Okay, maybe I’m being a little mellow dramatic with the title of this post but when Ancel Keys is brought up, I get a little pissed off. I received this comment the other day on a post I did a while back called Can Going Paleo Give You Celiac Disease? The comment was just too long and complicated for me to write a simple rebuttal underneath. Instead, I decided to turn it into a post. I will address each point in black text so it is easier to distinguish who is “talking.” In case you don’t feel like reading the original post, I concluded that going Paleo hadn’t given me any new diseases or syndromes; instead the removal of particular foods from my diet caused me to be highly-aware of the immediate problems they created when reintroduced.
Written by Scotty from www.mycollegenutrition.com:
I Highly Disagree, it’s totally possible to get an Autoimmune disease from any dietary restriction, Low carb paleo included. (by the way clay color poop is associated with problems in the pancreas). http://theskinnywhitebuddha.blogspot.com/2011/11/celiac-disease-diabetes-of-intesines.html
Clay colored poop can be associated with pancreatic or liver problems. This is why I immediately had the doctor run a panel for me, to make sure I was okay in those areas. I was. When I stopped eating wheat, my poop returned to normal after three days. Clay colored poop is also associated with Celiac Disease.
“It is interesting that the obese man or woman can be placed on a diet as low as 600, or even 400, calories without loss of body nitrogen or other ill effects and without depression of the basal metabolic rate. In these respects obese persons and persons of normal weight differ strikingly in their response to a low intake of calories.”
~ Ancel Keys the Study of Human Starvation
Whoaaaaaa Nelly. Wait. You’re quoting Ancel Keys?!?!? Really? OMG. Okay, let’s deal with this one:
Ancel Keys is the genius behind the low-fat hypothesis that has ravaged the Western world and several generations. He cherry picked his data to support what he believed and intentionally left out data that would prove him wrong. Fortunately, he has since been proved wrong and his data has been shown to be manipulated. If you don’t believe that, I would ask you to take a good look around and ask yourself how the Key’s low-fat and cholesterol hypothesis is working for the general public. I can’t take any of his arguments seriously, I’m sorry. By quoting him several times, you have unfortunately invalidated your argument with me and (I’m sure) most of my readers. Please find some data from a reputable, current source and we’ll debate. Leangains has a great write up on Ancel Keys, as does Denise Minger at www.rawfoodsos.com.
Seriously, why have you quoted this particular paragraph? Low carb doesn’t mean low calorie. Paleo does not mean low carb. We still get plenty of carbs, but from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and tubers. We don’t starve ourselves. We eat when we’re hungry.
Put an already lean person on a calorie restricted diet and problems will ensue, but not in the obese because it takes longer for those problems to show up (I suspect because they have more fat to burn and lean tissue before they start running on fumes). A low carb diet can decrease secretory IGA and elevate Proteins to inflammatory markers like soy, gluten, eggs.
I am not on a calorie restricted diet, nor a low carb one. The Paleo lifestyle is as varied as the people who follow it. Some people eat very low carb (VLC) because they need to for specific reasons (epilepsy for one), other people eat very high carb depending on their needs. Suffice it to say, none of us are running on fumes. I’m sorry you have gotten the wrong idea about the Paleo lifestyle. Again, where have you gotten this data from? Can you show me the study that definitively proves low carb diets elevate proteins to inflammatory markers? (…NOT a study by Keys, please.)
“There is reason to believe that the epithelial lining of the gastrointestinal tract becomes more permeable to microorganisms in severe under-nutrition. The morphological changes in the intestinal tract would strongly suggest this.”
~Ancel Keys; The Biology of Human Starvation
I am not severely under-nourished. I was before I went Paleo. The phytates and lectins in the grains and legumes I was eating were binding to essential minerals in the foods I was consuming and causing a cascade of problems. I think a problem (besides the fact that you’re quoting Ancel Keys again) is that his book is called “The Biology of Human Starvation.” I don’t starve myself. I eat A LOT.
“The marked decreases in pulse rate and basal metabolism may be regarded as critical indicators of a lowering of speed in the automatic functions of the body…”
A lowered pulse rate can also be an indication of improved cardiovascular health. It makes sense that if a person is starving that the body would slow down non-essential functions. But again, I’m not starving. Far from it. And if I were, my body would be able to call on its fat reserves to burn for fuel. This is a complex evolutionary system designed to keep us alive during famine.
It can also be noted that a high Fat diet can destroy your glucose tolerance leading to thyroid imbalance which then may lead to digestive problems:
“Because of the high fat diet of the Eskimos, Heinbecker studied their glucose tolerance curves both before and after 82 hours of fasting. The basal blood sugar during the starvation decreased from 110-120 mg. per 100 cc. to about 80 mg. The glucose tolerances after the ingestion of about 2 gm. of glucose per kg. of body weight were normal in the control period. After 3.5 days of starvation the glucose tolerance showed blood sugar levels close to 300 mg. per 100cc. These returned only very slowly to normal.”
~ Ancel Keys; the Biology of Human Starvation
Sorry, but this quote doesn’t even reference your point, let alone prove it. Again, Keys selectively picked his information to tell the story that he wanted to tell. By adopting a high-fat diet, I personally overcame insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and hypoglycemia. However, once again Keys is talking about STARVATION. I don’t fast for 82 hours. I don’t know anyone who does if they don’t have to. It makes sense that when someone fasts for that long that their bodies would make glucose via gluconeogenesis or other pathways in order to fuel their brains. Again, we are complex systems based on millions of years of evolution. We are designed to be able to withstand short periods of famine. Who cares if your blood glucose is elevated during fasting? It’s not going to give you diabetes, in fact it would be beneficial. It would give you enough energy to go out and hunt/gather some food, eat it and continue to live. Of course blood glucose returned to normal afterwards. Of course it was “slowly.” Their bodies were smarter than they were, making sure the famine was truly over before announcing ‘Mission Accomplished.’ So tell me again, how does a high-fat diet destroy glucose tolerance, leading to thyroid imbalance and digestive problems?
Reduced Metabolic rate from Industrialized food (Overly processed, lack of vitamins) > Famine response is triggered > Low Thyroid> Lowered Secretory IGA > increased immune response to proteins > “leaky gut”.
So don’t eat industrialized food? Ok. I won’t. And I don’t. Are we saying the same thing here, or what? I’m not sure what your point is. Are you against Paleo, low carb or industrialized foods?
Celiac disease is really just a blanket term for all digestive problems, seeing as removing gluten doesn’t always solve the problem. IBS, IBD, Ulcerate Cholietis, Chrones, etc
Tell this to someone who is suffering from Crohn’s Disease. (Reid, can you hop on this?!) Celiac Disease is caused by gluten. If the complete removal of gluten from the diet does not result in a lessening of symptoms or complete remission, then perhaps the person didn’t have Celiac to begin with or is still getting “dosed” without knowing it. It can take half a year to see remission of symptoms after gluten has been removed. [Editors Note: According to Dr. Tim Gerstmar of Aspire Natural Health, sometimes complete removal of gluten from the diet doesn't solve the problem. In this matter, I will concede that you are right. Are these cases that are extremely far-gone? Thankfully this was not my case, but I was in the beginning stages.] Testing processes for Celiac are far from perfect. My doctor told me I have an 80% chance of having inaccurate test results come back. Celiac Disease is not a blanket term for all digestive problems, IBS is.
Dieting in general is a stress on the body, Paleo included. You could have had a gluten “sensitivity” (such a garbage term) before that is now exacerbated by a diet that is deficient and sub optimal for the current environmental conditions and Epigentic changes that said individual was conditioned for.
Again, I am not on a diet. I have been following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle for almost three years and during that time have seen the complete remission of all the problems I was suffering from during my pre-Paleo days. I agree that dieting puts a stress on our bodies, which is why I have NEVER ONCE DIETED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE – with the exception of in 1999, when I was placed on a calorie-restricted diet of 1600 calories a day under a doctor’s supervision. There was no importance placed on food quality or groups, it was simply a matter of calories in/calories out. Along with exercising vigorously for 5-6 days per week, I managed to lose ONE EFFING POUND over a 2-3 month period. Yes, it caused stress on my body and also on my mind. Keeping track of every single thing I put in my mouth caused me to think about food constantly. I had to starve myself if I overindulged earlier in the day, I had to weigh and measure everything and it was a horrible, horrible experience. I love the freedom that the Paleo lifestyle gives me. As long as I don’t eat grains, legumes and sugar, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, to satiety. I am healthy, vibrant and strong. I no longer have ANY medical or mental health issues. I don’t take any medication. I don’t have to buy products marketed towards “improving health.” That is my own personal experience. I will never, ever go back. I believe that my body is conditioned to eat Paleo foods, since it does so freakin’ well on a Paleo lifestyle. It was not conditioned to eat Neolithic foods. The proof is obvious if you look at my before and after pictures and listen to the diseases/syndromes/conditions that I was living with before but no longer have. Please tell me what nutrients and minerals my Paleo diet is deficient in. I can’t think of any, nor do I have the markers of any deficiencies.
The Mark Sisson way of eating can come with consequences: http://180degreehealth.com/2011/06/paleo-fail
Just my take on the subject…
Thank you, Scott. And this is just *my* take on the subject. Everyone is different. Everyone will have a slightly different path and results. Saying that “eating this way can come with consequences” is a loaded statement. The “consequences” for me have been vibrant physical health and strength, coupled with stable mental health and the body I have always dreamed of.
By the way, the Paleo-Fail post you linked to above is hilarious. The guy is trying to sell an e-book. Not everyone will have luck following a VLC Paleo diet longterm and will need to tweak their diet to suit their own individual needs. I have been following a Paleo lifestyle for three years and have found that I need to increase my carb intake from time to time, depending on the season, my activity level and my goals. I don’t need an ebook to tell me when it’s time to eat, I listen to my body.
I look forward to your reply as well as any medical studies or literature you are basing your opinion on, with the exception of anything by Ancel Keys.