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Article about Hadza on BBC news this morning

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  • Article about Hadza on BBC news this morning

    some of you may find this interesting!

    BBC News - Hunter gatherer clue to obesity

  • #2
    Just read that myself, I bet it doesn't get much press though. Small step in the right direction though.


    • #3
      I was just about to post this

      Close but no cigar methinks - "Various factors are involved, including processed foods high in sugar and fat, large portion sizes, and a sedentary lifestyle where cars and machines do most of the daily physical work."

      But yes, a small step in the right direction.

      After the recent guest post, I hope that the masses start coming around to the idea. It's definitely picking up more and more momentum.


      • #4
        Originally posted by zilog View Post
        some of you may find this interesting!

        BBC News - Hunter gatherer clue to obesity
        Yes, thank you, I did. Unfortunately, I also found it a little depressing. Apparently, the study suggests to these people that:

        ... Westerners are growing obese through over-eating rather than having inactive lifestyles, say scientists.

        So previously they were accused of gluttony and sloth -- two of the Seven Deadly Sins.

        Now -- at any rate going by the BBC account -- this group of researchers has got as far as acquitting them of one sin. They're not slothful, only gluttonous. As Gary Taubes has commented when you're giving moral explanations of phenomena that seem to demand a scientific explanation maybe it's because you haven't much understanding of what's going on.

        I found the original paper. Haven't had a chance to look at it yet. It'll be interesting to see if they do say quite what the BBC say they say.

        PLoS ONE: Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity
        Last edited by Lewis; 07-26-2012, 09:50 AM. Reason: spelling


        • #5
          OK, so here, FWIW, is my reading of the article.

          It seems to me far more sophisticated that the BBC have understood it to be. I think that while one could read it in that way, and certain isolated sentences do seem to point that way, there's more going on in the text....

          In the introduction the authors talk about "energy dense foods" it's true. However, they also reference work that's been done on fructose, and they raise the possibility of certain foods' increasing appetite. (So they obviously do not think "a calorie is just a calorie". I should hope not! It matters whether so much (x calories) of Y "pushes" your appetite more than so much (x calories) of Z.)

          ... processed foods high in fructose and other simple sugars that can depress energy expenditure and increase appetite
          Having raise the issue of fructose, they do point out later on that Hadza will, at times, consume quite a lot of honey. (This seems to be true of the Bushmen, too, who value it so much they have been said to risk death to get it, going into areas controlled by hostile Bantu-speaking tribes to collect it.) Here's a chart of honey consumption that comes with the article:

          At this point, I imagined our favorite cardiologist Dr. William Davis pointing out that what they don't eat is wheat. :-)

          In their conclusions, the authors seem to invoke "extra calorie consumption" not as some kind of heuristic terminus but as what will happen when a population consumes much processed, nutrient-poor food that has specific metabolic effects on individuals. And they specifically mention hormonal effects:

          ... interactions between metabolic physiology, physical activity, and the environment are more complex than often thought. For example, work with Ache foragers in Paraguay has shown that levels of leptin, critical in fat sequestration, and testosterone, an anabolic hormone, are substantially lower than levels seen in U.S. adults.
          IMO, this article is very much more interesting, complex, and nuanced than the BBC made it out to be.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Clivalicious View Post
            Close but no cigar methinks - "Various factors are involved, including processed foods high in sugar and fat
            But fair enough, fat does exacerbate the problem, when consumed in conjunction with large amounts of sugar. The sugar gives you the hunger and then the fat means you're taking in even more energy than you otherwise would. That's why low-fat diets work at all (for some people, with huge amounts of willpower, in the short term, etc.).


            • #7
              It's not clear to me that poster #5 even read the paper before commenting. If he did he neglected to give the link to it.

              But then everyone has an opinion ...