From what I gather, it’s been difficult to pinpoint the role of plants in the diet of our ancestors for a variety of reasons. For example, evidence of plants on cooking tools and dental remains is suggestive but doesn’t disprove the possibility that said evidence came from preparing the plants for some other purpose (eg, tools, weapons, or medicine), or that the stomach contents of an herbivore was ingested (which gets partial credit).
That said, after reviewing a few studies on the topic (see below), it’s safe to say that plants were eaten, probably frequently, and the types & quantities varied seasonally & geographically. Collectively, the data suggest we aren’t carnivores.
@CaloriesProper I do wonder why there is so much debate around this? Ancient humans ate plants and animals. The end.
Protein Leverage Hypothesis: Dude eats 15% protein on a 2000 kcal diet (75 g protein). Exchange 25 grams of protein with carb, and he’s now eating 10% protein on a 2000 kcal diet (50 g protein). Theory states Dude will increase total food intake to get back those 25 grams.
Ergo, Protein Leverage Hypothesis:
Disclaimer: I don’t care much for the Protein Leverage Hypothesis. It might be true, but that doesn’t mean it matters. It works well in rodents, but obese patients eat tons of protein. The rebuttal to this is that the protein in their diet is too diluted with other [empty] calories. They’re overeating because of low protein %.
The flipside, confirmed ad nauseam in rodent studies, is that frank protein deficiency increases food intake. Frank protein deficiency means negative nitrogen balance & tissue loss… not just skeletal muscle; organs, too. Incompatible with survival.
Feed someone a low protein low fat diet, they get hungry. If it’s ad libitum, they eat more.
As previously discussed, DRINK was a randomized intervention study that gave children either regular or diet soda for a year and surprise surprise, the regular soda drinkers gained about more body fat than the diet soda drinkers (de Ruyter et al., 2012). And in the follow-up, with an opposite study design, overweight & obese children who continued to drink regular soda gained twice as much weight as those who cut their intake (Ebbeling et al., 2012). There was no apparent black box in the latter study as the kids who stopped drinking soda also decreased their intake of other foods…
-does not compute-
wait a minute … By switching from regular soda to diet, you just end up compensating by eating more of something else, right? My initial response to that has always been that it doesn’t matter – ANYTHING else is better than a straight shot of 100% HFCS (+ some other chemicals). But those kids didn’t do that. they ate less of other foods.
Does HFCS soda make you eat more?
A recent study has put a little more fuel on this fire. Similar to the abovementioned two, it’s not a sophisticated study designed to accurately assess the impact of regular soda on appetite, satiety, hunger, etc., but it supports the theory that diet soda negative calories are NOT compensated for by eating more of something else.
It was another big cross-sectional NHANES study that simply asked how much regular soda, diet soda, and other foods kids were eating.
They showed that as soda intake increased, so did total calories, which could simply mean the soda was adding calories to their diets. This would indirectly support the opposite of the above mentioned theory, namely, that soda calories aren’t compensated for. But it gets better (or worse, depending how you look at it):
soda didn’t simply add to the total calorie intake. More often than not, calorie intake increased above and beyond that contributed by the soda. And it wasn’t just that bigger kids were drinking more soda and eating more food – these data were controlled for body weight. The authors estimated that for every 100 kcal of soda drank, an additional 36 – 86 kcal of food was eaten.
salt makes you thirsty, and now soda makes you hungry?
This is one of the biggest diet studies we’ve seen in a while, and no doubt it was a very good one. It very effectively put the Mediterranean Diet to the test.
I felt compelled to write about this study out of fear for the nutrition disinformation that it would likely inspire. The Mediterranean Diet is associated with all good things, happiness, red wine and olive oil; whereas the Atkins Diet is associated with artery clogging bacon-wrapped hot dogs and a fat guy who died of a heart attack. Nutrition disinformation.
If you ran a diet study with 3 intervention groups for 5 years, and by the end of the study everybody (in all 3 groups) was on more prescription medications, would you conclude any of the diets were “healthy?” If so, then we should work on your definition of “healthy.”
Study details: big study, lasted roughly 5 years, and the diet intervention was pristine. Mediterranean diet plus extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) vs. Mediterranean diet plus nuts vs. low fat control. They even used biomarkers to confirm olive oil and nut intake (hydroxytyrosol and linoleate, respectively). Compliance was good.
What happens if you give skinny kids a can of fully sugared regular soda to drink every day for a year?
What happens if you take the soda away from overweight kids for a year?
The answer to these two questions should be a definitive user’s guide to the question: how bad is soda for my children? And we got those answers this week.
A set of powerful studies were recently published, the likes of which I thought we’d never see. It’s unethical to assign anyone to start smoking so we can properly study the effects of cigarettes; and before today, I would’ve thought it unethical to assign young children to start drinking fully sugared regular soda. And not just one or two cans… over 350. For the 4 year olds the first study, by the end of the trial they had been on soda for almost a third of their life… during a critical period of development. Ethics schmethics. Hopefully this study will never be repeated.
People have been warned about the dangers of excess sugar consumption, but compared to the anti-smoking campaign, the recent proposal to ban XL soda’s is like bringing a cup of water to a forest fire.
In an ideal world, a proper health initiative designed to provide people (kids too) with good nutrition information would work. The new proposal takes a different route: it bans the sale of soda’s larger than 16 ounces (but you can still buy 2-12 ouncers). I see two possible outcomes: 1) someone who would’ve bought one 24 ouncer of soda might settle for 16 ounces; 2) the one in a million customer who wanted 24 ounces will walk away with two 12 ounce sodas instead. Win-win, right? In the first case, the toxic sugar burden is lessened by a third. In the second, a potentially valuable lesson on “serving size” will be on display. Serving size 2.0, in 3-D, spelling-it-out for all to see.
It might actually work. From a nutritional perspective, 90 grams of highly bioavailable sugar (HFCS) is a biological disaster. Pound for pound, there aren’t many worse things you can consume… it’s the anti-thesis of “moderation.” Regardless of your stance on the calorie debate, no one can argue that 90 grams of sugar all-at-once is more detrimental than it’s caloric content would imply. Even for skinny people (metabolic obesity?). It’s worse than dietary fat, and might be THEE cause of leptin resistance.
This isn’t a TPMC original, but this graph of soda, diabetes, and obesity is just about as compelling as epidemiology can be:
douse those sugar cubes with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, and we’re good to go
If the ban goes into effect and actually impacts sales, will there be a backlash? more food company lobbying? increased government subsidies (reduced HFCS consumption -> more taxpayer dollars used to cover the losses)? Who knows. If it teaches people a lesson about serving size or empty calories it might be worth it.