Archevore Diet and Paleo 2.0

Paleo 2.0It seems Kurt Harris has decided to call his approach Archevore. I am not sure whether this is replacing Paleo 2.0, or whether Archevore will be his flavor of Paleo 2.0, like Primal Blueprint is Mark Sisson’s. (UPDATE: from what I understand it is the latter – P2 is the framework, and AD is his flavor of it)

The 12-step intro on his new archevore site is here. In principle the steps are in order of importance, but if you are not on the Standard American Diet (“SAD”) then things might move around in terms of importance. I have outlined them below, and contrasted them against my personal views, and/or what other parts of the Paleo (and Zone, to some extent) community are saying.

1/ Eliminate sugars and flours

I suppose Mark’s 80:20 rule applies here – but certainly those should be extremely reduced.

2/ Eat proper fats

In line with Mark, but not necessarily with other Paleo folk. Saturated fat is good for you after all, apparently.

3a/ Eliminate grains containing gluten

I believe that is wheat, rye, and friends. There is an obvious overlap with rule 1/ but it is worth pointing out the anti-nutrient properties of gluten I suppose

3b/ Limit nutritionally poor grains like corn and rice

I guess the argument is that all they do is get your insulin up, but you dont get anything else. I suppose they are OK if consumed in moderation, and in combination with other food a la Zone. He is mentioning rice (and potatoes) at the end of the article, without the “health-warning”

4a/ Eliminate grain and seed derived oils as well as temperate plant oils (corn, soy, canola, flax, walnut etc)

This is the Omega 6 argument, and maybe also more generally a PUFA argument

4b/ Cook with Ghee, butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.

This is point 2/

5/ Eat red meat, eggs and fish

He is a bit more precise on which red meat to eat actually – gotta find out why. He also does not seem to like chicken and pork for some reason ?!?

6/ Get your Vitamin D fix

Uncontroversial I believe.

7/ Eat 2-3 meals per day. Dont graze.

Not sure why he suggests this, and not sure I agree. Grazing (whilst controlling overall intake) can keep hunger at bay. I can see a problem if you graze on carbs as then insulin will be permanently high

8/ Control your Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio

Uncontroversial as well I believe, at least in the Paleo / Zone / fish-oil community

9/ Get proper exercise, resistance and interval training good, chronic cardio bad

Again uncontroversial in the community – I sub’d Marks terminology in fact

10/ Go easy on fruits, and choose them wisely, especially when wanting to lose weight

Fruits contain fructose, lots of it in fact after centuries of selective breeding, and this is generally considered bad due to the metabolic effects, especially in the liver.

11/ Eliminate legumes

That’s a funny one, being so late, but nevertheless so “absolute”. I would have thought that a more differentiated approach would make sense, with some legumes in limited quantities being alright

12/ Do not eliminate dairy (but restrict it to butter and cream in case of allergies)

This is not how he says it, but I believe this is what he means

The other points I want to discuss are not numbered, so I called them a/, b/, c/, …

a/ Measuring and counting is not encouraged

I sort of disagree. I can see where he is coming from – there are people who go crazy whether a certain almond is big, medium, or small. But if you are not of that variety I would think that it makes sense to count from time to time just to get a sensecheck of how much you are eating, especially if you want to lose weight

b/ There are no set macro-nutrient ratios (there are ranges though: 5-35% carbs, 10-30% protein, 50-80% fat)

I would probably agree (even though Dr Sears of Zone fame obviously does not). I do believe though that when trying to achieve maximum athletic performance one needs to be a bit more careful. For example the 1g/kg protein rule is probably useful for lifters, and repeated anaerobic max efforts would require sufficient carbs to ensure the glycogen is there when it is needed

c/ Reduce PUFA’s to under 4% of calories consumed (that would be <10g on a standard diet)

This is important – many Paleo / Zone folk tend to fill up on fish-oil supplements which brings them over this limit easily

d/ Starch is good (unless you are diabetic). Fructose is bad though

This again is important – it allows to re-introduce a whole range of foods. I guess it is a sliding scale being diabetic – Type 2 would certainly count I suppose, but pre-diabetic probably as well, which would make starch bad for a significant portion of the population (not all of whom would be aware of the fact that they are pre-diabetic)

13 thoughts on “Archevore Diet and Paleo 2.0

  1. Under number 2, you wrote “Unsaturated fat is good for you after all, apparently.” I think you meant to write “Saturated fat is good for you…”? Saturated fat is harmless in fact whereas Poly-Unsaturated fat is the harmful one.

  2. Re chicken and pork – Kurt’s stance appears to be that even properly fed pigs and chickens have a rather unhealthy o-3/6 balance, even compared to grain-fed beef, and therefore they should be an occasional inclusion in your diet rather than a staple source of caloric energy.

    As for what people call it, what’s in a name? I don’t care about labels, just rationality and results.

    • Thanks. So loads of fish-oil and Vit E if you eat those… Re the name, I personally don’t care either, but a well chosen moniker makes it easier to explain your eating habits to the uninitiated without them glazing over right away.

  3. Re chicken and pork: Chris Kressler of the healthy skeptic tried to find some data on the polyunsaturated fat balance of pastured chicken, and was unable to. Pastured pork is nearly impossible to find, so I would expect the data is scarce as well, although I’ve not tried to look.

    I think Harris is probably in the right direction, but I won’t stop eating properly-fed chicken and pork myself.

  4. Suggested edits:

    “SDA” -> “SAD”

    “Mark Sissons” -> “Mark Sisson’s”

    That concludes today’s guest editing.

  5. Thanks for the breakdown, Thor. This is all starting to make my head spin. The thing about it for me is that this is what I’m already doing/eating. So I wish everyone could settle on a name and let me know what my diet is already. Sheesh.

  6. Maybe the point is that it’s a work in progress, and the name, whatever name, only matters when the book of the diet hits the Times bestsellers list and its title enters popular culture. I’m grateful for this “evolving” approach of Kurt Harris’s, if I’m going to include carbs they’ll be parsnip, carrot, turnip, beetroot, yam, swede, root veges (some of them cruciferous) of the type common to the healthiest tribes, and ancient in my own european culture. This seems to work.

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