What did cavemen really eat when they sat down to dine, morning, noon and night?
The Paleo Diet guys spun some interesting theories -- all of which turned out to be nonsense.
But the truth is, if you're trying to isolate the "health key" to early man's diet, it really may hinge not so much on what he was eating.
Because one BIG health benefit early man had going: he rarely got three squares a day.
In fact, it might have regularly been a day or two (or four) between filling meals back in the bad old days.
So if you get a hankering to emulate cavemen, the key is probably this: eat a fair amount less than you're eating now.
This is the basic tenant arrived at when a leading British journalist and physican, Michael Mosley, set out to become healthier and lose weight, while making as few changes as possible in his life.
Dr. Mosley is considered the "Sanjay Gupta of England," and today we are recommending a video he recently produced on this subject (below).
Where this fascinating film leads is this: Mosley looks at calorie restriction diets and sees how incredibly healthy these individuals are.
He interviews a man who has been restricting his calories for some years, and takes him in for a medical evaluation. The man's health and physical condition, under careful examination -- is of someone 30 years younger than his chronological age. In his late 50's, the man's health in multiple tests compares to a man in his 20's.
But Mosley admits he can't go on a calorie restricting diet; it's just too hard to be hungry.
Next Mosley looks at fasting. In fact he does a 4 day fast, and at the end, his blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, IGF-1 levels and more -- have all fallen way down into the normal range.
It turns out people who fast, and people who in general don't eat as many calories as most other people -- can become very healthy by doing so.
The only problem for Mosley -- to maintain the benefits of fasting, he would need to repeat the same fast several times a year, and that's just way too hard and out of the question for him.
Finally, Mosley decides to try another way to reduce his calorie intake, by "fasting" two days a week. On two nonconsecutive days a week, he consumes only 500 calories for the day. The other 5 days, he eats whatever food (including really unhealthy food) in whatever amounts he feels like.
Well you'll want to watch the video to find out. But here's the spoiler: he loses about 15 pounds in 5 weeks and all his biomarkers that show disease risk -- plummet to normal.
Through this intermittent fasting experiment, Mosley eliminates his borderline diabetes and avoids medications completely. And he feels great getting thin.
Experts in the film discuss how hunger can actually turn on the body’s “repair genes,” providing anti-aging benefits -- and even giving big benefits to the brain, as the film shows. Just like stressing your muscles can make them grow stronger, stressing your body through some hunger can make it work much better.
In reality, most all of Mosley's benefits probably come from the fact that this diet made him lose weight quickly, close to a half pound a day. When he lost the weight, his numbers all improved significantly.
The key to Mosley's weight loss using this 5:2 intermittent fasting seems to be this: when you only eat 25% of your normal calories on Monday, you don't make up for all the lost calories on Tuesday. You only end up eating about 110% of your normal calories on Tuesday, just eating however you want.
Now imagine if instead of eating the bad foods Mosley eats, you wanted to try intermittent fasting while eating only HEALTHY foods.
All fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are low in calorie density and nutrient rich. So a diet based on these foods, with some nuts & seeds thrown in -- and so long as it's low in salt, sugar and oil -- this is a diet already low in calorie density. It's a diet where you can already reduce weight if needed, and lower your risk of various diseases.
So do you need to intermittent fasting for further health? Not if you're already eating a healthy diet.
That said, an already healthy, low calorie dense diet coupled with this kind of intermittent fasting, could really boost health for those interested, by accelerating weight loss by lowering overall calorie intake. It would likely be a challenge and not as easy as just eating a healthy low calorie dense diet. And obviously you would want to make sure you're getting ENOUGH nutrients and calories, otherwise you get too hungry and may end up binging. But the combination could be one way to consider for people needing it to make big improvements quickly.
To learn more, watch the video. It's very interesting.
Watch video now (approx 1 hour):