Health and Diet
Healthy meat should be the staple of a healthy diet!
Updated - 02 Jan 21
To paraphrase Dr Zoe Harcomb PhD, ‘Our dietary guidelines used to be simple, if you can catch it, you can eat it. When we followed that guide, we had no chronic disease.’
When we abandoned this simple rule, we started to get ill. What have been termed ‘diseases of civilisation’, autoimmune and metabolic diseases, appeared and have steadily increased ever since.
For 99% of human history we were paleolithic hunters and our physical and mental capacity peaked during the upper paleolithic period with the Gravettian culture. People of this European culture were taller than modern populations and had a 1500cc brain size, compared with around 1350cc average for modern Europeans. A complex hunting culture, the Gravettians lived on an almost entirely animal based diet. Analysis of nitrogen isotopes in collagen from Gravettian remains reveals them to have been high trophic level hunters. In common with other paleolithic human remains, Gravettian remains show little evidence of arthritis or other telltale indications of the chronic diseases that plague modern people.
Research by Dr Miki Ben-Dor PhD, a leading paleoanthropologist from the University of Tel Aviv, has revealed that humans would best be described, physiologically, as ‘facultative carnivores’[i]. This means we are adapted for a predominantly animal-based diet but can exploit some plant foods during periods of scarcity. He identified 13 physiological adaptations to carnivory, including 3 adaptations that significantly reduce our ability to exploit plant-based nutrients.
This does not mean that the ‘omnivore’ vs ‘facultative carnivore’ argument is settled in scientific circles (nothing is settled in science), but there is little doubt that modern chronic diseases have reached epidemic proportions as our dietary consumption of plant-sourced fats and carbohydrates have increased. That we can survive on plant-based foods is not in question, but whether we can escape the chronic disease they cause is less certain.
Research conducted from 1968 to 1973 on diets high in saturated vs polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) were so damning of polyunsaturated fats that the results were suppressed by the researchers[ii]. It wasn’t until 2015, when researcher Christopher Ramsden discovered the original trial records, that the true extent of the effects of high PUFA consumption became known[iii].
In the last 5 years, the FDA has quietly abandoned their recommended limits on dietary cholesterol, stopped pushing PUFA and toned down their scientifically indefensible attack on saturated fats. Unfortunately, the medical community has been slow to follow, despite a 2019 FDA report that only 12% of American adults were considered metabolically healthy.
As metabolic syndrome increases the risk of negative COVID outcomes by 10x, perhaps it’s time we shelved the processed foods and started ‘eating what we can catch’ again. Besides, a grass-fed burger supports ecosystem health while the Impossible Meats alternative damages it. Healthy environment = healthy humans.