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10 August 2006

Science behind no grain drain

The Science of the Natural Human Diet

Our agrarian diet began from 2,000 to 10,000 years ago depending on your heritage. In evolutionary terms, this is quite recent. Think of the time of humans as one day. A hunter-gatherer diet was universal for 23 hours and 59 minutes. We switched to our current grain-based diet only in the last minute of that day.

Genetic science calculates that only 0.02% of our genes have changed in that evolutionary “blink of an eye.” So we’re still genetically equipped to eat the foods of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The “caveman” diet is simple – lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. No grains and few starches.

So how did the medical establishment get the idea that red meat and fat were causing heart disease? Back in the 1950s, studies looked at the diets of third–world agrarian cultures and found that Western diets were higher in fat.

Yet these third-world countries had already radically changed their diet during their agrarian revolution. This mistake has long-since been recognized by science but other forces have perpetuated this mistaken notion.

You can’t trademark basic foods like steaks and eggs. But foods like Cheerios, Twinkies and Coke are “proprietary.” No one else can sell them. That means bigger profit margins.

Louise Light, Ed.D, the very nutritionist hired by USDA to create their food pyramid, saw that nutritional facts could not overcome the political and economic motives at work. Here are her words on the subject:

“I was disappointed and depressed that good nutrition and healthy eating were obscured by lobbyists and their allies in government. A seemingly impenetrable wall of distortion had been erected to block thinking that could interfere with the way food was made, promoted and sold.”[1]

The Worst Mistake in Nutritional History

Whenever hunter-gatherer cultures have made the switch to grains and farming, there were health consequences. In Europe, big-game hunters were an average of 6 inches taller than their farmer descendants.1 Look at what happened to Native Americans of the Ohio River valley:

“Archaeologists have excavated some 800 skeletons that paint a picture of the health changes that occurred when a hunter-gatherer culture gave way to the intensive maize farming around A. D. 1150… Compared to the hunter-gatherers who proceeded them, the farmers had a nearly 50% increase in malnutrition, a fourfold increase in iron-deficiency anemia and a threefold rise in infectious disease.”[2]

The idea that modern cultures still show this link is backed by the best science. In 1985, Boyd Eaton, MD published an article “Paleolithic Nutrition,” in the New England Journal of Medicine.[3]

They found no evidence of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic intestinal disease and most types of cancer in the hunter-gatherer cultures that still survive today. Some of these include the Hadza of Tanzania, the Kung and Kade San of the Kalahari and the Australian Aborigines, among others.

Avoid Chronic Disease by Following Your Ancestors Not Your Contemporaries

Those who follow low-fat diets – like the “Pritikin” diet – often develop a variety of problems including low energy, poor concentration, depression, weight gain and mineral deficiencies.[4] Remember Dr. Pritikin himself became depressed and committed suicide.

Often quoted to support the low-fat mistake, the real data of the Framingham Heart Study shows the opposite. Untouched by drug company interference, this ongoing study gives us the most reliable source of data for heart health. After a 40-year study, the director states, “the more saturated fat one ate… the lower the person’s serum cholesterol…”[5]

Drug makers and food processors still insist that fat is killing us – and establishment stalwarts like the American Cancer Society. Yet when the University of Maryland analyzed the data used to support the American Cancer Society’s claim, it turned out that vegetable fat consumption led to cancer. Nothing in the data suggested animal fat caused disease of any kind.[6] And studies like the one that showed that grains processed by high heat are toxic and cause death in test animals[7] have no one to champion the message.

And it’s not just refined grains. Phytic acid in whole grains binds to iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in your digestive tract and blocks their absorption.[8] Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion.[9]

Now You Have Choices…

Elephants and rhinos are strong and robust because they are following their natural diet. The same is true for a meat-eating lion. Our ancestors showed us our natural diet. Grains allowed us to feed more people. They continue to stave off starvation in the third world. But now, in the modern world, you have a choice.

Eat the foods you are genetically fitted to and you will lose fat, boost energy and avoid most chronic diseases of the modern world. I’ve witnessed thousands of people do it.