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Science

The Evolution of Diet 281

Posted by samzenpus
from the eat-like-your-ancestors dept.
An anonymous reader writes Here's a story from National Geographic that looks at the historical diets of people from around the world and what that diet might look like in the future. From the article: "So far studies of foragers like the Tsimane, Arctic Inuit, and Hadza have found that these peoples traditionally didn't develop high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular disease. 'A lot of people believe there is a discordance between what we eat today and what our ancestors evolved to eat,' says paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas. The notion that we're trapped in Stone Age bodies in a fast-food world is driving the current craze for Paleolithic diets. The popularity of these so-called caveman or Stone Age diets is based on the idea that modern humans evolved to eat the way hunter-gatherers did during the Paleolithic—the period from about 2.6 million years ago to the start of the agricultural revolution—and that our genes haven't had enough time to adapt to farmed foods."
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The Evolution of Diet

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  • by iggymanz (596061) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:46PM (#47752279)

    Inuit have lifespan 12 to 15 years shorter than average Canadians. Hazda mean life expectancy is 65 years. Let's cut the bullshit already, live like those people and flop over dead before your time

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Inuit in modern Canada eat less walrus and drink more beer than Inuit from three centuries ago.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        Yes, and you can see the gradual increase in their lifespan over the last 100 years from that change too. Over 20 years added. Beer and pork for the win, m'boy!

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:21PM (#47752519)

        Inuit in modern Canada eat less walrus and drink more beer than Inuit from three centuries ago.

        There lives were even shorter three centuries ago. Their low blood pressure and lack of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease may have had something to do with their diet of walrus blubber, but it just as likely was due to their lifestyle of long distance kayaking and aerobic snowshoe journeys across the ice pack. Chinese peasants also have low blood pressure and little cardiovascular disease, yet they eat a very high starch diet.

        • Infant mortality had more to do with low average lifespans in the past - you can have a vast majority of people who make it to adulthood live into their 80s, and still have an average lifespan of 30 years, if 10 children die before they make a year old for every 1 that makes it past.

          We tend to make the assumption that an average lifespan of 30 means that nobody lives past 35 years old - but that's simply not the case.

          http://unlocked-wordhoard.blog... [blogspot.com]

          "Consider this: If we accept as a given that the average l

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:34PM (#47752987) Homepage

        Inuit in modern Canada eat less walrus and drink more beer than Inuit from three centuries ago.

        Certainly. However, traditional Inuit culture was pretty hard on folks. Although some people did make it into their 70's, many died much earlier - often of starvation (and infectious disease whose morbidity and mortality can be strongly influenced by nutrition). Although they rarely got heart attacks (we suppose, there were rather few autopsies done on these folk) and diabetes was almost unheard of, it's hard to call a traditional Inuit elder as 'healthy'. We also really don't know how long traditional peoples typically lived - birth and death statistics were not typically kept in the hinterlands and people's recollection of events 50 years in the past tends to be hazy.

        So it always amuses me that the paleo folks think that the hunter gatherer existence represented the pinnacle of human evolution.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by countach (534280)

          It's not so much "the pinnacle of evolution" (whatever the heck that means), but rather the diet that we were evolved to eat. Many animals are evolved to eat all sorts of things that we are not. We would die quickly if we ate what they ate, and they would die quickly if they ate what we do. But the point is, we should eat what we're evolved to eat. That's probably not coca-cola and crisps.

          • by Brulath (2765381) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @05:09AM (#47754839)

            The foods our ancestors consumed don't really exist anymore. No, really, that broccoli you're eating didn't exist back in their times, and the ancestor of the broccoli plant that they ate bears little resemblance to the vegetable today. They didn't eat fatty cuts of meat, they ate super-lean meat when they could catch it. They didn't eat onion and garlic fried in olive (or coconut) oil. If they found carrots, they weren't anywhere near as large, sweet, or nutrient-rich as the ones you buy in a supermarket. Here's an archaeologist talking about it [youtube.com].

            So given that we can't eat the diet our ancestors consumed, why discount an enormous range of foods that we have created because some others we have created (through very selective breeding) evoke some "natural" ideal? It's not difficult to argue that eating excessive quantities of deep-fried starchy food is bad for you, but that's not cause to throw out grainy breads as well. You can try arguing that coconut oil is good for you, but there isn't enough research on the subject available to conclusively decide one way or the other yet - or we would've decided already.

            The argument that you can eat "what we evolved to eat" is an appeal to nature [yourlogicalfallacyis.com], essentially. It's not possible to eat what we ate 150,000 years ago without putting a lot of effort into finding some really crappy meals. Paleo is a fad diet which may not be harmful, but its rules are as arbitrary as any others.

    • live like those people and flop over dead before your time

      Being that alcoholism and suicide are leading causes of death among Inuits . . . those diets must make you feel miserable, too.

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      Along those lines, were paleolithic human diets composed of foods that suited an organism with a paleolithic human life span?

    • by ravyne (858869)
      That's not fully informed -- In general, the average life expectancy of these people is dragged down by unusually-high infant and child mortality, and to a lesser extent unnatural early mortality in adults due to lifestyle hazards and both issues exacerbated by limited or no access to modern medicine. When these people survive those additional hazards, life expectancy is similar to those who live a more "Western" lifestyle.

      But life expectancy is not really the point here -- health and quality of life is f
    • by kevmitch (2220314)
      Sure, this is a fair comparison. What difference could a couple centuries of colonialism make?
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:47PM (#47752285) Journal

    So far studies of foragers like the Tsimane, Arctic Inuit, and Hadza have found that these peoples traditionally didn't develop high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular disease.

    What's the obesity rate in those populations vis-a-vis the Western World?

    Anecdote time: My family has a history of heart disease and diabetes, largely self-inflicted via eating ourselves to death. My blood markers (fasting glucose and cholesterol) follow my weight, up and down. Weight loss brought them into the normal range; dietary changes made no discernible impact whatsoever. I eat all the things that are supposedly bad for you, refined carbs, alcohol, greasy foods, and so on. The difference between me and the rest of the family is I exercise self-control and keep my net calories to a reasonable level. Reasonable ranges from 2,000 on days of doing nothing to >5,000 on days with mega hikes or long runs.

    People need to stop buying into fad diets and nonsense theories. Barring allergies, most humans are fully capable of assimilating anything they throw at their GI system. Exercise some bloody portion control and get off the couch once in awhile. The rest will take care of itself.

    • by blue9steel (2758287) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:06PM (#47752439)

      People need to stop buying into fad diets and nonsense theories. Barring allergies, most humans are fully capable of assimilating anything they throw at their GI system. Exercise some bloody portion control and get off the couch once in awhile. The rest will take care of itself.

      As it turns out not all calories consumed are the same: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/ar... [jamanetwork.com] Diets that produce lower insulin response give a metabolic advantage and reduce hunger. In the study the advantage of a low-glycemic diet over a low fat one, at the same calorie level, was 125 calories per day. This has matched my own experience, additionally I've seen another 75 calorie per day advantage from hunger reduction when not controlling for total calories. (free feeding) Combined that's roughly equivalent to a 1.5 mile jog for a 200lb adult, nothing to sneeze at.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        Or you can just eat less.
        • by countach (534280)

          You can, but its extremely difficult. The point of low GI, and high protein meat diets is that its digested very slowly and you are not tempted as much. Think about it. How often does a cow eat? How often does a lion eat? Case closed.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        While that's definitely important, it's not important when you have someone who's eating close to 5,000 calories per day while being largely sedentary. The sheer amount of consumption minimizes the effects of what they're eating. For a lot of people who are seriously obese, an extra ~150 calories will barely put a dent in their intake.
      • by quantaman (517394)

        People need to stop buying into fad diets and nonsense theories. Barring allergies, most humans are fully capable of assimilating anything they throw at their GI system. Exercise some bloody portion control and get off the couch once in awhile. The rest will take care of itself.

        As it turns out not all calories consumed are the same: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/ar... [jamanetwork.com]

        Diets that produce lower insulin response give a metabolic advantage and reduce hunger. In the study the advantage of a low-glycemic diet over a low fat one, at the same calorie level, was 125 calories per day. This has matched my own experience, additionally I've seen another 75 calorie per day advantage from hunger reduction when not controlling for total calories. (free feeding) Combined that's roughly equivalent to a 1.5 mile jog for a 200lb adult, nothing to sneeze at.

        I don't think it has anything to do with insulin or glycemic index, in fact it's depressingly simpler than that, the palatability hypothesis.

        When we're surrounded by highly palatable foots we overeat. And as it turns out mostly highly palatable things have a lot of carbs, hence the association between low-carb or low GI and weight loss. But one of the best weight loss foods is plain baked potatoes, and they're nothing but starch with a ridiculously high GI. That doesn't mean the food can't be tasty, fruit i

        • by countach (534280)

          Yes, sugar is treated by the brain a bit like cocaine. That's part of the issue, but its not the whole story. High GI foods give you the quick hit of cocaine which wears off quickly. Low GI foods give you a slow burn that keeps you satisfied longer.

          I very much disagree that baked potatoes are a weight loss food. You can eat anything if in moderation, but any kind of potatoes is not a great choice in the weight loss stakes.

    • Most of my markers track my diet and weight, but not HDL, and it seems, less anecdotally, that while there are things you can do to improve your HDL (Niacin in medically significant quantities) those things aren't being shown to reduce your rate of heart disease.

      I'm not going to argue that eating a healthy diet hurts, but it does not necessarily help if you're born under a bad sign. And this IS an anecdote, but people in my family tend to drop dead of heart attacks in their late 30s and early 40s and are ph

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      Obesity not a concern, those groups have no problems with heart disease because they are keeling over dead in mid 60s from other causes.

    • by avgjoe62 (558860) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:20PM (#47752515)
      Reminds me of the Amish Diet - eat whatever you want, but walk everywhere. One Amish farmer in a study I remember reading of around 15 years ago walked 28 miles per day on average. The average for all the Amish in the study was 16 miles per day.
      • by dasunt (249686) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:14PM (#47752851)

        Speaking of the idea that we haven't evolved for the modern diet, what about modern exercise, or lack thereof? It's only been in the past few generations that a large percentage of the population have had a mostly inactive lifestyle. We sure didn't evolve under these conditions.

        • This. Move your ass so the rest of you keeps moving. You really don't need all that much exercise to keep in basic shape - an hour a day of moderate cardiovascular exercise like brisk walking.

          What is amazing is the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Western World don't get anywhere near this.

          Kill your television. You can even get Bonus Points for not worrying about how much your cable company is ripping you off.

    • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:31PM (#47752591) Journal

      So you're saying, eat less, exercise more, and do it for the rest of your life?

      You'll never sell that. People want to know what magic food you can eat that will make the bulge from all the cheetos go away. Telling them to eat fewer cheetos only makes people hate you.

      • by vivek7006 (585218)

        So you're saying, eat less, exercise more, and do it for the rest of your life?

        You'll never sell that. People want to know what magic food you can eat that will make the bulge from all the cheetos go away. Telling them to eat fewer cheetos only makes people hate you.

        Nailed it!

      • by Loki_666 (824073)

        ^ This.

        • by Loki_666 (824073) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @01:40AM (#47754277)

          Actually, that comment just added nothing, ill give an example.

          My mother in law is obese. She suffers from problems with her heart, her thyroid, and a leg joint problem (because after all, those two stubby legs are trying to carry the weight of an elephant).

          Doctor has told her she must loose weight, and they can't do anything about her leg until she does.

          All she does is consult doctor after doctor until one gives her a new pill to try, because she doesn't want to actually do anything to get healthier, she just wants the pills.

          When i try and encourage her to lose weight instead, she points to her illnesses and says she can't exercise because of them.... she says this while sat there drinking coffee, snacking on chocolates and other high fat foods.

          In other words, she doesn't want to expend any real effort or change her diet in order to achieve a longer life. She expects miracle cures, even though none have been forthcoming. She simply blames the doctors and looks for a new one.

          If she doesn't change her lifestyle, i'm estimating she will be bedridden within 5 years and dead within 10, whereas if she put some effort in, she would have a chance of living a lot longer. She just isn't willing.

          • by Yaotzin (827566)

            She doesn't even have to exercise, just eat less. A 30 minute walk every day is enough and most people can manage that, even if they're overweight. My mother lost a lot of weight without a gym card or going jogging, just by reducing her calorie intake. [/personal anecdote] Some people swear by LCHF and such and maybe that works, but the safest bet IMHO is simply to do a food study (write down everything you eat for a month) and then cut down. Nonetheless, it requires a serious conviction and if a medical pr

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Barring allergies, most humans are fully capable of assimilating anything they throw at their GI system

      No they aren't. This can be readily apparent as inappropriate things leave your GI tract. A lot of this boils down to individual variation. We aren't machine stamped machines, but modern political correctness has us thinking we are. The idea of "being equal under the law" has been perverted into "being exactly the same".

      We aren't all the same. Some of us do better with some things than others. Some cu

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:47PM (#47752289)

    I doubt so-called "Paleolithic diets" are anything like people ate during that.

    For example, people ate fruit then, but it was seasonal, and very different from the fruit we eat today. Same with veggies. The stuff we eat is nothing like the stuff that grew in the wild.

    Also, people during that age were not especially healthy. They probably died in their 40s.

    The Arctic Inuit may not have high blood pressure, but what about other diseases? Is there average life span any longer than ours?

    Then there is the question of physical activity. During the stone age, getting too fat and/or being too inactive, were probably the least of your worries.

    Are we really willing to give up coffee, or salt on our foods?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      "I doubt" is not helpful here.

      The article mentions "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables" so your "for example" has holes in it.

      "Probably died in their 40s" sounds like you don't have data, and it's a well known bias in life expectancy that infant deaths bring down the average "lived to be" date. I suspect you fell victim to bad statistics.

      The popular embrace of a Paleo diet, Ungar and others point out, is based on a stew of misconceptions

      Hmm, that sounds like something you would say, but it's ri

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:50PM (#47753123)

        The article mentions "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables" so your "for example" has holes in it.

        What does that have to do with anything? The context of that quote is:

        The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy, a way of eating thatâ(TM)s on the rise throughout the developing world, will take a greater toll on the worldâ(TM)s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

        The article here does NOT imply that paleo diets revolved around MODERN "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables." It instead merely hints that the environmental consequences of trying to raise more meat for billions of people requires a lot more resources than those MODERN foods.

        The fact is that agriculture has selectively bred many of these things over the millennia to make them tastier, more nutrient dense, higher in sugar, etc. The kind of "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables" that were actually around hundreds of thousands of years ago were vastly different (in most cases) from what we pick off plants in our gardens and fields today -- even the "unrefined" ones.

        So, GP's absolutely correct on this point. Human selective breeding has significantly changed both plant and animal sources of nutrients. Thus, no matter how "unrefined" our food is, very few things at a modern supermarket would have been available to a hunter-gatherer hundreds of thousands of years ago... hence, the "paleo" diet is mostly wishful thinking.

      • "Then there is the question of physical activity. During the stone age, getting too fat and/or being too inactive, were probably the least of your worries."

        OPs most important point... Part of just a bunch of ignorance? Or did you intend to go on and cover that too?

    • People in the Minoan civilization (which is still more modern than paleolithic) had a life expectancy of only 30 years. However, you have to factor in that they were completely vulnerable to disease and even trivial accidents could be fatal. I would therefore not call them unhealthy, as those individuals died probably at infancy.

      Back then food was hard to come by and demanded a great deal of physical activity. So I would go on a limp and say that, having survived your childhood, you would be rather healthy.

    • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:33PM (#47752981)

      I doubt so-called "Paleolithic diets" are anything like people ate during that.

      Yes. The classic debunking, from someone who is actually an expert on early human diets, is here [youtube.com].

      Now, before all you Paleo fanatics get worked up, yes -- this speaker overemphasizes the carnivore aspect of many so-called "Paleo" diets. And there are some other details she gets wrong, but mostly in stereotyping modern "paleo diets," not in her knowledge of actual ancient diets.

      For example, people ate fruit then, but it was seasonal, and very different from the fruit we eat today. Same with veggies. The stuff we eat is nothing like the stuff that grew in the wild.

      Yes, and this is the critical thing from that video. Even if you dismiss all the stuff she says about overemphasizing meat, the reality is that our plant-based foods are completely different from the plants that would have been eaten before the dawn of agriculture. We've selectively bred fruits and vegetables for millennia to make them tastier to us, and more concentrated in sugars and other nutrients. (And we've likewise selectively bred our meat sources so that they are very different in composition from wild game.)

      So, yeah, it's basically IMPOSSIBLE to eat "like a caveman did" with normal foods from the supermarket. The "paleo" diet might be a few steps closer to some sort of early hominid diet, but it's still significantly closer to the modern diet than it is to anything eaten hundreds of thousands of years ago.

      You can buy all the "unrefined" and "natural" and "raw" crap you want, but unless you're seeking out the wild forms of ancient plants (and probably eating many times the amount of fiber even vegetarians eat today) and hunting wild game, chances are your "paleo diet" is as far from the "caveman" as the diet of a rich nobleman 200 years ago would be.

      • (Just to be clear, "paleo diets" may have some benefits for some people. I'm NOT saying the "paleo diet" ideas are necessarily bad. I'm just saying that in most cases they're NOT actually very much like true hunter-gatherer diets before the dawn of agriculture.)
    • by Jesrad (716567)

      Also, people during that age were not especially healthy. They probably died in their 40s.

      Wrong. [wiley.com] Half of them died young (typically before the age of 5) and the rest lived to their 60s and 70s, sometimes even older. Reconstructed modal age for primitive hunter-gatherers is 62 to 64 years of age.

      There is a marked reduction in average size, and sudden appearance of generalized tooth decay, traces from infectious diseases and formerly absent bone deformities in our record of skeletons from the paleolithic to n

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:48PM (#47752297)
    It's like calling modern man "manhattanman" because a fraction of the world's population lives in Manhattan.
  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:56PM (#47752363) Homepage Journal

    So you mean a 300 gram bag of Doritos, a container of chipotle humus, two beers and a Lindt chocolate bar *isn't* what my ancestors ate?

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday August 25, 2014 @06:57PM (#47752371)

    The main reason "caveman" didn't die from high blood pressure is probably that something else got him first.

    Human, like every animal, is built to guarantee the raise of another generation. Not more. For that, reaching the ripe age of 40 is plenty. More than plenty actually, considering that our species gets fertile around the age of 12-14 years of age (that we don't accept that 'cause we want our kids to be kids longer isn't natures fault). So actually reaching 30 should do. 40 is already a bit of a luxury and would almost enable us to get another generation raised. Some may even reach 50, or even 60 and serve as teachers to propagate learned wisdom.

    Huh? Yeah, we can write now. We're talking "caveman" here, don't we?

    So don't worry about high blood pressure or living unhealthy lives. You'll still get to be 30 or even 40. What more could you expect, caveman? Anything more is a luxury!

    • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:18PM (#47752505)
      Absolutely.

      It's funny, funny strange not funny ha-ha, but increased longevity enables us to die of more cancers and organ failures than our generational predecessors were allowed.

      That's correct kids... dying slowly at eight-five is a luxury.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday August 25, 2014 @08:49PM (#47753113) Homepage

      Actually, that's not quite true. Having an extended family (ie, grandparents) has been noted in many cultures to afford a survival advantage. It allows for more education time, more time for other family members to get food and shelter and allows for skills to be honed and passed on. So humans may well be different in this respect although extended social groups are found in many animal genera.

  • Citation Needed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Flyskippy1 (625890) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:00PM (#47752401) Homepage

    The assertion that foraging people "traditionally didn't develop high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular disease" needs a big 'Citation Needed' mark.

    This Slate article does a great job of explaining how decades of peer reviewed papers on the Inuit all make the mistake of assuming lower cardiovascular disease based on a flawed assumption in a single paper in the 1970s:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think we need a new rule in science. Nobody should be allowed to cite an experimental research paper unless the experiment was independently duplicated, or the paper is directly relevant to duplication of that experiment.

      I know it would be a huuuuugeeeeeee burden, but I imagine that in a few years time science would become more efficient and faster at churning out useful research.

      I know this will never happen. It would result in significantly fewer papers being published, which would undermine career traj

  • by Holdstrong (647528) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:28PM (#47752571)

    This claim: "So far studies of foragers like the Tsimane, Arctic Inuit, and Hadza have found that these peoples traditionally didn't develop high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular disease."

    Is based on studies that have been called into question recently. One researcher went so far as to call them "deeply flawed" and wondered if anyone had actually read the original studies.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

    "The 2014 study has found that Inuit do have similar rates of heart disease compared to non-Inuit populations, and that death rates due to stroke are "very high." "Most of the researchers never read [the original 1970s] papers. They just took it at face value that what they said is so,"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Philus (58941)

      Want to see some deeply flawed studies and legislation processes? Look up Ancel Keys, how his research into fat/cholesterol as a cause of heart disease formed the basis of the McGovern committee's reccomendations to cut saturated fats and eat more "healthy whole grains". Or something along those lines.

      "we Senators don't have the luxury that a research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in." ~ Senator McGovern.

      The link between saturated fats/cholesterol and heart disease have yet

  • by steveha (103154) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:29PM (#47752577) Homepage

    I think there is something to the "Paleolithic Diet" idea, but many people are Doing It Wrong.

    The prehistoric people exercised all the time, every day. They ate meat when they could get it, which wasn't 100% of the time, and the meat they got was lean. They ate fruit when they could get it, which was almost never (e.g. berries in late summer, a few dried berries other parts of the year). They ate a variety of high-fiber roots, leaves, and other gatherable food. They didn't eat any processed carbs (white flour, white sugar, etc.).

    If we lived more like that, we really would be healthier.

    But some people take the idea to places I don't think are good. For example, making a "paleo cake" with no processed sugar sounds good, but if it has large amounts of ground nuts and cooked fruit, and is sweetened with maple syrup... it's really not something that the prehistoric people would have eaten and I'm dubious about the benefit.

    Also, it is possible for people to adapt to changing conditions in a few generations; it's not necessarily true that evolution works so slowly that the diet from 10,000 years ago is still perfect for us. TFA talked about lactose tolerance in adults. In the cave-man days there was no evolutionary advantage to being able to consume dairy as an adult, but once people started keeping livestock and harvesting dairy, that changed. Now many people can digest lactose as adults.

    TL;DR Eat lean protein, complex carbs rather than simple carbs, and get lots of exercise, and you will be healthy.

    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:55PM (#47752731) Homepage Journal
      That's why I only eat the meat I catch using nothing but a club. Chasing those damn deer through the parking lot does really help keep off the fat, and keeps the neighbors talking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Oligonicella (659917)

      They ate fruit when they could get it, which was almost never (e.g. berries in late summer, a few dried berries other parts of the year).

      Nope. May apples, mulberries, currents, chokecherries, rose hips, elderberries, cherries, apples, pears, persimmons, hawthorn apples; I just took you from spring into late fall after frost and didn't even cover all the available fruits.

      I've picked and made jams, pies and such out of all of the above. (You haven't truly lived until you've had chokecherry or elderberry

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      My understanding was that the current theory is that it was the move to an agrarian diet that brought about a more active lifestyle and that hunter gatherers would have led a more bursty lifestyle with short periods of food gathering followed by periods of rest (you don't exercise just for the sake of it when you're trying to survive). More active than your average cube dweller for sure but certainly not "all the time"

    • Well, we're at least half in agreement. Our brains are programmed to favor dietary items which are high in fat and high in saccarides, Which isn't surprising as we evolved to survive, and high caloric intake was valuable in survival. We've just gotten smart enough not to need such a large volume of input to produce the energy we need to survive. All the processed sugars and fat which are bad for us (well, most of them) exist in exactly the same form in paleolithic era foods - they're just not surrounded by

    • I'm very sorry but your approach does not lend itself to a book (or better yet, a series of books), supplements, a prime time guest appearance on Oprah, glossy magazine advertisements, special (and expensive) foods or really any other aspect of modern merchandising.

      Please re work your proposal and come back to us when you've figured out how to make money off of it.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        I'm very sorry but your approach does not lend itself to a book (or better yet, a series of books), supplements,...

        But it would make a dandy newsletter, which I would be happy to subscribe to.

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday August 25, 2014 @10:42PM (#47753641) Homepage

      > They ate meat when they could get it, which wasn't 100% of the time, and the meat they got was lean.

      Um... no.

      If they had an animal, they used all of it. They didn't waste any of it. They would not have turned up their nose at any part of the animal because of modern diet fads.

      They would have eaten the fat and been happy to have it.

      You can see how the same pragmatism manifests in older food cultures where pure fat may be eaten as a delicacy. Humans for the vast majority of history have eaten whatever they could acquire and digest. Doesn't matter if you're talking about a farmer or a hunter/gatherer.

  • by msauve (701917) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:33PM (#47752611)
    How is the human race ever going to develop the genes needed for a modern diet unless we let fatty burgers, salty fries, and sugary drinks kill off the weak ones before they breed so the gene pool can improve?

    If you're eating a "stone age diet," you're part of the problem.
    • How? Genetic Engineering. Much faster than waiting around for Natural Selection. And much more ethical than Artificial Selection (Eugenics).

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      It's the new slogan: "McDonalds, just think of it as evolution in action".

      (With apologies to Niven and, (my lawyers tell me), McDonalds)

    • by istartedi (132515)

      The trouble with this is that after fatty food their attractiveness as mates declines. That's where beer comes in. Don't forget the beer.

      • First off, not to come off as a snob, I've always believed that 'beauty is just a light switch away'.

        But it has been my observation, no women is so nasty she can't get herself knocked up. A light switch can't change the smell, but some dudes are vikings.

        Poor kids.

      • The trouble with this is that after fatty food their attractiveness as mates declines. That's where beer comes in. Don't forget the beer.

        They say that beauty is in the eye of the beerholder.

  • Nuff said.

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:43PM (#47752671)

    Folks, please remember that this is a "fad". There's nothing of intelligence involved in choosing the diet (might make more sense, based on some of the research I've seen, to infect themselves with parasites, as our ancestors were, to retrain their immune systems and reduce inflammation). Providing logical arguments against the "Paleo diet" to a population that has self-selected against intelligence, is, itself, not logical.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      Not completely out of line as there is some evidence weight gain may be influenced by gut fauna. I await more evidence but my hunch is that such will be forthcoming.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        I'm not fat, I've just got giant gut fauna.

        I think there was a band at Lollapalooza this year called, "Gut Fauna". They're a Finnish folk-metal band, so there are umlaut's over the "u"s.

  • Keyword: Believe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roninchurchill (2991659) on Monday August 25, 2014 @07:58PM (#47752745)

    "A lot of people believe there is a discordance between what we eat today and what our ancestors evolved to eat"

    "The popularity of these so-called caveman or Stone Age diets is based on the idea that modern humans evolved to eat the way hunter-gatherers did during the Paleolithic..."

    The emphasized words sum up the evidence backing up a "Paleo Diet"--it's a belief system, not science. We have a bevy of research to support the health benefits of foods such as legumes and whole grains and barely a scrap which suggests they cause harm. Is there a chance some future research will demonstrate that whole grains and legumes cause health problems that more than offset any potential benefits? Sure, but there's also people holding out for proof that homeopathy works.

    I'm not saying you can't eat a Paleo Diet and be perfectly healthy, I'm just saying that it's pseudoscience based on an appeal to wisdom and an appeal to nature. We might also argue that humans haven't had time to evolve for wearing clothing (based off low circulating vitamin D levels) and that therefore we should definitely stop wearing them, and there is a similar paucity of research. Suffice to say: it's not science, it's a pure-and-simple belief system.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      time to evolve for wearing clothing (based off low circulating vitamin D levels) and that therefore we should definitely stop wearing them,

      Newsletter, etc.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      People are all excited about the Paleo diet because they lose weight on it.

      But the fact is, if you eat a highly restricted diet of any kind, you're probably going to lose weight. People get on the Paleo diet and become zealots, making sure that nary an iota of grain goes into their mouths. If you're paying that much attention to the food you're eating, you're probably not throwing garbage down your throat like most fat people do. So yes, you'll lose weight.

      You'll also lose weight if you restrict your di

  • Its largely a result of some bad statistics on Inuit peoples in north america.

    That is almost the entire basis of the diet which is insufficient to back up a thesis of this scope. And the stats in question were shown to be wrong/flawed... thus rendering the basis of the diet nonexistent.

  • I was only reading the other day about some "Sonic" gene.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday August 25, 2014 @09:09PM (#47753233) Homepage Journal

    I'm pretty sure our ancestors didn't evolve to eat corn that was licensed by Monsanto. Just a thought.

    But I understand GMO foods are going to totally fix world hunger, which is why they're primarily sold in the US, where judging from the girth of people I see on the street, everybody's hungry as hell.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I'm pretty sure our ancestors didn't evolve to eat corn that was licensed by Monsanto. Just a thought.

      But I understand GMO foods are going to totally fix world hunger, which is why they're primarily sold in the US, where judging from the girth of people I see on the street, everybody's hungry as hell.

      We are guinea pigs for the rest of the world. Looks like it's working.

    • by countach (534280)

      Most likely (or at least hopefully) the chemical makeup of Monsanto corn is the same as regular corn.

    • Actually, given that corn is a new world crop, humans didn't evolve to eat it at all. But yes, I'm sure that a legal attribute totally affects the digestibility. Humans can somehow digest thousands upon thousands of proteins from New World crops but one more, oh, too much. Right, that's how it works. And I can't imagine how improving food production will prevent hunger, that's like saying seat belts will make cars safer.

  • The paper missed the omega 3 / omega 6 imbalance, which helps explaining why eating a lot of meat did not cause heart diseases and cancer up to the middle ages while it does now (hint: that meat was not fed with omega-6 rich plants such as soy).
  • The notion that we haven't had time to "evolve" to adapt to a modern diet is a bit absurd. Because here we are: eating it and living as much as a century on it. It doesn't take millions of years for natural selection to eliminate genetic lines that can't thrive on a particular diet; the mere thousands in which humans switched from hunter-gatherers into farmers has been enough. That doesn't mean that the rapid biotechnological change of the past century or two hasn't produced a diet that we can all do wel

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @12:34AM (#47754097)
    The claim that the Inuit have lower incidence of heart disease has not been borne out by the facts. And their incidence of stroke is high:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]

  • by raque (457836) <{moc.cam} {ta} {llawmij}> on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @01:38AM (#47754271)

    The October 2013 issue of Scientific American had an article named "Long Live the Humans". It concerned why humans live so long. Part of the authors analysis was the radiological examination of as many mummies as they could find from all over the world. What that showed was a distribution of chronic diseases very similar to modern populations. This argues against the premise that diet is the root of modern chronic diseases. The article argues they are genetic in their origin.

    Here is a link to the article. It is only a preview, they want to to give them money to read it. A point I find reasonable.

    http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

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