Why are Sweet Potatoes Considered a Better Paleo Option

I thought I would do a quick post on this because of a few comments and emails asking about sweet vs. white potato where people point out (sort of accurately) that sweet potato actually has more carbs per serving then what potato.

Here is the deal, the reason paleo and many low carb approaches work is they stop a process known as “insulin resistance”.   Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells fail to respond to the normal actions insulin.  In this condition you continue to produce insulin but are unable to use it as effectively.  This leads to something called hyperglycemia also simply called high blood sugar.  So the pancreas starts to make more insulin, further contributing to high blood sugar.  This often remains undetected and can contribute to a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.

While many people do know about this what they don’t realize is this isn’t like binary code made of 1’s and 0’s, it isn’t an all or nothign.  The truth is most people who are overweight including some that don’t appear to be are walking around somewhere in the “middle of this process”.

Consider the following from Dr. Greg Ellis’ book

“The Glycation Factor” ““Insulin’s half-maximal dose for inhibiting fat release is 18 ?U/mL (microunits per milliliter). To reach the halfway point in shutting down fat release means that insulin only has to rise about 8 units above its fasted level of 10 ?U/ mL.”

To put that in layman’s terms once the body’s insulin level gets to “18 microunits per milliliter” the ability of the body to burn fat is practically turned off.  At 36 it is done, dead, the end, the body can’t burn fat even in heavy caloric deficit it will actually start to burn muscle.  It actually doesn’t take very many carbs to reach 18 and if done often soon insulin resistance begins and 36 starts happening all the time.  If you want more of the science of this, read The Glycation Factor it is free in the Download section of the Members Brigade.

So with knowledge of the above as we review some paleo foods we notice the following.

  • Foods that are on the list that do almost nothing to insulin levels are on the eat your ass off list.
  • Foods on the list of things that increase blood sugar but do so slowly or moderately are on the eat in moderation list.
  • Foods that are able to swiftly swing insulin and sugar lists are on the don’t eat list.

So how do sweet and white potato fit into this when we look at all the facts.  The truth is when we just look at carbohydrates the two are very close.  For instance a 7 ounce sweet potato has about 49 carbs and a white potato of the same size 51 carbs.  Calorie wise they are also close 220 for 7 ounces of white and 208 for 7 ounces of sweet potato.  Sure the sweet potato has a bit less of carbs and calories but so little one could just eat 6 ounces of white vs. 7 ounces and sweet and make this all moot.

Problem is this is low level thinking that we have been conditioned to believe by the food industry.  If fat, carbs and protein are equal, food is equal.  It just isn’t so.  When we look at glycemic index, glycemic load for these two tubers we find the truth is far different.

  • Sweet Potato has a glycemic index 70 of and a glycemic load of 22
  • White Potato has a glycemic index 111 of and a glycemic load of 33

Without getting into the specifics of how these numbers are calculated, let us just examine a few things that are easy to understand.

  • The glycemic index of white potato is 47% higher then sweet potato
  • The glycemic load of white potato is 44% higher then sweet potato
  • The glycemic index of glucose (pure sugar) is 100 so the glycemic index of white potato is 10% higher then glucose
  • Where as the glycemic index of sweet potato is 30% lower then glucose

If you doubt this, you can see the source of this data here. When we consider the total picture we begin to understand that it isn’t as simple as total carbohydrates but how do they cause our body to respond.

The more important thing to understand is that doesn’t mean you can start scarfing sweet potatoes in every meal.  The glycemic index of 70 is very high and sweet potato is a very much eat in moderation food.  Make no mistake a diet of mostly sweet potatoes could certainly take you down a path of insulin resistance.

Human behavior is also part of this equation, in other words how much gets eaten.  Due to the rapid absorption of sugar in white potato it kicks in a survival instinct humans have to consume sugar while it is available.  Add fat to this (butter) and it is almost like a drug.   Having fed many guest both white and sweet potato over the years, I can tell you something many won’t believe.  In general if you offer people white potatoes they eat more of them then if you offer them sweet potato, even if they love both of them.

So now you have a food with a higher insulin response then pure glucose that triggers a response where people eat more of it.  Most refined or naturally white simple starches do this.  Again this doesn’t mean you can scarf tons of brown rice and whole wheat, it just means simple carbs are worse not necessarily complex ones are good, just less bad.

I personally see sweet potato as a treat.  In summer I eat almost none, during peak activity of work during fall, winter and spring I often eat them about once a week.  In my first 60 days of paleo I didn’t eat any.

Anyway I hope this helps to explain this common debate and why dieticians that believe governmental BS who call this comparison a myth are misguided.   I also hope that many people critical of paleo will start to understand many of the foods on the eat list are also on the eat in MODERATION list so many of their blanket statements are not really accurate.

I also do believe that with careful control many people can eat things like brown rice, heirloom whole grains, etc.  I think if you really want to know how to eat healthy but don’t want to go paleo you should look into the work of Weston A Price.  You may not end up where us paleo folks are but after you really dig into Price’s work (as I have recently) let me tell you what will happen.

You will end up with a diet that is 70% or more paleo and food relationships that will significantly moderate insulin response.  You will also find yourself using food prep techniques on many foods we don’t eat that make those foods cause less inflammation in the body.  This will be particularly true of things like oats and wheat.  You will also find yourself eating a LOT of animal products even if they are not meat.

91 Responses to Why are Sweet Potatoes Considered a Better Paleo Option

  1. Steven Richards

    For the average couch-potato, you might be right. For someone that lifts weights, high GI is better for the gainz (and staying lean). The book Carb Backloading explains why.

    • Modern Survival

      Sorry dude you can’t change science. You can look great and do tons of damage long term to your body with glycation. Please open your mind and read Dr. Ellis’ book. To be fair you if you are not full of shit and are really a heavy weight trainer can eat a lot more carbs. That DOE NOT make anyone who isn’t like you a couch potato. Many of the people you seem to be mocking may live longer then you.

    • I think that you will find as you get older that high GI (and low fat) will catch up with you and kill your drive to lift as much as needed to stay ripped. Calories matter, but every meal is a hormonal event. If you refrain from eating animal fat then you require your liver to work overtime to make all of your cholesterol, some of which is converted to sex hormones (which are very helpful to staying fit). The light that burns twice as bright burns only half as long.

  2. Steven Richards

    I’ve checked the torrent sites for a copy, but haven’t found anything yet. Just citing some scientific literature isn’t exactly proof that your interpretation of the literature is correct, or even that the scientist’s interpretation of the data is correct.

    • Well Amazon has a digital edition for sale, instead of looking for a pirated copy.

      • Modern Survival

        Because he has a I am better then others attitude and doesn’t really want to learn, I offered him a free copy if you read my responses to him.

  3. Steven Richards

    I’m just speaking from what I’ve experienced. I’ve tried sweet potatoes and I’ve tried regular ole Russet baked potatoes; there’s no comparison.

  4. Steven Richards

    Care to explain why you think high-GI is bad? It appears your beef is simply that the GI and GL of white potatoes is high. Why is high GI and GL bad?

    A short lasting insulin spike after lifting weights, while insulin sensitivity of the muscles that were used is increased, but that goes away quickly, allows re-entry into ketogenesis (fat burning) asap. High-GI provides a short lasting spike, but low-GI provides a less intense, longer lasting insulin response.

    • Modern Survival

      Look dude I am not going to sit here trying to convince you of anything, especially if you are clearly closed to it. If you are MSB go into the download area and read Dr. Ellis’ book. By the way this is Dr. Greg Ellis’ website with tons of free info. http://byebyecarbs.com/ and if you are not MSB and really want an answer email me and I will send you a copy of the book free.

      You seem to also have an attitude about weight training and it being different and everyone else sucks, sort of that thing going on. If not I apologize but text is the lowest form of communication.

      That said Dr. Ellis is a weight lifter, who trains extremely hard. Here is his facebook, take a look at the guy I think he is 67 in his photo, not sure though, something close to that. https://www.facebook.com/ByeByeCarbs

      In other words he speaks your language. You want to carb up before you slam iron go ahead man, I don’t really care. Likely due to phyical activity alone you will be healthier then most people, it won’t mean you are not damaging your body.

      I’ll tell you this, if you take the time to learn about glycation and the PERMANENT plaques it creates in your body, you will likely change your mind. The good news is, you can keep weight training and still get amazing results if that is what you want to do.

      These are called advanced glycation end products or AGEs and they are seriously damaging to the body, no matter how many arm curls or bench presses you do.

  5. Higher GI generally means faster insulin spikes; and quicker crash. The lower GI with similar level of overall carb would cause a more even availability of fuel. You dont ‘feel’ a difference between eating a white potato over a sweet because its not really relevant to your workouts as far as feel is concerned. Your assuming low level insulin response difference will make some drastic change in how you perform.

    Assume you dont know shit BEFORE you speak, think, then type, then maybe you wont sound like it.

    Just my dumbass opinion. 😉

    • Steven Richards

      LOL @ advice to “assume you dont know shit” coming from someone that assumes I eat high-GI carbs for performance, even after I already spelled it out that I eat high-GI carbs for the gainz and staying lean

      • ‘Performance’ was used as a general term, not a specific performance metric. But I digress.

        Super cool elite types tend to get that confused. I understand.

        • Modern Survival

          “Super cool elite types tend to get that confused. I understand.”

          Same vibe huh Richard? Typical bullshit, I am better because I lift weights, do MMA, etc. Always the same crap, as long as you are tough looking in your mirror you are convinced everyone else is below you in some way.

          The reason this is dumb is there is only one true best in any one thing. Most people with this attitude are far above average but far and I mean far below being elite or certainly being the best at what ever they are so proud of.

          I see it all the time, the toughest guy in some hole in the wall MMA gym in some tiny place like Sherman Texas talks all kinds of crap. Sitting in Dallas are 200 rank amateurs that can kick his ass with almost no effort. But still he has an elitist attitude. Such people are not usually interested in reason or facts.

  6. You posted again while I was typing. Responding all in one post before hitting post button helps too.

  7. Steven Richards

    from the byebyecarbs website:

    “You argue against the use of the Glycemic Index and cautioned people not to use it. The Glycemic Index has been around for more than 30 years and has been studied extensively. Why are you so against it?

    The Glycemic Index was developed primarily for the use of diabetics to help control blood sugar levels. The test itself is to feed 50 g of a carbohydrate containing food to see what the blood sugar response is. It was never intended to be used in the development of menus. Researchers from Stanford University have now shown that the Glycemic Index has no physiological significance and although seeing different blood sugar level responses is interesting, that has no physiological meaning. In fact, the American Diabetes Association has never accepted the Glycemic Index as an effective way to help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.”

    So why do you seem to think this guy recommends lower-GI?

    I carb up AFTER lifting, and will continue doing so because it works, but thanks for being so concerned about my health 😉

    • Modern Survival

      Yes Dr. Ellis and I disagree about Glycemic Index but that is about the only thing we differ on. Again Ellis is strictly low carb and I am paleo.

      You know what though you just confirmed my suspicions about your attitude. Screw learning right, screw digging deeper right?

      By the way Ellis is one of my former clients, I interviewed him on TSP as well. If you push the shit out of him about glycemic response, he caves.

      His real belief is keep carbs VERY LOW, keep protein very moderate and fat very high. He makes an incredible case for it.

  8. Ive got my purple sweets growing strong. Korean purple sweet potato I was told.
    Im trying to get a few more established this late just to see what happens with the rest of the summer and wether or not its truly too late to grow more from cuttings.

    • I’ve heard once (can’t remember where) that the purple sweets have an even lower GI than the orange sweets. Does anyone know if that is true. I’m growing some that should be ready in another month, can’t wait to try them. I want to try to grow more next year. What is the best method? Take cuttings and grow indoors until next May/June?

      • Modern Survival

        I don’t know but I would love to validate that.

      • I found this on paleohacks about the nutritional differences in sweet potatoes:

        http://paleohacks.com/questions/92959/nutrition-differences-in-different-varieties-of-sweet-potatoes#axzz2bJ8ZHqro

        Okinawan sweet potato (white skin/purple flesh): One medium contains 30 g, of vitamin C, 19 mcg folate and traces of other B vitamins. Minerals include 271 mg potassium, 29 mg calcium, 37 mg phosphorus, 17 mg sodium, 13 mg magnesium, and traces of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. The purple pigment contains high levels of anthocyanin, an antioxidant.

        Sweet Potato: Again medium-sized, they provide about 500 percent of your recommended vitamin A; 60 percent of your vitamin D; 45 percent of your vitamin C; 15 percent of your vitamin B-6; 10 percent of your riboflavin; 6 percent of your thiamine, folate, phosphorus and magnesium; 4 percent of your iron, niacin and calcium; and 2 percent of your zinc. Awesome source of potassium.

        Yams: High in vitamin C, containing 8.2mg, or 14 percent of the recommended daily intake. Other vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, choline, niacin, thiamin, folate and pantothenic acid. Minerals: potassium and manganese, each with 13 percent of the daily recommended value, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, copper and iron.

        And my absolute favourite in the world, the Japanese Sweet Potato: One medium Japanese sweet potato contains 4 percent DV for calcium and iron and contains significant amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Sweet potatoes contain B vitamins — thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and B-6, as well as essential amino acids.

  9. Steven Richards

    You want to send me a copy of the book, I believe you have the email address to send it to. I’d be glad to read it. Otherwise, it seems kinda like a scam for you to suggest I buy a book you cited so I can prove to you how much I want to learn this BS. Doubt you’re rushing out to buy the book I mentioned… LOL

    • Modern Survival

      You know what you are an asshole, you really are and fine I can look up your address and send you a copy. Do you know why you are an asshole though?

      “Otherwise, it seems kinda like a scam for you to suggest I buy a book you cited?”

      See you are full of shit, I NEVER suggested you buy a damn thing, I asked you to email me for a copy because that would make me sending it to you EASIER for me since I was already doing it for free.

      Ellis is also no longer a client, I benefit in no way based on what he sells or doesn’t. Go pop your aminos but if you really do what to learn, I am going to send you a copy of the book.

  10. Jack,

    You’ve made mistake in the article typing the same twice with different percentages:


    The glycemic index of white potato is 47% higher then sweet potato
    The glycemic index of white potato is 44% higher then sweet potato

  11. “Tongue in cheek moment”

    I only take diet advice from people who are older than I.

  12. Missing in this discussion is the fact that, for persons who have abused their bodies for years, the affects of insulin resistance are more severe than for persons, perhaps including Steven Richards, who have eaten more moderately and exercised more smartly. I am more greatly affected by high carb and high glycemic foods than others might be. This does not contradict the science, Steven Richards. The well-known resilience of the human body has made it possible for you to eat high glycemic foods to no apparent ill effect. And if the research has shown that plaques are deposited when blood glucose is high, you have not escaped it, despite feeling good.

  13. Hey guys, I’m not a huge sweet potato fan but I’ve been thinking of replacing some of my white potato eating with sweet for various TSP-related reasons. Here’s the question, does preparing them in a certain way make them worse or better? Specifically, my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is fried up in a little olive oil. I know O Oil isn’t the best thing for me, though I know it isn’t THAT bad in the grand scheme of things. But does frying potatoes in O Oil make them worse, better, or no different?

    • Modern Survival

      I find olive oil to be one of the BEST fats on planet earth so don’t sweat that just don’t get it too hot or it does become somewhat toxic with some conversions that happen. Hot enough to fry and saute is fine, just don’t get it smoking. Your way is fine to cook them. In cold weather I make a lot of beef stew and they go in with turnips, parsnips, carrot, etc.

      Basically as long as you keep them in moderation you can make them anyway you wish, SO LONG AS you don’t go doing that nasty thing with marshmallows and all that people do at Thanksgiving.

      Also try Japanese Purples if you can find them. They are yellow inside and taste like a fricken buttered golden regular potato without adding any butter. I grow them because I find them hard to come by at markets.

      • to avoid the issue of heating Olive Oil you might consider Coconut Oil.. it is solid at room temp (has a white color) it is a great cooking/frying oil and is very beneficial. I enjoy a tablespoon right out of the jar several times a week. If you get it cold pressed instead of heated it is supposed to be better but it may have a very faint hint of coconut. I have found those not cold processed to have a very mild delicious taste. All popcorn used to be popped with it at movie theatres but the food police decided a couple of decades ago that it wasn’t “healthy” – it’s fat, you know… Rush Limbaugh ranted on this for a while cuz he loves coconut cooked popcorn…

        I love it.

    • Thanks Jack, good advice. Don’t worry about the marshmallow thing though, I can’t stand super sweet foods like that (except for desserts of course).

    • Coconut oil is great, very healthy. Jack did not mention these in the “do not eat” list but it is best to also avoid canola oil (rapeseed oil) and cottonseed oil. Besides being GMO these days, they are also very high in Omega 6-type fat, which increases systemic inflammation.

  14. Jack,
    Where would you consider the GI breakpoints to be between eat-your-ass-off, eat-in-moderation, and don’t-eat categories? Anything below 50 is eat-your-ass off? Is it lower than that? Anything higher than 85 is don’t eat? The link to the glycemic indexes for different foods is great but I’d appreciate your opinion.
    Roscoe

  15. Besides weight lifters thinking they can eat unlimited carbs, I think a lot of endurance athletes make the same mistake by consuming a ton of pasta before a race and then using those sugary sports gels during the race. There are a couple of athletes trying endurance events and training using a ketogenic diet.

    • I do know one thing… I had a friend that went fanatical on weight lifting and also put on tons of weight and bulked up big time… he looked like a mag cover lifter… but eventually he lost interest and all that muscle eventually turned to fat… or at least he looked like “fat bastard.” I wonder how many aging weight lifters wind up in that state of affair?

  16. Thank you, Jack, for helping to clarify an issue that for many people is very confusing.

  17. Are blue potatoes and yellow (Yukon) any better? I like growing them because they store well and produce a lot of food. Also mentioned was eating with fat makes you want more, but doesn’t it also slow the digestion of the sugars?
    Thanks, I’m a pretty new listener, but love the show!

    • Modern Survival

      I can’t say definitively but I would say they are still very high in insulin response but likely a little lower then white.

    • Modern Survival

      Let me also say, I consider sweet potatoes like a doughnut for normal people who watch what they eat.

      Let me explain. Many people are not fat and eat a pretty good diet at least by conventional standards. Such people might once in a while have a doughnut. If they are someone who considers carefully what they eat and try to do their best they might choose one doughnut over the other. One might eat a simple glazed or cake doughnut over a bear claw. It isn’t the cake doughnut is really good for you, it just doesn’t harm you much at all in moderation and it is less bad than a 1 pound bear claw.

    • I’m a 30yr old diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was 17. I’ve been med free for about 8yrs following a diet based on much of the Weston Price research (The Maker’s Diet). I probably should cut back on potatoes some.

      Btw I finished my first on contour Hugel bed two weeks ago (5’x20 by hand), and hoping Jeff L offers his online PDC again, I just started listening when he was promoting it the first time.

  18. if you add fat or combine foods it changes gi index

  19. Steven Richards

    Thanks for sending me the book, but I can’t find where the author makes the claim that low glycemic index is better; in fact, he keeps claiming that the glycemic index is useless… 🙂

    • Modern Survival

      He doesn’t I do. I can explain his stance if you push him but you will have to wait I am doing an interview right now and can’t go into details with it and pay attention to my guest.

  20. I found this source of sweet potato varieties online. They have Japanese sweet pototatoes as well as many other varieties. Anybody have experience with them? They seem to have quite a bit of information on planting, too.

    http://www.tatorman.com/

  21. Steven Richards

    Cool. Thanks again. Until then, I’m looking forward to my 2oz serving of russet potato post workout (and 4oz of chicken breast), before I switch back to high-fat, ultra-low-carb… 🙂

    • Modern Survival

      First of all 2oz is so small it likely doesn’t matter, it is likely doing you no harm and likely not doing you much good either. Further in spite of how much energy you sucked from me today I will make one more effort to educate you on this (BECAUSE YOU ASKED) then I am done.

      So first let us consider Mr. Steven Harris’ view on power packs like the PowerDome EX. He hates it and calls it a waste of money. Is this because it doesn’t work, no it is because he THINKS most people are too dumb to understand its limits and will think they have a light saber. That said people will rely on it to do what it can’t and it will harm them in the end. But if you ask him if the product does what it claims to do, he says, well yes.

      Got that? Good.

      Dr. Ellis is the same with GI, he knows damn well different sources of carbs cause different insulin responses. He absolutely knows this to be true but just like Steven is coming from the (use what will absolutely always work mode) Ellis is coming from the typical nutritional angle.

      In the typical bullshit nutritional BS world where he and I are 100% in lock step agreement the view is use the GI and things are great, this is nonsense if you eat a typical carb based diet. So if you get 70% of calories from carbs but do so all from a low GCI group of foods he is saying it will still cause you issues with insulin response and the creation of AGEs. So he considers it useless.

      Greg also cautions you to consider 60% of protein calories as carbs because that is what the body turns them into, he is right about that in a way but not totally. The issue there is the rate of conversion is slow so the insulin response isn’t as high, when I pushed him on that, he also caved.

      Greg’s approach is to be simple with rules, eat a ratio of X and Y and Z or fat, protein and carbs and don’t go to high on total calories. It absolutely works, his results are proof of it.

      There are some things he can’t answer though, like his claim that you can’t ever consume more calories then you burn and not gain wait. We ran my numbers and the burn rate necessary to account for my weight loss can’t possibly be true. He stands by his claim but admits he can’t explain my results.

      Like I have said before no one, certainly not me is to be your damn guru about this. This post wasn’t why you should be paleo or why you should eat sweet potatoes, it was why sweet potato is better from a paleo perspective. You just wanted a damn argument is all.

      The truth is your meal IS ULTRA LOW CARB, for Pete sake! 2 ounces of potato is fricken 6 grams of carb and only 40 fricken calories. It is below the per meal threshold of the Dr. Eades Protein Power Plan.

      Like I said you just wanted to argue and you have now made my point for me with such a ridiculous low amount of carbs. You will get no more of my energy on this, hopefully though others may have learned something.

  22. I took my A1c from 7.6 to 5.9 in the last 3 months only by changing my eating to Paleo (including sweet potatoes). If you don’t know, your A1c is a long term look at your blood sugar and insulin-resistance. Above 6.5 is considered diabetic.

    This stuff works.

  23. Steven Richards

    The dose makes the poison. Anything is bad for us in large enough quantities. 🙂

    • Modern Survival

      You know if you told me you were talking about 6 grams of carbs up front I would have just told you it doesn’t matter.

  24. Seems to me both of you guys are correct….except Steven is more civil in his discussion. Jack you need to calm down and watch your mouth, less you lose peoples respect.
    IMHO

    • Modern Survival

      Tony, seriously if I want your advice I will ask for it. This jackwagon sucked the shit out of my energy today. Not just here but by email as well.

      BTW Harris is often a MUCH bigger dick then I am and even he knows that.

  25. Wow….pretty sophomoric comment!
    That “jackwagon” sucked the energy out of you because you let him.
    And because Harris is a Dick … you should be too?

    No advice just my opinion.

    • Yeah – not sure why Jack devolves so quickly to the name-calling and the belittling. Sure, Steven is difficult that he has some points to dispute, but he is about 98% civil. Jack…not so much. 🙁

    • Modern Survival

      May be you should answer all his emails and comments and deal with his attitude?

  26. I’ll defend Jack here. Steven was baiting Jack all along. It’s a very passive-aggressive way of being an A-Hole in that you get to make it look like you’re being the civil one (complete with cutsie little emoticons that are clearly insincere). Jack may have blown a gasket a little bit, but at least his reaction was honest.

    • If what you say is true (that Steven was just trolling in a very passive / cutesy way), then Jack is in the right. I guess I just read it that Steven was disagreeing, but he undeserving of Jack putting him down.

      But how I read it could have been wrong, and how you’re crafting it (with Steven as a bit of a troll) could be absolutely right.

      I generally dont read the comments anymore because Jack seems to come down really hard on people that politely disagree with him. This article really captured my interest though and so it was natural for me to read the comments.

      Once bitten, twice shy. I’ll just shut up now. Heh.

      • yeah I’m just telling you how the whole exchange read to me. Jack is firey and passionate about the things he believes. I don’t always agree but I love his passion. It’s why I listen to the show every day.

      • Modern Survival

        I think you should just go back to kissing Chris Duanes butt and find something better to do with your time then coming here to snipe. I wasn’t putting Steve down, we are good friends. Sometimes I am a dick, sometimes he is a bigger one, we both know it. No one makes you listen to either of us. Now go back to calling Rob Gray a psychopath though he hasn’t ever done a thing to you.

        • @Jack – I have my opinions, and I share them freely. I consider myself a relatively civil and contemplative guy.

          Never once have I “kissed Chris Duane’s ass” and I’ve never once called rob gray a psychopath (that whole schtick seems to be reserved for Chris and his crowd). I’ve enjoyed and learned from many things that Chris has said, but I have also been very critical (and unsupportive) of many other things that he has done, especially recently.

          I know that you and rob gray have history. I remember the early shows where you would talk about getting “grass feed beef” from him. I supported AOCS a few years ago and bought a bunch of the first copper TSP rounds. Some of those videos that Chris posted with rob and his ionized water and the ‘mind mechanic’ stuff really gave me pause though. Perhaps I should not judge rob from such a colorful history…but I’ll admit that seeing that footage has left an impression on me.

          My citing these examples and giving this background is by no means a way to build credibility as much as it is to give you a context of how much I have paid attention and advocated for you, DTOM, and AOCS in the last few years.

          I very much appreciate your show and although I dont agree with all points all the time (something that you have encouraged!), I also recall that you want us to be civil to one another in these blog comments. The exception is when we’re talking about politicians. In that case, as you explained, “say whatever you want”.

          The Paleo diet has never really interested me too much, but I did find your article intriguing. This other commenter, Steven Richards, with who you were sparring with was maybe trolling…and maybe he was not. It did not seem like you and he are good friends. I never did see Steven Richards call you names or belittle you in these comments. But maybe he was trolling here and I did not catch on to it.

          Either way, I think you have mischaracterized me. I definitely have opinions that you would not like, but I’m not here to start trouble on behalf of Chris Duane or any of the DTOM crowd. I consider myself more of a TSP’er than a DTOM’er…but I will admit to finding value in the messaging from both you and Chris (and your respective sites / communities).

          Peace.

        • Whoops – I meant “grass fed beef” in my prior comment.

          If anybody has ‘grass feed beef’, they’re probably hanging out on a different kind of blog.

    • Modern Survival

      Exactly and there were unseen emails as well. Hey Rottenclam if I say you smell like stinky fish is that me devolving, LOL.

      Um my LOL is sincere by the way.

    • @Jack – sure, there is a little bit of devolvement in that line, but I can definitely take some ribbing, as well as some flak for a somewhat provocative username. No problem there.

      I’ve been through some internet drama before, and there is always more than what meets the eye (unseen emails). I believe that all parties have had serious faults in the whole DTOM / MM debacle.

      But back on track to this article, I did enjoy it very much, and I do appreciate you taking the time to write it. Also, it may not seem like it, but I am always glad to see when you are talking to listeners / readers in the comments. Maybe the puritanical side of me just tends to bristle a bit when you start calling people names and things like that.

      But hey – it is your blog, your podcast, and your site. If I dont like it, I am free to go elsewhere. There are way more things that you do which I like and admire than things that I’m put off by. I’ve followed your work for a number of years and continue to learn new things…so that is why I stick around. Enjoy your day.

      • Modern Survival

        Anyone who can’t handle being called a name I have a name for, …………… teacup!

        • Ok. Makes sense. But in that same breath, I have to admit you’ve piqued my curiosity on something. What do you call somebody that starts calling other people names, when those other people are being civil and not calling people names?

          I dont mean to ping-pong this conversation (and I realize it borders on the inane), but I’d sincerely like to able to understand your perspective on this behavior.

        • Modern Survival

          Well, problem is you are saying the other party is civil. One doesn’t have to call another person a name to have gone past being civil. Sometimes that other party is being a damn dick and just trying to get an argument, and that was the case here.

          So in that case I would call the person who calls the other party something like a jackwagon (which by the way is pretty harmless as far as names go) simply, “someone tired of dealing with bullshit”.

          On other occasions the person who gets called a name may be being “civil” but also may be behaving exactly as the name implies, in that case I would call the person using the name “accurate”.

          On other occasions perhaps the person calling the other person a name is just fed up in general and the person getting blasted doesn’t actually deserve it, in that case I call the person calling someone a name, “asshole”.

          Finally, I know you mean me here and I have been all three of the above, the first two more often then the third. But the third on occasion. There is also a forth option, where due to common internet handles you think I am an asshole and I sort of am but not by intention. This is where someone who was a big pain in my ass for years says they are not coming back and I mistakenly think someone using the same name is them. In that case the adjective would be “wrong”. It has happened twice, I apologized to both individuals it occurred to. I think both got over it and when they looked into the history of the jackass they were mistaken for, understood.

        • @Jack – thank you for summarizing / sharing your perspective. It makes perfect sense, and I can appreciate your approach on this particular context.

          As for somebody coming around with a different handle, and starting trouble – yeah, I’ve seen that many times (and even a few times on here). I totally understand why, every day, you have to be somewhat hawkish about that behavior happening here in the comments (you just never know if that knucklehead is going to come back and what new form he will take). Very annoying, I’m sure.

          I appreciate your responses to me, and again, I do appreciate the article you wrote above. Be well.

  27. @ Jack

    I just listened to Episode 858 (Lierre Keith) this morning, and a question popped in my head. Then you did this post, and since it is much more recent, and related to paleo, I figured I would ask here.

    If grains are not the best foods for a paleo diet or your ruminants, and everything has a purpose, what is the purpose of grains? If not for food, then how do they help in gardening, besides maybe as cover crops and mulch?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Grains are seeds, seeds are bird food.

    • Modern Survival

      Well adding to what Mike said.

      First grains are mostly grass, there is nothing wrong with a cow eating grass. I don’t care if a cow eats corn and gets some ears too, so long as that cow is eating mostly the whole plant, the grass.

      Next many things we don’t eat on paleo would be okay sprouted, specifically if fully sprouted. Sprouts like that have used up almost all carbs, I consider them a vegetable at that point.

      Mike mentioned seeds, so lets discuss seeds used as grains like Quinoa and Amaranth, Hemp, Chia, etc. I consider such seeds things to use in moderation. They are better then true grains, they have some amazing health benefits, largely they don’t “fight back” when consumed and cause a lot less inflammation. Still you don’t make them a staple of your diet.

      People think I am a prude on this stuff and militant, I am not and don’t claim to be. We are going to make sorghum syrup this year, likely not enough to amount to anything but we are just running trials to find the best sorghum for our area, White African Giant is winning. Next year we will have a Sorghum and Bean plot. The grain is for the birds (chickens and geese) the syrup yield for us and the tepary beans for us as well.

      Tepary beans are about twice as high in protien as any other bean, which means of course they are twice as low in carbohydrates, because all calories are made up of either carbohydrates, fats, protein or alcohol, there is no option E. Increase the make up of any food by one and the others by ratio decline. We like some beans time and again.

      This is designed to be small plot sustainability for man and beast. The Sorghum silage could be fed to cattle or goats or sheep if we had them, we don’t so it becomes compost. If we ever get dorpers they will get it.

      Next up here is where mike gets full vindication. In the fall we will plant that same plot to ancient red russian wheat. The real age of this wheat isn’t known but it has been grown in Texas winters for over 150 years, so it ain’t modern. We MIGHT take a bit for personal use but it will be mostly for as Mike puts it “the birds”.

      I do have a role for people that want foods like rice and wheat on paleo. Pick something devoid of modern genetic manipulation and grow it, you can eat all you can grow and cultivate by HAND.

      People always make a big deal about traditional health in Japan, China and Korea, etc with rice. Truth is today they have plenty of fat rice eaters. In the past not so much, but the reality is the majority of said people were cultivating their own rice and other stuff. If you grow what you eat not only is it more healthy it is damn self limiting on how much you are going to eat and you have to work for it to boot.

      Many Americans eat 6 – 10 slices of bread or the equivalent a DAY! Your government thinks this is a great idea by the way. They paid nine million dollars for a circle to tell you so. If you were growing wheat by hand, harvesting the heads with a sicket, the straw with a scythe and winnowing it by hand, grinding it by hand, making bread by hand from scratch, you would never be chomping so much of it without a thought. Not to mention you would likely burn 1 calorie for every 2-3 consumed without including your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

      • Thank you for your response. I tried buckwheat last year, and it is quite a bit of work to go from plant to table. But it is wonderful at reseeding itself! And the bees love all of those flowers.

        After hearing you talk so highly of amaranth, and watching your video on the harvesting process, I thought I would try it this year. Due to working so much this year, I didn’t get to plant my amaranth in time for seed production. I will plant some for greens this week and save the rest of the seed for next year.

        I like the idea of sprouting, but have never done it. I like them on my salad and can only imagine how much better they are fresh. I will try them in the spare bedroom with the door shut. I don’t trust the cats not to get into things when I am at work.

        I only have a small area in which to grow grains of any kind, but I love the nastalgic feeling of getting out there with my sickle and harvesting them. Since I currently have no animals except two cats, it is nice to have some ideas that are not so “unhealthy” for me to use the little that I do grow.

        I will be moving to a much larger plot of land within the next couple of years (financial issues at the moment) and was wanting to find a way to still keep that old time harvesting feeling. I guess I will keep it to a smaller crop. Or make sure to do everything by hand, which is my preference anyway. I would just hate to do all that work, just to give it to the birds, when they are fine with stealing it right off the plant.

        Thanks again.

  28. oh I see, I didn’t know Jack and Steve have history and are friends. I’m new here.

  29. @ Laaz2750,

    Steven Harris and Jack are friends. Steven Richards is not Steven Harris. Those are two different people. I hope that clears up your confusion. When Jack says that Steve is a bigger dick than he is, he is referring to his friend Steven Harris who has been on the show numerous times and is a member of the expert panel for the call in shows.

    • Modern Survival

      Huh, I never considered that could be a source of confusion here? Thanks for picking up on that.

    • Thanks for the clarification. Back to the topic for a second (which I probably shouldn’t have strayed from in the first place 🙂 ) Jack can you recommend a sweetener for coffee? Pretty hard to choose between sugar, which I know is bad for me, and all the chemical sugar alternatives, which I suspect are bad for me in different ways.

      • Modern Survival

        We use pure stevia extract, one drop to a cup is as sweet as I can stand. No aftertaste, nothing harmful. One small bottle lasts a long time. Most Whole Foods or Spouts or similar markets have tons of both flavored and plain. I go with plain.

        Here is an example, not specifically recommending this brand to me it is all pretty much the same, http://bit.ly/1797Rgm

        • Modern Survival

          Oh and you can use it with some orange extract in a margarita in place of tripplesec as well.

        • Steven Richards

          Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20303371

        • Modern Survival

          I would say that is pretty irrelevant because it ignores the underlying diet. Putting stevia in coffee won’t make you eat more, that is just plain inaccurate.

          There is some good research on this effect. Many times a person using an artificial sweetener or no sugar sweetener feels it is okay to eat more. If you sweeten anything with carbs you WILL EAT MORE, it will trigger it.

          If you are eating paleo or low carb very few things warrant the use of a sweetener. Coffee would be one for some people, as would tea. I personally stopped using it in coffee because I like coffee better unsweetened. I make iced herbal teas though and use it in them, along with lemon-aid etc. As mentioned I also use it in margaritas.

          Other than for tea these are not frequent uses.

          The problem with many studies is they fail to make a relevant comparison. Stuff like what you cite is often shit like the fat ass that orders 2 big macs at Micky D’s with a diet coke and super sized fry.

      • cool!

      • I’ve been drinking what is called Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, which is coffee blended with grass fed butter and MCT oil. It keeps me full until lunch and it tastes really good. You can get Kerry Gold Irish butter at Trader Joe’s for $2.99.

  30. Steven Richards, Awesome to see another guy that read Carb Backloading. I did not read all 80 some odd posted, but did see jack may not have gotten your post completely. I have read both robb wolfs book and John Kiefers book. Both books are solid. How I see it, eating paleo is great for the majority of the population. If you are lifting hard eating paleo in a CBL method is probably the best way to do it. Jack if you have time check out Kiefer books Carb Nite, and Carb Backloading. His books are about 200 pages and 50 pages of citations. He and robb have been on each others podcast and agree about a lot.

    • Modern Survival

      Shane you I respect but Steve here is a dick. After all that shit he drops he eats two damn ounces of potato after a work out. All the guy wanted was to stir up shit.

      As for “eating paleo is great for the majority of the population” just stop there, that is my point.

    • I just hate to see a good book, and a researcher that I respect, possibly discredited because of poor delivery.

  31. So where is this eat, don’t eat, eat in moderation list you talked about? I went to the MSB back office to read the book, but kept getting a “404 not found” when I click on download.

    • Modern Survival

      It isn’t in that book, damn that book is about glycation and low carb, that is all.

      The “list” isn’t a static list, there are many schools of thought on paleo but if you examine what each says eat, don’t eat and eat in moderation you will find it follows what I described here.

  32. Ok…lets be clear here… I just got notified of this ‘conversation.’ Steven Harris talks about ENERGY… I don’t delve into paleo and such. I do food storage talks too…but not nutrition and the way you guys do diet.

    if there is a STEVE talking about something OTHER than Energy… ITS NOT ME !!!

    Steven E Harris . The E stands for Electrified !!! 98% of the time. 2% of the time it might be Egotistical, but that sure as hell bests being indecisive. Sometimes I am wrong, and when I am… you’ll hear about it from ME.

  33. This person is talking with limited understanding of the diet and is short sighted in their theory. Paleo is not a low carb diet, and he downplays the anti inflammatory effects of not eating grains or dairy.

    This is what happens when someone who read the Atkins diet book reads Dr oz’s synopsis on paleo.

    • Modern Survival

      Um actually no. Wolf himself even states to go off dairy for the first 30 days (I did 60) and then try it and see if it effects YOU. Paleo does work in many ways (specifically with weight loss) because it is low carb. It also reduces glycation and there by the production of AGEs. That finding is corroborated by the work of Dr. Greg Ellis who comes at this from a fully low carb perspective.

      I derive my view on Paleo from understanding indigenous cultures and human nature, animal biology and botany. It is really sad when someone like you walks into a conversation with no frame of reference and passes judgement on what someone else knows. There is no definitive “paleo bible”, there are many different authors that say no dairy period, some say try it and see, some say only in moderation and some say go nuts with it.

      In the end dairy especially based on raw dairy products are animal products. Most indigenous cultures include milk as part of a diet one way or another.

      Perhaps you don’t know as much as you think you do. I learn something every day in writing this article for instance I learned from a reader that raw milk has an enzyme in it that breaks down lactose and allows many who are lactose intolerant to eat dairy with NO ILL EFFECTS. That is very interesting and I didn’t know that, perhaps there is hope for you to move past dogma and consider options as well?

      Also stop calling paleo a “diet”, that is a big part of the perception bias against it. One doesn’t stay on a diet for 3 years as I have done so now with paleo eating.