Using Skeptoid as a Reference is Not So Easy

I should have known better, but sometimes emotions do get the best of us. On Twitter, a user was attacking a celebrity I follow. Normally I don’t get involved since a celebrity has to expect a certain level of negative response on social media from people that follow them. Well, this person was insistent on taking pictures of large pigs at a state fair and referring to the celebrity as these pigs. A quick look through his timeline suggested not only is this person mean to quite a few people, but he loves to push nutrition pseudoscience. So that is the realm I decided to challenge him on by sending him a link to the Skeptoid episode on gluten free diets.

I did get a response back with the suggestion that there is, “lots of back and forth research on gluten.” Included in his response was an article on a website that was actually a response to Brian’s episode on gluten free diets. So I thought I would check it out. Well @justinrwolfe on Twitter, let me do my best job as a skeptic to show you where the article fails the skeptical test.

First is the website as a whole. It is important to be skeptical of someone offering an opinion on anything when they are selling a product or products related to or counter to that opinion. Robb Wolf is in the business of promoting low carbohydrate, low gluten diets and selling books that say so. It wouldn’t be very good for his business if he said there was nothing wrong with consuming gluten. This alone doesn’t mean his opinion is wrong, but it should give us pause to be extra careful in considering his opinion and his sources.

The next thing Robb Wolf mentions is that he won’t even consider a conversation unless someone discusses molecular biology and a list of molecular biology terms. This appeal to authority and appeal to novelty is a pretty common way to avoid real scrutiny. It’s like how the Power Bracelet people do some hand-waving about quantum signatures and think using fancy terms makes them an expert. It doesn’t. But, Robb Wolf “gives Mr. Dunning a pass” because one of the terms on the list is in the podcast.

Next, Mr. Wolf brings in a study done on human and rat intestinal cells.  Mr. Wolf’s biography on his site says he is a former biochemical researcher. I couldn’t find much on his educational background other than what is on Wikipedia, which says he has a BS from California State University Chico. My background in physics might not be as good at reading medical studies, but somehow we picked out two different conclusions from the research. Mr. Wolf summarizes from the study:

Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.

While this is true, the authors of the study do make this claim that whether or not the cells had the genetic marker for celiac disease (CD), there was an expression of this immune response. However, the authors in the study then also state:

Despite the presence of a measurable zonulin response in both CD and nonCD subjects, CD patients appear to reach a critical threshold of intestinal permeability upon gliadin exposure that is not reached in non-CD intestinal mucosa.

It seems to me that what the authors found was a common autoimmune response from all of the cells to gliadin (a component of gluten), but those cells that did not have the genetic markers for CD created enough zonulin only to be measured, but not enough to create an immune response.

The next article Mr. Wolf brings up is a publication of an on-going study of the so-called “hunter-gatherer” diet.” It looks like Mr. Wolf just copied and pasted the abstract right from the NIH website to his own website, and I am not going to pay for the publication either. Certainly this is an interesting study. But I am not sure what this has to do with gluten. Yes, the diet would happen to avoid gluten, but the authors of the study are relating this to a leptin pathway. And that part of the study isn’t even done. So far, this is what they know:

Our lab conducted a study on 24 domestic pigs in which a cereal-free hunter-gatherer diet promoted significantly higher insulin sensitivity, lower diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein as compared to a cereal-based swine feed. Testing should also evaluate the effects of grass lectins on the leptin system in vivo by diet interventions, and in vitro in various leptin and leptin receptor models. Our group currently conducts such studies.

The study is not complete, and it isn’t looking at gluten at all. Really, it could be a number of other factors such as the higher fiber and lower fat content of such diets, or the overall lower caloric intake. But these are conjectures about as much as trying to say that lack of gluten is the reason for the success in the 24 pigs in the study.

Mr. Wolf then cites another study which again wasn’t studying gluten, but instead a diet lifestyle as a whole. I am not going to go through a detailed analysis. But note it was a small study (29 people). It again studied an overall diet, not specifically gluten-free. And it wasn’t measuring any of the factors claimed by the gluten free diet people. So again, this doesn’t really refute anything within the Skeptoid episode. It instead shows us some interesting overall nutritional study that should be further investigated.

Now Mr. Wolf gets into the section on anthropological considerations, and we get to the ad hominem attack. There was an attacking tone previous to this, but now Mr. Wolf gets right to it:

Folks ignorant of this fact…well, it’s like the refrain from law enforcement “Ignorantia juris non excusat-Ignorance of the law does not excuse.” but it DOES result in folks like me needing to actually do the research the [sic] Brian should have done before commentating on this subject.

And:

Not trying to be a dick here, but Brian is neglecting those pesky 2-3 million years of human history BEFORE bread. That’s part of the problem, when folks start talking about this stuff.

So now since Mr. Wolf has nothing to really counter Brian’s assertion that gluten was indirectly responsible for modern humans being able to migrate faster than previous to agriculture, he instead attacks him. Brian didn’t ignore the 2-3 million previous years at all. He said at some point it changed.

Mr. Wolf’s final attack on Brian is to start with a study on patients with CD. From what I can gather about the study, it was really a way to test CD patients for the ingestion of gluten to see if that was the cause of their relapsing acute pancreatitis. This is not in contradiction to the Skeptoid episode at all. Brian says for those with CD, a gluten free diet is the only treatment at this point. But Mr. Wolf finishes this section by stating Brian’s research is poor. I’m not sure how the two things are related.

So to @justinrwolfe, my conclusion as an amateur skeptic is that Brian Dunning’s conclusions about a gluten free diet are valid. Robb Wolf provided some very interesting nutritional information in his “response” to Brian’s podcast, but he never really addressed anything wrong with Brian’s research or Brian’s conclusions. What I see is a thinly veiled attempt to use logical fallacies and misdirection to sell people on Mr. Wolf’s nutrition plan. And his information may very well show that his diet can be a healthy one, but it is not due to the avoidance of gluten.

 

 

About Eric Hall

My day job is teaching physics at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. I write about physics, other sciences, politics, education, and whatever else interests or concerns me. I am always working to be rational and reasonable, and I am always willing to improve my knowledge and change my mind when presented with new evidence.
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104 Responses to Using Skeptoid as a Reference is Not So Easy

  1. Paleo Solutions says:

    Don’t try to discount a science because you don’t understand it, or don’t like someone that pushes it. I attached a link to a video below from the ancestral health symposium. There are many more on that site.

    http://vimeo.com/27570335

  2. Paleo Solutions says:

    There may be a few people making those claims, but by in large this is not the case in the Paleo/Primal community. Outlandish claims occur with any subject, especially science. You know that. I attached the video above because it pertains to your comment about making outlandish statements pertaining to Paleo.

    http://vimeo.com/27563465 –> Here is another.

    • So it sounds like you’re in complete agreement with me, that the paleo diet is perfectly fine and as good as any other balanced, low-calorie diet; and that the real problem lies in those who promote it as a miracle health cure, to the detriment of people who may actually have the health problem. So why aren’t you instead posting on Robb Wolf’s blog, taking him to task for knowingly promoting flagrantly dangerous misinformation?

  3. Eric Hall says:

    Paleo – I skimmed through the first video to get to the point where he talks about gluten. And again, I think you are missing my point about where your science is going wrong. Dr. Lalonde says right in the talk that gluten is not a problem for those that do not have a CD or do not have a gluten sensitivity. From the research I did as well as what Brian has in the Skeptoid article, the research shows CD and gluten sensitivity has grown to about 0.8% of the population. So we certainly need to be aware of this, much like we need to be aware of peanut or latex allergies. But that doesn’t in any way mean gluten is bad for every single one of us.

    I found some of the research on the paleo diet intriguing. Common sense would tell you that the paleo diet offers a way to eat healthier as in getting more lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc. while reducing the amount of calories because these foods would make you feel more full. This type of diet has more or less been pushed for many years by main stream medicine with minor tweaks as research as been done.

    However, the Paleo diet does not automatically make gluten an evil ingredient. The common phrase “correlation does not equal causation” applies here. Just because this diet does not include gluten containing foods and the diet happens to be a healthy diet does not mean that gluten is bad.

    We could make the same silly argument for other ingredients. Why does the diet allow beef? Hunters didn’t domesticate their animals. Modern carrots are cultivated as well, as wild carrots did not contain beta carotene and were not orange. So is that ingredient one that should be excluded from our diet as well? Are we excluding nutrients by drinking purified water? Why not drink from puddles like 10,000 years ago? You see how easily it is to straw man other things.

    So Paleo – your diet plan does not appear to be evil and in fact appears to be one that has some merit and some scientific basis. Why would you want to ruin that by venturing into things that are either false or yet unproven? Let the diet stand on its own, which is a menu selection that fulfills the nutritional needs of most people in a healthy way and can be backed by science. There is no need to use pseudoscience to sell it.

  4. Hailey says:

    I hear this a lot when people talk about eating Paleo, “You’re just lowering your calories, and that’s why people are losing weight.” while I can’t speak for everyone who eats Paleo, I can speak for my mini Paleo community and say that this is not accurate. People who follow Paleo are generally not concerned with calories, only with eating whole foods, grass fed/free range (meaning outdoor, not those horrendous arenas “free range chickens” are kept in), and adequate fat. Outside of Paleo, there is a misconception that the only reason that grains are discouraged is because of gluten. This is also false. While it is recommended if you find yourself reacting poorly to gluten, the main reasoning behind eliminating grains is due to how highly insulinogenic. Grains are all sugar and the obscene amount integrated into the typical American Diet is a major contributor to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes, PCOS, etc. Paleo does not say abandon the modern world. It’s facetious to say that. No one is selling all their belongings to live in a cave and forgoing medical treatments or modern comforts. Be conscious of your food and the effects of your food on your body. There are so many things that modern humans consume that are unnecessary and harmful to the body. Your body does not need all this sugar that it’s fed in the form of soda, or grains. If you feel better eating Paleo, great, if you feel fine drinking soda, good for you. No one, but the crazy fringe (natural news-ers, and general crazos) are suggesting that Paleo reverses autism or disease. The only thing that Paleo asserts firmly is that this is a way to eat that closely resembles hunter-gatherer in a modern society, and that this way of eating will improve insulin resistance.

  5. Robb Wolf is only interested in money. He wants you to believe he’s out to help people and claims to have helped thousands but the only thing he’s helped is his bank balance. He can’t even show respect for his customers like any reasonable person would. I thought it interesting and got the book and listened to quite a number of his podcasts but I feel like I can just see through it. He talks like a professional bullshit artist. I think I may have developed a skill for spotting these people.

    How’s this for professionalism? He mentioned on podcast 148 or 149 he would be releasing an iphone app, stating there would be no android app because there is zillions zillions more users on iphone. Knowing this was not true I emailed him with a link showing that android had 52% market share while apple only had 23% in the US (globally andriod is about 60% to apple 17%) and that if he wanted to reach the most people he should actually use an adroid app if he could only choose one.

    What was his reply? He told me to go f**k myself and said that people who shit bigger than me told him that android was a waste of time. Saying that he was on his second round of venture capital.

    1. He didn’t provide any evidence contrary to the data I presented him.
    2. He’s not interested in data or facts. Just money. The people helping him to make money “said so” is his answer.
    3. Apple products tend to be higher priced. For example a new game called “Agent Dash” is free on android but 99cents on iphone. I am speculating but I have also heard this before that apple users are more likely to pay up. He’s not trying to reach the maximum number of people to help them. He’s trying to reach the people he thinks he can make money from.

    He’s got a good racket going but this guy is not to be trusted!

    He’s got all the excuses and you’ll hear them in his podcasts. Professional BS artist.

    • Huntress says:

      Wolf gives it all away for free. Yes, he has a book and he’d like you to buy it- I mean he did the research and the writing and why shouldn’t he get paid for his work- but the fact is that he GIVES all of the information away for free on his blog and webcast. He left CrossFit because they were focussed only on profits and didn’t care whether they helped the average person get healthy. I don’t know, he’s human, and as such, has his flaws- but being “only interested in money” definitely isn’t one of them.

      • Eric Hall says:

        I’m not sure what you mean that he “gives it away for free.” On his website, every page has links to where you can buy his books. He isn’t giving those away. He gives seminars – where it appears you can hire him to give one – they are not free for those putting them on. I haven’t listened to his podcast, but I can imagine he either has sponsors, or at least plugs his book and website there. It may appear he is giving you free things, and perhaps he is giving you some info – but more traffic also means more sales.

        • paleo Huntress says:

          There is no hidden message or need to read between the lines here- when I say he gives it away for free, I mean, HE GIVES IT AWAY FOR FREE. It’s like TV programming- there are pay channels like HBO and SHOWTIME- if you want to watch them, you PAY for them. Then there’s free TV. If you want to watch it for free, you have to deal with the commercials. Same thing applies to apps for your smart phone… the free version has ads, but with an upgrade, they disappear. Yes, Wolf gives it away for free. The ads are there, you can buy if you want, I’m sure he hopes you DO, but you dan’t have to buy anything to get the information. Just because he’s giving the information away, doesn’t mean the media he’s using is free to him. If there was no way to offset the cost, he’d be paying to give it away. So please, join us here in the real world where Google is covered in ads that you don’t need to click on and recognize that he’s giving it away for free.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Let me ask you – what is Mr. Wolf’s source of income? If everything he does, he does for free – how does he buy the food he wants everyone to eat?

            My point in bringing it up is because his source of income surrounds the diet, he has a vested interest in maintaining a positive image for the diet even in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary. Like power band bracelets, acupuncture, grounding, etc… if my livelihood requires those that come to see me speak, buy my books, visit my website, etc believe in my product and/or message…I am going to continue to push the limits of the claims I can make, and I will ignore any evidence to the contrary.

            As I’ve stated several times, there is no reason for him to push the pseudoscientific nonsense. There are plenty of reasons a paleo diet is healthy. Promote it as such. But to claim every human is allergic to gluten and that cavemen were somehow healthier than us is ludicrous.

          • Guest says:

            It’s interesting how for some people you feel they are evil and not worth listening to because they charge money for something… but for others you’ll go out of your way to excuse it. I’d like to point out to anybody stumbling upon this area, that Paleo Huntress (Laurie) does NOT represent Paleo lifestyles. She is simply a bully and a troll looking for confrontation where she can be incredibly condescending and make up other identities to support her. This has been PROVEN, in a long thread that now has vanished. Interesting. But if you do a search on her name (the one she hides behind so that she can behave rudely) you will still see posts and see that she treats everybody like they are beneath her and that she has zero interest in an actual dialogue, only to win in her imaginary word fight. We have found it best to not feed her. Her huge ego thrives on any attention. Possibly the reason she creates people on the same thread to talk to. But she does not represent us (Paleo) . Please look elsewhere than her for ANY guidance. Good day.

        • Let me ask you – what is Mr. Wolf’s source of income? If everything he does, he does for free

          Save your strawmen, I didn’t say that he does everything that he does for free- I said that he gives his knowledge away for free. His blog is free. His podcasts are free. If you want the book or the supplements that incur expenses to produce, you’ll have to buy them. I didn’t say the guy’s a martyr, we should all be so lucky to make a living at something we love. I’m merely pointing out that if it was all about the money, he’d be more like Art DeVany, whose articles you can’t read without a paid subscription.

          “he has a vested interest in maintaining a positive image for the diet even in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary.

          First, there is no scientific evidence to the contrary. Second, EVERY SINGLE ENTITY, whether an individual or an organization, has a vested interest in maintaining a positive image for the diet they promote. So? Shit, I don’t make a penny and I have a vested interest because I care about people and want to see them healthy. What do you believe that proves?

          “But to claim every human is allergic to gluten and that cavemen were somehow healthier than us is ludicrous.”

          It’s hard to beat the irony of a guy disingenuously bashing another guy falsely for being disingenuous. Wolf does neither. I challenge you to find me a reference where he does. All of his podcasts have written transcripts and you can access them all for free. Just share the evidence that he does what you claim he does.

          I call bullshit. I’ve been listening to his podcasts a second time for the last few weeks- with the work I do, I’m able to hear several a day. He claims NO SUCH THING. Sorry.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I quote, from his webpage, the section of “What is the Paleo Diet?”

            The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.

            That is the root of it all? Certainly the things having to do with neurobiology are much more complex than “stop eating sugar and trans fat and you won’t get depression, Parkinson’s, etc.” In fact, there are studies that show vegetarians have a higher incidence of depression. Yes, I understand meat is part of the paleo diet – but Mr. Wolf is claiming avoiding trans fats and refined sugars will prevent depression. So why do vegetarians get depression at all?

            The section on autoimmunity, he blames all of the diseases in this category on intestinal damage. He makes this claim based on the study I cite in the article above. If you read the entire study, the conclusion was:

            Despite the presence of a measurable zonulin response in both CD and nonCD subjects, CD patients appear to reach a critical threshold of intestinal permeability upon gliadin exposure that is not reached in non-CD intestinal mucosa.

            So, unless one has celiac disease, there is no leaky gut. I have a couple of friends with MS. They don’t have CD. They don’t have a “leaky gut.” Now, these are just anecdotes, but I would think the doctors at the Mayo Clinic would know if there was a connection.

            The only published, peer-reviewed studies on the site come from Loren Cordain. The problem is the published information on the paleo diet is all commentary. No long-term studies of those on the diet. No genetic testing of individuals with comparisons to specimens from 10,000 years ago. That would be where I would start if wanting to study a diet I believed was far superior to all others because of the genetic links to the past.

            So again, the conclusion I reach is that the paleo diet is a perfectly healthy way to eat. However, it doesn’t magically cure the ailments being claimed by Robb Wolf. It doesn’t have a superiority over most other balanced diets. It is being oversold with pseudoscience, which is my concern. If someone believes so strongly in these claims that they forego other treatment, then harm is being done. This is why all claims not supported by science should be removed from “selling features” of the diet.

        • Eric,

          “That is the root of it all? Certainly the things having to do with neurobiology are much more complex than “stop eating sugar and trans fat and you won’t get depression, Parkinson’s, etc.”

          First, your paraphrase isn’t genuine and doesn’t represent the statement at all. The first thing on his list is REFINED foods, and the issue with them is the lack of nutritional content– trans fat and sugar are significant, but not primary. The modern diet is nutrient deficient… our calories are mostly empty. Any time you displace nutrient-dense calories to any extent with nutrient-deficient calories, you risk disease.

          Second, the statement is, “Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate. Is there something in there that isn’t true? Are you suggesting that modern data doesn’t indicate that the modern diet is at the root of degenerative disease? Show me. You are claiming that it isn’t true- it falls on you to evidentiate that.

          “In fact, there are studies that show vegetarians have a higher incidence of depression.”

          Of course they do. Meat is the most nutrient-dense part of the human diet and the richest natural source of vitamin D, the vitamin/hormone most closely correlated with mood.

          “Yes, I understand meat is part of the paleo diet – but Mr. Wolf is claiming avoiding trans fats and refined sugars will prevent depression. So why do vegetarians get depression at all?”

          Again, Mr Wolf isn’t claiming that at all- that is a strawman. And just to make a point, the fact that one doesn’t eat meat most definitely doesn’t preclude one from eating sugar and transfat. As a former vegan, I had many junkfood vegan friends. So your point is moot, and still doesn’t speak in any way to your claims of him “pushing pseudoscience”. My impression is that you’re hearing what you expect to hear (and perhaps even WANT to hear?) and not what is actually written by Robb Wolf.

          The section on autoimmunity, he blames all of the diseases in this category on intestinal damage. He makes this claim based on the study I cite in the article above. If you read the entire study, the conclusion was:

          Our debate here is specifically about what you have stated that Robb Wolf falsely claims. To debate that, you have to first start with the actual claim. I asked you for HIS words, not your understanding if them (your history of which isn’t all that stellar so far).

          “I would think the doctors at the Mayo Clinic would know if there was a connection.”

          If you think the mayo clinic is the be all and end all of science, that explains a lot. I bet you think the AHA knows what’s best for heart health, the ACS is the cancer expert and that the ADA knows what’s best for diabetics too. LMAO Plug “corruption mayo clinic” into a search engine for more on that.

          You wrote that he claims,

          “every human is allergic to gluten and that cavemen were healthier”

          You have yet to show me that. Copy, paste, link. Easy.

          “However, it doesn’t magically cure the ailments being claimed by Robb Wolf.”

          Again… see above.

          “It is being oversold with pseudoscience, which is my concern.”

          And again, see above.

          “This is why all claims not supported by science should be removed from “selling features” of the diet.”

          lol Yes… it’s almost comical at this point. What are these claims again?

          Ahem.

          ~Huntress

          • Eric Hall says:

            Explain to me what you mean by “nutrient dense.” If you are saying vitamins and minerals, does that mean I can survive on a supplement alone? I assume you would say no. So, if I take the supplement and eat the same ratio of sugar as what is in a vegetable and take a protein supplement for that part, wouldn’t that be equivalent? The body needs sugars (which is in all food in varied amounts), protein (amino acids), vitamins and minerals, fats, and water. How would it be different if I carefully ate the constituents of the foods in the paleo diet over eating the food itself?

            No – see, on your point I need to prove you wrong? Science uses the null hypothesis. Unless YOU can provide data that your position is true, your assertion is false. If I say there are dancing unicorns in your house right now, it is up to me to provide proof. Otherwise, it is safe to assume my premise is false. Despite that, I still did provide a counter-example (depression). Depression, Parkinson’s, and other brain diseases can be brought on by injury. This can be shown in professional athletes time and time again. These diseases have complex physiology far beyond the food we eat and a “leaky gut.”

            Your proof on “every human is allergic to gluten” is in the blog post above (I encourage you to read it). But here is the link (which can be found above) plus the quote:

            Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.

            Yes, no organization is perfect. Yes they all face a level of corruption and follow bad paths. Hell, Mayo peddles some of the pseudoscience crap those of us that write here despise. But I also know several scientists that work there. They do great work there as well. They save many lives. Saying the bad that happens at Mayo makes everything they do wrong is like saying because I stole a candy bar when I was 11 years old that everything I say and do in my entire life is worthless.

            As for the rest of your requests to link my proof – it is up to you to link and prove his claims. I posted his claims. He claims this diet will cure “obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.”

            As a vegan, how did you justify refined sugar being they use animal bones in the process?

          • Eric Hall says:

            Robb Wolf’s claim cavemen were healthier:

            A logical model for prevention research (and, potenatially, for health recommendations) is an amalgamation of the lifestyles prevailing among early, behaviorally modern humans, before agriculture accelerated genetic-cultural evolutionary divergence.

            Which again comes from “commentary” and not an actual study. Please show me a study with data and not commentary where this diet is better.

          • Explain to me what you mean by “nutrient dense.” If you are saying vitamins and minerals, does that mean I can survive on a supplement alone?

            Eric,

            Are you a lawyer by any chance? You obviously aren’t interested in resolution or communication, just in trying to win at word games (you know you don’t get paid for dragging this out, right?) You clearly don’t care about the spirit of the discussion and you are going out of your way to misunderstand. (At least I hope so because that level of ignorance would be tragic.) Here’s the thing though, I’m not going to debate the diet. I don’t care whether you eat a paleo diet or three squares a day of supplements. Paleo isn’t my god, nor do I stick rigidly to it. I have no investment in what dietary dogma you believe or why, and the less pastured beef you eat, the more there is for me and my family. Feel free to scarf down turkey burgers, tofu cheese and canola oil, or Twinkies and HoHos if that gives you a woody. I’m good with it.

            So let’s start here- we are talking about FOOD- so obviously I’m not talking about supplements because pills aren’t food. Nutrient density is defined as “the ratio of nutrient content to the total energy content”. It is well-known that we absorb nutrients from the foods that contain them naturally then from supplements. The rest should be self-explanatory, and if not, I recommend googling “nutrient density” for a more thorough understanding. I’m not going to play your game- either get genuine or get out.

            I have asked you to do only ONE thing, and that is prove your claims that Robb Wolf said cavemen were all healthy and that everyone is allergic to gluten.

            I’ve read the page you linked to- I’ve read in the past when it was posted and I read it yesterday too and once again today. Nowhere on the page does Wolf claim that everyone is allergic to gluten- in fact, the words allergy and allergic cannot even be found in his post. He just. Doesn’t. Say it.

            Regarding the caveman claim- perhaps my English is failing me, but I’ve reread this quote several times- “A logical model for prevention research (and, potenatially, for health recommendations) is an amalgamation of the lifestyles prevailing among early, behaviorally modern humans, before agriculture accelerated genetic-cultural evolutionary divergence.” and nowhere in it is there a claim that cavemen were all healthy. In fact, it doesn’t even mention their health. What it DOES do is establish an evolutionary model/timeline for the human diet. This is the kind of thing that ALL biologists do when trying to determine an animal’s natural diet. You are imagining things- and DROWNING in strawmen.

            Now I get that you are “hearing” what you hear, but that is a product of your own biases and issues. My purpose was to make it clear that your misconceptions were your own and that Robb doesn’t say any of the things you claim he does- I’ve managed that beautifully.

            There are lots of good people in science and medicine- but the corruption lives in the POLICY MAKERS. ‘Nuff said.

            ~Huntress

          • Eric Hall says:

            Regarding the quote you pulled out, what is the EVIDENCE for this statement? Two reasons I disagree with it. One, evolutionary changes can happen on short time frames, especially when talking about a small number of traits. It would not be unreasonable for selection to prefer those that are not allergic to gluten, and apparently that selection has taken place. Second, a trait such as the ability to digest gluten could already be present even if it wasn’t being used. In either case, they are making the assumption that neither is the case, and doing so without without evidence.

            You do seem passionate about defending Mr. Wolf. I am trying to discredit him. He has the potential to do harm by stating his diet cures people of disease. He presents anecdotal evidence, not scientific evidence. It has the potential to do harm. I don’t have a problem with the diet, but the claims smadde to go with it.

            He does claim everyone is allergic to gluten in this statement:

            Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.

            And you continue to attack me personally on my discussion skills. Please understand I am not going to simply agree with you by telling me to eat junk food, accusing me of being ignorant, or any other personal attack on me. The closest to a personal attack I perpetrated was in questioning Mr. Wolf’s motives for defending the diet to excess because it is hiss primary source of income. That isn’t my sole piece of evidence, but a small piece off a larger puzzle. I appreciate civil discussion, and will be glad to continue a discussion in that context.

            If you would indulge me on this point, I’d like to ask – do you believe our diet is the root of all disease and that disease would be eliminated by everyone eating paleo?

          • I wanted to add too, good job appealing to authority in the comments on a post where you criticize someone for doing what you believe to be the same. ;-)

          • You know what, you’re right, it’s rude to make fun of the disable.

            This is the study that Wolf references- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635908

            This is a direct quote from the abstract-

            CONCLUSIONS: Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.

            If your “evidence” that Wolf claims that everyone is allergic to gluten is an abstract from yet ANOTHER study demonstrating the deleterious effect of gluten, it’s no wonder you’re confused.

            Let me give you an example of what a statement such as the one you claim he made would look like-

            “EVERYONE IS ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN.”

            See that? It’s pretty straightforward… I mean, I guess if we wanted to convince the world that red is really blue, we could share a quote from a study that concludes that it is in fact, a color. And then someone like you could come along and claim it’s snake oil! ~gasp~ Can you imagine? This guy wants me to eat whole food, lots of veggies and berries, some fruits, fish, pastured beef and poultry… doen’t he know how DANGEROUS that is? ~rolls eyes~

            If you have a strong argument, you don’t have to manufacture BS. Either he makes the claim or he doesn’t. And obviously, he doesn’t.

            You are 0 for 2 now.

            Critical thinking is the bomb.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Mr. Wolf however conveniently leaves out this part:

            Conversely, biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues.

            So he is using a study to justify his “leaky gut” hypothesis that actually shows non-CD people don’t get “leaky gut.” The permeability in non-CD patients is smaller. It also doesn’t show us how this affects any other systems in the body.

            This statement you made: “You know what, you’re right, it’s rude to make fun of the disable (sic).” Do not continue in this behavior. Thank you.

          • I missed this-

            “do you believe our diet is the root of all disease and that disease would be eliminated by everyone eating paleo?”

            I believe our diet is at the root of modern, degenerative disease. (which is exactly what Wolf writes and not “ALL disease”. You continue to misquote him and build strawmen.) We have other factors as well, environmental toxins are impossible to avoid and of course genetic disease and predispositions. Though I love gary Taubes take on that- if you never eat the foods that turn these genes on, does it matter that you have them? No. The fact is that our health as a nation has so dramatically worsened in the last decade alone, that it’s impossible to point to genetics as the cause. I do not believe any diet can cure them all- but I DO believe that a Paleo/primitive diet will put you in the best place to manage it.

            Of course, the thing is that Paleo diets are better defined by what they aren’t, than what they are. Even a vegetarian can eat a paleo diet. So when I hear someone say it isn’t “safe”, I can’t help but wonder which of the thousands of iterations of paleo they refer to? There is certainly the ‘mostly meat’ iteration (like the traditional Inuit or Maasai ate) that the ignorant claim it to be. Then there is the high carb, high fruit version of the Katavans, and the version the Okinawans eat. There are tropical versions and Northern versions. Coastal diets are high in salt-water fish and sea veggies, inland diets high in red meats and poultry.

            They all have a few things in common- they avoid or severely limit grains, legumes and dairy. They consume whole, nutrient-dense foods from natural sources. Even if you don’t believe that gluten is an issue, grains are one of the least nutrient-dense foods you can eat, even with ancestral preparation to improve the bioavailability. If you’d typically eat around 2000 calories a day and you’re displacing 500 calories of nutrient-dense foods like meat, eggs or greens with 500 calories of grains, by default, your diet becomes less nutrient-dense. It isn’t rocket science. I don’t have any digestive issues with gluten, but I feel better without it. (I had type II diabetes and was 100lbs heavier before paleo) When I eat it, I crave more of it. And the new data on it demonstrates that when glutenous foods are part of the diet, individuals eat several hundred more calories a day, spontaneously… even when the macros are the same in both groups.

            It’s pretty straightforward, and you seem like a smart guy, so your deliberate misconstruing is especially disingenuous. I have to assume you’ve never listened to a FREE podcast, because if you had, you’d know that when it comes to the paleo gurus, Robb Wolf is the “regular guy” of them. He’s not rigid in his recommendations and is all about tinkering to find what works- even including whole milk, cheese and grains.

            How honest can a review be without having read the book or listened to the podcasts? Talk about an ad hominem attack.

          • Eric,

            You wrote-

            “So he is using a study to justify his “leaky gut” hypothesis that actually shows non-CD people don’t get “leaky gut.” The permeability in non-CD patients is smaller. It also doesn’t show us how this affects any other systems in the body”.

            Then you say that,

            “Mr. Wolf however conveniently leaves out this part: Conversely, biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues.

            However, on the page you linked me to, under MECHANISMS, I find that it isn’t left out at all, which is pretty odd considering you’re implying that he’s trying to be sneaky. I have to say though, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t catch that the first time- but I happened to be searching for the phrase here and didn’t realize I’d switched tabs. That’s what I get for not double-checking your claims for accuracy. THIS is why it’s always important to go directly to the source. Depending entirely on other people or organizations to distill your information will never get you the truth. Instead you’ll get blog posts such as this one that make claims that are unsubstantiated.

            This is a direct copy and paste-

            Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 2006; 41: 408 Á/419

            Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac

            Objective. Little is known about the interaction of gliadin with intestinal epithelial cells and the mechanism(s) through which gliadin crosses the intestinal epithelial barrier. We investigated whether gliadin has any immediate effect on zonulin release and signaling.

            Material and methods. Both ex vivo human small intestines and intestinal cell monolayers were exposed to gliadin, and zonulin release and changes in paracellular permeability were monitored in the presence and absence of zonulin antagonism. Zonulin binding, cytoskeletal rearrangement, and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) redistribution were evaluated by immunofluorescence microscopy. Tight junction occludin and ZO-1 gene expression was evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

            Results. When exposed to gliadin, zonulin receptor-positive IEC6 and Caco2 cells released zonulin in the cell medium with subsequent zonulin binding to the cell surface, rearrangement of the cell cytoskeleton, loss of occludin-ZO1 protein Á/protein interaction, and increased monolayer permeability. Pretreatment with the zonulin antagonist FZI/0 blocked these changes without affecting zonulin release. When exposed to luminal gliadin, intestinal biopsies from celiac patients in remission expressed a sustained luminal zonulin release and increase in intestinal permeability that was blocked by FZI/0 pretreatment.~~

            ~~Conversely, biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues. Chronic gliadin exposure caused down-regulation of both ZO-1 and occludin gene expression.

            Conclusions. Based on our results, we concluded that gliadin activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.”

            You’ll note the relevant phrase has been bolded, but feel free to go see for yourself.

            Let’s compare the statements YOU made with the ones HE made and the ones made in the study.

            We’ll start with the study-

            “Conversely, biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues.”

            Robb Wolf writes-

            “Everyone has CXCR3, everyone transports gluten into the enterocytes, everyone experiences gut irritation from gluten.”

            You write-

            “Robb Wolf claims that ‘claim every human is allergic to gluten'”.

            Of the three quotes I posted, only one statement was false. Can you guess which one?

            Let’s go further on the study- is it your contention that if it doesn’t reach the “level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues” that it is harmless? Is it an all or nothing thing? One of the most serious issues a Celiac faces besides a leaky gut is the destruction of the gut cilia and inflammation. But even without destruction, when the cilia are inflamed, the gut cannot absorb nutrients from food. So let’s say a person doesn’t have Celiacs, but their gut lining is simply irritated every time they eat wheat. Are you suggesting that’s perfectly OK as long as it recovers eventually? You certainly are allowed to believe so, but that doesn’t change the definition of the word “allergic”.

  6. Sean says:

    I am not the ‘crazy fringe’ and in fact I am not paleo – but have read a hell of lot about many diet regimes having been gluten free for over 20 years myself.
    The simple fact is that paleo is likely to remove foods that some people are intolerent to and therefore feel better for it. Look up the work of “Dr. John Mansfield” and arthritis and also weight loss.
    I had arthritis from age 17 to 24 – and have been over 75% better since cutting out wheat and corn from my diet. Paleo would have certainly helped me too!

  7. Eric Hall says:

    I have one other comment/addendum to make here. The National MS Society has information on the type of diet people with MS should follow. They recommend a diet low in saturated fat, which goes against the advice promoted in the paleo diet. In the section “The Problem with Special Diets,” The MS society website states:

    While many different diets have been proposed as a treatment, or even a cure, for the signs and symptoms of MS, evidence of effectiveness is very limited. There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fats and supplemented by Omega 3 (from fatty fishes, cod-liver oil, or flaxseed oil) and Omega 6 (fatty acids from sunflower or safflower seed oil and possibly evening primrose oil) may have some benefit for people with MS.Most of the diets that have been touted as helping people with MS have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled studies, and the few that have been evaluated have produced mixed results. Most of the claims made for dietary treatments are based on personal accounts, and the reported benefits may have been spontaneous changes that would have happened without any treatment.

    I would think they have more experience dealing with people with MS than just about any organization. I agree with them, it can be harmful to peddle bad information, and thus it should not be done.

    • I have quite a bit more to say, but I have kidlets to get off to school too, so I’ll start here.

      This is a TED talk on YouTube- from Dr. Terry Wahl, called “Minding Your Mitochondria”. She has MS. It’s really interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

      I’ll be back with more in a bit, but this is a great start.

      • Eric Hall says:

        From the video description: “Editor’s note: This talk is a personal narrative and is not yet backed by larger experimentation.”

        • Eric,

          “This talk is a personal narrative and is not yet backed by larger experimentation.”

          This is very true. It’s important that we have more peer-reviewed evidence, with control groups and double blind testing whenever possible.

          Please share the citations that back the supposed “larger experimentation” for the MS diet recommendations. They’re such a big, reputable (ahem) institution, I’m sure they provide citations for all of their advice.

          So this is how this will go down, if you haven’t looked for them yet, I’m going to call you a hypocrite, because you were only interested in trying to make a paleo diet look bad, not in any actual evidence. If you can’t find them, I’m going to call you a hypocrite for not insisting on the same rigorous evidence to back their recommendations before proffering it as “evidence”.

          Carry on. =)

          ~Huntress

          • Eric Hall says:

            Start with the Swank paper from 1970 and look at the papers that cited it from there.

          • If you don’t have the citation at hand, this means you don’t have the paper, nor do you have access to it. It is YOUR contention that larger experimentation is needed. This means that it falls on you to evidentiate your research on the subject. No citation? No research done.

            Am I seeing ‘hypocrite’ in your future?

            I’ll tell you what, YOU start with the swank paper- then share the citation when you find it. After all, haven’t you been claiming that Robb Wolf doesn’t back up HIS claims?

          • Eric Hall says:

            I gave you the citation. I am not going to spend my entire day copying and pasting links for the benefit of you alone. It is easy to find. The paper is available online. There is also a non-profit dedicated to helping those with MS http://www.swankmsdiet.org/

            I’ll point out the difference. Dr. Swank:

            “My 50 years of research and working with approximately 5,000 people, just like you, have proven that this protocol works to slow progression of the disease as well as benefit overall health.”

            No magic claims that diet alone is the cause of MS, nor will it magically cure it. Instead, it is one piece of the puzzle. Research which is published with data, not commentary. Several published papers, following MS patients for years, monitoring their diet. That’s research. That’s science.

            Robb Wolf:

            A key feature that is continuously overlooked by mainstream medicine, especially the clueless vegan docs, is the complete lack of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disease in hunter gatherer cultures.

            In other words, so many are clueless, but look at my testimonials! I have the answer!

            Robb Wolf’s “testimonials” are wonderful. I love this example in particular. Woman has a flare-up of her MS. The doctors start a drug cocktail treatment. At the same time she starts the paleo diet. But, according to this testimonial, her symptoms improving had nothing to do with the drugs she took, but it was all dietary. <– Anecdote

            No, Robb Wolf doesn't back up his claims. I have shown that. He twists and misconstrues the data. In some cases, it could be dangerous.

          • Though this may be news to you, “the Swank paper from 1970″ is not a citation. Not in any way, shape or form.

            You haven’t shown a thing. You have inaccurately paraphrased falsely accused Mr Wolf of many things. The only thing you’ve actually managed to substantiate is the discrepancy in depression rates. If that’s the whole of your evidence, it’s pretty pathetic.

          • Eric,

            “Woman has a flare-up of her MS. The doctors start a drug cocktail treatment. At the same time she starts the paleo diet. “

            And yet another example of you falsely paraphrasing. This is what she actually wrote.

            [Approximately every three months]— [I would be given a massive dose of steroids to try and calm the inflammation. In hospital they referred to it as the industrial dose. It was just one element of a drug cocktail – monthly immune suppressants, and daily thirteen muscle relaxants to relieve the symptomatic spasticity.

            She’d been getting monthly doses for some time.

            “As it disappeared I noticed that I would become over medicated – when you take muscle relaxants this feels like going floppy, so I would have to reduce my medication until I had enough stability to function. I must have made this cut to my medications 20 times or more until there was no medication left.

            So she went from monthly mega-doses of meds to no meds at all on paleo. So how are the meds responsible for her no longer needing meds?

            ~smacks forehead~

            They’re not.

            Be genuine, Eric. Try harder.

      • My wife has MS, so we’ve done some research into Dr. Wahls and her diet, along with the other “MS miracle diets” out there. First, the evidence that they are beneficial is entirely anecdotal. “It worked for me, so it’ll work for you” is not science, and it’s certainly not something I’m going to base my health on.

        Second, I get suspicious of anyone purporting to have a miracle cure for anything that’s only available for purchase on their website. Now you’re not only asking me to try something based on only your authority, but you’re asking me to PAY you for it.

        Third, Dr. Wahls spends much more time talking about her diet and much less time talking about the neuro-muscular stimulation she had at the same time she was on the diet. Was it this or the diet that helped her get out of her wheelchair? Was it either, and her recovery was just one of the many swings that MS can go through?

        My wife has been seen by several of the best neurologists in Los Angeles, none of whom have advocated any kind of diet beyond what the MS Society recommends. Appeal to authority? Maybe. But I’d take their word over the word of someone trying to sell me an expensive cure that has no evidence behind it any day.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Thanks for sharing Mike!

          And I agree – the problem is the claim that the paleo diet cures the various diseases such as MS is it is not a controlled study, but anecdote. I would imagine part of the reason the paleo diet appears to work is due to the fact it seems to be a fairly balanced diet. Thus getting the proper nutrients and losing weight is much more influential on health than the specific food being eaten. I am not sure how else to convince people is my problem isn’t with the diet, but with the claims being made and the bad science (or misrepresentation of science) being perpetrated. I don’t want people to stop seeing their doctor or taking their medication because they think the diet alone will cure them.

          • Hi Eric,

            Just so you know, you may actually be talking to Robb Wolf or if not him someone he knows. He emailed me shortly before the rebuttal to my post last year. Just don’t be surprised if this “paleo huntress” never gives up and keeps attacking you for the wrong reasons.

            All the people who claim the diet does not work somehow don’t make it into the anecdotal “evidence”. Apparently they’re not doing it right, lol. You can even listen to examples of this in his own podcast questions!

            The guy is a snake oil salesman. He’s got the books, the food products (now called evolve instead of paleo brands), the sponsors, I guess some kind of app, along with a team of affiliates who together bring in more dollars. They have made some success out of selling nothing. Don’t eat junk food. Eat natural foods. shocking! then there’s the usual customizations to make it look different. no gluten but don’t worry you can have corn and white rice and tequila. you can eat nuts but not too much and on and on. it’s all deliberately vague so that it’s hard to prove it wrong. if for any reason it’s not working, you need to keep “playing” with it UNTIL it works. They don’t know exactly how it will work for YOU, just that it works for EVERYONE (if they do it exactly right – which they can’t tell you what that is).

            To the layman it can look convincing but that’s the point. People sell crap and some people are really good at it. Unfortunately sometimes it can be harmful and this is one of those cases.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Thanks for your contribution. I am not sure how else to communicate my concerns, and it is nice to see others get it and know why I am concerned. See my depression post below too!

          • Evolve Foods and Paleo Brands are not the same company. They haven’t merged, they aren’t related and they do not have the same owners. Evolve foods is a Paleo Solutions podcast sponsor. They were a sponsor from the first podcast I heard over 3 years ago and they are a sponsor now. Paleo Brands is Robb Wolf’s company, started a couple of years after Evolve was already on the market. The podcast is also sponsored by the maker of an app called “Front Desk”, which is designed to help gym owners manage their membership and paperwork.

            Boogeymen everywhere.

            If you go back to the front page of The Paleo Solution, the one that Eric believes is somehow incriminating- Robb offers evidence for the benefit of the diet in every category. Not once does he state it will cure everything. (It’s like those Dremel ads where they show you what the tool can do- they don’t say our multi-tool can cut EVERYTHING, they say, “here’s the evidence for what it CAN cut.) Wouldn’t it be great if everyone claiming a certain way of eating is healthy would offer EVIDENCE? Wow… citations even. You guys are barking up the wrong beanstalk- there is no better, more straight-forward, more HONEST way to present a dietary option than the way Mr. Wolf has presented it. And the best part is, he gives it all away for FREE.

            Envy is so not an attractive quality in another person.

          • And that’s the crux of these so-called “MS diets.” Get off your drugs, get on the food plan you can buy only from me. This is dangerous and insane.

          • “Get off your drugs, get on the food plan you can buy only from me. This is dangerous and insane.”

            Totally. But then Wolf gives it away for free… you know, like the FDA, the CDC, the ADA, the ACS, etc. He GIVES IT AWAY.

            He also says, work closely with your doctor so you can be monitored and do NOT stop taking your prescriptions.

            Has anyone here actually READ his stuff? It certainly doesn’t seem like it.

        • Nutritional science is too complex to “prove” a cure for most anything. So I wouldn’t even suggest that any diet has been proven to cure MS. That wasn’t the point, the point was that it definitely ins’t detrimental. What blows my mind is how people spend all this energy debating it and wavering… OMG! Should I try it? OMG! What does the evidence say? OMG what if it isn’t PERFECT?! ~gasp~ ~tears at hair~

          It’s not a tattoo, it isn’t marriage… no one’s asking you to buzz-cut your ass-length hair… it’s friggin’ FOOD. So, you eat a paleo diet (or ANY diet) for 30 days- if you feel better you stick with it, if not you ditch it or you tinker until you find the right combo.

          How many people put this much thought into the last Twinkie they ate?! ~rolls eyes~ Gimme a break… oh the drama.

          ~Huntress

          FWIW, Terry Wahls was getting the neuro-muscular stimulation BEFORE she started the diet.

  8. Eric Hall says:

    Huntress –

    Here’s another quick example of both misinformation as well as failure of proper advice:

    http://robbwolf.com/2012/03/23/nutrition-depression/

    The article starts with a total fabrication. It states: “According to the National Institute of Health, one quarter of the population of the United States suffers from depression.” This is really far from the truth. A search of both the CDC and NIH shows the number to be just under 10%. Why fabricate this?

    The more dangerous part is how the entire article focuses on how hunger works, and then tries to conclude a diet can heal you (quote: “In conclusion, following a paleo diet can go a long way to helping heal depression”). No caveat that depression can be dangerous and anyone with depression symptoms should see a doctor. People by the thousands kill themselves every year, with at least some of them that could be saved with proper treatment.

    Again, no doubt losing weight and being active is good for hormone control and thus good for mood. But the paleo diet isn’t the only solution. Certainly there are those who eat healthy and still get depression. To ignore that part and say the paleo diet is the largest part of the cure is dangerous. SCARY DANGEROUS.

    Even if Robb Wolf passes your test as a regular guy, he is overselling his plan to the point that it can be harmful. That’s my concern, is the information he is pushing could cause harm.

    • First, Robb Wolf isn’t the article’s author, though I’d say he is still responsible for the material posted at his site. Rather than going to all the trouble to research the claim, wouldn’t it be simpler to just ask him where he got his information? That’s what I do when I can’t figure something out. It takes much less energy than trying to manufacture reasons to dislike someone.

      Still though, you’ve got a person who is depressed– maybe they’re actively seeking treatment, maybe they’re not– but one thing we know for sure is that they’re EATING. Encouraging them to eat a whole food diet that removes the most commonly eaten inflammatory foods is somehow “SCARY DANGEROUS”? I can’t help wondering how you’d define a schizophrenic being offered LSD, or a toddler riding on the roof of a moving car on the freeway, if a whole food diet is scary dangerous. lol

      Further, and this is a theme for you whether you like hearing it or not, you rephrase things disingenuously.

      You quote him as saying a Paleo diet will “go a long way to helping heal depression”. Now I realize you are sensitive about being insulted, but no matter how you rephrase it, “going a long way to help” doesn’t translate into THIS WILL HEAL YOU.

      It just doesn’t.

      Surely, at this point you must be sensing a trend in your own bias. You still appear to be reading what you WANT/EXPECT to read rather than what is actually there.

      • Eric Hall says:

        If I were writing an article aimed at people with depression, I would be repeating over and over again – make sure to seek PROFESSIONAL help. It is neglectful not to do so.

        You also did not explain the large discrepancy between 25% claimed and the 10% real figure.

        • As I said, he didn’t write the article… and neither did I. If one were truly interested (and it’s quite obvious that you aren’t) the logical thing to do would be to ask. FWIW, mental disease, including depression DOES effect 25%. I suspect that is where the figure came from.

          So now he’s been downgraded from “scary dangerous” to neglectful. lol That’s a little more genuine, but not the whole way.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I provided my (informal) citation, linking to both the CDC and NIH. Where does the 25% number come from? Also, the article says specifically 25% suffer from depression.

            For the record, I did ask where some of the data came from in the past. Because I questioned the data on the site, I was banned from commenting and my comments removed. If you notice on his site, all comments are supportive and positive. There is no discussion or questioning on his site. Here…you will notice all but one of your comments remain (I deleted the one where you said you were still waiting for a response).

          • This is your sticking point, Eric? Everything else turned out to be smoke and mirrors so you’re gonna get stuck on this number? LMAO

            All comments here are supportive? Are you kidding me?! There is nothing supportive in the comments you are making toward Robb Wolf. They are disingenuous and even libelous.

          • Eric Hall says:

            No – read what I wrote. Look at Robb Wolf’s site. No negative comments. No comments questioning his data. Because he deletes them and bans the person from future comments. This is in opposition to what you see here – where even though we disagree and I think you are misrepresenting my point and the science, the comments remain and are allowed. Meaning, here we allow comments that disagree and are negative. You will find no such thing on Mr. Wolf’s website.

            Also, you know that is not my only sticking point. I am saying I cannot take your suggestion and question the data because it is not allowed on his site. I tried to question it, and I was banned for it.

          • If you asked your questions in the same disrespectful, disingenuous, aggressive way you’ve commented here, it doesn’t surprise me that you were banned. ~shrugs~ Perhaps it was clear to him as well that you weren’t actually interested in the information.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I believe you have been the aggressor in this discussion. I take you back to points where you accused me of being disabled, a poor critical thinker, disingenuous, and a few other things. If you look back, most of your replies include condescending remarks (you’re 0 for 2, carry on, try harder, etc). I have continued to address the topic at hand, while you try to attack me personally.

            I asked a simple question – it was over a year ago, so I don’t know my quote word for word, but it was something to the effect of how recent data shows depression closer to 1 in 10 people according to the CDC and NIH, so is the data being quoted older or perhaps a misreading of some other data. For that I was banned.

          • “I believe you have been the aggressor in this discussion. I take you back to points where you accused me of being disabled, a poor critical thinker, disingenuous, and a few other things.”

            Without a doubt… and I still think so. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. You misquoted and misrepresented almost everything you commented on. There are two likely scenarios, one, that you’re being mean-spirited and are deliberately misleading your readers, the other is that you are somehow misreading and accidentally misquoting every single thing that you mention (except the depression numbers). The first suggests disingenuousness, the second, a lack of critical thinking. Which is it? If there’s a third, I’m all ears.

            I can’t speak to why you were banned, and you can’t blame me for not considering your perception of why an especially dependable resource given your history in this thread. Time after time I pointed out the misquotes, and not ONCE did you recant or apologize.

            That just stinks, Eris. I’m sorry that you’re offended, but it does.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Did I misquote you? I don’t believe I misquoted anyone. But, if your claim is I misquoted Mr. Wolf, I don’t think an apology to you would be the appropriate action (unless of course you are his spouse, child, or some other close relative). I pulled every quote from Mr. Wolf from his website.

            You again demand of me some proof of a negative. I have said I can’t do that. If you would like an apology for that, I cannot provide one. It is not scientific to prove a negative. I think I have been clear that my concern is the lack of evidence for Mr. Wolf’s claims. If he does not have the proper evidence, than the null hypothesis is the valid one. That requires no apology, for that is the process of science. He claims the root of several diseases is diet. He has no evidence showing diet to be the primary (root) cause in any one of the diseases listed. By that, his hypotheses are not valid.

            I have concern in the way the information is presented that it has the potential for harm. But the point of my original post is that of what is stated in the previous paragraph. The scientific process tells us his claims are false, for he does not have evidence for them. Certainly the science that is presented is interesting, as well as some of the reasoning. Those are things that could lead one to make the hypotheses stated. But until those hypothesis are tested and evidence presented, they are not valid.

          • I hit enter too soon- I wanted to add that I misread your comment on how “supportive” the comments were. My apologies.

            I’ll point out though that when I was there earlier rereading the comments, some were pretty scathing. So that doesn’t support your claim that only the “supportive” comments are allowed to remain.

          • You misrepresent a source repeatedly in a blog post and you don’t owe your readers an apology for that? Wow. Yes, you owe Mr Wolf an apology too, but you and I are engaged in a debate and you have been “caught” shall we say in several misrepresentations- almost EVERY ONE. It is customary (and polite) to apologize when one makes a mistake like that in a discussion. You know, like where you claimed that the woman with MS started a paleo diet at the same time she started a new drug cocktail and how this supports your theory that it’s all made up- except that that wasn’t the case at all, so then you’d have to withdraw your theory because you have no evidence.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Read the post for yourself. She was on the medications at the time she started the diet. Her symptoms began to subside, so she cut her mediaction “20 times until there was no medication left.” What I said about this is the anecdote doesn’t support Robb Wolf’s claim that the diet can cure MS, because the anecdote doesn’t control for how much the drugs versus diet played a factor in the recovery.

            If I get strep throat, and I start taking antibiotics and at the same time start drinking tea, I couldn’t claim that the tea is what cured me of my infection. It is possible it was the tea, but my anecdote does not confirm my hypothesis in any way, because I also was taking a medication.

            The way to prove this would be to set up a study where a large group of people with MS with similar symptoms and a similar set of medications were divided into two group. One group would eat paleo while the other group stuck to their normal diet. If the paleo people indeed showed a statistically significant improvement over the non-paleo people, now we would be talking evidence.

            Please, please, please understand this is my problem with Robb Wolf and these type of claims in general. It is bad science, and bad for the public’s understanding of science. Anecdotes are not evidence. You want me to prove a negative. That is not science. The science here is Robb makes a hypothesis. He has yet to provide evidence done in a scientific manner to prove that hypothesis. Thus, the null hypothesis is still the valid hypothesis. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Eric,

            “Read the post for yourself. She was on the medications at the time she started the diet. Her symptoms began to subside, so she cut her mediaction “20 times until there was no medication left.” What I said about this is the anecdote doesn’t support Robb Wolf’s claim that the diet can cure MS, because the anecdote doesn’t control for how much the drugs versus diet played a factor in the recovery.”

            I DID rad the post- that’s how I copied an pasted snippets from it into the comment. But alright, let’s do it again. I won’t take anything out at all… here goes-

            “I tried the Swank DIET for MS. Nothing made an impact on the disease progression.

            Approximately every three months I was hospitalised experiencing a relapse, deterioration and loss of abilities. I would be given a massive dose of steroids to try and calm the inflammation. In hospital they referred to it as the industrial dose. It was just one element of a drug cocktail – monthly immune suppressants, and daily thirteen muscle relaxants to relieve the symptomatic spasticity.

            [read that carefully- she was hospitalized EVERY THREE MONTHS where she got an “industrial dose” of steroids. She also got MONTHLY doses of immuno-suppressants. This establishes a pattern of treatment OVER TIME.]

            I was lucky enough to begin therapy with an Exercise Physiologist who eats Paleo and is a keen follower of your website. He worked through my objections to diet being a contributing factor to my health and spoke of the benefits that he and his family had experienced and encouraged me to try.

            Within four weeks nobody was more surprised than me when my symptoms began to subside.

            [She had been on intensive drug therapy for some time, at LEAST for three months, though her use of “every” suggests several three month cycles and nothing had helped her. She began to feel better when she started eating a paleo-style diet. The drug therapy had been ineffective and hadn’t changed. The only factor that changed was her diet.]

            It began with my hands. I had been experiencing a halo sensation around my hands. The halos and the buzzing stopped. Then the spasticity began to resolve. As it disappeared I noticed that I would become over medicated – when you take muscle relaxants this feels like going floppy, so I would have to reduce my medication until I had enough stability to function. I must have made this cut to my medications 20 times or more until there was no medication left. I still have a lot of spasticity and the process of it reducing, exposing weak and unused muscles is still ongoing.

            [As her need for medication was reduced, she found herself OVER medicated by her regular dose and had to step it down.]

            “What I said about this is the anecdote doesn’t support Robb Wolf’s claim that the diet can cure MS”

            No, what you said is this-

            The doctors start a drug cocktail treatment. At the same time she starts the paleo diet. But, according to this testimonial, her symptoms improving had nothing to do with the drugs she took, but it was all dietary.

            Which was again, a misquote of what she shared, in that she didn’t start the diet and the drug therapy at the same time. Your intention seems clear, to make it seem ludicrous that this silly woman would attribute her improved health to the diet when the drug therapy was OBVIOUSLY responsible. Duuuuh. I can’t prove your intentions, but either way, it was a misquote and a further misrepresentation, which is exactly what I said.

            You have established a significant pattern of it here, and even when it’s pointed out to you repeatedly, you continue to do it.

          • Eric Hall says:

            The way I stated that wasn’t clear. I was trying to say she is on this drug cocktail, and we have no idea when she started them, where she was in the cycle, what her symptoms were at the time she started the diet. We have no idea what the drugs were, so we don’t know how long they should take. I’ll be more verbose here so my point is more accurate.

            Here’s what I do know. MS drug cocktails do take some time to take effect. Most people with MS have periods of flareups and remission. I made an assumption she was in a typical cycle and I shouldn’t have done so. It is possible she had symptoms for a long time, and I can’t verify that either way.

            However, my point is still correct, even if I expand to include the other possibilities. If she was cycling between flareup and remission, then it would make sense the drugs were at least part if not all of what helped her get better. There is evidence the drugs work. Because this is an anecdote, I cannot prove or disprove that the diet played a role in her recovery. That is my main point, is that a single anecdote does not prove or disprove anything. It makes for a possible research avenue, but it is not evidence by itself.

            Let’s say she was not in a cycle, but having a constant set of symptoms. There are reported cases of people getting better without any intervention, or after being on drugs for years. MS is weird that way. We also don’t know if the doctors were trying different drugs during her course of treatment or if she was on the same drugs the entire time.

            Yes, I know what I am stating above is conjecture, but it is the same conjecture used by Robb Wolf to “prove” his hypothesis. I cannot say for sure that it was the drugs, a spontaneous remission, or anything else (and I didn’t say it WAS one of those thing, just that it is possible). In the same instance, it cannot be claimed the diet was what caused the remission. Again – the point is not that Mr. Wolf is wrong. It is just simply that this anecdote does not provide evidence to any of us as to what specifically caused the “cure.” We have no data to support any of the possibilities.

          • I don’t disagree with your point that it’s anecdata… I wasn’t speaking to the quality or value of her story, but rather to the way you misrepresented it.

        • To add to this- let’s give it some perspective-

          This is an article from WebMD about diet and depression. It is THREE PAGES LONG and the only place it mentions talking to a doctor is in the very last sentence where it states, “If you have a weight problem, talk with your doctor about healthy ways to manage it.”

          Here’s one from MSN’s Healthy Living It’s two pages long and doesn’t mention seeing a doctor at all.

          Here’s a video from Dr. Dean Ornish about diet and depression. He doesn’t mention seeing a doctor.

          Here’s an article from Dr. Oz on diet and depression. He doesn’t mention seeing a doctor.

          You know Eric, when not even the DOCTORS recommend seeing a doctor, you gotta wonder, is it really that important to mention seeing a doctor when giving nutritional advice for depression? Apparently the doctors don’t think so.

          • Eric Hall says:

            From the WebMD article: “a healthy diet may help as part of an overall treatment for depression.” Did Robb Wolf’s website say anything about that?

            From the MSN article (not written by a doctor), here is a link to the signs of depression and how to help yourself or what others should look for.

            Your last two “doctors” are also well written about in the skeptical community and their various bad medical advice. So you aren’t proving much there other than those that dispense bad medical advice certainly do so.

          • Dr. Ornish and Dr. Oz are SKEPTICAL?! The Ornish diet was ranked #1 for heart health. He’s Bill Clinton’s doctor! lol He’s the anti-Robb Wolf too. Try again… lol

            An article on diet and depression is intended to address just that, DIET and depression.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Read my comment carefully – Dr. Oz and Dr. Ornish are written about extensively in the skeptical community. Similar to Robb Wolf, they make claims but do not have data or studies to back up said claim. I recommend going to the Science Based Medicine blog and search for either of their names. You will find for those of us that trust the scientific method and prefer our medical advice to be evidence based, they are two doctors we would avoid for said advice.

          • I’m not interested in opinion pieces. Who do you respect as a doctor, Eric?

          • Eric Hall says:

            I like doctors that use evidence. Dr. Offit, Dr. Novella are a couple of names that come to mind. My family doctor as well.

          • Two doctors whose entire careers are built on discrediting. They don’t treat patients and they don’t do ANYTHING of actual substance- they love to point out what’s wrong, but don’t seem interested in being a force of positive.

            It doesn’t surprise me that this is where your respect originates from.

            I have tremendous respect for healthy skepticism. At a certain point though, you’re just an angry guy looking for his next bash.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Both still do treat patients. I have heard them talk about it on various radio and podcast programs. They don’t base their life around discrediting, they base it around asking for evidence.

            I think you are missing the entire point of this site, and science-based medicine doctors in general. Make any hypothesis you want. To turn it into a conclusion, however, requires evidence. Not commentary proposing or restating the hypothesis. But data. That’s what my problem is here. The data allows for a certain conclusion and points to areas of future research. But it doesn’t lead to the conclusions about which I am discussing.

          • I think your intention is pretty kewl, but your analysis is far too biased to be effective. You clearly have your mind made up already, and that’s not what healthy skepticism is about. You read things that aren’t written and imagine ideas that aren’t there. This makes you ineffective at getting others to think critically and simply encourages them to snark alongside you with a plea to emotion.

            You are just as bad if not worse than the folks you attack. You have to approach something like this from a place of true “null”, a position beyond reproach, and you are clearly not able to do so.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I don’t have my mind made up at all, other than to say there isn’t evidence to support the hypothesis of the diet. If there is a study out there showing long-term mortality rates from the various diseases hypothesized to be prevented by the paleo diet in populations following and not following the diet plan, I would love to see them. If that data existed and could be verified by others in the medical field, I will be happy to write up a fresh post regarding the new evidence. I would love to do that. Believe me, I would love an excuse to eat even more of the beef from the local farmer! As of right now, however, my family doctor doesn’t recommend it because of my family history of heart disease. Certainly I am not at my ideal weight, but I over the last many years I have improved my diet and exercise and have slowly lost weight from my peak. But the evidence isn’t there, and thus for now I will stick to the diet plan my doctor recommends.

            And I will restate I do have an issue with how the information on some topics is presented. Having people close to me that have MS, and others with diagnosed depression, it really bothers me when people aren’t careful about giving people too much hope about a specific treatment, especially when there isn’t the evidence to support it. I will stand by that point. Maybe someone from his site will read this and take note, and perhaps be more careful about being realistic in the expected results. (meaning, this won’t cure you, but might be one piece to help…ask your doc about it).

          • “there isn’t evidence to support the hypothesis of the diet.”

            There IS evidence. You may not find it sufficient to be convinced, but there is still plenty of it. It’s pretty well accepted that animals perform best on their evolutionary diet. We can argue that we don’t know exactly what people ate, but we DO know what they didn’t eat.

            The bottom line though is this- I respect a person who says, “I’m not convinced.” What I don’t respect is a person who misquotes a misrepresents a position he doesn’t agree with. Be skeptical, be critical, but be HONEST in it.

            My mother was diabetic (type II), by the time I’d graduated from HS, she’s had a quadruple bypass. All of her siblings were diabetic and all but one has died from heart disease. Her mother as well. My baby sister died at age 40 from CAD, she was likely an undiagnosed diabetic too. I have 3 older siblings with diabetes, and one has had two heart attacks. I think this establishes my family history.

            8 years ago, after two years as a vegan (in an attempt to avoid disease) I was diagnosed with type II diabetes. I topped out at 300lbs. My cholesterol was over 300, I was hypertensive, had PCOS (metabolic syndrome), severe GERD, chronic fatigue, disabling Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression) and still had pizza face in my mid 30s. I took three prescriptions a day- Metformin, Protonix and Lexapro.

            Within 3 months on a paleo diet I was medication free and there was no evidence of the diabetes. At 10.5 months I had a second check-up- I’d lost over 100 lbs, my cholesterol came down over 150 points and the ratio got better. The hypertension was gone, the acid reflux was gone, the depression was gone, the PCOS vanished and I went from having a menstrual cycle once or twice a year to every 28 days like clockwork. All of my inflammation markers were at low normal where they’d been off the charts high.

            To put this in perspective, I went from a diet of whole grains, legumes and veggies- one that contains ZERO cholesterol and very little fat, to eating red meat, butter, cream and 2-4 eggs a day. I was also able to eat almost 1000 more calories a day. My blood work results came in the mail and my doc had written “Phenomenal!” across the page. Without a doubt, this is anecdata, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what folks are so afraid of. It’s not a drug, not a cult. It’s food. There really isn’t any reason that a person can’t change their diet for 30 days. Barring severe allergies, there is nothing you could do to your body in 30 days that cannot be easily undone. (Just ask Morgan Spurlock of SuperSize ME.)

            It’s been 7 years since I “went paleo”, and my health remains ideal. I’m still eating red meat and eggs and butter daily. My last lipid check shows my total cholesterol at 137. I’ve put about 15 lbs back on- the skin didn’t tighten as much as I’d have wished and I felt like I looked OLD and the extra weight softened that up. My glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity is like that of a teenager. (I’m 45)

            My doctor told me I was crazy when I told her what I planned. (she eats Paleo now too) My mother’s doctor told her to eat the ADA’s diet- low fat, high whole grain diet– to avoid sugar but that fructose was alright. She followed it to the letter, and then died of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at the age of 67. (fructose) She was slender. I watch my sister eat her lowfat foods and she hates them… but that’s what her doc told her to do. Her diabetes continues to get worse and she is morbidly obese.

            Doctors get less than 25 hours of formal nutrition training in medical school. Doctors are not nutrition experts- most know what they know from mainstream media articles like you and I read.

            Again, it’s just food. If what you’re doing isn’t giving you vibrant health, it’s time for a change.

            Learn to attack the idea, and not the person presenting it. Stay honest and you’ll get further with your arguments.

            Bedtime for me… Paleos like their sleep too. ;-)

    • Guest says:

      Eric, I know it is a year old but somebody may see these posts, so I’m responding. Paleo Huntress has several identities and all she does is look to instigate argument where she can use her other IDs to be “right.” She does not represent the majority of Paleo people, who are more than happy to allow others their opinions and beliefs. We have a great deal in common. Your posts have been VERY intelligent and far above the condescension and indigenous responses of Paleo Huntress. I and many others, wish you the best, and if we ever met over coffee (lol) we could have a real discussion. You won;t get that from her. Nobody does.

  9. Eric Hall says:

    Huntress – again, I am not writing a scientific paper. I could say the same for you that you haven’t provided a single citation. If you notice, a blog and its comment section is a form of informal writing. No where did you (or I) use an accepted format of citation expected for formal science writing.

    You also continue to commit a basic error throughout this discussion, one in which I have tried to address with you. Science is not a process where I can prove you wrong. It is up to you to prove your position is correct. That’s my problem with the claims made on Mr. Wolf’s website – is there isn’t scientific evidence to prove any of his hypotheses. My position is the null hypothesis, in which the paleo diet does not cure any disease or improve the symptoms of any condition. It would be up to you (or Mr. Wolf) to provide data that demonstrates what he is claiming.

    So far, the only science I have found (other than commentary) is the one where cultured cells have a response to gluten, and that response is varied depending on the genetics of those cells. This does not prove the claims that people will avoid various diseases or have improved outcomes. Dr. Swank has published, peer-reviewed data (not just commentary) which shows improved outcomes following his diet low in saturated fat. Not a cure, but a demonstrated improvement and extended life for those who follow his diet.

    My concerns remain – he is making claims for which he has no data. He also prevents his information in a way that is dangerous to those with those conditions. People with conditions such as depression or MS will sometimes make irrational decisions and try anything that seems to hold hope in helping them. Again, I am not claiming every piece of information is bad. The cultured cell study is interesting, and would be a good point to continue research. However, it is far from anything from which to reach the conclusions which Mr. Wolf reaches from it.

    • The difference between you and me is that you’re insisting you have proof that Robb Wolf lies. In order to prove that, you have to offer similar evidence that disputes it.

      All I’ve done is insist you prove he’s lying. I don’t need citations because I’m not debating the diet with you. I’m debating your claim that he’s a liar. Therefore the evidentiary process is different.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Again, that is my point. Robb Wolf is making claims for which he has no evidence. Thus, that means the null hypothesis is still the correct hypothesis. I can’t prove a negative. If I claim reading this blog cures the common cold, I can’t then ask you to prove I am a liar. It would be up to me to provide evidence I am correct. If Robb Wolf claims his diet cures a disease, it is up to him to provide data, not for me to prove his claim wrong.

        • “Robb Wolf is making claims for which he has no evidence.”
          THIS IS A LIE… and you keep doing it… over and over… and no matter how many times you do it, it’s still a lie. You imagine he’s making claims that he hasn’t actually made. Even the depression article wasn’t written by him. He offers a shitload of evidence for what he ACTUALLY claims. He offers citation after citation after citation. I’m not asking you to prove him wrong, I’m asking you to prove that he claims what you say he claims. That isn’t a negative.

          As of yet, you haven’t accurately conveyed a SINGLE Robb Wolf claim.

          • Eric Hall says:

            His citations are commentary. They are not controlled studies designed to test his hypotheses. There is a difference.

          • Your claims was this- “Robb Wolf is making claims for which he has NO evidence.

            Again, you are welcome to debate the quality of his evidence. I’d argue that it’s the very best available at this time. But still, being unsatisfied with the evidence he offers is not the same as him not offering any.

            This is a lie.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Commentary is not evidence. There is no data. Commentary is used for two purposes in my experience – to either suggest areas to research, or for someone to summarize their existing research. In the commentary, there is no link to data about the hypothesis. What the commentaries cited do is suggest areas to research, but they do not have any cited data at the time off publication. There is no evidence there.

    • In other words, YOUR position is that he lied. It is YOUR burden to prove it. You questioned him, and now YOU need to back up your claims. That is YOUR doing, not mine. It is up to you to prove your position is correct… or so I’m told.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Please notice the difference. I didn’t say he lied. I am saying he formed a theory from a hypothesis for which he does not have evidence. If I said the moon is made of cheese, it would not be up to all other scientists to prove I am wrong. It would be up to me to provide evidence I am right. If I do not have that evidence, then the null hypothesis (the moon is not made of cheese) is then still valid.

        • I think I missed the difference. You said he claimed that everyone was allergic to gluten, then you attempted to prove that he was lying. You said he claimed that all cavemen were healthy, then you attempted to prove that he was lying.

          Do you have a different definition if “lie” than I do? Don’t play word games… be genuine.

          • Eric Hall says:

            From the article linked in the original post – “everyone experiences gut irritation from gluten.” No evidence. It is a hypothesis based on cultured cells. Maybe he has a different interpretation of what allergy means, but irritation and allergic reaction in this instance are interchangeable. He makes the statement, and then moves on to stuff about insulin, having nothing to do with the original premise of “leaky gut.”

            In his video “But cavemen lived short lives” he says they don’t see heart disease, cancer, etc in any amount. So, I apologize to Mr. Wolf that my summary off his statement was misleading. He didn’t say they were healthy, he said they didn’t get any diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. So he didn’t say they were all healthy, just that they didn’t get sick.

          • Inflammation is NOT the same as an allergy.

            allergy (al´urjē),
            n a hypersensitive reaction to an allergen; an antigen-antibody reaction is manifested in several forms–anaphylaxis, asthma, hay fever, urticaria, angioedema, dermatitis, and stomatitis.

            in·flam·ma·tion (nfl-mshn)
            n. A localized protective reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection, characterized by pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes loss of function.

            If you want to take issue with his writing style, by all means, feel free. That is subjective and a matter of personal preference. But a lie is a lie. It’s easy to prove or disprove. You claimed that Robb Wolf lied- but you have failed to prove it.

            “He didn’t say they were healthy, he said they didn’t get any diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. So he didn’t say they were all healthy, just that they didn’t get sick.”

            You are still playing word games- though this time you include the fallacy of false alternatives. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are considered “modern diseases” and he’s correct, there is little or no evidence that primitive people suffered from them. However, unlike what you suggest, that those are the ONLY possible illnesses and therefore Wolf is making a claim that all “cavemen” were healthy. Primitive people suffered from infection from injury, they suffered from infectious disease like smallpox, they suffered from starvation-induced malnutrition at times too during droughts.

            You keep trying to justify the false claims, and you end up looking worse with each pass.

          • Eric Hall says:

            What is the hypersensitive reaction? It is inflammation. An allergy provokes an inflammatory response. You are trying to parse something that isn’t there. Yes, inflammation can also be caused by injury and infection, but Robb Wolf is claiming an inflammation due to contact between gluten and the intestine, which by definition is an allergic response.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I also would appreciate if you would search this entire page for the word lie. I just did. Before this comment posts, there were 37 instances of the letters “l-i-e” together. Many instances were within the word “believe.” The only instance of the word lie being used as the word for untruth is in your comments. Again, I never said he lied. I am saying he is claiming a hypothesis for which he does not have evidence. His “evidence” is simply commentary which restates the hypothesis.

            If I write up a short commentary stating I think car engines actually run on magnetic power and not the gasoline burning,I could make a decently convincing argument as to why I think this could be the case. That is my hypothesis, and I would apply my general knowledge of physics as to some possibilities of how it could work. I might even propose how one might make the complex measurements required that would show my hypothesis is valid. Someone else citing my paper cannot then claim cars run on magnetic power. They would want to look for my follow-up study, where I actually did the experiment, took measurements, and found out indeed that the expanding gases within the combustion chamber is by far the leading contributor to the mechanical energy of the car.

            So far, there isn’t a comprehensive study comparing a paleo diet to a non-paleo diet and what effect it has on the incidence of various diseases. It is possible the paleo diet could be one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century. But until the data is collected and analyzed, there is no proof for the claims, only conjecture.

          • Wow.

            Well, you made the comparison, so if you insist that in this case, inflammation and allergic reaction mean the same thing, I’m open to looking at it that way. You said Robb Wolf claims that everyone is allergic to gluten and that that is false.

            Then, you showed me a study he cites that states, “biopsies from non-celiac patients demonstrated a limited, transient zonulin release which was paralleled by an increase in intestinal permeability that never reached the level of permeability seen in celiac disease (CD) tissues.” which establishes an inflammatory reaction in EVERY person, though not to the same degree as Celiacs.

            You’ve just stated that in this case, inflammation and allergic reaction are one and the same. Therefore, whether he specifically states that all people are allergic as you said, or he states that all people develop inflammation as the study showed… he was RIGHT.

            If inflammation and allergic reaction are one and the same in this instance, the study he cited evidentiates the theory that ALL people are allergic to gluten.

          • Eric Hall says:

            No. You are misrepresenting the study and what I said. He is claiming everyone is allergic to gluten. The study showed cultured cells had an allergy response to gluten. Not people. Cultured cells.

            Now don’t get me wrong, this is how science should proceed. But one cannot see a response to gluten from cultured cells and conclude that means gluten is the cause of Parkinson’s, diabetes, cancer, and MS. It simply means that perhaps it makes sense to examine the effect in people. And if there is an effect in people, what is the physiology. And if we discover macronutrients are indeed “leaking” into the blood, what is the effect on other systems in the body? What are the effects long-term? Can these macronutrients penetrate the brain/blood barrier?

            He is skipping about 5 steps. He is making a conclusion for which there is several intermediate steps that need to be made before it can be a conclusion. Thus, I call it a hypothesis. If the steps are followed and the data does indeed show (at a basic level) what I outlined above, then he can move his hypothesis to a conclusion that his hypothesis is correct. Until then, the null hypothesis stands.

          • “He is claiming everyone is allergic to gluten.

            No, Eric. He ISN’T claiming it. He’s saying there is evidence that gluten causes inflammation in people who don’t have Celiac’s so ‘I recommend everyone avoid gluten. Here is the evidence… makeup your own mind.’ Seriously, do you imagine that by removing gluten from your diet that you’d be missing out on some essential nutrient? What are you supposing the potential “risk” might be? Just curious.

            “one cannot see a response to gluten from cultured cells and conclude that means gluten is the cause of Parkinson’s, diabetes, cancer, and MS.”

            Another strawman… Wolf doesn’t say this… you’re extrapolating. It’s disingenuous… again.

            He is skipping about 5 steps.

            He isn’t skipping anything. He’s using the data available to him to form a theory. And to be clear, the theory isn’t based on gluten sensitivity, it’s based on dozens of other pieces of data regarding fatty acid profiles, nutrient density, anti-nutrient activity, etc. If you wanna see a doctor skip 5 steps, look in Ancel Keyes and his cholesterol fed rabbits. ;-)

            “If the steps are followed and the data does indeed show (at a basic level) what I outlined above, then he can move his hypothesis to a conclusion that his hypothesis is correct.”

            Well that’s awfully generous of you. In the meantime though, if a person with disease wants to begin eating a whole-food, nutrient-dense diet, the only thing that can come of that is better health. So I call it a win/win situation. There are no risks to eating a better diet. the suggestion is as ludicrous and the drama unfounded.

          • Eric Hall says:

            There is some possible risk to the diet. A sample plan on the site includes beef every day. For someone with a genetic predisposition to heart disease, that might not be advisable…even though the diet is supposedly good at preventing that very thing.

          • “There is some possible risk to the diet. A sample plan on the site includes beef every day.”

            This is a non-sequitur argument. Beef every day is healthy for anyone who isn’t allergic to beef. But whether you agree or not is moot. It’s just a sample. As I pointed out earlier, paleo diets are more about what you don’t eat than what you do. If you don’t want to eat beef, eat pork, poultry and fish instead. Or eat eggs… It’s still a paleo diet. I mean, nuts are paleo foods, but folks with nut allergies can avoid nuts and still eat a paleo diet. Kale hates me, I don’t eat it… but I eat a paleo diet too.

            Be genuine.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Paleo includes alot about the role of fat and how people should eat more fat and that the low fat diets don’t have enough fat in them. I looked at various sample menus on Robb’s site and other sites, and beef is very prominent. There seems to be controversy within the paleo community about eggs. In an case, these are not good dietary constituents for many population segments. It is a genuine statement to say the paleo diet encourages a diet heavier in fat than say the American Heart Assoc.

        • So you didn’t say ANY of these things about Robb Wolf?

          lie  
          noun
          1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
          2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture
          3. an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.
          4. the charge or accusation of telling a lie

          verb
          5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
          6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.

        • “I also would appreciate if you would search this entire page for the word lie. I just did.”

          You are really grasping at straws… the lengths you will go to to protect the letter despite the spirit. It’s really a shame.

          More word games–

          lie  
          noun
          1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
          2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture
          3. an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.
          4. the charge or accusation of telling a lie

          These are the things you wrote about Mr. Wolf.

          “Robb Wolf is making claims for which he has no evidence.”

          “He twists and misconstrues the data.” <–[I love the irony in this one]

          “Wolf however conveniently leaves out this part…”

          “He has the potential to do harm by stating his diet cures people of disease”

          Now look at the definition of “lie” above and tell us again that you didn’t accuse him.

          To accused him of lying. Period.

          You haven’t shown any evidence of this. Period.

          • Eric Hall says:

            He is making a claim for which he has no evidence is a factual statement. Commentary is not data.

            See above for the twisting of the data he has. He is making a hypothesis about gluten, leaky gut, and disease and stating it as a conclusion. Thus, twisting and misconstruing.,,

            He did leave out parts of the ONE STUDY, such as the varied response and the fact cultured cells cannot directly lead to his conclusion.

            I have shown areas where he can do harm.

            Again (many times), I am not accusing him of lying. A lie requires someone to deliberately mislead someone. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he is doing it deliberately. I point out his motivations (such as the monetary ones) to show that he is applying confirmation bias to his claims. He isn’t the originator of the claims he is making, but in his synthesis of the information, he is making conclusions which are actually hypotheses for which there is not evidence and actually have the potential to do harm. He very well could be lying, but I have no way of proving that and would not accuse him of such. He is biased, yes. But I wouldn’t and can’t go so far as to say he is lying.

          • lockquote>”He did leave out parts of the ONE STUDY, such as the varied response and the fact cultured cells cannot directly lead to his conclusion.”

            Eric,

            He left out NOTHING. YOU linked me to the page, Eric, YOU did. The piece you claimed he left out, was there. Just go look for yourself. I copied and pasted it in directly from that page. He left nothing out.

    • Also, Wolf’s comment “the complete lack of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disease in hunter gatherer cultures” seems, at best, unprovable, and at worst, totally made up. How could anyone possibly be so sure of that?

      Huntress, you said upthread that “it’s just food.” If it’s just food, why are you bending over backwards and writing brick after brick of text to defend it? Why not just embrace it yourself, let others question it, and move on?

      I eat a cheeseburger now and then. I drink a Coke once in a blue moon. I eat a Snickers bar when nothing else will fill that Snickers shaped hole in my soul. I have no interest in justifying or defending these choices to anyone. Why must you do so for yours?

      • Wolf’s comment “the complete lack of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disease in hunter gatherer cultures” seems, at best, unprovable, and at worst, totally made up.

        Off the cuff, I suspect he means to say there’s no evidence of it, but I don’t know and I don’t pretend to speak for him. If it was important to me to prove him wrong, I’d dig through Medline looking for evidence. Either way though, since you haven’t done that, you can’t know he’s wrong any more than he can know he’s right, which is what you’re bashing him for.

        you said upthread that “it’s just food.” If it’s just food, why are you bending over backwards and writing brick after brick of text to defend it?

        ~sigh~ Another strawman. I haven’t defended the diet anywhere. I mean, not ONE SINGLE TIME in this thread. My issue is with the Robb Wolf bashing. He’s human, he can be a dick sometimes… every now and then I cringe when I hear something he says in a podcast… but I respect him because he’s genuine. He’s real, he’s honest, he’s open to learning new stuff, he publicly admits when he was wrong and has had his “ears pinned back” by another expert. He’s a scientist and he gives it away for free.

        I have no interest in justifying or defending these choices to anyone. Why must you do so for yours?

        Learn. To. Read.

        • Huntress, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in the discussion you’ve been having on this thread (other that your unnecessary insistence on belittling those who disagree with you) is that you keep misunderstanding the null hypothesis.

          Let’s use Wolf’s claim about “the complete lack of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disease in hunter gatherer cultures.” I said that this seems unprovable at best, and made-up at worst.

          You responded with: “If it was important to me to prove him wrong, I’d dig through Medline looking for evidence. Either way though, since you haven’t done that, you can’t know he’s wrong any more than he can know he’s right, which is what you’re bashing him for.”

          The problem is that I don’t have to prove him wrong. He has to prove he’s right. And until he proves he’s right, through research and testing, then he’s wrong. That’s science. Making an authoritative statement with nothing authoritative BEHIND the statement means the statement is your opinion. Opinions are great, but they aren’t science.

          I can’t just say anything I want and declare it to be true, until you prove otherwise. It’s not my job to do your work for you. Can you imagine if that’s how clinical trials worked? Or engineering? “I built a new supersoinic jet, and I declare that it works,so we didn’t bother with any testing!” Would you get on that plane? I sure wouldn’t.

          • Mike,

            “you keep misunderstanding the null hypothesis.”

            No, I understand it fine- I’m just playing with the term. I didn’t say that it falls on you to prove him wrong- in fact, the recurring theme in my comments throughout this thread is that the responsibility always falls in the arena of proof, rather than disproof.

            I have no investment in what you prove- the relevant statement in my comment was this-

            “I don’t know and I don’t pretend to speak for him.”

            The rest was en explanation of what I’d do if it was important to me to prove him wrong, it wasn’t a suggestion that you are responsible to do so. And my further point remains, the “Absence Of Evidence Is Not Evidence Of Absence”. It doesn’t appear as though you are learned on the topic either as you offer no support for your counter claim. And again, it isn’t your responsibility to do so, it was more of a commentary on how genuine you’re being in the debate. Each time I show you that you’ve misquoted or mis paraphrased, i can see the flurry of keystrokes as you go off in search of something else you can claim he lies about.

            It’s just so silly.

            If you’re interested, you’ll ask for clarification, if not, no one cares. If you get off on the exercise of challenging every statement you find everywhere, then woody-city to you. I’m more interested in the actual knowledge. Now that you’ve invested so much in bashing him, yo’re kinda committed it would be embarrassing to back-pedal. I get it.

            ~Huntress

          • Well, we’re going in circles here, so I’m going to step away. But I will say that I have no vested interest in Robb Wolf. I’d never even heard of him until I (foolishly) jumped in to this debate. I haven’t misquoted him, I haven’t “called him a liar” and I haven’t investing anything in “bashing” him, other than to say he made a claim which seems unprovable.

            If that’s “bashing” to you, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  10. Muddie says:

    Theres nothing like an anecdote to start a party!

    Tape the palaeo out and replace it with any other fad word. I am getting too old to read it the millionth time round.

    Zeal, not the fizz eating mammal, the noise a believer makes…Sounds the same..

    • Aww, you poor, old thing. You should probably shut the computer off then, 99.9% of what you find on the internet is opinion. You need to rest… and just wait to die. Poor guy… getting old sucks.

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