Kurt G. Harris MD

PāNu means paleonutrition. The "paleo" here signifies "old" and not necessarily paleolithic. The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology. The best evidence from multiple disciplines supports eating a pastoral (animal-based) diet rather than a grain-based agricultural one, while avoiding what I call the neolithic agents of disease - wheat, excess fructose and excess linoleic acid.

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Monday
Jan042010

PaNu - growing like a small weed

With the new year I thought I'd give an update on the blog  - where it's been and maybe where it's going.

As many of you know, this blog is kind of a happy accident. I never started with any intent of being a blogger. I just posted a few essays for my local patients and friends to read and it grew from there. I have always enjoyed reading and writing and medical and scientific criticism and I've always had that obnoxious tendency to rant and pontificate, so I suppose you could say I came well equipped, but if you told me I'd be spending this much time on it I might have demurred.

According to my host's rather crude metrics, there are roughly 1000 subscribers via RSS, twitter, etc. Regular readers in total are most likely several times that.

Blog traffic has grown from 0 less than 9 months ago (when it started) to averaging a run rate of 21,000 visitors  and 120,000 page views a month. Now, 21 K visitors per month is not huge by web standards, but seems pretty good for a 9 month old blog. But look at the second statistic. 21 K visitors with 120 K page views means the average visitor views 6 pages . That is very high for any blog or website and indicates that those who come stick around and read a little bit. Of that I am quite proud, and I'll endeavor to keep the site as sticky as I can, assuming sticky means interesting and relevant.

Other blogs that link to PaNu now include a who's who of other paradigm-challenging paleo and nutrition and fitness sites. 

Dr. Michael Eades - Author of Protein Power and the dean of low carb writing and blogging

Wholehealthsource - Dr. Stephan Guyenet - Utterly reliable, tireless and as even tempered as the Dalai Llama

Freetheanimal - Richard is the inexhaustible king of the lay paleo bloggers - John the Baptist with attitude

Nephropal - Dr. Kenneth Tournegan, Billy E and Dr. BG collaborate on a blog that is at times highly technical, but always rigorous and thought provoking. Doctor Tournegan is an MD and a nephrologist - kidney specialist, Dr. BG is a PhD pharmacologist.

Conditioning Research - Chris Highcock's far ranging and thought provoking compendium of fitness info

Theorytopractice - Keith Norris' nonsense-free and highly intelligent new paradigm fitness information

The Nutrition and Metabolism Society - A nonprofit that publishes an on-line peer-reviewed journal. Drs Jeff Volek and Richard Feinmann are board members. To navigate, best use the search function.

Tom Naughton's Fat Head -  See Tom's movie of the same name as the counterweight to "Supersize Me"

Countless Crossfit affiliates - thank you all - keep 'em way from that chronic cardio!

Plus two bloggers that do not have blogrolls but support PaNu tremendously:

Dr BG - The pharmacotemptress links to me frequently and has become a trusted email buddy off-blog. My favorite slightly nutty professional chick besides my wife.

Hyperlipid - Peter is like the oracle - a slightly inscrutable genius -but ignore him at your peril - he has been a great supporter and major resource for PaNu.

Today, PaNu was honored to be included among Mark Sisson's top resources for Primal/Paleo living. Mark has a great site and I particularly like his stance on physical activity and fitness. His dietary advice is PaNu-compliant.

I highly recommend you read the whole post. Mark has some resources including videos and books that are a great complement to the blogs listed.

And finally, I was interviewed in September by Jimmy Moore for his "Livin La Vida Low Carb" podcast. The hour-long interview will broadcast January 14. His other guests have included Gary Taubes, The Dr. Eades, and Dr Seyfried, among many others. He has some great interviews - check it out.

A hearty thanks to all my readers and commenters - I am very pleased with the civil and stimulating level of discourse that takes place here. I am very appreciative of you all and will try my best to keep putting up interesting posts.

For the future, as the blog gets ever busier, my ability to answer posts with multiple questions and to respond to private emails will be limited in favor of researching and writing new blog posts. If you make a question short and interesting, it stands the best chance of a quick answer or becoming fodder for a new post. I am going to have to let more posts stand without comment - I want to be reading more original literature and putting up more substantive posts. If you have a "challenge" post - you disagree and want to say so with pages of argument and references - I would ask that you email me the text (through the "about me" page) and allow me to decide if I want to respond. If the blog becomes a bulletin board and open-ended debating forum, that subtracts directly from the time I have to write new content, and I think the "silent majority" want new content more than intellectual sparring. The upside is that there will be more new content to get interesting comments on.

Once Again I Thank You All!

Reader Comments (35)

I'm really happy for the success your blog is having Dr. Harris. Keep up the great work!

January 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCMR

Thank YOU Dr. Harris! Count me among the many whose lives you've truly, positively impacted this year. I'm really looking forward to even more of your insightful and thought-provoking posts in 2010.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark L

Great job Kurt!

BTW where is that post on CrossFit you promised us? :)


KGH: coming up but it's probably not what you expect

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

Thanks Kurt.

I am really grateful that you have started this blog. The content is fantastic and your writing style is engaging and challenging.

Best Wishes

Chris

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Kurt, Thanks for all your great work. Being a silent majority , I like your thought provoking new information posts. Not being interested in endless debate. I then search for validation or rejection myself. Otherwise the silent majority get lazy and don;t exercise independant thinking to keep dementia away.

Your posts rate in my top three alongside Hyperlipid and Animal Pharm. Hyperlipid is pure genious but sometimes beyond my level of understanding, Peter recently came to his own conclusion in a post regarding high fat calorie restriction to kill cancer cells. His own deductions. This had been proven in a mice study which he was unaware of at the time of posting. Peter had deduced this himself. Truly brilliant thinking. Good luck and keep up the good work. Anotherambition

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranotherambition

No Dr. Harris, thank you! Your blog, your thinking and your efforts here are simply tremendous. For a lay reader (i.e. non science background) like myself your writing style and content is pitched perfectly. Erudite and challenging yet totally accessible: no mean feat.

It's resources like yours and the others you have listed that thoroughly enable myself and many, many others to think, make choices and, hopefully, achieve health. This is an absolute gift. What is very important to me, other than your legitimate medical credentials, is the fact that you, Peter, Stephan et al are also clearly 'thinkers' beyond the realm of medicine and diet. My family doctor also has credentials, but I'm not sure he has had the time, inclination or passion to think about whether it might actually be a good idea to get most of your calories from drinking heavy cream. Thankfully you do!

Best wishes for 2010, Dr. Harris

Tal

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTal

Thanks for this great blog, Kurt! It's always an enjoyable and educational read and I trust your information.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDr_A

What I loved when I first found your blog as someone new to Paleo was your "getting started" section. I really wanted a base to work from of eat this, don't eat this, work towards this. Then from there I am reading more and more of the science behind it on here and other sites. I faithfully look at about 5 blogs now and all for different reasons. This information that is out there just makes such sense to me after years of trying to lose weight and getting nowhere. Finally a plan I can follow and most importantly be at peace with. I heard coworkers yesterday talking about the diets they are all starting and lowfat recipes they are sharing and I just laugh. I'm not even weighing as I know in my heart if I follow this it will work out as it's supposed to and the scale is not the best indicator of that. I do like how loose my pants are getting though! Thank you to you and others (Richard, Jimmy, Mark, etc) for the great service you are all doing. I'm sure it comes at a price of at least the time you have to devote to it but know it's appreciated.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanice H.

Kurt,

Thank you!! I've been reading since the beginning.........failed to put a link on my blog, but will do so today.
Thank you again for your superb explanations!!!!

Marc

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Feel Good Eating

you are helping people. thank you. i don't think there have been nearly enough studies done to really have confidence about which diet is optimal based on human evolution. therefore, i place greater weight on looking at evidence from the fossil record and 'hedging my bet'. for example, the fossil record at one site shows evidence of high seafood consumption at a very early period in human development, so i will be sure to include a lot of seafood in my diet. the fossil record also shows a high concentration of the carbon that comes from grass in ancients bones at another site, so i will be sure to have meat sources from ruminants. as for diary, i'm still self-experimenting as i do with other food sources not consumed during the paleolithic, but which are chemically close to those supposed food sources. i believe dr harris places less emphasis on the fossil record and more on studies. i just don't think there is nearly enough evidence from studies, so i will hedge my bet with information from the fossil record.

KGH:

Beware the fallacy that just because they ate it was healthy. Our current understanding of metabolism should come first, then back it up with the very sparse and speculative evidence from the fossil record.

Thanks for your comments.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterv

Your work on this blog is much appreciated! Thank you!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Thanks Kurt, your blog has rapidly become my favourite diet and health resource since discovering it a few weeks back and I look forward to more excellent scientific postulating in 2010

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex B

Discovered your blog over the holidays and find it intriguing. Eliminating most sugar and high GI food from my diet has been good for my blood chemistry and waistline. Not convinced I should give up grains yet, but you make some good arguments.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Rogers

Kurt
Count me among your biggest supporters. I believe my hospital is the only one who is an official CrossFit affiliate (CrossFitEnhance.com) and I teach several classes per week. We have had your site linked on our front page since our inception. We started 70 new people yesterday and hit them right between the eyes with our/your way of thinking about nutrition. We get the same shocked looks with every new class but once we start getting real life stories posted on our site from their colleagues at work they start to pay a little more attention.
Keep up the good work. I know it doesn't pay as well as reading an MRI but in the long run I believe you are doing far more to contribute to your true calling as a physician. And eventually I will get you down here to give a talk.

KGH:

Thanks for your support, Ken

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen Smithmier

Sounds good! I support your choice as I can get sparring anywhere. I come here for you very clear and concise dissemination of info.
Thanks for your efforts!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen

I'm a diabetic of 24 years who has been doing low-carb for one year. I have found your blog very informative and helpful. Thank you so much! Since your wife is a dentist and there was some mention of reduced plaque on low carb diets, I thought I would share my experience. At my first checkup, 4 months after starting low carb, my plaque had significantly increased so that I agreed to visit three times a year. My next visit was much better, but still moderate to heavy plaque. I told the hygienist last week that I thought my plaque level was down from my previous visit and she agreed - just moderate. So I am improving after an initial surge. I hope that continues to improve as my other issues do. Thanks again.

KGH:

Just curious -what are you eating? I see these claims (the opposite of most people's experience) from time to time and they always puzzle me as it's hard to see how just eliminating sugar, bread and baked goods can increase plaque. Drinking a lot of whole milk?

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I don't drink milk. I do eat a good bit of raw milk cheese. I put heavy cream in my coffee. I'm guessing (without any foundation) that perhaps that initial increase has something to do with being a diabetic. My plaque is now less than when I started the diet, so I'm going in the right direction.

KGH: That's good!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Hey Babe,

LOVE LOVE you too!!!
Somehow I take great delight in kicking your fantastically hawwt Paleo *ss...

-G

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranimal pharm

The reason we keep coming back here Dr. H is because your blog is great and we can understand most of it. Besides, as a carnivore crawling around in a desert of nutritional insanity, your blog is an oasis that I can bask in and enjoy. Peter, as everyone here has already stated, is pure hilarious genius, but is definitely over my head most times. Thanks again for your time and effort in sharing your knowledge..

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkateryna

Thank *YOU* for the great work you do here! I seldom comment, butI *always* read - your blog is a wonderful resource! All the best!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVivian

Thanks for the PaNu love, Kurt. I enjoy incorporating your findings into my ongoing, n=1 Paleo experiment. Thanks for all of your hard work. It truly is much, much appreciated.

KGH:

I need to spend more time at your blog. I will definitely start steering more of the bodybuilders your direction.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Norris

Agree debate is not where the main focus needs to be. Should be done when it clears up misconceptions or clarifies issues.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWalter Norris

Dear Dr. Harris,

THANK YOU for your work on this blog. I sincerely appreciate the information you, Dr. Eades, Dr. Guyenet and Peter provide. You're terrific! I hope 2010 is a good year for you!

Sincerely,

Gwen

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGwen J

While I have a lot of blog feeds in my feed reader, I have the comments feeds for only a handful. Yours is one of those. I love both the posts and the discussions, and I share your excellent Get Started page with friends and family whenever I have the opportunity.

Looking forward to what 2010 brings at paleonu.com!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Lackey

Dr. Harris,

Thank you for this fabulous blog. You are helping so many of us out there who do not have an M.D. or Ph.D. behind our names to defend ourselves against harmful conventional wisdom. You give us the amunition we need to fight our battles. And - you are just plain fun to read! Precise and blunt. The Best!

Thanks.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

Hi Kurt

Regarding CrossFit, my guess is that you will come out somewhat positive, but will make the point that too much CF-esque volume and frequency probably do not help duplicate the evolutionary metabolic milieu. In fact, it may work against it.

Am I right?

:)

KGH: Nope

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

Dear Dr. Harris,

I came across your blog not long after you started it and knew that I had to add it to my growing list of sources that can provide laypersons, like myself, with nutritional insight that we sure don't get from traditional sources. I gave up high-carb foods, sugars and all grain products in February 2009 and have never looked back. Finding sites like yours have helped me become determined to do my best to stay on top of the ever-changing stances of what good nutrition should be. As a housewife my prior "traditional sources" were magazines like "Family Circle", "Ladies Home Journal" and "Woman's Day" - OMG! I can't believe I used to consider those entertainment magazines as credible sources of information. What was I thinking?

Thank you for your excellent blog; I appreciate it very much.

Susan :>)

KGH:

All the mags that have pictures of dessert on the cover - like "O":)

You are welcome

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

David,
Lex Rooker, who eats only raw meat and fat...about 25% protein, 75% fat once a day and has been doing so for more than 4 years and...who has posted in the Q & A Testimonials on Kurt's blog.....has experienced a huge reduction in calculus and tartar buildup since he started 4 months ago getting 1 hour of full sun every day...no shirt and wears only shorts.....in otherwords he is getting a very good dose of Vitamin D3. Many of us in cold weather choose to supplement with Vit D3 gel caps.

Here is a link to his posting about his dental experience in the Journal he has been keeping.
http://www.rawpaleoforum.com/?action=search2

And here is page 93. If you want to read his on going Journal from inception, click on page 1.
http://www.rawpaleoforum.com/journals/lex's-journal/920/

Kurt has posted extensively on the benefits of Vit D3 as has Dr. William Davis at http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/

And Dr T at http://nephropal.blogspot.com/ has also posted extensively on Vit D3.

David, your plaque problem may be helped by getting and hour of sun a day or supplementing or both. Lex does not supplement with anything.

KGH:

Although Lex's experiment seems to be going well and is no doubt far superior to veganism, we have to remember that it can take a long time for deficencies to manifest. B12 deficiency can take 10 years or more to show up in vegetarians.

I would be more sanguine about an all-animal diet that has a lot more variety including dairy and fish. Lex in fact has ground-up organ meats in his meals.

I don't recommend a diet of nothing but muscle meats and water a al the "Zero Carb" religion.

I believe Stephan's blog has contained some discussion of plaque and tartar formation. D3 and K2 may both help - K2 is best obtained from pastured butter and hard cheeses.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDexter

I missed the news of the Jimmy Moore interview, Kurt. I'll look for that for sure. Jimmy just contacted me yesterday and we've set up January 29th for an interview. I picked that date cause it's my b-day and I should be good and disagreeable for the interview. :)

KGH: I'll look for that so I can attach a voice to your face. I think it's hilarious a mild-mannered southern baptist and foul mouthed libertarian atheist are such good buds. Shows the social force of our little movement:)

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Nikoley

I use the dietary advice, but going ad libitum low carb and cutting light daily cardio has brought on a 20-pound weight gain. I am going to cut calories and do light exercise (walking) an hour a day in addition to my weight training. My husband has lost 20 pounds. Go figure!

KGH: A damaged metabolism requires more care - count carbs, not calories and read "how to lose weight"

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane

What is your take on the Blue Zones study that claims populations with the greatest longevity eat a mostly plant-based diet?

http://www.bluezones.com/eat

"The best advice, particularly in the convoluted world of nutrition and diet, is always simple. A plant based diet is an essential part of any nutritional program, with overwhelming evidence from the four Blue Zones (Loma Linda, Nicoya, Sardinia and Okinawa) pointing to the regular consumption of vegetables and fruit aiding longevity. It's important to note that you don't have to become vegetarian to do this, indeed not everyone living long and healthy lives in the four Blue Zones is vegetarian. However, meat consumption should become occasional instead of default."

KGH:

A Cherry-picking observational study that is contradicted by better interventional studies that show no positive effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Use of the word "overwhelming" is always a tipoff. You should also question their interpretation of the meaning of plant- based. The Okinawans and Sardinians eat quite lot of animal products AFAIR. These studies are obviously heavily confounded by genetics (where are the controls?) and other social habits besides eating as well. They also probably have little of the neolithic agents contained in the SAD, which can even make an ovo-lacto vegetarian healthy by SAD standards. Easy to clear the bar if it's not set very high.

If plants are so great, why are there several examples of healthy cultures that only ate animal products and zero that ate only plants?

If the Kitavans would all die in ten years of B12 deficiency without animal products but would be fine with no starchy tubers, is their diet (with 60% of calories form starch) best characterized as animal based or plant based?

I would argue it's "based" on what you can't live without.

PS Off-topic questions and short challenge posts are best posted in Q/A

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Thanks for the link Kurt

KGH:

My pleasure! Thanks for all your support and your scientific rigor.

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephan

We got you covered.
Kenneth Tourgeman, MD, FASN - NephroPal

KGH: Thanks, enjoying the love from another paleo MD - not that many of us yet!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNephropal

FYI: The New Cavemen Lifestyle Has Found a Home in the City - NYTimes.com

"The New Age Cavemen and the City"
by JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
Published: January 8, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/fashion/10caveman.html?pagewanted=all

KGH: In the fashion and style section? Good Grief. We are doomed.

An interesting, but typically superficial mainstream article.

Also, where are the NYT's editors?

The plural of millennium is millennia. Catch that, english teacher lady?

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Lull

I love your blog and your logic. Nice to find someone knowledgeable who serves it straight up. Count me as a fan.

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

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