Duke

Can Diseases of Civilization be Caused by Diet?

123 posts in this topic

A post from another thread:

Although this is not really the place to have this discussion and to a certain extend I do agree with a lot of what you stated, I do not agree that eating Western foodstuffs is what is making man (who is an omnivore) sick today. Your linked study is no different than the Italian, French, Japanese, Okinawan, Alaskan Eskimos and so many other studies and diets that try and claim some panacea. The human metabolism is so advanced that we can eat damn near anything and it will turn the foodstuff into what we need at that time. For the most part people in the West eat to much food which is the primary cause of the problems that they face.

(I had posted a link to The Kitava Study in which RayK replied)

There are multiple sources of ethnographic data from primitive cultures (not just those in Kitava) that show a complete absence of the diseases of Western civilization. It is not because of anything that is special in the diet of non industrial cultures in my opinion, but of because of what they lack, that is present in Western diets. For an example, see the paper Hyperinsulinemic Diseases of Civilization: More Than Just Syndrome X. In the paper you will see that the human ancestral diet didn't have any magical curative foodstuffs, it just lacked being highly insulinogenic day in and day out for 60 years of our lives, thus promoting some Syndrome-X related degenerative diseases. As Steffan Lindberg who researched the Kitavans tries to point out, apart from hyperinsulinemia, post agricultural revolution foodstuffs contain harmful antinutrients such as phytates, and these foodstuffs developed evolutionary mechanisms to cause damage to animals that feed on them (lectins). Animals that evolved eating wheat for the past several hundreds of thousands of years may have evolved mechanisms to prevent the absorbtion of lectins into the bloodstream, but since the introduction of grains and legumes into the human diet is a relatively recent phenomenon (less than 10,000 years at the max, only a few thousand years for many racial groups) there have not been adequate evolutionary adaptions in such a short period to deal with the attacks on our bodies that these lectins create. For a non peer reviewed primer on lectins (but well referenced) see this. If you are looking for a published scientific paper I would look up the name of Loren Cordain on Pubmed along with the keyword lectin.

I do not agree that "the human metabolism is so advanced that we can eat damn near anything and it will turn the foodstuff into what we need at the time" if this quote implies that there are no long term chronic degenerative consequences of eating foods that are in discordance with our evolutionary past. Yes, we can turn these foods into calories. No, we can not avoid the cause of autoimmune diseases (certain susceptible genotypes interacting with environmental triggers, most often dietary lectins) because lectins enter the bloodstream through backdoor endothelial cells in the gut without breakdown in normal human beings. In individuals with genetics that make them susceptible to autoimmune disease, those foods cause an immune reaction upon entering the blood stream and can create rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hashimoto's thyroiditis, and even type I diabetes.

No, we cannot avoid diseases related to Syndrome X for most people. In individuals susceptable to diabetes due to hyperinsulinemia (practically everyone at some certain amount of time and large intake of agricultural grains), they too will succumb to the disease. I do not believe that the "human metabolism is so advanced" that it can avoid cardiovascular disease while eating a Western diet in most people, because primitive populations studied, upon switching to a Western diet, get cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes). Primitive populations have zero incidence of those diseases. Zero. They universally get all of the modern degenerative diseases of civilization when they begin importing Western foodstuffs. Universally. If you want a good reference, check out the Tokelauan study and watch their health deteriorate. Also see the Ache hunter gatherers.

Our present state in the West attests to this. We suffer from a host of diseases absent from us 10,000 years ago. Our relatively recent past also attests to this--once we developed agriculture, our lifespans dramatically decreased, our bodies got smaller, and we basically become more unhealthy as a whole. See this paper by Eaton et al, which generally credits today's long lifespan to the industrial revolution, not the agricultural revolution. Our average lifespans immediately dropped to the low 20's upon adopting agriculture.

So, in summary, our paleolithic ancestors did not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Ethnographic data shows that existing hunter gatherer populations do not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, psychiatric diseases, cavities and diabetes, yet they suffer from these diseases upon switching to a Western diet. There are also causal mechanisms that we can discuss here if anyone is inclined but every single disease will need in depth looking at. My personal conclusion has been that since I do not want to suffer from a host of diseases associated with Western civilization, that were absent in human beings before the agricultural revolution, and are absent in primitive peoples that have not undergone the agricultural revolution, then I will emulate their diets.

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. For a non peer reviewed primer on lectins (but well referenced) see this. If you are looking for a published scientific paper I would look up the name of Loren Cordain on Pubmed along with the keyword lectin.

Sorry, that site had barely anything on lectins although it did have some decent scientific references on a few particular lectins if anyone is willing to look them up. The problem is that each agricultural foodstuff has a unique dietary lectin that causes different effects on the body. For example, the lectin in peanuts (which are legumes) is so potent at causing atherosclerosis that we use it to cause clogged arteries in animals for scientific studies. Other lectins don't even have effects on cardiovascular disease at all, but may affect autoimmune diseases. It's hard to find an overview on this topic.

RayK said that people eat too much and I agree with that statement on surface value. But why do they eat too much in industrial societies? Why do primitive hunter gatherer populations that have abundant food like those in Kitava not get obese? They're lean as heck, in fact. Is it because of their incredible will power that us Westerners just don't have? I don't think so, and this paper provides a huge clue (related to lectins): Agrarian Diet and Diseases of Affluence: Do Evolutionary Novel Dietary Lectins Cause Leptin Resitance?

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Personal Experience

I am a healthy young man. I have always exercised, in fact, I have competed across different countries as a professional athlete. I've never really been obese. I also ate what I had considered a "healthy" diet: high in fish, whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, oils etc.

Despite this, I always had a few nagging problems. One was acne. I had tried every modern medical drug for acne, including tetracycline and Accutane, yet it would still persist. Upon reading a paper on the absence of acne in the Ache hunter gatherers (not a single pimple among many adolescents!), but the presence of acne in Ache who moved to the cities, I was intrigued. I then read about the Kitavans, who also had no acne until moving to cities. Then others. The authors argued that the causal mechanism of acne were hyperinsulinemia leading to raised androgens, lowered sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), increases in insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and decreases in insulin growth factor binding proteins. I gobbled up the research and read more by related authors. I bought a book by Dr Loren Cordain, PhD, who explained all the causal mechanisms of acne and how the diet can affect them. It turned out that acne is caused by keratinocytes (skin cells) that do not slough off properly, therefore plugging the hole of a pore. The pore fills with sebum and this causes a comedone. These skin cells do not slough off properly because of overly adherent desmosomes binding them together for too long as a consequence of high levels of IGF-1. An additional factor is that the keratinocytes hyperproliferate in the presence of high levels of IGF-1. I learned that decreases in SHBG and increases in androgens will lead to a higher secretion of sebum. I also learned that dietary lectins cause an immune reaction leading to higher levels of inflammatory cytokines, which inflame already present comedones. An additional factor in inflammation is a high intake of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a low intake of omega 3 fatty acids. I learned about the role of an enzyme called ZAG which dissolves corneocyte desmosomes. Dietary lectins such as wheat germ agglutinin inhibit the action of this enzyme, therefore contributing to the inadequate sloughing off of skin cells.

The evidence was very convincing. There was a lot of epidemiological data. There were in vitro studies. And finally now, there are experimental controlled dietary interventions in human subjects all supporting the data. I decided to go on the diet, and slowly, my skin cleared. It takes about 30 days for the basal layer of skin cells to form and then reach the surface, and at that point I was almost completely clear. The same experience happened for my girlfriend, who also went on the diet.

Now I continue the diet that we evolved on, on a permanent basis. I use the model of the evolutionary paradigm as an ideal to follow for my eating habits. Some other interesting things happened that I didn't plan for: every spring I used to get the worst allergies, and for the last few years I haven't had them. Stomach aches and other minor things have gone by the wayside. Now I believe that there is a scientific paradigm for nutrition, which has been a severely retarded and handicapped science without it. Geology has a theory of continental drift, for example. Nutrition has now found its basic scientific theory which is a starting point to then go out and guide us in research rather than groping around randomly. To see it put in better words than I can, by an actual scientist, read the first part of this debate. If you read any of the references here, page 4 and 5 of this PDF are the best.

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More graves are dug with knife and fork than with shovel and spade.

Bob Kolker

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Personal Experience

I am a healthy young man. I have always exercised, in fact, I have competed across different countries as a professional athlete. I've never really been obese. I also ate what I had considered a "healthy" diet: high in fish, whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, oils etc.

Despite this, I always had a few nagging problems. One was acne. I had tried every modern medical drug for acne, including tetracycline and Accutane, yet it would still persist. Upon reading a paper on the absence of acne in the Ache hunter gatherers (not a single pimple among many adolescents!), but the presence of acne in Ache who moved to the cities, I was intrigued. I then read about the Kitavans, who also had no acne until moving to cities.

[...]

The evidence was very convincing. There was a lot of epidemiological data. There were in vitro studies. And finally now, there are experimental controlled dietary interventions in human subjects all supporting the data. I decided to go on the diet, and slowly, my skin cleared. It takes about 30 days for the basal layer of skin cells to form and then reach the surface, and at that point I was almost completely clear. The same experience happened for my girlfriend, who also went on the diet.

Now I continue the diet that we evolved on, on a permanent basis. I use the model of the evolutionary paradigm as an ideal to follow for my eating habits. Some other interesting things happened that I didn't plan for: every spring I used to get the worst allergies, and for the last few years I haven't had them. Stomach aches and other minor things have gone by the wayside. Now I believe that there is a scientific paradigm for nutrition, which has been a severely retarded and handicapped science without it. Geology has a theory of continental drift, for example. Nutrition has now found its basic scientific theory which is a starting point to then go out and guide us in research rather than groping around randomly. To see it put in better words than I can, by an actual scientist, read the first part of this debate. If you read any of the references here, page 4 and 5 of this PDF are the best.

I'm interested to know more. I'm not a scientist, so is there an introduction to your diet for laymen?

What do you eat now?

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A post from another thread:
Although this is not really the place to have this discussion and to a certain extend I do agree with a lot of what you stated, I do not agree that eating Western foodstuffs is what is making man (who is an omnivore) sick today. Your linked study is no different than the Italian, French, Japanese, Okinawan, Alaskan Eskimos and so many other studies and diets that try and claim some panacea. The human metabolism is so advanced that we can eat damn near anything and it will turn the foodstuff into what we need at that time. For the most part people in the West eat to much food which is the primary cause of the problems that they face.

(I had posted a link to The Kitava Study in which RayK replied)

There are multiple sources of ethnographic data from primitive cultures (not just those in Kitava) that show a complete absence of the diseases of Western civilization. It is not because of anything that is special in the diet of non industrial cultures in my opinion, but of because of what they lack, that is present in Western diets. For an example, see the paper Hyperinsulinemic Diseases of Civilization: More Than Just Syndrome X. In the paper you will see that the human ancestral diet didn't have any magical curative foodstuffs, it just lacked being highly insulinogenic day in and day out for 60 years of our lives, thus promoting some Syndrome-X related degenerative diseases. As Steffan Lindberg who researched the Kitavans tries to point out, apart from hyperinsulinemia, post agricultural revolution foodstuffs contain harmful antinutrients such as phytates, and these foodstuffs developed evolutionary mechanisms to cause damage to animals that feed on them (lectins). Animals that evolved eating wheat for the past several hundreds of thousands of years may have evolved mechanisms to prevent the absorbtion of lectins into the bloodstream, but since the introduction of grains and legumes into the human diet is a relatively recent phenomenon (less than 10,000 years at the max, only a few thousand years for many racial groups) there have not been adequate evolutionary adaptions in such a short period to deal with the attacks on our bodies that these lectins create. For a non peer reviewed primer on lectins (but well referenced) see this. If you are looking for a published scientific paper I would look up the name of Loren Cordain on Pubmed along with the keyword lectin.

I do not agree that "the human metabolism is so advanced that we can eat damn near anything and it will turn the foodstuff into what we need at the time" if this quote implies that there are no long term chronic degenerative consequences of eating foods that are in discordance with our evolutionary past. Yes, we can turn these foods into calories. No, we can not avoid the cause of autoimmune diseases (certain susceptible genotypes interacting with environmental triggers, most often dietary lectins) because lectins enter the bloodstream through backdoor endothelial cells in the gut without breakdown in normal human beings. In individuals with genetics that make them susceptible to autoimmune disease, those foods cause an immune reaction upon entering the blood stream and can create rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hashimoto's thyroiditis, and even type I diabetes.

No, we cannot avoid diseases related to Syndrome X for most people. In individuals susceptable to diabetes due to hyperinsulinemia (practically everyone at some certain amount of time and large intake of agricultural grains), they too will succumb to the disease. I do not believe that the "human metabolism is so advanced" that it can avoid cardiovascular disease while eating a Western diet in most people, because primitive populations studied, upon switching to a Western diet, get cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes). Primitive populations have zero incidence of those diseases. Zero. They universally get all of the modern degenerative diseases of civilization when they begin importing Western foodstuffs. Universally. If you want a good reference, check out the Tokelauan study and watch their health deteriorate. Also see the Ache hunter gatherers.

Our present state in the West attests to this. We suffer from a host of diseases absent from us 10,000 years ago. Our relatively recent past also attests to this--once we developed agriculture, our lifespans dramatically decreased, our bodies got smaller, and we basically become more unhealthy as a whole. See this paper by Eaton et al, which generally credits today's long lifespan to the industrial revolution, not the agricultural revolution. Our average lifespans immediately dropped to the low 20's upon adopting agriculture.

So, in summary, our paleolithic ancestors did not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Ethnographic data shows that existing hunter gatherer populations do not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, psychiatric diseases, cavities and diabetes, yet they suffer from these diseases upon switching to a Western diet. There are also causal mechanisms that we can discuss here if anyone is inclined but every single disease will need in depth looking at. My personal conclusion has been that since I do not want to suffer from a host of diseases associated with Western civilization, that were absent in human beings before the agricultural revolution, and are absent in primitive peoples that have not undergone the agricultural revolution, then I will emulate their diets.

I think this is an interesting conjecture, but to go as far as to try to make scientific claims out of this is pseudo-science.

The "Kitava Study" is little more than a collection of anecdotal evidence from a single source forty years ago, and the comparison between the native people and westerners has no scientific value to it. To claim that you have through an experiment proven that a certain variable can exert a certain effect means that you have isolated and controlled all other possible contributing variables. That hasn't been done here.

The first strike is that they are comparing a population with a massive child-mortality rate to a population without one. Speaking logically, the society with the massive child-mortality rate will on average have adults with a much better genetic predisposition for good health, because all the people with a predisposition for bad health already died before the age of three. So from the start, even if all other things are equal, this is a dramatically different sampling pool of people.

The second is that you are comparing two completely different populations, both in terms of race and lifestyle. We live completely sedentary lives, with an overabundance of cheap food; most of us eat a lot more than we need, and a good percentage of us are overweight and don't exercise. The natives by comparison are the complete opposite, living lives where our most mundane and trivial activities will have a very physically demanding counterpart. They probably can't overeat and can't be overweight because food is too hard to come by, and probably all food must be accompanied by strenuous labour in order to obtain it. This goes without mentioning that the natives are entirely of a certain race, while we are mostly caucasian.

If you had entirely equal populations living in the same climate and the same lifestyle and you quantitatively outlined different experimental diets (and I mean in terms of calories per pound of body weight per day, the % of calories to come from protein/carbs/fats, etc, and many other pertinent factors), then meticulously track their quality of health and cause of death, then you might be on the grounds of making such a sweeping claim. That is not how this is done, there is no control in this experiment.

The other articles you linked I found equally unconvincing for this hypothesis. It could be an interesting start for further inquiry, but there is nothing here that should dramatically motivate us to rethink our lifestyles. Finding a few numbers that reflect your hypothesis positively is not enough, nor is appealing to claims that someone should prove the negative with your theory, as was stated in the conclusions in one of the papers you cited:

No theory can become a paradigm until investigation and hypothesis achieve accord, but any rejection of evolutionary health promotion should be based on its falsification by experiment or because another theory fits better with known facts—not because of unjustified preconceptions about genetic evolution, human adaptability, nor the heterogeneity of Paleolithic environments.

Scientifically that is a horrid thing to say. That is a scientist saying "well my theory lacks convincing evidence, but it does lack convincing counter-evidence, therefore we should tentatively consider it true".

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Our present state in the West attests to this. We suffer from a host of diseases absent from us 10,000 years ago. Our relatively recent past also attests to this--once we developed agriculture, our lifespans dramatically decreased, our bodies got smaller, and we basically become more unhealthy as a whole. See this paper by Eaton et al, which generally credits today's long lifespan to the industrial revolution, not the agricultural revolution. Our average lifespans immediately dropped to the low 20's upon adopting agriculture.

So, in summary, our paleolithic ancestors did not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Ethnographic data shows that existing hunter gatherer populations do not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, psychiatric diseases, cavities and diabetes, yet they suffer from these diseases upon switching to a Western diet.

These are wild, wild claims. Where is the rigorous archeological evidence for such statements?

Just because someone has a PhD, or just because an article got published in a peer-reviewed journal, speaks nothing for the scientific merit of what they are saying. From personal experience in the world of academy in science, quite a bit of articles are both declined and accepted by journal referees for entirely arbitrary reasons (it's a rival you hate, they didn't cite your friends in their bibliography, you flat out didn't understand their complicated research, etc).

It is a very dangerous habit to naively assume that the PhD scientists posting these ideas on the internet are necessarily doing quality work. It's very easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new idea and forget to consider that everything that sounds smart that this really smart guy is saying could actually be 100% balderdash.

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It is a very dangerous habit to naively assume that the PhD scientists posting these ideas on the internet are necessarily doing quality work. It's very easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new idea and forget to consider that everything that sounds smart that this really smart guy is saying could actually be 100% balderdash.

I'll put this a different way Duke. It has been stated in that Kitiva study and by you several times that these people literally never died from hearth disease, and literally never died of cancer. How do you actually know this is true? How many autopsies have been performed on these dead natives to prove such a thing? What evidence is there other than the anecdotal evidence from a single doctor 40 years ago who lived on the island, of whom we know nothing at all, and who would probably not have the means to state such a wild claim of "no one died of heart disease or cancer".

If you lend random scientists this much undue trust you will get made a fool of by them. You have to ask questions such as "is this reproducible? is this only anecdotal evidence? have any other research groups studied this and found similar results? assuming all theories are false until proven true, is there any compelling evidence to think this theory is any more true than a host of other theories?"

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So, in summary, our paleolithic ancestors did not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Ethnographic data shows that existing hunter gatherer populations do not suffer from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, psychiatric diseases, cavities and diabetes, yet they suffer from these diseases upon switching to a Western diet. There are also causal mechanisms that we can discuss here if anyone is inclined but every single disease will need in depth looking at. My personal conclusion has been that since I do not want to suffer from a host of diseases associated with Western civilization, that were absent in human beings before the agricultural revolution, and are absent in primitive peoples that have not undergone the agricultural revolution, then I will emulate their diets.

How is it possible to determine that our long-ago ancestors did not suffer from cardiovascular and cardiopulminary diseases? All that is left of their bodies (if anything) is bone. No connective tissue, no skin, no traces of the veins, arteries or gut.

We could say if our ancestors had arthritis or broken bones, but heart disease?

Bob Kolker

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I have written on these subjects so many times that I really do not care to start it all again. If someone types in diet or exericse they will find a ton of evidence that I have already brought light to on this subject.

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I have written on these subjects so many times that I really do not care to start it all again. If someone types in diet or exericse they will find a ton of evidence that I have already brought light to on this subject.

What evidence? There is not a single vein, artery, gut, vital organ intact from the folks who lived 10,000 years ago. All there is are bones. Bones are the only part of human bodies that last, with the possible exception of very dried mummies from Egypt or the Land of the Incas. The tissue that a modern forensic analyst would use to determine cardiovascular damage simply no longer exists for those who died thousands of years ago. Anything that was moist has rotted, had been decomposed into elements by bacteria and other micro-organisms and worms in the soil. What is left to use to draw a conclusion? I would find any "evidence" which was not based on soft tissue rather questionable. I just don't believe the conclusion is justified by sound evidence.

Bob Kolker

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Just an afterword. I believe that people who eat crappy food, do not get enough exercise and who have bad habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are going to get sick in large numbers, and probably have a shorter life span. One does not have to be a genius in forensic physiology to see that. One can simply observe modern folk who do not live a healthy life. The Kitava sutdy was performed on contemporary humans, not people who lived ten thousand years ago and it pretty well squares with simple observation of ill fed and none exercising people who live today. I believe, that to get near the full potential life span one needs to get plenty of fiber, vegetables and eat a diet that is not overloaded with fat, particularly non-saturated fats. I think exercise is required to maintain health and that avoiding destructive habits like inhaling the noxious fumes of cigarettes or drinking too much booze. Also staying away from soft drinks would be quite helpful. I base this conclusion on my own personal experience and what I see in people who eating and exercising habits I am familiar with.

I get antsy when people make definite statements about cardiovascular disease and cardiopulminary disease in people who died thousands of years ago. I have already stated my reservations about such claims. It is clear that out long ago ancestors did not have many of the rotten things that moderns ruin their health with, but even so, we do not know what diseases ravaged the Long Ago Folks and we have only a rough idea based on the bones we have found, which is a small sample of those who lived thousands of years ago. While bones last, they have to be fossilized or buried in a dry place. That does not happen too often. None of us were around ten thousand years ago and there is barely any tissue remaining on which to base such definite conclusions. I doubt such positive conclusions. And on this matter I will say no more.

Bob Kolker

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I have written on these subjects so many times that I really do not care to start it all again. If someone types in diet or exericse they will find a ton of evidence that I have already brought light to on this subject.

What evidence? There is not a single vein, artery, gut, vital organ intact from the folks who lived 10,000 years ago. All there is are bones. Bones are the only part of human bodies that last, with the possible exception of very dried mummies from Egypt or the Land of the Incas. The tissue that a modern forensic analyst would use to determine cardiovascular damage simply no longer exists for those who died thousands of years ago. Anything that was moist has rotted, had been decomposed into elements by bacteria and other micro-organisms and worms in the soil. What is left to use to draw a conclusion? I would find any "evidence" which was not based on soft tissue rather questionable. I just don't believe the conclusion is justified by sound evidence.

Bob Kolker

You have misunderstood my statements as I am not backing Duke's claim but instead stating that it is not worthy of my time. Did you not read my statements that were in disagreement to Duke's claim and all the other panacea diets that people keep attempting to push?

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Just an afterword. I believe that people who eat crappy food, do not get enough exercise and who have bad habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are going to get sick in large numbers, and probably have a shorter life span. One does not have to be a genius in forensic physiology to see that. One can simply observe modern folk who do not live a healthy life.

To be healthy means to be without disease and a lot of people would be living longer if they did not beat the hell out of themselves with so called exercise everyday and instead applied only the needed amount to stimulate a positive adaptation which is not what most people are doing. Everything that one does in their life takes from their longevity and that includes exercise and eating. I offer that you might read the writings of Dr. Hans Selye who wrote more than 1,500 research papers and 32 books on the subject he first titled General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). Exercise is a means to an end, that end being to enhance one's body so that it can enhnace one's life and not so that I can waste away my limited resources in a gym accumulating nothing and wasting away my limited resources. I also offer, as I done so many times earlier, that man can eat, drink and be merry, within reason.

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Here is a little bombshell of information that I hadn't even thought of:

We noted a lack of sudden cardiac death and exertion-related retrosternal chest pain among Kitava's 2,300 inhabitants (6% of which were 60-95 years old), as well as among the remaining 23,000 people on the Trobriand Islands [23, 24].

So only a few percent of the entire population could have been expected to have heart disease to begin with! This would be like if I gave a standardized exam to only 5% of the students school district and then stated in a glowing PR report "Out of 3000 students, none have failed that exam". Technically I'm not lying to you, but I'm not being very honest either.

Giving large numbers without much context as a means to wow your audience is a tactic best left for environmentalists, like they do with global warming.

Also from one of your papers, they said the following:

A population with a life expectancy of 40 at birth will inevitably have much lower mortality from cancer,heart disease, diabetes, and stroke than will a population with an average life expectancy of 75. To this extent comparisons between recently studied hunter-gatherers and citizens of affluent Western nations are invalid. Of course age-related diseases will cause more deaths in a society with a greater proportion of older individuals.

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A bit of lightness, if I may:

Unga lived for fifty years

And was not sick a day;

Arnold lived a hundred

And all his hairs turned gray.

The moral's plain to see:

Industrial wealth

Leads not to health,

But wan, worn-out longevity.

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A bit of lightness, if I may:

Unga lived for fifty years

And was not sick a day;

Arnold lived a hundred

And all his hairs turned gray.

The moral's plain to see:

Industrial wealth

Leads not to health,

But wan, worn-out longevity.

Hehe, brilliant!

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Here is a little bombshell of information that I hadn't even thought of:
We noted a lack of sudden cardiac death and exertion-related retrosternal chest pain among Kitava's 2,300 inhabitants (6% of which were 60-95 years old), as well as among the remaining 23,000 people on the Trobriand Islands [23, 24].

So only a few percent of the entire population could have been expected to have heart disease to begin with! This would be like if I gave a standardized exam to only 5% of the students school district and then stated in a glowing PR report "Out of 3000 students, none have failed that exam". Technically I'm not lying to you, but I'm not being very honest either.

Giving large numbers without much context as a means to wow your audience is a tactic best left for environmentalists, like they do with global warming.

Also from one of your papers, they said the following:

A population with a life expectancy of 40 at birth will inevitably have much lower mortality from cancer,heart disease, diabetes, and stroke than will a population with an average life expectancy of 75. To this extent comparisons between recently studied hunter-gatherers and citizens of affluent Western nations are invalid. Of course age-related diseases will cause more deaths in a society with a greater proportion of older individuals.

This is the information that most people either overlook or the researcher fails to put into their research articles. In other words they create a psuedo theory that they then attempt to manipulate man's nature to fit their claim.

The fact of the matter is that, on avergae, man is living longer than ever before and hence he is going to run into health issues that most people never had the time to develop in the past such as cancer.

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I'm interested to know more. I'm not a scientist, so is there an introduction to your diet for laymen?

What do you eat now?

Alright, I'm a bit busy today so I'll try and get back to all the replies in the next couple days. I'll answer this one first.

Right now I eat fruits, vegetables, meats, seafoods, some tubers, and occasional nuts. I don't eat legumes (including peanuts and soybeans), grains, dairy, industrial oils, or anything that is a recent introduction to the human diet. I model my diet after the genetic adaption we made over our evolution in the past 2 million to 10,000 years. Principles from the evolutionary paradigm have also allowed me to smartly select the post-agricultural foods that don't cause acne in me, such as moderate amounts of white rice. White rice doesn't contain phytates or lectins, and although it's fairly devoid of any micronutrients, I have to have some easy dense calories because I'm a training athlete.

Here is a short introduction. I know you stated you're not a scientist but it's really best that you refer to published research with regard to diet because there are some many rumours and so much heresay with regard to nutrition. For that I recommend the "Published Research" section of that page. If you want to read a book that is fairly accessible to laymen who want to implement the diet, The Paleo Diet by Dr Loren Cordain PhD is pretty good, but he was under a bit of pressure from publishers to spend a lot of chapters on weight loss and had to leave out a bit of information on health benefits. In my opinion, you shouldn't be "convinced" of taking on a diet without reading some published scientific research first. It may sound like a great pain, but I wholeheartedly believe everyone should invest some time learning to read published research about nutrition since it is one of the most fundamental factors of our lives. Nutrition is our fuel, often our medicine, and we spend enormous amounts of time preparing it and consuming it. I believe we should therefore spend at least a fraction of the time devoted to understanding it.

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Our present state in the West attests to this. We suffer from a host of diseases absent from us 10,000 years ago. Our relatively recent past also attests to this--once we developed agriculture, our lifespans dramatically decreased, our bodies got smaller, and we basically become more unhealthy as a whole. See this paper by Eaton et al, which generally credits today's long lifespan to the industrial revolution, not the agricultural revolution. Our average lifespans immediately dropped to the low 20's upon adopting agriculture.

These are wild, wild claims. Where is the rigorous archeological evidence for such statements?

If you were genuinely interested you would have at least read the paper you were quoting, and then looked at the references. Is it correct that you are majoring in a science at university? You will probably have access to most of their references for free at your university.

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It is a very dangerous habit to naively assume that the PhD scientists posting these ideas on the internet are necessarily doing quality work. It's very easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new idea and forget to consider that everything that sounds smart that this really smart guy is saying could actually be 100% balderdash.

I'll put this a different way Duke. It has been stated in that Kitiva study and by you several times that these people literally never died from hearth disease, and literally never died of cancer. How do you actually know this is true? How many autopsies have been performed on these dead natives to prove such a thing? What evidence is there other than the anecdotal evidence from a single doctor 40 years ago who lived on the island, of whom we know nothing at all, and who would probably not have the means to state such a wild claim of "no one died of heart disease or cancer".

You and I must be talking about a different Kitava study, because there is a lot more evidence than that of just a single doctor 40 years ago. I have actually read the site in it's entirety and encourage you to do so as well before you make inaccurate claims about the study. Get back to me when you do and if you have specific arguments against the actual Kitava study that weren't covered on the page then I will be sure to answer them.

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Here is a short introduction. I know you stated you're not a scientist but it's really best that you refer to published research with regard to diet because there are some many rumours and so much heresay with regard to nutrition. For that I recommend the "Published Research" section of that page. If you want to read a book that is fairly accessible to laymen who want to implement the diet, The Paleo Diet by Dr Loren Cordain PhD is pretty good, but he was under a bit of pressure from publishers to spend a lot of chapters on weight loss and had to leave out a bit of information on health benefits. In my opinion, you shouldn't be "convinced" of taking on a diet without reading some published scientific research first. It may sound like a great pain, but I wholeheartedly believe everyone should invest some time learning to read published research about nutrition since it is one of the most fundamental factors of our lives. Nutrition is our fuel, often our medicine, and we spend enormous amounts of time preparing it and consuming it. I believe we should therefore spend at least a fraction of the time devoted to understanding it.

Research is not where someone should begin to learn about diet nor how the human body functions. How will the person know what is "heresay" when they do not even know how human metabolism metabolizes the energy we take in. I would offer (and I am almost certain it will not be done) that one start by gaining a basic understanding of how the human body works, in general, before they move on to more complex issues. But, my offer comes from someone that has only spent close to 30 years trying to understand the nature of diet and exercise and has had more than 46,000 personal sessions in my office over the last 10 years, so do with it as you will.

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Just an afterword. I believe that people who eat crappy food, do not get enough exercise and who have bad habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are going to get sick in large numbers, and probably have a shorter life span. One does not have to be a genius in forensic physiology to see that. One can simply observe modern folk who do not live a healthy life. The Kitava sutdy was performed on contemporary humans, not people who lived ten thousand years ago and it pretty well squares with simple observation of ill fed and none exercising people who live today. I believe, that to get near the full potential life span one needs to get plenty of fiber, vegetables and eat a diet that is not overloaded with fat, particularly non-saturated fats. I think exercise is required to maintain health and that avoiding destructive habits like inhaling the noxious fumes of cigarettes or drinking too much booze. Also staying away from soft drinks would be quite helpful. I base this conclusion on my own personal experience and what I see in people who eating and exercising habits I am familiar with.

The Kitavans eat more saturated fats than Americans and 80% of the men smoke, yet they don't suffer from a single case of cardiovascular disease in age groups that have a high frequency of CVD mortality in the West. The Kitavans also don't do much rigorous exercise, their activity level is only slightly higher than the average sedentary American.

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Here is a little bombshell of information that I hadn't even thought of:
We noted a lack of sudden cardiac death and exertion-related retrosternal chest pain among Kitava's 2,300 inhabitants (6% of which were 60-95 years old), as well as among the remaining 23,000 people on the Trobriand Islands [23, 24].

When you compare equivalent age groups in hunter gatherer populations, they still don't suffer from CVD at all.

What did you think of the "Life Expectancy" section in the paper that you quoted? It seems odd to me that you would quote the introductory paragraph that grants that 1:1 comparisons are invalid and then not say anything about the paragraph about how signs of chronic degenerative disease occur early in life in industrialized populations (yet cause mortality later, which is the nature of chronic degenerative disease), yet these signs are not present in hunter gatherer populations in the young. I'm interested in your opinion of that.

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I will be back tomorrow or the day after to address the other replies. Please note that I won't be addressing replies that accuse me of taking people on faith because they have PhD's, and will ignore posts about people discussing what their credentials are, or whatever else. I'll be looking to answer specific scientific questions since this is the science forum and will be glad to discuss science. I'm not here to have a debate about something you haven't read either. Resources answering almost all of your questions were already made in the first post, so I encourage all of you to not make a reply in haste until you have carefully examined what was published. Usually they're going to say it a lot better than me in published research, so why would you want me to reply anyway? It makes me feel like it's a waste of time to come here when people ask me "Where are all the scientific references for this?" when they are quoting a published paper that had several references to other research in it. The field of evolutionary nutrition is becoming enormous in the scientific community and the number of published papers is astounding, including controlled experimental trials. If you are genuinely interested in learning the findings of these studies, and not just debating me, then join in in the discussion.

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