Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Anti-Nutritionism, L-Canavanine, And The Limitations of N=1 Self-Experimentation
sp_BlogLink Read the original blog post
April 6, 2012
2:01 pm
EF
Guest

Typos be damned...."devouring"

April 6, 2012
10:40 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

pam:

Absolutely.  The longer I eat paleo, the less tempted I am to cheat.  Like you, my standards for cheating have increased.

DancinPete:

What you need is a simulation that runs faster than real time, so you can see the long-term effects of various dietary and life changes on your simulated clones.

Lauren:

Foresight is a big help: "yes, that'll taste delicious, and I'll feel terrible for the rest of the day".  It is also possible for cultural conditioning to instill an aversion (Muslims and Jews with pork, for instance).

Pete Ray:

I'd seen that article before but forgotten about it.  Thanks for reminding me!  Imagine if the "control diet" for humans was to lock them in a room for weeks on end with a water fountain, a toilet, and a vending machine.

The proverb "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" is instructive: people tend to explain things based on what they know.  So for a neuroscientist fresh out of school, well, it's easy to give everything a brain-centered explanation whether it fits or not.

EF:

Thank you!  I'm doing my best to keep gnolls.org both information-dense and drama-free.

JS

April 8, 2012
7:45 am
Beowulf
Guest

I think N=1 experiments are most useful when the effects can be noticed in the short-term. For example, I can see quite clearly that I get almost zero acne when I'm sticking to the "pick, dig, or spear" mantra, and that that acne will reappear within a few days of eating neolithic junk. Therefore, I think I can clearly state that paleo eating is better for my skin.

On the other hand, being only in my early 30s, I can't really judge paleo as being "heart healthy" from a personal perspective any more than I could say that being a vegetarian for seven years was good for my heart. I had/have no signs of heart disease on either diet.

Long term effects where solid research and analysis comes into play along with a heavy dose of common sense (rare as it may be) on top.

April 8, 2012
4:49 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Beowulf:

Absolutely true: N=1 is great for short-term effects that we have some way to measure directly (e.g. acne, blood sugar).  The longer-term the effects, the less information N=1 can give us.

Unfortunately there are no easy answers.  Much science is biased and/or unhelpful, and our scientific knowledge is very, very far from complete...so we must do our best to make evolutionary context, science, the historical record, and N=1 all meet in the middle.

JS

April 8, 2012
7:07 pm
Jeffrey of Troy
Guest

I think that signaling (nutrigenomics)is the basis-in-reality of the old concept of some foods having a "vital force" that other foods don't. The foods of agriculture lack this signaling benefit for us, because they are too new.

I expand on the idea here
http://www.jeffreybrauer.blogspot.com/2012/03/signaling-nutrigenomics-made-easy.html

April 10, 2012
7:04 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Jeffrey:

Abstractions like "vital force" make me uncomfortable because I don't know what they mean.  But since substances as basic as salt affect gene expression (discussed briefly here), it's not a stretch to assume that other foods affect it even more profoundly.

JS

April 13, 2012
5:40 pm
Miki Ben-Dor
Guest

As you know I have written a post on the value of anecdotes. Reading your post here it strikes me that your examples are of non-valid positive personal experiences and mine are of negative personal experiences being valuable.

April 15, 2012
10:55 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Miki:

That's a good distinction.  Said another way: it only takes N=1 to disprove ("I tried it and it produced an entirely different effect than expected/desired"), but it takes far more than N=1 to prove.  And when we're talking about accounts of other cultures, that's far more than N=1.

(Note to readers!  Miki is too modest to link his own article, so here it is: Can anecdotes and history match science in guiding Paleo nutrition?)

JS

April 18, 2012
6:37 pm
Jesse
Guest

Thanks for this. My favorite post of yours so far, though it could just be the timing....

This will be my goto link to forward to people instead of trying to give my feeble explanation of what a robust diet is, I mean it in terms of "not going to fail in light of innaccurate or insufficient information".

April 19, 2012
2:10 pm
Avatar
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 364
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

After 'Eat Like a Predator', I think this is my favourite post, too.

I would just like to drop something in about the idea of anecdotes, N=1, experimentation, or whatever we call is versus cold/hard science ...

What about "old wive's tales"? What about passed on generational wisdom? There's truth in them, there tales, you know ...

Some may be familiar with the DIKW construct - data, information, knowledge and wisdom, the development from data to wisdom.

I am not at all stating an opinion contrary to Miki because I found that article very sound and very much full of straight down the line good sense, but I hope my thoughts perhaps soften the edges and maybe give it some depth.

We are on "page one of a huge book called 'Human Nutrition'", a J often says. We also have millennia of human history showing us what is right to eat. Very recently, in evolutionary terms, we have science. Science provides us with the data. An applied scientist could turn that into information. A well read person could translate that into knowledge, but it takes generations of anecdotes, experimentation and N=1 to produce wisdom.

Living in the Ice Age
http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk

April 19, 2012
5:37 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Jesse:

I'm glad it resonates for you!

Paul:

I'm not discounting the value of anecdotal evidence: if it weren't for historical and cultural knowledge, we would know very little about nutrition!  What I'm demonstrating is that N=1 personal experimentation can't tell us whether a Neolithic food is bad for us in the long term, or not -- and such pronouncements, even if they're made by a paleo "authority", are worthless.

I may write a complementary article sometime about what we can learn from personal, anecdotal, cultural, and historical evidence!

JS

April 25, 2012
8:49 am
Simon
Guest

Great article as ever!

One thing however - On the topic of "Food Doesn't Want to Be Eaten"

It is not necessarily the case that being less desirable as a food leads to increased reproductive success. On the contrary, take corn and chicken for example. Both of these species are highly successful because we like eating them.

Though an individual chicken or corn plant may not "want" to be eaten, it is because their DNA have been selected to code for attributes that make them appealing to humans as food choices that they have become so successful in evolutionary terms.

April 25, 2012
1:05 pm
Avatar
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 364
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

J. Stanton said:

Paul:

I'm not discounting the value of anecdotal evidence: if it weren't for historical and cultural knowledge, we would know very little about nutrition!  What I'm demonstrating is that N=1 personal experimentation can't tell us whether a Neolithic food is bad for us in the long term, or not -- and such pronouncements, even if they're made by a paleo "authority", are worthless.

I may write a complementary article sometime about what we can learn from personal, anecdotal, cultural, and historical evidence!

JS

Absolutely, J - I am certain that we're saying the very same thing, perhaps missing the subtlety of how each of us use our common language.

We simply have not had anything like long enough to make pronouncements about neolithic food.

I talk a lot about principles. Our ancestors would have lived by principles to guide them when they encountered new potential foods - can it be eaten raw is one which is very simple and works well within nature. This pushes grains and beans out. We can observably and even biochemically eat these once processed, but even then, who can say about long term use?

Living in the Ice Age
http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk

April 27, 2012
12:25 am
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Simon:

You're correct that domestication is a special case, and you're correct that domestication has had great survival value for a few species.  (At the price of great suffering -- but natural selection doesn't care if you're happy.)

In the case of animals, domestication makes them more defenseless -- slower, fatter, and more tame.  However, the plant case is less clear.  Certainly we breed plants to be less bitter, bigger, and tastier, decreasing their toxicity...but, at the same time, we breed them for traits like insect and fungus resistance, which increases their toxicity.  (For instance, corn gluten meal is used as an herbicide.)

I'm glad you enjoy my work!

Paul:

We're trying to make laboratory science, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, and anthropology meet on some sort of common ground.  It's a hard problem!

JS

April 29, 2012
1:36 am
Kenneth Shonk
Guest

Here is an example of science counter indicating traditional folk wisdom. Aristolochic acid (AA), a derivative of te Aristolochia plant and an ingredinet used in Asian botanical remedies for weight loss, joint pain, stomach aliments, gout, and childbirth has now been found to be a potent carcinogen – it carries serious risks of causing kidney disease and urinary cancers. It is thought to be responsible for 50% of such cancers in Taiwan. The latest research found it can interact with a person's DNA and form unique biomarkers of exposure, as well as creating signals within tumor suppressing genes that indicate the carcinogen has been ingested. In Taiwan, where previous research has shown about one-third of the population has taken AA in recent years, rates of urinary tract and kidney cancer are about four times higher than in Western countries where use is less common. After being ingested, AA forms a unique kind of lesion in the renal cortex, and also gives rise to a particular mutational signature in the TP53 tumor suppressing gene, said the study. The herb is known in Europe by the name birthwort because it was often given to women during childbirth. from Newsmax Health e-mail 4/10/12 – http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/health_stories/cancer…. Proof ancient wisdom is not always so wise.

April 30, 2012
11:42 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Kenneth:

That's a great example of exactly the point I'm trying to communicate.  Thank you for bringing it up!

JS

June 6, 2012
5:50 am
Stefani Ruper
Guest

Hey JS! This reminds me of a post I read over at Evolvify, in which Andrew discusses how plant miRNAs insert themselves into human genes. Creepy.

(Link)

June 6, 2012
1:39 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Stefani:

I remember that!  It takes "you are what you eat" to a whole new level.  Not only are our bodies made out of food, food directly alters our gene expression.  Wow!

JS

January 18, 2013
1:46 am
Ihor Basko, DVM
Guest

Great and thought provoking website.

Being a veterinarian, I have similar beliefs about pet food.

January 19, 2013
10:49 pm
Avatar
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2045
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Dr. Basko:

It seems to my untutored eye that pet food is generally made to be cheap, not healthy: I see no evidence that corn and wheat are part of the ancestral diet of anything in order Carnivora.

Feel free to share your thoughts here, or on the forums.

JS

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 46

Currently Online:
10 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1583

Members: 4508

Moderators: 0

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 2

Topics: 247

Posts: 6893

Administrators: J. Stanton: 2045