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Old 16.10.2011, 15:12
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Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

Curiosity got the better of me and I started researching how to fuel my body better. Currently I thought I ate a very good balanced healthy diet. Quite a lot of excercise and losing lots of KG's inspired me to look at the other 50% of the equation to maintaining a healthy body weight and making sure I am getting the proper nutrition.

I am not for against anything just trying to educate myself better, so I have no other agenda and in no way am I preaching or anything else just the thirst to want to learn and understand better.

For those who do not know what Paleo diet is, it is basically eating a diet of foods similar to what our Anscestors did before the agricultural reveloution here is a link

What I found surprising is that us along with most mamals are lactose intolerant and the modern diet of grains (wheat/barley/corn) and dairy (milk/cheese etc) does anything but help that. Intense farming in some parts of the world means we now feed cattle grain and little grass (I am started to appreciate I can get grass fed meat here in Switzerland now).

No way can we emulate what our Anscestors ate, and possibly it is not substanable for the amount of people on the planet.

Has me really thinking not only about what we eat as a western diet but also the whole food chain, agriculture, food processing etc.

Another interesting fact is that we have diseases in the Western world that do not exist in other parts of the world.

Little could I even believe that my pasa or tin of sardines could possibly be bad for me.

There are some bright minds on this forum so would be interested in other peoples opinions.
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Old 16.10.2011, 15:43
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

It's interesting to note that our bodies haven't evolved much since our primitive days so there's a strong argument here about eating stuff we're able to digest. Technically, we can eat raw meat, fish, etc.

But grains have to be processed to be digestible and that is an unnatural, man-made process that our bodies were not designed for. I read somewhere about ancient Egyptians having a high obesity rate, heart disease, diabetes, etc and there was speculation it was linked to the onset of agriculture.

Milk consumption also started at the onset of agriculture. No surprise that I'm lactose intolerant and can only take gluten in small doses - but ice cream and pasta - oh so good!
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Old 17.10.2011, 08:35
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

Interesting topic for sure. I'm not certain that our primitive ancestors had a healthy digestible diet though. They needed to eat as much as they could and get as fat as they could during the Summer as to last through the Winter months. That inherited trait of stocking extra calories hasn't done us (well some of us) any favors.
And considering that we're no longer running away from saber-toothed tigers, we're not half as active as our forefathers.

I suppose a paleo diet would be very close to the high protein diets ?
Well worth a read, as those diets really do work, but they also can wreck havoc regarding cholesterol levels and accentuate medical conditions.

It's the concept and history that are interesting, but I'd be hesitant to follow it as a diet.

The only diet I have used successfully to maintain a normal weight is dissociating foods and exercise.
The body does need glucose and carbs. I wonder where they got their source in prehistoric days ? Eating liver perhaps ?
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Old 17.10.2011, 09:07
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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The body does need glucose and carbs. I wonder where they got their source in prehistoric days ? Eating liver perhaps ?
They used to eat more 'organ' meat than muscle, including brain and marrow but also root vegtables. Also if I read it correctly it is not supposed to be high protien as the carbs are gained from the vegtable and fruits. Also the meat they eat would have grown up eating grass and not grains/corn and hence were high in Omega 3 and not Omega 6 like we have with most farmed animals today.

All of this is a bit subjective but from a historical point very interesting. They seemed to have pretty good health, it was when they got stuck by disease like measls that it seemed to be game over quite quickly.

If nothing else it is a bit of an education for me and a bit scary reading how modern agricultare and the food processing works but the first to admit I have a lot to learn.
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Old 17.10.2011, 09:24
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

Although a work of fiction, many of the details are based upon research and it's all slipped together in a way that makes it easy to imagine as being as close to a (mostly plausible) story of daily life as we're likely to get...

The Earth's Children series, which starts with Clan of the Cave Bear, sheds some insight into how our ancestors could have lived, including what they ate and how. They weren't just hunters, they were gatherers as well. The thought to start cultivating crops wouldn't have come about if they never ate grains and other vegetation as they encountered them.

Unfortunately, we've tailored the Earth to our wants and needs for so long, there probably are very few places left that show the land exactly as it was then, not only with the forested areas but also fields where long grains like wheat and rye would have grown naturally. We've all seen so many nature shows, it's probably easy to imagine being able to hunt, it's harder (for me at least) to imagine settling for a season next to an open area with tall grasses which would have included wheat, barley and rye, but it pretty surely happened.

Meanwhile, for meats, they surely didn't only eat the same things we raise on farms now but nearly "whatever" they could hunt. As I've read and been told many times that carnivores aren't as tasty as herbivores, it's unlikely our ancestors ate hunting animals very often (they had tastebuds too) and would likely have had a preference for prey animals. Prey animals also would have been more likely to pack on the fat through the summer graze also, so as we head into winter, the meats available would have been fattier, which helped us store fat for the winter as well. Eating hunters would have been useless so far as that goes, after all, you hardly ever see a fat wolf or lion in the wild, much better to eat something that not only gives you protein but many calories to burn as well.


Rambling I think... just woke up... need coffee.
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Old 17.10.2011, 10:28
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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Rambling I think... just woke up... need coffee.
Appreciate your thoughts opens up a whole area I never thought would be of interest to me. I have always had a fasination for history but this goes a bit beyond what I learnt at school.

I will check the link out.
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Old 17.10.2011, 11:58
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

It's all about balance. There's lots of good things in Paleo diet, but as always, most people who hear about it think that they can go overboard and eat 2 steaks per day because it's protein and should be all good. What we should also remember is that meat was a luxury for people in those days and when they got their hands on some they ate it in quantities and in speed that was far from healthy (says the man who ate 6 lobster). We have the means to do it differently and more reasonably with refrigirators and such. Which frees up the space to indulge in things like grains and milk products.

Our society has also advanced enough to find workarounds - whole grain instead of white bread, lactose free milk, etc. You can also take vitamin and Omega supplements, and probiotics to aid our digestion and our immune system. The cavemen were suckas in comparison.
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Old 17.10.2011, 12:58
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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The cavemen were suckas in comparison.
So true, my impression from what they taught me at school was they had a miserable life and died young. Maybe a general and sweeping statement as I have found out some lived to be a bit older but for sure I would rather be living in this day and age.
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Old 18.10.2011, 02:17
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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Also the meat they eat would have grown up eating grass and not grains/corn and hence were high in Omega 3 and not Omega 6 like we have with most farmed animals today.
Yeah, who was the braniac that thought that one up?? Cows get seriously ill from eating grain yet we force it on them and then flood them with antibiotics to clean up the mess. And now we have this "taste" for grain-fed over grass-fed beef so I doubt we'll ever go back to humane feeding practices with these poor creatures.
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Old 18.10.2011, 15:09
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

I just saw a blog post about this today. Worth reading all the comments too - some are from nutritionists who seem to think this (or any) diet may be dangerous. Also bear in mind that she says "grains = gluten" which of course is a load of rubbish. Many grains don't contain gluten.
The comment I thought most interesting was about how our ancestors used to put grains to sprout overnight and then eat them, thus making them more digestible.
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Old 03.10.2012, 19:37
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

Love the paleo diet. There is a blog www.swisspaleo.ch about eating paleo and where to get paleo friendly ingredients here in Switzerland.
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Old 03.10.2012, 23:41
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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Love the paleo diet. There is a blog www.swisspaleo.ch about eating paleo and where to get paleo friendly ingredients here in Switzerland.
How bizarre - that swisspaleo blog is run by a Canadian woman called Julie! Just like the Canadian woman called Julie that you waxed lyrical about in your only other two posts - what's the chance, eh?

We're not stupid on here - if you've got a conflict of interest or want to do some self-promotion, state it or use the commercial and advertisements section.
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Old 04.10.2012, 00:00
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

Quoting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet

A 2011 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, involving a panel of 22 experts, ranked the Paleo diet lowest of the 20 diets evaluated based on factors including health, weight-loss and ease of following.

These results were repeated in the 2012 survey, where the diet placed 24th out of 24, stating that their experts "took issue with the diet on every measure".

So it doesn't look to be a good idea to me.
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Old 04.10.2012, 10:06
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

I think the philosophy in the Step Diet is the best way to tackle things. Yes, reduce the usual bad foods which we all know about, but also only eat 75% of what's on your plate. Given the enormous portions we see today, it's no wonder people are fat. Go into any fish & chip shop in the UK and the single portion of chips you're given can easily feed 4! And they're not the only ones of course.

A day's meals example of calorie reduction from the Step Diet, by simply cutting the portion size:
Large bowl of Cherrios, skim milk, black coffee, orange juice; doughnut for a mid morning snack; roast beef sandwich with mayo, potato chips, carrot sticks, coke; Milky Way bar for afternoon snack; tossed salad with Ranch dressing, pork chops, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, glass of red wine and a bowl of ice cream for dessert would normally be 2,890. By only eating 75% of these foods the calories come down to 2,167, saving you 723. So we've still got a doughnut, potato chips and a choccy bar as "goodies" and you won't starve on the rest of it. Given that the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000, you're not far off that figure just by reducing portion size.

The other thing about this diet plan is that it's built for sustainability, i.e. not losing shedloads in a hurry, but making sure you lose at a steady speed over a 12 week period and that you can keep off the weight. Not many diets seem to bother with that end of things.
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Old 04.10.2012, 10:15
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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A 2011 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, involving a panel of 22 experts, ranked the Paleo diet lowest of the 20 diets evaluated based on factors including health, weight-loss and ease of following.

These results were repeated in the 2012 survey, where the diet placed 24th out of 24, stating that their experts "took issue with the diet on every measure".

So it doesn't look to be a good idea to me.
Well of course it's not. Why anyone would think it's a good idea to try and emulate what they believe people may have been eating at a time when average life expectancy was probably half, or less, of what it is today, is beyond me.
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Old 04.10.2012, 10:31
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

It's curious that 2 Paleo threads were started about the same time...


I think I need my tinfoil hat...
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Old 04.10.2012, 17:51
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

What happened to the other Paleo thread? Did it go to thread heaven?
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Old 04.10.2012, 18:05
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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What happened to the other Paleo thread? Did it go to thread heaven?
I don't know why it wasn't added to this one.

suspect the subject of diets touched at least one of the mods personally and so they deleted it.
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Old 04.10.2012, 18:11
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

It's misleading to say that our bodies have not changed much since prehistoric times.

There was some interesting research done a few years back (I think in the UK) where they took a group of volunteers, estimated their nutritional requirements and converted that into a "pre-historic man" diet (e.g. mostly raw food: loads of fruits, nuts and berries, little meat, no "processed" food - such as primitive breads). Unfortunately, they had to stop the experiment as the volunteers were unable to get enough nutrition as their (modern) bodies were unable to cope with a 100% prehistoric man diet. Part of this was also because in order to obtain the requisite amount of calories, vitamins, proteins and fats from "pre-historic" food, the volunteers had to spend a significant part of their day eating. The researchers concluded that, yes, cooking and "processing" our food did indeed change homo sapiens.

There are also other data showing that "processing" food (i.e. grinding and baking or cooking over fire or in water) actually provides more nutrition for a given amount of material than eating it raw.

Cooking, and adding seafood to the diet, are two of the things that boosted the development of the human brain.

Last edited by TrainDoctor; 04.10.2012 at 18:12. Reason: spelling, grammar
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Old 04.10.2012, 18:31
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Re: Western Diet - Versus - What Our Anscestors Ate (Paleo)

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It's misleading to say that our bodies have not changed much since prehistoric times.

There was some interesting research done a few years back (I think in the UK) where they took a group of volunteers, estimated their nutritional requirements and converted that into a "pre-historic man" diet (e.g. mostly raw food: loads of fruits, nuts and berries, little meat, no "processed" food - such as primitive breads). Unfortunately, they had to stop the experiment as the volunteers were unable to get enough nutrition as their (modern) bodies were unable to cope with a 100% prehistoric man diet. Part of this was also because in order to obtain the requisite amount of calories, vitamins, proteins and fats from "pre-historic" food, the volunteers had to spend a significant part of their day eating. The researchers concluded that, yes, cooking and "processing" our food did indeed change homo sapiens.

There are also other data showing that "processing" food (i.e. grinding and baking or cooking over fire or in water) actually provides more nutrition for a given amount of material than eating it raw.

Cooking, and adding seafood to the diet, are two of the things that boosted the development of the human brain.
Why do you think man didn't eat much meat.


There's a suggestion that man did eat meat but hunted it over several days.

There aren't many carnivores today who can run for several hours without a break. Cheetah's for example, can't.

Man can. Just witness the thousands of people of all shapes and sizes who run and indeed complete the London marathon.

There's normally a reason why we evolved with this particular ability and to hunt by tiring out the prey is possibly a reason.
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