Fight For Your Right to Go Paleo

The government has no business interfering with our food choices.


In May the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina on behalf of blogger Steve Cooksey. The suit claims the state violated Cooksey's First Amendment right to free speech when it informed him that his anti-diabetes blog runs afoul of North Carolina laws requiring a license to dispense anything the state considers dietary advice.

This week Forbes is reporting that the main driver of the state crackdown on Cooksey is the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Forbes reports this group, based on internal documents the magazine says it obtained, pushes states to establish powerful dietetics and nutrition boards—like the board in North Carolina that has targeted Cooksey—"for the express purpose of limiting market competition for its Registered Dietitian members." (Emphasis in original.)

If true, this is both illegal and troubling. But surprising? Hardly.

It's just one example of a larger trend. After all, in the United States many regulations and policies steer people toward certain dietary practices and away from others—nearly always with the backing of some powerful, entrenched, monied interest and nearly always for no good reason whatsoever.

For example, government subsidies pay farmers to produce some foods in lieu of others. Think corn, soy, dairy, and sugar. Government policies promote particular foods at the expense of others. The USDA's MyPlate (formerly the Food Pyramid), the Institute of Medicine's proposed EnergyStar-like front-of-package label, and federal licensing and state practitioner requirements for registered dietitians are good examples of this longstanding trend. And regulations make it easier to produce some foods while making it more difficult to produce others. For example, a host of federal regulations create barriers to small-scale meat, fruit, and vegetable production and sale, which often presents immense scalability issues and helps concentrate production in the hands of a few larger producers.

Such a system of picking winners and losers would be abhorrent even if we could somehow label it a success. After all, it's not government's job to promote or restrict particular ways of eating. But because the science behind these subsidies and regulations is often disputed, unsettled, or—even worse—just plain wrong, many argue the results have been nothing short of catastrophic.

Next month I'll sit on a panel at the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium at Harvard University Law School. The panel I'll take part in—Seeds of Discontent: Regulatory Hurdles to Practicing an Ancestral Diet—will look at the many often-terrible ways government has skewed Americans' dietary choices.

Steve Cooksey's struggles in North Carolina (and subsequent IJ lawsuit) are very much on my mind as I prepare my presentation for the panel. Why?

Cooksey is not just a vocal advocate against diabetes, he's also a "paleo" blogger, and the AHS symposium will bring together some of the leading paleo practitioners and proponents in the world. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, supporters of a paleo (or "ancestral") diet advocate eating the foods they argue closely track what humans evolved to eat during the Paleolithic era. Those foods include meats, fruits, and vegetables ("good" calories) and exclude grains, industrial seed oils, and added sugars ("bad" calories).

Advocates of the paleo diet, including author and science writer Gary Taubes, cite evidence that the explosion of obesity in the modern era can be traced to dietary policies that stress swapping out "good" fats in favor of "bad" carbohydrates. In a fascinating interview with George Mason University free-market economist Russ Roberts last year, Taubes argues that the federal government had little or no basis for pushing a high-carb diet on the American people for decades, and solid evidence to do just the opposite. And because the government chose to buck common sense, federal policies centered on shaping our diets have been responsible instead for mis-shaping our waistlines.

While Taubes's appearance on Roberts's popular free-market podcast EconTalk may surprise some, it's further evidence of the paleo diet's appeal to the "free minds, free markets" crowd. If there's one group that's flocked to the paleo diet in large numbers (at least anecdotally) in recent years, it's libertarians (a phenomenon others have noted).

Why might that be the case?

"The government approved diet embodied in the 'Food Pyramid' is what it is because it's put out by a likely-captured Department of Agriculture," says Jerry Brito, a relatively recent adopter of the paleo diet who is a senior research fellow and director of the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center.

Brito explains that government misinformation and subsidies are probably most responsible for pushing an increasing number of libertarians to adopt the paleo diet.

"Beyond that," Brito says, "I think libertarians are generally skeptical non-conformists, and being on this diet is a big middle finger to received wisdom and 'the system.'"

"I see two streams of thought that nicely connected libertarian philosophy and the paleo lifestyle," says Michael Ostrolenk, a policy advisor with the Ancestral Health Society (a co-sponsor of the Harvard conference) and senior coach with SEALFIT's Unbeatable Mind Academy, in remarks that echo Brito's.

"The first being the generally anti-authoritarian and post-conventional streak in the paleo movement," says Ostrolenk. "That lines up very nicely with my understanding of libertarian thought in the U.S. Both paleo as a lifestyle and libertarianism as a world view mostly reject the corporate/state view of how people should think and live their lives."

"Secondarily, as post-conventional thinkers, paleo folks do not tend to throw out the baby with the bath water but attempt to integrate ancient wisdom and modern science," he says. "I find the same attempted integration in many of my libertarian leaning friends."

It would be a grave mistake to argue that only libertarians or those who practice (or might otherwise practice) a paleo diet are uniquely harmed by incompetent and biased federal dietary policies. Another group that in many ways couldn't be more different than the meat-first paleos—vegans—sees some of the same problems with federal policies.

"By giving billions in subsidies to artificially decrease the cost of producing meat, eggs, and dairy, the federal government helps promote the false impression that plant products are somehow more expensive than animal products," says Paul Shapiro, vice president of Farm Animal Protection with the Humane Society of the United States. "In much of the world, the opposite [is] the case: regular meat-eating is reserved for the wealthy."

He's right. But so are Ostrolenk, Brito, and Taubes.

It's nearly impossible to implement federal policy that squares the diets of those practicing a vegan diet with those practicing a paleo one (and vice versa). So which one should the government favor? Neither, of course. Not only does the government have no role to play in making decisions about what we should eat, but the government has proven to be an abominable decisionmaker when it comes to influencing dietary choices. Individuals and families are much more capable of making such choices on their own.

Like me, one need not have adopted a paleo diet to think the government's dietary policies and priorities are out of whack. That's not a paleo principle. And it's not a vegan one—nor a notion unique to kosher, halal, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, raw, macrobiotic, Atkins, Pritikin, or South Beach dieters, either. No, it's just common sense that's free and available to all by the spoonful.

Baylen J. Linnekin, a lawyer, is executive director of Keep Food Legal, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that advocates in favor of food freedom—the right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods of our own choosing.

NEXT: TSA Denies Deaf Man's Stolen Candy Claim; Deaf Man Disappears From Internet

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sounds like one heck of a plan to me dude. Wow.

    1. Yikes. Looks like the Whites are learning that people taste good and hunting for them.

      1. They taste good to us, too. Let’s do the apex predator thing and eat them out of existence.

      2. Just like crackheads will steal anything, sharks will eat anything.

    2. Great Whites eat marine mammals. When you are in/on the water you are a marine mammal. Elasmobranchii-PR flack George Burgess can spin all these attacks as “provoked”, post-mortem depredation of a drowning victim, or explain how it was all the humans’ fault for acting like seals.

      1. Wearing a black wetsuit is like waving a red flag at a bull.

        1. …speaking of humans acting like seals. Why make yourself look black and slick in the water?

          I saw a guy on a bike the other day wearing all camo. If the biggest hazard out there is people not seeing you, why would you wanna dress like that on a bike?

          I’ve seen people wear black wetsuits to go spearfishing… Yeah, that sounds like a great idea! First we’ll dress up like the sharks’ favorite food, and then we’ll go spear a fish and make it flap around and spread a bunch of blood and chum around us in the water!

          You probably couldn’t come up with a better way to try to get bitten by a shark if you stayed up all night thinking about it.

      2. When you are in/on the water you are a marine mammal.

        If Great Whites really thought of us as marine animals there would be 100s if not 1000s of shark attacks every year…not a couple.

        or the more likely scenario which is we would have killed them off a century ago.

        1. mammals

        2. Most people swim/surf in 8-10 feet of water. Great whites don’t tend to feed in water that shallow. Most of these attacks come over reefs that require long paddle-outs to reefs or drop-offs.

      3. I don’t think the sharks are doing taxonomical classification when they’re deciding whether to attack. If it looks like a seal from underwater they attack it, whether it’s a mammal, a reptile, or a surfboard.

        Everything I’ve read says that humans are not good food for sharks anyway — we’re way too bony for them to digest efficiently. So it probably is a case of mistaken identity.

        1. Yep. Most sharks will take a bite and swim away, but that one bite is usually all it takes.

          1. The one in the above link didn’t take a bite and swim away. He tried to get the jetskier who tried to recover the body.
            The jetskier got away but the shark took the surfer’s remains.

            1. Link? It doesn’t say that in the story at all..

                1. SFed the link

                  Sharks don’t mistake Jet Skis, sea kayaks and surfboards for seals. Not when they stalk them in clear water anyways.

  2. Why does homo antecessor have fries on his tray? Did his tribe have a Department of Agriculture?

  3. Why does homo antecessor have fries on his tray? Did his tribe have a Department of Agriculture?

    1. Not only the fries but the soda and the buns on the (assumed) burger. The only thing worthwhile on the whole tray is the pattie and the veggies on top.

      … Hobbit

      1. There’s nothing really wrong with potatoes unless you’re explicitly trying to be low-carb. With the right fat, fries are perfectly acceptable.

  4. The government has no business interfering with our food choices… but it does anyway, because Fuck You, That’s Why.

    1. I beg to differ. Now that we’ve all been thrown into the Obamacare lifeboat, those in charge of the lifeboat will decide who gets what and when for the good of the collektive. It’s like Tony says, your actions now have an effect on everyone else, so everyone else will tell you what you can and cannot do, all through our elected officials.

      1. I, for one, welcome our new dietary overlords.

      2. Great. Emergents. I hate those fucking guys.

      3. Pure bunk .. there’s nothing in ACA that decides what particular care you receive.

        1. And your thorough reading of the 2,000+ pages of the law has determined this? Please elaborate for the physicians on the board, we are eager to hear you parse this.

        2. True, but only technically. Obamacare sets up panels to decide what it efficient and what is not, essentially doing just that. Personal wishes will obviously play no part in this top-down dirigiste Central Plan.

          But my post wasn’t about that, it was about Obamacare not only giving the Central State the power to tell us what to eat, drink, smoke, fuck, play, etc.; it also gives the State the rationale for it, i.e. that **everything** affects health/healthcare costs and is therefore grist for the legislative mill.

        3. It will decide what care gets paid for, and there will be. . . consequences for providers who don’t tow the government lion. they’ve been setting it up that way for years now.

            1. Oh… joke… haha

  5. Well, I put myself on a paleo-like diet starting the beginning of June. Thanks to that and some helpful tip from the commentators here I’m down 18 lbs already and still going, averaging about 3 lbs per week.

    Just wanted to say thanks to the guys who gave the tips.

    1. My instincts tell me that 3 lbs a week might be too fast, but if you’re doing some type of resistance exercise and not seeing significant strength losses, you should be fine. I used to frequent the forums, so obviously I know what I’m talking about.

      1. I used to frequent the forums, so obviously I know what I’m talking about.


        1. What, you don’t think broscience is a valid science?


          1. You probably think Branch Warren got huge using nothing but Muscletech supplements too…

            1. No I do not, and I think it’s disgraceful that he cheats to gain an advantage over natural bodybuilders like Jay Cutler.

      2. I should have added it probably depends on your bodyfat percentage is as well. Conventional bodybuilder wisdom is that the higher your bodyfat, the faster you can lose weight without worrying about muscle loss and other negative effects. Also, keep up the good work!

        1. conventional bodybuilder wisdom also holds that a show-ready competitor is among the least healthy individuals on the planet. Still, the site is pretty good since it’s actual folks detailing what did and did not work for them, at least the ones not on chemical assistance.

          1. Exactly. Low body fat means low resistances to infections and an inability to store vitamins. Combine that with the typical dehydration and sharp intake of cholesterol and sodium necessary to give that veiny, ripped look and you’re talkin some serious stress on your heart and immune system.

        2. . “Conventional bodybuilder wisdom is that the higher your bodyfat, the faster you can lose weight without worrying about muscle loss and other negative effects.”

          No shit Sherlock.

  6. OT non-surprising Kennedy-family news:…..72863.html


    1. DWIs are just rites of passage for a Kennedy.

      1. Amazing what some people can get away with, isn’t it?

    2. Kennedy, the name says it all. Turning our wives into tragic basket cases since 1945 (at the very least).

      Ethel met Robert F. Kennedy during a ski trip to Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec, Canada during the winter of 1945. At the time, Robert was dating Ethel’s sister, Patricia. That relationship ended and Ethel and Robert started seeing each other.

  7. Question for paleos – what’s the deal with the anti-dairy part of the diet? Is it because it’s cow’s milk? Because mammals have existed for about 180,000,000 years.

    1. Im guessing that herding animals is part of the post-paleo agricultural period.

      1. We used to just wrestle down that wildebeest and suck her tits.

    2. If I had to guess, I would say it is because milk was not a regular part of an adult diet for the vast vast majority of paleolithic mankind. Seems kinda silly to me, but hey, their choice. I will not give up my no-sugar added icecream. Or milk for that matter. Or cheese. Yum…cheese.

      1. Yeah, the dairy thing is what keeps me from going full paleo. Whole milk, ice cream, and cheese are too good to give up.

    3. Well, it’s not considered to be a major thing, I drink plenty of cream myself. But drinking milk as an adult would’ve only been around since animal husbandry became common. Some people have claimed to have had great success going on a strict paleo diet that cuts out milk. I’ve never tried it myself.

      If you want to experiment on yourself to see where you are on the lactose (etc) spectrum you could try going strict paleo for a few weeks then gradually add in things one at a time like milk or nuts to see.

      1. No yogurt and (especially) no cheese would make me a sad Penguin. It also makes eating broccoli and cauliflower a much less attractive option. Since I’ve cut out dairy previously with no effects, I think my lactase is working okay.

        Also tricky (but not a deal breaker) is limiting fatty / processed meats. It’s just a shame that nitrate-free pepperoni is so expensive.

        1. My local grocery store carries a line of low-carb yogurt.

          … Hobbit

          1. I felt lucky to find one without reduced fat.

            1. Full fat Greek yoghurt is the best, we buy this kind:


              It is available at most grocery stores, even your regular Kroger-type places. Or you can pay more for it at Whole Foods.

          2. Mine has been carrying it for years. It’s called “Plain.”

          3. Mine has been carrying it for years. It’s called “Plain.”

        2. Well even for people without lactase persistance, cheese and yoghurt shouldn’t pose a big problem. One of the advantages of cheese was that it allowed lactose intolerant people access to milk calories. Hence the Mongols would milk their horses, put it in leather bag and tie it to their saddles to let it ferment for a few days.

          I’m personally skeptical that nitrates are unhealthy, but there does seem to be a link with processed meats and cancer and other things are probably to blame. I’ve not read that much about the processed meat thing but I don’t really sweat it. Much, much more important is to cut out the n-6 oils, sugar and wheat (but I still indulge in the occaisonal beer, bread and pizza).

          1. yoghurt

            Drop that “h”, fruitbat. This is America.

            1. I grew up overseas, so I still put the “h” in it.

          2. I haven’t eliminated nitrates, but I should watch them. Besides cancer, they’ve been implicated in worsening breathing in people with asthma, COPD, and similar conditions. My anecdotal experience tells me there’s something to that.

            1. My anecdotal experience tells me there’s something to that.

              By all means go with that, just try to be careful to eliminate as many variables as possible when winnowing down these things. Or just go with your gut feeling as I do.

              Drop that “h”, fruitbat. This is America.
              I just looked out the window but there were no land whales wearing sneakers. Don’t fucking scare me like that.

              1. I just looked out the window but there were no land whales wearing sneakers. Don’t fucking scare me like that.

                Oh snap!

        3. Greek yogurt ought to be ok, if you don’t do the fruity sweetened kind.

          You can do a lot more with yogurt than mix fruit in, as Indians do. I have fondness for Raita, which is yogurt spiced with cumin and with things like green onion and mint mixed in.

          1. Greek yogurt with a drizzle of fine EEVO. Top with kalamata olives, and garnish with fresh mint. Maybe a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with pita. Delicious.

            Of course, the pita will exclude it from being paleo, but fuck it.

            1. If you are going to do that, jut strain your own yogurt and make Labneh.

              Take a quart of yogurt, mix in 1/4 teaspoon salt, line a sieve with a couple layers of cheese cloth, strain it, tie the cheescloth up in a bundle, and hang it from the cupboard for 24 hours. Serve as above … olive oil, mint, olives oh my god.

              1. Yeah, Labneh, that’s it. Sooooooo goood!

          2. I do berries, hemp seeds, and a teaspoon of maple syrup in my full-fat Greek yogurt. It’s a great sweet treat, and fairly paleo-friendly, since the maple syrup is all sucrose, no fructose. And we all know fructose is the fucking devil.

      2. How are nuts not paleo?

    4. It’s not a steadfast rule, AFAICT. I’ve been paleo for about 5 months and cheese helps make things taste better. Just finished breakfast with bacon and cheese-covered eggs. Yum!

      Been averaging about 1lb per week weight loss. I could probably lose more by exercising a bit more and by watching my calories but it’s good enough for me.


      1. I would recommend the exercise for its own sake, but I’m a bit of gym rat, the endorphin rush and all. A pound a week is a sensible pace. Congrats on your progress.

        One undervalued piece of adding exercise is that it reinforces what you are doing as part of an overall lifestyle change rather than just a diet. The world is full of folks who went on diets, lost what they wanted, stopped, and put all the weight back on and then some.

        1. Exercise is good for reasons completely unrelated to weight loss. So you should be doing it anyway.

          It helps if you make it part of entertainment, like hiking or biking or playing a sport. Much easier to get in shape by going on a 7 mile hike every weekend than trying to do situps on your living room floor.

    5. Gary Taubes told me I could have cheese, and you will pry it from my cold, dead hands!

    6. There are a number of cultures around the world where consuming non-human milk never became common. Consuming breast milk, however, should be acceptable.

      1. Cows milk is for baby cows!

      2. All milk is breast milk.

      3. Arranging the breasts with milk is the problem.

    7. Lactose is sugar. Generally, if you are on a paleo/primal diet, you’re trading sugar for healthy fats. Dairy like full fat greek yogurt, butter, cheese and cream have plenty of good animal fats and little lactose. I eat all of those regularly (I watch the yogurt a bit, though) and I’ve maintained my ideal weight for months. Also, if you like ice cream, try some made from coconut milk 🙂

  8. It’s nearly impossible to implement federal policy that squares the diets of those practicing a vegan diet with those practicing a paleo one (and vice versa).

    Actually, its the exact opposite of nearly impossible, as its the easiest thing to do. No policy at all handles that perfectly.

  9. OT: Chavez says Obama is a good guy. You betcha.

    1. Well, if Hugo says so, then it must be true!

      1. I can’t say I’m surprised.

    2. When I talk to captain zero’s supporters I end up being stunned at the amount of vitriol they have for anyone other than leftists. And stunned at how blind they are. The only explanation that makes any sense is that they really do hate America.

      Stupid, stupid shitheads have no idea how lucky they are to live here, and what a crime it is to wreck this country.

      1. I used to date a girl from SoCal who was about as hardcore California liberal as you’ll ever find. I remember asking her why she had so much hate for everyone who did not agree with her, except for me apparently, because at the time I thought liberals were supposed to be tolerant. Her answer was basically that no, they are not tolerant and pretty much hate everyone who doesn’t agree with them.

        1. yeah, been there too. Once when my version of your gf was ranting about how chickens are tortured for egg production, I took here to an egg farm. The farmer showed us around. The chickens were well treated. Unhappy chickens dont lay eggs. That particular farmer piped classical music in for his hens. She hardly said a word the whole time.

          A week later I heard her ranting to one of her friends about the same untrue bullshit she had gone on about before visiting the farm; their beaks and feet are cut off and they are tube fed etc etc.

          Impossible, intransigent, intolerable. Fuckem.

          1. Yeah, she used to rant all the time. Two of my favorites: 1-Corporations are evil, meanwhile her mother sits on the board of some of the largest corporations in the world. 2-School choice for me but not for thee! This from someone who never set foot in a public school of any kind.

          2. Sometimes I try to reach the same level of shameless dishonesty in a sort of “be the wolf” approach to my opposition. Honestly, I’m not capable of it. I’m just too self-aware to lie that blatantly.

  10. Certainly laws that restrict free speech in the name of protecting citizens from hearing “unauthorized” nutrition advice should not exist.

    That said, Gary Taubes’ evidence is cherry-picked.…..t-fat.html

    If you’ve only read his books, and you’re not acquainted with the field, you will not learn how much research contradicts his views.

    Which is not to say his advice won’t help you lose weight. Practically any diet does; people eat a lot more than they think they do, unless they are paying close attention.

    Studies show that low-fat and low-carb diets are about equally effective. Some people might find it easier to stick to one vs the other.

    1. Any pattern of behavior that reduces the intake of easy/bad/fast calories and increases activity will cause one to lose weight. Understanding these simple principles and using a little fork control is all that is needed.

      There is way too much magical food mumbo jumbo out there, and the people falling for it are doing so because they are abysmally ignorant about nutrition.

      1. Eat less…move around more…

    2. The “calories in, calories out” model assumes we process all food types equally. What if it’s wrong? If the insulin hypothesis is correct, nearly all simple carbs are used for immediate energy or made into fat, with only the fibrous material left as waste. However fat is definitely excreted – at least in part – meaning it is not entirely consumed. This alone should go a fair way to disprove the lipid hypothesis.

      1. Calories in, calories out makes no assumptions. Its basic fucking math. If fat is excreted and not processed, those are calories out, for example.

        The tricky part of calories in, calories out, is realizing that the two are interrelated functions and TYPE of calories does change the equation, but doesnt change the fundamental math.

        1. A classic post on the thermodynamics of CI/CO. Some paleos have moved much more into the calories matter sphere recently. But the basic idea that all calories were not created equal is something I buy, even if it is less fashionable than it used to be.

        2. I’ve heard a lot of people who bring it up essentially deny there were differences in the metabolization of different food types.

          1. Huh? Perhaps some basic chemistry lessons would be in order for them.

        3. The equation itself makes no assumptions, but people who use it do. Their argument is that the only way to burn calories is to exercise and any you don’t burn off is stored as fat. This is the untrue part.

          1. so they think that daily body processes burn nothing? Wow. Everyone has a basic metabolic rate and everyone’s body has a particular caloric level that ensues stasis in terms of weight.

            The trick is in figuring out how different macronutrients act in your system. Men and women has some differences and so do folks with different body types. Realize this is preaching to the choir with you, but damn, it is irritating to hear people not just spout bullshit to others but also get paid for it.

      2. 1. Every calories in, calories out model I know of has only studied respiration as a means of counting “calories out”. Our bodies are not perfectly efficient. We shit out calories too. I’ve not yet heard of a study that did calorimetry on people’s bowel movements in addition to respiration studies. It may have happened, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

        1. The fact that no one has calculated it correctly doesnt make the formula wrong.

          1. The fact that no one has calculated it correctly doesnt make the formula wrong.

            No one that I know of who says that calories don’t matter is trying to repeal the second law of thermodynamics–certainly not Taubes.

            1. You mean the first law of thermodynamics.


              1. Yup! Thanks.

          2. The fact that we can’t count the label calories all being absorbed is problematic to the the idea. Does your weight change by exactly the difference of your respiration and intake? No. As has been pointed out, American’s average weight gain would be a net +20 cal/day. If the calories in/calories out crowd were correct, a 10 minute walk would solve all of our problems. So it is a completely useless argument meant to obfuscate the fact that what we eat matters.

            1. Math doesnt obfuscate anything.

              The use of the math does. The math is still fucking correct.

              1. The math being correct doesn’t matter if it’s irrelevant to the application. And… I say that as a mathematician.

                “Calories in, calories out” is usually referring to “calories in” as being calories entering your mouth. Not calories entering your bloodstream via the digestive tract, which as Brett points out, is extremely difficult to measure, making the true version of CI-CO irrelevant for all practical purposes.

                1. Calories in refers to calories entering the system, defined as your body, thru whatever source.

                  Calories out refers to calories exiting the system, thru whatever source.

                  I prefer Joules in, Joules out, but thats because I prefer to stick to SI units.

                  1. Great, how do you determine how many calories are entering this particular system?

                    I can write down an integral for the moment of inertia of a bike helmet pretty easily. calculating it is quite a different story.

                    1. Its a fucking hard problem.

                      I never claimed otherwise.

            2. robc is in many ways a pure scientist, as I understand him through his posts. Often, if you think he is making an incorrect statement, especially an obvious one, you just need to reexamine your assumption of what he said.

              1. I love robc most of the time, but his issue is that he makes statements with strange, unusual assumptions built into them and expects everyone else to agree with those assumptions.

                “Calories in calories out” is almost always referring to something that is not what he’s talking about. And what he’s talking about may not be incorrect, but it’s irrelevant because it’s nearly impossible to measure “calories in” under his assumptions.

                1. I love robc

                  You know how I know you are gay?

                2. Its just like I learned thermo, you draw a dotted line around the system and anything crossing the line is going in or coming out.

                  That is the fucking assumption behind Joules in/Joules out.

                  1. The nice thing is, you can treat the stuff inside the dotted line as a black box, you dont need to know whats going on internally.

                    Now, if your goal is to, say, maximize the calories out, you might want to understand how the internal system works. And that is where what you eat matters.

                  2. robc:

                    Great. We all agree that Conservation Laws apply to the human system. Now admit that the system is sufficiently complex that measuring the amount of energy contained in the food put in one’s mouth and the amount of energy burned by respiration will not be balanced by simply assigning the difference to weight retained. Asserting such a simplistic balance is the calories in/ calories out argument as it is made in dietary circles, and what I’m arguing against.

                    1. See my 10:08 post:

                      “The tricky part of calories in, calories out, is realizing that the two are interrelated functions and TYPE of calories does change the equation, but doesnt change the fundamental math.”

                    2. It changes the fundamental math by making it nearly impossible to provide inputs for.

                  3. It is funny that a hardcore libertarian now insists on using the units that the SI commands you to, even if the market of ideas has chosen calories as the appropriate measure.

                    1. I dont use them because SI commands it, but because they are easier.

                      When I worked in Switzerland, my boss was stunned that I had no idea the conversion between kg and lb, because I never used lbs in sciency stuff.

                      cgs even bothered me, but I learned to use it, because of the barn.

                    2. Calorie is a cgs unit…

                    3. Oh wait, that’s the erg. Never mind.

                    4. I’ve seen kilojoules instead of calories on food packaging, albeit on food sold in foreign countries.

        2. A study like that would be necessary to really be able to determine how people process food. It would also be gross, which may be why it hasn’t been done, or it has but we never hear about it.

        3. There’s also futile cycles which I’m pretty sure don’t show up in respiration either.

          1. I though futile cycles was a reference to America’s two party elections…

            1. That’s just libertarian propaganda. The two party system rocks!

    3. Read Good Calories, Bad Calories before accusing him of cherry picking. It is exhaustive. So exhaustive that he had to write a book that was 1/3rd of the width because people wanted to read the argument without the exhaustive evidence.

  11. exclude grains, industrial seed oils, and added sugars (“bad” calories)

    So….Whyte Injun was right all along…


    1. GET OUT!

      * stern face…pointing at door *


    2. The people Mary was quoting were both right and horribly wrong.

      For those not familiar with simulating annealing or the concept of global/local minima/maxima, I can give a simple example.

      Go outside. More than likely wherever you are standing isnt perfectly flat. Walk uphill. Keep walking up hill until you cant any more, as every direction would be downhill. Congratulations, you are on a peak and more than likely its a local maxima. If you are on the top of Everest (or K2?), its a global maxima, but Im betting you arent.

      Same goes for paleo man. He was at a local maxima for longevity and health. Switching to agriculture shortened his life and made him less healthy, but it was necessary to pass thru that valley to get to the industrial age and then the information age, in which we now greatly exceed the longevity and health of paleo man.

      1. Who is “we”? Are we including every human being alive? If so, HGs were far, far healthier and long-lived than, say, your average Bangladeshi.

        1. Have Bangladeshi’s reached the industrial age yet? Much less the information age?

          Then Im probably not including them in the “we”.

          1. So we’re still not sure if history is progressing towards even better health or not. Got it.

            1. ???

              We are sure. “We”, information age man, is healthier than paleo man. That seems like progress to me.

        2. “If so, HGs were far, far healthier and long-lived than, say, your average Bangladeshi.”

          Hmmmm…..Paleo man had a life expectancy of ~40 years. CIA factbook puts Bangladesh in 2011 at 70 years.

      2. Yes. Paleo diet is optimized for an average life expectancy of maybe 30 years, although the standard deviation was huge (many died very young, those reaching about 15 probably had a life expectancy of 50). A diet optimized for our current average life expectancy could be very different.

      3. I take it you’re just namedropping simulated annealing, unless you’re claiming the ice age was the high temperature domain.

        The problem with paleo foods is that you can’t feed dense populations with it. You couldn’t feed 6 billion people on earth a paleo diet; probably not even 1 billion.

        1. Simulated annealing is a programming algorithmic technique for finding maxima/minima that arent just local ones.

          Has nothing to do with temperature. The “simulated” part is because the technique is based on how annealing works.

          1. I know what simulated annealing is, and how tricky it is to actually be sure you’ve found a global optimum even with SA.

            Oddly enough, right now I’m writing a paper savaging a simulated annealing paper making a bunch of (technically correct) claims about the behavior as the system size goes to infinity, the only problem being that that behavior doesn’t show up until the system is ridiculously large, way beyond any practical application.

            1. I dont think SA necessarily tries to find a global optimum…it just tries to find a better one than more direct techniques would find.

              At least in the problem sets where I used it. The possibilities were so ridiculously large that you just ran it for a reasonable amount of time and call it good enough.

              1. Annealing, for example, doesnt find the optimum energy state, just an improved one.

            2. Simulated annealing was an interesting concept 20 years ago.

              It’s all particle swarm optimization now. Get with the times.

        2. So, where is the problem?

          I dont see anyone trying to force the paleo diet on the entire world.

          1. Um.

            Mary Stack, AKA Pale Savage.

            1. Um.

              How is she forcing the paleo diet on the entire world?

              1. I would say that de-industrialization pretty much leaves paleo as the only option.

            2. touche. I dont count her as part of anyone though.

      4. Switching to agriculture shortened his life and made him less healthy, but it was necessary to pass thru that valley to get to the industrial age and then the information age, in which we now greatly exceed the longevity and health of paleo man.

        Sort of like when you move out of your parents house. At first you’re dirt poor and miserable, but after you get established you find you have a lot more freedom and personal empowerment.

        Also, leaving the welfare state is another good analogy.

  12. I am no big fan of any ‘natural, diets, if only because my reading of what would be natural for blading apes would include sitting in trees, picking parasites of one’s relative while plotting to murder the Alpha Male and his children, so that one might Get Some.

    On the other hand, my instinctive reaction to any Government backed dietary advice has always been “Well, now we know that THAT is a wrong answer.”

  13. Great post.. the gov’t barriers to local food and subsidies on junk calories are a huge percentage of our “health crisis”.

  14. Great post.. the gov’t barriers to local food and subsidies on junk calories are a huge percentage of our “health crisis”.

  15. I would just like to let it be known that I ate a rotisserie chicken for breakfast today. DELICIOUS.

    1. Nice. I plan to eat brisket for about 7 meals straight starting tonight. Bitch has been in my homemade sous vide machine for 30 hours now. I will throw it on the grill for a little while after it comes out and then eat myself sick.

      1. An onion, Swiss and bacon omelette (seriously, spell checker?). Dairy is my weakness; it gives nature a sporting chance.

      2. Let us know how it turned out. I’ve nearly given up doing brisket as anything but pastrami anymore. I can’t get it to come out tender.

        1. Texture was perfect. Don’t think I’ll use the marinade again. But yeah, 36 hours in a plastic bag in a 60C water bath followed by grilling for 10-15 minutes is the way to go.

          1. I gotta try that. I love brisket, but I suck at smoking it.

    2. I initially read that as a robot chicken.

    3. I ate a banana. Fuck you.

    4. I would like it to be known that I had Cap’n Crunch and a pot of coffee for breakfast.

      1. reg-lar or crunch berries?

        1. Regular. The “shred all the skin off the roof of your mouth” type.

          1. true, isnt’ it. You feel like your mouth got sandpapered afterward but, damn, they taste good.

    5. I would like it to be known that I’m going to cook my breakfast right now.

    6. Painkillers and a cheap bottle of beer.

      1. I like your style.

  16. I vastly prefer the Cosmo diet. Tapas, Asian fusion cuisine, and cocktails. I’ve been drinking a lot of rum, lately.

    1. I prefer the seafood diet. I see food; I eat it.

      i guess that joke doesn’t work when typed. also old ass joke.

    2. I’ve never had tapas in America but I found tapas to be the most boring bland shit whenever when I was in Spain. Other than jam?n and seafood (and some surprisingly good local red wine) Spanish cuisine sucks.

      1. You’re either the most tasteless dude alive or you somehow managed to eat in the one place in Spain that has shitty food. I 100% agree with Bourdain that the greatest cuisine in the world is in northern Spain. At least you exempted jamon; that means you’re not irredeemably tasteless.

        Did you have any white anchovies? Arroz negra? Anything?

        1. He’s Czech; he’s not going to eat anything unless it’s pickled and smothered in paprika.

          1. I was born and raised in NM so I do appreciate food that actually has flavor, unlike, say, Spanish tortillas.

            1. Spanish tortillas? The only thing Spanish I’m willing to have is the jamon serrano, the chistorra and the women – as long as they bathe.

              1. See what you made me do? I had to call for backup.

                1. He’s Mexican; he has a reason to hate the Spanish. Besides, Mexican food takes the best elements of Spanish cuisine and adds the best of the Americas.

                  1. Yeah, not to mention that that best ‘Mexican’ food actually came from New Mexico. I’m pretty sure the Mexicans can take credit for the burrito and refried beans…

                  2. Re: Heroic Mulatto,

                    He’s Mexican; he has a reason to hate the Spanish.

                    Indeed – that reason being they dumped their singers on us.

                    There’s an old joke that says the Spanish gave us the alpargata (mocassin), which is neither shoe nor sandal. They gave us the beret, which is neither hat nor cap. And they gave us singers…

        2. Well, I was only ever in Barcelona, and I really love visiting that place in the winter or early spring but I never got into the tapas thing.

          1. The point of tapas is that they’re not supposed to complement and not overpower whatever wine you drink with them.

            1. *supposed to complement

              1. Ok, perhaps that’s the theory, but my coarse palate wants to put up more of a fight.

                1. Hey, I married a Thai chef, so I know all about food that kicks your mouth’s ass. (What?) But that’s why the only complement to Thai food is piss-water lager.

                  1. Okay, if I ever dare step into a Spanish tapas bar again I will take your advice under consideration and load up on the heavy red.

                    1. Indeed. Where’s TWC to give us a good Spanish red recommendation when we need him?

                  2. But that’s why the only complement to Thai food is piss-water lager.

                    Which is entirely wrong. The proper complement to spicy food is an IPA, or similar.

                    It pisses me off that Thai and other asian restaurants havent clued into this yet.

                    1. Yuck. I hate IPAs.

                    2. Pale ale, good pilsner or a not too sweet Reisling or Gewurtztraminer also work well with Thai.

            2. I thought the original point of a tapa was to keep the flies out of your wine glass.

      2. Other than jam?n and seafood (and some surprisingly good local red wine) Spanish cuisine sucks.

        Really? I dated a girl from Madrid way back in the day. She was an excellent cook. I loved every Spanish dish she made. She turned me on to Galician wines, as well. Very good.

        We spent three weeks roaming up and down the coast of Baja California back in Summer of 1995. We would find secluded beaches, set up our tent and skinny dip in the Pacific. The sun and salt bronzed her skin to perfection. Man, I really liked that girl. I should have followed her back to Madrid…

        But, alas, I am now happily married.

        1. I’ve spent some of the best weeks of my life camping on the secluded beaches of Baja. I first went back in high school…

          They say tourists can’t do that anymore. They say it’s too dangerous, which is sad. Damn drug war.

        2. I’ve had terrible luck buying Spanish wines abroad which is why I was so surprised to have such an excellent red recomended to me, in a small shop, in unmarked bottles for 2 euros. Tapas bars were the biggest disappointment, pretty bland stuff. But I have to admit we didn’t try more than two or three.

        3. Galician girls will do it for …

          oh wait, that isnt quite right.

        4. I dated a Spanish guy once.
          He was awful. Idiotic machismo on the outside, and then when we got into the bedroom he wanted me to tie him up and make him wear a chastity belt. I suspect a lot of guys from “latin” countries have the same issues. Something to do with the mix of Catholicism, large families and domineering matriarchs.

    3. I stick to healthy stuff- mezcal with a big piece of lemon.

  17. It’s just one example of a larger trend. After all, in the United States many regulations and policies steer people toward certain dietary practices and away from others[…]

    No shit, and not only steering people into different types of diets: Regulations and licensing laws have the sole and only purpose to protect and limit the market for certain favored (or politically well-connected) industries, from construction to interior design, to medical services and even hair braiding. It has been since the days of the American Revolution: Yes, Americans obtained their freedom but not freedom from anti-market mercantilism.

    Yes, I am still alive. I was away on business (merely asking and receiving permission to get back into the country) but I’m feeling much better now.

    1. Good to hear from you, even if HM thinks we should be enemies (though Octavio Paz would certainly disagree with his sentiment).

  18. Re: Killazontherum,

    Good to hear from you, even if HM thinks we should be enemies

    Come on, he’s the exaggerator in chief. I don’t hate the Spanish. I just hate Pedro Almodovar, only because he’s an obvious misogynist.

    1. Agreed. What the little scuba man did in Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down was wrong on so many levels. still, though wished I was that little scuba.

      1. Re: Killazontherum,

        still, though wished I was that little scuba.

        Leaving aside the fact that chicks do masturbate, the geist of many of his movies is that women deserve no more than to be subdued violently by guys they would not normally sleep with – Hable Con Ella being one example. What I fail to understand is some women’s fascination for this guy’s movies.

  19. ham. fucking ham.


  20. Most of the people I know of who’ve switched to paleo diets are liberals who’ve been struggling with food issues.

  21. “”In much of the world, the opposite [is] the case: regular meat-eating is reserved for the wealthy.””

    Except that chickens and cattle are a third world staple, and are often the only thing preventing many people living in such conditions from starvation.
    This is exactly the type of baseless horseshit one would expect a mouthpiece of the H$U$ to parrot.

    1. He didn’t say they eat no meat, he said they don’t eat it frequently. For a large population to eat meat frequently you need factory farms.

      1. Or a big fucking moose or bison.

        Or a fucking mammoth.

        1. He said a LARGE population.

          You’d have to factory farm the mammoth herd. In which case, they probably be bred to be about the size of cows.

  22. “pushes states to establish powerful dietetics and nutrition boards?like the board in North Carolina that has targeted Cooksey?”for the express purpose of limiting market competition for its Registered Dietitian members.””

    Here we have the same reason why all health services have become expensive and why people use insurance to pay for normal shit they should be paying for out of pocket- like diet recommendations or dental cleanings or breast exams. The issue that the statists never brought up during the bitch circus that led up to Obamacare.

  23. All you dieters are going to be in rough shape when the food shortages come.

    There’s a reason your body wants to hoard fat.

    1. All you dieters are going to be in rough shape when the food shortages come.

      Nope, because I have a shitload of guns. I’ll either steal your food or kill you and eat you.

      I’ve been on the paleo diet since June 1 and am down 25 pounds as of today. I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone says about the diet, it works for me.

    2. Well them I’m fucking set.

    3. Is that a tacit admission that you’re fat, Tulpy-poo?

    4. It’s tough to compete in a food riot when you’re having a stroke.

  24. “Linnekin explains why the government has no business interfering with our dietary practices.”

    This should be self-evident to all. It is unbelievable that this has to be explained to *anyone* much less *everyone*

  25. I believe as we continue to learn about food and try to fight against them, the food lobbyist that control the politicians will try to fight against the movement.

  26. Some times ytou just have to roll with it dude. WOw.

  27. The longer you follow the food pyramid, the more you take on its shape.

  28. Is that a post-doc in the picture?

  29. presentation for the panel. Why?

    Cooksey is not just a vocal advocate…..-c-13.html against diabetes, he’s also a “paleo” blogger, and the AHS symposium will bring together some of the leading paleo practitioners and proponents in the world. For those o

  30. A mate and I just shot nine ducks. Pretty paleo except for the shotguns, which didn’t come about until, I presume, the Iron Age.

  31. It’s just one example of a larger trend. After all, in the United States many regulations and policies steer people toward certain dietary practices and away from others?nearly always with the backing of some powerful, entrenched, monied interest and nearly always for no good reason whatsoever.

  32. Aren’t the Institue to Nutrition and Dietetics and the State of North Carolina engaging in an unreasonable restraint of trade and therefore in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, as well as whatever the North Carolian antitrust law is? Sue the stuffing out of them!!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.