A big part of what drives this website is the great reader feedback, questions, and comments you give us. We want you to know we’re listening and even use your feedback to drive our future topics. Please enjoy a few recent comments that really grabbed our attention and our responses:
1. A READER QUESTIONS USING BMI AS A MARKER OF BODY COMPOSITION IN THE PALEOLITHIC
Article: Obesity in the Paleolithic: The Odd Case of the Venus Figurines
Trbobtch on August 3, 2016 writes:
I have to say, I am really surprised you chose to use BMI info. I’ve seen enough evidence to suggest that BMI is pretty much BS. My 6’0″, 15 year old (at the time) son was labeled as overweight, despite a 31″ waist and extremely slim, athletic build, because his BMI was in that range because he was somewhere around 180lbs. I have no doubt that this is and was explained by muscle mass (and he is NOT massively built, a bodybuilder or even a high performance athlete, just a regular semi-athletic kid who works out a few times a week to throw discus and shotput.
Alessio on August 4, 2016 replied:
Yeah the BMI is too simplistic indeed, however I think it’s been used because of the lack of deeper data about hunter-gatherers. It’s all Dr. Cordain could have about them and you have to compare the same kind of data.
2. SHARING SOME THOUGHTS ON WHEAT AND THE GUT
Article: Wheat Sensitivity: A New Study Shows It’s Not in Your Head, It’s in Your Gut
Alessio on August 9, 2016 writes:
It’s been confirmed what we already knew and your 4 part series brilliantly enlighted.
I’ve been thinking exactly the same and I’m a bit surprised that the extensive research about zonulin by Fasano has not been taken into account. The authors claimed that the mechanism underneath the leaky gut is not known but Fasano already explained very well and I don’t know whether they are aware about it.
Moreover, the 2015 study guided by Hollon, shows once again that gliadin triggers leaky gut in everyone, with the “healthy” control group showing even more leakiness than celiacs in remission following a GFD.
It means that more or less it affects all of us, and the harm depends on immune system, biome, etc..
Jason on September 22, 2016 added:
I just wanted to add my personal experience here that probably goes along with some of the research discussed in this article. I was experiencing GI issues that were often explained a IBS-D. I often was placed on meds to combat this (Bentyl, for example), and it worked a little bit. Nothing got close to curing me, but at the same time I wasn’t interested in a life-long commitment to a drug. I changed PCPs, and he suggested 1) get a food allergy test, and 2) visit a GI doctor. First I visited the GI doctor, who confirmed I needed to get a food allergy test, but he also suggested scoping my stomach and intestines. The scopes proved everything was in proper working order with a bit of acute inflammation. The food allergy test, though, was the enlightening part. I had slightly elevated levels of IgE (in the range of 1.5-2.5 kU/L) for wheat, barley, oat, rye, tomato, and peanut. Nothing else in the test tipped the scale. These are all things I had been eating all my life, and I never suspected an allergy because I never had the typical swelling/redness/hives reaction you might expect from a peanut allergy or a bee sting. Suffice to say, I’ve been trying hard to avoid all of these food since then. And the symptoms have vastly improved. Not gone, mind you, but I don’t worry about where the bathroom is anymore.
Mark J. Smith, PhD on October 8, 2016 replied:
Thanks for sharing your experience Jason. It would be very interesting to monitor your symptoms while strictly avoiding the offending foods for at least a month. I know this can be very challenging, but do get back to us with what transpires if you are able to implement a complete elimination of the foods.
3. PAT QUESTIONS NUT CONSUMPTION
Article: Going Nuts: All the Bolts
Pat Murphy on August 18, 2016 writes:
Boy did I need this article. I have made nuts my go to snack. I literally consume several handfuls of mixed nuts each day. The rest of my diet except for the occasional frito is PALEO. I work out regularly and do a lot of hard work around the yard but my weight has been going up in spite of all of this. It’s been gradual but it is happening. I was ready to blame the few chips I eat as well as a glass of wine or two at night. The nut thing kept coming up in my mind as a possible cause of weight gain. After reading this article I am going to shut down the nut for a month as well as remove the chips from my diet. I am hopeful that I will see my “perfect weight” again as I was quite happy and felt quite good. It’s not that I don’t feel good but I do feel heavier than I should be. Hope this works.
Mark J. Smith, PhD on October 11, 2016 replied:
Some individuals certainly have to monitor their nut consumption whereas others don’t seem to have an issue with a higher volume of nuts in their diet. Let us know what transpired for you from your reduction of nut consumption. Thanks.
4. CASEY DISCUSSES ADDICTION
Article: Is Sugar Addictive?
Casey (not the author) on August 29, 2016 writes:
“The hypothalamus, which plays a key role in the homeostatic regulation of food intake, is activated by glucose or fructose in adolescents who are obese. But it is not activated in those who are lean.”
This doesn’t really mean much as not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic either. And, we do know that overeating sugar (abusing) would lead to obesity relatively quickly. With drug and alcohol addiction, it is believed to be a disease of a brain, that this person was prone to addiction while others are not. It isn’t usually thought that the alcohol or drug rewires the brain to make the person addicted (although there is a camp of recovering addicts who do believe this to be so). It seems the brain could already be set up for addiction in the case for people who are addicted to sugar as well. Also, it is not uncommon for past alcoholics or smokers to develop a “sweet tooth” or what is actually a sugar addiction. As if they have switched addictions from one substance to another.
I wonder if studies have been done on alcoholics or drug addicts showing what their brains were doing when they were actively using v.s. many years after sobriety. And, likewise, it would be great to replicate this with sugar. It would be better if they could do this before a person started using, but that is not really possible!
Casey Thaler on October 12, 2016 replied:
Thanks for your very thoughtful comment! There have been numerous studies looking at overlapping neuronal circuits in addiction (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607335/) and essentially any substance which provides an overload of dopamine and has detrimental effects in excess – is, to me, classified as some kind of addictive drug. While this may not be the opinion of all scientists yet, I believe that time will play the ultimate determining factor here. Beyond that, the nucleus accumbens is the central player in all of these substances (including sugar), and down-regulated dopamine receptors have been seen in those suffering from obesity – as well as those who are addicted to cocaine, alcohol, etc. While certainly genetics may predispose some to sugar addiction (or other addictions), I believe there is good evidence to show the rewiring of sugar addict’s brains, as well as those suffering from other addictions. Once again, thanks for your thoughtful comment, an engaged exchange of differing ideas is what science is all about!
All the best,
5. OWEN CONTRIBUTES TO THE SLEEPING SURFACE POST
Article: Zzzzz… Paleo Sleeping Surfaces
Owen Bruhn on September 1, 2016 writes:
Agree with your points. For many in western society, it will be too uncomfortable to sleep on the ground or floor. Partly due to mental deconditioning and partly due to limitations in mobility and range of movement. In other words, the comfort of luxuriant modern furniture\beds lulls the afferents in the trunk and limbs and permits sleep. Incidentally, some of this comfort may rob us of spontaneous mental relaxation as being slightly uncomfortable is a precondition of staying awake during yogic meditation and hypnosis. Up until just before the industrial revolution the predominant sleep pattern was biphasic i.e., sleep-wake-sleep. Whether it is the regimentation of work\society that resulted in this pattern being lost and or whether there is a contribution of too much physical comfort in the modern beds is unknown (to me anyway). Whilst I agree with the article, I think that the way forward is rehabilitative exercise to regain that lost range of movement and mobility with sleeping on the ground something to be built into a progression later on.
As always on this web site, an interesting read.
6. A READER ADDS TO THE SALT DEBATE
Article: Revisiting Sea Salt: Dr. Cordain Responds to a Reader’s Comment
ob on September 2, 2016 writes:
Back in the 1940s the Yanamamo Indians of South America were used as a model to derive the natural human requirement. This was unquestionably accepted by medical science – as they were the very model of our evolutionary needs- the rest of Paleo diet is taking a little longer to be fully accepted.
The modern Paleo like diet will tend to vary a bit from what hunter-gatherers eat.
1. Processing of red meat removes all the blood from red meat. Blood is very rich in sodium. The sodium content of red meat is thus reduced by something like half.
2. Our water is demineralized and natural fresh waters can contain somewhat more than demineralized. This is a smaller contribution that the processing of red meat.
3. We moderners do not blood drink or eat organs fresh from our prey.
4. Many mammals have a strong salt drive and will seek out salt licks – elephants have actually mined caves doing so. Herbivores will seek out salt-mineral rich plants to eat. Hunter gathers will eat soil etc and there are many ideas as to why that might be and amongst those it has been speculated that a need to increase sodium consumption might be one of the reasons. The amount of sodium consumption and absorption by this route is unknown but the route needs to be mentioned.
For these and similar reasons our sodium consumption on a modern Paleo-like diet may be a little lower than hunter gathers but this is 0.25-0.5 gram sodium chloride (i.e., approx.) rather than several grams sodium chloride which some people seem to advocate. Some supposed Paleo recipes recommend adding 1/2-1 teaspoon to certain dishes.
What do I do? Stick with Paleo diet – as written on this web site and Dr. Cordain’s publications 90pc of the time. Hard exercise in hot weather – I do tend to add a very small pinch of salt to a meal that day. My way of balancing the risks from salt consumption against the risks from salt loss.
Anyway, another interesting read – keep up the good work
7. A READER RESPONDS TO ANOTHER READERS EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH LICHEN SCLEROSIS
Article: Lichen Sclerosis and The Paleo Diet
ARoberson on September 12, 2016 writes in reply to DBennett:
I am in the process of being diagnosed with LS – awaiting biopsy – but my doctor seems convinced. I have been suffering from the symptoms for years but thought that it was yeast due to having had overgrowth issues earlier in life. I am happy to have more information, and more answers, but still in shock. I have said for several months now that when I eat certain foods (gluten based, as it seems) I get almost instantaneous itching. I have recently started following something like the Paleo approach and the last two weeks have gone pretty well. Anyway, your post was the first time I have ever read something so similar to my own experience and I wanted to reply. I just can’t believe that it’s not all in my head, like I had started to think. I would love to talk more with you about what you’ve tried, but I am going to start looking into your suggestion around decreasing/eliminating oxalates. Thank you so much for your post. I am always trying to learn more about foods and how they affect me and this gives me someplace to start with this new (pending) dx.
DBennett on May 17, 2016 writes:
I also suffer from Lichen and I have done a tremendous amount research and self trials regarding diet and its effects on my condition. I can without a doubt tell you that there are two major triggers. Gluten and Oxalates. Both of these two when consumed will trigger an episode within minutes. When I am free of gluten and maintain a low oxalate diet then I become basically symptom free. If for some reason I am in a situation where I find that I can not limit these two items then I know I am looking at a break out of symptoms. Please do yourself a huge favor and go immediately on a gluten free low oxalate diet. This can not do any harm and you will know in a short period of time if it helps you. I have read through my research that you also need to tapper down your oxalate levels slowly as not to create an oxalate dump from your body and make your symptoms much worse suddenly. Please read up on oxalates and where they are located in food.
8. JENNIFER SHARES HER SUCCESS OF GOING 90% PALEO
Article: July: Your Top Five Comments
Jennifer Hillary Devine on September 23, 2016 writes:
Thank you Dr. Cordain and the Paleo team. I refer to your posts constantly and continue to work on the goal of becoming fully Paleo. So far I can estimate that I must be around a 90% Paleo advocate as I still consume coffee and dark chocolate in monitored amounts. Gone are all grains (except sometimes a serving of white rice), dairy and legumes as well as nightshades, nuts, all processed foods and alcohol. Now the simple straight forward diet consists of all the foods that Dr. Cordain advises. I can honestly report that I am totally well, pain free and full of energy with a kind of natural happiness. I am approaching age 71yrs, my only regret being that I took too long to find out about Paleo! Luckily I live in a place that has abundant fresh vegies from farmer’s markets, and access to mostly grass fed beef and lamb. We also can source wild caught Kangaroo meat and ocean caught wild fish. Thanks again. I hope you will all be remembered in history. Cheers, Jennifer