Tweets from the Ancestral Health Symposium


The second annual Ancestral Health Symposium wrapped up at Harvard last night.

I really wish I had been there.  But, I still learned a lot, thanks to the attendees and presenters who tweeted all weekend. I arranged  those fascinating, educational and entertaining tweets by subject or by presenter - below. (I did not record who sent the tweets - but I am extremely grateful.)  Enjoy!

"The Ancestral Health Symposium is a scientific conference serving to foster collaboration among scientists, healthcare professionals as well as laypersons who study and communicate about health from an evolutionary perspective, in an effort to develop solutions to our modern health challenges."

The conference attendance was double that of last year and the society will develop a membership program in September, a peer reviewed journal this year, and it will post videos of this year's presentations in a few months. 

Click here to see this year's speakers and program.
Click here to see last year's presentations.

Wolf: I think we can really change all this. 15 years ago, Paleo didn't even exist. We've got hope for the future as people change.
Wolf: "Somebody needs to start this, and it's gotta be us. And we'll drag the rest of the people along kicking and screaming.
I've been thinking about this for a while. Might as well say it. The future of paleo isn't in science, it's in neighborhoods!
Wolf: There's a potent desire for people doing Paleo to say this is it. That's a flaw in thinking that leads to monolithic living.
Paleo isn't one size fits all.
There are so many barriers into getting good food and nutrition into our institutions, the only easy and real way is grassroots
J Stanton: the idea of "paleo approved is kinda strange"
Wolf: The high-carb, low-fat diet (the American Heart Association guidelines) produced worse results than no change at all.
Lieberman: There is no one Paleo diet. Not all ancestral adaptations are good for us. There is no Paleo diet -- there are multiple Paleo diets.
Salatin: The legacy we are leaving is hope of food choice for our grandchildren. If we don't preserve this choice there will be none.
Jaminet: The Paleo community has a lot of enthusiastic followers but scientists aren't taking these individuals seriously
Lieberman - we may not know what we are adapted for, but we know what we're not adapted for.
Salatin: We're far more interested in the purity of the gasoline in our car than we are of the purity of the food we eat.
Salatin: The best way to preserve food choice is to get in the kitchen. People want to do everything except participate.
Salatin: The tragedy of our time is not that we're lazy. The tragedy is that we're working at the wrong things.
We have twice as many people incarcerated/in prison than people who grow our food - Joel Salatin
Salatin: Buy direct from the farmer & break your addiction to the supermarket. Who needs one! We need to treat them like drug habit.
Wolf: Have "serial killer consistency" in the way you get your sleep where it needs to be. Pitch black room, lower stress & exercise
Wolf: If people are sleeping well, it's difficult to kill them. If people aren't sleeping well, it's nearly impossible to keep alive.
Take home message for me: SLEEP is a critical 'nutrient'. Many of us are deficient.
Carbs before bed has been shown in small studies to decrease sleep latency" (less tossing and turning).
Lack of sleep lowers leptin levels and increases insulin resistance.
Grass-fed cows fix more carbon than they emit; cattle are carbon negative and environmentally beneficial
You would have to eat 1,421 lbs of conventional meat to get the same amount of estrogen as found in 3 oz of soybean oil!
Grass-based agriculture is the only true sustainable agriculture.
Grass-fed cows fix more carbon than they emit; cattle are carbon negative and environmentally beneficial.
In the U.S.: plenty of calories, not enough nutrition. But Big Ag Keeps pushing calories without nutrition. Not sustainable!
More important to replace carb calories w/ calories from commercially produced animal products than to eat grass fed meat.
70% of avg American's calories come from refined grains, vegetable oil an added sugar.
Cooked bacon has a high nutrient density score but bacon grease should be dumped. It's no longer liquid gold.
We have enough grassland to feed the country without a single farm, and that's not including highway medians.
Anybody that values their local food system needs to join the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Amen.
Ede: There are some people who don't do well with vegetables. Many people may need to eat a more meat-based diet. Experiment!
Phytosterol (from plants like corn) is actually much more atherogenic than cholesterol
Welbourn: AJ Roberts cut wheat out of his diet & was able to lift 175 more weight in his power lifting competition for a world record.
The notion that grains and legumes are good for you come from their raw nutrient values...but you can't eat them raw!
All the diet and exercise in the world won't cure social isolation - talking about this a lot lately. Disconnect in a connected world
The first 20 minutes of exercise is when you get most benefits. Are you reading this, my chronic cardio mother?
Social dysfunction, not obesity, biggest threat of sedentary living.
Exercise is optional. Movement is essential.
Your perception of your social rank effects your health
Exercise more and eat less is like telling someone who is constipated to eat less and defecate more
Workplace str Reduce Metabolic Syndrome: maintain healthy weight, exercise, eat a variety of whole plant foods, manage stress ess predicts metabolic syndrome.
rnikoley - nurture social circles, trade locally, don't watch news, no politics, do what you love, avoid what you hate.
Ppl w/ lower cognitive score have more transfats in the body. Talk about eating yourself stupid!
Wahls: We're setting our brains up to be more stupid and smaller. And we're speeding that up with our kids because of our poor diet.
Those who are insulin and leptin resistant are not able to receive signal to stop eating.
Stanton: the more empty calories you eat, the more you'll crave. Junk food is self-reinforcing.
Deans: Whether you go crazy from marshmallows or not depends on a lot of factors. But don't eat marshmallows at all.
Wolf: If you have a stressful lifestyle, then be REALLY careful with doing intermittent fasting
Carbs affecting your mood depends on a lot. Activity, genes, other foods consumed, and gender.
Mental health studies consistently find links between hypoglycemia and irritability and violence. Stress hormones surge w/carb crash.
Pendergrass: tasty sweets stimulate the ventral tegmental area which causes a dopamine spike (pleasure response).
Hunger does not exist to make us fat. It exist to keep us alive.
Industrial trans fats displace omega-3s, jackin' up yo brain. Don't eat processed food, y'all.
Eating something sweet activates the orexogenic pathway. Translation: sugar is un petit peu addictive
Peter Gray:Play, not directed by adults, is essential for children's growth.
Child psychopathology increases linearly as play decreases linearly.
Miki Ben-Dor: Archeology proves we have evolved to eat animal fat...without it we would still be dragging our knuckles!
Fat intake can tigger powerful mechanism of CCK release, reducing hunger and slowing gastric emptying.
Breast milk 50-60% fat, 30-39% Carbs and 19-20% protein - the natural diet.
Natural ruminant trans fats are thought to be safe. Found in breastmilk, dairy, grassfed meat. shown some anti cancer benefits
Heart deaths decreased in Denmark where trans fatty acids have been banned since 2003.
Lieberman: Many diseases treated with medications are actually adaptations. The drugs are doing more harm than good.
85% of the cholesterol in the gut is endogenous (made in the body).
Attia: Cholesterol vital for life. Dietary cholesterol has very little to do with what's in our body. An LDL particle is a particle.
Nearly 50% of over 130,000 people in a study who were suffering a cardiac event had LDL numbers under 100.
Wolf: The main benefits of taking statins come from the anti-inflammatory effects they carry and not the cholesterol-lowing effects.
Holy what? 40% of males aged 60-70 are on statins. Quick I need something to throw across the room
Seyfried: Ketone bodies put cancer on the run.
Wolf: I ate a bunch more "safe starches" and my LDL-P went WAY up. My triglycerides are higher. I'm going ketogenic again. Tinker!
Glucose is not a toxin for healthy people.
Your health and longevity will be dependent on the ratios of fat and sugar you eat over your lifetime.
Ketones will help resolve insulin resistance—Pendergrass.
Dr. Wahls eats two servings of starch per WEEK - take that as you will Safe starch is NOT an excuse to eat unlimited sweet potatoes and potatoes. Is a little ok? Probably.
I don't understand the obsession with the Kitavans. Who says they wouldn't have lived longer on a low carb diet.
Rosedale: Fat is a free fuel; protein and carbohydrate stimulate regulatory hormones. Restricting protein and carb is beneficial.
Rosedale: Meals regulate your genes. What you eat for breakfast changes activity of 8000 genes that same day
Not all low carb diets are equal - high protein not the answer
If its carbohydrate; its fiber or it's not, if it's not fiber it turns to sugar in your body & does damage.-paraphrase dr. Rosedale
Not everyone thrives on very low carb diet & needs some starches.
Sisson: Endurance athletes have thickening of heart arteries from chronic cardio. Taking sugars and carbohydrates makes this worse.
Rosedale: "There is no such thing as a glucose deficiency" Amen!
Glucose is also a nutrient not just a toxin.
chriskresser joining pauljaminet on siding w glucose being ok for some people.
Population studies: The higher the carb intake, the lower the lifespan.
Rosedale: Fat is a free fuel; protein and carbohydrate stimulate regulatory hormones. Restricting protein and carb is beneficial.
Energy input vs capacity to burn or store energy could b part of the problem. When balance goes out insulin resistance may happen
Can we increase energy in and still induce weight loss? Simple answer: lower insulin, lower fat accumulation
Insulin resistance is an adaptation to energy overload. –Masterjohn
Humans can thrive on a wide variety of diets & those diets shd be able to contain carbohydrates Except modern Americans. –Masterjohn
42% of our population has some form of hyperglycemia says Masterjohn
Rosedale: When insulin, leptin are low, fools body into thinking there is famine, body shifts into repair mode.
Rosedale: Leptin levels double within 12 hrs of a high-carb meal.
Folks whose BP increases when they eat a lot of salt will also secrete more insulin.
Paleo could improve insulin sensitivity in those insulin resistant and salt sensitive.
Sisson: "The less glucose you burn in a lifetime, the better off you are."
Eenfeldt: What about high-carb Asians? But can YOU tolerate the carbs? But most Americans look like Homer Simpson.
Eenfeldt: I don't think we need to choose between insulin and food reward.
Eenfeldt: What about leptin? High-insulin can override leptin. Insulin must be the real master hormone
Eenfeldt: The easiest way to raise your insulin levels is to eat high-carb junk food
In a healthy metabolism some insulin stimulation is not necessarily a bad thing.
Wheatley: Don't expect your physician to "get it" immediately. Provide relevant resources, preferably peer-reviewed
Keller: Diabetics do this well with an iPhone app for tracking blood sugars. Diet recommendations could be customized to numbers
Pardi: Using tracking devices for measuring health markers to gather info for use in improving health.
Trust yourself & what you know about your body. Too many abdicate their responsibility to take care of health
The reason MDs don't know what to do with patient lab test results is they get less than 2 weeks education on nutrition.
Americans are starving on a cellular level. Deficient in many essential Vitamins and minerals
Doctors know far less about nutrition than indigenous people.
The first thing you need to do is fix your diet to get rid of the problematic items." -Mark Sisson
Nutritionally, egg yolk crushes egg whites." -Mat Lalonde
Flavonoids are not all good, they can inhibit key enzymes in metabolism.
ChrisMasterjohn: Inflammation and toxins can contribute to oxidative stress even w/o energy imbalance
One takeaway from the conference so far: antioxidants are not the big deal everyone makes them out to be, could be harmful.
Peel your potatoes and your peel away all your troubles...sorry, I meant all the toxins
Ede: Researchers like to break down food like it's all the sum of the parts rather than the food that it is.
Is fiber bad for us? hard to say, but bacterial fermentation may make fiber intake bad for social life
The "vegans are healthier" is due to elimination of processed foods rather than intake of veg.
Seyfried: 60-90% reduction in brain tumors by restricting calories to 40%. It's a powerful modality for treating brain cancer.
cancer is a metabolic/mitochondrial disease. Genetic damage is an effect, not cause
Mew: estimates only 5% of effort to chew is used compared to paleo times
Mew: likely causes of CD: improper muscle function/us
Vit D & A deficiency suspected as reason for Craniofacial dystrophy. No hard evidence for this.
Mew: Orthodontists don't know cause of melting faces, so they use excuse of 'multifactorial'. He suggests Vit A&D deficiencies
Mike Mew giving a talk on how suboptimal nutrition leads to crandiofacial dystrophy. Similar to findings of Weston A Price.
"Adenoid face”, patients w ENT problems, patients w TMD, & patients who require orthodontics ALL share similar cranial structural prob
ENT and orthodontic waiting rooms are full of the same patients.
Faces that are not the correct shape do not function properly. Breathing hearing speaking chewing appearance and recognition.
Now we got an orthodontist talking about why our teeth are so jacked up. Hint: it ain't normal.
Modern diets are causing facial/orthodontic deformities. "It's as if our faces are melting down." - Mike Mew
This guy gets it! Posture and facial growth relate! Posture is changeable and facial structure can change even later in life.
Mew recommends "lips together, teeth together, tongue on the roof of your mouth" for best craniofacial posture.
One factor: muscle usage changes. We are now eating softer foods & getting calories from beverages rather than hard-to-chew foods.
Wahls: Ancestral diets have more healthy nutrition than any of the government-recommended diets, including MyPlate & all USDA diets
Wahls: Start with greens and berries as the foundation of your Paleo diet. Vitamin K2 and K7 are incredible ingredients in them Beets, greens and berries protect blood vessels.
Modifiable behavioral factors account for over 70% of stroke, colon ca, cardiac disease--Wahls
No color in fruit (apple, banana)= not in Wahls diet.
Wahls reinforces that paleo is the baseline and from there it's n=1
Wahls: A third of the ancestral diet was comprised of organ meats ~ Imagine the percentage today is well less than 1%
Wahls: Seaweed is a great source of iodine. Billions are iodine deficient and our IQ has dropped by 15 points on average as a result.
In my world colored means colored all the way through - Terry Wahls
Wahls: Conducting a clinical trial to show positive effects of Wahls Diet in MS. Preliminary results very promising
Dr. Wahls: Deep freeze meat for 14 days to decrease risk from parasites. Buy from a trusted farmer.
Subjects in Wahls clinical trials going from needing walkers to jogging!!!
Wahls: You guys in the Paleo community are the doctors of the future. I salute you!
"Sugar is a toxin. Slam dunk. In your face. Deal with it." Robert Lustig
I'm for getting insulin down any way you can... Insulin is the ultimate problem. Causes fat accumulation&cell proliferation" lustig
Lustig: Cigarettes went from fashion to filthy habit quickly because governmental intervention at FDA. Same could happen for sugar
Lustig: With over 50 percent of Americans suffering from MetSyn, this should be treated as a public health crisis
Lustig: Your liver gets stick when you consume sugar. Everybody seems to know that sugar is addictive...except scientists
Lustig: 80% of packaged food on shelves is laced with added sugar. We've had our entire food supply adulterated by food industry.
Kresser: 20% of iron overload is diagnosed as a mental disorder and some are even given MORE iron to treat it.
Kresser: Once you get high iron levels, the only way to remove it are a phlebotomy or chelation therapy
Avoid alcohol, vitamin C, betaine HCL, iron pans. Kresser (if you have iron overload)
Skip the iron supplements. - chriskresser
Taubes: yes, the 1st law of therm works in bio, but we're not concerned about whole-body energy balance, but fat cell energy balance
Taubes: Obesity is not a behavioral defect
Taubes: You'd think overfeeding studies would lead to weight gain. But if the study subjects eat lowcarb then it does not
Taubes: Researchers don't think you can get people to lose weight without reducing their energy intake from calories consumed.
Taubes: Researchers don't think you can get people to lose weight without reducing their energy intake from calories consumed
Taubes: The greater the carb restriction, the lower the energy balance, the greater the weight loss.
Taubes: Hasn't carbs vs. calories debate been settled? No. Because total calories always include 55-60% of carbohydrates
Taubes: Insulin regulates fat metabolism. It's about a hormonal defect in the energy balance equation
Attia: A lowcarb diet is a powerful modality for reducing triglycerides naturally despite having the highest fat intake.
Attia: Half of patients admitted to hospital for chest pains or heart attack have NORMAL LDL cholesterol numbers below 100
Attia: Ultimately it's the total LDL particles that tend to be more problematic than the LDL particle size percentage
Attia: Atherosclerosis is not a disease of cholesterol, LDL or otherwise. It's a disease of lipoproteins
Attia: We consume 300-500mg cholesterol daily. The cells of our body produce 800-1200mg daily. Almost every cell makes cholesterol
But all humans should be able to tolerate some starches. So why is carb intolerance so common in our population?
Something is broken between what we're eating and our ability to deal with it.
Humans /can/ tolerate starch, it may have some differences due to salivary amylase genetic variability
42% of our population has some form of hyperglycemia
Wide range of salivary amylase activity among populations.
Some (Japanese, etc.) tolerate starches
salivary amylase improves plasma glucose response to starch by stimulating pre-absorptive insulin release
Some people handle starch better than others
Attia is challenging Chris Masterjohn. Is LDL-Particles more important then actual particle size? Both important
KEY point: We know LDL particle count of 2000 in SAD is BAD. We don't know what it means with low carbers or other diets. Attia
There are more neurons in your GI tract than in your spinal cord. Holy shit.
There is no evidence to support the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Via ChrisKresser
Guyenet: Perhaps gut flora need good food in the form of fermentable fiber because it increases insulin sensitivity in humans.
Psychological stress can increase gut permeability.
Obesity associated with certain gut bacteria populations
Metabolic syndrome is caused by excess visceral fat and exacerbated by other factors
Guyenet: Digestive system absorbs nutrients, prevents losing healthy nutrients & prevents things getting in we don't want to.
In animal models, removing visceral fat reverses metabolic syndrome.
Guyenet: Visceral fat does seem to play a causal role in insulin resistance which is at the heart of metabolic syndrome
Antibiotic use increases risk of IBD and weight gain
The number of times a child has received antibiotics is directly related to their risk of developing IBD
Guyenet: Babies born by C-section lacking the bacteria because they didn't go through the vaginal canal. 3X more likely to get obese.
Fancy that: antibiotics fatten livestock too
Gedgaudas: Keep your carb intake to lower than 50-60g daily. Keep protein reduced to about 25g per meal
Gedgaudas: Carbs are like kindling. You constantly need to stoke fire. Fat is like big logs that don't make you slave to burning
Gedgaudas: Glucose should be used as rocket fuel in emergency situations. We can get all we need from gluconeogenesis.
Gedgaudas: Chronic inflammation and triglycerides fall on lowcarb highfat ketogenic diet.
Gedgaudas: Ketones improve insulin resistance, free radical damage and hypoxia. That's a lot of conditions, so why wait?
Gedgaudas: Getting our energy from traditional starch and tubers would have been impossible because they were inedible
Gedgaudas: 25% of your body's cholesterol is used by your brain. Ketones prevent and reverse Alzheimer's disease
Gedgaudas: Your brain actually runs better on fat. We were literally born to rely on dietary fat for fuel. Ketones baby!
Minger: Get in the practice of making bone broths. There are cultures that still use organ meats extensively.
There's no substitute for eating the whole animal. Relying only on muscle meat will cause aminoacid imbalances—Minger
Minger: Muscle vs. organ meats is no content regarding nutritional content. Organ meats give you all the real micronutrients.
But certain marinades (including red wine) can reduce those high-heat-generated compounds. Yay! Beware high-heat cooking/charring. Creates heterocyclic amines & PAHs - can trigger DNA mutations/cancers
 Minger: Marinade in red wine and only heat on grill for very short time for flavor.
Minger: Use gentle cooking like stewing & steaming instead of grilling & frying. Don't eat charred or smoked food. Avoid open flame.
Minger: Grilled meats problematic because the "charred" part of the food can change your DNA. Animal models show it leads to cancer.
Minger: You shouldn't be limited to only certain animal parts. We should have access to everything and buying it al
When I get home, I'm gonna simmer a pot of bone broth and broil bacon-wrapped liver
Olive oil/lemon juice/garlic marinade or red wine marinade decrease high heat bad stuff 90%
Minger: Grain-fed vs. grass-fed liver probably doesn't have much of a micronutrient difference between the two
Main take away from ancestral health symposium (AHS)“ play more, chew hard, cook more offal in ur kitchen slow & low, n=1, give blood, cycle nutrients, relationships take priority”
David Sloan Wilson: We are in a dysfunctional state of "evolutionary mismatch" with our environment.


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