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The Asian Paradox: End of the Line for Low Carb Diets?

The fact that the populations of many parts of Eastern and Southeast Asia have traditionally been slim while consuming a high carbohydrate diet, typically rich in white rice is often considered as a ‘Asian Paradox’ by advocates and followers of carbohydrate restricted Low-Carb, Paleo and Primal type diets who hypothesize that such a dietary pattern promotes weight gain. Mark Sisson, a prominent Paleo diet advocate recently explained that the so-called ‘Asian Paradox’ is not a paradox because he believes that Asians have traditionally conformed to a lifestyle and diet that is comparable with his recommendations.1

Sisson attributes the leanness and health of the traditional living Asians to regular exercise and a diet rich in unprocessed foods including fresh meat, offal, bone broth as well as vegetables, with rice playing a neutral role. In addition, Sisson attributes much of the observed increases in rates of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease in Asia in more recent years to an increased intake of sugar, and the replacement of rice with wheat and saturated animal fats with omega-6 rich fats. However, Sisson provided scant evidence to support his claims regarding the composition of traditional and modern diets in Asia. Considering that obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are major causes of disability and death throughout the world, this warrants an examination of these claims.2

Concerns of Low-Carb and Paleo Diets
Sisson advocates a diet that is rich in animal protein and fat and poor in carbohydrate. Sisson has an 80/20 rule which allows 20% of dietary intake from non-Paleolithic foods from his list of approved foods, including items such as full-fat dairy, chocolate, coffee and wine, as well as the supplements that he sells. Sisson would have his targeted audience believe that humans have conveniently adapted to many foods that were not typically available during the Paleolithic period which are popular among followers of low-carb diets, but not the foods that they typically shun. As such a dietary composition is probably not coincidentally all that different from other popular carbohydrate restricted diets, this makes the diet that Sisson promotes essentially in one variant or another a rebranded Atkins diet. Aside from the lack of originality, there is an ever-increasing amount of evidence demonstrating harm of such a diet.


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Low carb

is my magic bullet. Down 38.5 pounds since April 3rd. I feel fantastic, and health problems have been alleviated. No one will ever convince me the Atkins diet is harmful.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

Good for you! 40# here also, yup low carb gets results.

The next time I bought water softener salt, I hefted the 40# bag.

I used to carry that much extra weight wherever I went!

No more.

Free includes debt-free!

spouse and I lost too much weight on it--

but I have friends and family who were seriously overweight who have lost weight on low carb diets--

I know it can work, IF you are the right type--

the key is to know what kind of body *you* have--

we both got so underweight that we now get excited if we gain a pound--

that is ridiculous when the rest of the world is trying to lose weight--

*eyes rolling*

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

How much saturated fat do you eat?

At 150#, 200g/day sat fat.

Cream on fruits, butter and Hollandaise sauce for vegetable.

Lotsa dark chocolate.

Free includes debt-free!

spouse and I use . . .

raw (organic) cocoa, raw (organic) cocoa butter (and sweeten it with a very small amount of raw honey and some raw organic stevia)--

and eat it almost every day--

it's very good--

we do use butter (organic, cultured)--

One of us can't digest dairy cream, even raw--

we use coconut oil, a lot of olive oil (EVOO, organic)--

we are liberal with all these fats--

And, yes, we make homemade mayo--

and use it on things all the time--

we use coconut milk (the thick, creamy stuff)

Maybe we just work too hard; that sounds 'funny', but we are moving all the time--

would be nice to rest--

my 'rest' is getting on DP now and again--


my other half reads the things I bookmark--

so we can talk about them--

we pretty much talk about it all the time, WHEN we are in the same area, so we can talk, which doesn't happen as much as we would like--

about world events, etc.--

the latest on DP--

one of us can't digest beef fat well (even from pastured beef, no grain feed)--

we're looking for healthy salmon, but it's gotten harder to find (Alaskan, sustainably harvested)--

Several stores in town used to get it, but lately they haven't--

The fact is that we get HUNGRY without the grains--

but we fatten everything we eat up--


Thanks for caring. I have a close family member who needs the low carb diet but won't go on it--


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

To Quote Benjamin Franklin

"One man's meat is another man's poison." Yet another reason not to have centralized government mandated healthcare and food police.

I've been following Dr. D'Adamo and the blood type and genotype diets. It's the libertarian diet based on individuality.

Congress gave us the corn and wheat based diets we have, using subsidies. The FDA gave us the food pyramid.

Enough said.

What do you think?



it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

I'm half Chinese, half Irish

As soon as I replaced rice and breads with more veggies and fruits I started losing weight. I am still eating the same VOLUME of food. In fact probably more volume. My cramps went away, and sorry for mental pic, but my ass stopped exploding.

Everyone's biology is going to be different and different things will work for different people. For me, eating high energy wheat and grains was not healthy for my low energy lifestyle.

And FYI, Asians do get fat. I can send you some pics of some aunts, uncles and cousines that live here in the US that live the American lifestyle but still eat rice all day long. Granted none are obese, but you can clearly see they are a little heavy. If you've lived in asia (i have for most my life) you will find most Asian's lifestyles are far more ACTIVE then your average American these days.

Paleo is not for everyone, but it doesn't hurt to try it. If you had some of the issues I had, it might work for you.


This is an unwarrented smear piece on Sisson that misrepresents his reccomendations.

End The Fed!
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