Paleo In The Media: Misconceptions and blatant misdirection

It appears that the media doesn’t like paleo…

I have read many articles online about the paleo movement. Most are positive and seem to understand the benefits of following a high protein, high fat diet and whole hartedly support it. Others, and most of them I have found are unfortunately articles written in an inflammatory tone (hehe, get it), are flat out against everything paleo teaches.

Now, I’m all for opinions and intelligent, rational conversation

But then you get those few who just seem to be hell bent on trying to tear down something which mostly they posses insufficient knowledge to comment. It appears as though in many cases, certain websites publish articles on how the paleo diet can “negatively effect” your diet have an unspoken agenda of created publicity of said article through the instigation of a flame war.

This is totally unacceptable, and we should really stand fast and take the abuse head on. Nip it in the bud, so to speak.

I totally get that there are some pro-paleo people (and I’ve probably done this on the odd occasion) who try to impose their beliefs and knowledge of dietary optimisation onto other people, but I am pretty sure they are insignificant in number to the “other side” of nutrition advice. A good real world example of this occurring is on sites which cover a multitude of subjects, niches and viewpoints. I don’t really understand how one site can be pro-multiple view points, but whatever.

Anyway, these sites generally have an army of authors which are, to my imagination, prescribed work loads in the form of articles. The articles are in essence their products, and my oh my are some of them of shoddy workmanship.

For example, today I was sent the following article:

Paleo Diet
Click the image to be taken to article

This article is one of many that I have found. Fortunately, it appears that more and more people are enlightened of the evils of grains and eating bad fats (trans fats) as reflected by the comments. The most monumental screw up in this particular article though is perhaps the confusion of ketosis and ketoacidosis by Berna Harmse, a “registered dietician”. Interestingly enough though, she isn’t to blame. More than likely she is misquoting what has been taught to her in her “dietetics” training. Either way, she inaccurately describes the way in which ketones are used in the body and rather than explaining their function, alludes to their potential for bodily harm, which, as you may already know would be difficult to achieve.

You would probably have to starve yourself.

I must appologise for the less than positive position of this article, but I strongly feel that if the media keeps pushing the same crap down peoples throats both literally (through eating) and figuratively (through the spreading of lies and half-truths) then those who aren’t searching for great dietary advice and merely are accepting of what is told to them will always be on the trailing edge of healthy lifestyle. It is our duty to defend what we know is healthy, right and accurate.

Luckily for the paleo/primal movement, we have some great voices out there. Remember people, there is a Professor in front of Tim Noakes title, he didn’t get that from guessing what was right. He actively tries to prove to himself firstly, and then the world what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, through eating, exercise and everything else.

Keep well,
Keep open minded!

Andrew

Tim Noakes: Influential People In Paleo

Who is Tim Noakes?

Tim Noakes is a South African professor who has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons. He is a scientist who has studied the human body and its dietary requirements for years and years. He has particular interest in exercise physiology. Basically, this means he is interested in the way the body responds to exercise. He has consulted many professional sportsmen and women and has even worked with “celebrities” like Tim Ferriss.

tim-noakes-diet

He is known for (other than the list of books he’s written) writing a paper on Excercise-Associated Hyponatremia, which is basically a state the body can go into if it too much water has been ingested post-exercise. The reason that this occurs is attributed to the loss of nutrients required by the body to operate normally. This state of normality is called human homeostasis, and basically means to be stable. Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia occurs when the body is over-hydrated after intense exercise, and is basically a deficit of required nutrients in the body.

Check out some of Tim Noakes’s books by clicking here.

This state of over-hydration is dangerous to the body and can cause sever conditions such as comas or even death! So be careful when hydrating after exercise. An easy way to deal with hydration is to drink water while you are working out, some recommend doing so at a rate which matches your level of sweating.

Professor Tim Noakes: His Standing On Paleo

Tim Noakes made a public statement that what he had previously believed and taught was wrong. This is mostly to do with the way human bodies cope with carbohydrates. Previously, he proved that carbo-loading, a common practice amongst endurance athletes was of no benefit whatsoever. Carbo loading is a fad which has been promoted in fitness circles for decades. I remember at school how all my so called “fitness coaches” made us aware of the benefits of carbo-loading. If only I had known then what I do now about nutrition!

He has in particular, publicly announced his following of the primal/paleo diet, as well as publicly announcing his disapproval of grains. I don’t know about you, but when someone of Prof. Tim Noakes’s stature and knowledge says nay to grains, I listen. Not that I ever had any doubts as to grains negative effects on the body, but it’s always good to hear what you already know from the horses mouth, so to speak.

Take a read about what he had to say in this article: Tim Noakes, Against the grains.

In it he writes that pre-grain society had no specific record of nutritional-deficiency disease, and how if we hadn’t started eating grains we’d all be taller. However, it was through the discovery of nutritional effects on the body that we discovered vitamins. This was only in the 1900’s, which is quite recent. Almost scarily so. This ironically is tied to humanity’s sudden and purposeful adaptation of grains and grain farming into modern society. It is quite ironic to think that a modern society has made little to no steps forward in providing healthy, processed foods to its’ people. The paleo diet takes care of all that though, so it’s actually not such a worry. However, for the majority of people, grains are still considered a healthy food. 

He writes about how our digestive system as humans bares more resemblance to a carnivore than to that of a carbohydrate focused plant eater. He also promotes that diets such as the paleo diet will produce no negative effects in the human body. With that, he touches on a very interesting subject, and that’s one of hunger. 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat high carbohydrate foods (which is rare), I am never satiated. However, this is not a problem with protein. If I eat a steak, I’m done. There are no weird cravings or hunger later on in the evening. Prof. Noakes attributes this to the way extremely high amounts of protein can be toxic to humans. Think of it as a true detection mechanism, which allows you to eat the correct amount at every meal. This obviously means easy and sustainable weight loss.

Furthermore, the more carbohydrates one eats, the more likely that person is to have a psychological addiction to sugar and carb-rich foods. This is because of the insulin spike that results after eating refined high carbohydrate foods. This knowledge alone should be able to aid you in understanding your cravings.

Tim Noakes Diet: How To Eat Like A Primal Professor

Firstly, he obviously wouldn’t eat sugar or sweets. Prof. Tim Noakes speaks about this in his article, and states that sugary foods are often displayed with ambiguous or hard to interpret nutritional information. If foods with high carbohydrates such as sugary soft drinks or chocolate bars displayed easy to understand nutritional information less people would eat the stuff. 

It’s an interesting dynamic between food supplier and food eater. Expensive high carbohydrate, high sugar foods are priced that way because people keep eating them. For the most part, soft drink drinkers are addicts. 

He also eats large amounts of lean protein almost entirely derived from meats. I follow this too, and after converting to the paleo diet I have noticed that I have a different relationship with meats. They are required, otherwise I don’t feel like I’ve actually even fed my body throughout the day. It’s not unusual for me to eat an entire can of tuna just because I have the urge to. On the same note, my performance when exercising has increased dramatically. I have much more energy when exercising and I haven’t felt as strong as I do now, also, I’ve managed to drop fat efficiently and effectively, with about a tenth of the supposedly “required” exercise.

Click here to read a previous post I’ve made about my experience thus far.

He will also be consistent, more than likely eating a set meal every day, or alternating it every other day. For me, this is tuna and vegetables. A low-carbohydrate, highly nutritious meal that is cheap and can be prepared anywhere there is a stove or microwave.

In many ways, my success has mirrored that of Tim Noakes, mostly reflected in my weight loss over the past six months. I have dropped weight consistently and am finally at what I believe is a plateau. I consistently bounce between 92 and 94 kilograms. Before I started eating paleo, I weighed in at a heavy 102-15 kg’s. That’s basically 10 kgs of weight loss automatically. 

Mark Sisson is cited by Tim Noakes in his article as well, and that’s important! While Mark may not hold any scholarly qualifications with regards to the study of nutrition, he is certainly a figurehead, mentor and generally stand up guy in the paleo dieting area.

Conclusion

Ultimately, Professor Tim Noakes talks about what the paleo diet community has known for a while now. Whether or not he “knew” about the paleo movement before it came out of the wood work is actually irrelevant, all that matters is that he has recruited himself to the cause and is someone to look up to. Hopefully Prof. Tim Noakes involvement in the community will bring more people in and make them understand what it means to be healthy because of the food you eat. 

Keep strong, keep paleo,

Andrew