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Adjusting Macro Nutrient Mix to simulate ancestral diets.

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  • Adjusting Macro Nutrient Mix to simulate ancestral diets.

    The Paleo approach attempts to simulate our ancestral diets as much as possible. As we all know the human genome has hardly changed since the emergence of behaviourally-modern humans in East Africa 50,000 to 100,000 years ago; genetically, man remains adapted for the foods consumed then. The best available estimates suggest that those ancestors obtained about 35% of their dietary energy from fats, 35% from carbohydrates and 30% from protein. Saturated fats contributed approximately 7.5% total energy and harmful trans-fatty acids contributed negligible amounts. Polyunsaturated fat intake was high, with omega 6: omeg 3 approaching 2:1 (v. 10:1 today). Cholesterol consumption was substantial, perhaps 480 mg/d. Carbohydrate came from uncultivated fruits and vegetables, approximately 50% energy intake as compared with the present level of 16% energy intake for Americans. High fruit and vegetable intake and minimal grain and dairy consumption made ancestral diets base-yielding, unlike today’s acid-producing pattern. Honey comprised 2–3% energy intake as compared with the 15% added sugars contribute currently. Fibre consumption was high, perhaps 100 g/d, but phytate content was minimal. Vitamin, mineral and (probably) phytochemical intake was typically 1.5 to eight times that of today .There have been few subsequent genetic changes despite the agricultural and industrial innovations of recent millennia. Hence, I believe optimal human nutrition in the present should reprise the essentials of what it was for the earliest behaviorally-modern ancestors. It seems to me that perhaps most Paleo followers may be cosuming too high a ratio of fats and proteins and not enough carbs.

    Here is a good research paper on the topic - http://www.gregdavis.ca/share/paleo-...yd%20Eaton.pdf
    Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

    https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

  • #2
    Which ancestral diet and in what area is what it comes to. Yeah, eaton's stuff is the basis for the cordain version of paleo. The criticism of the cordain approach based on the eaton research has been that they seem to assume that our ancestors did not make use of the fat in this "lean meat" or just threw away the viceral fat....which is a wasteful behavior not actually seen in observed cultures. This could bump the overall macro percentages significantly considering the nutrient/caloric density of fat. No doubt Eaton is one of the big dawgs as far as paleo research goes though.

    BTW...the 150g carb load is actually 30% carbs for a 2000 calorie diet. Pretty darn close really. I think a slightly lower carb load for myself works well because I'm not nearly as active as a human was 50-100,000 years ago. Robb Wolfe is fond of saying eat carbs to fuel your level of activity.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 12-22-2012, 04:35 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
      Which ancestral diet and in what area is what it comes to. Yeah, eaton's stuff is the basis for the cordain version of paleo. The criticism of the cordain approach based on the eaton research has been that they seem to assume that our ancestors did not make use of the fat in this "lean meat" or just threw away the viceral fat....which is a wasteful behavior not actually seen in observed cultures. This could bump the overall macro percentages significantly considering the nutrient/caloric density of fat. No doubt Eaton is one of the big dawgs as far as paleo research goes though.
      I think going lower carb initially is the right approach until you are fat adapted and to get your weight down to what you want it to be. However once you have reached your target I think its best to ramp up the carbs somewhat - not with grains but with vegetables, some fruits and possibly white rice. This has been my experience and seems to be working great as my energy levels, sleep patterns, sex drive etc are all excellent.
      Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

      https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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      • #4
        I agree with Neckhammer.

        I don't understand Cordain at all. If you see traditional people eat a mammal they never divide out the filet mignon and porterhouse parts and toss the rest. For a small mammal they will stick the whole head in the ground, bake it for a few hours, and then put the whole head on the dinner table and the whole family will graze off of it until only the large bones are left (the Irish did this with pig heads until just recently). For large mammals, the meaty bits are chopped up, and so is the stomach, the lungs, and all the other organs and it is all cooked up together with a few greens or shrooms. There's nothing particularly "lean" or "low-fat" about any of these cooking methods.

        iow, I'm glad I stumbled across Mark before I read Cordain. Mark made sense to me with what I knew of the diet of ancient Egyptians (just found out Eades makes the same connection), but Cordain doesn't jive with reality as I have seen it living in non-first-world countries.

        And, yeah, Mark isn't actually pretty low-carb. I don't have 21-Day plan handy, but I'm pretty sure the "sample" diet he has in there has pretty equal ratios of fat/protein/carbs in grams. Obviously, this works out to more calories from fat.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SarahW View Post
          I agree with Neckhammer.

          I don't understand Cordain at all. If you see traditional people eat a mammal they never divide out the filet mignon and porterhouse parts and toss the rest. For a small mammal they will stick the whole head in the ground, bake it for a few hours, and then put the whole head on the dinner table and the whole family will graze off of it until only the large bones are left (the Irish did this with pig heads until just recently). For large mammals, the meaty bits are chopped up, and so is the stomach, the lungs, and all the other organs and it is all cooked up together with a few greens or shrooms. There's nothing particularly "lean" or "low-fat" about any of these cooking methods.

          iow, I'm glad I stumbled across Mark before I read Cordain. Mark made sense to me with what I knew of the diet of ancient Egyptians (just found out Eades makes the same connection), but Cordain doesn't jive with reality as I have seen it living in non-first-world countries.

          And, yeah, Mark isn't actually pretty low-carb. I don't have 21-Day plan handy, but I'm pretty sure the "sample" diet he has in there has pretty equal ratios of fat/protein/carbs in grams. Obviously, this works out to more calories from fat.
          I agree on the eating the whole animal thing and not worrying about fat. The point I was making, backed up by the article I attached, was the macro ratios of ancestral diets composed of 35% calories in fat, 35% in Carbohydrates and 30% protein based on their research. I was mostly getting 50 to 60% of my calories from fat during the first 6 months, since reaching my goal weight I have switched to a more balance approach similar to that outlined by Mark. There are a lot of people posting on this blog that are sold on LC or VLC for extended periods and may be suffering some negative side effects as a result
          Last edited by canuck416; 12-24-2012, 11:02 AM.
          Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

          https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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          • #6
            check out the new addition of the perfect health diet. first 6 chapters argue for this in depth, OP, except a little more fat & a little less protein.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jakey View Post
              check out the new addition of the perfect health diet. first 6 chapters argue for this in depth, OP, except a little more fat & a little less protein.
              Thanks jakey, I'll check it out.
              Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

              https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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              • #8
                ^ Yup they come to more of a 50f/30c/20p sorta ratio, but they do so through several evolutionary arguments that are quite interesting.

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                • #9
                  Interesting paper! He makes some good points, but I'm not convinced that everyone should model their diet after what our earliest ancestors ate in east Africa. I think there's room for a bit of leeway, I'd say up till what people ate in various parts of the world until the Upper Paleolithic. The principle is the same, even if the macros vary.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by canuck416 View Post
                    I agree on the eating the whole animal thing and not worrying about fat. The point I was making, backed up by the article I attached, was the macro ratios of ancestral diets composed of 35% calories in fat, 35% in Carbohydrates and 30% protein based on their research. I was mostly getting 50 to 60% of my calories from fat during the first 6 months, since reaching my goal weight I have switched to a more balance approach similar to that outlined by Mark. There are a lot of people posting on this blog that are sold on LC or VLC for extended periods and may be suffering some side negative effects as a result
                    I would say that the people who continue in VLC tend to be those who have specific health issues that the are addressing. For example, Paleobird uses VLC to control seizures, and there's a lot of science to back that up.

                    Likewise, most of the people on the boards who are VLC are people who are still trying to loose weight. Those who are at goal weight -- like yourself -- notice that they do need to increase their carbs -- which follows what Mark says about "maintenance levels." And athletes, he asserts, will need even more carbohydrates than that.

                    For myself, I'm at the 80-125g carbohydrate per day, which puts me at 20-30% carbs on average (1600 cals/day average). I was always at my goal weight (ie, I didn't do this to loose weight). I am fat adapted, though, too.

                    I mostly eat "lean meats." I know it's all against the general rules and stuff, but I mostly eat roast chicken, fish, and steak/mince that is whatever is least expensive. I don't buy "extra lean" or whatever, we just buy what is in the shop. And it's usually beef or venison. I also eat eggs (3 per day on average). It's not very diverse, I admit. But, it's also relatively low-fat overall.

                    What is diverse is our veggies -- which is seasonal -- and then we also have fruit.

                    Our fats come from whatever is in the meat/eggs, butter, olive oil (on veggies, not cooked), and the coconut cream that we have on berries (DH has this every day; I have it about 2-3 times a week, tops) or in our thai sauces (1-2x week).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                      I would say that the people who continue in VLC tend to be those who have specific health issues that the are addressing. For example, Paleobird uses VLC to control seizures, and there's a lot of science to back that up.

                      Likewise, most of the people on the boards who are VLC are people who are still trying to loose weight. Those who are at goal weight -- like yourself -- notice that they do need to increase their carbs -- which follows what Mark says about "maintenance levels." And athletes, he asserts, will need even more carbohydrates than that.

                      For myself, I'm at the 80-125g carbohydrate per day, which puts me at 20-30% carbs on average (1600 cals/day average). I was always at my goal weight (ie, I didn't do this to loose weight). I am fat adapted, though, too.

                      I mostly eat "lean meats." I know it's all against the general rules and stuff, but I mostly eat roast chicken, fish, and steak/mince that is whatever is least expensive. I don't buy "extra lean" or whatever, we just buy what is in the shop. And it's usually beef or venison. I also eat eggs (3 per day on average). It's not very diverse, I admit. But, it's also relatively low-fat overall.

                      What is diverse is our veggies -- which is seasonal -- and then we also have fruit.

                      Our fats come from whatever is in the meat/eggs, butter, olive oil (on veggies, not cooked), and the coconut cream that we have on berries (DH has this every day; I have it about 2-3 times a week, tops) or in our thai sauces (1-2x week).
                      Agreed. Sounds like you and I are on very similar Paleo paths. Although I try to eat pastured, free range, organic and local meats when possible. Haven't got into all the organ meats (kidney, liver, brain, heart etc) as of yet.
                      Last edited by canuck416; 12-23-2012, 03:46 PM.
                      Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

                      https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kata View Post
                        Interesting paper! He makes some good points, but I'm not convinced that everyone should model their diet after what our earliest ancestors ate in east Africa. I think there's room for a bit of leeway, I'd say up till what people ate in various parts of the world until the Upper Paleolithic. The principle is the same, even if the macros vary.
                        I agree that there is some leeway, especially for those with specific health challenges. The original Paleo premise, as I understand it, was to get as close to our ancestral dietary habits as possible so that we are in sync with our genetic predispositions. So I always find it interesting to delve into research that reveals pertinent info on the subject.
                        Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

                        https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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                        • #13
                          check out the new addition of the perfect health diet. first 6 chapters argue for this in depth, OP, except a little more fat & a little less protein.
                          check out here

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by UverHlfod View Post
                            check out the new addition of the perfect health diet. first 6 chapters argue for this in depth, OP, except a little more fat & a little less protein.
                            check out here
                            Thanks UverHfod, jackey mentioned this as well, I'll make sure to check out the book when I get a chance. For those interested in The Perfect Health Diet, here is a link - http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/
                            Last edited by canuck416; 12-23-2012, 02:38 PM.
                            Recent Blog: http://www.peakperformanceradio.net/...y-john-saville

                            https://www.facebook.com/PaleoJourne...?ref=bookmarks

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by canuck416 View Post
                              I think going lower carb initially is the right approach until you are fat adapted and to get your weight down to what you want it to be. However once you have reached your target I think its best to ramp up the carbs somewhat - not with grains but with vegetables, some fruits and possibly white rice. This has been my experience and seems to be working great as my energy levels, sleep patterns, sex drive etc are all excellent.
                              This makes sense on paper and I'm sure I've said the same thing myself. However, it doesn't match my personal experience at all.

                              I stayed low carb for a long time and no longer lost any more weight. Low carb helped me lose weight at first, but didn't just keep on going. Recently I increased my carbs immensely and have neither lost nor gained. I did not need to add carbs to stop myself from wasting away, in other words. Also, the carbs or the lack of carbs has had no difference in effect on my sleep patterns, my sex drive (which pretty much doesn't exist) or energy levels.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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