My Talk at the Paleo Summit

… is available today

Sean Croxton’s Paleo Summit presents my talk today. It’s free for 24 hours.


Leave a comment ?


  1. I thought your presentation was great. My one piece of constructive criticism is that it felt a bit awkward to have you saying something that was being shown verbatim on the powerpoint slide. I’d recommend going forward you modify the slides so that they have bullet points instead of full quotations. Alternatively you should vary your patter from the direct quotes. But in any event, your presentation has been the best so far in my (biased) view.

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks! The powerpoint slides weren’t mine, Sean and his assistant made them up based on the talk. I think they did a great job given time constraints. It’s not easy to put together 23 powerpoint accompaniments, so quoting the talk is the natural way to go.

  3. Your experience with scurvy is very far out. Most people who are obese are responding to deranged appetites. I think the food reward idea is totally useless. It amounts to reducing diet to the assertion that it’s all in your head and obesity is due to gluttony and sloth. It takes nutrition from being about biochemistry to being about psychology and thus subject to any opinion whatever.

  4. The food reward idea makes sense to me most of the time. But sometimes I get a longing for cinnamon buns!

  5. Hi Clair,

    I don’t think the food reward idea is quite so useless; it doesn’t imply that obesity is all in your head or due to gluttony and sloth, although I know a lot of people are taking it that way. Food reward is only one piece of a large puzzle.

    Food reward is still biology, but basic theoretical issues still are open. The food reward system evolved to make us healthy; so one can make a strong argument that the obese should increase the reward of their food to become healthy and cure obesity. The idea that the obese should eat a low-reward diet is open to question at least.

    Of course, eating rewarding food does not mean eating cinnamon buns! Unless, of course, they are safe starch cinnamon buns.

  6. I realize and appreciate the fact that obesity is very complex with multiple implications, but Claire’s comment is reflective of a tidal wave movement out there that really bothers me. Everybody’s a victim nowadays. Everyone wants to lift labels and remove personal accountablility. Until I see someone get obese eating real food while walking, I’ll sign on to the removal of gluttony and sloth from the equation. Listen to Jimmy Moore (my apologies to Jimmy, he’s just an example most people know) talk about his epic abuse of processed foods when he talks about his past. What isn’t gluttonous about that situation? I realize the opposite of gluttony and sloth doesn’t necessarily correct the situation, but don’t tell me you were eating nutritious foods while staying active and gained a bunch of weight.

  7. Hi Derek,

    Malnourishing food that has all the taste signals of nourishing food is a cause of over-eating, because the brain keeps sending you back until you get sufficient nutrition.

    But this isn’t what most people mean by gluttony.

  8. I view gluttony as the overconsumption of food. I know I’ve gained about 10 pounds through this winter because of my overindulgence in Haagen Daas (not just a little, by the pint) and homemade organic chocolate chip cookies (not just one or two, but 8). I’ll buy the food reward theory, because putting a cease to these new “habits” of mine is interesting. I’ve developed cues to consuming these foods. Stress and general lack of caring = 10 pounds. Multiply that over many more months and/or years and you have weight gain.

  9. Hi Derek,

    OK, I can see how you’re a glutton. 🙂 But the same thing can happen eating the food pyramid. And there people aren’t eating those foods because they’re gluttonous, but because they’re what’s available and what they’re constantly told are healthy.

  10. Thanks for the conversation Paul, I really enjoyed your discussion with Sean. I’ve told everyone who was interested in dieting about your book.

    I think loosely using terms like “obese”, “weight gain” and “gluttony” make these discussions very difficult because everyone has their own thoughts/definitions. I have a hard time believing someone get’s severly obese, defined as a BMI over 40, by trying to follow the pyramid. They wouldn’t be able to use enough soft margarines to make those grains edible, 🙂 if they truly ate them “sparingly”.

  11. People do not overeat because they want to become fat.
    Liking a food has biochemical basis.
    You can bet people do not want to be sick, they want be healthy and feel good.
    People learn from other people most of the things they need in life, and to a certain very important age more depends on the people around than on the person.
    We can not just say people drive themselves to obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart attack and cancer because they like it.

  12. Perhaps it would be helpful to distinguish between three approaches to food: addictive, ascetic, and healthy. For addicts there is a craving, followed by a high when the food is eaten, followed by a crash, which leads to a new craving. Typically, more and more of the food is required to satisfy the craving. And typically the addiction leads to damage to the body. On the other hand, there are the ascetics, who suppress their cravings. Rather than listen to their body as a source of guidance for what to eat, they follow some higher principle: maybe it’s avoiding the killing or animals, or reaching a certain number on the scales, or following the rules of a guru in the hopes of curing a health problem. Many people can’t sustain the ascetic approach, and those who do may sacrifice their health for their principles. But there is also a healthy approach, in which we have a desire for a particular food, and then we eat the food and feel satisfied. There is no high and no crash. Nor do we continually deny our desires for the sake of some abstract ideal such as a food pyramid. I think this is what Paul means when he says that food reward provides evidence that a paleo diet is optimal. For most people most of the time, following their desires regarding food leads to a healthy diet that resembles the PHD. It seems to me that the nutrition establishment is attempting to take addicts and turn them into ascetics. But what is needed is for both groups to eat what they really desire, including fat, without guilt.

  13. Hi Andrea,

    Very well said! That’s a great taxonomy of approaches to food. I might want to steal that some day!

  14. Food shouldn’t be swimming in fat? How about if I want the extra calories, do you still believe athletes should consume MUFA/SAFA in unlimited quantities? Or would increasing the carbohydrate be a better option? I am already consuming quite a few calories from carbs but I estimate I need more, I’m just confused on which macronutrient I should increase.

  15. Hi Alex,

    You should eat near what you utilize. If you’re an athlete working at an intense pace, probably near 40% carbs 15% protein 45% fat.

  16. Paul, in your presentation you said that our plate should be 2/3 plant and 1/3 animal food–based on the idea that animal food is way more calorie dense–, but what if we need about 3.5-4k calories just to maintain our weight (based on genetic blessing or just daily activity), should we change the proportion to get more calorie dense food, or eat more frequently with same proportion,or…etc?

  17. Hi Steven,

    It depends on how intense the activity is. Higher intensity activity (eg running) = higher carb fraction, up to 40%. Lower intensity activity (eg walking) = lower carb fraction, closer to 20%.

  18. Cookbook!

    Can’t wait!

  19. The link doesn’t seem to work (anymore?). At least not in the Netherlands, don’t know if that makes a difference. It also doesn’t work if opened through the link provided by Sean Croxton’s mail.
    The link to Nora Gedgaudes does work. It is a shame she doesn’t comment on the need for glucose in vit. c cycling, or for the conversion t4 t3.

  20. Sofie, the talks are available for only one day, so now the only way to hear Paul’s talk is to buy the upgrade package.

  21. Great presentation. Nice to see how from five different angels you see the exact same picture.

  22. Paul,

    Will you be addressing any of Nora Gedgaudas’ counterarguments to safe starches, not the ones that you’ve already addressed with Rosedale, but any new ones?

  23. I really liked the connections you made between cravings and food reward; I haven’t been following the food reward goings-on that closely, but I hadn’t come across that aspect so clearly put.

    What do you think of sugar cravings? Can we assume they are a prompting to eat more starch, or is it more complicated than that?

    Hi Amelia,

    Sugar cravings can be a prompting to eat more starch to avert a glucose deficiency; they can be the result of hypoglycemia which may follow from excessive carb consumption in people with poor glucose regulation; or they can result from learned responses in the brain that are not directly associated with glucose status. So it is hard to generalize, but if you experience them on a low-carb Paleo diet it most likely indicates you should be eating more carbs.

    Best, Paul

  24. Amelia,

    I am not Paul (obviously), but this post might be of interest to you if you haven’t already seen it.

  25. Hi Paul.

    Do you have any info on routine cholesterol tests, that show no LDL results. I was told it was either too high or too low to show up. Numbers were
    238 total cholesterol, HDL 99, Triglycerides <50,
    TC/HDL 02.4. I have been following a diet with lots of fat, especially coconut oil, butter and whole fat dairy, low protein, and some starches. Should I be very concerned? This is the second year in a row this has occured.

    Hi Judith,

    Your numbers are perfect! For optimal TC see For more detailed discussions of TC, LDL, and HDL, see the links in this post: (scroll down to the section “Blood Lipids as Diagnostic Tools”).

    Probably what happened to the LDL is that they didn’t measure it, they calculated it, and the formula doesn’t work well in your (exceptionally good!) case of high HDL and low triglycerides. I wouldn’t worry about it, I’m sure if they actually measured it it would be excellent also.

    Best, Paul

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