Mat Lalonde on Nutrient Density, Paleo Fails, and Being the Kraken

Mat Lalonde (the Kraken)

Mat Lalonde Ph.D (aka “The Kraken”) is a lecturer at Harvard University who specializes in chemical biology but studies human metabolism, nutritional biochemistry, health and athletic performance… for fun. This is a content-packed show – listen up!

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In today’s show, Matt and I cover:

  • How the sausage is made to create Matt’s nutrient density framework
  • How Matt earned the epic (and fitting) nickname, “the Kraken
  • The most invalid arguments made by paleofolk
  • And tons more.

Here’s the show.

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  1. I would love to do a program with you.
    I am happy to announce the publication of my new cookbook, Primal Cuisine, Cooking for the Paleo Diet. The forward was written by Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life. The book was also endorsed by Napa Valley physician, Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition.

    Primal Cuisine is grain free (therefore gluten-free). The recipes do not have any added sugars, including honey, agave and maple syrup. I advocate exclusively grassfed meat, wild caught, sustainably fished, seafood, pastured poultry and dairy products and organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries. Even though I have included some sheep’s and goats milk dairy products there are many substitutions for dairy in the recipes.

    Having been a Napa/Sonoma wine country caterer for over twenty years,I know the recipes will surely please the foodie. I hope the whole family will enjoy the health benefits of implementing the primal diet.

    To Your Health,
    Pauli Halstead
    Facebook:Primal Cuisine, Cooking for the Paleo Diet

  2. I’m really curious about Mat’s point about high cortisol levels resulting in low testosterone levels for low carb athletes doing glycogen demanding sports. As ‘fat burners’, low carb athletes would need to consume a fair amount of fat to fuel their body for an endurance event and failure to provide that fuel to the body would ultimately result in a stress, so couldn’t the high cortisol levels be attributed to just not providing that fuel (whether that be carbs/glycogen or fat) and not specifically the fact that they were low carb. If the person had consumed adequate amounts of fat, the body could have converted the fat to glycogen to meet it’s needs. So I think Mat’s point is right in that the high cortisol levels were due to lack of glycogen, but he falsely attributed it solely to the fact that the person didn’t consume a particular marcronutrient (carbs) versus fat.

  3. I sometimes get the impression that the paleosphere is a world of extremes. I remember an old interview with Lalonde how he did a keto diet while practicing xfit. I think even Atkins himself would have told you that doing high intensity work 5 times per week while eating a very low carb diet isn’t going to work..

    And about carbs needed to fuel exercise – it’s funny he should say this, as it is very probable that you can get more glycogen on a high fat diet ( ), even more so if you eat most of your carbs post workout.

    Performance, health and looking-good-naked-wise the best solution for me was a high fat diet with most of my carbs consumed after workouts (strength and sprinting), but we are all on different points of the bell curve..

  4. Great interview my brother. Love the complete view you brought to this topic. Hope more people follow your lead. Liking the video aspect of this as well.

  5. Love video! And thanks for an interview without pop psychology. Lalonde is great (of course) although he isn’t the only one to claim to be the on the side of “pure” science. I believe significant humility with regard to scientific knowledge is part of ancestral health.

  6. At the end you asked Matt about where we could find him online… I realize he’s not involved in SoMe, but he mentioned a few things where we could find him that I didn’t quite follow…

  7. Love the video! So much more fun than audio alone (although that’s nice too). You are one of the chillest, most open-minded voices in the real food community Abel, thank you! 🙂

  8. Great podcast. Love having scientists (and I don’t use the term loosely) on the show. Just one general comment on the language we use to talk about evolution. I think the saying “if you believe in evolution” is problematic because it confuses the difference between scientific ways of knowing and faith-based ways of knowing. As Dr. Lalonde points out scientific knowledge and faith-based knowledge are acquired by difference means according to different standards. Evolutionary theory is supported by a substantial amount of evidence from experiments and observations conducted by thousands of individuals over hundreds of years. As such evolution doesn’t require belief but rather that one either accept or reject the evidence associated with the theory. Belief is a completely separate realm of knowledge with different criteria and I appreciate Dr. Lalonde pointing this out. I just wish he had extended the distinction to his comment on whether a person “believes in” [accepts the evidence of] evolution. As an ecologist, professor, and citizen concerned with scientific literacy (as you both certainly are) I think we can extend our personal and collective mission by making this important distinction.

    Please, more scientists on the show! GO SCIENCE!

    • Actually, when you get past the hype and outright fraud of Evolutionary Theory, it is an empty shell. They put up spiritless, fundamentalist christianity as their strawman and then beat it to death. Both are far from the truth Look up Michael Cremo’s hidden History of Man or something like that. The evidence that advanced versions of Man have been on the planet for millions of years is actually quite clear. Where indeed does this leave Paleo?

  9. I enjoy your podcasts, and the variety of ideas and theories expressed. It all comes down to how you feel and as Lalonde said ” how you look naked”. I am not sure how many seniors listen to you, but this one ( 64- next month) listens while working out, and I find it extra motivational. Keep up the good work. I wish more people in my age group would get off the prescription drug merry-go-round and do the right thing for themselves.

  10. Jon,

    Perhaps even more clarification is in order, regarding “understand” vs. “believe in.”

    Accepting that survival pressures drive adaptation, and understanding how the rules of adaptation work (i.e. individual alleles ‘compete’ with eachother, individual organisms compete, different genders ‘compete,’ different species ‘compete,’ with success being determined by reproductive success, etc), is different from accepting the current narrative of the origins of life that is offered by evolutionary theory as it currently exists (i.e. various atoms randomly assembled over eons into nucleotide pairs which actually contained information, vice randomness or repeating patters, and then began self replicating, etc).

    In other words, it is possible for someone to fully understand how genomic alteration and genetic drift do and will occur, and at the same time to not find the all the assertions contained within evolutionary theory (RNA world, etc) to be convincing.

    This is where the “believe in” verses “understand how” distinction comes in. One must believe that all life originated from one original cell, etc, because that’s the best explanation available. it can’t be known, it can only be believed based on some evidence. But one can understand (vice believe in) evolutionary forces and how they continually exert pressures on genes via reproductive success.

    If you see two people playing chess, you can ‘understand’ how the game is played, but you must ‘believe’ that they began this game from the beginning, instead of beginning the game from a pre-staged board problem where the pieces were already advanced to a certain place.

    I’m making no arguments one way or another as to the validity of current evolutionary theory, but merely clarifying that there are two types of knowledge involved, and one type definitely does require ‘belief’ in addition to understanding. Forgive my long windedness – i would have been more concise had I more time.

  11. Michael Marriott says:

    Great webcast! I have heard Matt before with Robb Wolf on some of Robb’s Paleo Solution Podcast. So damn informative. Keep up the great work!

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