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Old 12-11-2006, 02:59 PM   #11
Brad Hirakawa
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"Like all things, the dose determines whether we have medicine or poison."

You just bought a tear to my eye... a tear of freaking joy!!!!



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Old 12-11-2006, 03:39 PM   #12
Mike Minium
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What a great paper. Thanks for the resourcefulness and the awesome read!
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Old 12-11-2006, 04:17 PM   #13
Jeremy Jones
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Nice read. I am pretty biased from hanging out will all you bad influences. . .but I tried to read with my proverbial 'witness robes' on and I still was swung to the Paleo side.
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Old 12-12-2006, 09:03 PM   #14
Jonathan Reik
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Thanks to Greg and Robb (and Nicki!) for putting this protein debate together. I really like that it incorporated two scientists in the field, without getting overly technical. I also appreciated that you chose Campbell for the "low-protein" side of the debate, rather than setting up a straw man to be easily defeated by Cordain.

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that Dr. Campbell didn't provide references for his assertions. Without these references, it becomes a bit easy for Cordain to look more knowledgeable, especially when he refers to Campbell's own studies. Furthermore, Campbell brings up some scary points - increased protein intake being correlated with cancers and other diseases, etc - but then cites no evidence. These are serious assertions, especially in this community which consumes a fair amount of protein, perhaps even more than 15%. If the evidence is that compelling, please show us where it is! Thankfully, he does a bit of referring in his rebuttal. However, these citations don't back up his claims connecting protein intake with cancer (other than his own study).

Also, I do not find his assertion that "the ancestral line giving rise to humans was strongly herbivorous" compelling. Those monkeys didn't have our brains, and thus our brain energy requirement, and they lived in warmer climates with ready access to food. When we began to leave those lush environments, finding energy-dense food became more of a challenge than it would have been in the tropical areas where you can stumble across all sorts of edibles.

Furthermore, he spends nearly all of his rebuttal time telling us why nutrition should not be seen through the eyes of evolutionary biology and very little time telling us why excess protein is bad for us. Campbell seems to assume that we have a good knowledge of his work. I do not, and my only knowledge of his book comes from a perusal of the reviews at Amazon. Without that knowledge or references to these protein-damning studies, his arguments about protein being bad and causing this or that disease sound like little more than pleading assertions.

Finally, the last point in his rebuttal is bizarre. It's a vague reference to anecdotal evidence from his colleagues. (My brother's girlfriend's roommate's cousin had the opposite experience, so therefore Campell is wrong. ) This reads more like discussion board flame war tripe than scholarly argument and is a weird addition to an otherwise cogent paper.

However, Cordain's argument is also disturbing in suggesting that saturated fat, not protein is the CVD boogeyman. My understanding is that the science behind that particular line of reasoning is pretty flimsy (see Gary Taubes' The Soft Science of Dietary Fat) and Cordain's allusion to it is not reassuring.

All in all though, I thoroughly enjoyed the debate. I learned a lot and have a bunch of papers to look up now. This sort of honest evaluation of both sides of an idea is far too rare. Thanks for providing it! Will we perhaps see a debate on fat or ketosis in the future? (Please, please!) In any case, thanks again to the PM crew for putting this together and kudos to Campbell and Cordain for taking on the challenge.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:28 AM   #15
Mike ODonnell
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I think there need to be a study done based on the "types" of protein intake. Milk based, Meat based, Grass Fed Meats, Soy based, Veg based etc. Just saying protein is too broad. I'd think they find natural organic/grass fed meats and Veg based to be benefit in all health markers. Where as Milk, Soy, and the conventional modern meat lacking.

Sat fat should be the next debate....that would be a good one!
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:56 AM   #16
Neal Winkler
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Jonathan, you are right to note that the evidence of saturated fats danger is flimsy. In fact, it's non-existant. Cordain actually shots himself in the foot by admitting on his own website in the FAQ section that the diatary interventions have consistently shown no benefit to reducing saturated fat. If you have access to journal articles, check this one out: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...=pubmed_DocSum

Or, check out "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Anthony Colpo.

Robb, speaking of Anthony Colpo, I would love to see a cholesterol/saturated fat debate between him and Cordain, if Cordain has the time to do another one of these. Thanks for all your work, we all appreciate it.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:16 AM   #17
Yael Grauer
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I vote Sally Fallon versus Barry Sears.
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:44 AM   #18
Scott Kustes
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Just finished this last night and after some digestion time, here are my thoughts:
- Campbell needs citations. It's very easy to dismiss his claims without them.
- Campbell is extremely dogmatic and didn't appear open to even considering Cordain's ideas, except the one about no dairy which he agreed with in the beginning.
- Campbell makes some very good points though. Such as being too tied to "Paleo". Our ancestors did what was necessary, dictated by their environments. While I agree that the hunter-gatherer eating pattern is healthiest, there may be "non-Paleo" foods that are not altogether unhealthy.
- Cordain is still on the saturated fat kick...I'm not with that.
- I agree with Mike about "protein." Hot dogs have protein. So does grass-fed bison and wild salmon. Tofu has it, as do miso and natto. There are huge differences in all of these items (namely nitrates/ites in the dogs and antinutrients in the tofu). It's hard to call the anti-protein evidence compelling when they haven't seperated whether the people ate grass-fed, grain-fed, or processed proteins.

Colpo and Cordain had a debate on his old Omnivore site via an intermediary that was doing the emailing back and forth. It's probably available in his "Best Of". A fat debate would be cool though. Why don't you PM people get on this while you're not doing anything else.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:10 AM   #19
Craig Cooper
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-Cordain needs to get on board with saturated fat.
-Campbell sounded like a junior highschool student defending his opinions.
-Campbell provided no references, suggesting that his word is dogma.
-I have a big problem with Campbell's assertion that double-blind, controlled clinical trials have no place in nutritional science.
-I have an even bigger problem with Campbell's assertion that epidemiological studies can provide compelling evidence if used properly.
-I have a huge problem with Campbell's "what works for evolution vs. what works for long-term health" comparison. Talk about reductionist science!
-Cordain's first point in his rebuttal renders Campbell's entire debate meaningless. Campbell's protein "requirements" are based on the assumption that the only use for protein is to replace nitrogen in the body. That indeed is quite the oversimplification.

I really tried to read this debate with an objective, open mind, but it's really difficult when I found myself immediately observing flaws in Campbell's arguements.
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:57 PM   #20
Jonathan Reik
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Thanks for the link to the study, Neal. Good stuff.

And Colpo's book is on my X-mas list.
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