Do it Like We Used to Do?

Adding to the many different diet theories out there comes in one from Dr John Briffa. His theory to weight loss is that we need to cast our minds back into prehistory to the last Ice-Age and ask ourselves ‘What would our ancestors have eaten around the camp-fire?’ Low-fat yogurt and pasta? Certainly not. He mentions that humans have been around for two and a half million years and over time new foods entered our diet, such as grains, that has led to humans gaining weight and becoming unhealthy from this

In evolutionary terms, we are still designed to eat what they ate, which is probably why so many people have dairy and wheat allergies. He recommends we stick to the primal foods of meat, fruit, nuts, berries, eggs and fish. This means avoiding, as much as possible, sugar, dairy, wheat and other grains including rice.

Dairy is even more recent, only appearing 5,000 years ago and is not a natural food for the human body. He makes a very valid point when he argues that these foods are generally promoted by people who are trying to sell us something and it is difficult to see the truth behind all the different agendas at play. Briffa also emphasises that we all have individual metabolic requirements and should tailor-make our own diets to accommodate our own needs, using our innate wisdom.

This is good advice, although like some others, I wouldn’t accept his entire thesis. Other food-theorists give advice similar to Briffa’s, but differ in that they do not recommend excluding all grains and some are against red meat. Like Briffa, they recommend avoiding wheat and other refined grains, but do not have a problem with wholegrain rice, as part of a healthy diet. Our cave-ancestors did eat wild wholegrains and apart from wheat (which was cross-bred during the Neolithic era to produce a new, higher-yielding, more problematic form) I am not sure that they can be seen as universally problematic. I also do not agree that red meat is healthy for humans.

I do think, however, that there is a lot to be said for Briffa’s general argument that we are not benefiting from the relatively new-fangled products we eat today, no matter how ‘healthy’ they purport to be. I also like the simplicity of asking ‘What would the cave-people eat?’ Certainly not Diet Coke. Definitely pure, unadulterated, natural food.


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