Why understanding the big picture is so crucial to your health.
An ancient Indian story tells of eight blind men trying to discern the nature of an elephant. Each felt a different part and reached a different conclusion about the nature of the elephant.
The poet John Godfrey Saxe reported the outcome:
And so these men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong.
Much the way experts quarrel about diet!
Why is it so hard to figure out the optimal diet?
Like the blind men in the fable, diet experts begin with no clear picture of what an elephant looks like and after lifelong investigations acquire only a partial grasp of the evidence. The biomedical database PubMed contains more than 22 million articles, and a million new papers are added each year. A typical scientist reads at most a thousand papers per year. No matter how long a scientist’s career, it’s impossible to read more than 0.1 percent of the literature. Most of this reading has to be in the scientist’s specialty—a small part of the elephant.
Adding to the problem is the complexity of human biology. We need to get many nutrients, maybe hundreds, from our food. Food contains thousands of toxins. With so many different ways food can nourish or harm us and so many different ways to assemble foods into a diet, picking out which diet is healthiest is like answering a multiple-choice test that has a billion choices. It’s easy to go wrong.
Looking at all this research is like looking at a disassembled jigsaw puzzle with no picture of the completed puzzle. It’s hard to tell how to put the pieces together.
A Big-Picture View We Can Trust
What we really need is a big-picture view—a view of the whole elephant. We need a reliable guide to the optimal diet, a guide that gives us an approximation to the truth at the very beginning of our investigations. This approximate answer can be a lodestar that guides us through the labyrinth of details, preventing many a wrong turn.
This is where an evolutionary perspective comes in. We know that healthy people and animals are more likely to survive the vicissitudes of life and have children and grandchildren. This means that evolution selects for healthful behaviors—including healthful eating.
If we’re looking for a human diet that evolution guarantees is healthful, the place to start is with the diets of the Paleolithic. The Paleolithic was so long—2.6 million years—that Paleolithic man became highly optimized for the Stone Age environment. In the last 10,000 years, mutations have become much more common due to population growth,1 but most beneficial mutations have not had time to become widespread. The historical era has been a period of genetic diversification and emerging but incomplete adaptation to modern life. That means if we want an environment, diet, and lifestyle that will be healthful for all of us, we have to look back to the Paleolithic.
SCIENCE OF THE PHD Why We Share a Paleolithic Heritage
The Paleolithic began 2.6 million years ago with the invention of stone tools and ended 10,000 years ago with the invention of agriculture. The Paleolithic lasted a hundred thousand generations and was characterized by small populations, typically, tens or hundreds of thousands; at the end of the Paleolithic the human population was 3 million. The modern era has a large population—7 billion today—but evolution has had little time, less than five hundred generations, to work its magic.
We can calculate how long it will take before every possible mutation appears in some person, somewhere. Every child has a similar number of mutations—about 175 new point mutations among the 3 billion base pairs of the human genome.2
• In the Paleolithic, with 10,000 children per generation, it would have taken 8,000 generations, or 160,000 years, for each possible mutation to occur once.
• Today, with more than a billion children per generation, every possible point mutation now appears about twenty times per generation, or almost yearly.
We can also calculate the time required for a beneficial mutation to reach “fixation,” or universal presence throughout humanity. This time is on the order of ln(N)/s, where N is the population size and s is the selection coefficient, a measure of how beneficial the mutation is in terms of expected number of children.3
• In the Paleolithic, a mutation that raised the probability of having an extra child by only 0.1 percent would have reached fixation in 460,000 years. So a mutation with selective advantage of 0.1 percent would have occurred within the first 160,000 years of the Paleolithic, then become universal 460,000 years later—long before the Paleolithic was over.
• In the modern era, a similar mutation would occur every year but would require 200,000 years to reach fixation. The modern era is less than 10,000 years old, however, so few recently mutated genes have had time to become universal. As a result, our genetic adaptation to the new environment of modern life—agricultural foods, city living, the presence of governments and complex institutions—is incomplete. And human genetic diversity is greater than ever before.
Because mutations that would remove our adaptation to Paleolithic diets have had little time to spread through the population, it is likely that nearly everyone is extremely well adapted to Paleolithic diets. The same cannot be said for modern diets.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition
Revue de presse
“This is more than a diet. It's a program for perfect health. The result of 5 years of research, the Perfect Health Diet enabled scientists Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet to cure their own chronic diseases. With more than 600 citations to the scientific literature, Perfect Health Diet explains simply and clearly how to optimize your diet for a lifetime of great health. I've read hundreds of books on nutrition and health in my life, and Perfect Health Diet is at the top of the list." (Chris Kresser, M.S., Lac; integrative medicine practitioner and blogger at ChrisKresser.com)
“The Perfect Health Diet is the missing link. It bridges the gap between the philosophical, broad-based, almost intuitive ancestral approach to health and the hard-core data hounds who need to see proof at every step. The authors are scientists through and through, an astrophysicist and a molecular biologist, who deftly wield the scepter of cold, hard science while paying homage to the inescapable wisdom of traditional, ancestral, evolutionary health.” (Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint and founder of marksdailyapple.com)
“From the best of what we know about ancestral science and the natural world comes a modern-day formula proven to return us to optimal health. The Perfect Health Diet delivers exactly what it promises.” (Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, authors of It Starts With Food)
“The sanest overview of what to eat I have ever seen. If you are going to read only one thing on the subject, read this.” (Seth Roberts, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at UC Berkeley and author of The Shangri-La Diet)
"Whenever any of my clients ask me a health/performance diet question, I just tell them to go to Perfect Health Diet; I trust that anything that appears in the book has been thoroughly researched and examined. One of my best friends was on the diet while undergoing chemo and his bloodwork numbers were so good that they would have been considered average...for a person without cancer. This book is my number one nutritional resource for my family, friends, and clients.” (Court Wing, Co-founder and Head of Training, CrossFit NYC)
"This book provides the missing link between Paleolithic diets and complete health and vitality, and provides a complete foundation for total ancestral health in the modern age." (Aaron Blaisdell, Professor of Psychology at UCLA and President of the Ancestral Health Society.)
I love the approach these two scientists have. Sometimes it's just easier to believe something and go with it than to always question everything. Of course there is no real perfect diet but this one comes pretty close. It's a solid book with solid explanations about why certain foods are toxic or can derail your health. Definitely recommended to anyone looking for a diet that is easy to follow, is satisfying and isn't impossible to shop for. Comes with a bunch of delicious recipes and ideas.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
452 internautes sur 465 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
I can't believe how much better I feel!2 janvier 2011
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I had been eating (very) low-carb and high-protein for the better part of a decade - and I had gotten a lot of practice arrogantly dismissing suggestions (from any source) that I should change anything about my diet.
It is a testimony to the insightfulness of this book that it persuaded me to change.
How was I persuaded?
* The Jaminets are highly educated (Ph.D.s both), but not they're not nutritionists and are not bound by any party line. * They amass a huge volume of scientific literature in support of their assertions - about 1/3 of every page is journal citations. * They write clearly, and are clearly motivated by a desire to share the keys they've discovered for better health. * Time after time, while reading, I exclaimed "so *that's* why!" - there's an overarching framework they build, and after reading it I have a much broader and deeper understanding of health and nutrition.
The changes I made were: 1. Eat a modest amount (15-20%) of calories as carbs from what they call "safe starches" (rice & potatoes in my case.) 2. Eat a large (~70%) of calories from fat. In particular, I consume dramatically more butter (kerrygold!), and I've added a fair bit of coconut oil too. 3. (As a result, the amount of protein I eat has dropped somewhat.) 4. Supplementing with a mix of the vitamins they recommend. 5. Doing a 24-hour fast once a week.
Results: (after 1.5 months or so.) 1. I'm no longer "brain-dead" and unable to think in the evenings after work. 2. I no longer have fruit or chocolate cravings. 3. I'm much happier, and wake up looking forward to the day. 4. I've been much more social. 5. The extra starch has not resulted in weight gain. (I always gained weight when eating carbs before.) 6. It looks like the fasting (which I've never tried before) is helping my alertness and also contributing to healthy weight loss.
It took less than a week for me to notice dramatic changes. The diet guidelines are straightforward and fit on a page, but the explanatory material is priceless. The Jaminets post on an ongoing basis at their perfecthealthdiet dot com blog as well.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
337 internautes sur 349 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Best Diet Book I Have Read29 octobre 2010
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The Perfect Health Diet is an extremely well referenced and supported diet book. I have read maybe fifty health and nutrition books, many in the "low carb", "paleo", "traditional eating" and "whole foods" categories. This book is the best that I have read. Every issue is discussed in detail.
The end product is a diet that has similar macronutrient ratios to Pacific islanders with high levels of longevity and resistance to disease. How they deduce that such a diet is optimal is pretty interesting. The authors use the premise that your body can convert one type of macronutrient to another, but such conversion may not be optimal. Why go completely high protein when your body will just make glucose from protein? Why go high carb when the carbohydrates above 600 calories a day are converted to saturated fat? The authors also point to the nutrients in human milk as evidence on what might be optimal to eat. The discussion of macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) was the most detailed I have seen in any nutrition book for a non-professional audience.
The diet is a "paleolithic" diet in that it suggests avoiding food toxins such as fructose (sugar), grains other than white rice, legumes and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The book is quite specific about the evidence on these toxins. The diet is fine with so-called "safe starches", such as potatoes and white rice. It ends up being a high fat diet by calories as protein and carbohydrates are given generous upper bounds. Coconut oil is praised.
A section on supplements gives reasonable advice to focus on a few key nutrients and to avoid a few other common supplements. All the advice is quite reasonable.
Readers who still need to be convinced that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not the causes of heart disease might start with a more basic book that fights all the introductory fights (Good Calories, Bad Calories by Taubes is one, albeit lengthy suggestion). But for someone buying into the basic paradigm and looking to optimize their own health through nutrition, the Perfect Health Diet is the best book to buy.
180 internautes sur 186 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Very solid overview for healthies!24 janvier 2012
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Don't let the somewhat corny title of this book put you off. This book is a wonderful and very simple introduction to real healthy eating for anyone currently eating a average-quality diet.
Great things about this book:
1. For those that just want the facts super-fast this book gives you a one page summary of the eating plan within the first 6 pages of the book. The book also contains lots of extra information backing up their conclusions as well, for those that want it.
2. This book is about eating healthily and how to improve your health and reduce your risk of getting ill in the future with diet - rather than just about mere weight loss - which is so refreshing. Slow weight normalisation is a side effect of following this diet for sure, but it is not the primary focus.
3. The research for the book began when the authors were each working to improve their own health issues through diet. The authors are genuinely nice people that are passionate about helping others get the same results they have and the subject of a healthy diet and this comes through clearly on every page of this book.
4. The diet the authors recommend is made up of 20% carbs, 65% fat and 15% protein. So it is a low/moderate carb, high fat and moderate protein diet by calories, and 35% animal foods and 65% plant foods by weight. This is very similar to a traditional Pacific Islander diet, the authors explain.
The sections explaining the facts of fats, carbs and protein are of a very high quality and seem to summarise the work of all the best books I have read on nutrition and diet lately. The problems with a high carb diet are clearly spelled out as are the benefits of a high fat diet.
5. The book also recommends avoiding all grains (other than rice), legumes, dry lean meats, vegetable oils and pasteurised dairy products and recommends eating unlimited non-starchy vegetables (750 grams a day or more or 1.5 pounds), 200 - 450 grams or so (0.5 to 1 pound) of fatty meat/seafood/eggs, about 4 teaspoons of healthy fats (ghee, lard and coconut oil and a bit of olive oil), and snacking on nuts, cheese and fruit.
The authors warn that while fibre can be helpful, for some people too much fibre can be a real problem.
6. Where this book differs from many others in the same (reduced-carb and traditional foods) vein is that it explains that, yes, while your body can make the glucose it needs from protein when you eat a low carb diet, this process taxes the body unnecessarily and the conversion may be inefficient. This is especially true for those that are ill, the authors explain.
Despite my making a bit of a hobby of reading a large amount of very good books on healthy eating and diet in recent years, no other book had made these same points. So having this explained so well finally was wonderful and it explained a lot!
(I did really well on a 20 grams of carbohydrate a day diet for 6 - 9 months or so. I felt well and had no more hypoglycemia and lost a lot of weight. But after that 6 months was up my body seemed to really struggle with it, perhaps due to the fact I have severe metabolic, endocrine, and cardiac problems. (I'm housebound and 95% bedbound and very disabled.) When I finally went back up to 50 - 75 grams of carbs a day (years later) I felt so much better, and finally was able to start losing some of the weight that had crept back on on my super-low carb regime. It was also a much more pleasant way to eat; being able to have 5 cups of veggies a day and a bit of fruit! I feel like staying on this super-low carb diet for so long delayed my health from beginning to improve as well, as it made my body work harder than it had to on food assimilation which of course leaves less metabolic energy and bodily resources left over for the work of healing.)
The book explains that eating very low carb and making your body convert proteins to carbs puts strain on the liver and uses up bodily resources, generates ammonia as a toxic by-product, puts a person at risk of glucose deprivation if the are ill or lacking in certain nutrients and makes nutrient deficiencies more likely due to lower fruit and vegetable intake. Very low carbohydrate intake can also cause problems with vitamin C utilisation that may even lead to scurvy, as vitamin C is stimulated by insulin. For these reasons they recommend eating an amount of carbs daily which is very close to how much the body actually needs; 200 - 400 carb calories daily (or roughly 50 - 100 grams of carbs daily).
I agree with the authors that healthy people will likely have few problems converting one macronutrients to another (such as protein to carbs, and carbs to fat) but for those of us that are ill it is best to save your body the work and to eat foods in the appropriate macro-nutrient percentages to start with. That just seems to make so much sense!
Things about the book I am not sure about, to some entent:
1. I'm not convinced that all of us can handle the foods the authors describe as "safe starches" and in those amounts. For me eating rice with meals gives me so much carbohydrate it leaves me feeling spacey, hungry and unsatisfied. I am also unconvinced that eating rice is better for you than eating the same amount of carbs in vegetable form, as the authors even say themselves in the book that rice is low in nutrients compared to other foods, calorie for calorie. There is no real nutrition in it, and so for me no reason to eat it - and lots of reasons not to.
I found it even more surprising that not only did the authors recommend eating rice often, but they even extended this to processed foods like rice crackers and rice noodles. Foods many of us with an interest in healthy eating and nutrient-dense eating just wouldn't want to eat at all.
I recommend trying the authors' "safe starches" idea and seeing if it works for you, but being aware that for some of us these foods may be best avoided or minimised and eating LOTS of non-starchy veggies and 2-3 serves of fruit may work better for you.
2. Like many others I also cannot tolerate any of the dairy products the author recommends and also have egg allergy issues. I feel these issues could have been discussed a bit more in the book, as they are so so common. I also think fermented foods and drinks could have been emphasised more and disagree with the authors' assertions that nuts and seeds need only be soeaked if you eat a lot of them. For those of us with lots of gut and digestion problems, soaking all nuts and seeds can make a wonderful difference that is really noticeable.
(I wish so much I had learned about the importance of soaking nuts and eating fermented foods sooner!)
3. While this book provides a great summary of many of many of the best books on nutrition, the same cannot be said of the information given on supplements. This information was very patchy, incomplete and just plain wrong in many instances and it does not at all tally with the information given by those that are the genuine experts in this field. The information seems to come from strange sources, and not from genuine experts in the field. The RDAs are quoted a lot and discussed as if they were important and trustworthy and no names of orthomolecular experts or similar are really mentioned.
Such an average quality and incomplete guide may be okay for healthy people but for anyone battling serious health issues I would urge them to read far more deeply on this topic than this book allows and to ignore much of the information given in this book.
Despite what the authors of this book claim, those of us with serious health issues absolutely need intelligent and often intensive and wide-ranging supplementation along with a healthy diet before we can start to regain our health. We need as much of each nutrient as we actually need, and not just how much the RDA has been arbitrarily set at. Supplement plans must be individualised, as much as possible. We also need to take the right balance of nutrients, and not lots of one thing and none of another related thing. This has absolutely been my experience and holds true for vast numbers of other patients.
This sort of diet change is always the first step in improcving health however, and for some lucky people it may be enough. For others it is just the first essential step of many others!
(See: Detoxify or Die, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life and Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs and others, for more information on this topic.)
4. The book could have done with having wider margins and more white space on the page, as well as fewer black and white images of foods (many of which looked awful or were hard to make out). Overall the book was very well put together and well edited, however.
Even if you have read the wonderful books by Taubes, Fallon and Enig, Gedgaudes, Cordain, Price, Sisson, Schwartzbein, Shanahan, Eades etc. this book is still worth reading.
I rate this as a 5 star book for healthy people who want to learn to eat better, but not quite a 5 star book when it comes to being a complete guide for those battling serious illnesses. It isn't a complete guide to health for ill people, just a very solid starting point on diet. So that is why I give the book 4 stars overall.
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
46 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Outstanding book, highly recommend.8 février 2012
Timothy J Hicks
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Perfect Health Diet completes what Atkins began, and the so-called "Paleo diet" movement continues. If you are at all interested in improving your health with an approach based on solid science, you want this book.
Background: I was an Atkins dieter in the 1990's. Lost a lot of weight, but staying on it was difficult.
Last year I came off a bout of depression determined to beat it without drugs. I stopped eating sugar and (surprise!) started losing weight. Since exercise is also helpful to depression, I thought that it would be better if I kept losing weight to reduce my chance of injury while exercising. Along the way I found that many of the things that are recommended in the Perfect Health Diet greatly helped me in losing weight.
I lost a total of seventy pounds. As a man at fifty-five years old and 195 pounds, I am now in better physical condition than I was in my 20's. This is due in large part to the dietary recommendations in the Perfect Health Diet.
What is even better is that the recommendations in the Perfect Health Diet led to removing the last things that were contributing to my depression. I believe now that grains and omega-6 in vegetable oil was making me depressed. That's why adding omega-3 fish oil to your diet helps fight depression, something I had started doing without understanding why.
To go back to the beginning, the Atkins diet had two flaws which undermined long-term weight loss:
1) Atkins diet "phases" lead to the idea that somehow you lose your weight and then slowly phase back into eating "normal" food. Atkins didn't say this exactly, but it's implied.
2) When Atkins wrote the Diet Revolution book, he didn't have access to the research that we have now, and couldn't see that some fats (high omega-6 vegetable oils) are bad for you, while some carbs in moderation (rice, sweet potato) are okay. His blanket recommendation to get rid of all carbs would have been better focused on SUGAR, FRUCTOSE and GRAINS.
The Perfect Health Diet is written so that you can read to whatever depth of scientific detail you want to. I am about done with my third time through. My particular health issue is depression, and the Perfect Health Diet has many links to dietary causes of depression. The most helpful aspect is that it is written from the perspective that this way of eating is a PERMANENT change, and that this way of eating is based on sound science, including cultural and epidemiology studies, not just lab experiments.
This book is a good companion volume to "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes.
The only qualification that I would add is that the book recommends eating a lot of fish rather than using supplements for omega-3. This recommendation is based on the observation that most fish oil capsules are stored at room temperature and the oil may go rancid without you knowing it. My answer is to take fish oil as a liquid and KEEP IT REFRIGERATED. It's lemon or lime flavored and refrigeration keeps the the fishy taste down. No capsules needed, and it's actually cheaper than capsules.
Again, as a person who has lost seventy pounds and now enjoy a life free of depression. I wholeheartedly recommend the Perfect Health Diet.
48 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Medical system is broken, take health in to your own hands10 février 2011
- Publié sur Amazon.com
As a nutrition student, and nutrition consultation business owner, and collegiate athlete, I spend a significant amount of time (at least 2 hours/day) reading books on nutrition and health. Out of the 25 or so nutrition books that I've read in the last year, I have to say that "The Perfect Health Diet" is the best.
It is probably the best researched and most well written nutrition book that I have ever read. Not only did a huge amount of research go in to creating the guidelines, the science and rationale is incredibly well explained. The strategies in this book are, for the most part, not particularly new to someone who has been studying evolutionary/ancestral nutrition, but are better explained and implemented than other books, and is an incredibly powerful for improving health.
This book is THE most important tool you can give to someone who is suffering from a chronic disease of almost ANY type. The body cannot health itself, from metabolic damage or chronic infection, while it is constantly ingesting food toxins or is malnourished. The Jaminet's do a fantastic job of explaining why and how to do these exact things to heal yourself.
The basic ideas are to eliminate foods that humans are not well adapted to, primarily
and then to replace them with foods abundant in micronutrients.
I have only one wish for this book. Although the primary aim is health and longevity, I wish it had more information on specifically maximizing physical recovery and sports performance. This is not a criticism, as it is outside the scope of this book, but I would be interested to hear the author's ideas on this.
If anyone you know is suffering from a health disorder, chronic disease, or just wants to enjoy a higher quality of life, get them to read this book.