9 biggest lies mainstream media tells about nutrition

Pinocchio.0When it comes to nutrition, I believe our mainstream media to be infested with a lot of corruption and misinformation.

New research is coming out all the time that overturns much of what we “knew” in the past, but many nutritionists and dieticians are wedded to the old information they learned 10-20 years ago

In this article, I’ve listed the worst examples, but unfortunately there is plenty more where that came from.

Here are the 9 biggest lies of modern nutrition.

1. Saturated Fat is Bad For Your Heart

Coconut1Probably the most damaging mistake of all is the claim that eating saturated fat leads to heart disease.

This myth was based on political decisions and bogus studies that were discredited a long time ago. Yet, our beloved professionals refuse to admit that “artery-clogging-saturated-fat” is harmless.

Yes, it does raise LDL cholesterol, but it is a benign subtype of LDL (large, fluffy type). It also happens to raise HDL, which has a protective effect (1, 2, 3).

Eating saturated fat raise doesn’t have any effect on heart disease (4, 5).

Conclusion: Saturated Fats do not raise the bad cholesterol levels, and are not bad for your heart health

2. Reducing Sodium is Good For Your Body

less-salt-mainOur beloved authorities on nutrition and health generally tell us that it will lower blood pressure and health to reduce sodium in the diet.

In fact, many authorities recommend amounts as low as 1500-2300mg of sodium (6).

As outlined in this article, diets that are too low in sodium may actually lead to serious health consequences and higher mortality (7, 8, 9, 10).

Recent studies show it is the imbalance between Sodium and Potassium that increases hypertension, not the total Sodium intake itself (11,12).

The recommendation for healthy people to limit salt intake is unnecessary and may be harmful in some cases(13).

Conclusion: For healthy individuals that do not already have hypertension, adding some salt to your meals to make them palatable is absolutely fine.

3. Eggs Are Bad For You

eggs good or badEggs are, in my opinion, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

They have been demonized in the past due to their high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. But, as outlined above, saturated fat does not increase chances of heart disease.

Additionally, dietary cholesterol doesn’t really raise blood cholesterol and there have been many studies on egg consumption that fail to show an association with cardiovascular disease (14, 15, 16).

The fact is that eggs are incredibly nutritious. The yolk is very high in healthy fats, quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the egg white is a great source of protein.

Conclusion: Eggs are also very satiating and should be considered an awesome weight loss food (17).

4. Sugar is Bad For You Because it’s Empty Calories

Blog_why-sugar-bad-for-us-Conventional wisdom would have you believe that the only reason sugar is unhealthy is that it’s “empty calories”, providing a lot of calories without any essential nutrients.

Sugar does provide empty calories, but excess sugar (sucrose and fructose) consumption can also lead to many symptoms of the metabolic syndrome (the biggest health problem in the world).

Many people believe fructose is better for you since it is found in fruit and therefore more “natural”. Not True!

In many ways, fructose is worse for you than table surgar. It is quite literally toxic for your liver (18, 19, 20).

The major problems caused by sugar are prevalent during periods of caloric excess, but that is the norm for most western diets.

Conclusion: Both Sucrose and fructose are terrible for your health for many reasons – not because they are “empty calories”

5. Polyunsaturated Omega-6 Fats Will Improve Your Health

omega-3-omega-6-ratio1It is generally accepted in the science community that polyunsaturated fats do improve health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (21).

However, the situation is more complicated than that. There are two different types of polyunsaturated fats that we need to get from the diet, Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.

As you’ve probably heard a million times, Omega-3 fats such as those you get from Salmon and other fish are very good for you. (22).

However, excess consumption of Omega-6 found in most of our cooking oils is most likely harmful and may lead to increased inflammation in the body (23).

Overall, the “War on Fat” over the last 30 years has lead to a decrease in the percentage of fats in our diets, yet we have seen a huge increase in Obesity.

Dietary changes like less fatty meats has also resulted in a change in the ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats, from 1:1, to nearly 20:1 now.

This imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is part of the problem, that can be corrected with intake of more Omega 3 – NOT Omega 6 fats. (24).

Conclusion: Most people today get far too much Omega 6 fats, and not enough Omega 3 fats.

6. Carbs Should Be 50-60% of Your Calories

carb protien fat - old ratiosGovernments all around the world recommend we eat a low-fat diet with 50-60% (give or take) of our calories as carbohydrates.

The fact is that this macronutrient ratio is wrong and should actually be the exact opposite.

Over the last 10 years or so, many of the most popular diets such as Paleo, Nordic, LCHF (Low Carb,High Fat), Ketogenic are based on much lower carb amounts than the government recommended low-fat diet.

Numerous studies show they lead to improvements in body fat, blood sugar, insulin levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. (25, 26, 27, 28).

Conclusion: For Overall health benefits AND weight loss, 50% of calories from carbohydrates is way too high

7. Low-Fat Foods Are A Healthy Choice

Hawksby-Dickens_low-fat-food1Following the war on fat came a massive range of low-fat food options.

We’ve already covered, the war on fat was unfounded and therefore low-fat foods are useless to improve health.

The fact is that these foods taste like garbage without fat, so food manufacturers need to replace the fat with sugar, artificial sweeteners and other unnatural chemicals.

The added sugar can lead to disease, as outlined above.

The artificial sweeteners are also associated with many serious diseases in epidemiological studies, including (ironically) weight gain (29, 30, 31).

To make matters worse, research proves that people tend to eat more calories overall with low fat foods vs low carb foods, due to the satiety effect of fats and because they are labeled “low fat” so they perceive them as healthier. (32).

Conclusion: Many people consume a lot more calories with low fat foods, and those calories tend to be sugar, which is far worse for health than fats

8. Everyone Should Eat Whole Grains

WholeGrains_EmbeddedFor some reason, nutrition authorities think it’s a good idea to base our diet around foods that are low in vital nutrients.

Cereal grains have a vastly inferior nutritional value compared to meat, eggs, seafood, fruits and vegetables, so we end up with less vitamins and minerals in our diet.(33).

Also, many of the commonly consumed grains (wheat, spelt, rye, barley) contain gluten, which can lead to a variety of health problems for some people(34, 35, 36).

Even those grains that are gluten free are still a problem as nearly still contain a host of antinutrients like lectins, saponins, and phytic acid.

supergrainsSo, grains aren’t just low in nutrients, they actually have substances that steal nutrients from other foods.

Note that we are talking here about the more common grains like wheat,rice, oats, rye, and barley.

There are much more healthy choices for grains like Quinoa, Amaranth, farro, spelt, chia, freekah and teff.

Those so called “Supergrains” are much higher in protein and nutrients. A case can be made for including those in your diet.

Conclusion: Most commonly consumed whole grains have very high carbohydrate counts, and little nutritional value.

9. Eating Fat Makes You Fat

fattttyIt seems intuitive that eating fat will make you fat.

The stuff that is building up below the skin and making us look soft, is fat. Therefore, eating it should give your body even more of it.

But it really isn’t that simple. Fat, despite having a higher caloric value per gram than carbohydrate and protein (9kcal vs. 4kcal), eating a high-fat diet doesn’t lead to weight gain in humans.

Of course, this depends on the context. A diet that is high in sugar, refined grains, processed foods and fat will be fattening, but it’s not because of the fat itself.

In fact, diets that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat lead to more weight loss than diets that are low in fat (37, 38, 39).

Final thoughts

You’ve probably noticed a common theme about the Top Lies told by nutritionists – many still believe the old model of 60% carbs and low fat.

That bs is responsible for a lot of the obesity problem in the US today.

Nowadays, the most popular diets are low carb now for a reason – they work.

The truth is, you should eat all the Omega 3 fats you can, plenty of protein and very little carbs.  No pasta, bread, rice, or sugar.

We prefer going a step further than low carb, and strongly believe a ketogenic diet is easiest to maintain, better for your blood glucose, triglycerides, and many other health markers.

Other Topics you might be interested in:

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Raj says:
June 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Anna, check this out..check the citation as well!!

sue says:
June 13, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Is this Anna from Ashland and her Raj?

Graham Lutz says:
June 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

#8 has been the hardest to convince people of, but I always say that there is nothing good in grains that you cannot get elsewhere at a lower cost (in terms of calories, and anti-nutrients).
fredt says:
June 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Saturated fat as trans fat, hydrogenated, is bad. It should be specifically separated and avoided as sugars, fructose, grains.

Dr, Motley says:
June 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Of course but there both completely different. All trans fats are bad.
Steve Wang says:
June 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Trans fats have a double bond somewhere with the carbon chains ‘trans’ to each other. A saturated fat does not contain double bonds – they are ‘saturated’ with hydrogens. Thus, as Dr. Motley has said already, saturated fats and trans fats are in fact different.

Carlos says:
June 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Kris, I found a lot of your material repeated in this article in the Guardian (UK) today – http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/11/why-our-food-is-making-us-fat

Seems like you’re starting to make a difference!

All the best.

Graham Lutz says:
June 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM

People might finally being realizing that we’ve all been eating low-fat for 30 years, getting fatter and fatter all the time!
Kristjan says:
June 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM

That is a great article, thanks for sharing.

I’m afraid I’m nothing but a very small pawn in a very large game. I’m doing my best though 🙂

Eva LaRoche says:
June 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM

#10 Soy Is Good For Everything

Graham Lutz says:
June 12, 2012 at 2:50 PM

10. Eat Less, Exercise More

Calories in/calories out is one of the biggest myths in all of nutrition, if you ask me. The more time I spend studying this stuff the more it becomes clear that calories are only important secondarily to the macronutrient profile of the diet.

Stuart Phillips says:
June 12, 2012 at 4:51 PM

You mean the first law of thermodynamics is a myth… wow? A calorie is a calorie, can’t refute that Graham. What that calorie does in your body may be important, but it’s still a calorie!
Graham Lutz says:
June 13, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Oh, I’m not saying that the law of thermodynamics is a myth – I’m saying that there are more ways to use those calories other than storing them as fat or burning them on a treadmill.

The macronutrient profile of your diet (and to a smaller extent, the micronutrient profile) dictates how those calories are used in your body.
Bryan says:
June 13, 2012 at 4:52 PM

True – the calorie profile will dictate how it’s used. But the bottom line is still a calories in / calories out. Every one of those little rascals can be used for energy. And if you’re in a calorie deficit, it WILL be used for energy.

Calorie deficit = weight loss. If you (or anyone) disagree with that, I urge you to prove it wrong. Eliminate ANY macro, food group, food type, change your meal timing, eliminate breakfast, eat breakfast, etc. Whatever you can come up with. Do that protocol for 2 weeks making certain you are taking in more calories than you are burning and let us know the results. Follow that with 2 weeks of calorie restriction of any type and report those results.

Any takers?

I’m not trying to hijack this post or argue any of Kris’ recommendations on nutrition. Kris is doing a great service here. I’m only pointing out that regardless of the method you choose for weight/fat loss, the first rule IS going to be calorie restriction. There’s just no other way.
Graham Lutz says:
June 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

No one is arguing that you don’t have to have a calorie deficit. But that’s like saying you have to lose weight in order to lose weight. It’s a foregone conclusion.

If the goal is a lower number on the scale, sure, restrict calories and the number will go down – with up to 40% of that being lean muscle.

Focusing on the number of calories you eat is the worst way to lose weight. There are hormonal mechanisms in place to deal with fluctuations in caloric intake that have evolved in us over millions of years. If you know the science, and base your diet on it, you can eat as many calories as you want, and your body composition will continue to improve.
Eugenia says:
June 14, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I do hard-core Paleo/Primal and I also did a Paleo-keto diet (including all the superfoods like bone broths, offal, sea veggies, kefir, fermented foods, coconut oil etc), and if I hadn’t restrict calories below 1100 (I’m small framed), I wouldn’t lose any weight. My blood test didn’t show any thyroid problems btw, so I don’t know how all these people lost weight on Paleo or keto, because I can’t. In fact, I’ve seen many stories like mine from FEMALES. Males seem to be losing weight the way you and the Paleo doctrine is proposing. But for many women that I’ve read online, they had to restrict calories. There’s something at play here. BTW, 9 months later, I’m still borderline obese. I still do low-carb Paleo with enough fat, bouncing in the range of 1500-2200 calories per day (and without cheating, since I’m grain-intolerant), and I haven’t lost a single pound since March (which was the last time I heavily restricted my calories). Explain that…
Graham Lutz says:
June 14, 2012 at 1:27 AM

I can’t explain this with 100 words worth of information. Your thyroid is not the only thing involved, and the whole thing is extremely complicated.

If you restricted calories to 1100 and it was carbs and sugar, you would lose less weight and it would be more muscle lost and less fat. My point remains that the number of calories consumed is only important in the context of the macronutrient profile of the diet.

Without a lot of time and tests, it would be very hard to tell exactly what is going on in your specific case.
Snicci says:
June 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM

You said you haven’t lost any weight on the scale, but has your body comp changed? Are you “firmer”? Just wondering… sometimes the scale doesn’t tell the whole tale.
Erin says:
June 19, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Eugenia, I agree! Women are different! Hormones and leptin (the master hormone) resistance play a huge role in weight gain/loss, es. for women. Leptin signals your cells to release fatty acids to be burned for fuel and if your cells are ignoring it (i.e. resistant), your weight loss won’t be proportionate to the amount of work you put into it.

Re: thyroid – tests are usually not interpreted by the newer (and narrower) functional medicine ranges, so just because your tests were “normal” doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a problem. I was told I was “normal” for a decade before finally being diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease. Standard thyroid panels don’t usually include TPO antibodies, and often even Free T3, so a lot of thyroid disease gets missed.
Chris Kresser has some great articles on thyroid issues and http://www.thyroidbook.com has a good practitioner directory of people who know what they’re doing when it comes to endocrine health.
wsmith says:
June 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM

That might be true if there was no output from the system. Me, I like to poop, pee and sweat once in awhile.
Eugenia says:
June 14, 2012 at 1:05 AM

Given that I had IBS-D for years, the poop still comes out daily (albeit healthy now). And ketosis has been diuretic. I occasionally go run too (although others haven’t lift a finger and lost weight). So these three factors don’t apply to me. I still have to restrict calories to lose weight (more info on my diet on my comment above).

Ken Kinstle says:
June 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Hey Kris great post and I will be sharing this with my networks. So many things that we learn new about health and nutrition. Those old false ideas die hard.. Thanks
Kristjan’s Friend says:
June 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM

My head is spinning a bit. Maybe you’ve covered this really quickly, or my sugar level is a bit Low. Anyway, Kristjan, Am I following you if I plan to avoid the center aisles of the grocery store, and Cook food for myself?

I might have my feet steady on the path already.

Graham Lutz says:
June 13, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Definitely shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store – I call it “the other gluten free section!”
Kristen says:
June 13, 2012 at 3:08 AM

So true. And it’s not just the “other” GF section – its the GF nutrition source 🙂

Vix- Miss Fitness Life says:
June 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Great post Kris!

The terrible effect that sugar and artificial sweetners have on cravings make points 4 and 7 even stronger!
Abby de Beer says:
June 13, 2012 at 2:59 AM

Great article 🙂
Kristen says:
June 13, 2012 at 3:07 AM

Thank you! I teach this daily and of course right now I can’t add to your list of 9 (c’est la vie) but I hope the whole world has read this list of 9 and acted positively on the information.
K 😀
LowCarbFlix says:
June 13, 2012 at 8:13 PM

10. Eating all that bacon will clog your arteries with cholesterol. If only I had a dollar every time I heard or read that one. It’s a completely failed logic used by people who don’t realize that body cholesterol is produced by the liver. Vegetarians’ livers produce cholesterol as well. It’s the most essential macronutrient without which people get sick and die.

wsmith says:
June 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Forget the dollar. If I had a pack of bacon every time I heard or read that one.

Ross says:
June 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Thank you for this article. Very well sourced and written.

The only thing I would question is the studies involving artificial sweeteners. Some context is needed there I believe. Most people who consume “diet” products are already fat themselves or think that drinking a diet soda allows them to consume more food because it doesn’t “count” for anything.

Diane Smith says:
July 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

I had to quit diet sodas and other stuff with artificial sweeteners in as they were stalling my weight loss and giving me terrible cravings for sweet foods and I got back all my high insulin symptoms – shakes, trembling, acne, gum infections……

Now I don’t touch anything with artificial sweeteners in.

David Samuel says:
June 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Hi Kris, after followed your tips on from your articles, I am happy that I lost 20 kg within 4 months plus. Thanks a lot Kris, may God bless you.

Kristjan says:
June 15, 2012 at 1:48 PM

That is awesome! Congratulations!!

Cavechic says:
June 16, 2012 at 1:49 PM

‘You are sick because you are fat.’ No! You are fat because you are sick. Looking at this different than what we have been told gives us a better starting point for better health.
raul rodriguez says:
June 18, 2012 at 4:58 AM

Takk Kristjan, I remember when I introduced Iceland to these principles in 1993, and Icelanders thought I was nuts! It’s great to see that Iceland has come a long way:) With education we avoid medication. Treat the deficiency, not the disease.

Thanks again for sharing,
Coach Raul Rodriguez & Jorie McDonald
Mike says:
June 19, 2012 at 1:20 AM

You’ve blown every point out of proportion by talking about the extremes. Everything should be taken in moderation and not consumed in excessive/minimal portions. The “authorities” are not telling you to avoid eating salt, fat & sugar altogether as you have alluded to, they’re telling you to avoid eating them from processed foods seeing as people rarely read nutrition labels. You should have taken a less sensationalistic angle for convincing people to eat healthily.
Shannon Anderson says:
June 19, 2012 at 7:59 AM

The authorities are not telling us to avoid salt and fat altogether? LOL, 90% of doctors will tell you to avoid fat and salt all together, because this is what they’ve been told, they’re considered authorities. They AREN’T telling us to stop eating sugar, simply because if they did the mass industry of low fat foods would crash. I 100% agree with everything written in this article. I’ve been sugar free and following these principles for almost a year and i just fell of the wagon last week, now i feel soo unhealthy. But this is just what i needed to get back to it! Thank you!
Nadine says:
June 19, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with Graham, it’s about hormonal responses not calorie counting. Eugenia, you may like to have a look at the “Metabolic Effect” site, they also have a fb page that is very informative. I think their protocols may help you. The premise is that there is no “once size fits all” solution. By experimenting with individual hormonal responses to foods, one can effectively tailor their diet to create weight loss.
Greg says:
June 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM

10. Everyone should drink 8 glasses of water every day. This is such rubbish. How much water you need depends on your diet, what you drink, the temperature, your size, your gender, your activity level etc. There is no hard and fast rule for how much to drink. IT DEPENDS!
Debra says:
June 19, 2012 at 7:10 PM

#10 – You should get your serum cholesterol down as low as possible and statins are good way to do this.

Poppycock! I spend a lot of time with my clients explaining the real meaning of “healthy cholesterol levels”.
Nick Warhead says:
June 19, 2012 at 7:41 PM

They are not saying how this ties in for people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Diabetes.
Nikki Lee says:
June 20, 2012 at 2:02 AM

#10. Formula is just as nutritious as human milk.

This myth is advertised by industry all over the world, encouraging mothers to throw good food away and give their babies an inferior substitute. Non-human milks trigger diabetes and play a role in the obesity epidemic. Non-human milk increase the chances of: cancer, immune system disorders, and gut disease; contain MSG, phytoestrogens, genetically-modified corn and soy, aluminum, and sodium perchlorate. None of those things have to be listed on the label.
Amy says:
June 21, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Great article, simple and powerful! Will definitely share!
Kevin says:
July 25, 2012 at 11:20 PM

In general, I agree with low carb diet. However, I have some concern about overeating too much meat/egg (yolk) will lead to your pH level to be too acidic which is a magnetic for all types of diseases. Can you help comment on this?

Kristjan says:
July 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM

That’s a myth that makes no sense.

Diane Smith says:
July 26, 2012 at 7:02 AM

I thought it was eating too much carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar that causes blood to become acidic?

Kristjan says:
July 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I don’t think foods affect blood acidity at all, correct me if I’m wrong.

It would take a lot of stress to change the pH level even a little bit, since the body has powerful buffering mechanisms to maintain the level in a very narrow range.

Diane Smith says:
July 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Hi Kristan – here’s a link that explains a bit about the body’s ph balance:

Kristjan says:
July 26, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Naturalnews.com isn’t a very reliable source. If you look at the bottom, the references for the article are both sales pages for supplements.

I honestly haven’t done much research on the acid/alkaline type of diet, but what I’ve learned in physiology at school is that the body maintains the blood pH value at a very narrow range.

Diane Smith says:
July 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Thanks for having a look Kristjan – naturalnews.com was just the first link I could find on the subject.

I have read about it in other places too. What I understand from what I have read is that yes your body does keep the the blood pH value at a very narrow range but if you eat a lot of foods that are acidic then your body will take minerals such as calcium from bones and teeth to restore the alkaline balance and over time this has a detrimental effect on health. The main culprit for creating an acid balance in the body is sugar and foods that break down into sugar – i.e. starches.

I am sure you can find reliable info on this if you do some searching. I may be wrong but I think that quite a lot of the Paleo people are aware of this and the importance of maintaining an alkaline balance in the diet.
JL says:
August 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Referring to your number 2 reducing sodium is good for your body.
I believe this statement to be true actually. For those living in Western society reducing the amount of excess salt in our diet is good for our health.
You state “diets too low in sodium may lead to serious health consequences”. Your reference hyperlink “this article” goes to Chris Kresser’s website who has referenced mostly epidemiological studies (and you know those studies prove NOTHING they must be clinical randomised controlled trials to draw an absolute conclusion – you even said that on another of your posts), a cochrane review which finds no link to “serious health issues” as you have put it, and controlled trial that concludes “Low-salt diet is associated with an increase in IR. The impact of our findings on the pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular disease needs further investigation”- ie INCONCLUSIVE.
But in one way you are right that diets too low in sodium can lead to serious health consequences . If we restrict sodium to extremes, we would get really sick, in fact we would be dead (a serious health consequence). Because in western society the only way to eat too little sodium would be to starve/ to eat nothing.
I do agree with your comment that we need to decrease consumption of processed foods. 77% of sodium in your diet comes from processed foods. Basically majority of food in packaging has sodium added to preserve the product. This is how we manage to eat so much salt. Added salt while eating makes up only 6% of our salt intake.
So who is going to choose the low-sodium products instead?
Diane Smith says:
August 31, 2012 at 3:53 PM

If you are eating a low carb, paleo type diet that doesn’t include processed foods then it is quite easy to end up taking too little salt.

I know because it happened to me. The symptoms are fatigue, weakness, feeling faint and dizzy and mental confusion. Low carb also causes your body to excrete salt whereas the standard western diet causes the body to retain salt.

So, if you are low carbing and avoiding processed foods you will most likely need to add salt to your food. On the other hand if you are eating the standard American diet of processed foods that have salt in them then you do have to try to lower your salt intake as it is very easy to end up taking too much.

JL says:
September 1, 2012 at 12:36 AM

I agree that it is generally unnecessary to restrict added salt on meals if you are on a paleo diet. I am talking about the general population though.
Also the paleo diet is the diet of our ancestors. They did not add table salt and thrived.

Diane Smith says:
September 1, 2012 at 7:26 AM

Here is a reference to salt and the paleo diet. It is not the only reference I have come across, I have read similar from many different sources. It seems that our ancestors did indeed add salt to their diet and understood it’s importance.

‘the evidence is that the people of the Lenggong Valley in Malaysia were not only eating salt 200,000 years ago, but had created tools for grinding it. And animals will eat/lick salt whenever they find it. Virtually all animals consume it.’

JL says:
September 16, 2012 at 1:55 AM

Added salt in the diet was/is for taste and to preserve the food for longer, not sustenance.
There was adequate amounts of sodium naturally in the cells of the animals and plants they consumed.
Diane Smith says:
September 16, 2012 at 6:19 AM

Ok, they didn’t have TV dinners and didn’t and add salt from a salt shaker but ancient peoples did understand the need for salt and went to great lengths to ensure they had adequate amounts in their diet.

This is taken from the book ‘The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by by Phd Stephen D. Phinney MD and Rd Jeff S. Volek – ‘Whole books have been written about the history of salt. Wars were fought over access to salt. Roman soldiers were often paid with a measure of salt, hence the origin of the English word ‘salary’. Hunters and their prey, herders and their cattle, all shaped their actions and habits around access to salt. The reason, of course, is that salt (sodium) is necessary for life.
Humans did not need to know chemistry to understand the value of salt. Salt deprivation leads to lightheadedness, fatigue, headache, and malaise. Aboriginal cultures could figure out that if they drank from one spring, they began to feel lousy, but if they drank from that other one, they’d feel OK. The Inuit knew which ice to melt for water to boil their meat. Sea ice loses its salt content with age. Fresh ice had too much salt, fresh snow had none, whereas older sea ice was just right. Inland hunters followed their prey to salt licks and salt springs. These waters were prized forcooking, and some cultures learned to dry these waters to make dry salt. But the universal dependable source of salt for inland hunters and herders alike was blood. Blood was collected from freshly killed animals using the emptied stomach as a container, whether from a bison on the Great Plains or from caribou or muskox on the tundra. A liter of whole blood contains about 2 grams of sodium, so 500 ml per day would ward off acute symptoms of salt depletion. Among the Masai living in hot inland Kenya, the consumption of blood was a staple of their culture (along with meat and milk). Even in the 1920’s, long after British trade had provided them access to dry salt, the Masai still bled their cattle to provide each hunter with a token 50 ml of blood per day[6]. Given another century of perspective, perhaps the perjorative phrase misrepresenting many aboriginal cultures as ‘bloodthirsty savages’ might better be replaced by the phrase ‘bloodthirsty savants’.’

Suzanne Perry says:
September 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Best resource for me: Gary Taubes books. Why We Get Fat is the most accessible to the layperson. Not a diet book, but a history of how we got to this current obesity epidemic. It names the perpetrators of the bogus fat-heart disease link. The big watershed moment for me was the Stanford A-Z study in 2007 which showed the low carb diet to be the most effective in reducing weight, cholesterol and a couple of other markers. The Stanford scientist who announced the results had been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, he said that it pained him greatly to report the results.
Yet 5 years later, I have not spoken to a Health professional who understands these facts. All their training weighs against the truth. Fat is BAD. Nothing will change their mind.
JL says:
September 16, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Why does everyone feel there has to be a ‘one size fits all solution’?
We are all different, no two people are the same (including identical twins to an extent).
Some people will benefit from a low carb diet to lose weight. Some won’t. Some will benefit from a low fat diet. Some won’t. You can’t just state that a low carb diet is the most effective way to lose weight for everyone and group everyone together. That is naive.
A lot of it depends on your genetic make-up, an emerging health area we are just starting to uncover now – nutrigenetics.

Diane Smith says:
November 3, 2012 at 8:41 AM

I agree that everyone is different but everyone also has a lot of similarities – we are all human and we all are the result of millions of years of evolution. None of us evolved to eat masses of refined sugar, wheat flour, processed foods and additives. The conventional dietary advice we get these days to eat low fat and lots of starchy carbohydrates has failed the majority of the population. Healthy fats are important for many functions of the body and cutting them out of your diet is not good for anyone. Some people can manage to eat more carbs and not have problems but many, many more are suffering from metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and obesity because of the high amount of sugars and starches in their diet.

Henny says:
November 3, 2012 at 2:22 AM

10) Artificial Sweeteners Are Preferable to Sugar

Aspartame, Splenda and the rest….poison. I will never consume these again.
(And obese people who drink diet soda, stay obese….)