If you are reading the low-carb, and some of the anti-low carb, blogs these days, you will find them buzzing with discussions about the recent Ancestral Health Symposium held in Los Angeles last week. The famous Loren Cordain described it as: “The Woodstock of Evolutionary Medicine”. It gathered together a bunch of the prominent researchers, clinicians and bloggers who are pursuing paleo/low-carb/ancestral diets of one sort or another. By all accounts it was a huge success. I have to admit that I wish I had attended. I was invited to speak but decided, for a number of reasons, not to go. Now I am regretting that decision.
At some point the lectures will be available for viewing on the web. I look forward to seeing them, but, as with all events of this type, it is the rubbing of shoulders, the hallway chats and the peripheral breakfasts and dinners with colleagues where one gets the most benefit. It would have been a chance to catch up with old friends like Richard Feinman, Gary Taubes, Mike and Mary Dan Eades, Jimmy Moore and others and to finally meet some of the nutritional iconoclasts whom I have been admiring from a distance; people like Tom Naughton, Loren Cordain, Robert Lustig, Denise Minger, Chris Masterjohn, and many more.
There are a number of reports and discussions I have been reading this past week. Perhaps one of the most interesting is a debate on the validity of Gary Taubes’ ideas on the aetiology of obesity which can be found at the blog of Stephan Guyenet who spoke at the symposium and was challenged by Gary in the Q&A. There is video of this exchange on the web and some buzz because people thought Gary was rude. This is interesting because I have heard that from other people, too, and it is sometimes used as a justification for rejecting his ideas. For the record, I have never found Gary to be rude to the point of objection. I would say he does not always suffer fools gladly and is averse to sugar-coating a blunt message. Perhaps it is because I survived a medical education where those were the orders of the day, or maybe it’s because I pretty much agree with everything he says (and remember, I come from Canada where it is more important to be nice than it is to be right), or maybe I am tone deaf to rudeness, but any way you slice it I think Gary has a lot of very important things to say and we should listen. So, I don’t find Gary’s challenge to Stephan to be objectionable. Beyond that, however, it seems to have become a point of departure for a debate on the merits of the carbohydrate hypothesis. I would encourage you to have a look at Stephan’s blog (www.wholehealthsource.blogspot.com) if you are interested in some thoughtful discussion on this topic. For the record, none of the counterarguments so far have swayed my conviction that carbohydrate-restriction is the preferred therapy for the range of conditions associated with insulin resistance.
There’s nothing like a good debate, however, to sharpen your focus and make you re-evaluate your evidence. No harm in that.
Now, I am trying to insert a photo here to show what I would have missed had I gone to the symposium but I can’t get the photo uploaded. If anyone with WordPress expertise can help me troubleshoot this, I would appreciate some advice.