The Ancestral Human Diet

There is apparently demand for this discussion, so I will offer it:

“Vegans want us to eat bread full of gluten and phytates, but in reality our paleolithic ancestors evolved as hunter-gatherers who stalked gazelle and ate their raw organs!”

When you see a post titled “the ancestral human diet”, the above story is probably some variety of what you’re expecting to find. And in fact ,that’s roughly what I get in my comments:

Lowish carb is literally the way most healthy tribes ate most of the year for most of human evolutionary existance. Strict low carb is the way some quite healthy tribes loved all year round (inuit/masai for example).

But I want to ask you to think critically for a moment. Why do you American LSWMs all try to figure out what we “evolved” to eat? Because you have this idea in your head that evolution adjusts our bodies to whatever it is our ancestors spent their days eating.

But here’s the thing. Evolution is not able to change the laws of physics. To some degree biological processes are influenced by changes to our genes, but to some degree biological processes are also just an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.

If you magically reduced the density of our atmosphere by 20%, birds would evolve to adjust to that change and there would still be birds that can fly a million years from now. But put those birds back in our atmosphere and flying would simply still be easier for them.

The fact that we “evolved” to do something, doesn’t mean it helps us live long. In the Kalahari desert, hunter-gatherers sometimes steal prey from lions and other predators. Did our ancestors evolve to steal prey from lions? Perhaps we did. Do we live longer if we just buy our food from the supermarket? Probably.

Similarly, if you eat animals, you’re just going to deal with certain issues as an animal, evolution or no evolution. Parasites that infect other mammals can probably infect your body too. We have evolved a very acidic gut that helps us kill parasites, but we still get infected by them.

In addition, certain substances that animals produce look very similar to those produced by human cells and thus cause autoimmune issues. In meat you’ll find Neu5Gc, which is similar but not identical to a sialic acid we produce. So the immune system attacks it, resulting in autoimmune issues when your cells incorporate it.

Bacteria in your gut that are good at digesting the meat you eat, will probably be better at digesting your own intestines than bacteria in your gut that digest plants. Millions of years of evolution won’t change this simple principle.

I’m going to pretend for a moment that the “Paleo diet” crowd is right and humans were hypercarnivores for millions of years and adapted metabolically to that diet. But then I would still argue that humans should be eating more plants and less meat.

Why? Because we even see animals that evolved to eat meat live healthier when they eat less meat! Cats fed a plant-based diet live just as long as cats fed meat. Dogs fed a plant based diet live longer than dogs fed meat.

We know these animals evolved to eat meat, the cats get health problems if you don’t add taurine to their diet. But if you add taurine and some other essential nutrients, it just doesn’t seem to hurt them when you only feed them plants. The reason is because the health of a diet also depends on the biophysical properties of the nutrients.

But Americans get fat with the modern diet! There are too many carbs and too many polyunsaturated fatty acids! Well here’s another thing to consider: Getting fat sucks. But dying young and leaving your kids as orphans sucks too. But just look at all those seed oils!

Clearly the seed oils are making everyone fat and we need to go back to eating butter and lard!

Well here’s the thing. Look at what happened to heart attack deaths during that period:

This stuff goes away, at the same time people stop cooking with lard. It’s a huge victory that helps people live into old age. Bring back the saturated animal fats and a bunch of men will just start dying in their 50’s and 60’s again. It’s probably no coincidence that the emergence of the American low carb fetish over the past twenty years also witnesses a return of relatively young adults getting heart attacks again.

Again, all mammals have pretty similar physiology. Certain nutrients just have certain biophysical properties and they have those properties regardless of the animal you study. High fat meals reduce insulin sensitivity. It’s a biophysical property of the fat itself, the particular animal you study doesn’t matter.

Remember how the carnivore/paleo crew love Mongolians so much? Real tough alpha males who conquered the globe, right? Well the life expectancy of a Mongolian man was… 63.8 in 2019! As they start eating less meat it goes up, but the ancestral diet doesn’t help them live very long. You might say 63.8 years is enough for you, but as an average there’s a 50% chance of dying before that age.

If you look at that graph I showed you, the main problem is that in that last ten year period, total added dietary fat just increased dramatically. But if you assume that it shows some lost nutritional golden age, you’re going to be like Dick Cheney, stumbling from one heart attack into another.

This stuff is just perfectly compatible with what we already know: Humans are supposed to eat diets low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates. At least, if they want to stay skinny and live long. The longest living people are the Okinawans, they have the world’s highest number of centenarians.

Their dietary energy intake is 9% protein, 85% carbohydrates and 6% fat. They eat starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. Their diet is not special, they’re not even vegetarian or vegan either, they eat small amounts of pork and seafood, but they mostly just eat plants. That very high carbohydrate intake is what we see in animal studies to lengthen life expectancy too.

The nice thing about the Okinawan diet is that you don’t just live long, you live long without too much bullshit. If you eat a lot of stuff high in saturated fat like cheese, you’re going to damage the vessels leading to your prostate. This then causes very high local concentrations of testosterone, so parts of your prostate start growing very rapidly. So you might be fine with dying at 70, but then you end up spending the last ten years of your life having to go to the bathroom at 3AM every night.


  1. sorry dude, your graphs of deaths from heart disease vs. time and seed oil consumption vs. time are unconvincing. we’ve gotten much better at saving people and keeping them alive since the 1960s, and smoking rates have dropped through the floor. show me a plot of heart disease incidence (age standardized, of course; we are living longer) in non-smokers vs. time and then i might consider it evidence.

      • “I won’t convince you, therefore I win.” Lazy. It’s just like showing a plot of CO2 vs. time and claiming that CO2 stops heart disease. Checkmate, libtard!

        Seriously, you are better than this shitty Vox-level “analysis.”

          • In fairness, the niche is beyond saturated, at least on the internet and probably IRL as well. There just isn’t much more to add on vegan vs carnivore, abortion, Israel/Middle East, etc. Everyone has already heard all of the arguments. Maybe in the future they will be fought by bots. It’s just a question of where your sympathies lie, and therefore who you’re willing to give credibility.
            This blog is an anomaly in that it has viewpoints from both sides, a right-wing/conservative sensibility and leftist political opinions. And for the record, not all paleo supporters are BASED BODYBUILDERS or whatever try-hard right wing cosplay, some of us tried the diet and liked it.

  2. Which kind of vegetable fat is preferable regarding ones health?
    Which fat is best to eat unheated on the sandwich and so on?
    Which fat is best for heating in the frying pan?

    Thank you for a very interesting essay.

    • Olive oil and sunflower oil tend to be good for frying stuff. Coconut oil can be good too.

      But in general it’s just best to avoid too much fat.

      • Thanks for the advice.

        High carb low fat is the way to go for a long and healthy life. I guess slow carbohydrates is preferable to fast carbohydrates as I learned in school when I was 12.

        Yet you can be really smart and fall for stupid dangerous diets like Mr. ”I only eat lamb meat and salt” Peterson.

        • Yep. Starches are generally best, but you can easily have simple sugars like sucrose when you take it with something sour. Example, most fruit is both sour and sweet. The sourness means you take longer to absorb the sugar.

  3. Another very interesting post with lots to ponder. I’m still personally convinced however that one of the main contributing factors to our superior intelligence was the ability of our hunter gatherer ancestors to use tools to crack open the skulls of the animals that they hunted, giving them access to the nutrient dense brain rich in DHA.

    This particular argument makes sense when you consider the fact that the most intelligent order of mammals (excluding humans) are Cetaceans. They are even more intelligent than our Great Ape cousins. Their exclusively carnivorous diets are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA).

    It is also worth noting that the science of lipidology has advanced tremendously in recent years. There are now proven biomarkers that are much better at predicting cardiovascular disease risk than simple LDL cholesterol. For example, triglycerides/HDL ratio and ApoB/ApoA1 ratio.

    • >This particular argument makes sense when you consider the fact that the most intelligent order of mammals (excluding humans) are Cetaceans. They are even more intelligent than our Great Ape cousins. Their exclusively carnivorous diets are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA).

      Now do elephants.

      • Hmm, I forgot about elephants. After doing some brief reading on the topic, the general consensus from the experts seems to be that it is very difficult to compare the intelligence of dolphins and orcas with elephants because their respective natural habitats are so different.

        But yes, the relationship between evolution and diet is fascinating. Take dental caries/cavities for example. The conventional wisdom among dentists is that cavities are permanent and irreparable. But is this really true?

        If you look at the fossil record, teeth have existed for approximately 400 million years. If you look at our evolutionary history, does it not make sense that our mammalian, reptilian, amphibious and fish ancestors would have evolved mechanisms to heal cavities because it would have offered a survival advantage and therefore would have been selected for?

        Well it turns out that there are proteins within the teeth that are capable of remineralizing dentin and thus healing cavities, specifically osteocalcin and MGP (matrix gla protein). The problem is though that these proteins are dependent on fat soluble vitamins (A, D3 & K2) to function optimally. This could help explain the anecdotes of some vegans experiencing dental decay after adopting the diet (Denise Minger is perhaps the best known case).

        The only major source of K2 in a plant based diet is natto, but only a tiny percentage of vegans regularly consume this food. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut contain only negligible amounts. As for vitamin A precursors like beta carotene in vegetables, unless you consume these foods with a source of fat (e.g. carrots with peanut butter) you may not absorb sufficient amounts and therefore be deficient in retinol.

  4. On the subject of evolution and diet I think it’s very interesting that White people, who are the original farmers, developed lactose tolerance to be able to live on the milk of their domesticated animals.
    Whites are a subgroup of Caucasians who abandoned hunting and gathering to till the fields and partner with animals around 10,000 years ago.
    Farming changed us, made us White milk drinkers.
    I love milk and cheese!

  5. Our first dog was a rescue from a very terrible pound, back in 1992. She was probably a German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, and she had inflammatory bowel disease from puppyhood. We consulted the world’s leading dog gastoenterologist (who fortunately is not far away), and due to his recommendations she ended up on Purina HA, which is broken down to the poly peptide level and is vegan (it is soy based). She lived to be nearly sixteen years old. However, although her life was clearly worth living, she was very skinny and did have some arthritis and was not very assertive.

    Our next dog was a clone of that dog (yes an actual clone)(no, that wasn’t my idea and I couldn’t prevent it). Of course she had IBD, too. This time we consulted all three of the U.S. leading dog gastroenterologists, and she ended up on Royal Canin Ultimino, which is made of chicken feathers broken down to the peptide level. In this incarnation she was much more energetic and robust and cheerful. However, she only lived to be nearly 14 years old; she developed liver cancer and died this past January (we had surgery done which extended her life by 9 very good months). We wonder whether the low dose prednisone (which the first dog didn’t get as much of) shortened her life, and whether covid was a factor; we were told her cancer was fully cured with the surgery but it came roaring back; the dog oncologists were shocked. She lived to be as old as is typical of her breeds, so the weird Frankendogfood did not shorten her life, but she did not as long as her vegan forebear.

    So, a dog can certainly live a very long life as a vegan.

    We had another rescued dog who was stuck eating the vegan food too (we sneaked him an occasional regular dog treat). He was some sort of herding dog. I ran into a woman once with a dog that looked just like him, but the poor dog looked terrible. She proudly told me that her dog was eating a wonderful raw meat diet. My vegan dog looked a million times healthier. He died of sudden cardiac arrest at about age 15.

    We now have two puppies who are also clones of the original 1992 rescue. We are working with an alternative vet and trying to ward off the IBD by avoiding the many, many vaccinations and dewormers that are part of normal dog raising in the U.S. that may have caused the IBD in the first two cases. If we do have to choose between the vegan and the chicken feather diets, we will go with the latter, since the dog simply felt better on that. It is too bad that you can’t get the vegan version broken down to the peptide level. Yes, I just got them serrapeptase.

    The Pima Indians are a good test case. Those who live in the U.S. on typical American food almost all become fat and diabetic. Those who live across the border in Mexico still each their traditional food, and are slim and not diabetic. But the fat American ones live much, much longer.

    • Wow!
      The strangest dog story I’ve ever heard.
      Doesn’t it cost about $50,000 to clone a dog? And you’ve purchased at least three?
      Surely a human has been cloned somewhere if it’s so easy to make a dog copy.

      • Rintrah has driven away enough people for me to be willing to share it.

        Being insane helps in this sort of endeavor. Not me, I’m not insane. Living on soup helps with the costs, haha.

        I am sure there are human clones now, plenty of them. When we had the first one done about fifteen years ago, when it was not as cheap as it is now, the guy who started the company came with his little son to bring the puppy. Obviously he had his son’s cells stored for cloning if necessary. I am focused on Christ and am okay with death (although not with suffering), but not everyone is; partly it is a personal emotional thing and partly it can be a cultural thing.

  6. Have you come across the work of Dr. Amen-Ra, the vegan weightlifter on a calorie restricted diet/fasting diet? I am reading his work right now and he summarizes a lot of evidence regarding the preferable consumption of plant food over animal food. His theory on the evolution of human nutrition is also very compelling. There are 1-2 open access articles on veganism and evolution on researchgate.
    Obviously, his diet is quite extreme, but the science is very sound (in the sense that he draws from peeer-reviewed literature, so carni- and omnivores would have a hard time refuting said scientifically sound arguments) and I am learning a lot from him.

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The patients in the mental ward have had their daily dose of xanax and calmed down it seems, so most of your comments should be automatically posted again. Try not to annoy me with your low IQ low status white male theories about the Nazi gas chambers being fake or CO2 being harmless plant food and we can all get along. Have fun!

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