Author Topic: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview  (Read 18028 times)

Offline Eric

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Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« on: May 21, 2008, 04:43:41 PM »
Welcome to the first in hopefully a long series of interviews where you the members get to ask questions of prominent people in the Paleo diet and fitness arena. 

Dr. Loren Cordain is a member of the faculty of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University.  During the past two decades he has researched the effects of diet on human health and specifically examined links between modern diets and disease.  He is the author of numerous scientific articles examining the link between diet and health, and has published three popular books, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, and The Dietary Cure for Acne.  In 2002, he founded the Institute of Paleolithic Nutrition to further our understanding of Paleolithic and modern diets and their effects on human health.  Dr. Cordain and his colleagues conduct groundbreaking research that brings into sharper focus the characteristics and consequences of prehistoric and contemporary dietary patterns.

Ask questions below and I will forward on a subset of them to be answered by Dr. Cordain.

Update: Taking questions until 06/07/08.  Good arbitrary date

Questions submitted 06/07/08 - Eric

Question answered 6/11/2008 - Eric
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 04:32:07 PM by Eric »

Offline Hizzoner

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 06:29:13 PM »
I would be interested in knowing if his stance on saturated fat has been swayed any by his colleagues


Offline Barbaric

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 09:37:36 PM »
After reading about the picnic on his colleague's blog, I was wondering if Dr. Cordain might share some more info on his research into dairy.  I know the work isn't published yet, but I understand that he's working on interaction between dairy and grains and whether or not dairy might be healthy without grains and gluten.

Offline skorpion317

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2008, 09:05:22 AM »
I'd be interested to know if certain species of plants and animals are more nutritionally beneficial because they were more accessible to our Paleolithic ancestors, or if there's really no distinction between common and uncommon food items.

For example, crabs are a more accessible shellfish than lobster. Smaller game (like pigs) is more accessible than larger, potentially more dangerous game (cattle, for instance). Common plant species are more accessible than rarer, exotic plants.

Offline George

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 09:42:13 AM »
Hope I'm not too late

"How would you quantify optimal hydration for the human animal, and how would you suggest such a state be maintained in a modern environment?"


Offline PenskeFile

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 08:15:10 PM »
I would be interested in his views on vitamins and nutritional supplements.  Does he take any personally or recommend any for certain conditions (eg glucosamine/chondroitin for knee joint pain).  Fish oil, glutathione?

Offline andrenio

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 11:15:55 PM »
I would like to know about seeds, why some aren't acceptable, e.g cereals and legumes, but others are acceptable, e.g. nuts. And what about some seed species such as nutmeg, which I read he advised in his book Paleo diet for athletes, or pepper, aniseed, sesame, etc. What about cocoa?.

Also I would like to know if the recommendations that he gives for the aerobic training in the above mentioned book are extensible to the anaerobic training, bodybuilding or strength training. I remember that he advised the consumption of high glucemic foods, some of them not paleo, such as drinks with glucose, tubers and dried fruits after the training.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 11:24:47 PM by andrenio »

Offline Lord Snoolington

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2008, 10:29:07 AM »
Is this actually going to happen? He's a busy guy, and our questions are likely to be uneducated and redundant.

How would you describe the degree of success of the paleolithic diet in the public sphere. It's gained a substantial following, but the mainstream diet scene still seems to elude it. How would you explain this? Is it plausible that the paleodiet could become as popular as, say, an Atkins diet?

Offline Eric

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2008, 11:28:11 AM »
Is this actually going to happen? He's a busy guy, and our questions are likely to be uneducated and redundant...

He is a busy guy which is a good thing but yes this is going to happen.  He knows about our site and they've agreed to the interview.  FYI we're linked to off their site as well

Offline RugbyGuy

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 10:14:30 AM »
I would like to continue a little of Andrenio's post - I participate in a sport with a heavy emphasis on anaerobic threshold training.  As such, I engage in hi intensity sprint endurance training 3-4 times/week, on top of light strength training.  I have tried doing this during a tranisitional phase to paleo but could not keep up my energy.  I got tired, and my performance deteriorated.  I find myself reverting to carbs in a grain or sports drink form after these workouts. 

My question would be, although he condones this to some extent, it seemed to be towards more aerobically based exercise.  Would he consider some form of grain or sports drink essential given the nature of the training?  At what time of day, if he does, would it be recommended, and conversely, if he doesn't, what can I do to go paleo but maintain performance?

Offline Eric

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2008, 04:40:19 PM »
Q. Has your stance on saturated fat been swayed any of your colleagues? - Hizzoner

A. The saturated fat issue has evolved considerably since the original
diet/fat hypothesis was proposed in the 1950s when it was assumed that all
dietary saturated fat was responsible for causing coronary heart disease
(CHD).  It is now clear that CHD is a complex multifactorial disease with
numerous environmental and genetic triggers.  Increasingly over the past
decade it has been recognized that inflammation is essential in all phases
of CHD and likely is more important in the etiology of CHD than any other
factor.  Saturated fat contributes to CHD by elevating blood LDL cholesterol
concentrations in the blood.  However not all saturated fatty acids elevate
blood cholesterol concentrations.  The main dietary saturated fatty acids
are lauric acid (12:0), myristic acid (14:0), palmitic acid (16:0) and
stearic acid (18:0). Stearic acid (18:0) actually has been shown to be heart
healthy because it lowers LDL cholesterol in the blood.  12:0 is a minor
component of virtually all western diets, hence the major pro-atherogenic
saturated fatty acids are 16:0 and 14:0.
     Although a small vocal group of scientists and nutritionists believe
that saturated fat has virtually nothing to do with CHD, this notion is
incorrect.  An interesting study was published about 30 years ago involving
an autopsy of an eskimo that had been frozen in the artic tundra for almost
800 years.  Obviously, this individual ate no western foods and because she
lived above 60 degrees N. latitude, her diet would have been composed almost
entirely of fish, sea mammals and meat and hence would have had considerable
quantities of saturated fat.  The autopsy showed significant
atherosclerosis on the coronary arteries (the arteries supplying the heart).
Similar autopsies done on the Masai people in Africa during the 1960s before
westernization revealed extensive atherosclerosis on their coronary
arteries.  Their diet was high in saturated fat from the milk and blood of
their cattle which was regularly consumed throughout their lives.  In
numerous animal models, including primates, atherosclerosis is routinely
produced by high saturated fat feedings.
      Hence, dietary saturated fatty acids have the capacity to promote
atherosclerosis, however by itself, without inflammation the atherosclerotic
process likely is not fatal.  Atherosclerosis causes a plaque to form in the
tissue (the intima) on the inside of an artery.  When the fibrous cap of the
plaque ruptures, it causes a clot to form.  If this clot occurrs in a
coronary artery, a heart attack results and is frequently fatal.  Chronic
low level inflammation sets off a series of hormonal events which ultimately
are responsible for rupturing of the fibrous cap.  Accordingly, because the
800 year old frozen eskimo developed atherosclerosis in her coronary
arteries, she may not have necessarily died from a heart attack, providing
she had a non-inflammatory blood profile.  Studies of eskimos in Greenland
during the 1960s and 1970s showed that they were virtually immune to death
from heart attacks and this absence of disease likely occurred because their
diet was high in omega 3 fatty acids which are known to produce
anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.  More information can be
found in the two-part report, Whole Wheat Heart Attack, available for
purchase in the Archive section of our website at
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/newsletter/back_issues.shtml.

Q. After reading about the picnic on his colleague's blog, I was wondering if Dr. Cordain might share some more info on his research into dairy.  I know the work isn't published yet, but I understand that he's working on interaction between dairy and grains and whether or not dairy might be healthy without grains and gluten. - Barbaric

A.
My stance on dairy products is that they should be consumed minimally
or not at all because of they increase the risk for CHD, certain cancers,
and diseases of insulin resistance including  acne.  Whole dairy products
are a major source of palmitic acid (16:0) and hence promote CHD as
explained in the previous question.  Dairy products despite having a low
glycemic index are highly insulinogenic and high milk diets have been shown
to cause insulin resistance in children.  Dairy products have the capacity
to elevate a hormone called IGF-1 which may increase the risk for certain
epithelial cell cancers (primarily prostate).  We also believe that a
hormone in milk called betacellulin (BTC) survives human digestive enzymes
and enters the blood stream via a receptor in the human gut (the epidermal
growth factor receptor (EGF-R)).  BTC also has the capacity to promote CHD,
epithelial cell cancers and acne.  This was also covered in more detail in
Vol 2, Issue 5 of The Paleo Diet Newsletter, also available at the link
above.

Q. I'd be interested to know if certain species of plants and animals are more nutritionally beneficial because they were more accessible to our Paleolithic ancestors, or if there's really no distinction between common and uncommon food items.  For example, crabs are a more accessible shellfish than lobster. Smaller game (like pigs) is more accessible than larger, potentially more dangerous game (cattle, for instance). Common plant species are more accessible than rarer, exotic plants. - skorpion317

A. Hunter gatherers were opportunists and would have consumed just about
anything that was edible.  However when they were hunting and gathering they
practiced what anthropologists refer to as optimal foraging theory in which
they tried to hunt and gather the foods that gave them the most calories per
calories expended.  Big animals were generally preferred over small animals
because they yield more energy for the effort required to kill and capture
the animal.  It takes considerable effort to capture 1000 mice and get a
meal out of them, whereas killing a single deer will feed many people.  Nuts
and seed were preferred over edible leaves like spinach because they contain
more energy etc, etc.

Q. How would you quantify optimal hydration for the human animal, and how would you suggest such a state be maintained in a modern environment? - George

A.  Simply drink until your thirst is satiated.  Under very hot conditions
or when exercising, try to drink a little beyond this.

Q. I would be interested in his views on vitamins and nutritional supplements.  Does he take any personally or recommend any for certain conditions (eg glucosamine/chondroitin for knee joint pain).  Fish oil, glutathione? - PenskeFile

A.If you eat a normal western diet then supplements would be required.  If
you eat 85-95% Paleo you really dont need to worry about vitamins and
minerals except for vitamin D, particulary if you dont regularly get
sunshine.  I also recommend that most people should take fish oil and that
acne patients should take zinc.  My specific supplement recommendations can
be found in my three books (The Paleo Diet; The Paleo Diet for Athletes and
The Dietary Cure for Acne).

Q. I would like to know about seeds, why some aren't acceptable, e.g cereals and legumes, but others are acceptable, e.g. nuts. And what about some seed species such as nutmeg, which I read he advised in his book Paleo diet for athletes, or pepper, aniseed, sesame, etc. What about cocoa?.  Also I would like to know if the recommendations that he gives for the aerobic training in the above mentioned book are extensible to the anaerobic training, bodybuilding or strength training. I remember that he advised the consumption of high glucemic foods, some of them not paleo, such as drinks with glucose, tubers and dried fruits after the training. - andrenio
A. Seeds are the reproductive material of plants and as such, if they are
consumed and destroyed by predators the plant cannot reproduce.  Hence
plants have taken a number of evolutionary strategies to overcome predators.
They can put the seed in an extremely hard structure (like a nut) which is
difficult to break open; they can surround the seed with spikes or thorny
structures; they can include toxic secondary compounds in the seeds, or
alternatively they can make an extremely hard seed that resists digestion
surrounded by a sugary sweet fruit -- so that if a predator eats the (fruit
+ the seed), the seed surivives digestion exits the predator in the feces
and is moved to a new place and is fertilized.
    The seeds we dont recommend eating are seeds which contain toxic
secondary compounds called lectins.  Both grains and legumes contain lectins
which can bind to the gut and ultimately enter circulation where they have
the capacity to wreak havoc with our bodies.
    We believe the same general principles that are outlined in the Paleo
Diet can apply to anaerobic athletes.  Some of the non-Paleo foods (starchy
tubers, glucose drinks etc) which we recommend for endurance athletes are to
restore muscle glycogen so that long term day to day training can be
accomplished at a greater intensity.

Q. How would you describe the degree of success of the paleolithic diet in the public sphere. It's gained a substantial following, but the mainstream diet scene still seems to elude it. How would you explain this? Is it plausible that the paleodiet could become as popular as, say, an Atkins diet? - Lord Snoolington

A.Popular diet books seem to be like supernovas.  They come out and burn
hot for a short period and then are forgotton and dont sell.  The Paleo Diet
is like the battery commercial -- it just keeps chugging along.  The Paleo
Diet came out in 2002 and 6 years later it still sells as many yearly copies
as it did in 2002.  Albeit not a best seller, it has still sold more than
100,000 copies.  I believe its longevity stands because it works.  Most
people who stick with this life long way of eating feel better, eliminate
chronic health problems, lose weight and have more energy.  Success breeds
success and in human groups and networks, if something works and is
successful, people eventually find the correct solution.  The correct way to
eat is the way that nature designed.  I didn't devise this diet, I only
uncovered what was already present.   I suspect that long after I am gone
the book will continue to sell well.

Q. I would like to continue a little of andrenio's post - I participate in a sport with a heavy emphasis on anaerobic threshold training.  As such, I engage in hi intensity sprint endurance training 3-4 times/week, on top of light strength training.  I have tried doing this during a tranisitional phase to paleo but could not keep up my energy.  I got tired, and my performance deteriorated.  I find myself reverting to carbs in a grain or sports drink form after these workouts. My question would be, although he condones this to some extent, it seemed to be towards more aerobically based exercise.  Would he consider some form of grain or sports drink essential given the nature of the training?  At what time of day, if he does, would it be recommended, and conversely, if he doesn't, what can I do to go paleo but maintain performance? - Rugby Guy

A.Yes, definitely listen to your body.  As an athlete, you may require
more carbs to maintain your muscle's glycogen stores.  Our recommendation is
that you consume net base yieding high glycemic carbs such as potatoes (try
not to salt them), sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, dried fruit, and certain
sport drinks which we recommend in the Paleo Diets for Athletes.


Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D.



Thanks both to Loren and our members for a great interview.  - Eric

Offline katwylder

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2008, 06:17:00 PM »
Three Cheers for Dr. Cordain and Eric!!!! 

Offline andrenio

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2008, 10:59:19 PM »
Thank you very much Dr. Cordain for taking the trouble to answer to each of us.

Offline skorpion317

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2008, 08:07:42 AM »
Thank you for the valuable information, Dr. Cordain! And thank you, Eric, for putting this together!

Offline kallyn

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Re: Ask Loren Cordain anything - The CAVEMANforum Interview
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2008, 03:03:19 PM »
Thanks for putting this together for us Eric!  And of course thank you to Dr. Cordain too for giving us some of his time.