What do we really know about ancestral diet?


(Edith) #21

I’m not a Bible thumper, but I have a new take on the story of Cain and Abel. God was pleased with carnivore Abel’s sacrifice of lamb and not nearly so pleased with Vegetarian Cain’s vegetables. Then, the cranky and jealous Cain, probably cranky because he was nutrient deficient from being a vegetarian murdered his brother.

See vegetarians and meat eaters have been fighting with each other since Biblical times.

But more seriously, it makes sense to me that we supplemented our meat eating with whatever we gathered, but I just can’t believe that we could really find enough plants to make them a large part of our calorie intake. I do think maybe we could have been similar to bears: putting on a layer of fat in the summer and early autumn, maybe eating lots of nuts, and then in ketosis, burning that fat in the winter.

Also, I was listening to Sally Norton discuss oxalate, and she mentioned how we no longer have seasonality of food. It may have been important for us to have extended breaks from plant eating to clear their toxins out of our bodies during the winter before the next round of plant eating began in the summer.


oh yea agreed on that because certain body functions are just that in every human. and seasonal vegetation was happening back then as it does now still in nature.

but you also can’t truly compare them at all with our modern day life.
Even physical body functions back then would be different (if we could get a live caveman into our modern day tests :)) cause they had no air pollution that we have, our environments with vaccines available and more I am sure change our bodies just enough to truly be a different ‘running’ body and would ‘test different’ in today’s tests. Did I make sense on writing that out as I am thinking it LOL

yea IF times would have happened to all animals on the planet and veg in season still happens but from then to now, eh, still so different.

I am still holding with comparison of back then and now is kinda useless in the long run. Can we learn some stuff, sure, but in the end it is SO far back all we can do is guesstimate any of it.


Work backwards from the present. Mum and Dad were ancestors. Grandparents were ancestors. They ate the world before we did.

Our human brains are amazing that we can transport ourselves back in time in a story.line.

But imagining back and then trying to build facts from that point where the data is incomplete creates wonderful potential for wild and varied stories and interpretations. We see those. It’s like creative paleo accounting. The contemporary data is much more available and abundant.

So, we recognise the state of nutritional ketosis. It has benefits. We recognise the innate human quest to extract as much energy out of the world around us and to make it edible. Because the consequences of not being able to do so left many of our ancestral relatives, who could not find energy, as evolutionary dead ends (and/or food for other beings).

We can observe that nutritional ketosis can be achieved in a healthy metabolism with out concious application of thought or action, in that a healthy person will be in ketosis by sleeping overnight. We can manipulate nutritional ketosis by: eating at specific times, eating specific foods and by physical activity, or a combination of all these.

So to answer why keto, metabolic ketosis, works, I’d suggest it is a nascent state of of a healthy human being. If a person moves toward a healthier self then the ketosis is naturally there.

I reckon we, as a species, just got too smart at extracting energy from our planet and environment, passed a healthy biological set point and confounded it into an almost obscurity with religion, wars**, politics, economics, legalised addiction and disinterest.

** wars get a special mention as they create times of scarcity and ingenuity (including enforced starvation). In a twisted way, that kept some of the observations alive about the human metabolism, nutrition, and food variety.


Probably only after depleting liver glycogen and muscle glycogen with some physical activity. The muscle glycogen is harder to shift as it seems exclusive for muscle activity, whereas the liver glycogen is for blood glucose homeostasis. The glycogen storage requires depletion before carbohydrate repletion. And the nutritional technicians will get in here and point out that protein and gluconeogenesis are another way to create adequate blood glucose for energy and muscle glycogen repletion.

The modern situation is that many in the population with persistently high blood glucose do not deplete the glycogen stores, so the blood glucose is stored as body fat.

So that “carb up” comment needs some context. In a forum where many people are metabolically dysfunctional with persistently high serum blood glucose, the context of a “carb up” is that it would make the problems worse.

(Genn) #25

I guess when I said ‘can be beneficial’, I was insinuating an n=1 type situation, but I suppose I could’ve been more clear.

(Genn) #26

But who doesn’t like some extrapolation? I think anthropology is an excellent way to understand the evolution of the human diet, even if it can devolve into a bit of storytelling. Human beings love telling stories, matter of fact, it’s a wonderful form of communication, and might be more palatable to some (for example, those unfamiliar with keto and the science behind it) than throwing science at them that they don’t want to hear.

I realize this will draw parallels with paleo, but my insinuation is not that we eat like cavemen (impossible), but that we seek to understand how the evolution of human eating has contemporary ramifications. That was my intention, at least.


Communication is an art. Great storytellers will be remembered as will their stories. Walt Disney understood this. Humans are fascinated by stories and novelty. I have to agree most thoroughly.

Poor pure scientists (mathematicians, physicists and chemists), if they have no flair, their scientific discoveries and data are ripped from them by journalists and science fiction authors.


A worthy intention and much discussed and referred to in expert commentary.

Just the resources provided by @amwassil, up the stream a bit, provides lots of discussion points.

(Bunny) #29

Some times I get the impression that the thinking around the forum is centered around eating only meat and fat and that you cannot be in nutritional ketosis without meat and fat or animal based fats and proteins.

That kind of thinking is very deeply misleading.

Keep in mind rabbit starvation comes from eating only rabbits not carbohydrates or nutrient dense calories.

What kind of carbohydrates are being discussed?

You never see “processed carbs” it then becomes “carbs” and “all carbs are bad” …that is insane?

Any one who states: ”human do not need carbohydrates“ needs a serious mental health evaluation? Along with that I will also state: you don’t need animal proteins or fats to survive either?

Been looking at research by (Campbell et al.) and looking at the graph/chart that demonstrates the precise mechanism on how animal proteins can cause cancer, below it shows how reducing animal based protein reduces the cancer. And how percentages of animal protein turn the cancer on and off from multiplying or proliferating.

Then one can say “oh that’s because your eating carbs with it?” Then again what kind of carbs are we talking about? Highly refined and processed carbohydrates or Whole Foods?

I like to state comprehensive, unbiased and objective overviews even if it does not jive with my own nutritional framework, experimentation, or practices and give others options if they don’t like eating animal fats and proteins and want to do a ketogenic diet.

No Clear Requirement for Dietary Carbohydrates for Human Adults
(bulkbiker) #30

If they simply pass through then they aren’t really part of the diet in any meaningful way…?

(Bunny) #31

I guess the nutrients that pass through meat are meaningless too?

(bulkbiker) #32

Meat does not re-emerge in exactly the same state as it goes in though because the nutrients are absorbed…

you yourself say that “seeds pass through… whole” therefore using logic there are no nutrients to be absorbed from them?

(Bunny) #33


The fruit or vegetable surrounding the seeds, you will get nutrients from that?

(bulkbiker) #34

Possibly… but that’s not what you said in the first place…
Seeds that pass through completely untouched cannot be adding nutrients…
I thought we had agreed that makes them not “part” of the diet but incidental…which was my original point.

(Bunny) #35

Whole Seeds will make you feel full and mimic fasting If you eat enough of them.

Water density in Whole Foods will make you feel fuller so you won’t be eating as much of it.

E.g. Eating only corn without chewing it will make you feel full but in reality you absorb very little of it and it passes through whole and lose body fat in the process and probably go into ketosis to different degrees.

You can fast and eat at the same time which is pretty neat.

(bulkbiker) #36

Not really if you are stimulating insulin responses by eating …?

Kind of counterproductive as you are getting few if any nutrients…

(Bunny) #37

People do it all the time, wouldn’t say it’s counterproductive.

Seriously your not getting any nutrients when fasting so why should eating undigestible foods matter?

I’m sure you would love to invoke a law that all humans should only eat meat and will be burned at the stake alive if they touch one carb…lol

(bulkbiker) #38

Great idea!

(Genn) #39

I understand that we are all passionate about our own interpretations of keto, but can we please stay civil and recall that your iteration of the diet will not be ideal for everyone else?

I’m quite curious about the Okinawan diet, which is based mainly on sweet potatoes and has a very low fat intake (I believe this is an oddity in blue zone diets). We ought to consider that just because keto works for us, doesn’t mean other WOE are invalid.

(bulkbiker) #40

Apart from the lard and pork of course…