The best part about the book was the narration. Laura Darrell did a fine job but my mind will have trouble separating her from Marlene Zuk's work. That is my loss.
Do to space and time limitations I will keep this to a brief review erather than a complete (audio) book report. Unfortunately, that means I will only be able to touch on a few points.
1) Zuk does not define the paleofantasy (which is a word I will, thankfully, never have to deal with again after I finish this) which she attempts to refute. Instead she picks and chooses a broad range of topics to show why it is a fantasy.
2) I, like many listeners and readers I am sure, made the erroneous assumption that Zuk was going to provide a counterargument to the growing trend of paleo/primal lifestyle. Instead, she is using the momentum of the movement to sell this book which is more about evolution than diet and exercise. What this book most definitely isn't is a reason not to follow the suggestions of Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, or their peers.
3) The author can't always decide which argument she agrees with. For instance, she starts talking (writing) about why barefooting is bad but then goes on to say all the reasons why it could be good. She would be more respectable if she could stand by her views.
4) She picks on two specific examples of why the paleo/primal diets as suggested by several prominant authors could be wrong - the use/digestion of grain and milk products. SPOILER ALERT: In a nutshell, she argues that humans have been consuming grain products for much longer than paleo/primal advocates argue and our species is evolving to digest milk products. She misses several major arguing points of the paleo/primal movement including: modern processing & products, GMO, the effects of consumption, and if said consumption is a good thing even if it's possible.
5) Zuk argues that we are still evolving and hints that whatever "paleolithic" model is used as the basis for a "paleofantasy" is incorrect because there is no "best" model of genetic humanity. She fails to take into account current sexual selection, ethical/moral development, religion, and advancements in medical technology (though the latter is briefly mentioned) and the contributions all make in our evolution. She fails to demonstrate why our latest model of homo sapiens is superior to whatever example of paleolithic human she is talking about at the moment. Yet she does not accept that an earlier "version" of humans could be healthier.
7) She uses comments found in internet forums as evidence or arguing points. This is just too ridiculous a point to even continue with.
Believe me, there's much more that I had issue with (she argues against modelling a workout on a mammoth hunt, for example, and instead presents the following: "we just need to get up off the couch"; seriously, that's her counterpoint to all exercises paleo).
If this were any form of academic paper it would not pass beyond the junior high level. Marlene Zuk's arguments are either weak, incomplete, lacking definition, irrelevant, ad absurdum, equivocating, or change from one paragraph to the next. This book could serve as providing some ideas to explore but does not provide any answers. I picked it out because I wanted to learn why I shouldn't follow paleo diet and exercise ideas. This book solidified my reasons on why I should. To that end, this book is harmful in that it suggests that humans not follow the "paleo lifestyle" but does not offer any alternatives. It is an argument, albeit a poor one, against exercise and eating non-processed food. Instead, of helping people find a way to improve their health and diet, Marlene Zuk suggests nothing and instead says we are evolving to deal with our modern lives.
I personally don't feel I'm evolving fast enough to lay in bed and play video games all day while still being healthy and living to 100. Don't tell Marlene that I'm going to eat a salad and run some sprints - she might say I'm being stupid.
This may be informative if this is your first read into the topics of nutrition, obesity, and dietary habits. That being said I can save you hours of listening/reading right here: sugar, fat, and salt make you fat; food scientists work to manipulate those three to make food addictive; some "healthy" foods aren't healthy (like spinach dip); those that can't deal with the cravings have a psychological disorder.
He could've had Gary Taubes, Michael Pollan, William Davis, Mark Sisson, and/or Loren Cordain ghost write for him (in other words, check out those authors instead)
Good narration if you're into that sort of thing.
Disappointment. I've read much on the topics of diet and nutrition and this was lacking, though I admire the author's ability to fill so many pages with fluff and not real information (e.g. there's no need to go into page after page of detail on the fact that Chili's restaurant menu is not actually healthy - anyone that doesn't know nachos are bad for you won't be reading this book anyway)
I didn't finish the last hour of the book because it was a pretty big waste of time up to that point so maybe there's an answer or method to help at the end. That may increase my star rating by 1/2 or so but I'll likely never know.
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