More Heresy on Obesity

Obesity — its causes and consequences — is a frequent topic on this blog (and the podcast too). In the podcast, Eric Oliver argued that “the causal relationship between weight and maladies like heart disease, cancer, and even diabetes has not been firmly established.” That certainly strikes some as heresy. In a recent EconTalk podcast, noted heretic Gary Taubes lays out a well-argued position:  

Taubes argues that for decades, doctors, the medical establishment, and government agencies encouraged Americans to reduce fat in their diet and increase carbohydrates in order to reduce heart disease. Taubes argues that the evidence for the connection between fat in the diet and heart disease was weak yet the consensus in favor of low-fat diets remained strong. Casual evidence (such as low heart disease rates among populations with little fat in their diet) ignores the possibilities that other factors such as low sugar consumption may explain the relationship.

Anyone for the paleo diet? 


Couple thoughts on obesity and autoimmune diseases:
* Its about food quality, not quantity
* Fat doesn't make you fat
* Its about balance (Omega 3: Omega 6 / Acid:Base)
* Its about systemic inflammation

I have been on the Paleo Diet for the past year and, like so many of the other commenters, it has made a profound difference in my overall health.
I just turned 44 and come from a family full of the effects of the SAD (Standard American Diet). High blood pressure, heart disease (dad had a sextuple bypass 10 years ago), type-2 diabetes, and everyone is on statins.
One year ago I stopped eating gluten, grains, legumes, refined sugars, processed foods, and most dairy. Almost immediately I lost weight, went down 2-3 holes on the belt-o-meter and had much more energy than I used to. My LDL went down, my HDL went up and my C-Reactive Protein (inflammation) went down. My LDL particle size went from small dense to large buoyant (which is what you want to prevent heart disease).
Most of these effects happened without me doing hardly any exercise, but when I added the exercise I got stronger and feel even better.
Paleo is not a diet, it is indeed a lifestyle (I'll never go back to SAD) and it works. I am hardly ever hungry because I eat plenty of animal protein, fat and vegetables.
If you want to learn more about Paleo you can start here:



Testimonial: I can only speak for myself. I have never been on a "diet" in my life but steadily gained weight over the years and after each pregnancy (53 years old/6 pregnancies). Blood tests weren't good 2 years ago and dr put me on statin and I didn't know enough to question or refuse it. About 5 months ago, my son told me about the paleo diet. I have lost 30 pounds, many inches, 4 clothing sizes, feel and look great, and took myself off statins. After the dr saw my blood tests and knowing that I had not been on statins for 5 months, he said "Oddly enough, your LDL has gone down, your HDL is as high as I've ever seen, and your triglycerides and fasting blood glucose are perfect." Yes, oddly enough.

Will never go back to flour and sugar.

Ericka C

LOL, oddly enough... The drs are puzzled by the facts! Returning to real food and ancestral eating is endless benefits. Good for you!!!


I thought a calorie was a measurement of energy burned.

So how can you eat a calorie??

Jill Escher

I've been on a Paleo-ish diet for more than a year as part of my recovery from a lifelong sugar addiction, and the results have been phenomenal: loss of 30+ pounds and down to a normal weight, loss of sugar cravings, enjoyment of a wide variety of delicious and inexpensive fresh whole foods (I'm not a big meat eater), great sleep, the disappearance of a multitude of maladies including skin tags and various aches and pains, a steady and strong energy, and much improved digestion and mood. No downside whatsoever, I'll never return to pizza, pasta, bagels, and all that, for sure.

Corpulence in 1864

A little background on the Banting Diet . . .

Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple made her first appearance in a short story written in 1926 called "The Tuesday Night Club." In 1932, this story was made the introductory chapter to a book of Miss Marple stories entitled the "Tuesday Club Murders" (aka "The Thirteen Problems.")

The secret to solving the mystery of this story is to know what is meant when one character, "alarmed at her increased stoutness" is said to be "doing a course of what is popularly known as 'banting.'" If you don't know what banting is, you wont be able to solve the mystery before it is revealed at the end of the story.

Eighty-five years ago in England, they knew what "banting" was, and perhaps even who Banting was. Who does today? Gary Taubes for one does, but I suspect few others.

If you wish to read this interesting case example which started one of the earlier diet movements (and provided the foundation for some later ones, too) read William Banting's Letter on Corpulence, published in 1864.



I wish more people knew what a vicious cycle wheat and sugar puts you on. And that Paleo is so easy. If you must have that burger or chicken sandwich, order 2 and skip the bread.


And here are the numbers on obesity. This way, it is more shocking: Half of the U.S. Population Will be Obese by 2030.


We've spent million of dollars on Infant Formula yet it is still a pale comparison to proper breast milk. This is generally accepted these days. So nearly everyone agrees on Paleo principles since the only reason we have breast milk is better than infant formula (which does indeed work) is its "more natural" and "we've been drinking it for a long time".

Paleo Dieters just extend that past the first 6 months of life...

I can unequivocally say the Paleo Diet changed my life for the positive. I didn't have to buy any books, or nutritional calculators, or fancy exercise equipment, or follow some guru's every word. I read blogs run by real people, getting real results, all freely available on the Internet and changed my own life... Show me any other "diet" that is like that!

Henry Lahore

Yes, a myth.
A chart of death rate and cholesterol for 164 countries shows that INCREASING cholesterol decreases death rate