Thursday, March 14, 2013

Debunking the Paleo Diet

Christina Warinner at TEDxOU:

She shows 4 books on one of her first slides, two of them are The Paleo Diet and The Primal Blueprint. She's not read either of them.

Her first "rebuttal" of the paleo diet is to point out that we can't get by on meat alone since we need to eat vegetables for vitamin C.

  1. Neither of those books advocates eating only meat. Both encourage you to eat organ meats and lots of vegetables.
  2. She's wrong on the facts. You do not, in fact, need to eat vegetables to get vitamin C. You can, in fact, get all you need on a diet of 100% meat. This was demonstrated almost 100 years ago in a famed experiment where Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson ate meat under medical supervision for a year:

    "In 1928, to convince skeptics, he and a young colleague spent a year on an Americanized version of the diet under medical supervision at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. The pair ate steaks, chops, organ meats like brain and liver, poultry, fish, and fat with gusto. “If you have some fresh meat in your diet every day and don’t overcook it,” Stefansson declared triumphantly, “there will be enough [vitamin] C from that source alone to prevent scurvy.”"
She proceeds to attack a bunch of other claims that the paleo diet doesn't make, or she gets her facts wrong.

Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus

P.S. Robb Wolf does a nice analysis of this video. While I appreciate his effort, and it's nice of him to point out that she does eventually raise some interesting points, I stand by my summary above. Life's too short to sit through work by people who can't be bothered to do the homework. If they can't be bothered, I can't be bothered. I believe that was Mat Lalonde's point, in one of his talks...