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  1. #1
    vlad
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    let us consider the diet of primitive peoples

    more food for thought

    explorers have found very robust primitive peoples living without benefit of white flour, Red Bull and Gatorade in remote areas of the world.

    it occurs to me that if their diet had been defective they would have died out. there would be no robust primitive people there to be found.

    or is this an oversimplification?

    here is the result of my Google search diet of primitive peoples

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...mitive+peoples

  2. #2
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vlad
    or is this an oversimplification?[/url]
    It is an oversiplification.

    First of all, let's use the term hunter-gatherer societies. Since you used the Inuit as your example in your meat post, you probably know that, until recently, the average lifespan for an Inuit man was 35 years. The infant mortality rate was four times that of the rest of Canada. Since the 1960s and the introduction of a more balanced diet, the Inuit average lifespan has increased in 55 years, the infant mortality rate is just slightly above the rest of Canada and -- this is the kicker -- the average stature has increased by six centimetres.

    I don't know if they're living happier lives -- in fact, they probably aren't -- but they're living longer lives with fewer health problems. Not all of this is due to diet, though the increase in stature is generally regarded as a key indicator of improved diet.

    I do remember reading about some crackpot theories that paleolithic famers experienced a reduced lifespan and increased infant mortality rates than their hunter-gatherer brethren. Aside from the fact that this has been quite convincingly disproved by more sober research [a 1991 study by the University of Chicago's Oriental Archaelogy department was the best-known], it actually defies logic: If the farmers were starving and dieing off so early and so unhealthy compared to the hunter-gatherers, then why did agriculture supplant hunting as the primary human food gathering activity?

    Moreover, historically, "civilization" has only evolved in societies where there has been a food surplus. There has never been a food surplus in hunter-gatherer societies and thus no civilization.

    I'll give you this: Our diet today is probably too high in carbohydrates, particularly processed and simple carbohydrates like white flour and sugar. I think we'd be a whole lot better off getting our required carbs from whole grain and less-processed sources.
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  3. #3
    vlad
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    page 118 Calories Don't Count Dr Herman Taller MD

    Protein is a combination of chemical substances called amino acids. While protein, like a carbohydrate, contains molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, protein also contains nitrogen. The element nitrogen, which is essential to life, is not present in carbohydrates.

    The body breaks down protein you consume through food into carboihydrates and into nitrogen. This protein breakdown, as you remember, is one source of carbohydrates, and the typical American diet is so rich in protein that many of us could probably subsist without eating any carbohydrates at all. (I am not recommending that you try. I am only pointing out that whereas you could not live without protein, you could live, perhaps quite comfortably , without eating any sugars or starches.)

    If the body turns protein into carbohydrate, you may wonder, won't it run into the problem of pyruvic acid? Won't obese people, in whom pyruvic acid turns to fat, get into as much weight trouble eating protein as they do eating carbohydrates? The answer, fortunately, is no. You can eat too much protein, just as you can eat too much carbohydrate, but practically you are unlikely to. Your appetite is far better at regulating your protein intake than it is at regulating your carbohydrate intake. The problem of your eating so much protein that the body, in breaking down the protein, becomes oversupplied with carbohydrates is pretty much nonexistent.

    Physiologists estimate that the body can use one gram of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. Translating this into mores meaningful terms, a 150-pounde can handle about 70 proteins grams a day. Two normal slices of good lean beef supply only 28 grams of protein. In practice a 150-pounder is not likely to exceed his 70 grams very often or by very much.

  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    This point may have been made but protein is a very slow breakdown point AND doesn't all breakdown into your body. Protein has a very poor use to waste ratio. You would have to eat a lot of meat to get the carbs required.

    Now, I do agree with a protein diet. HAving bodybuilded for 7 years previous to biking (with a year in between) I was and still am a protein freak and follow a higher protein diet than average. But even on my diet I do not believe I could increase the protein any more because it would cause

    a) serious bloating and other stomach related problem

    b) Carbs are more pure for energy and as an athlete you body needs the immediate carb and not one that may or may not work in the future depending on how the body wants to use it.

    Protein in a muscle breakdown situation such as athletics is more likely to 'feed' the muscles being broken down. This is where it is king in the repairing of muscles tissue broken down from an intense workout.

    To exceed that average is relatively easy. 4oz of meat is around 30 g protein. Small gladd of milk is 10. Eggs are I believe 7 each depending on the type of egg. Lunchmeat, cheese, beans all have good doses of protein. Without any supplementation and 5 small meals a day I can easily get to 150g protein in a day.

    I am not sure if this applys but it is an interesting point about protein. There is a toxicity level on protein. It has been a few years since I did the research on it but at some point in the ratio protein becomes sickening to the human body. I believe it to be well over 2g/pnd but that is because that is the first number that popped into my head.

  5. #5
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    I'll give you this: Our diet today is probably too high in carbohydrates, particularly processed and simple carbohydrates like white flour and sugar. I think we'd be a whole lot better off getting our required carbs from whole grain and less-processed sources.
    Agreed. As an insulin dependent diabetic that is something I factor into my diet as I go along. There is the concept of the glycaemic index that does have some merit, though it is somewhat unweildly to implement haphazardly.

    A lot of work has been published about the fact that we can live exclusively off protein, but I'm not sure if a 100% protein diet is the right way to go. As has been mentioned, conventional carbs give you a fairly predictable conversion into energy.
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  6. #6
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    well, i'm not a nutritionist or an anthropologist...

    but as i see it a real problem is that our bodies developed for the hunter-gatherer scenario where manual labor was high and food supplies often low or low which is very different from "modern life" where manual labor is low, lethargy is high and surplus of food.

    probably the greatest nutrition problem is that the body has adapted to deal with potential food shortages which was probably one of the greatest threats to mortality in pre-modern times... so the body stores and saves for the starving day that never comes -- how many of you have gone more than 2 days w/o eating? you can live something like 7 days without eating.

    as for the carb/protein issue: i think it dpends on your lifestyle. i train daily and i need lots of carbohydrates for energy although i also try and eat protein and fats are important too, protein especially when i'm weight-training (unfortunately currently on weight-training 'break' since June, but averaged 3-5 days/wk of lifting for the last 4 years). For non-athletic types, i think mostly fruits and vegetables is best with maybe small amounts of proteins and high-carb sources and almost no simple-sugars and fats

    anyway, i think there is no one "perfect" diet, but it is dependent on lifestyle: an athlete requires a different diet from a couch potato who sits at the desk all day and then the car and then the living room sofa...
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  7. #7
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Another factor often overlooked are the calories consumed daily. I think the evidence is anecdotal, but an office worker would need around 1700cals per day to maintain bodily function and construction workers around 2750cals. The average intake is somewhere around 2100cals so most of us are over-eating most days. I also read somewhere that people who work in the a bit muddled with the numbers.

    The body requires 20 amino acids. 12 are non-essential, produced within the body, and 8 others are obtained by diet alone. The figures might be the other way around but its something like that. Anyway, I digress. But given the fact that we must get the essentail aa's from diet, are these best obtained from protein? Or from carbs?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  8. #8
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    I also read somewhere that people who work in the a bit muddled with the numbers.
    Sorry! I must have cut something when I sent the reply. What I meant to say is:

    I also read somewhere that people who work in the Antarctic in mid-winter need around 6000cals a day but I'm a bit muddled with the numbers.
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  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    The implication is that we should consider new ride-food alternatives.

    Roadkill, the other, er, multi-colored meat.

    Or, if you get there soon enough, goo, not Gu.

  10. #10
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bokkie
    Another factor often overlooked are the calories consumed daily. I think the evidence is anecdotal, but an office worker would need around 1700cals per day to maintain bodily function and construction workers around 2750cals. The average intake is somewhere around 2100cals so most of us are over-eating most days.
    I see this as one of the primary causes of modern obesity, which is almost epidemic.

    The body requires 20 amino acids. 12 are non-essential, produced within the body, and 8 others are obtained by diet alone. The figures might be the other way around but its something like that. Anyway, I digress. But given the fact that we must get the essentail aa's from diet, are these best obtained from protein? Or from carbs?
    I assume you are asking what the best source of essential amino acids is, meat or non-meat sources, since carbs by themselves have no amino acids, but may occur along with amino acids in foods like pasta.

    I don't know which is the best source of protein. Meat is convenient because it contains all the essential amino acids, while pasta does not. So you must combine protein-rich foods
    if you want to get all the essential amino acids. This is not too hard to do in modern society, where so many different food sources are available. You just have to educate yourself on how to get all the amino acids your body needs.

    For primitive hunter/gatherers, meat fit the bill. Today, you can live without meat if you know what to replace it with.
    No worries

  11. #11
    Grounded Inkwolf's Avatar
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    I also read somewhere that people who work in the Antarctic in mid-winter need around 6000cals a day but I'm a bit muddled with the numbers.
    I know that some of the northern native people drink seal oil to get enough calories. Nummy.

  12. #12
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LittleBigMan
    So you must combine protein-rich foods
    if you want to get all the essential amino acids
    Let's see if I how much I remember about this (pls correct as necessary)...

    you have to combine foods because for the body to utilize the amino acids, some fairly complete subset of the essential AAs have to be present at the same time.

    and

    Your body can create the non-essential AAs, but only if provided with the proper required "building block" nutrients, of which I remember none. Possibly the essential AAs?
    Last edited by roadbuzz; 08-20-02 at 08:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vlad
    it occurs to me that if their diet had been defective they would have died out. there would be no robust primitive people there to be found.
    I suppose it's easy to think in terms of them eating the same parts that we would. In reality, they were probably eating most of the organs, glands, etc., too. So, while protein is an inefficient source of energy, they were probably getting a pretty decent supply of vitamins (possibly getting too much A, you remember what Adelle said about polar bear liver). Plenty of B vitamins in liver, and some C, I guess.

    Hey! Are mountain oysters performance enhancing drugs?

  14. #14
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    These 'studies' are rubbish.

    The diet of the Australian aboriginals and hunter-gatherers in Africa has been documented extensively.

    Their diets largely consisted of tubers and grasses - less meat than a modern Australian diet.

    The men of the tribe would go out for weeks to get kangaroos or wombats, but most of the time they did not return with any food (they had to eat when they were there, remember).

    Virtually all the food gathering was done by women and children - most of the meat consumed by these people were from rodent-like creatures caught by women and children, not the large animals caught by the men.

    The eskimoes in the Arctic consumed all of the fish, including what the fish had eaten, and all the deer (which ate berries very high in vitamin C).

    The farmers in the dark ages had shorter life spans due to disease and famine, as well as a lack of protein. This improved when broad beans were introduced from Afica/Middle East.
    Meat consumption for most people was very low in Europe and Britain until after World War 2.

  15. #15
    Grounded Inkwolf's Avatar
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    Has anyone got any stats on Mongolia? I'm reading "Where the pavement ends" about a young woman who biked acrosss Mongolia, and it seems that there they eat mainly meat. (She cooked some carrots for herself and was asked why she was eating horse food. )

  16. #16
    hehe...He said "member" ChipRGW's Avatar
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    The modern western lifestyle is stocked with entirely too many calories and too little exersize. Portion sizes in restaurants are approaching RIDICULOUS. Average rest. servings are approaching 3 to 5 times what would be considered "normal". Junk food is the easiest and "tastiest" option for many peoples "busy" lifestyles. (by "tastiest", I mean greasy, by "busy" I mean the mad dash to get home in time to see a repeat episode of "Friends")
    Carbs, protiens, calories, fat, even the dreaded "SUGAR" can all be combined to form a delicious well balanced diet. No single eating plan can possibly satisfy everyone.

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  17. #17
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    But what about cheese?
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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