WHY WERE PALAEOLITHIC PEOPLE SO HEALTHY?
- They had an active lifestyle
- Their protein intake was far higher in polyunsaturated fats, because their animals were smaller and wild
- Their consumption of fibre was far higher than ours, at around 100g (31/2oz) per day
- The plants and berries they were eating were providing them with around 300 times more immune- boosting and antioxidant phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and vitamin C than the average diet offers today.
Warning signs from the present day
- 300,000 American deaths per year are due to obesity-related non- communicable diseases. This accounts for 12 per cent of the entire US healthcare expenditure, costing the country $100 billion (270 billion) per year. The cost of a cheeseburger may be coming down, but its cost to the nation’s health most certainly is not.
In 2002 the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta estimated that 17 million Americans, including 151,000 under the age of 20, now have diabetes. Type 2 (or adult-onset) diabetes is a disorder resulting from the body’s inability to make enough insulin (a hormone that regulates glucose metabolism in the body) – and it can be life-threatening. The risks of heart disease and stroke increase two- to fourfold and the death rate doubles in diabetics. The disease is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations.
- In 2002 the National Audit Office in the UK revealed the following facts:
58 per cent of adults in the UK are technically overweight, and 20 per cent are clinically obese.
In 1998 around 30,000 people in England alone died prematurely as a direct consequence of being overweight.
In the same year obesity was responsible for 1.8 million lost working days, costing the National Health Service and the economy of the country an estimated 22.5 billion ($3.6 billion).
The number of people who are obese in England has tripled over the last 20 years, and if this trend continues, one in four people will be obese by the year 2010.
- North American Inuits, whose native diet traditionally consists of whale meat, berries and moss, had no history of heart disease, diabetes or dental decay – until they introduced white flour and sugar into their diets.