126 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of Failed Diets - De Vany is the REAL THING - Five Stars !!!!
Several people have expressed disappointment with "The New Evolution Diet", and I find exception with them. Perhaps they are expecting too much since many are subscribers to the author's website. Here is what you need to know in very simple language in just a few paragraphs. There are thousands of books out there on fitness, dieting, longevity, etc. They basically all...
Published on January 13, 2011 by A Customer
181 of 227 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I expected better. Disappointingly unscientific
I got 17% done with this book (according to my Kindle) before the gaping holes in the scientific logic finally annoyed me to the point of putting it down. And the thing is, the purported "science" in the first 17% of this book mostly covered widely accepted facts about things like insulin, exericse, and weight control. If de Vany attempted to cover less widely covered...
Published on July 29, 2011 by R S
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126 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of Failed Diets - De Vany is the REAL THING - Five Stars !!!!,
This review is from: The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging (Hardcover)Several people have expressed disappointment with "The New Evolution Diet", and I find exception with them. Perhaps they are expecting too much since many are subscribers to the author's website. Here is what you need to know in very simple language in just a few paragraphs. There are thousands of books out there on fitness, dieting, longevity, etc. They basically all fail in their objective because none of them start out with who we really are from an evolutionary standpoint. We also know that if any of these diet books worked, we would all flock to it. It would be scientifically confirmed, and all of us would be back down to a normal size, but no such book exists. The key to the puzzle is to use an evolutionary approach.
Our ancestors go back several million years. You can go to the Museum of Natural History in New York and see Lucy's bones, one of our ancestors that go back five million years. Turkana Boy goes back 3 million years. His bones are also in the museum. Scientists believe that our biology has not changed in at least 200,000 years. This means that if we could take a new born child from the time of his birth 200,000 years ago, he should be able to grow up in our society perfectly adjusted both physically and mentally. The only real argument against this concept is Carl Jung's concept of the collective unconscious.
So here is the key point. Our bodies and souls were formed over a period of time lasting hundreds of thousands of years. Life did not change much during this period, however in the last several hundred years' life has changed drastically. We have to go back tens of thousands of years to the so called cave man to understand how our bodies are hardwired to live a certain way. What was life like 400,000 years ago when our biology was formed. The one thing we absolutely do not know is how long it will take for our species to genetically adapt to its new modern environment - the 20th and 21st century if you will. The answer has to be tens of thousands of additional years.
Life in 400,000 BC
We were hunter / gatherers. We went out for food when we were hungry. There was no refrigeration. There were no 3 balanced meals a day nonsense, none of the advice about eating small portions. The idea of one hour a day for exercise was nonsense too. Humans lived like lions. When they found large amounts of food they ate lavishly and then hung out and lay around like the lions do today. We ate grass fed meats, our fish was not salmon harvested on farms but wild caught fish. There were fresh fruits and vegetables. That's it because agriculture did not come into being until 10,000 years ago, when humans figured out how to sow seed and grow produce in predetermined areas.
We have gotten completely away from our previous evolutionary lifestyles, and this has cost us dearly. We are now the most overweight nation in history, and getting heavier. It has to stop, and this book gives you an answer that works. The answer is to live and eat PALEO, meaning live like you were in the cave man era. This means you will mimic the diet and lifestyle of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. You can do this with very little input from any other sources. Just think about it. Our ancestors did not have bread products. They couldn't bake, and so our body systems are not genetically engineered to handle the refined carbohydrate products we ingest. Makes sense doesn't it? Dairy products like cheese did not exist, and again our bodies are not adapted for it. We may adapt over the next couple of hundred thousand years, but that does not help us now.
Read this Book - It will change your life!!!
Unlike other readers, I have found the author to be excellent at spelling out for you exactly how the caveman diet works and what the implications are for each of us. Just always keep in mind that we were genetically engineered to survive in a world different from our own. You want to eat only those foods that the early cave man ate. You want to skip meals now and then also because there were no regular supplies of food throughout the tens of thousands of years of human history. We also live just as long as our ancestors did. This is a major misinterpretation of history. Our ancestors suffered far greater death at the hands of infections, accidents, predators, and infant mortality. That is why people say that we live longer today, but simply is not true.
The book points out that most diet books will tell us to exercise more, and eat less. Our genetic impulse is the opposite, and this is just about the only book that points this out. We are programmed by our biological history to gorge ourselves on food when it is available. Our biological desire is not to exercise but lord over the land like the lions with periodic bursts of energy required to hunt and gather food.
I loved De Vany's work and the author has hit the nail right on the head. If you read this book and thoroughly engross yourself in it for a month or two while following its tailored program, you will effectuate CHANGE your world. You will replicate the caveman's experience, and your body will respond by moving towards your individualized optimum weight. There is simply no other way to do it that will have a lasting effect. We have to return to our ancestral roots, and live in congruence with who and what we are. Read the book and change your life, and thank you for reading this review.
Richard C. Stoyeck
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Accessible Read on the Paleo Lifestyle,
This review is from: The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging (Hardcover)The New Evolution Diet is a practical guide to eating, moving, and exercising like our Paleolithic ancestors. Dr. De Vany, an economist by training, did a great job of writing for non-academicians. But don't let his lack of credentials in the fields of health and nutrition dissuade you from reading this book. He has applied his academic research training to this topic with good results. The book makes heavy use of footnotes and also includes an appendix with additional reading suggestions if you aren't willing to take him at his word or you want to do more research yourself.
This is not your typical diet book, but then it really isn't presenting a diet plan, it is more about lifestyle. While he does tell you what to eat, and what not to eat (in terms of types of food), there aren't any recipes in this book. He does have a chapter called A Month on the New Evolution Diet that makes suggestions on what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, as well as what exercise to do, but it is presented as a loose guideline. From reading the rest of the book the reader should be able to make up their own mind about what they want to eat and how they want to exercise to implement the evolutionary fitness lifestyle.
Sections I found the most helpful and interesting were the chapters on the metaphysics behind the diet and on aging. The arguments, backed up by study after study, that over-consumption of carbohydrates, especially sugars, are the primary cause of our society's main health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and even cancer are very compelling. I also especially liked the Afterword by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of The Black Swan) entitled When the Human Body Needs (Extreme) Randomness.
The chapter on How to Exercise was very informative, mainly because he spends a fair amount of time telling us how NOT to exercise. Endurance training, cardio, and extended strength training sessions are all dismissed as not only unnecessary, but are actually harmful. He does describe what exercises to do and how to do them and leads us through one of his visits to the gym. Pictures of some of the exercises would have been helpful, but a simple YouTube search will turn up instructional videos for any exercise you don't know how to do, so that isn't really a problem.
The only complaint I have about this book is that he doesn't provide references on where to buy some of the supplements he recommends. He endorses Ultrathione Health Packs for antioxidants but doesn't tell you where you can buy them. A web search turned up a dubious site with many misspellings and a PayPal ecommerce site. That didn't inspire confidence in me to risk placing an order.
By now it should seem obvious that the conventional wisdom on diet and exercise of the last 40 years has been a total failure. Unfortunately the "experts", unwilling to admit their mistakes, are doubling down on their advice and now recommend that we eat even less and exercise even more. Thankfully there are some voices of reason out there telling us to look to human evolution for the answers to our health problems and Dr. De Vany's is one of the best voices in that community.
181 of 227 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I expected better. Disappointingly unscientific,
This review is from: The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging (Hardcover)I got 17% done with this book (according to my Kindle) before the gaping holes in the scientific logic finally annoyed me to the point of putting it down. And the thing is, the purported "science" in the first 17% of this book mostly covered widely accepted facts about things like insulin, exericse, and weight control. If de Vany attempted to cover less widely covered areas of scientific human research (for example, the history of Homo sapiens' diet) in the later parts of the book, I can't even imagine how badly he must have botched those up.
I managed to ignore the first errors in thinking, but after a few percent into the book, I started keeping tabs on pages where I found lapses in de Vany's judgment. A few examples:
Page 33: He calls LDL "bad cholesterol" and HDL "good cholesterol". That's a gross oversimplification that's based on the same kind of thinking that led to the cholesterol-and-heart-health hypothesis that was widely propagated but is now widely considered wrong. FYI, the cholesterol carried in molecules of LDL and HDL are identical. Calling them "bad" and "good" cholesterol respectively is inaccurate and misleading. De Vany also makes no mention of VLDL (a subset of LDL), without which any discussion about LDL and HDL is incomplete. For a discussion that does these lipoproteins justice, I suggest "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, which describes their actual mechanisms in great detail.
Page 36: The author claims that "every time you eat, you turn off your body's fat-burning mechanism." Technically true, but I'm bothered by his implication here that if you eat 2000 calories spread out through 6 meals, you might gain weight, but if you eat those calories over only 2-3 meals, you'll lose weight. This is simply not true. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose fat. He's right that "your metabolism burns glucose before fat", but if you eat only a little glucose over 6 meals, this will inhibit your fat burning no more than eating the same amount of glucose in 2 meals. This has been confirmed by study after study. Important to de Vany's hypothesis about paleolithic eating is that ancient human hunter-gatherers didn't have a predictable meal pattern. But he's wrong if he thinks that frequent eating will inherently cause us to become hyperinsulenemic and overweight.
Page 43: The author advises to "avoid bananas (which have too much carbohydrate)." I have two problems with this statement. First, if bananas indeed have a high concetration of carbohydrate, then couldn't you simply eat a smaller portion to not take in as many carbohyrates? Second, a medium banana has 27g of carbohydrates according to nutritiondata.com. This is only 2 more grams of carbohydrate than a medium apple contains, and it's 8 *fewer* grams than a typical mango contains, yet he wholeheartedly recommends those foods in his list of "Fruits to Eat." If he bans one fruit based on its high carbohydrate content, shouldn't he ban other fruits with equally high or even higher carbohydrate content? His inconsistency should be a concern to any reader who cares about the scientific integrity of a book like this.
Page 44: More inconsistencies: On page 44, de Vany claims that "no fat is particularly good for you." Then on the very next page, he says "there is abundant evidence that omega-3 oils have a beneficial effect on inflammation and even obesity. [These oils] also promote brain health. Sometimes I take a cod liver oil capsule." First he says that no fat is good for you, but then professes the incredible health benefits of omega-3 fats and says he even supplements them! Which one is it? I'm just glad I know enough about fats to catch this inconsistency; now I know to be wary of every claim in his book, because he might be equally uncertain or flat-out wrong about them too. Of course, this is all ignoring the fact that it's downright ignorant to claim that "no fat is particularly good for you." All types of fat, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fatty acids, have been found to have unique health benefits for the body. There's even a trans fat (conjugated linoleic acid) that has been studied for positive health effects. "No fat is particularly good for you" is perhaps the most laughable line I've ever read in a book about the human diet.
Page 46: Has the line "You may eat some dairy." This recommendation confuses me. De Vany claims that all grains should be removed from the diet on the basis that humans have no evolutionary adaptation to them, yet most available evidence shows that humans have been eating grains much longer than we have been eating dairy (albeit not at the high levels we eat them today). Using his logic, shouldn't it be more pertinent to cut dairy products than grains? De Vany also recommends "unsweetened yogurt or cheese in small amounts" as his dairy products of choice. Um, where would paleolithic humans have gotten yogurt or cheese? Isn't it much more likely that they would have consumed much higher quantities of plain milk than yogurt or cheese?
Page 47: He says that "butter and lard should be avoided completely", and instead you should eat the oils of "olive and canola, and maybe a little sesame oil for taste." First, his oil recommendations contradict his earlier statement that no fat is particularly good for you. If they're not good for us, why would we consume them in concentrated oil form? Second, I have no idea why he condemns the usage of butter and lard. After all, he recommends dairy products like yogurt and cheese--aren't the fats in butter the exact same as the fats in yogurt and cheese? And lard is just pig fat, which is similar in composition to the fats of mammals and fowl that our paleolithic humans would have hunted. If our paleolithic ancestors caught a particularly fat, I don't know, deer or something, do you think they would have shyed away from eating the delicious fat? Of course not! But oh, de Vany justifies this recommendation by saying "you'll get the fats you need from the animal protein you eat..." Okay, let me stop that quote right there. You can get fat from animal protein? Come again? Protein contains fat? I assume he means that the muscle tissue of animals contains fat as well as protein. But that is a much different thing than saying that protein contains fat. That line is second most laughable of the book.
I put bookmarks on many other troubling pages as well, but frankly I'm sick of typing of this review so I'll stop right here. The lapses in de Vany's thinking in these simple parts of the book give me cognitive dissonance. How can I simultaneously believe that what he says is true while also thinking that everything he claims may be as inaccurate as the quotes I've cited above? This is not the scientific analysis of the merits and content of the paleolithic diet that I wanted. I haven't read any other books about paleo eating, but I know enough to know that this book cannot give you the solid information that any potential new dieter deserves.
40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid plan for healthy living,
For one, it is more intelligent than brutish. De Vany calls NED the "smart diet" because it's not about calorie counting, which may be effective for people, but it's really unsustainable. De Vany says, here's the menu of our ancestors, and you can eat however much of it you want. Although De Vany doesn't get into the psychology of eat (this needs to be a book), he actually gets into the metaphysics of the diet in an interesting chapter. He instead relies on the theory that if you eat the right foods, your brain will be satisfied and those French fries will cease looking good to you. I don't think this is the case, but that shouldn't make you pass this book up. It is a well-written, interesting manual should help you attain an ideal, evolved lifestyle.
76 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Evolution Diet for a New Year,
Art De Vany's newly published book, The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging, reads like an epic history of one man's pursuit of the knowledge and practice of health & well being in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles: the diagnosis of both his son and late wife with Type I diabetes and the eventual premature death of his wife from a long terminal illness.
At the same time, Art manages to make it a fun read, which I believe was his goal; achieved.
While I was provided an advance hardcopy of the book from his publisher, I decided also to purchase the Kindle version and I'm glad I did because the job they did in hyperlinking references, chapters, the TOC and index is really masterful. This allowed me to jump with ease to every single reference on the fly, read Art's additional (more in-depth, more "sciency") comments and immediately return to where I was reading in the text. In addition, there's a notes section at the end of the book with even more references, more commentary from Art and additional sources for investigation.
And so I think the book really becomes three books in one:
- The beginner, "fun read," where one just goes through and get the main points.
- The old hand (Paleo, Primal, EvFit) read where you do just like I did and get the additional science and commentary.
- The Paleo-geek read, where you actually check the references and use the book going forward as largely a library of excellent references.
Where this book excels in my view is in its focus on principles, randomized. Call them the Paleo principles, evolutionary principles or whatever you want, but this is not in any way about reenactment; it's about gene expression. If anything comes through load & clear and a lot does, it's that you don't have control. Your genes do. You can't directly control how your genes express themselves. What you can do is envisage many aspects of the wild human-animal experience and extract principles for eating, moving, going hungry, physically exerting, sleeping, resting, playing -- and doing absolutely nothing -- to simulate as much of that in-the-wild existence as you can in some semblance of random fashion -- or, never doing the same thing the same way all the time -- and if you're lucky, your genes will express themselves in the most optimal way to make of you a pristine human animal specimen for as long as possible.
As many of my regular readers know, Art was my entry into this wonderful world of thinking ancestrally and applying that thought to action (and inaction). This was back in May of 2007, when as a fat and unhealthy political blogger with hyper blood pressure, I hit the gym and worked it out for myself that there was an inverse relationship between intensity and endurance. So I dropped the cardio, shortened the length and frequency of the gym sessions, blogged about it and had a commenter tell me it reminded him of Art De Vany and his Power Law.
After finding Art's blog and putting many of his ideas into practice, I eventually blogged less about current events and increasingly about my experiences and impressive results. I came to his attention, we exchanged emails from time to time and then one day, I had the great fortune to meet him and his new wife in Las Vegas for his Evolutionary Fitness seminar. Art is truly a striking presence: tall, lean, impeccable, super-model posture (in the best sense of that ideal) and always sporting a smile that's infectious.
The book is in many ways a greatly expanded version of that seminar with lots of blanks filled in and lots of Art's personal experiences going back decades. His study and knowledge of human metabolism is formidable but it almost doesn't matter because the man is 72 years old; clearly lean, strong, and vital. So while the science is quite nice and he's an academic -- a PhD -- and has to play it that way -- just look at the man. That's what I did the very first time I found his website and blogged about him. So while Art is to be well recognized for getting to the science and making it available, a picture in his case has always been worth a thousand scientific references for me.
Or, think of it this way: how much more difficult is it for a 72 year old health and fitness blogger & author to have credibility than, say, some 30-somthing? That he looks as he does and does as he does is really the best advertising of credibility his book could ever have.
So...every honest book review ought to be credible in the sense that surely there was something in the book I didn't love and I ought to say what it was; otherwise, how would people take my overall assessment seriously? OK, so here goes: he doesn't always eat every egg yolk. While I never saw him ever mention it on his blog, he advocates canola oil in the book. Right; I don't do either of those.
But here's my answer to those who've focussed on this in other reviews: this is Art's path. One reason I probably stuck with this deal way back when -- long enough to see the results that would propel me forward -- was Art's regular insistence that everyone must find their own way. Note: not can; not should; must.
This is an excellent introduction for beginners: those who yet know nothing; and it's accessible. It even has a full 30-day meal plan which I found impressive...because if only one were to follow that plan 80-90%, they would see amazing benefits and we all know it.
It's also the sort of paleo / primal / evfit book I want to see written. This isn't A diet. It's potentially 7 billion individual diets and counting, based on the specific path each individual takes for themselves based on a few simple principles learned from observations from Kitavan to Inuit and everything in between. What works best in an environment of self-experimentation is paying attention, above all, to how you look & feel -- as any animal naturally would do. This is the story of one of those 7 billion potential paths, 30 years in the making, and pioneering to boot.
Not to your liking? Well, tell us of your path.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This review would not be complete without the story of how that name and presence dovetailed with my whole experience and how it relates to Art De Vany. One of the things that led to my getting fat and having hyper blood pressure was about two years spent trading options for my own account full time. I traded credit spreads on the SPX and initially did quite well. 20-30% gains per month were commonplace. In less than a year I took $60,000 to several hundreds of thousands.
And then I lost over $200,000 in about a week.
In the end, it turned out it wasn't about the money as much as it was the shock of realizing how fooled I'd been for so long. No, I hadn't made an error in trading. Trading was the error (for me), in itself. I traded according to the same rules I always had. And then I recalled a radio interview I'd heard several years earlier by an options trader (may have been Taleb, but I don't recall). He said that many options strategies are such that you win for a long time and then give up everything and more in a very short time.
I began looking for information. And what I found was Taleb's Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets. This book changed my life for the better. I came to realize that what had really happened is that I had begun my options trading at an opportune time for the particular strategy I used -- by chance -- and that I really wasn't a super trader after all. So the choice was: back to market timing, or quit. So I quit. I also quit subjecting myself to the quotidian flow of talking-head hyperbole designed to fool me and worst of all, to have me thinking on one side or the other of a two-sided coin instead of independently. Since that time, I have almost never listened to CNBC, CNN, FNC, MSNBC or any other alphabet soup news outlet. As I believe Taleb said in FBR, important news will find its way to you.
And so on that bright spring day in May, 2007 when I discovered Art De Vany and his work, I had no idea that he and Taleb were friends, that Art was a fan of his work, that it so bolstered the principles of Evolutionary Fitness and The New Evolution Diet.
Taleb has a sizable last chapter of the book and it's classic Taleb if you've read FBR or even The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility". Summary: you fool yourself all the time and it's the rare events in your life that have the biggest, lasting impact.
And so let's come full circle because it's important. What Taleb has identified as a general aspect of epistemology (generally: the quality of your knowledge), Art has distilled physiologically. And so in the end, the book achieves the best triumph of all: a mind/body integration. They both learned from one another: you must be skeptical of what you think you know and you have no control over your genes. You must integrate the role of chance in both. You must not fool your mind and you must respect the expression of your genes.
You still have no guarantee for a fit mind and healthy body, but this is an excellent start for a New Year, if you'll just...give it a chance.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art De Vany's New Evolution Diet,
For the past 3 years -- since the birth of my second child - I have been trying to lose 10 pounds. I tried every diet out there and went to the gym (spinning, running on the tread mill) at least 3-4 times a week. Not only did I not lose weight (or the roll around my midsection!) but I felt stressed out, pissed off, and deprived. I then stumbled on Art De Vany's website where I learned that command and control diets actually cause stress which produces cortisol and makes you feel hungry. I also learned that my exercise routine--emphasis on routine--was not helping me.
So now, for the most part, I follow this diet and I look and feel great. I've lost weight (10 pounds!) and I even look good in a bikini. I don't exercise as much as I used to, only 10 minutes of cardio about 3 times a week, and I work on building fast twitch muscle fiber using the techniques I learned from Art De Vany's website.
This diet and fitness regime is really the most logical plan I have ever come across. It's very science based, unlike most fad diets. And it's so easy I can see myself following this plan for the rest of my life. Hopefully, I will look as good as Art when I'm 73!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Persuasive,
This review is from: The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging (Kindle Edition)Want to have a healthier, happier 2011 and beyond? Then read this book. No exaggeration.
I'm a long-time subscriber to Art De Vany's website, so I've already been living his prescriptions regarding diet and exercise. The benefits have been enormous - not just in physical appearance (muscles, symmetry, leanness, clear skin), but in joie de vivre.
And it's so damned simple. Workouts are intense, but short, and you feel great afterwards. The food is tasty and easy to shop for and prepare.
Simple - but until someone like Art points this stuff out to you clearly, you won't get it. Mainstream media is still preaching the gospel of avoiding fats, and sweating out the miles doing cardio exercise, even when the results are obviously disastrous.
You're bound to have some "eureka" moments when you read a book like this. A couple of the "eurekas" I got from Art's website, which are also contained in this book:
1. Intermittent fasting. This means skipping a meal (or two) occasionally, just as our ancestors did of necessity. Not as hard as you might think, and somehow produces amazing results.
2. Hierarchical sets. This is a method for lifting weights where you do about 15 reps at a relatively light weight, then add weight and do 8 more reps, then add weight and do 4 more reps, without rest (but not to failure). Very quick and straightforward, and it works.
I was delighted to see that Nassim Taleb, the ex-hedge fund manager and financial philosopher, has written an afterward for the book. If you want to see a visual demo of what the New Evolution Diet can do for you, check out pictures of Taleb from a few years ago and compare them to Taleb now. He's a different man.
What The New Evolution Diet teaches should be common wisdom. Maybe one day it will be. Until then, do yourself a huge favor: read it and take it to heart.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Product of a Life Well-lived,
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is just a lot of guessing.,
However, there's no serious research about our stone age ancestors. He never even mentioned Australopithecus afarensis, homo habilis, homo erectus or homo heidelbergensis. He never mentioned the importance of fire or cooking. (I read Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. There's also a splendid BBC documentary - Did Cooking Make Us Human?) He never mentioned that Homo Erectus could reach foods in a carcass that the big cats could not, marrow and brains. He apparently has no clue that we need saturated animal fats to build and maintain the structure of our brains. There was nothing at all about teeth. The shape of our teeth show that we are designed to eat meat, contrary to the usual misinformed vegan nonsense. (Vegetarians animals have larger, mostly flat teeth. Australopithecus Boisei had molars that were four times larger than ours! And they ate plants, plus a few termites.)
It reads like a book report written by a very poor high school student who never actually read the book, so he does a lot of guessing.
Treasure Island is a book about an island with treasure on it. An island is a body of land completely surrounded by water.
For example, on page 18 he wrote, "The modern human genome is about 50,000 to 100,000 years old." That's just a guess and spreading the time span out by 50,000 years is pointless. The oldest Homo Sapien remains found so far are 195,000 years old, from the Omo River Valley in southern Ethiopia.
A few of the many things he got wrong in this book:
HDL and LDL, Page 33:
He called HDL good cholesterol and LDL bad cholesterol. HDL means high density lipoprotein. It's a carrier molecule. HDL and LDL are not cholesterol; they are the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol around. LDL carries cholesterol to the cells, so the thinking was that must be bad. This is yet another example of ignorant people thinking they know more than nature does. LDL is not bad for you. LDL is doing its job.
Exercise, Page 98:
He wrote, "We are made more for walking and sprinting than for jogging. The fact is, few hunters every literally ran down prey over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles." That is absolutely wrong!
The oldest form of hunting is persistence hunting, which Homo Erectus practiced ... for over a million years! Our bodies are designed for long distance running. For example: The arch shape of our feet is a natural spring, so it stores and releases energy as we walk. I learned that from Doctor Alice Roberts in the documentary The Incredible Human Journey. She's an anatomist and she certainly understands human anatomy. Arthur De Vany does not. In the recent documentary, Origins of Us, Alice ran on a treadmill with electrodes hooked to her rear end and demonstrated that we barely use our gluteus maximus muscles when we walk, but we really put our butts to work when we run.
And we can sweat, other mammals can only pant to cool down. So the strategy was to run a kudu or a zebra to exhaustion during the afternoon when herbivores usually rest. There's an excellent example of this in the documentary Becoming Human. A group of African hunter gatherers ran a kudu to exhaustion and it took nearly four hours!
He thinks saturated fats are unhealthy, Page 144:
"Omega-3 fish oil capsules: 1,000 milligrams with each meal when I do not eat fish. I make sure to take this supplement when I eat beef or pork, to offset the high saturated fat content." That just plain doesn't make any sense at all. That's like the ludicrous idea that drinking a diet soda will cancel eating a piece of cake. First of all, if we're talking organic, free range meat, saturated fats are not only good for your health, they're essential! That's why they're called essential fatty acids. The idea that animal fats are unhealthy started in the mid-1800s. It got a big boost with the introduction of Crisco in 1911. They immediately started bashing natural animal fats. The healthy fats are the natural fats, including saturated animal fats. Unhealthy fats are man made fats: trans-fats, Crisco, margarine, and processed vegetable oils.
Heart Disease, Page 32:
He mentions that C-reactive protein is a marker for inflammation and heart disease, which is true. He got that one right. However, he totally buys into the idea that high cholesterol is linked to heart disease.
He didn't say that only about a third of the cholesterol in your body comes from the food you eat, your liver makes the rest. If you decrease the number of eggs you eat and other foods with cholesterol, your liver will make more cholesterol. Your diet has very little effect on your cholesterol level ... unless (This part is speculation, and based on the articles and books I've read, it's reasonable speculation.) you eat lots of fake fats such as vegetable oils which cause free radical damage and force your body to do lots of repair work, which includes making more cholesterol because it's a major anti-oxidant. Cholesterol protects you from free radical damage. Cholesterol is like a team of fire fighters who show up to put out the fire, or in the case of your body, inflammation. So you're blaming the fire on the fire fighters! Your blaming heart disease on the things that protect you against heart disease, cholesterol and healthy, organic saturated animal fats!
The idea that cholesterol is related to heart disease was popularized by Professor Ancel Keys, who worked at The University of Minnesota, back in the 1950s. He did his famous Seven Countries Study which showed a clear relationship between consumption of saturated fats and heart disease ... but he actually had data from 22 countries! He threw out everything that disagreed with his idea that animal fats and cholesterol were the causes of heart disease.
The real chart shows no relationship between cholesterol, saturated fats and heart disease. About half the people who have heart attacks have moderate or low cholesterol and people with high cholesterol actually live the longest. For more intel, check out Fat And Cholesterol Are Good For You and Ignore The Awkward by Doctor Uffe Ravnskov and The Great Cholesterol Con by Doctor Malcolm Kendrick, a British cardiologist. The idea that cholesterol is bad for you is just a scam to sell dangerous and harmful statin drugs, which you don't need or want unless you have a rare genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia. To prove this to yourself, do a search on `statin side effects.' Unless you have familial hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol is ONLY good for you.
What really causes heart disease?
Here's the short list: sugar, corn syrup, vegetable oils (except cold pressed vegetable oils that you can find at many health food stores), trans-fats and, for the sake of completeness, cocaine kills heart tissue on contact.
They're made with high heat, high pressure and chemical solvents such as hexane. Yes, the corn or soy oil you pop your popcorn with causes heart disease. According to Loren Cordain, the average American diet is 17 percent vegetable oils.
What protects you from heart disease? Organic, saturated animal fats. Leopard, cheetahs, lions and hyenas all eat lots of animal fats. They don't get heart disease. The same laws of nature that apply to them also apply to us, except they can make their own vitamin C and you can't.
His Food Pyramid, Page 39:
His New Evolution Diet Food Pyramid has vegetables at the base, then meats and seafood, fruits, then nuts, "good oils" and other healthy fats, then fresh spices. He also doesn't understand the differences between healthy, cold pressed oils and harmful oils. On page 44 it says, "The term "good oils" is somewhat of a misnomer, because the truth is that no fat is particularly good for you." On the contrary, the very best nutrition is saturated animal fats and organ meats. One of the effects of a low fat diet is depression. We need saturated animal fats to make receptors for serotonin. Organ meats supply coenzyme Q10 which helps the muscles work. Statin drugs turn off production of coenzyme Q10 and one of the effects of statin drugs is muscle pain. Do a search on `vegan health problems' and you will find many examples of what happens when you don't eat healthy animal fats.
There is no science behind the idea that you need to eat five fruits or vegetables a day. That's just another scam invented by the people who market fruits and vegetables. If you're eating organic meat, you could eat a diet of 100% fatty meat and be healthy, at least as far as your diet goes. It would be a bit monotonous, but that's the only snag. Gary Taubes wrote about this in his book Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It.
Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Doctor Karsen Anderson ate an all meat diet for an entire year! This was an experiment at Bellevue Hospital. The results were published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association back in 1930. There were strong and healthy as long as they ate fatty meat. When they ate lean meat, the got sick (nausea and diarrhea). When they went back to eating fatty meat, their health returned within two days.
The authors of the study wrote:
There were no subjective or objective evidences of any loss of physical or mental vigor. The teeth showed no deterioration and gingivitis had disappeared. There was, however, an increase in the deposit of tartar on the teeth of [Stefansson].
His Exercise Advice:
It's really hit of miss. He favors short, intense exercise but even that is vague and foggy. He doesn't explain sets or repetitions. He doesn't value cardiovascular workouts, which are beneficial for your heart and lungs. You're better off reading articles on the bodybuilding websites and watching exercise videos ... and then put it to work and go jogging and lift some iron. You can also do serious workouts that don't even require weights or use things you have at home for weight.
The other reviews:
I looked at the glowing, five star reviews. I didn't see any compare and contrast or even basic knowledge about paleo-anthropology or nutrition. It's easy to impress people who don't know anything.
When you see the term caveman in a review, that's a sign of an armchair amateur and someone who doesn't even know the names of the various species. Homo Erectus and early Homo Sapiens didn't all live in caves. There are few caves in Africa, mostly in South African and along the southern coast. And they weren't all men. As Mark Twain wrote, "What would men be without women? Scarce sir ... mighty scarce."
This book is not worth your time or attention. I only finished reading it so I could write this review and tell you why not to read it. Out of the nutrition books I've read so far, the ones I heartily recommend are:
Eat Fat Get Thin by Barry Groves, PhD
Death By Supermarket: The Fattening, Dumbing Down, And Poisoning Of America by Nancy DeVille
Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes
And I just started reading: Overdosed America: The Broken Promise Of American Medicine by John Abramson. He was a medical doctor but gave it up because medicine became all about expensive drugs, not about helping people to be healthy.
There's another book I'm going to read and it looks very promising: Life Without Bread: How A Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life by Christian Allan and Wolfgang Lutz.
I've seen several talks by Barry. He's super knowledgeable and well worth watching. There are a few on Vimeo and You Tube. Just search on Barry Groves.
Just because a book claims to be in touch with the stone age, doesn't mean that it is. There is so much misinformation circulating about nutrition, and that's largely because of corporations who want you to buy their cheap junk food and expensive drugs. You really have to make the effort to sort the wheat from the chaff, and then cut down on the wheat because animal fats are healthier by far! Otherwise you can expect to be in company with Americans and people in other developed countries who are overweight, diabetic and all the other health conditions that go with a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet.
I wish you the very best of health, Anthony
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most intelligent and erudite fitness books ever written.,
The "New Evolutionary Diet" is also a surprisingly complex book despite its brevity and conversational prose. It is short but you will find yourself going back constantly to review and digest the points he makes about the past partly determining our current health outcomes. It makes both intuitive and analytic sense.
I have a Ph.D. and generally don't like fitness or health books. I often have found them to be pedantic, full of detailed and boring lists of what to do, use cloying pop culture references, and over promise results. This is the only book I have read that encourages you to engage with the material, digest its insights, and adapt and it apply to your own needs.
I also know his advice is effective. I subscribed to his web page three months ago and have lost seven percent of my body fat, losing around 11 pounds of fat and putting on around 4 pounds of muscle. He provides detailed scientific notes for those, like myself, who are skeptical and might want to double check the underlying scientific rationale for his methods.
I see this book appealing to a wide range of readers: 1) trainers, 2) body builders, 3) the overweight looking for a lifelong solution, 4) older ladies and gentlemen looking to prolong health and life, 5) professionals, 6) parents, 7) public health officials, 8) former Masters and Ph.d.'s who want to reverse the effects of too much studying and cheap food.
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The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur S. De Vany (Hardcover - December 21, 2010)
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