Lose Two Pounds in One Sitting: Taking the Mioscenic Route

“Lose Two Pounds in One Sitting:
Taking the Miocenic Route” The Paleolithic period,
the stone age, only goes back about
two million years. Humans and other great apes
have been evolving for the last 20 million years starting back in the
Miocene era. We hear a lot about
the paleolithic diet, but that just represents
the last 10% of hominid evolution— what about the
first 90%? During the Miocene era,
the diet is generally agreed to have been a high-fiber,
plant-based diet. For the vast majority of
our family’s evolution we ate what the rest of our
great ape cousins eat— leaves, stems, and shoots
(in other words, vegetables) and fruits, seeds,
and nuts. Anatomically, the digestive
tracts of humans and our fellow great apes
are very similar. In fact our DNA is
very similar. So what do they eat? Largely vegetarian diets with
high greens and fruit consumption. Just largely vegetarian? Yeah, chimpanzees have been
known to hunt, kill, and eat prey, but the intake of
food of animal origin by chimpanzees is at a
very low level, with only 1.7% of
chimp stools providing evidence of
animal food consumption, based on eight
years of work collecting nearly
2,000 fecal samples. So even the most carnivorous
of great apes appears to eat like a
98% plant-based diet. We may be closest to
the diet of bonobos, one of the less known
great apes, who eat nearly exclusively
plant-based diets as well. Even our Paleolithic hunters
and gatherers must have been done an
awful lot of gathering to get upwards of a
100 grams of fiber a day. So what would happen
if you put people on an actual
Paleolithic diet? Not a supermarket-checkout-
aisle-magazine paleo diet, or some caveman
blogger diet, but an actual 100 plus grams
of fiber diet. Or even better a
miocenic diet, taking into account the
last 20 million years of evolution since we split with our common
great ape ancestor. Dr. David Jenkins and collegues
gave it a try. They tested the effects of feeding
a diet very high in fiber, we’re talking 150 grams a day, far higher than the recommended
20 to 30 grams a day, but 150 was what like what
populations in rural Africa
used to eat, populations almost entirely
free from many of our chronic killer diseases like
colon cancer and heart disease. Look at this. They were not
messing around. So what did you have
for lunch today? Oh, a pound of cabbage. Certainly just eating a lot
of fruits/veggies/nuts can’t be very satisfying. No, it got the maximum
satiety rating, 3 out of 3 by every one of
the ten subjects. Why? Because all the diets
were designed to be weight maintaining. They didn’t want weight loss
to confound the data. And so to eat a full day’s
calories of whole plant foods they had to shovel in about
11 pounds of food a day, not surprisingly resulting
in some of the largest bowel movements ever recorded
in the medical literature, in the men exceeding
a kilogram per day. You know how some people
on weight loss diets lose like two pounds a week? Well, here they dropped,
two pounds in one day. But that’s not the only
record breaking drop. A 33% drop in LDL cholesterol
within just two weeks. Even without any weight loss. Bad cholesterol levels
dropped a third in two weeks— that’s the biggest drop
I’ve ever seen in any dietary intervention, better than a starch-based
vegetarian diet, better than a low saturated
fat American Heart Association-type vegetarian diet. A cholesterol reduction
equivalent to a therapeutic dose of a statin drug. So one needs to take a drug
to get our cholesterol levels down to where they’d normally be
if we ate a more natural diet. We’ve been eating
100 grams of fiber every day for millions of years. Similar, to what’s eaten by
populations who don’t suffer from many of our
chronic diseases. Maybe this shouldn’t be called
a very high fiber diet. Maybe what we eat,
should be considered a very low, an extremely fiber
deficient diet. Maybe it’s normal to eat
a 100 grams of fiber a day. Maybe it’s normal to be
free of heart disease. Maybe it’s normal to be
free of constipation, and hemorrhoids,
and diverticulitis, and appendicitis,
and colon cancer, and obesity, and
type 2 diabetes, and all other the diseases
of Western civilization.

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