I got 17% done with this book (according to my Kindle) before the gaping holes in the scientific logic finally annoyed me to the point of putting it down. And the thing is, the purported "science" in the first 17% of this book mostly covered widely accepted facts about things like insulin, exericse, and weight control. If de Vany attempted to cover less widely covered areas of scientific human research (for example, the history of Homo sapiens' diet) in the later parts of the book, I can't even imagine how badly he must have botched those up.
I managed to ignore the first errors in thinking, but after a few percent into the book, I started keeping tabs on pages where I found lapses in de Vany's judgment. A few examples:
Page 33: He calls LDL "bad cholesterol" and HDL "good cholesterol". That's a gross oversimplification that's based on the same kind of thinking that led to the cholesterol-and-heart-health hypothesis that was widely propagated but is now widely considered wrong. FYI, the cholesterol carried in molecules of LDL and HDL are identical. Calling them "bad" and "good" cholesterol respectively is inaccurate and misleading. De Vany also makes no mention of VLDL (a subset of LDL), without which any discussion about LDL and HDL is incomplete. For a discussion that does these lipoproteins justice, I suggest "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, which describes their actual mechanisms in great detail.
Page 36: The author claims that "every time you eat, you turn off your body's fat-burning mechanism." Technically true, but I'm bothered by his implication here that if you eat 2000 calories spread out through 6 meals, you might gain weight, but if you eat those calories over only 2-3 meals, you'll lose weight. This is simply not true. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose fat. He's right that "your metabolism burns glucose before fat", but if you eat only a little glucose over 6 meals, this will inhibit your fat burning no more than eating the same amount of glucose in 2 meals. This has been confirmed by study after study. Important to de Vany's hypothesis about paleolithic eating is that ancient human hunter-gatherers didn't have a predictable meal pattern. But he's wrong if he thinks that frequent eating will inherently cause us to become hyperinsulenemic and overweight.
Page 43: The author advises to "avoid bananas (which have too much carbohydrate)." I have two problems with this statement. First, if bananas indeed have a high concetration of carbohydrate, then couldn't you simply eat a smaller portion to not take in as many carbohyrates? Second, a medium banana has 27g of carbohydrates according to nutritiondata.com. This is only 2 more grams of carbohydrate than a medium apple contains, and it's 8 *fewer* grams than a typical mango contains, yet he wholeheartedly recommends those foods in his list of "Fruits to Eat." If he bans one fruit based on its high carbohydrate content, shouldn't he ban other fruits with equally high or even higher carbohydrate content? His inconsistency should be a concern to any reader who cares about the scientific integrity of a book like this.
Page 44: More inconsistencies: On page 44, de Vany claims that "no fat is particularly good for you." Then on the very next page, he says "there is abundant evidence that omega-3 oils have a beneficial effect on inflammation and even obesity. [These oils] also promote brain health. Sometimes I take a cod liver oil capsule." First he says that no fat is good for you, but then professes the incredible health benefits of omega-3 fats and says he even supplements them! Which one is it? I'm just glad I know enough about fats to catch this inconsistency; now I know to be wary of every claim in his book, because he might be equally uncertain or flat-out wrong about them too. Of course, this is all ignoring the fact that it's downright ignorant to claim that "no fat is particularly good for you." All types of fat, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fatty acids, have been found to have unique health benefits for the body. There's even a trans fat (conjugated linoleic acid) that has been studied for positive health effects. "No fat is particularly good for you" is perhaps the most laughable line I've ever read in a book about the human diet.
Page 46: Has the line "You may eat some dairy." This recommendation confuses me. De Vany claims that all grains should be removed from the diet on the basis that humans have no evolutionary adaptation to them, yet most available evidence shows that humans have been eating grains much longer than we have been eating dairy (albeit not at the high levels we eat them today). Using his logic, shouldn't it be more pertinent to cut dairy products than grains? De Vany also recommends "unsweetened yogurt or cheese in small amounts" as his dairy products of choice. Um, where would paleolithic humans have gotten yogurt or cheese? Isn't it much more likely that they would have consumed much higher quantities of plain milk than yogurt or cheese?
Page 47: He says that "butter and lard should be avoided completely", and instead you should eat the oils of "olive and canola, and maybe a little sesame oil for taste." First, his oil recommendations contradict his earlier statement that no fat is particularly good for you. If they're not good for us, why would we consume them in concentrated oil form? Second, I have no idea why he condemns the usage of butter and lard. After all, he recommends dairy products like yogurt and cheese--aren't the fats in butter the exact same as the fats in yogurt and cheese? And lard is just pig fat, which is similar in composition to the fats of mammals and fowl that our paleolithic humans would have hunted. If our paleolithic ancestors caught a particularly fat, I don't know, deer or something, do you think they would have shyed away from eating the delicious fat? Of course not! But oh, de Vany justifies this recommendation by saying "you'll get the fats you need from the animal protein you eat..." Okay, let me stop that quote right there. You can get fat from animal protein? Come again? Protein contains fat? I assume he means that the muscle tissue of animals contains fat as well as protein. But that is a much different thing than saying that protein contains fat. That line is second most laughable of the book.
I put bookmarks on many other troubling pages as well, but frankly I'm sick of typing of this review so I'll stop right here. The lapses in de Vany's thinking in these simple parts of the book give me cognitive dissonance. How can I simultaneously believe that what he says is true while also thinking that everything he claims may be as inaccurate as the quotes I've cited above? This is not the scientific analysis of the merits and content of the paleolithic diet that I wanted. I haven't read any other books about paleo eating, but I know enough to know that this book cannot give you the solid information that any potential new dieter deserves.