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That said, let’s talk a bit about the contents of the film and why I liked it so much. I am by no means certain that my train of thought is going in the right direction, and would be happy if someone would derail it. I suppose you could also argue that improved medical knowledge and technology has helped to offset some of the selection pressures brought about by detrimental dietary changes.
I think a far more balanced approach would be to posit that dietary optimization may resemble a bell curve, with the mean being the paleo diet and the standard deviation being unknown. The paleo lifestyle is a scientifically backed movement, but sometimes these sites tend to be dogmatic or products of group think. This comment is more for Jimmy but there wasn’t a reply link under his comment, for some reason. This blog post is going out on my newsletter and I’ll purchase the movie and review it, as well. Some good points, and I wont pretend to be an expert on human evolution, but I think your analysis is a tad oversimplified. The week before, the doctor at the VA Hospital said that I weighed 298 lbs and was pre-diabetic.
Evolution can be very rapid when assisted by culture – the human characteristic par excellence.
As a side note, if we consider what metabolic effects would be most beneficial in times of famine, its probably not ability to survive on minimal food, but rather the propensity to gain fat prior to the time of famine. Also speaking as a retired research scientist and a historian of science – who, while certainly no expert on evolution, has more than a passing familiarity with the theory and its various and changing hypotheses.
Likewise, studies of humans show how anatomy and physiology adapt to environmental pressure on an ongoing basis. Critical reasoning does not take away from any real results and benefits of eating a natural diet designed to maintain beneficial levels of insulin.
Now before you accuse Chef James of breaking his media fast, we agreed at the beginning of this year that he would make the very rare exception to watch a film that was specifically and directly related to our line of work.
What’s new about In Search of the Perfect Diet is its focus on anthropology and what we, as humans, have been eating for literally hundreds of thousands of years.
The movie follows filmmaker CJ Hunt’s 10-year search for the “perfect human diet” after the raw vegan diet he adopted following a near-death experience failed to sustain him.
In just seven weeks (!!), they lost weight and all their health markers (insulin resistance, blood pressure, cholesterol levels) normalized. Interestingly, they were less active than in their urban environments, so exercise was NOT a factor. Thanks for the breakdown on this film – sounds like it has a lot of interesting information to offer. I am a little sceptic about the paleo diet and I see one potential weakness with the argument presented in the film. The low-carb, gluten-free Paleo diet is the best diet for natural weight loss and optimal health, according to the eye-opening documentary, The Perfect Human Diet. In an exclusive interview, investigative journalist CJ Hunt, executive producer of "The Perfect Human Diet," said we can solve the obesity crisis by embracing the original Paleo-inspired diet that helped humans evolve over millions of years.
CJ reached his conclusions after speaking with anthropologists who conducted isotopic and elemental bone analyses on early human fossils to identify exactly what they ate. These analyses reveal ancient humans ate primarily animal foods, like large game meat (and obviously, no gluten or processed junk food). It is only when people started eating grains and industrialized junk food that the tsunami of obesity, diabetes and heart disease became the norm. CJ said there's a tendency to think ancient humans ate a primarily vegetarian diet, but research does not bear this out.
Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, said grains, legumes and dairy did not even appear in our evolution until the last ВЅ yard line of the football field, until the advent of the agricultural revolution. Hunt said the purpose of his documentary is to educate people about the importance of eating well, in the hopes that we can one day put an end to the scourges of obesity and degenerative disease.
The debate goes on: New research seems to prove cats are better than dogsThe battle over whether dogs, or cats, are better has always divided the animal-loving community – or, at least, those who love dogs and cats. If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, increase energy levels or just generally look and feel healthier you've come to the right place. There you'll find books, support options, and the best supplements on the planet to help you take control of your health for life. CJ was a seemingly healthy, lean 23-year old doing the right exercises and eating the right food when he had a heart attack. I talk about this stuff all the time, and I and many others write about how meat eating shaped our evolution, but there’s always a sense of distance and abstraction.


The more copies they sell and the more people watch it, the larger our community will grow. The reasoning is that the intervening 10,000 years may seem like a long time but is only a genetic blink of an eye; far too short to allow widespread adaptation. I think the mainstream would be much more receptive if paleo advocates acknowledged the limitation of nutritional research.
Although it does make sense that those who are better at digesting grains would potentially thrive in a grain based society, the agricultural age’s relative period of time on the human timeline is very small, so it is unlikely that any substantive changes would have had time to occur. The important piece is that the time leading up to the agricultural revolution was what primarily formed our genetic nutrition requirements. There’s good evidence that people at Ohalo II were eating wild grains as a staple 23,000 years ago, and that people in Mozambique were eating hefty quantities of grass seeds 100,000 years ago. Grains are persona non grata because they deliver an enormous wallop of starch, which spikes insulin and is easily stored as body fat.
I do think that they are more advocating for the idea that we were meant to eat food, in it’s natural state, that has not been chemically or genetically modified. And I also agree that there is definitely a lot of variability, but I think it mostly deals with levels of carb tolerance. I would emphasize again that the real competition would be getting the food, and not the ability to better utilize the food.
Study the history of state endorsed evolutionary theory in Russia if you want to get a glimpse into what fad and dogma exist in this domain. Scientists learn more all the time about evolution – which encompasses much more than Darwin, natural selection, and survival of the fittest. This study also provides physiological data on how domestication alters the basic metabolic physiology in only a few generations. From an evolutionary perspective, there is simply no way for our bodies to know what to do with these “foods” (which, as we all know, aren’t real food at all). Interesting irony that the very capacity for making an argument for a plant-based diet comes from our ancestors’ move away from a plant-based diet.
Clearly our Paleolithic ancestors were eating exclusively wild game, and wild fruits and vegetables grown in nutrient-rich soil. Perhaps you were meaning to communicate humans should eat less meat today because they did not manage to kill much in prehistorical times.
Humans were meant to be physically fit and robust for much of their lives and not be addled with chronic disease starting from midlife or earlier. He followed a raw vegan diet himself for five years, but said he felt physically and emotionally stronger after switching to a Paleo-style diet that emphasizes meat consumption. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Movement, walk along a 100-yard football field using it as a timeline for the evolution of modern humans.
Processed junk food, now a staple of modern diets, wasn't part of our diets until the past 100 years.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Samantha enjoys running, cycling and taking photos. It doesn’t tug at heartstrings, nor does it present a harrowing, gripping narrative full of conflicts and conflict resolutions that rival the best feature films.
When there are sufficient resources for everyone to reach the age of reproduction, natural selection breaks down, and by extension evolutionary change. The 333 generations since simply have not been long enough to cause significant adaptations to the human genotype.
There’s a rule of thumb that it takes 400 generations of 20 years each to fix a gene in a whole population, so 8,000 years would do the trick in a smallish group.
As their populations grew and forced them into sedentism, and they over-exploited the game near home, their meat intake decreased. The evidence for this stands with the proliferation of diseases like diabetes and syndrome-x in modern society. He was found to carry the genetic markers for atherosclerosis which came from his ancestors. It is never easy to keep on a proper diet when society pushes all these different things that are supposed to be good for you. There are a lot of good comments here, and the arguments for and against every different diet can be found throughout the internet. Michael Eades, author of The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle, said humans are not natural vegans, pointing out that we can only get vitamin B12 from animal foods.
Michael Richards discuss how his team has yet to find evidence of a vegan human via isotope analysis. Time is the critical factor here, not the number of humans before or after the agriculture revolution.
We develop cultural norms that drive us to eat this instead of that, although they may be nutritionally very similar, or to abstain from perfectly good foods in favour of something less nutritious and harder to source.


These were diseases that did not plague earlier man, and their advent can be traced quite clearly to the rise of grain consumption.
That he had a diet including grain carbs may have interacted with that genetic predisposition – but the genes pre-dated the agriculture.
I have found myself in the organic section more often than not lately, just because of all the additives and preservatives that are in the food in the regular part of the grocery store.
I have come to the conclusion that there are some people who have metabolic problems or allergies that demand a unique dietary approach. Cordain said the first humans that are similar to modern man first appeared at the zero yard line. Robb Wolf’s been championing the cause since way back in 2010, when CJ was trying to raise funds for production. Best of all, the film’s science is extremely approachable, made all the more so thanks to CJ. These are the people who actually do the hard labor, write the papers, and run tests talking directly about the implications of their work.
If the group is small with low gene flow, I think an allele shift could be completed in a lot less than 8,000 years.
Depending on your personal genome (how many copies of the gene salivary amylase 1 you have), you may well be able to incorporate grains into your diet – but you still have your ancestral ability to digest meat and fat. I don’t think that we pay enough attention to the evolutionary aspect of things, or how slow the evolutionary process actually is. There are many anecdotal stories out there by people who successfully embrace vegan, or vegetarian, or paleo, or Adkins, or zero carb diets.
Over time, humans evolved into a hunter-gatherer species that survived on a diet of meat and wild plants. It’s a fascinating journey into history looking at what our ancestors ate and how they lived as a template for how we should be eating and living in modern-day society. When an expert on neanderthal and early human genetics at the Max Planck Institute throws around talk about isotopic dietary analyses that might confuse some folks, CJ asks the right questions to get at the real-world dietary implications of these findings. Rather than me or Robb or whoever else writing blogs or books about our interpretations of the work, the people who produce the work are stepping out from academia and giving their honest summation of the evidence for ancestral eating.
It’s clear from archaeological evidence from bones and teeth that, as meat intake decreased, human health plummeted.
I was looking at the label of the vegetarian vs the regular, and they add lard to regular refried beans. It allows us to store a lot of energy as fat since in the prehistory meat wast that plentiful as it is right now and wild game was rather infrequent. So instead of jumping out with standard Primal eating prescriptions or suggestions from the start, the film is a gradual exploration of human evolution, including the dietary pressures that shaped and informed that evolution. The one common element that most theories seem to embrace is that processed sugars are bad for us.
The most susceptible died, and those with the lowest needs for animal protein, and the luckiest genome for, say, converting essential amino acids to nonessential, or betacarotenes into vitamin A, survived, thrived, and bred. The paleo diet does advocate that people with very active lifestyles may benefit from a more carb heavy diet, but this comes in the form of starchy fruits and vegetables. But what I find most interesting is that from the point of view of our species we should have children fast and many (having more fat from meat helps during pregnancy) and after our children can take care of themselves we should better die not to be a burden to our clan.
And check it out–the trailer for THE PERFECT HUMAN DIET shows up amongst the biggest blockbuster Hollywood movies in the most popular trailers on Hulu right now:KEWL! CJ makes no prescriptions, instead letting the evidence and the experts speak for themselves. While grain-eaters thrived, their adaptation was a plug-in to their old software, if I may put that way. Hunt’s proposal may involve the use of an individual genetic variation which you briefly address. I don’t believe modern science is able to formulate dietary recommendations for INDIVIDUALS based on genetic profile.
But because the ancestral health community, while growing, is still relatively small, the film had to funded almost entirely by donations from individual humans who love this way of life and believe in it, have garnered benefits from it, and who want it available on a larger, different stage for all to see. This study about aboriginal people in Australia should also mention the average life expectancy between true aboriginals and city-dwelling Australians. If you were among the donators, I thank you, because you made this very important documentary possible.



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