A hunter-gatherer (hg) diet is what humans ate before human groups had mass agricultural fields. They hunted and gathered food instead of farming it. The reason hunter and gatherer diets are important is not just for archaeology and anthropology – there is growing evidence that if you attain the same nutritional characteristics in your diet, many of our modern ailments will simply disappear or be drastically reduced (e.g., arthritis, heart disease, many chronic and auto-immune diseases, epithelial cancers, degenerative diseases, obesity, acne, poor health in older age, and more). The reason is our physiology and genes are still that of our wild, hunter-gatherer, ancestors.
Hunter gatherers have had a rich and varied diet history, but there are certain nutritional aspects that were universal. Hunter gatherer’s have always had a low glycemic diet, with the fruits and vegetables carrying a much lower total sugar load (glycemic index/glycemic load) than the totals of the plant food we tend to eat today. There was no refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. … and even fruits had significantly less sugar than what we typically buy today.
And why are all the nutritionists shouting at us to take Omega 3 supplements and eat wild fish? Because the meats and seafoods consumed by hunter gatherers were Omega 3 rich when compared to modern grocery derived Omega 6 rich animal foods. Very current nutritional studies are showing we may be poisoning ourselves with too much Omega 6 fatty acids (found in very unnatural quantities for us in both domestic animal foods and grains/grain products).
And a hard thing for many to swallow (pun intended) – hunters and gatherers did not eat grains, except perhaps as starvation food (grass seeds are very hard in the wild, and must be cooked and usually crushed, to even be edible and nutritious for mammals). These seeds have anti-nutrients in them (i.e., toxins, lectins) that the plant has evolved to inhibit mammals from eating them. No wild mammals eat grains. Obviously, there were no “processed foods” – but this is an additional, and very important point. And amazingly, it is accurate to think of grains as the first processed food in our human history. Go try and eat a wild grass seed raw – or even raw corn in a vast, Iowa field. Not coincidentally, our massive intake of grain and grain dominated processed foods in the
modern diet – also overload what is our natural Omega 6 intake from hunter gatherer foodstuffs.
NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE AND MEDICAL RESEARCHERS:
Some of the professors, researchers and medical doctors involved (who you can google for articles/info) include: Prof. S. Boyd Eaton, Prof. Staffan Lindeberg, Prof. Loren Cordain, Dr. Walter Voegtlin, Dr. John Ludkin, Dr. Michael Eades, and Prof. Janette Brand-Miller)