15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Politically incorrect enough to offend almost everyone
The Paleo dietary theory is looking better and better as time passes. I've been successfully losing weight by following principles similar to Cordain's, even before I read his book. Cordain should be commended for defending a thesis that is politically incorrect on many levels.
The Paleo theory offends Creationists, because it assumes an evolutionary explanation for...
Published on March 16 2002 by M. A. Plus
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Is How The Cavemen Ate? Uh, I Don't Think So!
When I first heard Loren Cordain was finally authoring a book on paleo nutrition I was quite excited, for Cordain has conducted a lot of very insightful research into the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. When I finally got to examine the book though, I was sorely disappointed.
Cordain evidently seems to have ignored much of his own research. The most...
Published on Sept. 30 2002 by t-rone
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Is How The Cavemen Ate? Uh, I Don't Think So!,
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat (Hardcover)When I first heard Loren Cordain was finally authoring a book on paleo nutrition I was quite excited, for Cordain has conducted a lot of very insightful research into the eating patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. When I finally got to examine the book though, I was sorely disappointed.
Cordain evidently seems to have ignored much of his own research. The most alarming error is his frequent recommendation to use flax oil when cooking meat dishes. Recipe after recipe calls for marinating cuts of meat in flax oil before cooking - a very bad idea! For those who don't already know, you should NEVER cook with any type of polyunsaturated oil. Their high degree of unsaturation makes them extremely prone to oxidative damage, and this process is greatly multiplied by exposure to high temperatures (e.g cooking temeratures). Omega-3 fats, like those found in flax oil, are the most vulnerable polyunsaturates of all. When eaten, these 'healthy' fats trigger a chain-reaction of nasty free-radical activity in the body, leaving one open to the development of all sorts of degenerative ailments. Cordain should be well aware that liquid vegetable oils simply did not exist back in paleotlithic times.
Cordain also denigrates saturated fat in his book, which once again is rather pitiful considering his background. The anti-saturated fat doctrine is a product of agenda-driven 20th century researchers and beaureaucrats, eagerly supported by commercial interests and their cheerleading squad of ignorant nutritionists, health authorities, and authors. Cordain claims that a single experiment where saturated fat raised cholesterol levels in young men is proof that this fat is bad. Big deal! Such an assertion assumes that the cholesterol theory of heart disease is a valid one. Considering the numerous absurdities inherent in the cholesterol theory, that is a rather risky leap of faith. Hunter-gatherers ate lots of animal fat, which is around 50% saturated. And no, just because an animal is wild does not mean it is low in fat - I had the pleasure of sampling some camel steak last week, and you can be sure I enjoyed every bit of the backstrap fat covering the steak! Even the leanest animals have fatty portions of meat, and if observations of recent hunter-gatherer societies are anything to go by, these would have been the most valued and preferentially eaten cuts.
Cordain also jumps on the anti-low carb bandwagon, even though his own research shows hunter-gatherers were far more likely to consume a low carb diet than a high carb diet. In fact paleo nutrition, with its emphasis on animal foods and starch poor plant foods, and low carb nutrition are a perfect match.
The whole book reeks of an attempt to squeeze paleolithic nutrition into currently fashionable and politically correct guidelines. Only problem is, back in the stone-age there weren't any pompous cholesterol researchers who thought they knew better than mother nature, and there were no advertising campaigns to let people know of the 'heinous' health effects of saturated fat - so people ate it, and lots of it!
Paleo eating is still the ultimate nutrition in my opinion. It is the only eating plan that cannot even begin to be accused of being a 'fad'. Subsistence patterns that dominated for over two million years can hardly be considered a fad. Cordain's book does contain some useful info, but Neanderthin by Ray Audette is a far better, and cheaper, book on paleolithic nutrition. Buy that instead.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Politically incorrect enough to offend almost everyone,
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat (Hardcover)The Paleo dietary theory is looking better and better as time passes. I've been successfully losing weight by following principles similar to Cordain's, even before I read his book. Cordain should be commended for defending a thesis that is politically incorrect on many levels.
The Paleo theory offends Creationists, because it assumes an evolutionary explanation for human origins and why our bodies seem to thrive better on hunter-gatherer foods than on "our daily bread."
It offends free-market zealots, because it implies a criticism of the way American capitalism produces the toxic waste it calls "food."
It offends the charlatans in the weight-loss industry, who offer the simplistic explanation that Americans are getting obese because they are "eating too much," instead of scientifically looking at the consequences of WHAT they are eating.
It offends the American medical and pharmaceutical industries, because it argues that a proper diet to prevent cancer, "Syndrome X," and other degenerative diseases makes more sense than developing exorbitantly expensive (i.e., profitable) therapies and drugs to treat them after the fact.
It offends the social-engineering goody-goods (mostly on the Left) who had the government dictate carbohydrate-heavy nutritional guidelines to us which have proved disastrous in practice.
It offends vegans, because it argues that humans need to eat animals for optimum health.
It offends technological cornucopians of the Julian L. Simon school, because it challenges common beliefs about "progress," and whether our planet can produce enough of the proper sorts of foods for human well-being. Cordain points out that with current technology, only about ten percent of the world's population could be adequately sustained on a Paleo-compatible diet. Unfortunately, the world's impoverished billions have to take their chances with their suboptimal grain-based diet.
In light of this, about the only ideologues this theory doesn't offend are the neo-Malthusians who have been arguing all along that the world is way over-populated. It's not often that a diet book presents a worldview radically at odds with the usual range of beliefs in our society. Cordain's message deserves a wide and thoughtful hearing, for what is more important than our health and the food we eat?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the paleo diet, 3 for this version,
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat (Paperback)I'm a big supporter of the Paleo diet concept and the idea that we need to eat the traditional foods our genes need to be healthy.
This book claims to be the last word in explaining what our ancestors ate, and to not be just another book full of fads, but it is seriously flawed. The author seems to be trying to merge information on what the caveman diet consisted of with as many modern food fads as possible. He is particularly ignorant about healthy fats and oils.
The book is also not very convincing in the way it explains the scientific basis for the Paleo diet.
I disagree with the authors very-low salt stance and would advise them to read about unrefined sea salt and the work of Dr Brownstein on the many myths about salt and low-salt diet scaremongering, and the cholesterol scaremongering as well. The author has also been grossly misinformed about saturated fats. You should probably ignore what the author says about fats and oils in this book, as most of it is just plain wrong.
Liquid vegetable oils did not exist in paleolithic times and cooking with flax oil is very unhealthy! Saturated fats are also an important part of a healthy diet, and eating eggs does NOT raise your cholesterol levels. The 'very high' cholesterol levels mentioned in the book of 208 are also not high at all, and well within the healthy range of 200 - 240 according to lipid expert Mary Enig PhD.
The healthiest oils to cook with are ghee (unless you're 100% dairy free), lard, tallow, coconut and palm oils and olive oil. Oils should never be heated to very high temperatures such as in deep frying. These are the traditional fats to cook with, not flax oil!
The book is also very inconsistent and vague when it comes to talking about supplements. The recommendation given for vitamin C is very low and only the alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E is recommended rather than a supplement containing all 8 forms. It is also not a good idea to take only a few supplements in larger doses as this creates imbalances, and a general basic supplementation regime is a much healthier option.
The book also claims 'protein can't be overeaten' which is just not true as excessive protein intake stresses the liver. Far healthier than a very high protein eating plan is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb eating plan as described in the books on traditional eating listed below. Our ancestors ate a lot of fat and a lot of it was saturated. Saturated fat offers many benefits to the body.
The author is also wrong about the 'calories in, calories out' theory of weight loss. The book 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' by Gary Taubes explains that:
1. The 'calories in, calories out' mantra is a myth
2. 'A calorie is a calorie is a calorie' is a myth
3. The 'just eat less and do more exercise to lose weight' message seems to be logical but is actually wrong and unhelpful
4. Overweight and obese people often eat no more calories, or even less, than their thinner counterparts
5. Low calorie diets also reduce the amount of nutrients in the diet
6. Dietary fat, including saturated fat, is not a cause of obesity. Refined and easily digestible carbs causing high insulin levels cause obesity.
The book 'Know Your Fats' by lipid expert Mary Enig PhD explains the facts about fats and oils and why the saturated fat = heart disease hypothesis is wrong. See also books such as Ignore the awkward! How the cholesterol myths are kept alive.
The book 'The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) is a far better book on the Paleolithic diet.
The book 'Deep Nutrition' offers a far more well researched and credible discussion of traditional foods and how they affect our genes. This book provides a wealth of fascinating and compelling information that is not available for free online. This book and 'Know Your Fats' and 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' are essential reading.
The Paleo approach generally is very solid, but not as it is interpreted in this book. This book contains an okay quality 3 star version of the diet - far better than the standard diet full of refined foods and grains but missing out lots of good information as well. This is not the last word on diet, but a book which is quite faddish in its approach overall.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low-carbohydrate Paleo Diet? -------- NOT------,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat (Hardcover)Dr. Cordain has attempted to jump on the "low-carb" popularity trend but has missed the mark by a mile. I am personally on a truly low-carb diet and eat lots of saturated fats which have given me AWESOME health. My previous high risk cholesterol ratios, blood pressure and weight have returned to PERFECTLY NORMAL. He claims his diet is low-carbohydrate but it certainly is NOT at 30-40% carbs. He also attempts to make a connection between the hunter-gatherer Paleolithic people and his diet, which it is NOT. The hunter-gatherers ate a very high-fat, low-carb diet, and he is proposing a low-fat, high-carb diet. As an example: Dr. Cordain says correctly that wild deer, which he used as an example of Paleo food, is 40% protein and 60% fat. Yet, he suggest people eat a low-fat deer roast cut of 19% fat with all the exposed fat trimmed off. Paleo people ate the high energy fat that threw away the lean meat. His diet is basically the same as the Zone 40-30-30 (c-p-f). It is well known that this diet works for thin, younger people only. Older people or those with a existing over-weight problem will actually get fatter on this diet and develope age-related degenerative diseases. Dr. Cordain says the Paleo people would eat eggs but rarely had the opportunity. Yet, he suggest that eating fruit shipped to your local store from worldwide sources and available 365 days of the year is a Paleo diet. The truth is the Paleo people ate lots of fat and preferred the fat. They wasted the lean meat in times of plenty just as primitive people have done in recent years. The Paleo people had very limited availability of carbohydrate foods, a very limited varity and a very limited season. Some primitive people had NO carbohydrate food available 9 months of the year in northern locations. Dr. Cordain taught in the past that the Paleo people were vegetarian, and he was also a vegetarian at that time. Dr. Cordain's book is full of contradictions which lack logic. He provided a list of reference books but not one reference scientific study to support his assumptions. If you want to read great books about the TRUTH in a healthy diet, healthy fats and primitive peoples, try the following:
Dr. Robert C. Atkins' New Diet Revolution Revised and Updated.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Am more than merely intrigued by 'The Paleo Diet',
His proposal of fresh, natural foods and omitting grains, sugars and salt makes much more sense than consuming heinous quantities of saturated fatty meats and expecting pounds to shed without consequences. I am much more intrigued by this book than the ramrod approach of gurus like Atkins and, I think, this is the ONE diet plan I will be very happy to try out for real.
I would have to agree that the pre-cultivation diet was likely more healthy than the cereal-based diet that began some 10,000 years ago. This grain-based diet has created [my opinion] havoc and its effects have made itself felt since.
Another reviewer cited that this will likely offend everyone. I know very well that the purveyors of all grain-based items will be screaming at what is proposed in this book. They will have fewer buyers if more will take on this lifetime eating plan and will lose money. Some reviewers have correctly brought up the kinds of meat permitted. Dr. Cordain advocates free-range and grass-fed but a budget like mine won't permit this luxury. I'll have to settle for plain ol' storebought in that department. Any nastiness from chemical buildup I think will pale compare to what would be there if I didn't omit grains, sugars and salt.
If it honestly works [don't see where it cannot] Dr. Cordain will have another very happy convert. Then, my only concern will be in convincing my relations that Atkins is more detrimental in the long-run than going back to paleo-foods.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works,
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unecessarily Ridiculous,
By A Customer
This book, however, suffers from numerous flaws:
1. Like another reviewer, I find Cordain's suggestion to cook with flaxseed oil extremely distressing. The flaxseed oil manufacturers themselves (including the ones named in the book) advise against this, as do other authors touting the values of omega-3 fatty acids. This recommendation seriously damages Cordain's credibility. I am also concerned about his suggestion to take 200-400mg of selenium, since the tolerable upper intake from all sources is 400mcg (see NIH Office of Dietary Supplements web site).
2. Cordain suggests increased sun exposure as a source of vitamin D. He's probably right that some sun is helpful. I don't really think we should avoid all sun exposure as some advise. Cordain, however, never really deals with the issue of skin cancer risk, especially since the ozone layer has become depleted in modern times.
3. Cordain has an annoying habit of citing one study to support one or another point he's making and acting as though the matter is definitively settled. ("This was proven by Dr. Smart Guy at Impressive University.") It leaves the impression that he is cobbling together various studies to support his plan and presenting the entire plan as scientifically verfied. He makes no attempt to refute, or even acknowledge, contradictory studies. A certain arrogance pervades the book. For example, he calls the idea that legumes and whole grains are healthy a "myth." Well, it may or may not be right, but it's certainly not a "myth," having been supported by reputable studies performed by reputable scientists at reputable universities.
4. He paints a picture of the Paleo diet as a miraculous cure-all, leading to everything from decreased cancer risk to healthier skin and hiar. These kinds of miraculous claims are always suspicious. He also asserts that Paleolithic people were models of good health. Since they dind't live that long, it's really hard to know how healthy they were. He also makes a comparison between his diet and what he calls the "typical" American diet, and the example he gives would be shunned by everyone from Atkins to Pritikin. This is a false compariosn. There's a big gulf between the Paleolithic era and our obese times. For most of modern history, people have not been this fat; indeed, in many parts of the world, people are still not this fat. Cordain ignores healthy post-Paleolithic diets such as the Mediterranean diet, the Okinowan diet, etc.
There are some good points:
1. Cordain refuses to endorse saturated fats, as do other low-carb authors. (I have a feeling that this is sold as a low-carb book only to market it to the huge audience for low-carb books. While the diet is lower in carbs than the usual American diet, Cordain does not attack "carbohydrates" per se, but food groups such as grains and legumes that are higher in carbs.) As Cordain points out, paleolithic people could not have eaten a high-fat diet if they tried. Even if paleolithic people ate all the fat from the animals they killed, the saturated fat content would be lower, as it is in grass-fed animals and wild game today. Cordain also differs from other low-carb books by advising us to eat much less salt and avoid processed meants.
2. He is correct that fruits and vegetables are vital and a better source of carbohydrates than sugar and starches.
This could have been a good book. It's a pity that Cordain had to write it the way he did.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!,
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat (Paperback)It took a while to get this book. But once I did I love it!!! Great read.Enjoying the new eating life style.
3.0 out of 5 stars ok,
This review is from: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat (Paperback)many of the recepies are too much thinking for me. I like the premis of the book and am shareing some of the information with others.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paleo Diet Book,
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The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat by Loren Cordain (Paperback - Nov. 19 2010)
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