Archevore Diet RevisitedPosted: September 13, 2011
I actually shy away from the Paleo label when discussing my diet because I feel it’s somewhat misleading. The real short-hand is “High Animal Fat” but Paleo benefits from mainstream familiarity. Most of the guidelines I follow, I got from Kurt Harris. The man’s site, Archevore (formely PaleoNu), is a treasure trove of nutritional information and analysis. He’s surprisingly been MIA for a while but it’s nice to see that his latest post is an update to his general guidelines.
His aim is to reduce the false herrings and make it more universal. Hence, legumes, aside from soy and peanuts, are not mentioned given their relatively benign nature. I’ve agreed with this for quite some time and thought the Paleo crowd was overreacting about “phytates and anti-nutrients” in legumes. Properly prepared legumes have had a place in one civilization or another for millenias, and most of the vilification demonstrated seemed to me like weak associations. This isn’t a reason for me to include beans though, I still think they’re boring, but won’t complain if I had to eat them.
His admonition of milk is interesting though. You can tell he’s being influenced by the “Food Palatibility” theorem currently floating around the blogosphere and is thus excluding liquid calories out of caution. The idea is that liquid calories are too easy too consume and might potentially lead to issues. It’s hard to see why milk should be mentioned in this circle though: how much milk can you comfortably consume in a given period of time? Compare that caloric load to any other food on the archevore safe list, I don’t think it’s a fair association.
That said however, it’s clear that his list is geared more towards people who have suffered long under the SAD, and this is a means of addressing that. It’s also heartening to see starch vindicated as a nutritional bad guy. Considering Guyenet’s critical look at the carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity, I’m now less and less convinced that carbohydrates as an umbrella term are necessarily bad. Once you have solid foundations, it seems that the general population can safely swing between using glucose or long-chain saturated fats as a fuel. Your mileage will vary, and so will the taste preference. I generally lean towards animal fats, but generally will not complain for want of health or taste if I had to substitute some of those calories with safe starches. Fat and starch are one hell of a drug.