Kurt Harris MD

An Archevore is someone who eats based on essential principles, and also someone who hungers for essential principles. Take your pick.

Exploring these principles is one of my interests, but not the only one.

So you may find commentary here about other issues in medicine, health, other sciences, or just about anything.

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Tuesday
Apr052011

Wild vs Grass vs Grain Fed ruminants

Above is an image of 5 grass fed beef burgers frying in a pan. The yellow liquid collecting is fat (almost green as it is grass fed - the n-3s are from chloroplasts in the green grass -neat, huh?) , and there is plenty of fat within the corpus of each burger as well. Picture this when people talk about how "lean" grass fed and wild animals are when you purposefully exclude the fat.
 
Someone called mirrorball writes in to say.
What Cordain actually claims is that fat from bone marrow and brain is mostly monounsaturated and (brain specially) high in omega 3. It's not the same as eating fat from obese, grain-fed animals, which is high in palmitate.

Yes, that is an interesting claim I will be dealing with in upcoming posts. Below are some preliminary observations, after the following bits, which from here on are what mirrorball has clipped from Cordain's Paleo Diet book.
I will give you a hint, though. Guess what the predominant fatty acid is in human bone marrow?  It begins with a "p"....

The Paleo Diet, 2010:

I realize that many, perhaps most, readers are not hunters and have never seen carcasses of wild animals, such as deer, elk, or antelope.

I am a hunter and I partially butcher my own meat. My last deer was killed in december. It had copious fat around the organs as well as fascial and subcutaneous fat. I told the processor to add any fat trimmings to the meat we made into hamburger, and the hamburger ended up at about 25% fat by weight.

Nor have you had the opportunity to visually contrast the carcasses of feedlot-produced animals to wild animals. I can tell you that there is no comparison. [...] Wild animal carcasses are lean, have little external fat, and exhibit virtually no fat between the muscles (marbling). In contrast, feedlot-produced cattle maintain a four- to six-inch layer of white fat covering the animal's entire body.

I have a half-steer in my chest freezer, grass fed. A few of the cuts are leaner than typical grain fed, but overall the animal is quite fat- laden. I did the same trick as I did with the deer carcass ( I've done it two years in a row, actually), and the fat content of the hamburger was off the charts. There was so much fat from this totally grass-fed steer that we had to drain some of it off. The new york strips and porterhouses were pretty well marbled, by the way. I do the same thing with grass fed lambs and they are so fat I have to tell the butcher to keep the "lamburger" at 30% by weight.
I have no doubt that the grain-fed beef had an even bigger rind of fat than my grass-fed, and some cuts may have been more marbled, but the idea that grass fed or wild ruminants are very lean, in any sense other than the leanest muscle cuts and tossing all the fat, is nonsense.
These artificial products of modern agriculture are overweight, obese, and sick. Their muscles are infiltrated with that fat that we call marbling, a trait that improves flavor but makes the cattle insulin resistant and in poor health, just like us. Wild animals rarely or never exhibit marbling.

Again, this assumes you are only eating the center of each muscle and purposefully avoiding where the fat is.. No hungry aboriginal would do that, ever.
[...]
It would be difficult for our hunter-gatherer ancestors to eat anywhere near the amount of saturated fat that we get on a yearly basis in the typical Western diet.

The Kitavans eat more saturated fat than most westerners, to say nothing of our aboriginal Blackfeet, Crow or Sioux.
 
So, does dietary saturated fat promote heart disease? Should Paleo Dieters try to limit the fatty domesticated meats in their diet in order to reduce saturated fat? This question is not as clear-cut as it seemed twenty-five years ago...

It is clear cut to me. There never was any reason to indict saturated fat.

[...]
So, do dietary saturated fats from fatty meats cause the artery-clogging process known as atherosclerosis? If we look at the evolutionary evidence, the answer is a resounding yes.

This is, quite simply, laughable. It deserves its own post and will get it.

[...]
So, now we have the facts we need to come to closure with the saturated fat-heart disease issue. Dietary saturated fats from excessive consumption of processed fatty meats and feedlot-produced meats increase our blood cholesterol concentrations, but unless our immune systems are chronically inflamed, atherosclerosis likely will not kill us from either heart attacks or strokes.

So Cordian endorses v. 1, the crudest version of the diet/heart hypothesis. The idea that you get heart disease by eating saturated fat because it raises your "cholesterol". Bollocks. And the processed part is funny too. Like the grinder adds some kind of toxin to the meat.

The new advice I can give you is this: If you are faithful to the basic principles of the Paleo Diet, consumption of fatty meats will probably have a minimal outcome on your health and wellbeing—as it did for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Consumption of fatty meats and organs had survival value in an earlier time when humans didn’t eat grains, legumes, dairy products, refined sugars, and salty processed foods, the foods that produce chronic low-level inflammation in our bodies through a variety of physiological mechanisms. I will explain this in more depth in my next book, Living the Paleo Diet.

 

When I read in his 2010 version of the book that palmitate will cause atherosclerosis because it raises your "cholesterol", but you might not die as long as you do everything else right, I could not believe it. Every time Dr. Cordain has been identified as a lipophobe in the nutrition blogosphere, someone comes to his defense and says, "Oh, haven't you heard? He has reversed himself on the saturated fat issue."

Now it's not all saturated fats, just the palmitic acid that will kill you. You know, the palmitic acid your blood is coursing with during fasting or while you sleep. The storage fat.

That is not a reversal, just another ad hoc refinement of an ad-hoc hypothesis. The Bismarck will not sink, no matter how many torpedoes she takes. She must be foundered on a reef and just looks to be floating.

As far as I can tell, Dr. Cordain is still as saturophobic as any ACC member. Too bad.

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Reader Comments (43)

I hope you will discuss all the benefits of saturated fat above and beyond their resistance to oxidation which is sufficient reason alone to get plenty of them.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul451

I think you are totally right with regards to Cordain; he may have "somewhat revamped" his view, yet it is still the view of someone whose research and reputation have been founded and are riding on the same lipophobic arguments. Too bad, yes.

Also, as Kurt points out, grassfed or wild certainly DOES not entail lower fat content. For the latter, it will totally depend on when the animal is killed (late autumn vs spring would be the two extremes). As for the former, it is totally dependent on the type of animal being raised, as well as the desires of the farmer or the consumers. Most grassfed beef being sold in North America, unfortunately, is being produced and marketed as a leaner alternative to grainfed options. But, any good cattle grazing farmer who knows how to raise and finish/fatten cattle properly with the exclusive use of pasture will tell you that this is not a given, nor should it be the norm. I know for a fact that our farmer, acting as a mentor to other farmers who wish to go back to cattle grazing, has turned this into an art! The tastiest and most tender meats!!!! And, well marbled and fat... Yum :)

KGH:

Breed and time of slaughter will affect fat content, esp. marbling. But the biggest flaw in the lean meat meme is simply that it requires avoiding the fat on purpose, when the opposite behaviour is both more nutritious and more logical and more observed in archaic foodways.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterÉric Lépine

"I hope you will discuss all the benefits of saturated fat"

Positive correlations to levels of testosterone and HDL. Good things, yes?

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Csonka

Very interesting! I think the location that the animal is raised in makes a big difference as to how much fat it has. Here in the Rockies, wild animals are very lean. Hunter friends buy pork fat and add it to deer meat, otherwise it's too dry. Cordain lives in a mountainous area too, I believe…

KGH:

Well, the hunters in my area think venison is lean, too, but they also throw away the fat and organs or don't tell the processor to save it. Killing an animal in september vs december makes a difference. No doubt wild venison is leaner than grass fed beef, but my main point is that what fat you consume depends on how you choose to process it - if you try to avoid the fatty bits then it can be "lean", obviously. Read head smashed in to emphasize the point. And buffalo steaks and roasts in the grocery store are pretty lean - they have had the fat trimmed.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrent Kearney

Thank you for this post. You phrased in scientific words what my instincts have been telling me all my life: animal fat is good for me. Cordains ideas about animal fats never felt conclusive for me, they contradict most historical texts where nutrition and fat is mentioned.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKikilula

Your experience with deer is very similar to mine. With the exception of 2 that were less than one year old, all that I have taken in the past few years have had a thick layer of fat, especially the ones killed early in the season. This is true even though the deer in my area are 3x to 4x the population that they should be.

...Tim

KGH: I thought they were lean, too, when I only ate the loins and didn't save any fat.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Huntley

So where do you come down on the grassfed vs. grainfed? The "Getting Started" page seems to favor grassfed, but this post is a little grayer. I'm curious. Great post though!

KGH:

I still favor it because it has 5-10 x more n-3 than grain fed. Along with pastured eggs and butter, there is plenty of n-3 in your diet with ZERO fish. There is more CLA and vitamin A as well. The point is that grain fed is not poison, it is just deficient.

And for bog's sake, I do eat fish, I am just stating a fact.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Great article. Do you have any views on non grass-fed meat (other than not eating it....). The point being here that someone (Mark Sisson?) asserted that there is a lot of toxic waste in their fat, which is why one should rather have the lean cuts.

KGH: By toxic waste I assume you mean toxins. I am not a big alarmist about "toxins". Most toxins are naturally found in food, not man-made. And I think macrotoxins (NAD) do more damage than microtoxins.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThor Falk

I've bought a half bison a number of times via a Montana pasture-based ranch that delivers co-op purchases to my area once a year. I don't communicate directly with the processor, but I have given the bison ranch that arranges the processing my cut & wrap instruction sheet with a plea written on it to not trim fat from the cuts, as well as to add fat back into the meat when grinding. I also request the oxtail cut and lots of bones, which they now include. But the fat part of my cut & wrap instructions is ignored every time. So I add fat back in while cooking with ghee, bacon drippings, or home rendered lard, as well as eggs and grated cheese in burgers/meatballs/meatloaf, otherwise ground meat won't hold together.

I only buy bison in the late fall now, too. One year I bought a half animal in April, which I learned is much too early in the year - the animals have not only lived off their fat over the winter, but also have lost muscle mass and haven't had enough spring & summer foraging to regain the weight. The final yield compared to hanging weight was much, much lower than than the fall purchases, so a much higher ratio of my purchase was bones (which I still used for broth) or scrap that I never saw.

I suspect the state of bison ranching is in flux with the increased popularity of bison availability in supermarkets. Unfortunately it might be moving more towards commodity production. The ranch I buy my bison from can't raise enough animals to meet demand with only natural breeding. They have a hard time finding additional young animals to buy and raise on their land that have been husbanded the way they do their own calves.

Folks who buy bison via supermarkets should be aware that commodity bison is sometimes (maybe usually) grain-finished in feedlots. It's much harder for larger scale producers to consistently supply pastured bison year-round in larger quantities at a cost people expect/want to pay. So unless the label or producer explicitly says it's all pastured or grass-fed meat, it might be safe to assume it is grain-finished. I can't imagine how feedlots keep bison contained anyway. Bison can easily jump over fences and still are undomesticated enough that they really need to range, unlike modern domesticated cattle.

One of my younger sisters (the Ironwoman) is an avid hunter. I had the great pleasure of assisting during the processing of a couple of bucks last fall when I was visiting during deer season; I insisted my 12 yo help, too. My sister is teaching one of our teenage nieces (daughter of another sister) to hunt, too (she already has a gotten a pheasant, a turkey, and a nice buck in the past year or two). Sometimes I'm the grateful recipient of extra meat if it has been a good hunting year and her freezer space is limited, though being on opposite side of the continent gets in the way sometimes unless someone is traveling by air and willing to baggage check a cooler. I even have some bear meat and fat in my freezer, too. Still researching how to best prepare it, though.

KGH: Excellent commments. Thanks.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAgainstthegrain

I feel like we (everyone, or I guess "Paleo 2.0") just need to move past this. I know (from an interview) you don't like repeatedly dissecting ideas around saturated fat--it's obvious and now boring & tedious. Cordain was one of the first sources I added to my garbage list after reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes, and I knew next to nothing about nutrition: his simply uses bad reasoning (his point with carribou fat graphs come to mind).

mirrorball's comments are plain stupid:

"It would be difficult for our hunter-gatherer ancestors to eat anywhere near the amount of saturated fat that we get on a yearly basis in the typical Western diet." Obviously there are several healthier cultures with a much higher intake--how many cultures are actually lower than US?

"...If we look at the evolutionary evidence, the answer is a resounding yes." I can't even figure out what mirrorball is saying or pointing towards...What "evolutionary" evidence?...the fact that grain-fed animals have higher imtg??

I am interested in a post on amino acids, as brought up in a response to a Chris Kesser comment (I think).

KGH:

Mirrorball was merely quoting the book by Cordain. I have the book and confirm that it has these quotes. So your derision should be directed there, perhaps.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Kurt, if you wish to discuss Cordain's views on saturated fat, you should read his research papers, not just this mutilated version of a simplified text for laymen. I'm not sure if my version of his views is totally accurate, though as far as I know they are.

KGH:

You quoted pretty accurately from his book, AFA I can tell, MB. Most of his claims about saturated fat have nothing to do with his own research. And the book itself does not have any in-text references! Quite a lot of work to suss out which claim is based on which reference. The thing is, are we supposed to hope his own research contradicts his book? And what shall we conclude if it does?

I don't think you are saying it is somehow unfair to base someone's views on a best-selling book designed to promote same, are you?

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMirrorball

All I'm saying is that his research papers have references and better arguments, and they weren't dumbed down for the general population. For instance, I have a PDF that is a chapter from a book and the title is "Saturated Fat Consumption in Ancestral Human Diets: Implications for Contemporary Intake". It cites 53 references and has his infamous analyses of wild animals' carcasses. I'm not sure where I downloaded it from, but I can email it to you if you don't have it.

KGH: I have read that one already, thanks. I don't think dumbing down is the issue. It is not that he has made himself unclear, it is that the claim that eating palmitic acid causes heart disease is false - it is without good support and easily refuted. Whether the argument is dumbed down or not is besides the point.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMirrorball

Excellent post. Thanks.
Geo

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Thank you for your blog and for this post. This is an example of what I call the "New Conventional Wisdom" - things everybody knows, but aren't supported by the evidence. Here's a post i did on the subject and on some grass-fed myths

http://grassbasedhealth.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-conventional-wisdom.html

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Ballerstedt

That hypothesis is a chain formed entirely of weak links:
1. Paleolithic humans didn't eat much fat
2. Therefore we shouldn't either
3. Because saturated fat raises cholesterol
4. And cholesterol causes heart disease

I've always wondered why our bodies would store energy by deliberately synthesizing a form of fat (palmitate) that kills us. Could there be something wrong with that theory?

Since people have asked for the original papers, I hope it's not excessive horn-tooting to link "my deconstruction of the 'Fatty domestic meats' section"

:http://www.gnolls.org/715/when-the-conclusions-dont-match-the-data-even-loren-cordain-whiffs-it-sometimes-because-saturated-fat-is-most-definitely-paleo/ of Cordain's "Origin and evolution of the Western diet".

JS

KGH: Thanks, JS. Nice work.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Stanton

Excellent post Dr. Harris. Makes me wonder if a certain type of person is attracted to paleo; someone who is able and willing to discard what they have believed their whole lives and think critically about it.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

Last November we brought a 3-point baby buck from UP Michigan. It was extra lean. There was some fat around kidneys and very thin layer around thighs. I'd like to try bow hunting and with luck get some fatter deer in September.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterys

Giving Cordain the benefit of the doubt on one comment, could his "processed fatty meats" be a reference to the highly processed mixed carbohydrate-meat-high salt combinations like lunch meats and some sausages that have been linked in some studies with increased cancer risk (I think it was colon cancer, specifically)?

Steve

KGH: He specifically states in the book:

p.11 "fatty salty processed meats.."

p.13 "Saturated fats are mostly bad...they're found in processed meats...they raise your cholesterol."

p.14 Processed meats are .. high in omega 6, low in omega 3 and high in saturated fatty acids..processed fatty meats are full of preservatives such as nitrites which cause cancer..

p.115-116 bacon, salami and pepperoni are listed under the foods to avoid as "salty: and "fatty"

The nitrites thing has been debunked thoroughly by other bloggers, and I don't have time to quote the whole book..

Read the book and see for yourself.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdrsm

Dr. Harris,

This is a little off topic (well, it is related to the topic of fat...), so my apologies in advance for veering off here. So we just had a talk at my med school today by Dr. Robert Sears, one of the sons in the Sears medical mini-dynasty, on autism. He spent the better part of the hour talking about how autistic children essentially respond to gluten/casein free diets, mega n-3 supplementation (via fish oil, of course), and mega supplementation with a variety of vitamins (D, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium, and taurine and carnitine. And, oh yeah, big gobs of protbiotics. So essentially it seemed to me that he was basically saying that removing some neolithic agents of disease (namely the wheat) and adding back in things missing from eating meat, fat, organs and trying to balance n-6 overload with fish oil supplementation seemed to make a lot of his patients better. As he was talking about giving 4 year old ten different supplement pills a day I wanted to raise my hand and ask why he didn't just tell the parents to have the kids play outside and feed them liver and marrow bones, but I restrained myself. In any event, if we accept that autism is increasing in frequency (he claimed it was more than 1-in-100 kids now, which I'm skeptical of)--and the frequency jump has been 100 fold in the last 2 generations--the only way to really account for this is diet (and maybe some mystery toxin, but that seems implausible). So is autism yet another disease of civilization? It seems that if mothers have an extremely biased n-6 to n-3 fatty acid profile and they're feeding that to their babies both in breast milk and baby food, and kids are being exposed more to inflammatory foods (namely grains and sugar), then it isn't really surprising that they're having developmental problems. I'm guessing (we haven't really touched on this aspect of development yet in class) that brains will not develop optimally if forced to grow with an unnatural ratio of fats. I haven't had time to try and dig up the data yet, but I would suspect that we'd see a spike in vegetable/seed oil consumption that correlates with the spike in disorders we're calling autism. So, in a nutshell I'm basically asking if you think that developing on high PUFA diets leads to neurological development disorders (and hence, might account for the autism epidemic). Again, sorry for getting off track here, but I just thought I'd ask while I this was fresh in my head. Thanks.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobG

I've finished Paleo Diet for Athletes. It's probably fortunate that I had read Taubes first. Reading this blog re-enforces this. However, I'm left with a dilemma. I do want to maintain my P2 diet, yet I also want to excel at cycling. This is the reason I bought Paleo Diet for Athletes in the first place. So the question is, if he is so wrong on saturated fats, how much else in this book is wrong? Would I be throwing the baby out with the bath water if I binned it? Friel has obviously put a lot of these ideas into practice with good results. Generally to me the stuff in part 1 on eating before, during and after exercise makes sense, but I don't know enough about it to make an educated assessment.

KGH:

I am not an expert on athletic performance. The only variable in question would be the OTMR (old-timey-macro-ratio) of carbs in the diet. In my own case, I find eating about 20% carbs optimizes my performance and is definitely better than lower amounts. I know serious endurance athletes (including a former tour de france cyclist now masters level and a world class open water kayak racer and a Navy Seal that all eat around 20% carbs while training and highly active.

I can't see how avoiding bacon and sat fat and eating too many nuts instead would have some magic performance bonus for athletes.

Even to carb- load you don't need bread. Potatoes work fine for that.

Try the 12 steps with 20% carbs via potatoes/SP and/or white rice. Let us know how it works. Shouldn't need to buy a book to eat for cycling.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDorian

This is a great post. I've been thinking about making more use of the wild animals I harvest. Growing up we gave away the heart and liver and trimmed most of the fat off the meat, didn't save the marrow, or eat the brains. Do you have any suggested reading for learning how to butcher a game animal and make more use of it? This post also reminds me I should be shooting my bow more often.

KGH:

I gut the animal myself, which gives you a nice, steaming gut pile. At the top is the heart and just below it is the liver - you'll learn anatomy if you don't know it already.

I sliced up and froze the liver after vacuum packing the slices and ate the heart right away from my last deer. I collected the leaf lard - fat around the kidneys, which has so much sat fat in it, it feels like wax at room temperature. Brains - with CWD in wisconsin, I don't recommend eating the brains from deer or elk, even though it's not likely transmissible to humans. Marrow - never tried to crack bones, but roasts and soup bones work great for all the marrow fat and vitamins therein.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

Forgot to add in my last comment that the liver from the buck my sister shot last November (in upstate NY), had the sweetest liver I've ever tasted. So fresh - I just lightly seared slices in butter and ate my portion up even before I touched the caramelized onions (usually I eat the onions with the liver to somewhat blunt the livery taste). That reminds me, I still have the heart in the freezer. I like to chop up heart in a food processor or meat grinder and mix it in with meatloaf or meatballs. My now-ornery 12 yo has no idea. My British husband appreciates it.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAgainstthegrain

Archevore. I like it!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia C. Psy.D.

Young animals, especially wild and not grain-fed, will always be leaner than mature animals... veal is leaner than beef. As for fat on older deer it depends on how hard winter is and if they have an alternate source of food.

A year ago last March, someone hit a yearling doe in front of my house overnight, so I got a tag from the state police and butchered her on the bed of my pickup. Umm, yeah, it was a bloody mess, being the first time I'd done anything like that, and gave a new meaning to the word, 'butchered.' lol

The doe was quite fat considering it was late winter... I can only surmise she'd been feeding off my round bales for the cow and goats all winter, so I considered it divine justice to reap the rewards of feeding her.

She was very tasty. ;-)

"Young animals, especially wild and not grain-fed, will always be leaner than mature animals... veal is leaner than beef."

Actually the fattest animals we eat are grass fed lambs - not sure why, but fatter than the fully growm steers.

With wild deer it is variable. DOminant bucks can get pretty lean and exhausted after the rut, and I would assume a winter without supplemental feeding would leave the whole herd low on fat by late february if there is a lot of snow cover.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny @ sagehill

I suppose that due to the level of PUFA eating fish frequently would not be very advisable. The benefits of getting omega 3 would not compensate the PUFA in the fish. After all the body would not make a difference as to the origin of the oil be it from an animal or a vegetable. So I will stick to butter and meat for reliable sources of omega 3.As to the other issue of saturated fats, it is a hill difficult to escalate because there is still a conditional reflex in people. When they hear the word "saturated" the image is of something rigid and stiff that will get somehow stuck inside the body. Of course it is the sugar that is sticky not the fat, but try to explain that to people terrorized by erroneous knowledge.

KGH:
Eating fish a few times a week should be quite healthy, but if you subsisted on nothing but, I don't think that would be optimal - your bleeding time may lengthen, for one thing.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjose marti

Yes Cordain is very Fat Fearing, it haunts his book for me. He tries to explain it away but the Fear is always there. And you can't have it both ways. I am glad Robb Wolf didn't trim is beef.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpjnoir

Dr. Harris,
Do you have an opinion on Cordain's theory that sat fat + grains/beans/dairy/sugar can cause heart attack? That is, that the sat fat in the presence of inflammatory agents actually exacerbates or causes heart disease?

Similarly, how does the idea that you should not "mix and match" diets, your cells need to be adapted to burning either sugar or fat, relate to Panu 2.0?

Thanks so much for the work.

KGH:

A baked potato without butter is inconceivable, if not inedible. A beef stew without chopped up potatoes and onions likewise.

Theories that suggest fat cannot or should not be eaten along with carbs as your body can only handle one at a time are likely just another unsupported paleo myth.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

@Dorian: As Kurt suggested, playing with the ratio of carbs pre, during (depending on length of event) and post-event will more than easily do the trick, the rest of the time simply adhering to Paleo 2.0's loose guidelines.

One also has to take a few things in consideration, namely the length of the event (which will of course dictate the metabolic pathway that is emphasized, which in turn will dictate the preferred energy substrate), time necessary for recovery (are you taking part in a multi-day/stage event, where glycogen stores have to be restored as quicly as possible) as well as usual training pace compared to actual racing pace (i.e., have you adapted to burning more fat at higher paces (are you more "efficient"), and will this be a pace similar to the one used the day of the event).

In any case however, there is certainly no need to rely on anything but the usual Paleo 2.0 fare, simply increasing higher-carb foods during the aforementioned window (pre-during-post).

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterÉric Lépine

Congratulations on "archevore"! I think it has a better shot than did "Paleo 2.0."

KGH: Well, this one is trademarked. It took me several minutes of hard word to make it up :)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Brecher

Dr Harris:
Great post. Any internet sites that you are aware of that sell ground beef that will look like the burgers you highlight?

Thanks,

KGH:

As other commenters have noted, grass fed beef, and especially buffalo, is unfortunately often marketed as "lean" with lean cuts without much fat.

You have to know the farmer, know the animal and know the butcher to get all the fat.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersteve

Dr. Harris, congratulations on "Archevore". That several minutes of hard work making up the name is obviously backed up by a lifetime of thinking.

Thank you very much for offering us the harvest of that thinking.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterH.

Terrific post, yet again, Dr. Harris. Thanks so much for your insight.
Lisbeth

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisbeth

For Steve, comment above. Buy some tallow and any ground beef you'd want from Slankers or US Wellness meats. Add in the tallow for the same result.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Rangitsch

I was a nutritionist, now evolved into an apprenticing farmer and butcher. I spent last fall on a 3000 acre native grassland prairie farm where we farmed and butchered meat. The farm had a small abattoir right on the premises so I was privy to some mini observational experiments. I was able to see the differences between neighbouring farmers grain fed beef animals with the wild meat of our farm (free roaming bison herds that never see humans except when we would pull up the truck from a few hundred metres away to 'harvest' an animal). We also did some custom cutting for local hunters.

It was not unusual for us to snack on the raw, grass-fed meat of the farm while we were cutting it. Anyone who thinks grass fed meat is unusually lean has simply not seen a properly finished animal. The custom meat cutting we did for outside farms was a different story. The meat was pale and sour smelling. The fat, while abundant intramuscularly was a different texture. We complained that it felt 'greasy' and 'slimy'. Anecdotal, I know, but I have often said that if I could just have people smell the difference between grass or grain fed beef carcasses, I wouldn't have to say another word. Unfortunately, here in Ontario, I have been unable to find a finished grass-fed animal, instead the meat is often pale pink, too low in fat, tough and weak in taste, a sure sign of an improperly finished animal.

You can see some of the pictures of what fat looks like from a grass fed, wild bison. http://www.tribeoffive.com/2010/11/just-watch-animals.html This is about as close as you can get to the bison that used to roam these plains. Even in the winter, they are foraging. Check out the fat on that animal. If you wanted lean, you would be trimming all of that outside fat off. Thankfully, our customers were educated enough to ask for that fat to be rendered or mixed in with the ground. The grass fed bison, properly finished, were also bountifully endowed with deep, yellow fat.

I'm also a hunter. In fact, I have some venison bones in the stockpot right now. I agree with you Kurt, our wild meat has plenty of fat in it. Although, we're finding it tougher to find wild game that doesn't have access to grain fields in our area. Next year, hubby and I are planning on going further up north where the animals aren't gorging on GMO soy like they are in our neck of the woods.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Thank you Kurt, I really enjoy your interviews and your blog.

As for meat, I have a few questions. I know that grass fed ruminants are preferable, is grain finished beef a pass or just a less nutritious alternative?

Another one, I have been in the HIGH FAT community for awhile now, I like BACON. I get it from WALMART, it has nitrates in it. All bacon has nitrates in it. Is there a difference in the way the body digests "naturally occurring" nitrates as opposed to artificial nitrates?

Thank you for all you do. can't wait for your column about grain finished vs pasture finished.. and if eating at WALMART will kill me.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Tara, you can find excellent grass-fed bison in Ontario at Mountain Lake Bison Range (www.mountainbison.com).

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Near where I live there is a farm which pasture raises water buffalo. I find it amusing that their stand on the farmers market makes a comment about the 'leaness' of the meat, but when you look at it I've never seen so much fat on a steak. I picked up a rump steak with almost two inches of deep, yellow fat on it. Its the best bit!!!!

KGH: Water buff? that's interesting. Do they make mozzarella?

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamesSteeleII

@ Tara - could you expand on what you mean exactly by 'properly finished'? Thanks.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

FYI - Slankers (texasgrassfedbeef.com) where I order my meats states explicitly "We do not 'close trim' our meat products. Grass-fed meats are generally quite lean, too lean at times." My experience with their grass-fed beef is that it is indeed quite lean.

Perhaps it's the cuts I order or perhaps the breed of cattle.. but based on what I'm reading here it seems they may be doing something different. Or maybe it's what they aren't doing.

KGH: Many variables. My Grass Fed steaks are quite fatty even in the muscle. The main difference when there is on is in intramuscular fat, not the entire animal

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterxj

Dr. Harris, thank you for thinking my comment worthy of a post. I've received some questions from people regarding what I said in my comment. In response, I've posted some pictures on today's blog post. A picture (or 10) is worth a thousand words right? So, for those that tell me wild game is inherently lean, I present the following:

http://www.tribeoffive.com/2011/04/hunting-for-good-food-and-roaming-bison.html

KGH: Excellent. May I crib some of the pictures and paste them here.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

But, of course!

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

@KGH

Yea they do make mozzarella. Its also amazing!!

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Steele II

Dr. Harris, if someone ate only grass-fed beef as their primary protein source, along with some Omega-3 eggs and pastured butter, would this reduce the need for n-3 supplementation? I don't eat fish, but would not mind reducing my intake of Carlson's. I also don't eat any knowingly high n-6 foods such as grain oils or walnuts. Some, unfortunately supermarket-quality full fat dairy.

KGH:

Run your own fitday calculations. Yes, you can get enough n-3 this way with a low total PUFA and no fish oil. I don't take any fish oil, but I eat pastured butter and all my meat is grass fed.

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuss
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