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Studies that support the Primal Diet?

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  • Studies that support the Primal Diet?

    I can't find any studies that support a Primal diet on this website. That is, evidence of actual human beings during the period of 10,000 to 1 million years ago eating that way that this website suggests. I hope you all can inundate me with the science because I love this diet and way of living, but I think our anatomy suggests we evolved eating primarily plants. I hope to be enlightened.

  • #2
    Check the research section of the forum - there are tons of related articles there
    Karin

    A joyful heart is good medicine

    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

    Mmmmm. Real food is good.

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

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    • #3
      Do your own study.

      Go to your nearest natural land area - bush, woods, forest, open grassland, whatever.

      See how many abundant, naturally-occurring edible plants you can find and see how long you can live on them.

      There's your science.

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      • #4
        I suspect we did evolve eating mostly plants - berries, fungus, roots, leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, that kind of thing.

        However, that's not to say most of our calories didn't come from meat and fat. That's a difference concept. It takes a lot of twigs and berries and fungus to match the calorie content of a hunk of meat and fat. In short, I suspect (not "know") that ancient humans derived a lot of calories from meat, but ate a higher volume of plants.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by aussieluke View Post
          Do your own study.

          Go to your nearest natural land area - bush, woods, forest, open grassland, whatever.

          See how many abundant, naturally-occurring edible plants you can find and see how long you can live on them.

          There's your science.
          That depends on your knowledge. Depending on who and where you are and what you know, some people could find quite a lot.

          Also, how many wild animals do you find, just asking to be split-roasted?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by captaineight View Post
            That depends on your knowledge. Depending on who and where you are and what you know, some people could find quite a lot.

            Also, how many wild animals do you find, just asking to be split-roasted?
            Not that many ...but you'd only need one to last you a while.

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            • #7
              Way to be not helpful everyone.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by captaineight View Post
                That depends on your knowledge. Depending on who and where you are and what you know, some people could find quite a lot.

                Also, how many wild animals do you find, just asking to be split-roasted?
                I live in Australia's largest city. The suburb is inundated with possums. The gambol on my roof most nights. A short walk takes me into a national park with wallabies and smaller marsupials. The creeks harbour rats and fish (I've caught bass in my local creek). The estuaries and ocean are teeming with fish, though pollution in the estuaries renders some of them toxic. Some of those estuaries still have the remains of Aboriginal fish traps.

                I'm sure the local Aborigines could show me how to gather edible plants, but the records also show that these pre-agricultural hunter-gathers ate all of the above (maybe excepting the rats which we introduced)
                Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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                • #9
                  This does not refer to paleolithic man, and is only 5200 years old:

                  The Ice Man's diet....

                  Hair is preserved in many burials, but is often overlooked as an alternative material for isotopic analysis. Here we report that the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for the hair of the 5200 year-old Ice Man indicates a primarily vegetarian diet, in agreement with his dental wear pattern.
                  The Ice Man's diet as reflected by the stable nitr... [FASEB J. 1999] - PubMed result

                  I realise it doesn't answer the question. I'm still looking for valid resarch (i.e. not blog entires, etc.) on the paleolithic diet. Coming up a bit empty at the moment.

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                  • #10
                    It is a bit of a diversion from the true implications of the paleo/primal/evolutionary axiom to say that any study expounding upon the diet of paleo man can tell us what is optimal for humans. More plants, more animals, more carbs, more fats, none of this could possibly be discerned by looking at paleo man's diet since there is a stark contrast between momentary adaptation and optimal health. What we can do is look at what foods he didn't eat and infer that we might not be so adapted to those, and look at what types of foods he did eat, and infer that whatever he was getting in significant quantities (vegetation and meat) are things that we might be dependent upon for optimal health, at least in some quantity. But macronutrient ratios are impossible with this approach, only food types.

                    By the way, humans have the anatomy of an animal that eats both plants and animals, hunts the animals with weapons and cooks its food, that can't be compared to any other animal. I infer that we inexorably are adapted to burning fats best because that herbivore (6 million years ago) got most of its calories from fat, fermenting fiber from plants into fats. But we have compromised fermenting power now (our appendix is dead and the gut is marginal) so exogenous fats ought to play a huge role.

                    Better to use the evolutionary axiom for and then looking at the hard evidence for how far we ought to go in any one direction.
                    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                    • #11
                      Here is a review of several scientific papers on the subject, with good references. From what I can gather, it appears that prehistoric human diets were extremely diverse and included a lot of animal proteins as well as plant material. It may be impossible to ever know the exact ratio.

                      It also appears that Neanderthals ate a larger proportion of red meat than early humans, sourced from the mega-fauna that typically co-inhabited the areas in which they lived.

                      Here is an extract:

                      Bocherens (Chapter 19) and Richards (Chapter 20)
                      present back-to-back chapters on the isotopic evidence for
                      the dietary habits of Neanderthals vs. those of Upper Paleolithic humans. Both employ carbon and nitrogen isotope
                      values; of the two, Bocherens’ comes off as stronger because
                      he provides more background detail on methodology and
                      potential caveats, making the paper more accessible to nonspecialists. Consistent with previously published results,
                      Bocherens concludes that Neanderthals obtained much of
                      their dietary protein from large, open-dwelling herbivores;
                      Richards found that while animal protein remained an
                      important component of Upper Paleolithic diets, aquatic
                      foods were more commonly consumed.
                      http://www.paleoanthro.org/journal/c...PA20090276.pdf

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                      • #12
                        Here is another interesting paper.

                        This is only a University graduate thesis, but the author does provide source material.

                        Here is a quote:

                        Paleolithic humans are thought to have
                        consumed mostly fat, protein, fiber and water with minimal or only seasonal contribution
                        from carbohydrates to daily calories (Brand-Miller and Colagiuri 1994). Many groups of
                        modern hunter-gatherers still retain this dietary pattern (Eaton and Konner 1985, Cordain
                        et al. 2000). Although it is likely that plant food contributed to a large proportion of daily
                        calories, especially for inland human groups, wild plants contain more protein and less 63
                        starch than domesticated crops (Brand-Miller and Holt 1998, Eaton et al. 1988, Milton
                        1993, Milton 2002).
                        http://ecommons.txstate.edu/cgi/view...ext=anthroptad

                        Look from about page 55 onwards...

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                        • #13
                          That's some good digging. Indeed, if we are going to go the paleo purist route the logical consequence is fat as a main macronutrient. Fiber=fat, fat=fat. They did eat more protein than I'm eating but the one thing we can surmise is that starch and modern fruit (and especially not white sugar) aren't to be the main macronutrient.

                          I also think that the empirical evidence backs this. Our mitochondria are not adapted to burn carbs for optimal health. Check the awesome Emily Deans' guest post on the main site today and her references. Running the whole brain on carbs definitely ages it prematurely. So does too much protein to the best of my knowledge.
                          Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                          Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                          • #14
                            Here is an extract from Wikipedia (from "Paleolithic"):

                            Paleolithic hunting and gathering peoples ate primarily meat, fish, shellfish, leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts and insects in varying proportions.[91][92] However, there is little direct evidence of the relative proportions of plant and animal foods.[93] According to some anthropologists and advocates of the modern Paleolithic diet, Paleolithic hunter-gatherers consumed a significant amount of meat and possibly obtained most of their food from hunting.[94] Competing hypotheses suggest that Paleolithic humans may have consumed a plant-based diet in general,[55] or that hunting and gathering possibly contributed equally to their diet.[95] One hypothesis is that carbohydrate tubers (plant underground storage organs) may have been eaten in high amounts by pre-agricultural humans.[96][97][98][99] The relative proportions of plant and animal foods in the diets of Paleolithic peoples probably varied between regions, with more meat being necessary in colder regions (which weren't populated by anatomically modern humans till 30,000-50,000 BP).[100]

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                            • #15
                              This bit from wikipedia under "Paleolithic Diet" gives a somewhat opposing view (opposing the consensus of the "primal diet" advocates):

                              Plant to animal ratio

                              The specific plant to animal food ratio in the Paleolithic diet is also a matter of some dispute. The mean diet among modern hunter-gatherer societies is estimated to consist of 64-68% of animal calories and 32-36% of plant calories,[65][86] with animal calories further divided between fished and hunted animals in varying proportions (most typically, with hunted animal food comprising 26-35% of the overall diet). As part of the so-called Man the Hunter paradigm, this ratio was used as the basis of the earliest forms of the Paleolithic diet by Voegtlin, Eaton and others. To this day, many advocates of the Paleolithic diet consider high percentage of animal flesh to be one of the key features of the diet.

                              However, great disparities do exist, even between different modern hunter-gatherer societies. The animal-derived calorie percentage ranges from 25% in the Gwi people of southern Africa, to 99% in Alaskan Nunamiut.[87] The animal-derived percentage value is skewed upwards by polar hunter-gatherer societies, who have no choice but to eat animal food because of the inaccessibility of plant foods. Since those environments were only populated relatively recently (for example, paleo-Indian ancestors of Nunamiut are thought to have arrived to Alaska no earlier than 30,000 years ago), such diets represent recent adaptations rather than conditions that shaped human evolution during much of the Paleolithic. More generally, hunting and fishing tend to provide a higher percentage of energy in forager societies living at higher latitudes. Excluding cold-climate and equestrian foragers results in a diet structure of 52% plant calories, 26% hunting calories, and 22% fishing calories.[86] Furthermore, those numbers may still not be representative of a typical Stone Age diet, since fishing did not become common in many parts of the world until the Upper Paleolithic period 35-40 thousand years ago,[88] and early humans' hunting abilities were relatively limited[dubious – discuss], compared to modern hunter-gatherers, as well (the oldest incontrovertible evidence for the existence of bows only dates to about 8000 BCE,[89] and nets and traps were invented 22,000 to 29,000 years ago.)

                              An extreme version of this line of thought posits that, up until the Upper Paleolithic, humans were frugivores (fruit eaters), who supplemented their meals with carrion, eggs, and small prey such as baby birds and mussels, and, only on rare occasions, managed to kill and consume big game such as antelopes.[90] In his book The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond describes how he was invited on a hunt by a tribe in New Guinea who had retained Stone Age technology and habits of thought in the 20th century. The day's total bag was two baby birds ("weighing about one-third of an ounce each"), a few frogs, and a lot of mushrooms. Although the men of the tribe frequently boasted of the large animals they had killed, when pressed for details, they admitted that large animals were killed only a few times in a hunter's career. Unlike the Stone Age humans, these people did have bows and arrows, and their stone tools were far more advanced than the stone tools found on prehistoric sites, so Professor Diamond thinks it unlikely that prehistoric hunters could have enjoyed a much higher success rate than present day hunter-gatherer tribes.[91][92]
                              This view is supported by the studies of higher apes, particularly chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are closest to humans genetically, sharing more than 98% of their DNA code with humans, and their digestive tract is functionally very similar to that of humans. Chimpanzees are primarily frugivores, but they are sometimes described as opportunistic carnivores, which means that they could and would consume and digest animal flesh, given the opportunity. However, their actual diet in the wild is about 95% plant-based, with the remaining 5% filled with insects, eggs, and baby animals.[93] Some comparative studies of human and higher primate digestive tracts do suggest that humans have evolved to obtain greater amounts of calories from animal foods, allowing them to shrink the size of the gastrointestinal tract, relative to body mass, and to increase the brain mass instead.[83][94] Nevertheless, modern humans' digestive organs and mechanisms, such as dentition, stomach pH, and gut size, remain much closer to chimpanzees than to obligate carnivores or true omnivores such as bears and raccoons.[90][95]
                              In the end, I think it's very difficult to know for sure, although the last line (above) seems to suggest strong evidence that we have evolved on a high plant-diet.

                              Personally, I suspect a diet that was high in high-fiber, low-carbohydrate plant material as well as high in animal proteins. However, I suspect a significant portion of that protein came from insects, grubs, worms and other unpalatable type things. I'm skeptical about the stereotype of the caveman roasting a mammoth for dinner every night (although I'm sure that did occur to some extent).
                              Last edited by captaineight; 04-12-2011, 07:20 PM.

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