Even though there was a complete lack of scientific evidence to support Mr. Key’s saturated fat/cholesterol theory of heart disease, the government and professional medical associations eventually agreed that Americans should eat less red meat, whole dairy products, eggs and all other foods high in saturated fat. And although since then, 50 years and millions of dollars have been spent on scientific studies trying to link consumption of animal fat with increased rates of heart disease, all studies show there is no such link.
Perhaps it was the failure of scientists to demonstrate a link between consumption of animal fat and heart disease that many other arguments have been made in favor of diets that limit the amount of meat in the diet. Many go far beyond health and nutrition and include a wide range of topics such as the environmental impact of feeding a population on meat, or the suffering of animals.
One of the most obviously flawed of these arguments is the claim that our early ancestors ate very little meat.
If you’re of European descent, your early ancestors were almost entirely dependent upon the consumption of animal flesh for about half of the year.
Before the advent of agriculture, human beings were hunter-gatherers. They depended on gathering food from their wild habitat.
For the ancient hunter-gatherers of Europe, the first frosts of autumn brought an end to the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds would have been plentiful in the autumn season. However, these foods are soon depleted by rodents, birds and other mammals in stiff competition for food when cold weather causes foods of plant and insect origin to disappear from the landscape.
Not only is it nearly impossible to obtain foods of plant origin during cold winter months when the snow covered ground is frozen solid and streams are covered by a thick layer of ice, but also, early spring is the most difficult time of year to obtain food from plants because all nuts and seeds have been thoroughly depleted and sporadic freezes delay the onset of the growing season. After the ground thaws, roots can be dug and some edible sprouts grow rapidly in mid spring, but most fruits aren’t available until at least early summer.
The importance of the hunt for large mammals by our early ancestors is clearly supported in the archaeological evidence they left behind. One of the most common images left on the walls inside caves of prehistoric man is that of the hunt of deer, bison, mammoth and other large mammals.
The hunt for large mammals took on a religious tone. This is the natural result of a people who depend heavily upon animals for their own lives. They depended upon these large animals for food, depended upon their hides for warm clothing, used the bones of animals for tools, and even used animal parts as ornaments to grace their bodies.
The same religious tones surrounding the hunt for mammals is evident in the aboriginal peoples of Northern Asia, Australia, Africa, the Americas and other prehistoric peoples around the globe.
Meat and the flesh of other animals was one of the primary, and for some prehistoric cultures, the only plentiful source of food. So the claim that the diet of our prehistoric ancestors consisted of little meat and saturated fat is simply ridiculous. For thousands of years humans depended upon meat for nourishment, often eating nothing else for months at a time.
The next claim grain pushers make is that the meat of wild animals eaten by prehistoric people was very lean, and did not provide large amounts of fat, like modern cows.
But the truth is that among prehistoric human cultures, both the fat and high cholesterol liver were highly prized parts of animals they hunted. They ate the liver raw soon after the kill. And they removed every last bit of fat from the animal and rationed it, adding it to all meals, even meals of vegetable origin. Unlike most people in modern America, they knew the value of animal fat and the important role it played in human nutrition. The leanest cuts of meat became food for their dogs.
As an example of the extra effort they put into getting plenty of animal fat in the diet, the Inuit of North America made pemmican. They dried and crushed the lean meat and added fat in a fifty-fifty mix so that every mouth-full included as much fat as it did lean meat.
Every one of the thousands of large animal bones I ever found while digging on sites occupied by prehistoric humans, had been cracked open to remove the fat in the bone marrow. This fat was part of the ingredients of pemmican.
We are the first culture of people that ever intentionally avoided animal fat, the first people to trim fat off meat and discard it. Ancient people and those living traditional cultures would have thought you had gone mad if they saw you cut the fat off meat and throw it away.
Throughout history and around the world, all previous cultures prized animal fat as a vital part of the diet. To improve the nutritional value of food, they added animal fat to many foods that didn’t have animal fat to begin with.
Furthermore, the tradition of adding animal fat to foods continued right up until the 1980’s when they put the final touches on the process of replacing expensive animal fat with cheaply produced vegetable oil, a process that began in the beginning of the 1900’s, a process that is directly correlated with increasing rates of heart disease.
Not only did our hunter-gatherer prehistoric ancestors know more about which natural foods provide optimum health than we do today, even wild animals know more about which natural foods are most healthful to their bodies.
We’re out-of-touch with nature and out-of-touch with our bodies. And we’re causing misery to both.
Modern medicine has increased the average life expectancy by heroics that enable most babies, no matter how weak and sickly, and no matter how badly deformed at birth, to live at least into middle age. Using antibiotics, it has eliminated millions of deaths caused by virus and bacteria. Moreover, using modern techniques, they can keep the sick and dying alive for decades, even if they have to hook them up to tubes and machines. But heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and even tooth decay were practically nonexistent in ancient humans, largely because the diet of prehistoric humans was far more nutritious than the diet of most people today.
The truth is that the unnatural high carbohydrate(sugar) diet was born with the invention of agriculture and the development of grain. And the reason grain became the primary source of food for the masses is that grain madepossible the formation of large and powerful centers of human population called civilization.
Civilization was impossible when humans were hunter-gatherers because local wild plants and animals were soon depleted. Once depleted, the group had to move to a new location for food. The larger the group of
people, the more often they were forced to move to new lands in search of food. Therefore, large and powerful groups of people living the hunter-gatherer life style were impossible.
But grain not only made it possible for the development of large powerful centers of human population, grain also ushered in obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, and the other “Diseases of Civilization”. (And ushered out freedom of the individual and family group)
This isn’t theory and conjecture. Introduction of these diseases to remote traditional cultures around the globe was well documented by Dr. David Livingston, Dr. Weston Price, and many other doctors in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Before grain became a large part of the diet, even though these remote traditional cultures had never even seen a tooth brush, most people never had a single dental cavity.
One by one, remote disease-free healthy peoples living traditional cultures on every continent and the islands were introduced to the high carbohydrate(sugar) grain based diet. And within a decade, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, tooth decay and the other “Diseases of Civilization” became part of the culture.