment for epilepsy.  
"they don't always promote a high carb - low fat paradigm"
  • Thousand Hills Cattle Company - grassfed beef
  • And, of course, Nora Gedgaudas!  Seriously Gideon??

Let me get this straight.  An academic just cited Nora Gedgaudas, excuse me the "great and good Nora Gedgaudas",  as a positive aspect of public health research in the state of Minnesota.  Oh my, oh my.   I guess it was time for more illustrations because at this point Mailer puts up another caricature drawn by his partner ... this time of Robb Wolf.  What relevance this has to his talk escapes me, but here you go.  

I guess Mailer has an inside track to Robb, as readers here are aware of just how difficult it is to get Robb to talk about the actual diet implemented in the Reno911 program.  The only paleo diet trial that I'm aware of that may have included butter was conducted by Trexler as part of his studies at Ohio State.  All of the rest have been low saturated fat, limited added fats of olive and canola oil (yes, canola oil), don't include many eggs, and include lean meats only.  But along with this slide, Mailer claims that Wolf has been trying to bring ancestral principles into public communities.  Dairy is not paleo.  Dairy is not something I've seen mentioned in any of the literature I've read about the diets of various tribes of Native Americans.  Even the Masai don't eat butter and drink cream, they drink milk.    Oh well ...

Mailer returns to discussing how he can bring his misinformation campaign to the masses through the mouthpiece of his large public research institution.  Oh, he doesn't phrase it that way, he called it promoting ancestral health principles, but after listening to the entire talk, I think my description is far more apt.  Mailer briefly mentions the Scandinavians before moving on to how a survey of American history class open to all majors could further ancestral health principles.  I'll save that part for the end of this post.  

American Indian History @ U of Minnesota

As the talk progresses, Mailer speaks of promoting ancestral health principles through the study of American history.  A course, that would be open to bio majors and engineers and the like.    One would be hard pressed to imagine that American Indian (as is the preferred term of the tribes of that region apparently) history is not taught at UMinn.    There's a whole department it turns out:  University of Minnesota Department of American Indian Studies.  While this program seems to focus much more on language and such, this isn't just a bunch of white peeps sitting around discussing these peoples.  
The department's base of formally educated and institutionally trained academicians is being supplemented increasingly by community resource people, including traditional leaders, elders and American Indian artists, writers, film makers, and musicians. Incorporation of such contributors into the teaching program acknowledges unique cultural wisdom and skills that are not typically available in formal, western institutions, but that are nonetheless essential to an understanding of American Indian cultures.
While I don't find dietary lifestyle as a course per se, it would be difficult to imagine that the topic doesn't come up in the curriculum.  ... although I'm sure some British fan of Nora Gedgaudas and Robb Wolf is imminently more qualified to establish a course promoting their "ancestral ways" ... right?   One into which he hopes to incorporate up-to-date research from the clinical scientific literature ... You will have to color me totally jaded at this point, because after viewing this video, I'm truly at a loss of the purpose of this so-called ancestral health movement.  

Colonization & Shifting Timelines

At around the 7 minute mark, Mailer discusses the historical hypotheses surrounding the demise of indigenous populations in North America.  One prevailing thought was that of "biological exchange" whereby the Europeans brought with them pathogens to which the native populations had no immunity.   Whether or not this is correct, what relevance does this really have to the relatively modern day health plight of these communities?  I fail to see the relevance here.  

In all of the ancestral health community narratives, these populations were "sprightly", fit, lean, ripped, healthy up until the turn of the 20th century in many cases.  After all, Hrdlicka's observations were made in the very early 1900s.  Beverly Hungry Wolf, whose book is relied heavily upon by Enig & Fallon in Guts and Grease, also spoke of the late 1800s and turn of the century.   And let's also not forget Weston A. Price's own observations of both isolated vs. heavily impacted native American cultures, the healthy ones being those of the Pacific northwest.   Mailer himself puts 1900 as the end of the colonization, so while these tribes were clearly impacted by that point, these accounts and descriptions tend to be of traditional practices.

So my point being, although there may have been some contamination and/or displacement, it is not the cultures who had already suffered greatly at the hand of the white man that are being held up as pinnacles of ancestral health within the community.   It is the ones who largely escaped the impacts of colonization until relatively late in the game, that are.  And it is in those cultures where we've seen the relatively modern replacing of the traditional diet with the "white man" evils, which also happen to be white:  sugar and flour ... nevermind the refined fats.  

So Mailer launches into an account of the wars and how the Indians attacked livestock.

In terms of ancestral health, what is the relevance here?  So he could get in a Joel Salatan name drop??  He's back to infectious diseases which the Indians apparently knew were harbored by concentrated animals like cattle.  This on the heels of telling us that disease wasn't the major issue.  I guess he meant disease spread through humans?   He's also "all over the map" here as last I checked, New England borders the Atlantic.    I think we were a ways before CAFO beef at this point ...

But What of Ancestral Diets?

Mailer next makes a most amazing statement, accompanied by the slide shown.

"cattle gets in the way of traditional diets"

What was that again about the grass-fed beef company being the pride of Minnesota?  Remind me about where butter comes from?  Perhaps the paleos should repeat the above the next time they plop a wad of butter on their ribeye!  

He's again "all over the map" as the top reference is referring to the diets of the desert Southwest, but he does specify that he is talking all over what is now the United States.  Still, the gist is that the enclosures for domesticated cattle created physical barriers to hunting of fatty meats ... and of gathering.    I'll circle back to the fatty meats part in a bit, but what of this gathering?

Here Gideon gives yet another shout out to the "ancestral community" when he presents the above foods as what "some in the community" would call "safe starches".  I think it is time to banish the term "safe starches" from the nutritional lexicon.  It is a term invented and defined by Paul Jaminet based on rather dubious research and evidence.  Of the specific foods mentioned in the first source, tepary beans and mesquite pods would be classified as toxic legumes.  Legumes are widely considered "not paleo" by that dominating wing of the ancestral community.    Indeed, in his talk abstract, Gideon specifically mentions moving away from grains and legumes.   In the talk, however, with the above on the screen, he says that moving away from these foods the health and fertility of a population goes down.   Further, he specifically mentions acorns and tubers, which were part of the ancestral diet in the region, but unfortunately didn't make his slides.  Do you detect any awareness of this conflict in his demeanor?  I don't.

So as to the fatty meats, the next slide lists game and fish, in the case of fish, particularly more fatty cold water variety.  And there's a reason why.  He cites three references on these slides:
1.  R. Cowen.  Seeds of protection: ancestral menus may hold a message for diabetes-prone descendants.  (This article also cites research done in Austrailia by Janette Brand and colleagues - presumably before she became Jenny Brand-Miller of glycemic index fame.  This article is dated a bit later, but discusses several foods native to the Pima tribe).   LOCATION:  Southwest US
2.  Richard Daly.  Our Box Was Full: An Ethnography for the Delgamuukw Plaintiff.  I cannot find this online, but did find this book review.  This is about an historical land dispute case including claims over hunting and fishing grounds.  It wouldn't be expected to provide a huge amount of detail on amounts and methods, etc.   LOCATION:  Pacific Northwest, slightly inland British Columbia
3.  Beverly Hungry Wolf.  The Ways of My Grandmother.  This is excerpted quite a bit in the two WAPF links (here and here).   Hungry Wolf is Blackfoot which have a tribe in Montana and several in Canada where she is from.    LOCATION:  Alberta, Canada
What is emerging here is that even on just this northern continent alone, any attempt to define some "ancestral" diet would be futile.  I'm also going to point out something that has been a long running narrative in this community.  On the next slide, Mailer claims that the diet was High Fat.

First off, if dried fat was mixed with dried meat ... then as one might expect, the game meat was rather lean.  Taking special efforts to preserve this calorie source doesn't mean it was abundant, indeed it could indicate it was rather the more scarce.  There's still no mention of ANY dairy fat consumption.  Lastly, with the exception of brain and intestines, organ meats are NOT fatty.  Wild animals don't develop NAFLD fer cryin' out loud.  Go to any nutrition data base and scope out liver, kidney and heart.  It's not fatty even for the domesticated version.   But he gets this idea, apparently, from the WAPF-version of Prices' work, which we learn as he launches into the tangent of activator X, vitamin K2.    But this is Beverly Hungry Wolf's account!  What of even the Pacific Northwest?  The fatty acid profile of cold water fish and cold water mammals is vastly different from that in warmer and fresh waters, and vastly different from land mammals.   Which, incidentally he weaves into the hypothesis that colonization deprived these peoples of access to ooligan grease from fish eggs (his description).    Mailer kind of skips through the next slide where mention of caribou being too lean sometimes is mentioned, along with a seasonal hunting pattern where they avoided hunting lean spring animals.  What, then, did they eat in the spring??   How common were these old animals with their saturated fat back slab?   Why so eager to acknowledge seasonality of plants and yet presume fatty animals were available for the taking year round?  Mailer does acknowledge this seasonality later in the talk (alongside a cartoon of Mark Sisson), but the community never seems to pay much attention to this.  There is this notion that fatty wild animals were readily available in the winter, when we know that "rabbit starvation" was more than just a few days of nausea from protein excess "endured" by Vilhjalmur Stefansson in Bellevue hospital.

Starch!! (and Peer Review)

So Mailer does eventually make it back around to starches, wherein he references again the foods of the Pima in the Southwest and citing some research regarding the lower glycemic index of these foods.  The odd thing about this is that glycemic index has largely been a bust in the clinical research.  Sure, isolated doses of various foods elicit a different glucose and insulin response compared with white bread, but "modern" low-GI diets don't fair all that well.  And we are talking foods that are pariahs in the paleo community.  I just checked, and acorns are an omega six bomb (6 grams per 100 gram serving, roughly 20% fat from O6-PUFA) so we have an ancestral toxin cleanup needed on slide ## - you can count!   One can only hope that the MUFA saves the acorn from certain dismissal as it is deficient in prized saturates.   /sarcasm

Of course he must touch on resistant starch, which ... ahem ... legumes are again a good source of.  Too bad they're inferior and toxic foods for the human.

Rather than the cartoon on the left where Paul Jaminet is depicted giving the starches a thumbs up -- though Mailer does say Paul would probably not be happy with the corn, he would be happy with the rest.  Sorry, nope.  TOXIC!!

Finally Back in Minnesota!!

Mailer finally refers to some local ancestral foods, such as the "lower glycemic" wild rice in Minnesota.   I found this source that reports wild rice has a GI of  57 (compared with Google reporting 64 for white rice, and  55 for brown).  However safe starch is not about whole food, processing or glycemic index Gideon.  Brown rice is no good, and I can only imagine the horror of wild rice.  Judging from the cooking time, it likely has more of the stuff that contains phytates and other lurking toxic killers.  WAPF lists wild rice flour at about half the phytate content of brown rice, but its likely not whole rice used in the flour.   And besides, Mark Sisson thinks it's toxic too.
If you’re willing and able to figure out a way to soak and ferment wild rice while retaining all nutrients and minerals and discarding the antinutrients, it’s probably not such a bad option for a post-glycolitic workout carb.
I haven't read anything about soaking and fermenting on the various websites of tribes of this region.  Must not be a primal food I suppose.   Gideon brings back up the acorn for its resistant starch content.   Toxins toxins everywhere is all I keep thinking of though.   Whatever good about the type of starch, would be more than diminished by the O6-PUFA content.  Nevermind that acorn and venison were frequently stewed together, at least one reason for which was likely to complement the lean nature of the game meat.  But the gut biome .....    Before moving on, Mailer slips in that there is controversial literature demonstrating that maize had negatively impacted the health of Indians predating colonization.    They would make sure to discuss that in his history class!!  The whole thing against corn seems to be rooted in politics over subsidies, GMO and corn oil.  None of which have a darned thing to do with the fact that maize/corn is probably as close as you'll get to a near universally consumed food for those indigenous to this hemisphere.  

And Now We Can Hypothesize about Ketosis!

So the next slide launches into the hypothesis of seasonal ketosis.  This appears to be inserting another opportunity to name drop -- this time Ben Greenfield and his great keto Ironman "experiment".  

If there was ever ketosis going on in ancestral times, it was due to seasonal starvation or periods of famine due to droughts and such, not a bunch of cave men swigging fat soup to wash down their 80% fat meals of meat and marrow ... and certainly not one fueled by coconut oil.  Indeed it is only the Inuit and other extreme northern peoples who even appear to consume a VLC diet, and even they aren't ketotic due to the high protein content of their diets.    But as with Teicholz, we are led to believe that all of these more northern tribes lived in carbohydrate scarcity, at least in the winters.   But Jimmy Moore might be happy with such a course!  (Give me a break)  If these peoples were in ketosis it was to prevent lean mass and organ breakdown leading to organ failure and death ... not because they were long and slow moving fat burning machines like Ben!!

But this ketosis hypothesis is highly unlikely to hold up.   As the "Sioux Chef" mentions in the NPR article I linked to in Part I, preservation was the name of the game, seemingly during all seasons.  Part of the reason, perhaps, that grains and legumes WERE a part of just about every ancestral American diet is that they preserve so well.   But there is another major tribe in the Minnesota region, the Ojibwe.   It is one of the languages taught in the American Indian Studies curriculum at UMinn.    For all the talk of the "amenable" cultures of his adopted home, Gideon pays little attention to the ancestral health -- historical or otherwise -- of the two major tribes in the region (the other being the Sioux or Dakota).   In the end, I think this is because the actual diets of these tribes doesn't fit the paleo narrative despite being more hunter-y than some others.

Here are a couple of links:
Native American Food (this one covers more than just Minnesota, but also at the end contains many more links to specifics.

The Most Evil of All -- Fructose!!!!!

Mailer's talk omitted the most favorite carbohydrate of all to the Ojibwe -- maple sugar!  It's not difficult to find accounts of this.  Perhaps rather than a Perfect Health Diet retreat, Jimmy can go to sugaring camp next year!!   
This PDF is aimed at children (and this one even more so), but:
In spring Ojibwe families gathered in a sugar bush, a forest with lots of maple trees. They needed to collect about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup and even more to make maple sugar. They hollowed out a log and filled it with maple sap. They heated rocks in a fire, then dropped them into the trough to boil the sap. The sap had to boil for many hours until it thickened into syrup and eventually turned into a light brown sugar. Sugar was easier to keep and carry than syrup. One family might pack out hundreds of pounds of sugar from the sugar bush every spring.
For the Ojibwe, maple sugar could mean the difference between life and death. People sometimes went hungry in winter, and maple sugar—saved from the previous spring—provided calories and nutrients.
Maple sugar and syrup have been found to be “super foods” that fight disease.
Oh my!  LOOK at all those TOXIC starches!!
Think they ever consumed more than 25 grams of fructose per day?  (I note also from the first PDF, the rather impressive wild rice harvests.  This notion that grains and so-called pseudograins like amaranth and buckwheat would be too meager in size and require too much work to gather nutrition from is quite silly when you know some facts.)

True Decolonizing & Real Ancestral Diets

Mailer hands out several nods to Native Paleo during the talk, as if it is on par with so many other programs out there designed to revive, revert and educate regarding ancestral ways of these various peoples.  For starters, as Gideon seems to acknowledge on some level, we aren't talking about one people or one diet.  We aren't even talking about the same people, diets and customs in seemingly the same geographical region or climatic environment.  Mailer cites a Michigan State program alongside Native Paleo?  Seriously??  He's getting pressed for time so he skips over the Pima programs.  These programs are NOT promoting a "paleo" diet that eschews grains and legumes, and is highly prejudiced against any starch and/or sugar consumption.  Check out the Master Food list of the Decolonizing the Diet Project

I fail to see how adding faddish confusion to the nutritional status of indigenous peoples does anything to improve their current status.  They are certainly not guinea pigs to be used in some great paleo experiment!  Their ancestors ate grains and legumes.  Lots of them.  Along with squashes and melons and berries and fruits all of which vary by region.  They even ate some refined foods -- although basic ones -- like rendered animal fats and maple syrup/sugar.  It also seems that when you have research being conducted in Australia on native foods from another continent and side of the equator, something is a bit amiss there.   I think this quote that I screen capped and tweeted out the other day is apt to include here.

I also believe that the purported health of these peoples when impacted minimally by colonists is far better evidence of what a healthy human diet ought to consist of (or at least can consist of) than the mangled ideas of physics and history majors.

Decolonizing the Amenable Scandinavians?

Three guesses who this is, and the first two don't count!  When I first read the abstract for this talk it sounded off.  How can you talk about decolonizing and the relatively late-comer Scandinavian immigrants in the same sentence?   One needs look no further than Wikipedia for this general info.  We're talking the mid to late 1800's here, and if we're talking about ancestral diets, the Swedes were colonizers, and Johnny-come-lately ones at that.

The only reason to mention the Scandinavians is because of the Swedish LCHF craze as depicted by Andreas Eenfeldt there.  One more name to drop!  Heck if I were Cate Shanahan I'd be mighty  annoyed that my work in nutritionally coaching the Lakers to rousing success was overlooked!  Oh ... and there's that butter again, that I've been NOT hearing anything about in any account of an American Indian diet, anywhere.    Butter is not paleo Gideon.  Dairy is not a native food of American Indians.  Butter is dairy fat.  You don't have to be a scientist or know much at all about nutrition to know this!!

But here's the part I find insulting to my own heritage.  Just because single digit percentages of Swedes are adopting the diet is no reason to presume that several generations of descendants from that country would be any more likely to jump on the fad wagon, right?   If we're going to talk ancestry and evolution and bygone historical eras, the Scandinavian story is fascinating, mysterious and controversial.  I came across some really interesting stuff over a year ago when looking into "real ancestral diets".  Perhaps one of these days I get around to writing about it.

This much I do know -- it is a further disgrace to all involved that this talk ends with a Swedish fad diet doctor on the screen.  But it is somehow fitting that this talk ended as disgracefully as it began with the bashing of Ancel Keys.  The Ancestral Health Society has a long, long way to go if they ever hope to be taken seriously outside the cultish community who seem obsessed with ideas, whatever the heck that means in the end.   I'm ever the more convinced that if you can't be serious when the big commercial names are kept away (no Sisson, no Wolf, no Hartwigs/Whole9), perhaps the goal is not really serious in nature after all.

** In prior years, speakers did not pay admission to the conference in addition to being invited to a speaker dinner.  This was again the deal in 2013 when talks were accepted, and upon which potential speakers accepted their invitations.   About a month after that an email informing speakers that they would be expected to pay their way to attend as well was sent out.  I have no knowledge of whether this new policy remained in place for 2014.

AHS Video


Wuchtamsel said…
Damn. These drawings...
John Smith said…
My approach is to fabricate a primitive tribe, fabricate a highly restrictive diet that they supposedly adhered to, and then insert random citations to various studies.
Snarks said…
What is the angle here? I'm really curious at this point. Self deception? Deception of others? Sell more paloepaks? It is easy to mislead and speculate when it comes to the diets of paleo man, since fossil evidence can be iffy. Revising recorded history is a much different thing, though. What's next, an hour long talk describing how colonists actually didn't drink much beer or cider? It is truly bizarre.
Snarks said…
It's important that those studies have no relevance to the topic, or squarely refute your claims when taken in context.
ron said…
I believe you were scheduled to be a speaker last year but at the last second backed out..
You promised an explanation but never followed though.
Now you devote endless verbal assaults like a spineless wonder when you had the opportunity to do it in person.
How in the world can you ever hope to be taken seriously?
carbsane said…
Your version of my not speaking does not mesh with the facts. I had wanted to go public with it all but there are reasons why I didn't that, frankly, are nobody's business (and they involve others whom I respect enough not to go off half cocked as some seem to prefer). Then there comes a time when the moment has passed when it's not worth picking scabs.

For the record: I didn't back out at the last minute, the decision was made in early May. I also was not disinvited, quite to the contrary. My talk proposal was well received.

And you are? And the relevance of my speaking or not with respect to these talks is?
ron said…
Let me hypothesize if I may.
You disinvited yourself since you realized that taking the podium and appearing overweight would make you a laughingstock for someone criticizing paleontology as well as low carb.
In addition, there would be cameras there, and God forbid, if those photos ever hit the world wide web.
charles grashow said…
And why is Jimmy Moore not a laughingstock - he's a big fat tub of goo! Is his diet working??
charles grashow said…
"What I find interesting about Facebook discussions is how freely people spew forth vitriol. It's quite amazing actually.

I deleted an entire thread that was of great interest to me - a well written piece by Dr. Richard Feinman on low carb research - due to the unbelievable amount of nonsense that was posted. For adults to behave as many of them did was truly disgusting.

And I'll send my warning again, if you make a single comment that is of a caustic nature, I will delete it and block you forever. No joke. I have had it."

"Dr. Richard David Feinman sates:

"Dietary carbohydrate -- directly or indirectly, via insulin and other hormones -- is catalytic, controlling the disposition of fat and whether it is stored, incorporated into TAG-rich lipoproteins, or oxidized.

Fat, in this sense, has a passive role. The failure to understand this fundamental principle of metabolism accounts for the continued progression of papers critical of high-fat diets.

A high-fat diet in the presence of low carbohydrates is very different from a high-fat diet in the presence of high carbohydrates. Lack of appreciation of this idea is one barrier to progress in this field."
carbsane said…
Yes .. this is my question. As you say, the unknown can be manipulated for gimmickry and profit. But where's the angle in misrepresenting the indisputable?

I do believe at least some within AHS have lofty and admirable ideas and goals. I also believe they've lost hold of the reins.
MacSmiley said…
What is it with journalists and references? Didn't any of them have to write term papers in HIGH SCHOOL or college??

Here's a picture if the references is NYT journalist Michael Moss's book, Salt, Sugar, Fat…
MacSmiley said…
…and reality. :-P
MacSmiley said…
Hours later and still no picture? Let's try again.
carbsane said…
Uggh! The same format!!

Where do they learn this? In the ebook, like Teicholz, the notes link back to the text, but there are no numbers in the text. This would be unacceptable for a high school term paper. It's as if they deliberately make it as difficult as possible for people to check their assertions.
MacSmiley said…
Idea: Check Michael Moss's bio in the NYT. I think you'll find an email address there. He might respond with an answer.

I'd do that myself, but I've got somewhere to be in 6 minutes. :-)
albie_cilliers said…
Gideon Mailer is the brother of Nick Mailer, alias @bokkiedog , possibly one of the biggest LCHF trolls on the internet who brags he feeds his daughter chicken skin fat as it's so healthy and cheap ...
Nutrivorous said…
"In evolutionary history, carnivorous man is represented primarily by man the hunter who ate meat, and fat, of wild animals. But wild animals are generally much leaner than their domestic counterparts, and their fat tends to be less highly saturated.

This brings us to the Eskimo, who is pictured as living almost entirely on seal fat and walrus blubber and seldom falling ill unless he is exposed to the infectious diseases of civilization. Actually, only very few Eskimos now eat the primitive arctic diet and nothing is known about their tendency to develop atherosclerosis and heart disease. The primitive Eskimo does not know his own age, but very few of them ever attain the 'ripe old age' of 50 years. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and the accidents of hunting and fishing in the frozen North eliminate them before the age when coronary heart disease might be a problem. Moreover, the primitive Eskimos never eat beef, pork or dairy products, and most of the fat they eat is of the highly unsaturated type in fish and marine mammals. Even the land animals they eat, the caribou and reindeer, are not comparable to the meat animals of warmer regions. For example, the fat of the arctic land animals tends to have a low melting point, which suggests it is unusually low in saturated fats. So, primitive Eskimos teach us little."

- Ancel Benjamin Keys, Eat Well To Stay Well (1959), page 134-135.
Nutrivorous said…
"Severe epileptics were once treated with a high fat diet, 'ketogenic' diet, so as to overwhelm them with fat in the diet (80 percent of calories) to the point where the fat could only be incompletely 'burned' in the body and the 'smoke' of this incomplete combustion, the 'ketone bodies', would accumulate in the blood. This is a heroic measure, only justifiable as a last resort in otherwise uncontrollable epilepsy. Fortunately, this is practically never used today. The basic physiological unsoundness of the 'ketogenic diet' is well recognized. New drugs are available that do a great deal more for the epileptic patient."

- Ancel Benjamin Keys, Eat Well And Stay Well (1959), page 97.
Nutrivorous said…
"Arguments both for and against the custom of eating meats can be supported by appealing to what is known of the natural history of man. The anthropoid apes and most of the monkeys are vegetarians, and it is probable that man, too, like his closest relatives in the animal kingdom, was herbivorous over most of his evolutionary history. On the other hand, in relatively recent times, say the last 500,000 years, man seems to have been as much carnivore as herbivore; his prehistoric habituations are marked by the debris of a carnivorous life - heaps of molluscan shells, animal bones charred by a cooking fire and cracked to allow the extraction of the marrow, and the remnants of hunting and fishing implements. Man, like the rat, is 'naturally' omnivorous, if anything.

But such arguments about what is natural and what we, therefore, ought to eat are meaningless unless we believe that whatever man has been doing for many generations is, ipso facto, 'good' for him. Even if we argue along elementary Darwinian lines, natural selection would not necessarily force man to evolve toward a diet that is best for his later adult health. That man successfully increased his numbers for a thousand generations on a diet consisting of as much meat as he could get is no proof that he needs meat in his diet or that he would not do better by a more scientific choice of the amounts and kinds of foods to eat. Finally, the diet of Americans today is far from the diet of their ancestors, even those of the last century. Our modern diet has not been tested by natural selection operating over a long series of generations. Before us no adult population subsisted on a diet providing several hundred calories daily from butterfat, an equal amount of fat of domestic animals, large amounts of refined sugars and starches, and appreciable amounts of hydrogenated fats."

- Ancel Benjamin Keys, Eat Well and Stay Well, page 134.
billy the k said…
"A glass of milk between meals is still often advised for ulcer patients; we see no serious objection to this but we suggest that the patient should try a "filled" milk with 2 per cent butterfat and 10 to 12 per cent non-fat solids. Better still would be synthetic "milk" or "cream" made from skim milk and vegetable oil but such preparations cannot be sold legally in many areas." [Ancel Benjamin Keys.
Eat Well and Stay Well.
Rev ed.©1959. p. 105-106]

Dumb regulators, you see—so backward that they just wouldn't allow Ancel's new & improved "milk"—replacing that nasty fat (you know, the one that was evolutionarily selected by Nature) with corn oil or soybean oil...'cause Nature, you see, made a mistake,—she just didn't know the real science involved here...
billy the k said…
"Even the Masai don't eat butter and drink cream, they drink milk."
Actually, it's more like a yogurty-milk or a milky-yogurt—since it's
all fermented
—which of course necessarily reduces the carb [lactose] content:

"...The level of cholesterol in serum was low, rarely exceeding 150mg per
cent and it did not rise with age in adults.  Dietary evaluations showed a daily intake of 300 g of fat and 600 mg of cholesterol among young men, all of this from fermented milk and meat."  [George V. Mann et al.  Atherosclerosis in the Masai. Am Jrnl of Epidemiology. (1972) Vol. 95, No. 1; p.26:
Nutrivorous said…
The Masai, as I understand it, also eat something called "tree bark soup", which I have to imagine is exceedingly high in dietary fiber. Cinnamon, for example, is a tree bark and is at least 50% dietary fiber by weight.
carbsane said…
Oh my! This is an interesting piece of information. @bokkiedog is one of the more horrifically misinformed and dogmatic folks on the internet. This explains a lot about Gideon if this is where he sources his information rather than history texts or even online educational materials like some I linked to.
carbsane said…
I'm hoping to do a short blog on this, but in case I don't get to it, I have two comments:

1. >>>The content of what they actually consume is the controlling variable. Not all macronutrients are the same, and the principle of removing carbohydrates derives from the fundamental biochemistry.

Dietary carbohydrate -- directly or indirectly, via insulin and other hormones -- is catalytic, controlling the disposition of fat and whether it is stored, incorporated into TAG-rich lipoproteins, or oxidized.

Fat, in this sense, has a passive role. The failure to understand this fundamental principle of metabolism accounts for the continued progression of papers critical of high-fat diets.

This is unsubstantiated opinion on the part of Feinman. While carbohydrate is oxidized first, it is the energy state of the body that dictates the relative proportions of fuel that are used.

2. >>>However, further study will only be profitable if we focus on fundamental biochemical mechanisms and if we cite and critically evaluate the work that has already been done.<<<

This isn't the first time that Feinman has complained about folks not citing his work and the work of his friends. Unfortunately the work is never critically evaluated by his side, as they continue to perpetuate the fraud of metabolic advantage and greater fat loss with lower or even in the absence of caloric deficit vs higher carb diets. This fraud extends to including studies on weight loss alone (vs. fat loss) when the water weight loss associated with glycogen depletion and mild dehydration are well known.

Further, this is highly ironic coming from a man who is the lead author on a paper that cited the website and Death by Food Pyramid.
Nutrivorous said…
Synthetic "cream" made from skim milk mixed with vegetable oil is now available in your supermarket under the brand name "Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing".
Evan said…
You want "spineless," look no further than the Paleosphere's mean-spirited attacks on Ancel Keys when most of them have never even read his work and are reciting secondhand bad info from Uffe Ravnskov, Gary Taubes, or Tom Naughton. Now an entire state and university are supposed to have a "dark" legacy because of him, which is preposterous even by collectivist standards.
MacSmiley said…
High in saponins which apparently lower cholesterol.

MacSmiley said…
That 'splains a lot.
carbsane said…
Thanks billy. It's still not eating butter and cream. I would be interested in the saccharide content of fermented foods. There are other things in milk that the bacteria likely ferment, so most lactose intolerant folks still have a problem with yogurt and soft cheeses. Like I said, I'd be interested in the directly measured nutritional content.
carbsane said…
Yep! There is a combination of factors at play here, but one of those is likely the saponins in that tree bark soup. I included that in this post.
billy the k said…
Sure—what could be wrong with following Señor Ancel Keys' warnings 
to lower our cholesterol levels by avoiding dairy fat in our ranch dressing, etc., and replacing it with "heart-healthy" vegetable 
oils?  [Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can't be as bad as having an elevated cholesterol level—can it?]

"NASH is a disease of emerging importance and is now considered 
as the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the USA...

Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases
(NAFLD) are characterized by triglyceride accumulation in hepatocytes (i.e., liver steatosis). In some cases, steatosis becomes complicated by inflammation and can evolve to apoptosis, necrosis and fibrosis. This association of steatosis to 
other lesions is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH and may evolve into cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma...

The lipid composition of the different diets which induce steatohepatitis were LARD and CORN OIL,  both oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids...The injurious effect of unsaturated fatty 
acids, and particularly n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was associated 
with enhanced lipid peroxidation and decreased concentrations of antioxidant enzymes, implicating oxidative stress as a causal factor. Indeed, different studies showed the pro-inflammatory effect of polyunsaturated n-6 fatty acids which exacerbate liver oxidative stress and promote the development of NASH.


Long term high saturated fat feeding [from butter or coconut oil] led to increased "peripheral" fat storage and BAT thermogenesis but did not induce hepatic steatosis and NASH."

Long term highly saturated fat diet does not induce NASH in Wistar rats.

Corn oil "milk"?  Soybean oil "cream"?
 No thanks, Ancel, I'll take my chances with the old-fashioned regular stuff, please...
Scott Peterson said…
I have increased my intake (quite drastically) of dairy fat in the last ten weeks to the tune of 10+ TBSP butter per week and 30 oz. heavy cream per week. I know, not Jimmy Moore levels, but my cholesterol has only increased by 15 points!

Nothing, and absolutely nothing, compares to the taste of butter and cream. If people want to eat the corn and soy oils, be my guest, but I have not bought a commercial salad dressing in years because they don't use the delicious dairy!
Scott Peterson said…
But ketosis bro...
Scott Peterson said…
Great quote. There is also a lot of genetic variety in humans as well. I have been a regular blood donator for the past 15 years, so I have a good history of my cholesterol levels (tested at each donation, and I donate every 8 to 10 weeks). I have been a low fat lacto vegeterian and a low carber and many things in between,but my cholesterol is always between 190 and 220.

Yet I have a brother in law who eats low fat, and had to go on statins because his fasting cholesterol was over 350!
Nutrivorous said…
Hidden Valley Ranch is practically marketed as a health food in the US. There are numerous commercials advocating its use as a means of getting kids to eat their vegetables. In US school lunch programs, whole milk is not even allowed to be served, yet ranch dressing is readily available.

I have a theory that nearly every junk food in existence originally started out as a 'health food'. Coca Cola was formulated by a pharmacist. White flour, white sugar and hydrogenated cottonseed oil were shelf-stable and didn't go rancid as easily as their whole-food counterparts. "High Fructose" corn syrup was originally prized because it was high in fructose, the natural healthy fruit sugar. MSG intensifies the sensory perception of food and improves palatability.

Meanwhile, the 'health foods' of bygone days are often relegated to junk status. When I was growing up, 'health food' was synonymous with bean sprouts and wheat germ. Now, the health food stores don't carry sprouts and you might have to go to a half dozen stores to find a single container of toasted wheat germ. Heck, where I live, there's a grocery store chain called "Sprouts" and they don't even carry bean sprouts.
Bris Vegas said…
Did you read down to the bit where Mann describes the extremely severe atherosclerosis found in these people post mortem?

A logical conclusion is that the Masai were partially protected from a very poor diet by extensive physical activity.
Bris Vegas said…
Apple cores banana peels don't survive for long periods. Bones and shells do. Relying on relics to determine past diets is sheer folly.
Bris Vegas said…
Human and bovine milk are completely different.

High fat cow's milk evolved to turn a helpless 40Kg calf into a ferocious 1000Kg Auroch as quickly as possible. [So it isn't vulnerable to predators.]

Low fat high lactose breast milk evolved to feed the massive brain of a very slow growing primate.
Bris Vegas said…
Humans aren't Wistar rats.
Bris Vegas said…
"Nothing, and absolutely nothing, compares to the taste of butter and cream."

Dog shit probably comes close. Not that I've ever tried it

I'll take fruit and veges over grease any time thank you.
Bris Vegas said…
"I have a theory that nearly every junk food in existence originally
started out as a 'health food'."

Well you'd be wrong.

Coca Cola was developed by a morphine addicted pharmacist for self medication. Coca Cola to this day (wrongly) denies that it ever contained cocaine .

White flour was developed so people could see they weren't buying flour contaminated with sawdust, chaff and other waste products

Hydrogenated vegetable oils were originally developed for industrial uses such as candles and lubricants.

HFCS was developed to get around the US embargo on Cuban sugar. HFCS is only 55% fructose. It very rarely used as a sweetener outside the USA.

MSG is simply a concentrated version of the natural flavouring agent glutamate.
carbsane said…
This is another factor. Apparently as their vessels became occluded they also widened to accommodate them. So it's an interesting scenario because you have high sat fat intake from dairy without the concurrent high LDL and TC (attributed to saponin intake and genetic adaptation) but athersclerosis that doesn't cause death.
billy the k said…
"Low fat high lactose breast milk evolved to feed the massive brain of 
a very slow growing primate."

Oh really?—

% calories from fat:
Cow's milk [whole]: 48%
Human breast milk: 56%

Hmm...which looks to you to be the high-fat winner?
You call 56% fat calories "LOW FAT?"
I don't.
billy the k said…
Did I say they were???
If so, apologies.
billy the k said…
I've always wondered why Nature, in her wisdom, made mammalian milk taste like dog shit.
Now I know: it was so we'd grow up to prefer apple juice and V8.
LWC said…
I have no problem with you, billy the k, or anyone else sucking down as much dairy as your respective palates can tolerate. But I do have a problem with the "dairy is manna from nature or nature's god" argument because the majority of humans on the planet today can not digest the lactose.

It makes no sense that "nature's gift to homo sapiens health" (which is my shorthand for billy the k's milk arguments) would be designed such that most homo sapiens can't partake.

Dairy isn't delicious if you can't digest lactose. Be happy, there's more for you! But I haven't bought commercial salad dressings for years because fresh made (and in my home completely dairy free) dressings are more delicious.
billy the k said…
If one has the misfortune to be unable to enjoy fluid milk (insufficient lactase to handle the lactose) there's always the many wonderful fermented milk products—cheeses, yogurts, etc., which still provide much of milk's protective nutrient benefits, except of course in the carb department, as they will be reduced in (or nearly absent) the lactose [which I regard as a most excellent disaccharide carb—insofar as it not only facilitates calcium absorption but has a farily modest glycemic index to boot.
MacSmiley said…
Eskimos spend very little time, if any, in ketosis. Even "animal" Nickoley admits this on his blog. Too many carbs in raw meat glycogen.
MacSmiley said…
Has anyone been in touch with UMN to let them know about Gideon's Keys-bashing extracurricular activity?
MacSmiley said…
Not everyone finds the vomitrocious taste of fermented milk appealing.
ZM said…
I love dairy of all types. Had some issues when I was younger such as with digestion and nasal congestion and eventually gave up all dairy and became a vegan for about a year, which also meant giving up a lot of other crap I was eating. My issues resolved and eventually I added back meat and dairy to my diet and have not had any problems whatsoever since (about 10 years). Recent evidence indicates that dairy fat may be beneficial, so I'm glad to have it back in my diet:;129/Suppl_1/AMP21
Scott Peterson said…
Dude, you used to be hardcore "humans are obligate carnivores" and all, what happened?
billy the k said…
Nobody claimed they would.

If you prefer apple juice and V8 to milk, hell, man—go for it.

[If you think fruits & veggies per se will provide you with
all you need for a healthy longevity, good luck with that, pardner...
charles grashow said…
How would you know that mammalian milk tastes like dog shit unless one has eaten dog shit? Have you??
billy the k said…
Come on, Charles.

You must know that my sole authority for this claim was that proffered [above] by Señor Bris Vegas.

But now that his opinion re the taste of milk has been aired, I see that he looks to have company.

It's a free country, Charles.

I think dairy is good stuff, but if you or anyone else is agin it,—suit yourself.
Mark said…
I suppose it depends on what you mean by relics, but the Max Planck Institute has a research group that studies the role of plants in human evolution and ecology, including work with microfossils in dental calculus.
charles grashow said…
I'm not agin it at all. I drink raw goat milk and goat milk kefir daily.
billy the k said…
On p. 32 of Mann's paper is a chart showing the % frequency of aortic fibrosis with age.  Most curious is the fact that frequency of aortic 
fibrosis in the Masai is not just greater as the age increases (as we 
might expect), but is also greater at ages up to about 10 than it is at 
ages about 12 - 30, after which the frequency again increases.  What could account for this?

"Extensive physical activity" (as Bris Vegas mentioned) was naturally one possible explanation.
But the explanation that Mann regarded as more probable was this:

It is only during a young man's life—the "muran cohort"—that the exclusive milk and meat diet—that we associate as being the Masai diet is taken:  

"The babies are typically nursed to age two to three years and then fed the food available for WOMEN AND ELDERS.  The men are in the muran cohort from [only] about age 12 - 30 years and during 
this time they adhere strictly to a diet of meat and milk...The exclusive milk-meat diet may be displacing some dietary agent which is available 
to the CHILDREN AND THE ELDERS and that agent causes hypercholesteremia...We believe [this] is a probable explanation: 
namely, that the muran escapes some noxious dietary agent 
for a time.  Obviously, this is neither animal fat not cholesterol.  
The old and the young Masai do have access to such processed 
staples as FLOUR, SUGAR, CONFECTIONS AND [wait for it]—
SHORTENINGS through the Indian dukas scattered about Masailand.  
 Those food could carry the hypothetical agent."

 Hmm...not so implausible.  [But that's just me.  And Mann.]
charles grashow said…

Don't you just LOVE his new picture? Looks like a mug shot.
charles grashow said…

ASH13 Scott Hall and Robb Wolf — Evaluation of the Impact of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Lipoproteins in a Law Enforcement Population

AHS12 Robb Wolf, BS — City Zero: How Markets and Evolution Can Revolutionize Medicine

Robb Wolf The Paleo Diet and Carbs
MacSmiley said…
Not a fan of commercial juices. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is prevalent in the Loma Linda, CA Blue Zone. I would assume cheese and yoghurt are on the menu there, but they give me almost instant sinus headaches. À chacun son goût.
Yes, and they have a specific adaptation that makes them prone to upregulated gluconeogenesis.
Billy, we know that human metabolism is not static and that disease state, especially as it pertains to cardiovascular health and plaque progression, progresses over a longer period of time. Many young people will have soft plaque formation without a single actual problem presenting itself until much later in life. I know plenty of fit people with excellent functional health who've gone on to develop serious problems later in life. One could be looking at reverse causation. I've lost count of the number of people who have--and continue--to get away with some of the most radical and strange practices in the prime of their youth. Thing is, stuff catches up.

Just saying, amigo. ; )
billy the k said…
At ~54% fat calories, goat milk beats cow milk [except for Jersey cow milk). I'm assuming therefore that you do not share Señor Bris Vegas opinion of what dairy fat "tastes like."

Of course, it would not be irrelevant to point out to those proposing taste comparisons that, as the saying goes:
"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

So if you haven't even tasted it, then your opinion
is worthless.
charles grashow said…
Studies of a surfactant and cholesteremia in the Masai


A group of 24 young Masai men was divided into two groups of 12 and fed fermented milk for 21 days. The treatment group received 10 mg of Tween 20/g fat in the milk and the controls received an olive oil placebo additive. Contrary to expectation, the levels of blood cholesterol were decreased in both groups. The intake of milk was excessive in both groups so that many of the men gained weight rapidly. The extent of weight gain was inversely related to change of cholesteremia. This large intake of milk leading to a decrease of cholesteremia despite the gain of weight suggested the existence of a factor il milk which lowers cholesteremia. This factor overwhelms the hypercholesteremic effects of surfactants
previously demonstrated in experimental animals
billy the k said…
Unlike the strict vegan, the lacto-ovo's diet does include the protective benefits of milk &/or milk's products and therefore has proven to be a satisfactory diet for health & well-being.

Bon appétit.
billy the k said…
"...stuff catches up."

Agreed. In fact, that's pretty much what Mann concluded in the above cited paper: namely, the 15 or so years ofmuranhood [young men's warrior life eating an exclusive milk & meat diet] kept them away from the damaging effects of the processed staples that the other Masai all had access to. So the 15 or so years of avoiding the flour, sugar, confections and shortenings that the women and children and elders did not avoid, this "escape from some noxious dietary agent for a time [gave] immunity to occlusive disease in later life due to this postponement of the progress for 15 years."

Once the warrior-life period is over (around age 30), the exclusive milk & meat diet stops, and there is no longer avoidance of whatever noxious dietary agent resides in the processed staples.

The avoidance of the flour, sugar, confections and shortenings for those 15 years postpones the atherosclerotic process, but George Mann believed that once back eating those "noxious dietary agents"—as you put it—stuff catches up.
charles grashow said…
Correct - I do not share his views on milk. Both goat milk and jersey cow milk are A2 milk - not A1 which may be the problem
Bris Vegas said…
The Mann paper was written 42 years ago. Scientific knowledge has increased exponentially since then.

The Muran were elite athletes with some having aerobic fitness levels nearly as high as Olympic Marathon runners. Intense physical activity is known to significantly enlarge the coronary arteries. (The medical community was unaware of this fact in the early 70s. In fact it was widely believed that intense exercise DAMAGED the heart.)

At about 30 the Muran married and became sedentary.

Children have far lower aerobic fitness than athletic adults. Although they seem to be very energetic children typically engage in very brief and quite low intensity physical activities.

In summary elite athletes have larger coronary arteries than sedentary people.
Bris Vegas said…
My mistake. Both have similar fat content. However breast milk has 50% more lactose and 75% less protein than cow's milk

Many researchers that bovine casein is the real problem not fat.

None of the leading academic researchers think that drinking milk (even skim milk) is healthy.

Drinking milk is not normal or healthy. Until a few decades ago only 10-20% of humans consumed any dairy foods.

No other mammal consumes milk after weaning.
Scott Peterson said…
Whether it is "normal" has no bearing on whether it is healthy. I'm surprised your using this tactic.
billy the k said…
"Until a few decades ago only 10-20% of humans consumed any dairy foods.

The evidence suggests another possible mistake:

"Archaeological evidence suggests that sheep and goats were domesticated in the grasslands and open forest of present-day Iran and Iraq between 8000 and 9000BCE, a thousand years before the far larger, fiercer cattle.  At first these animals would have been kept for meat and skins, but the discovery of milking was a significant advance. 

Dairy animals could produce the nutritional equivalent of a slaughtered meat animal or more each year for several years, and in manageable daily increments.  Dairying is the most efficient means of obtaining nourishment from uncultivated land...

The earliest hard evidence of dairying to date consists of clay sieves, which have been found in the settlements of the eariest northern European farmers, from around 5000BCE.  Rock drawings of milking scenes were made a thousand years later in the Sahara, and what appears to be the remains of cheese have been found in Egyptian tombs of 2300BCE."

The ancient Indo-Europeans were cattle herders who moved out from the Caucasian steppes to settle vast areas of Eurasia around 3000BCE; and milk and butter are prominent in the creation myths of their descendents, from India to Scandinavia...

Peoples of the Mediterranean and Middle East relied on the oil of their olive tree rather than butter, but milk and cheese still figure in the Old Testament as symbols of abundance and creation...

...The Mediterranean world of Greece and Rome used economical olive oil rather than [expensive] butter, but esteemed cheese.  The Roman Pliny praised cheeses from distant provinces that are now parts of France and Switzerland...

The one major region of the Old World not to embrace dairying was China [lacking ruminant-friendly grasses, but] even so, frequent contract with central Asian nomads introduced a variety of dairy products to China...yogurt, koumiss, butter, acid-set curds, and, around 1,300 and thanks to the Mongols, even milk in their tea!"

[Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking. Rev ed.©1984, 2004. p. 10-11]
billy the k said…
"No other mammal consumes milk after weaning."

Neither does any other mammal cook its food [or needs to].
So what?
Bris Vegas said…
I'll add that an elite athlete, such as a Muran, will lose ALL of the fitness gained over a lifetime within 12-18 months of becoming sedentary.
Bris Vegas said…
The ONLY place where lactose intolerance is low is northwestern Europe (5%). In Sicily it is 70% and over 90% in most of Africa. That actually tells you that milk consumption by adults was probably VERY RARE in most places.

There is no point discussing anything with you. you are convinced, based on very scant 'evidence' that milk is a panacea. When you start quoting obscure books on cooking as 'scientific evidence' all is lost.
Bris Vegas said…
The healthiest Adventists were strict vegans not lacto-vegetarians.
Bris Vegas said…
To quote Lord Keynes: When the facts change I change. What do you do Sir?".
Bris Vegas said…
Mammalian milk contains endogenous opiods to make it ADDICTIVE. That encourages the young to feed. Being addictive is not the same as tasting good. Many people from non-milk drinking cultures absolutely hate the taste and texture of milk.

Mammals are meant to stop consuming milk when they are weaned. Adult cattle eat grass not cheese.
Bris Vegas said…
Of course. I n fact I had a plate of dog turds for dinner tonight.
Bris Vegas said…
A2 milk is widely considered by food scientists to be nothing more than a marketing ploy. The health claims of A2 milk are not supported by evidence.

Australia is the only place where A2 milk has achieved a significant market. Milk producers are likely to take legal action against unscientific claims made by A2 producers in the near future..
Bris Vegas said…
I know exactly what dairy fat tastes like. It is a disgusting greasy substance filled with blood, pus and bacteria (milk is essentially concentrated blood plasma.)

Do you belong to some sort of cow worshipping cult?
Bris Vegas said…
There is no meaningful physiological difference between A1 and A2 caseins. The health claims for A2 are mostly based on testimonials not hard science.
Jane Karlsson said…
Agreed. The combination of milk and muscle meat is not good, because of copper deficiency, but they weren't doing that. They ate the whole cow. So the atherosclerosis probably came from white flour and sugar they ate as children.
Nutrivorous said…
No, the healthiest Adventists were the pescetarians, who ate fish, which is a form of meat.
charles grashow said…
billy the k said…
Let's not forget what may have been the prime culprit:

[partially hydrogenated, full of trans fats, —guaranteed to increase the shelf life of the product while decreasing the shelf life of the consumer...]
billy the k said…
"Do you belong to some sort of cow worshipping cult?"

I am neither a Hindu nor a Zoroastrian. I do not regard the cow as sacred.  Therefore, I do not favor a prohibition on the slaughter of cattle.  I do not consider eating steak taboo [although my own preference is for medium-rare 6 oz buffalo burgers, broiled and then briefly hit with the 2,300ºF flame of a butane blow-torch].

When our moderator devotes time and effort into presenting the scientific arguments against, say, the paleo paradigm of restriction of all legumes, grains, etc., my guess is that she doesn't have the expectation of convincing the really dedicated paleoistas (like Cordain), but the info that's put out there can nevertheless be of great benefit to those who are on the fence wondering if the popular claims of such diet advisors are valid or not.

Similarly, I have no more expectation of convincing a dedicated vegan such as yourself to start adding milk or it's products to your daily fare of fruits & veggies than I'd have of convincing a Neal Barnard or a John McDougall.  It's rather the fence-sitters—all those who have heard the claims of the dairy bashers and wonder if maybe they should avoid all dairy—it's those folks I'm thinking of in my comments.  [By the way I do have more than a few of Barnard and McDougall's books—you never know where you might find some nuggets of wisdom— and while I happen to really like a bunch of Mary McDougall's recipes, I do not find any of their vegan arguments against milk & it's products to be compelling.]

For starters, consider the matter of nutrient density:

Nutrient density is calculated by finding whether the proportion of the body's needs for energy carries with it the same proportion of its needs for a particular nutrient, or series of nutrients.  In mathematical terms, the nutrient density is the content of the nutrient in 100g of food expressed as a proportion of the RDI of that nutrient, divided by the energy content in 100g, expressed as a proportion of the RDI of energy:

Nutrient in 100g     ÷       Energy in 100g
RDI of Nutrient                              RDI of energy

If the figure obtained for nutrient density is greater than 1, then in respect of that nutrient the food has a high nutrient density.

Take a spin over to the USDA database and plug in the values for any of your favorite fruits & veggies and then compare their nutrient density to that of 100g whole milk.  This will provide a quick snapshot of what in fact will and will not be giving you more of what you really require for health & well-being. 

You see, unlike the vegan, the lacto-ovo vegetarian won't have to worry about sarcopenia [dairy has complete animal protein], or getting the essential fat-soluble vitamins A and K₂, or having to take a calcium pill, or a B₁₂ pill.  No one said to have milk or cheese as the main course at all your meals. But would it kill you to have a glass of milk or a cup of cocoa or a bit of grated cheese on your veggies or salads?  Well, you know my view—  it'd do you good in more ways than one [see the nutrient density results above].

Finally, the reason I can't criticize all vegans is because I can't know their basic preferences, viz., some may have so strong a preference to avoid milk & its products—regarding them as "disgusting, greasy substances", etc.,—that it outweighs a concern for their future well-being.  In which case I might try to change their mind, but in the end I couldn't call them crazy for so choosing:

The rationality of choices may be assessed by whether they maximize preference fulfillment.  But we cannot assess the rationality of a preference.
Translation: Suit yourself.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Now we are back within touching distance of the Mediterranean Diet which brings us back to Ancel.
billy the k said…
And I thought you avoided animal foods!
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Canine excrement comparable to milk in so far as taste is concerned? What sort of milk do you have down under? This has been a very amusing discussion so far but it's now time to stop talking bollocks.
charles grashow said…
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS

When the conventional wisdom didn’t work, Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, found healing for his health issues in the EATING HABITS of our ancestors.

"Wolf’s NY TIMES BESTSELLER, The PALEO Solution, outlines his take on the popular diet. The premise is simple: If your cavemen ancestors could’ve hunted, fished, gathered, or plucked it, eat up.

That’s it. There’s no counting carbs (or calories). You can eat anything that was part of the ancestral diet (e.g., fruit, nuts, berries, tubers, meat, fish). The very first sample meal plan in The Paleo Solution features cantaloupe, carrots, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and strawberries."
Jane Karlsson said…
Well it looks like trans fats cause atherosclerosis by the same mechanism copper deficiency does. It goes trans fats -> TGF-beta -> lysyl oxidase. Lysyl oxidase is a copper enzyme.

'Dietary trans fats (TFs) have been causally linked to atherosclerosis, but the mechanism by which they cause the disease remains elusive. Suppressed transforming growth factor (TGF)-β responsiveness in aortic endothelium has been shown to play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in animals with hypercholesterolemia. We investigated the effects of a high TF diet on TGF-β responsiveness in aortic endothelium and integration of cholesterol in tissues. Here, we show that normal mice fed a high TF diet for 24 weeks exhibit atherosclerotic lesions and suppressed TGF-β responsiveness in aortic endothelium.'

'Lysyl oxidase (LOX) plays a crucial role in the maintenance of extracellular matrix stability and could participate in vascular remodelling associated with cardiovascular diseases. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies shows that LOX downregulation is associated with the endothelial dysfunction characteristic of earlier stages of the atherosclerotic process. ...'

'Transforming growth factor-beta 1 increases lysyl oxidase enzyme activity and mRNA in rat aortic smooth muscle cells'
Jane Karlsson said…
'Low density lipoproteins downregulate lysyl oxidase in vascular endothelial cells and the arterial wall'

'Statins normalize vascular lysyl oxidase down-regulation induced by proatherogenic risk factors'
eulerandothers said…
What drawings?

In Paleo world, don't the guys look like Fabio and the women like Heidi Klum? There is an abundance of steak aging in the comfy cave, ready to be grilled? The head of the household takes off every day at a trot, into the wilderness where the game is much slower than he is and light enough to carry back on his shoulders. There is so much meat to be had that it almost is enough to feed the hordes of hungry children waiting back at the cave, practicing their own rudimentary hunting skills, beaning each other with stones. Not a picky eater among them!
charles grashow said…

The Last Anti-Fat Crusaders
The low-fat-diet regimen is turning out to be based on bad science, but the USDA has been slow to catch on.
Oct. 28, 2014 6:56 p.m. ET
carbsane said…
Can this woman please go away? Zero scientific credentials. Perpetuating potentially dangerous misinformation.
billy the k said…
Thanks for the links, ZM—the paper from the Lancet=especially interesting
Nutrivorous said…
The first commercially grown tomato was developed in Reynoldsburg, Ohio in 1870.

Broccoli was virtually unknown in the United States until the early 1920's.

The first garden strawberry was cultivated in France during the late 18th century.

The fruit which Americans call a "cantaloupe" is actually a muskmelon, and was not widely available until after the end of the American Civil War in 1865.
Jane Karlsson said…
Bris, lactose intolerance seems to be something of a red herring. It was found in the late 1970s that many Masai have it.

'There is much disagreement about milk and its use in feeding programs both in the United States and internationally. A few authors suggest that milk consumption should not be encouraged in lactose intolerant populations due to adverse symptoms. Others suggest, however, that small or modest quantities of milk can be tolerated and can be nutritionally useful to such groups. Data are presented in this paper that show that 1) the Masai regularly drink considerable quantities of milk without apparent symptoms, 2) milk is an important constituent of the Masai diet, and 3) 62% of 21 Masai examined were malabsorbers of lactose as measured by the lactose tolerance test. This finding of lactose malabsorption in a nomadic cattle raising and milk drinking people is interesting and is contrary to the views often expressed by anthropologists and others. ...'
Nutrivorous said…
Maybe a compromise is in order. The Food Police agrees to stop demonizing dietary saturated fat and cholesterol, and in exchange, the Primal Police agrees to stop demonizing legumes, whole grains, omega 6 and carbohydrate.

Oh, and stop putting half a stick of butter in your coffee and calling it a "fast".
Bris Vegas said…
'Shortening' simply means any edible fat used in baking. It can be butter, lard, beef tallow, or palm oil. {The Masai were probably eating palm oil or tallow rather than hydrogenated vegetable oils.]

Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity and heart disease in the developed world..Our diets have always had extremely low intake of trans fats and HFCS.

Before the 1970s Australian diets were not much different to the Muran with vast quantities of grass fed red meat and very little fruit, vegetables or whole grain. We were virtually the CHD capital of the world.
Bris Vegas said…
Lactase Persistence and Lipid Pathway Selection in the Maasai

,"Our analysis suggest that the identified regions harbor known and novel
genetic polymorphisms responsible for the unusual lipid metabolism,
cholesterol homeostasis, protection against cardiac diseases and adult
lactase persistence in the Maasai."

In other words the Maasai are protected by GENETICS from their "unhealthy" diet.

It is also possible that the Maasai cannot tolerate alternate low fat diets due to other adaptations.
Jane Karlsson said…
'Shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature and used to make crumbly pastry. Shortening is used in pastries that should not be elastic, such as cake. Although butter is solid at room temperature and is frequently used in making pastry, the term "shortening" seldom refers to butter, but is more closely related to margarine.

Originally shortening was synonymous with lard, but with the invention of margarine by French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1869, margarine also came to be included in the term. Since the invention of hydrogenated vegetable oil in the early 20th century, "shortening" has come almost exclusively to mean hydrogenated vegetable oil.'

billy the k said…
Didn't realize your Aussie location [explains those 2:00AM email replies arriving in my inbox!]  This may also help explain some previous misunderstandings—( like Churchill said of the US and Britain: "two major countries separated by a common language").

True enough, any fat in its anhydrous form that's used to weaken the gluten network in baking can been called "shortening." Lard and tallow are animal fats that can be considered shortening.  Crisco's success in the market here eventually co-opted the term "shortening" after it first went on sale in the US in 1911.  Just as the earlier cottonseed/tallow blends had been intended as replacement competition to lard, this new vegetable shortening was also marketed as a replacement for lard.   (Butter of course has the best flavor, but because of its water content [not anhydrous] it will not be as good as a solid fat at separating, softening and tenderizing—i.e., "shortening"—the gluten strands. Crisco is therefore better than butter at "shortening" gluten—to produce a flaky, albeit flavorless crust—but lard still remains the champ in shortening power.

So then since the introduction of Crisco in 1911, you will generally find that recipes in the USA will specify the fat to be used in baking as either all butter, or lard, or lard & butter, or shortening, or shortening & butter.
The point being that, perhaps not in Australia, but in the US, when a cook sees a recipe calling for "shortening" she/he will know immediately that what's meant is—Crisco.  When the recipe calls for lard it will specify "lard"—not "shortening".  

"Shortening" in the USA is partially hydrogenated soybean or cottonseed or canola oil.

Since Mann was an American, familiar with the common American usage, which had been in play since the 1920's on, I do believe he would not have have used the term "shortening" to refer to butter or lard.

[Alas, it's also true that most grocery stores in the US today sell only partially hydrogenated lard, no doubt because the un-processed stuff can't be stored at room temperature without going rancid, and they'd rather keep their refrigeration units full of Egg Beaters and Gatorade.
Jane Karlsson said…
BUT they still have lactose intolerance, according to the 1979 study I posted earlier. Most of them had it according to the lactose tolerance test, but all of them could drink milk without symptoms. This suggests that gut bacteria and absence of micronutrient deficiencies are far more important in protecting these people than their genetics.
Jane Karlsson said…
I saw her on British TV news recently. I think she has been chosen for her appearance. Her hair and makeup looked very expensive. The interviewer was drooling. There is a lot of money behind this venture. The same money that funds NuSI? The kind that deliberately avoids finding the real answer?
Nigel Kinbrum said…
I say you're talking bollix. I support my assertion with Let's see your evidence to support your assertion.

If you think that milk products taste like shit, your mum must have been Old Mother Riley, as per the ditty:-

Old Mother Riley bought a cow.
Went to milk it, didn't know how.
Pulled its tail instead of its tit.
And all she got was a bucket of shit.

Thank you, and good night!
Bris Vegas said…
"This suggests that gut bacteria and absence of micronutrient
deficiencies are far more important in protecting these people than
their genetics."

The gut micribiota only explains the lactose tolerance. Lipids cannot be utliised by the gut microbuiota because it is an anaerobic environment,

The Maasai are NOT healthy despite the claims of low carbers.
Jane Karlsson said…
But we know that micronutrient deficiencies in females predispose their offspring to metabolic disease. Here's a paper from 2011 about what manganese restriction does in rats.

'This study has, for the first time, demonstrated that maternal Mn restriction predisposes the offspring to increased central adiposity, fat deposition in liver, induction of a pro-inflammatory state, altered adipocyte function, dyslipidemia, and altered homeostasis of glucose and insulin possibly leading to a metabolic syndrome-like
situation specially when challenged with high fat diet in later life ...'

One conclusion from this might be that the Masai are protected not because they have special genes, but because their mothers did not have micronutrient deficiencies.