1. Societies whose diet centers largely on grains and processed, industrial foods are riddled with disease.
  2. Contemporary hunter-gatherer, pastoral and even horticultural societies eating traditional foods have great health.
  3. When humans shifted from hunting and gathering to agriculture, our health declined.


1. We are in the Midst of an Epidemic

Should you count calories? Should you trade fat for carbs or carbs for fat? How much weight do you need to loose? Does thin equal healthy?

According to Dr. Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, people don’t die from obesity. People die from the metabolic disfunction that often, but not always accompanies obesity. Thanks to modern foods, 60% of Americans suffer from chronic metabolic disfunction, and many of them are not obese. This means that 40% of normal weight people have disrupted cellular metabolism. In other words, being thin is not necessarily equal to being well.

Note: If you don’t have a full 12 minutes, fast forward to 8:45.

The Paleo diet focuses on significantly reducing or eliminating the processed, industrialized foods and the nutrient-sparse staples of agriculture to which our metabolism has not had time to adapt (assuming it ever could).


2. Inuit, Aboriginal Australians, and Kitavans are Strong, Lean and Healthy
Alaska, Canada, Greenland

  • Marked health and vitality despite a harsh environment and a diet with very few vegetables or fruit
  • Eat primarily fat (80-85%) and protein from nutrient dense animal foods
  • In 1933 a visit by Dr. Weston Price revealed “magnificent dental development” including no cavities
Aboriginal or Indigenous

  • Consume mostly animal products and a variety of plants
  • Lean, fit, and with optimal blood pressure, fasting-glucose levels and cholesterol levels
  • Transitioning to a Westernized lifestyle brings metabolic and cardiovascular diseases that improve upon returning to their traditional diet
Papua New Guinea

  • Diet of root vegetables, fruits, vegetables, fish and coconuts
  • No heart disease or stroke despite smoking (but now urbanized inhabitants have 400,000 heart attacks yearly amidst 5.4 million people)
  • Elderly members remain quite active
3. The Agricultural Revolution — Tooth decay, Degenerating Bones, Anemia and Shrinkage

Anthropological studies of American Indians in the 1150 CE Ohio River Valley showed that early farmers, in comparison to nearby hunter-gatherers had:

  • 50% more tooth enamel defects
  • 4 times more iron-deficiency anemia
  • 3 times more bone lesions
  • And increase in degenerative conditions of the spine

In Greece and Turkey between around 10K years ago (end of last ice age, around the time of the Agricultural Revolution) and 5K years ago (3000 BCE), men shrank 6 inches in average height and women shrank 5 according to Jared Diamond in his article The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.

These are just two examples of an extraordinarily vast trend. As humans shifted from the wild foods on which we and our ancestors evolved to domesticated products of agriculture, health immediately began to decline. Then the ‘progress’ of industrialization allowed more and more of us to get sicker faster. So sick that most of us have forgotten the robust expression of health and vitality that is our birthright.

For more in-depth information, check out Chapter 1 of Your Personal Paleo Code from your Paleo Challenge Upgrade Bundle. To go straight to Chris Kresser’s sources, visit http://chriskresser.com/ppcnotes#ch1.

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