Hunter-Gatherer Macronutrient Ratios: More Data

At the very beginning of our book’s macronutrient discussion (p 8), we offer four reasons to believe in a macronutrient intake around 30% carb, 55% fat, 15% protein – a relatively low-carb diet by modern standards. (Note: these ratios were updated slightly in our 2012 edition.)

One of them is that hunter-gatherer populations ate approximately in these proportions. Our cite was a 2006 review paper by Loren Cordain [1] that was based on an earlier paper (by Cordain, Janette Brand-Miller, S. Boyd Eaton, and others) in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [2]. These papers estimated hunter-gatherer diets from data in JP Gray’s 1999 corrected version of the 1967 Ethnographic Atlas of GP Murdock. [3]

The Cordain et al paper in AJCN was accompanied by an editorial from Katherine Milton [4] and a series of letters. Milton argued [5] that the underlying data was unreliable. Chris Masterjohn summarized her point in his review of our book:

Katherine Milton has pointed out (here) that when “casual agriculturists” and hunters that hunt with modern guns are excluded, Cordain’s 229 “hunter-gatherers” are reduced to only 24. Although Milton often seems biased in favor of plant foods, I’m not sure how much “hunter-gatherers” hunting with modern guns can tell us about what humans were eating 40,000 years ago.

The Ethnographic Atlas was compiled from anthropological contacts early in the 20th century, long after first contact of these peoples with modern societies. The peoples involved had changed their lifestyles based on trade, acquiring guns and other tools as well as access to agricultural goods. Milton was concerned that these acquisitions may have distorted their diets. Milton was also concerned that the (largely male) anthropologists who collected the data may have neglected the activities of women, who gathered plant foods, in favor of men, who hunted.

Milton presented no data of her own. Clearly it would be desirable to have data acquired directly from hunter-gatherer tribes not using guns or agriculture, and from a source other than Cordain and Eaton, whose version of the Paleo diet looks suspiciously influenced by the lipid hypothesis.

Well, we’re in luck.

Miki Ben Dor of the Hebrew-language blog Paleostyle has written to tell me of an interesting 2000 paper [6] by anthropologists Hillard Kaplan, Kim Hill, Jane Lancaster, and Ana Magdalena Hurtado in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology. Hurtado and Hill later became collaborators on Cordain’s acne paper [7].

Miki discusses the paper in Hebrew here. (Miki, by the way, wrote a very nice review of our book here.) For the benefit of those who don’t read Hebrew, I thought I’d present the data.

The Data

The authors present data on diets from nine hunter-gatherer cultures. The essentials are in this table (click to enlarge):

Seeds and nuts are significant only for the !Kung, who ate mongongo nuts, which provide primarily fat calories.

Fruit was a large source of calories only for the Nukak, Gwi, and Hadza. The “fruit” the Nukak of Colombia eat is the palm fruit, which has a small amount of starch but whose calories consist overwhelmingly of fat calories from palm oil. Palm oil is a healthy oil that is 50% saturated fat, 40% monounsaturated fat. The “fruit” the Hadza ate was also fatty, averaging 1200 calories/pound compared to 200 calories/pound for sweet fruits; sources included Baobab fruit and Kongoro berry. The Gwi San consumed melons, a sweet fruit.

Save for the Nukak and Hadza, the sum of root, fruit, and “other plant” intake is a fair approximation to total carb plus fiber calories.  These added up to 242 calories/day for the Onge, 137 calories/day for the Anbarra, 469 calories/day for the Arnhem, 277 calories for the Ache, 386 for the Hiwi, 300 for the !Kung, and 1200 for the Gwi. In all cases except the Gwi, carb intake was less than 20% of calories.

For the Nukak, carb intake was probably also in this range. So seven of nine cultures ate 10% to 20% carbs; for the Gwi San a majority of calories were carbs, and for the Hadza perhaps 40% of calories were carbs.

Meanwhile, foods obtained by men – primarily meat – provided 70% to 85% of calories for the Onge, Anbarra, Arnhem, Ache and Hiwi; 60% for the Nukak, about 50% for the !Kung, and 65% for the Hadza. [Table 2]

Another interesting observation from this data is that fruits were generally a less important source of calories than roots. It is likely that starches have outweighed sugars as a source of calories for humans for at least the last 2 million years.


In the book we argued that most hunter-gatherer cultures, when they weren’t constrained by Malthusian population pressures and famines, probably ate close to a 20% carb, 65% fat, 15% protein macronutrient ratio.

This data is largely consistent with that. Indeed, most cultures seem to have eaten slightly less than 20% carbs.

This paper does not provide sufficient data to break down the protein vs fat composition of the diets. But since protein seems to be eaten to a specific target of around 15% of energy / 360 calories by nearly all observed cultures, we can guess that that’s how hunter-gatherers ate as well. The acquisition of fat calories from fatty fruits and nuts, like palm fruits, confirms that fat was sought after.

The preference for starchy roots and tubers over sugary fruits is also no surprise. Not only are roots and tubers more calorie rich than most fruits, they are also (given the problematic nature of fructose) probably the healthier choice!

We don’t idolize Paleolithic or modern hunter-gatherer diets, so I won’t say that this data by itself proves our diet is correct. But I think it does add to the evidence that ancestral humans ate a diet that closely resembles ours.


[1] Cordain, L. “Implications of Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Diets for Modern Humans,” pp 363-383 in Peter S. Ungar, ed., Evolution of the human diet: the known, the unknown, and the unknowable, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

[2] Cordain L et al. Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):682-92.

[3] Gray JP. A corrected ethnographic atlas. World Cultures J 1999; 10:24–85. Murdock GP. Ethnographic atlas: a summary. Ethnology 1967; 6:109–236.

[4] Milton K. Hunter-gatherer diets—a different perspective. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):665-7.

[5] Milton K. Reply to L. Cordain et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Dec;72(6):1590-1592.

[6] Kaplan HS, Hill KR, Lancaster JB, Hurtado AM. A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence, and Longevity. Evolutionary Anthropology 9:156-185, 2000.

[7] Cordain L et al. Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Dec;138(12):1584-90.

Leave a comment ?


  1. I should admit that this is pretty awesome. Just the fact that such data exists is amazing and your analysis is, as usual, pretty great.

    While it is pretty obvious that most cultures ate a (fatty) meat rich diet, what I find interesting is that they ate more starchy vegetables than fibrous vegetables. Sure, starchy vegetables have more calories to offer, but fibrous vegetables have more micro-nutrients in them (which are of course only available in the presence of fat).

    Do you think the fact that they got plenty of sunlight and ate high quality fats from animals (grass-fed) and fruits trivialized the requirement of micro-nutrients from vegetables?

    Another important questions is were all of these hunter-gatherer populations healthy and long lived?

    Thanks much!

  2. Hi Raj,

    It does seem that only the Ache ate a lot of vegetables. Many of them seemed content to eat minimal vegetables. I guess they weren’t worth the trouble of collecting.

    Maybe if they’d had supermarkets they’d have eaten their 5 portions a day!

    As far as how long-lived they are, in my References section there’s a link to the full text of the paper. Figure 1 has survival curves, and Table 1 life expectancy data.

    I’ll leave it to you to judge whether those indicate good health!

    Best, Paul

  3. Brilliant. That has filled in a few more pieces of the puzzle.

    One thing people need to keep in mind when it comes to fruit, is that in our modern world, most fruits have their own marketing boards and are pushed very heavily by these boards. In New Zealand, we have an Apple & Pear board, and a Kiwifruit board (as two examples) that are very quite active in promoting the consumption of these fruits. Many are willing to accept that there is a high degree of marketing and coercion to consume whole grains from the cereal companies, but tend to turn a blind eye to exactly the same thing going on with fruit.

    We also see that fruit is nearly always lumped in with vegetables, as in fruits & vegetables… like what we see with the term ‘heart-healthy whole grains’ or ‘artery-clogging saturated fat’. This has seen us as interpreting fruit and vegetables to be much the same thing with similar nutritional properties. Indeed in my nutritional practise, I have often had clients state that they don’t need to eat a lot of vegetables (that they apparently don’t like) because they make up for it with fruit.

    Data like the above serve to show that sweet fruit need not be as dominant in our diet as we perhaps think. And at a time when world food prices are increasing, this allows a degree of reprioritisation of food spending to more calorific choices.

    The more roots, less fruits make perfect sense in that if anyone has seen fruit left in a tree (as in not harvested for commercial use), it gets eaten by birds, bugs, rots easily, etc. It also tends to have a relatively narrow window of availability. Root vegetables don’t suffer from this to the same degree and have a wider window of availability, especially in more temperate climates.

    Thank you again for the great work you do.

  4. Paul, you continue to amaze! Did I read your post correctly — you translated this fascinating study from the Hebrew?

  5. I’m a little suspicious of that table owing to the huge difference in total calorie consumption (of course I may be reading it wrong). It seems that the Onge scrape out a dubious existence on 1250 calories per day, the !Kung have a more reasonable 2400, and the Hazda pig out on over 4000.

  6. Jamie – Yes, indeed, our ancestors may have found it much easier to obtain calories from tubers and roots than from fruit. First, they were living in open woodlands with lots of tubers and not so many fruits. Also, wild fruits were less calorie-rich than today’s varieties. There would have been a big calorie disparity – 1 tuber = 5+ fruits. Once they had digging sticks and fire to cook and detoxify the tubers, they must have been off to the races.

    erp – No, the study is in English! I merely linked to the Hebrew-language blogger who sent me the study.

    I’m sure if I could have read his post, it would have improved mine. Unfortunately he didn’t translate it for me.

    Anthony – Yes, obviously they didn’t get all the calories for all the groups. Hopefully what they did get is representative.

  7. Hi Paul,

    I want to start by saying you have a great blog as I’m relatively new to this “paleo” way of nutrition. I just have one question regardint the following quote on this post;

    “Meanwhile, foods obtained by men – primarily meat – provided 70% to 85% of calories for the Onge, Anbarra, Arnhem, Ache and Hiwi; 60% for the Nukak, about 50% for the !Kung, and 65% for the Hadza.”

    Wouldn’t this high intake of meat by indicate a protein intake that is much higher than 15%?

    Just curious.


  8. gunther gatherer

    Thanks for this, Paul. Another thing I’d like to add to this data is the concept of variability and alternation in the foods they eat, especially protein. That is, there couldn’t have been the same result for the same hunt every day.

    In fact, most data shows that the men of most hunter gatherer groups only went out to hunt once every TWO WEEKS, and that’s when hunting is good. Some only went once a month.

    And that doesn’t guarantee bagging an elephant, and even when they do kill one, they are sometimes three days away from their group, so the people are not getting high levels of protein every day, more like only once every few weeks or so, depending on season, rainfall and other variables. I.e. protein restriction is an almost daily event.

    Of course, when the hunt is good, HGs are gorging themselves until the animal is fully eaten. How many days does that take for a group of about 50 people? 2 or 3, at most? Then they are eating very low protein again until the next successful hunt. See what I mean? We’re now looking at a low protein diet punctuated by occasional 2 or 3 day periods of high protein. Very different eating pattern, in my opinion.

    For this reason, the “daily percentage” idea is a bit misleading. The rhythm and variability and restricted periods for protein consumption are not represented this way. NO one’s eating 3 squares a day, right?

  9. Paul,

    That’s a remarkably interesting paper. Thanks for blogging about it.

  10. Hi Shameer,

    It’s possible that they were higher protein, but probably only when food was scarce.

    Most hunter-gatherers would eat the fatty parts of animals and leave lean meats to their dogs.

    Hi gunther,

    I’m not sure the once every two weeks model is generalizable to all cultures. This paper indicates that meat acquisition was a regular occurrence in most tribes.

    It does seem that an afternoon feast, plus snacks, would be a more common meal pattern than 3 squares a day though.

  11. gunther gatherer

    Thanks for your reply. I’m not sure how anything about a paleolithic lifestyle could be “regular”, whether the people wait 2 weeks to eat meat or if they get it every other day.

    I’m just saying that trying to measure it using a Westernised yardstick of so many grams of x, y and z per day doesn’t make much sense. It simply would not be like that.

    Aside from fishing societies, I can’t see how most of them would get meat or any kind of high-protein dietary staple every day. In fact even the fishing cultures don’t seem to fish every day, and rains or storms would never allow it anyway.

    Thus, the paleo pattern seems to mean periods of protein restriction, unless there is some data I haven’t seem which proves they all get so many grams of protein a day, 365 days a year. Even today’s high-tech, gun-toting, laser-sighting hunters will tell you there is no way you can get that lucky.

  12. @raj
    Kaplan has written an interesting paper on longevity among Hunter Gatherers the full version of which can be found here:
    In short, once pass puberty most HG live to be grandparents for a long time.
    @ Jamie
    Regarding the attractiveness of pre-agricultural fruits see this interview with Wrangham who studied chimpanzees in Africa for many years:
    In short, natural fruits are not very attractive to human beings, at least to the Western version of them – Wrangham.

    I must say you did a magnificent job with this paper. Even the Hadza don’t come out as a high carbs consumers. Regarding the Gwi there are too many question marks for them in the table. I have a feeling that if we were able to get better data they would have joined the crowd like the Ache did.

  13. I think gunther is on to something here!
    Maybe a weekly-average is much better then a daily one?
    Incidently it was one strategy I used some time ago. Meaning I wasn’t looking to get every day “perfect” (calories, C/P/F-ratios and all, whatever that was those times) but eating more “instinctively”, some days less protein/calories, some more etc.
    Then taking a weekly summary(rough) regarding carbs/protein/fat/calories ingested and BF%/LM% and making the necessary adjustments (if needed) to work towards my goal the next week.
    As far as I remember now it worked well for fatloss, not so much for gaining lean mass.

  14. gunther gatherer

    Hi Franco. I don’t know how long you went without protein or how low you took it, but this may help make some sense of it:

    Especially the flow chart they present as Figure 2.
    Basically it shows how you switch the body from the Anabolic (reproductive) to Catabolic (autophagy) state simply by altering Protein-to-Glucose ratios.

    Seems as long as you don’t go too far into Catabolic (which causes lipolysis as well as muscle loss), you will lose fat. But once you start overeating in order to make up for protein deficits, you should stop and eat higher protein.

    And hey, if hunter gatherer are eating starchy tubers while they wait for a good hunt, aren’t they all doing the same thing??

  15. There is a lot to digest from that study!

    How do we know these hunter gatherers were not also using guns or were otherwise distorted by encroachment of civilization?

    I think one could just as easily use this data to say that 2/9 were not low carb, so therefore not low carb is a very natural diet.

  16. Nice post, thanks. Even if one were to argue that the human body is adapted to wide variations in macronutrient ratios, which I think is true, that doesn’t mean that extremes are optimal. And good evidence that a particular macronutrient makeup is optimal or quasi-optimal is finding it in various HG cultures.

  17. Welcome, Ned. I agree. Thanks for addressing Greg’s point.

  18. Hey Gunther!

    Thanks for the link, have to study it thouroghly now.

    Those times I was not using PHD and still eating pasta and such. But for example: One day I was eating only meat and zucchini and the next spaghetti carbonara (not much protein in there, mainly carbs and fat.

    Man, I miss carbonara, you can’t believe how difficult it is to not eat pasta as an italian!
    And nobody tell me rice noodles is a substitute! Well…rant over.

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  21. Don Matezs recently made a very interesting post on his blog (I believe you perhaps already saw it?). I am very curious about what you have for comments on that?

    He states that he is going to change his ratios to 20% fat, 25% protein and 55% carbs.

  22. Hi Rikke,

    I’m a bit bemused by Don’s switch. In January he thought our diet was too high-carb. Now he’s gone to the opposite extreme.

    His new diet is probably a bit better than his old diet, as it’s easier to dispose of excess carbs than to make up for a deficiency.

    But what surprises me is the tone with which he writes. He wrote quite vehemently in favor of low-carb in January and now writes equally vehemently in favor of low-fat. If it was possible for him to be in error in January, perhaps he should be leaving open the possibility that he’s wrong now.

    Best, Paul

  23. Thank you, Paul.
    Another thing to note oneself is also was is possible and what is optimal. Perhaps (most likely, I dare say) our ancestors didn’t have the perfect health many wish to credit them for.

  24. Hi Paul,

    This is interesting that Don and Stephan are both recently suggesting a macronutrient ratio favoring more carbs and less fat. Does this have you wondering about the PHD recommendation?


  25. Hi Mark,

    No, I’m very happy with our macronutrient recommendations. We were never at the very low-carb extreme so I’m happy to have comrades there. I still haven’t seen any evidence of benefits from high-carb dieting.

    Best, Paul

  26. This WAPF article on traditional healthy primitive populations supports higher fat diets than Don’s 20% suggestion, though not as high as the PHD recommendation. I just thought it was interesting data.

    “Virtually no traditional diet falls within the USDA dietary guidelines of 30 percent or less of calories as fat …”

    “Fat content in the American diet of 100 years ago ranged between 34 and 48 percent”

    “What is consistent throughout the world … is that protein rarely exceeds 20 percent of total calories. … surprisingly narrow range of 10-15 percent for American diets ”

    “Table 6: Macronutrient Ratios
    in America and Other Nations in 1902” shows calories were mostly from carbs (typically >50%).

    The article seems to mainly make the point that historically healthy populations get more calories from fat than the USDA recommendations.


  27. Hi Paul,

    The recent posts by Don Matesz really threw me for a loop. I’m more surprised by his switch to lower protein, than to higher starch or lower fat/SAFA. Even in _Garden of Eating_ he reports eating ~150 g. PRO daily. I find his new stance ironic and a little odd, given that he wrote:

    One of the benefits I have received from paleo dieting has been a sharpening of my primal, unconscious guidance system. Basically, the longer I have eaten in a “primal” fashion, the less conscious effort I find myself putting into food selection. I follow my natural inclination to eat meat, fat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts in amounts determined by appetite rather than reason, and I get rewarded with pleasant moods, smooth digestion, abundant energy, and good health. Every time I interfere with this by trying to impose on my food selection some guidance from the haughty conscious mind, I have negative results, almost always appearing first in the digestive tract and mood.

    The lesson I take from this is that the conscious mind does not know enough to regulate food intake, and, so long as I eat practically primal foods, I am better off if I leave regulation of food intake to primal wisdom of the body.

    I recall that in recent weeks Don was consuming quite a lot (my words) of milk, purposefully to add lean mass. Maybe his new dietary permutation is a pendulum-swing away from that consciously-adopted extreme. Just a thought.

    Are you back in your contact lenses? I am, thank goodness. (I’d written to you previously about my dry eyes – low starch related, evidently.) Hope you and Shou-Ching are well.

    Regards, KKC

  28. Hi Mark,

    That’s an excellent article, thanks for the additional data!

    Hi KKC,

    I remember that quote! It’s from the sole post in which he commented on our book,

    He said he liked the book, but went on to say he preferred more protein and less carbs, even if that wasn’t optimal for longevity. The carbs fed some kind of gut dysbiosis, which instead of curing he was managing by eating close to zero carbs.

    The good news in his recent switch to higher carbs and lower protein is it means he cured his gut dysbiosis. I think he’s realized that very low-carb dieting can create problems, and very high protein isn’t that healthy.

    It’s interesting that carbs are making a comeback in the Paleosphere. I think on balance that’s a good thing, since the low-carb movement went a bit overboard. Of course the pendulum can swing too far the other way too.

    Thanks for asking! I haven’t been wearing my contact lenses. I’m so busy, saving 5 minutes a day seems worthwhile. I’ve decided to try a new strategy, as an experiment I’m getting underpowered glasses and seeing if my vision will improve. Since I spend at most 30 minutes a day looking more than 6 feet away, I don’t really need full-powered lenses except when driving.

    I’m glad your dry eyes are better! A bit of starch does a body good. It doesn’t take a lot to achieve a good glucose status, but it seems like eating some is extremely important.

    Best, Paul

  29. Hi Paul,

    Yes, that’s the source of Matesz’ quote. You make the good point that his gut dysbiosis must have cleared up, good for him.

    Your work along with Don’s excellent series “Primal Potatoes” were instrumental in my reintroducing starches to my quotidian diet.

    I hope your eyes do self-correct! I’ve read of your technique in either the Bates Method or _Hypnovision_. In fact I’m doing something similar: I requested two separate Rx for my contacts, one for driving, the other “underpowered” for reading and mid-range activities. I find myself wearing the weaker pair more and more frequently!

    I’ve recently added boron (as calcium fructoborate) to my supplement pack. Another piece of the skeletal health puzzle, and also reportedly good for the joints. Byron Richards (author of _The Leptin Diet_) had a recent write-up on the mineral. Perhaps you and/or some of your other readers with joint issues might find it worth a read.

    Best, KKC

  30. Hi KKC,

    So you’re ahead of me in the eye experimentation department! I got a prescription last week and will order the underpowered glasses this weekend.

    Thanks for the tip about boron. I’ll look into it.

    Best, Paul

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  32. Paul,
    I always read that we should eat the way we did thousands of years ago because we haven’t evolved much since then, but then I’ve always wondered if that was really true or not. I have no idea really.

    I’m reading a book right now (The Wild Life of Our Bodies), and I’m only halfway thru, but the current chapter talks about how we have evolved. As ancient societies got more & more crowded we came to rely on cows (aurochs) for food, and only those who could tolerate milk went on to produce many offspring & live longer lives. Those who couldn’t tolerate milk died out. So if you are a descendant from one of those groups you probably are well-equipped with lactase to digest milk.

    The author mentions the same thing regarding amylase to digest wheat. People were forced into farming due to overcrowding & loss of resources & those who couldn’t handle wheat or other farmed foods died out, and those who could tolerate it produced more offspring & lived longer lives. So again we evolved.

    He also states that depending on your ancestry one person may thrive on one diet while another may thrive on a different diet. We’re all different depending on which tribes we evolved from. He states that 50% of the world or so can’t even digest milk probably due to their ancestry. (at least I think that’s what he said)

    So now I’m confused because this diet & paleo seem to say we haven’t changed at all, but it makes sense that we probably have changed or evolved. Maybe many of us are just fine eating wheat & drinking milk if that’s what our ancestors were forced to consume. What do you think?

  33. Thanks for the info on this paper, Paul.

    Honey is mentioned in the paper, and Hurtado and Hill have reported in the past that the Ache eat a significant amount (though for this study they report reducing their estimate of the edible portion of wild honeycomb). Does anyone know which food category the honey calories were put into? I couldn’t find it mentioned in the paper.

    Paul Jaminet wrote: “It’s possible that they were higher protein, but probably only when food was scarce.
    Most hunter-gatherers would eat the fatty parts of animals and leave lean meats to their dogs.”

    What about HGs that don’t have dogs? Do you think they leave the lean meat for other wild animals? I think Sally Fallon made that claim of Stone Agers, IIRC. Discarding lean meat at the campsite wouldn’t make much sense, as it would attract predators, but I could imagine them leaving meat at the kill site of a large animal when meat is plentiful or it’s too much to carry or too risky to hang around, such as in this video where hunters scavenge only the haunch and leg of an animal from a lion kill: Three Men vs. Fifteen Hungry Lions,

    “It does seem that an afternoon feast, plus snacks, would be a more common meal pattern than 3 squares a day though.”

    Hill and Hurtado reported that the Ache don’t necessarily skip breakfast:
    “On a foraging trip, camp members rise early, eat whatever is left over from the previous day, and set out in search of food.” (Hunter-Gatherers of the New World,

    It would be interesting to see data on how frequently hunter gatherers eat “breakfast” and how many calories tend to be consumed.

  34. Hi Paleophil,

    Thanks for the information and links.

    Mark Sisson linked to this story today: It seems even beetles try to balance their diets.

    Best, Paul

  35. That Exeter/Oxford report supports the 1964 “Anopsology” (aka “Instincto”) hypothesis ( Unfortunately, the author of it has a criminal record, is very controversial and is not a professional scientist, so the hypothesis will likely have to be restated by a credible scientist to be taken seriously in the scientific community.

  36. Paul, sorry for the lateness of this followup, but I was perusing this interesting post of yours again, looking for macronutrient ratio data, and was wondering if you calculated the intake ranges for protein and fat of the 7 of 9 peoples that you calculated the 10-20% carb range for? Did you calculate any of the ranges for all 9 peoples?

    Also, I noticed you had written “The preference for starchy roots and tubers over sugary fruits is also no surprise.” Actual intakes do not necessarily indicate preference, as availability can affect intakes. According to a study of Hadza food preferences (, this was the mean rank order of food preferences for the 94 individuals studied (ages 16 to 78):

    Baobab fruit

    The study notes that “small amounts of bee larvae” are also often consumed with the honey.

    If you combine the data for baobab fruit and berries, “fruit” becomes the most preferred food category, and if you add “honey” to that to create a “sugary foods” category, sugary foods become by far the dominant preference (as I mentioned, however, actual intakes are limited by availability).

    It’s also interesting to note that much of the “tuber” intake of the Hadza was legume tubers. So does the legume tuber intake of hunter gatherers suggest that we should eat potatoes or legumes or legume tubers (such as jicama and yacon) and should all “tubers” really be combined as a category or should are legume tubers sufficiently different to be separated out?

  37. Paul do you have any diet recommendations for leaky gut

  38. Paul, apparently the hadza fruit wasn’t so low in sugar after all –

    This study looked at the macronutrient composition of 7 hadza fruits including th baobab fruit and different berries. They stated that the baobab fruit had insignificant quantities of starch and was mostly sugar.
    The sugar content of the 7 fruits per 100 grams were as follow –
    35.6 grams
    68.4 grams
    61.4 grams
    62.5 grams
    72.7 grams
    66.1 grams
    49.9 grams
    According to stephan guyenet’s article here-
    their precise nutrient intake varies seasonally, he cites this paper-

    by weight their diet is (1):

    18-37 percent berries
    18-31 percent starchy tubers
    10-35 percent meat
    7-15 percent baobab fruit
    1-19 percent honey

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  40. Dear Paul,

    I have this issue that has been bugging me for so long.
    I am reluctant to eat as much fat as you suggest. Here’s why. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a theory that when the number of fat grams exceed the number of protein grams in the diet, then this is bad for us. I say this for a few reasons:

    1) the fat to protein ratios in animals do not seem to exceed 1 to 1. Am I wrong on this? Also cow’s milk has this approximate ratio of 1:1.

    2) protein mobilises vitamin A which is responsible for making use of the fat by increasing thyroid hormone. (Vitamin A has been shown to increase thyroid hormone in many studies and thyroid hormone is necessary to metabolise fat and LDL) Therefore if fat exceeds protein there will be build up of LDL which in itself is not bad, but is prone to oxidation (bad) due to it not being cleared fast enough.

    3) Increased fat intake in diet seems to cause increased sebum production in scalp, which many believe can lead to thinning hair and accelarated progression of baldness. I have also noticed my hair seems thinner when it is greasier. There is even a whole hair loss reversal system predicated on this concept. (

    So I fear that if I eat more fat than protein that this will increase my risk of baldness and cardiovascular disease. When I look at Jeff Volek he’s pretty balding. I wonder if this was caused by such high fat intake in relation to protein.

    Is my reasoning wrong?

    Kindest Regards,


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