[Preview] Metabolic flexibility, and what makes a diet work

If we were to ask,
“Is there an optimal ancestral diet?” My answer is no. There’s not a singular optimal
ancestral diet or human diet per se and knowing my audience was probably
a uniform intake of breath and puckering it backsides
when I say that. But hang with me here,
I’m still in good company but I just kind of want to reorient the way that we frame
a lot of these questions because I think that some of the ways that we’ve gone after trying
to even ask questions, the hypothesis generation processes
kind of let us down some blind alley. So I want to point out some cultures, and you guys are, I am sure,
super familiar with this stuff, but there are quite a number of cultures
with diets that work, and by diet I mean the nutrition
that they eat daily, not the thing that they’re trying to do
after the 1st of the year, just so we’re clear on that. But we have everything
from the Inuit to the Kitavans, Okinawan, many of these people are considered to be
in what’s called blue zones. They’re really interesting, they do have
some very interesting commonalities. Largely whole unprocessed foods, a host of lifestyle characteristics
that are very uniform and consistent, we’re going to talk about that more
at the end of this whole kind of discussion, but what’s really oddly missing
is the uniformity of macronutrients. You look at the Kitavans on the one hand and their upwards of 70% carbohydrate diet
mainly from tubers and then the Inuits
could not be more different than that. But pretty uniformly what they have
as far as outcomes, which I think is the thing
that we need to focus so much more on both clinically
and also from our research perspective, which again Dr. Ede was talk about
just a few minutes ago, when we focus on the outcomes and we
look at these kind of blue zone populations, these pre-westernized populations, they’re largely free
of Western degenerative disease. They die from something eventually, and it usually is something like heart attack
or stroke or something like that, but it happens much, much later in life and they have what’s called
a compressed morbidity curve. So they tend to stay quite healthy
and then they die.

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