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    brahnamin's Avatar
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    Ancient Diet?

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    Dunno, maybe it's my own ignorance (and if that's the case I'd love to have the condition remedied) but whenever folks get to talking about (ie - justifying) paleo style diets I always get the impression of an ice-age European style diet. Lots of meats, carbs in season as available, almost no starches and very little fruit (in season, less sweet than modern fruits, etc).

    And of course great weight is placed on the fact that this style of eating is millions of years old and agricultural eating is only 10,000 years old.

    But we really didn't start drifting north of the tropics before say 50,000 years ago.

    During the 2 million years prior to that point we were still hunter gatherers, but in a tropical environment which would have included a considerably greater variety of plant foods in fair abundance most of the year round. Much of the year even fruits (big tropical sweet fruits) would have been available for the bulk of the year.

    That's without even getting into the differences between the diets of inland vs coastal peoples.

    Still probably fairly low on starches and almost no grain consumption. But maybe not as meat-reliant as supposed (or maybe it was just me supposing that).

    Guess I don't have a specific point or question, just wondering what other folks might be thinking.

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    Red Wire's Avatar
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    Theres an interesting series of articles on a similar line of thinking over at the primal wisdom blog, the latest one I've linked here

    His main point seems to be that our ancestors had relatively reliable access to starch and glucose and it formed the basis of the diet.

    Steven Guyenet over at Whole Health Source has posted on similar topics as well.

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    Interesting posts. I hope some of the highly knowledgeable people on this list who hold contrary views will critique Matesz's article.

    I find it hard to believe that fruit and starch is "bad for you," but that doesn't mean it is optimum for a given individual. As people age, for example, they tend to consume less protein and become physically weak, which is profoundly destructive to their well being and ability to function.

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    Alex Good's Avatar
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    This is just my logic, but... You can produce sugar from protein (and fat if you count ketones) and fat from sugar. You cannot produce protein from any other energy source (to my knowledge). Therefore, protein is the most needed of all energy sources. Meat has alot of protein. Meat has always been what we need the most.
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    I think fit, active people can eat at the high end of the primal carb target and still be quite healthy. You can eat a fair amount of yam and still stay under 150g of carb per day.

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    Red Wire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Good View Post
    This is just my logic, but... You can produce sugar from protein (and fat if you count ketones) and fat from sugar. You cannot produce protein from any other energy source (to my knowledge). Therefore, protein is the most needed of all energy sources. Meat has alot of protein. Meat has always been what we need the most.
    Not necessarily. In most situations, protein being used for energy purposes is usually a bad thing for your body. Most of the protein your consuming should go to structural uses, and other specialized functions in the body. I think you've got the logic backwards.

    Think of it this way. If you starve a human being, whats the very last thing they will be able to burn for energy once glycogen and fat are at or near exhaustion? Muscles and other proteins are usually the last thing cannibalized by the body in a food deprived situation. In a survival situation, if the only thing you have left to tap into is protein, you'd want your body to posses the bio-chemical pathways necessary for turning that molecule into both fat and glucose or something similar in order to keep most of your bodily functions running, especially keeping the brain stable for as long as possible. Burning protein is not an ideal situation and it is not the most needed of all energy sources.
    Last edited by Red Wire; 06-02-2011 at 08:05 PM.

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    This link to a wiki was posted in the Primal Research section.

    It's well worth a look-

    health_and_diets - health

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    Alex Good's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Wire View Post
    Not necessarily. In most situations, protein being used for energy purposes is usually a bad thing for your body. Most of the protein your consuming should go to structural uses, and other specialized functions in the body. I think you've got the logic backwards.

    Think of it this way. If you starve a human being, whats the very last thing they will be able to burn for energy once glycogen and fat are at or near exhaustion? Muscles and other proteins are usually the last thing cannibalized by the body in a food deprived situation. In a survival situation, if the only thing you have left to tap into is protein, you'd want your body to posses the bio-chemical pathways necessary for turning that molecule into both fat and glucose or something similar in order to keep most of your bodily functions running, especially keeping the brain stable for as long as possible. Burning protein is not an ideal situation and it is not the most needed of all energy sources.
    You really didn't get my point. You NEED to take in protein. It is essential to live. Fat and carbs help you thrive (fat moreso than carbs, in my experience) but if it came down to the one energy source you can't live without, it's protein.
    Animals have not only fat (for energy), but a good amount of protein as well when compared to plants. And don't give me that spew about nuts because those are far too difficult to harvest and prepare to have been a substantial part of our diet.
    In order for any human larger than a shrew to survive, meat must be consumed. Please note that this is discounting modern production methods. Automatic shelling machines make nuts easier to get.
    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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    I have been trying to get the human time line straight. As I understand, the time of plentiful fruit ended before the genus homo came along. It had gotten colder. Hominids probably scavenged whatever they could. It got even colder around the time homo sapiens came along. We may have hunkered down on the coast where it would have been warmer, perhaps the south east tip of Africa. Our Neanderthal kin probably fit the "caveman" stereotype. We probably didn't. We likely were eating whatever we could get near the ocean. When the ice started receding, we mostly started leaving along coastlines. (All of our ancestors came from Africa around 50-60,000 years ago.) So maybe the ideal diet is food that comes from the sea or nearby. Just a thought.

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    Red Wire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Good View Post
    You really didn't get my point. You NEED to take in protein. It is essential to live. Fat and carbs help you thrive (fat moreso than carbs, in my experience) but if it came down to the one energy source you can't live without, it's protein.
    Animals have not only fat (for energy), but a good amount of protein as well when compared to plants. And don't give me that spew about nuts because those are far too difficult to harvest and prepare to have been a substantial part of our diet.
    In order for any human larger than a shrew to survive, meat must be consumed. Please note that this is discounting modern production methods. Automatic shelling machines make nuts easier to get.
    I don't disagree that protein is absolutely essential for survival. Your referring to it as an essential source of ENERGY is what I'm disagreeing with. It can be used for energy, the body would prefer it not be. If all you had to eat was straight protein, i.e. lean meat with absolutely no fat, you wouldn't live very long or well. Humans are omnivores for a reason.
    Last edited by Red Wire; 06-02-2011 at 10:03 PM.

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