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on 9 August 2010
I'm 67 and my father died of a massive heart attack at that age so I try to look after my health. I've always managed to keep my weight under some sort of control by taking a lot of exercise but arthritis of the knees pretty much put a stop to that about 2 years ago and my weight ballooned. I've tried all sorts of diets and prescription drugs but nothing worked for me. I'm into ancient history and several recent books, including the excellent 'Pandora's Seed, The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization', by Spencer Wells, are starting to present compelling evidence that our Paleolithic ancestors, the hunter gatherers who lived before the introduction of agriculture and man's conversion to a largely grain based diet, did not lead short and brutal lives but were in fact very healthy. Using the latest forensic techniques it's suggested that humanity's general health went into decline for thousands of years after the Paleolithic, when many of the modern diseases like diabetes and cancer started to flourish.

You pays your money and takes your choice but after reading Pandora's Seed, I discovered the Paleo Diet and after five weeks I've lost 14 lbs and not felt hungry at any time. My wife says it's taken 10 years off me already and I'm confident I'll achieve my goal weight. I can't guarantee it'll work for everyone and vegetarians might have a tough time, vegans even more so, as lean meat and fish play a crucial role in the Paleo Diet. I recommend the book and the diet to anyone still seeking their personal answer to weight control.
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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.

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.
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on 25 March 2012
I was recommended this book by a personal trainer. I was very hesitant about it but decided to give it a go - primarily to lose some weight - but also to kick start a healthier lifestyle. The hardest concept is eating meat for breakfast and giving up dairy and gluten BUT the results are amazing. In five weeks I have lost nearly a stone in weight, I'm sleeping better and feel full of energy all day long. It refocusses how you think about food and how lazy we have become eating our 'processed' foods. Do try it!
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on 10 March 2014
Found the book totally interesting even if it was a bit beyond my comprehension in places (Omega 3.6.9. became confusing). Thought it spent too much time on foods not to eat. Clearly American. Is there an English equivalent out there that does not go too deep into what not to eat but has more recipes on what to eat?
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on 26 March 2011
I bought this book on the recommendation of my chiropractor to help me use the diet in his holistic approach to my health problems. Suffering from both fibromyalgia and oesteoarthritis I needed to lose weight and eat less inflammatory foods.
The book sets out to explain the Paleo Diet based on the paleolithic way of life of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. First of all it explains how obesity is the curse of the western world and then tries to put forward good reasons for changing your whole way of eating.
The food that you are required to eat is nutritious, and fresh, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meat,fish and fowl. Nuts and omega-3 eggs are also included. There is also a chapter on exercise and chapter 10 contains recipes.
I found the book really informative and I feel its author, Dr Cordain puts forward an excellent case for the change to this diet, however, I do think he labours some of the scientific reports and evidence to support his case. The book is written by an American for the American market and therefore lacks local information for the UK. Like where on earth in the UK can you buy Bison steaks?
It has convinced me to try the diet and in 4 weeks I have lost 9lbs, without really trying. I have enjoyed what I have eaten and never felt hungry or deprived. The drawbacks are the time it takes to prepare the meals, the fact that you need to shop every few days for the produce to be fresh and the cost. As I am retired it hasn't impacted too much on my life but I can't imagine a busy mother feeding a family on this diet unless she has a very rich husband but I do think something drastic needs to be done to halt the obesity that is sweeping the UK and affecting all its citizens old and young.
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on 6 January 2010
I have a lifelong interest in history. So when i developed some health problems
last summer I decided to fashion A diet based on my knowledge of history. Influenced
by the ideas of Dr Atkins I began to realise that 10,000 years is probably to short a time
for us to adapt to the radical change from Hunter/Gatherer to farmer. As more and more people
talked about the 'wonder' of Atkins the penny dropped and I started to look at the largely
negative impact of carbohydrates. I learned some years ago about the dangers of the high fat/
no fruit diet of the Eskimo so i have a much greater emphasis on fruit than Atkins. I rejected
veg except those that are in fact fruit (Cucumber, Peppers and Toms). But the diet i am following is broadly similar to Cordain's.

Does it work??

I took a calorie counting approach to the diet and found i was not getting hungry (1200kcal per day, ish) Cutting sugar increased my appetite for fruit. I have gone from 18st to 12st 12lb in 4 months. If that were all i would say so what eat less lose weight big deal. But the effects have gone beyond expectations and include, better skin, blood pressure, alertness, less sleepy, better mental health and
increased libido. The stone age man in me still loves black forest gateau, which we all know he used to find growing in cappuccino bars twice a week.

I will soon be exercising and eating more but I will be sticking to my principles and adding some important ingredients i missed but Mr Cordain did not.
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on 11 March 2003
The Paleo Diet is a serious contribution to the diet debate, though not as the writer claims (as they nearly all do) that it is the one and only RIGHT answer. It is a well-argued case but there are some statements I have to disagree with, for instance, Cordain claims that the early stone age people ate a salt free diet, which is highly unlikely given that the African Rift Valley and areas around the Mediterranean basin are rich in naturally occurring salt pans and the herds of animals which hunting tribes follow travel over great distances to seek out these minerals. Our Palaeolithic ancestors were smart enough to do the same and our kidneys are well adapted to eliminating any excess. Salt also provided the original convenience food in the form of salted and sun dried antelope strips still favoured by bushmen to-day.
Another other aspect I take exception to is his statement that since we have fruit and vegetables available all year round from all over the world we should enjoy these unlimited supplies. This disregards both the cost of these air miles in fossil fuel as well as the simple contradiction there is in eating what is not naturally available at times of the year not at all in rhythm with the seasonal rise and fall in our metabolism. For the importance of seasonal and local produce see Udo Erasmus's "Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill" Chapter 67.
Moreover, my most pointed criticism is about the attitude, fairly common among health gurus, of one-diet-fits-all. Cordain's Paleo Diet is, perhaps unwittingly, aimed at the Big Zero - that is the majority of people who still carry the Original genetic marker of the primeval hunter, blood group O. However, evolution did not stand still with the hunter; there is the cultural adaptation of the A group to agriculture rather than gathering by developing a greater tolerance to carbohydrate and of the nomadic B type to a high consumption of dairy produce as a result of the intelligent herding of animals rather than the simple chase after meat.
On the first page of Peter D'Adamo's "Live Right for Your Type" he says : "the science of blood type offers us a unique opportunity to examine the past, tinker with it, and pass along an improved version. It provides the knowledge and the tools, not only to improve our own lives in the here and now, but to codify those improvements into our genetic hard drive. "
So my recommendation to everyone interested in this line of research is to read Cordain's book in the understanding that he is addressing the O's but if you have landed on the A or B side branch of the evolutionary tree your genetic hard drive has already made the necessary adjustment to cope with their specific cultural developments. The amount of knowledge out there is so vast and the lines of research so diverse that no-one can claim to have the complete picture. The Paleo Diet provides a very useful and easily comprehensible starting point and in spite of my criticisms I highly commend it.
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on 27 June 2015
it's ok... just non-sense to be fair. No scientific-based information. claims and assumptions... and got so crazy annoyed that on every pages it is all about loosing weight... i think after 200 times we get the point...
I have made extensive research on Cordain and The paleo Diet as too had to do a presentation at a seminar. All current books are all based on a self-published book back in 1976 that was even worse than this paleo diet book. and it makes me wander how much we have learned in science over the lapse of only 3 decades...
I know Cordain is depicted as the voodoo of Paleo... but unless you need something like the The Auto-immune Paleo Diet because, let's face it, you have no other choice... Going Paleo makes no sense at all. you would be better off eating a balance diet and use some of the info given in the book if you really don't know how to go about it... Then again, compared to other disciples of Cordain, I would prefer to not go for the biased info...
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on 7 June 2004
The Paleo diet is a very sensible approach to weight loss. I am all for going back to a more natural way of eating. However, I do find it rather offputting that Dr Cordain is so negative about other low carbohydrate diets - perhaps he wishes to dissociate himself from the negative publicity. But once you get past those comments, it is a good read. "Neanderthin" by Ray Audette also gives a good grounding in paleolithic eating, but without rubbishing other low carb authors.
I do not agree with Cordain's idea that you can eat fruit all the time and still expect to lose weight. After all, it would only have been available in the summer/autumn to our paleolithic ancestors even if they did move around.
He also seems to rate fats solely on their omega-3 content - and anyone who has read anything by Dr Mary Enig will have a much broader attitude towards fats in general.
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on 10 January 2012
Having been overweight most of my life, i've tried and failed on many diets.... friend of mine was doing the 'Caveman' Paleo diet. I couldn't believe how much weight he lost and how good he looked even though he was 40 years older. I decided to give it ago.

I started at (17.5stone) and within six months I was down to 14.5 stone without making to much effort. However not only weight loss, my Dr said my blood pressure was excellent and my cholesterol was as low as a child in the early teens.

The book does say you can eat as much red meat as you like, but I would say change that to once a week. Chicken, Turkey and Fish are my main proteins.

My skin has cleared up, asthma has gone and I feel my body is crying out for exercise now...before I was always tired and wanted to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea!

What a difference, it's unreal. I'm hoping to shed another 2stone and get down to my ideal weight.

If you love your food but don't want to go on weight watchers counting points diet this is for you.

It's now a pleasure to walk around the supermarket looking at foods I used to eat but no longer crave or want to eat.

Good Luck!
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