Sunday, February 11, 2007

Want to lose weight? Eat what our ancestors ate

Ever wondering what will happen to our health if we turned away refrigerator-foods, and only eat diet our ape-like ancestors once ate, in the hunter-gatherer style ?
BBC has an interesting article about how 9 volunteers ate an ape-like diet for a couple weeks.

"They set up home in a tented enclosure at Paignton Zoo, Devon, next to the ape house, in an experiment filmed for TV. The idea, says Jill Fullerton-Smith, who helped organise the trial, was that modern diets, often dominated by processed foods and saturated fats, cause costly health problems".

They ate what is described as "a three-day rotating menu of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey" and you've probably already guessed the results. They were just fine. In fact, they were better than fine. Here's how it breaks down:

"Overall, the cholesterol levels dropped 23%, an amount usually achieved only through anti-cholesterol drugs statins. The group's average blood pressure fell from a level of 140/83 - almost hypertensive - to 122/76. Though it was not intended to be a weight loss diet, they dropped 4.4kg (9.7lbs), on average. At the same time, they increased the soluble fibre which binds cholesterol in the gut, so that it is expelled, and increased the intake of plant sterols - which help to lower cholesterol".

And, some of the participants were so full from the abundant vegetables in their diet that they weren't able to finish their daily allotments. No matter, they reportedly had excellent energy levels and were in a good mood.