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"John McDougall MD, presentation at the VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2010.

This truth is simple and is, therefore, easy to explain. You must eat to live. The human diet is based on starches. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be -- and with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too."


http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/starch_solution.html
 
Tyler Ludens
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The Paleo diet people disagree!       Throughout most of our time on the planet, humans ate whatever was edible.  Starchy foods tended not to be the largest provider of calories for a lot of folks.

"Paleo is a simple dietary lifestyle that is based on foods being either in or out. In are the Paleolithic Era foods that we ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.). Out are Neolithic Era foods that result from agriculture or animal husbandry (grains, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and fake foods). "

http://www.paleodiet.com/definition.htm
 
tel jetson
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
The Paleo diet people disagree!


the paleolithic diet is intuitively appealing.  I think there's a chance that what our paleolithic ancestors ate isn't quite that important.  I don't know enough about this stuff to give any kind of educated guess, but I'm going to guess anyway.

while 12,000 years doesn't allow for very many human generations, evolutionarily speaking, it allows for a very great many generations of microorganisms.  microorganisms are an important factor in human digestion, and maybe the populations in our guts can cope with change fairly rapidly and allow humans to adapt to dietary changes rather faster than might otherwise be expected.  just a guess.

there seem to be plenty of folks happily eating diets modeled on human ancestors', and plenty of them seem healthy.  sounds potentially tasty, too, which counts for quite a lot as far as I'm concerned.

I also learned recently that gut flora is spread between folks when they kiss each other, frequently to both parties' benefit.  kissing is pretty gross, but maybe it's an adaptation.

jmy wrote:
"John McDougall MD, presentation at the VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2010.

This truth is simple and is, therefore, easy to explain. You must eat to live. The human diet is based on starches. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be -- and with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too."


http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/starch_solution.html


I like starch.  fills me up and gives me energy.  good vehicle for stronger flavors.  I'm more partial to perennial sources of starch, though, than the sources mentioned in the video description.  which is to say that I'm lazy.  things like air potatoes and chestnuts and cattails and chufa and et cetera.  maybe Dr. McDougall mentions those as well, but my connection isn't fast enough at the moment to watch the video.
 
travis laduke
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I'm about 3/4 through the video. My favorite part this part:

    *  Barley – Middle East for 11,000 years
    * Corn (maize) – North, Central, and South America for 7,000 years
    * Legumes – Americas, Asia, and Europe for 6,000 years
    * Millet – Africa for 6,000 years
    * Oats – Middle East for 11,000 years
    * Potatoes – South America (Andes) for 13,000 years
    * Sorghum – East Africa for 6,000 years
    * Sweet Potatoes – South America and Caribbean for 5,000 years
    * Rice – Asia for more than 10,000 years
    * Rye – Asia for 5000 years
    * Wheat – Near East for 10,000 years


If you don't want to watch an hour long video, this page looks like a summary

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/mcdougall1.html
 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally, I think people should choose the diet which works with their own personal physiology and ethics.  There's evidence some diets seem to be healthier than others, but what is healthy for one person may be deadly for another.  For instance, people with diabetes can't eat a diet based on starch.  People with gluten intolerance have to avoid certain kinds of grain.  Etc.  There's no "one size fits all" diet for humans.  But, being gardeners, we might want to base our diets on what we can grow and what we like to eat, as well as what makes us feel good.  I'm eating the Paleo diet because it seems like a diet I can grow for myself.  Corn is difficult to grow here, but some root crops (turnips, sweet potatoes, radishes)  do well.  We have many deer (White-tail and Axis), so eating some deer might be a good idea.
 
tel jetson
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Ludi Ludi wrote:
Personally, I think people should choose the diet which works with their own personal physiology and ethics... 

But, being gardeners, we might want to base our diets on what we can grow and what we like to eat, as well as what makes us feel good.


sure would be nice if more folks thought like that.  for whatever reason, a great many people want to find the one best way and force it on everybody else, whether it's diet, religion, government, et cetera ad nauseum.
 
Abe Connally
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funny, cause when we want to put weight on an animal, we feed them grain/starches.  Pigs (very similar to human digestion) put on more fat from a corn/starch diet compared to a lean diet (higher protein, less starches).

So, I completely disagree with the following statement:
"The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be"

That doesn't tend to be the case in practice.  More starch = more fat.

As far as destroying the environment, there are few things as destructive to the environment as large scale corn/grains/soybean agriculture.  Polycultures, preferably perennials (with animals) are much better for the environment, no question about it.

Humans have been eating meats and perennials for 10 times longer than any grain. That is true sustainability.
 
tel jetson
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velacreations wrote:
funny, cause when we want to put weight on an animal, we feed them grain/starches.  Pigs (very similar to human digestion) put on more fat from a corn/starch diet compared to a lean diet (higher protein, less starches).

So, I completely disagree with the following statement:
"The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be"

That doesn't tend to be the case in practice.  More starch = more fat.


depends on the person.  depends on the lifestyle.  depends on the total calories eaten and calories burned.  I eat an awful lot of starch, and I'm a fairly slight person.  there are plenty of folks just like me.  plenty of other folks who eat a lot of starch are obese and/or diabetic.

the mistake Dr. McDougall made is suggesting that his "starch solution" will work for everyone.  in the article travis linked to, McDougall mentions in passing cultures that don't eat much starch, but dismisses them as primitive.

the other thing that the good doctor left out was physical activity.  maybe all that starch was nice for folks over the previous 12,000 years because they were more active than modern Westerners.

velacreations wrote:
As far as destroying the environment, there are few things as destructive to the environment as large scale corn/grains/soybean agriculture.  Polycultures, preferably perennials (with animals) are much better for the environment, no question about it.

Humans have been eating meats and perennials for 10 times longer than any grain.  That is true sustainability.


easy enough to get lots of starch without any large-scale anything.  I think most of us will agree that industrial agriculture in any form is generally pretty nasty, even when it is producing perennial crops and meat.

it's also easy to get lots of starch without any grain involved.  my chestnut trees are a source of starch that strikes me as plenty "sustainable", though I'm not overly fond of the word.  so do my groundnuts.  so do any number of other plants that I and others grow, have grown, or will grow.

velacreations wrote:
funny, cause when we want to put weight on an animal, we feed them grain/starches.  Pigs (very similar to human digestion) put on more fat from a corn/starch diet compared to a lean diet (higher protein, less starches).


similar digestion, but not the same.  they've also got much different behavior.  I believe humans have bred pigs to gain weight quickly.  that involves eating a lot.  and if you're feeding them the corn/starch diet, they're probably not having to exert themselves a whole lot to get it.

I believe that it's a mistake to extrapolate from one person's or group's experience (let alone pigs' experience) to all the rest of humanity.  it's a mistake to ignore that experience, too.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree we shouldn't leap to any conclusions that starch is "bad."  Certainly too much starch seems to be bad for some people.  Personally I think a varied diet is probably healthier for most people.  Another point  made well by many people is that diets based on grain usually take a lot of energy to produce, either in labor or in fossil fuels.  toby hemenway discusses some of the drawbacks of agriculture in his talk "How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but Not Civilization"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo ; This is also covered in Jason Godesky's  "Thesis #9: Agriculture is difficult, dangerous and unhealthy".  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Jason_Godesky__Thirty_Theses.html#toc1

Of course if we were big on agriculture, we wouldn't be on a permaculture board, probably! 
 
Abe Connally
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I think most of us will agree that industrial agriculture in any form is generally pretty nasty, even when it is producing perennial crops and meat.


I don't agree that large scale meat production is necessarily nasty.  Nor do I believe perennial crops/polycultures on a large scale is nasty (forests? grasslands?).

These guys have millions of acres in meat production, yet they are increasing biodiversity, soil fertility, and all sorts of other good things.  So, no, it is not necessarily nasty, just because it is large:
http://www.holisticmanagement.org/

As far as the pigs are concerned, even pastured pigs will gain weight when fed grains/starches.  They have plenty of exercise, and all other things are equal to their non-grain/starch peers.  The only variable is the starch. I do agree that everyone is different, but I have yet had a healthy animal loose weight by increasing their starch intake.  I have yet to see any evidence why humans, in general, would be different.

Humans are definitely not pigs, but they are also not cows or goats.  Humans are omnivores that traditionally ate low amounts of starches compared to protein.  Humans ate diets with low amounts of starch for tens of thousands of years before the transition to grain based agriculture (which saw a decrease in life span and health, in general).

Nothing is black and white, and this is no exception.  Suggesting a starched based diet will lower fat buildup is a mistake.
 
travis laduke
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Why aren't asian people fat?
 
Abe Connally
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Just for the record, I am not saying starch is bad, but it is also not a cure-all for weight loss and health.  I just haven't seen any example of starches alone causing better health or weight loss in livestock in my 20+ years of raising animals.

All things being equal, increased starch intake increases weight gain.
 
tel jetson
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velacreations wrote:
Just for the record, I am not saying starch is bad, but it is also not a cure-all for weight loss and health.  I just haven't seen any example of starches alone causing better health or weight loss in livestock in my 20+ years of raising animals.

All things being equal, increased starch intake increases weight gain.


can't find anything to argue with there.  I might add that all things being equal, increased lipid intake also increases weight gain.  likewise with simple sugars.

velacreations wrote:
I don't agree that large scale meat production is necessarily nasty.  Nor do I believe perennial crops/polycultures on a large scale is nasty (forests? grasslands?).

These guys have millions of acres in meat production, yet they are increasing biodiversity, soil fertility, and all sorts of other good things.  So, no, it is not necessarily nasty, just because it is large:
http://www.holisticmanagement.org/


again, nothing to disagree with.  I like HMI a lot.  I wouldn't call HMI's model "industrial", though.  my point was that there are responsible and irresponsible ways to grow most food, whether it's animal or plant, perennial or annual, starchy or otherwise.

velacreations wrote:
As far as the pigs are concerned, even pastured pigs will gain weight when fed grains/starches.  They have plenty of exercise, and all other things are equal to their non-grain/starch peers.  The only variable is the starch. I do agree that everyone is different, but I have yet had a healthy animal loose weight by increasing their starch intake.  I have yet to see any evidence why humans, in general, would be different.


as an animal husband, I imagine you try not to make the critters work too hard for their food.  you, possibly using some things you've learned from HMI, try to increase the quality of the pasture you put them on so that they don't have to go so far to get food.  if you made it hard on them, they would grow very slowly if at all, and you would probably end up with really tough meat.  starches have a lot more energy in them than typical pasture forage, so it's no surprise that they gain weight when fed starches.  if they're already getting enough energy to maintain weight just from the pasture, then giving them extra energy as starch would accelerate gain.

I don't think we really disagree on anything substantial.  we're just coming at it from different angles.

critters' diets are limited by what's available in their habitat, whether that's wild food for wild animals, or food provided by their keepers if they're domestic.  many critters will eat as much as they can get.  the diets of humans in relatively wealthy parts of the world aren't really limited by anything, so to not bloat up into enormous diabetic messes, they have to moderate somewhat.  if we eat too much of just about anything that isn't a leaf, we'll gain weight and store it in adipose tissue.

I think Dr. McDougall overstepped himself pretty substantially, but I don't think decreased lifespan can be blamed entirely on starchy diets.  along with the change in diet, agriculture led to more dense settlement.  dense settlement presents a lot of problems related to disease spread by shit that doesn't have much to do with diet.  there were also a lot of new stresses presented by living close to a lot of people.

again, I'm no big fan of grains or industrial agriculture.  I like starch, though, and I eat it a lot of it and I'm not fat.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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jmy wrote:The human diet is based on starches.


That is true in some cases, but I don't think that aspect of the truth is quite as simple as you present it, here.

It might be worthwhile to get a rough (and very indirect) estimate of the proportion of starch in the diet of an individual's ancestors by testing for the activity of amylase enzymes in their saliva. People seem to adapt to starch levels in their diet over relatively few generations, which suggests to me that this aspect of diet, i.e. any mismatch between an individual's starch intake and the amount of starch they are genetically adapted to, applies a strong selection pressure.
 
travis laduke
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In the video he talks a little about number of amylase gene sites (right term?) in primates compared to humans.
 
Emil Spoerri
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When I first increased lipid intake in my diet (by eating lots of butter), I didn't change much else, but the pounds shed off. I disagree that increasing lipids will always make you gain weight. I used to be chunky, weak and lethargic, now I am thin, wiry and with boundless energy.

When I cut out carbs my energy lasts all day, even when I am mentally and physically very tired on a low carb diet now a days, I can easily push through it and get moving again and... feel awake again!

Funny, I was just reading Dr. Mercolla's Nutritional Typing Test. He claims that people are either Protein type, Carbohydrate type or somewhere in between. He claims that most people seeking nutritional healing are protein type, simply because modern cultural diets are typically so carbohydrate heavy.

My relatives from northern and eastern Europe lived off of cows, sheep and goats in cold, hilly regions which aren't very good places to grow crops. Perhaps that's why I get crazy gastric distress whenever I eat a meal of beans.

Funny though, because I grew up mostly on carbs, but I feel so much better now that I have restricted them from my diet.

 
tel jetson
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EmileSpecies wrote:
When I first increased lipid intake in my diet (by eating lots of butter), I didn't change much else, but the pounds shed off. I disagree that increasing lipids will always make you gain weight. I used to be chunky, weak and lethargic, now I am thin, wiry and with boundless energy.


definitely won't always lead to weight gain.  but if a person is holding steady at a particular weight, then adds more calories of any kind without increasing activity (the "all else" in "all else equal", I think that chances are pretty good that the person will gain weight.  that seems intuitive, anyway, which doesn't mean it's true.

EmileSpecies wrote:
My relatives from northern and eastern Europe lived off of cows, sheep and goats in cold, hilly regions which aren't very good places to grow crops.


I've got ancestors from all over the place.  I'm going to assume that means I can eat whatever the hell I want and feel great.  of course, it could also mean that I won't feel great no matter what I eat.  or maybe it doesn't mean anything.
 
Warren David
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jmy wrote:
"John McDougall MD, presentation at the VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo 2010.

This truth is simple and is, therefore, easy to explain. You must eat to live. The human diet is based on starches. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans you eat, the trimmer and healthier you will be -- and with those same food choices you will help save the Planet Earth too."


http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/starch_solution.html
Dr. McDougall.  Yeah well if people want to take advice on how to look trim from  a guy with skinny arms a pot belly then that's up to them.
I'm not saying his high starch diet  doesn't work for some people but McDougall is living proof that it doesn't work him.
 
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