why paleo should be macronutrient agnostic

Why Paleo Should Be Macronutrient Agnostic

FACT: The Maasai are a pastoralist tribe in Kenya and Northern Tanzania who traditionally subsist on a diet that consists almost entirely of meat, milk, and blood.

FACT: The Kitavans are a group of traditional farmers who live on the island of Kitava, an island of Papua New Guinea.  They subsists on dietary staples such as yam, sweet potato, and taro. The macronutrient composition of the Kitavan diet is estimated to be 20% fat, 10% protein, and 70% carbohydrate. Kitavan activity levels are reported to be about the same as in Western societies, which is remarkably low.

FACT: Researchers have noted that the Maasai and Kitavans rarely suffer from cardiovascular disease or obesity.

FACT: 99.99% of people in the United States believe that eating red meat and saturated fat leads to cardiovascular disease, and 99.99% of people in the Paleo Community believe that carbohydrate consumption in the absence of rigorous exercise is the root cause of obesity.

FACT: I made up the percentages in the last fact, but the first two were true facts.


Macronutrient Agnostic Rant:

If high protein and fat diets caused heart disease, the Maasai would all be dead.  If high carb diets without rigorous exercise caused obesity, the Kitavans would all be obese.  Since neither is true, I’d like to point out that perhaps there’s more to this than macronutrients.

It is for this reason that I believe that the Paleo Diet as a theoretical template should be macronutrient agnostic. 

I am often asked to give dietary recommendations to people, and people are often surprised when I tell them I’m not a low-carb nazi, nor am I a high-fat, make-sure-you-eat-coconut-oil-on-everything nazi (for lack of a better word that’s more sensitive right now).  I’m a stickler about quality when it comes to a Paleo Diet… that’s about it.  

My best advice is be the champion of your own N=1 experimental design. Don’t rely solely on the “leaders of the Paleo Movement” to remove the guesswork for you.   Some people need more carbohydrates, fat, or protein in their diet, and everything depends on the individual.  Duh, right?

For whatever reason, this explanation pisses some people off.  However, let me be clear: this is your body, your experiment, and ultimately your success story.  Not mine.




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