Tsimane, Modern-Day Hunter-Gatherers, Are Essentially Vegetarians With “Lowest Rates Of Heart Disease Ever Measured”

A Tsimane man transports bananas in La Embocada town, Bolivia on Sept. 16, 2011. David Mercado, Reuters.

After reading the title of this article…

These People Eat Monkeys And Piranhas. They Also Have The Lowest Rates Of Heart Disease Ever Measured, Washington Post, 17 March 2017

… and looking at the accompanying photograph of a father and son hunting, and reading the first paragraph describing daily meals of monkey, hog, fish, and other animals, you may come away thinking this modern-day group of hunter-gatherers had low rates of heart disease because of a meat-rich diet. But read this:

By calorie count, about 14% of the Tsimane diet is protein, 14% is fat and 72% is carbohydrate. (By contrast, the typical U.S. adult diets has more fat — about 16% protein, 33% fat and 51% carbohydrate.)

So, 72% of 1800 calories (as an example) is 1296 calories or about 324 grams of carbs a day. That is a lot of carbohydrate. Compare that to the less than 30 grams carb/day in the diet I just posted about, the one that says it reverses diabetes.

The Tsimane’s macronutrient breakdown is similar to that of the Cuban’s during their Special Period (I just reposted it.) during which their rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer dropped. Cubans were eating 77% carb and 13% fat, a diet researchers described as “more vegan in character.”

Another news outlet, NBC, decribed the Tsimane’s diet, more appropriately I think, as consisting of mostly starches (“filling up on starchy food”):

Their staple foods are home-grown rice, plantains and corn. If they want meat, they go catch it.

Large populations throughout millennia have subsisted on starches, and have achieved health and longevity because of it. Whether it’s the diets of native Africans (corn meal), Okinawans (sweet potatoes and rice), Cubans (rice and beans), or Tsimanes (rice, plantains, corn), “filling up on starchy food” seems like some good diet advice.

Related:
Tsimane Study In The Lancet

2 thoughts on “Tsimane, Modern-Day Hunter-Gatherers, Are Essentially Vegetarians With “Lowest Rates Of Heart Disease Ever Measured”

  1. Pingback: Tsimane Study In The Lancet | Fanatic Cook

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