In an experiment filmed for TV, nine British volunteers set up camp for twelve days in a tented enclosure at Paignton Zoo in Devon, next to the ape house, and ate the diet our ape-like ancestors likely consumed.
The volunteers consumed up to five kilos of raw fruit and vegetables each day, in a diet regime devised by nutritionist.
The diet was based on research showing that such a diet could have health benefits for cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
The volunteers lived on a three-day rotating menu of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey. In the second week, standard portions of cooked oily fish were added. Salt intake was cut to 1 gram a day (from a previous average of 12 grams), saturated fat consumption was cut to 5 to 13 percent of daily calories, and levels of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol in the gut, were increased significantly.
Over the twelve days, the volunteers lost weight and saw their blood pressure and cholesterol levels fall. The average volunteer lost almost 10 pounds, their cholesterol levels dropped 23 percent, and their average blood pressure fell from 140/83 (very nearly hypertensive) to 122/76.
BBC News January 11, 2007