Last night I watched the BBC program “Eat Well Live Longer with Giles Goren”. It was an interesting and entertaining program. The basis of the program is something that we would all like to do, that is to live longer. However I would add that equally the desire should be first to live healthier and by virtue of that we also live longer.
There is a body of research that calorific restriction can lead to an extended life (McCay et al., 1935). However, in the program it presented an unhealthy representation of this during the initial article in my view. What’s the point in living that long if your health is impaired and you appear frail? However at the end of the program it presented an individual who was 113 and appeared just as able under moderate calorific restriction. The term thrifty genotype has been coined to the natural feast and famine cycles (Neel, 1962). Fasting has proven to have many health benefits for the present generation (Nocera et al., 2011).
As an advocate of the Paleo diet and lifestyle I would like to clarify on a few points that were glossed over. I was mentioned that there was a risk of high cholesterol from the Paleo diet. What wasn’t mentioned was the ratio of the lipid profile between LDL and HDL, which would be the health marker to quote. I followed my diet for health reasons and not to lose weight or live longer. When you suffer a debilitating condition such as gallstones (like I did) your body easily responds to what it likes. It is easy to just look at the aesthetics, as part of a diet but a full review needs to be balanced. There were no measures of obtaining objective results. So I would like to add that my blood profile (apart from a genetic condition of Thalasemmia) is very good. My cholesterol is in a healthy range and I have a near 1:1 ratio of HDL to LDL. I run at an average of 6% body fat.
Mark Sissons was interviewed and he mentioned how the body starts to produce ketones and becomes ‘a fat burning machine’. Whilst that may occur, it should not be the reason for following the Paleo diet. We can have all the science to validate our beliefs and behaviours, but essentially eating a well nutrient dense diet is surely correct for us? Surely the evidence is present in the last 2.5 million years of the existence of the human genome? Cavemen did not pursue their diet to prevent becoming fat. They ate to survive from the natural occurring food sources. Man has survived on a Paleo diet for 99.6% of his existence. Do we know have an infinite wisdom that tells us to digress from this path? Is that why we are getting healthier, by having ever increasing numbers of obese and diabetic individuals?
Secondly in a conversation between Giles and his doctor, she questioned a diet that was missing a food group, namely grains. Grains have not been a staple of our diet, and evolution has not necessarily occurred for us to have maximum benefit from them. They are inflammatory markers in the body. I’m sure a celiac will attest to that. The bio-availability of the micro and macro nutrients in grains will be present in other natural food sources, such as meat and vegetables and dietary fat.
It questioned the value of pushing a car (as did an article in the independent newspaper). Well let me enlighten you why you may want to do this. By the way, you briefly saw a clip with my close friend Darryl Edwards at Primal Con whilst he was doing this, so I feel a particular need elaborate. In the modern world I do not need to hunt for my food. I do need to exercise my physiological, genetic heritage. Therefore a practical approach is such as pushing a car, as it will translate to a practical, whole body compound movement. There’s nothing fancy about it, and it’s not designed to be. I do concede that in a focussed, like minded group there appeared to be a self congratulatory aspect to it. I would view that rather as a celebratory act.
I eat when I am hungry and a unprocessed diet of natural foods. I do not find it restrictive or extreme. I view modern influences as extreme. I do believe in moderation. Moderation in eating any given amount. Moderation in balancing your diet. Moderation in following the natural feast and famine cycles that the body is adapted to. Moderation in performing practical uses of physical activity. That is why I lead a Paleo lifestyle.
McCay, C.M., Crowell, M.F., Maynard, L.A., 1935. The effect of retarded growth upon the length of life span and upon the ultimate body size. J. Nutr. 10, 63–79.
Neel JV. Diabetes mellitus: a ‘thrifty’ genotype rendered detrimental by “progress.” Am J Hum Genet 14: 353–362, 1962.
Nocera, J., Buford, T.W., Manini, T.M., Naugle, K., Leeuwenburgh, C., Pahor, M., Perri, M.G., Anton, S.D., 2011. The impact of behavioral intervention on obesity mediated declines in mobility function: implications for longevity. J. Aging Res. 2011, 392510