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Jun 13

Hunter-gatherer diets weren’t always heavy on meat: Morocco study reveals a plant-based diet – The Conversation Indonesia

About 11,000 years ago, humans made a major shift from hunting and gathering to farming. This change, known as the Neolithic Revolution, dramatically altered our diets.

For decades, scientists have thought that pre-agricultural human groups ate a lot of animal protein. But analysis has always been hampered by a scarcity of well-preserved human remains from Pleistocene sites. So, in fact, little is known about the dietary practices of that time.

Im a a PhD candidate studying this subject in Morocco, and was part of a research team that uncovered some new insights into the Stone Age diet.

Using novel research techniques, we found evidence that our Late Stone Age hunter-gatherer ancestors in north Africa had a heavily plant-based diet, thousands of years before the advent of agriculture.

Most studies of pre-agricultural populations have been conducted at European and Asian Palaeolithic sites, so our understanding of the diet during this period has been largely based on findings from those regions. Our knowledge has also been limited by the poor preservation of certain materials in arid regions like north Africa.

Our research changes this. It challenges the long-held belief that hunter-gatherers primarily relied on animal protein, and adds to whats known about pre-agricultural diets across different regions.

Imagine being able to tell what someone ate thousands of years ago just by examining their bones and teeth.

This is possible thanks to a fascinating technique called isotopic analysis. Isotopes are tiny chemical markers of the food we eat that get stored in our bones and teeth. They can be preserved for thousands of years. By studying them, we can learn directly about the diets of ancient humans.

Since the 1970s, scientists have used stable isotope analysis to learn about the diets and lifestyles of ancient human groups by analysing collagen protein in their bones. Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue, skin, tendon, bone, and cartilage. For example, carbon isotope analysis was used to detect the maize consumption of prehistoric people in North America. Researchers have also used this technique to compare the diets of Neanderthals and early modern humans (Homo sapiens) in Europe.

Together with an international team of scientists, I analysed the teeth and bones of people buried in Taforalt Cave in the north-east of Morocco. The burials were deliberate. Researchers have referred to the site as a cemetery due to the organised nature of the burials and the long period over which they occurred. The cave is one of the best-studied sites in north-west Africa for the Palaeolithic period. It is likely the oldest cemetery in north Africa. It has some of the oldest ancient human DNA in Africa, which has allowed scientists to characterise human genetic ancestry in this region.

The human burials, associated with the Iberomaurusian culture, were radiocarbon dated to between 15,100 and 13,900 years ago. Zoologists have identified that the population hunted Barbary sheep and other animal species in their surroundings, such as gazelles, hartebeest, and equids. The macrobotanical remains recovered from the site show that they also had access to a variety of plant species native to the Mediterranean region, including sweet acorns, pine nuts, oats, beans, and pistachios.

We looked at isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, strontium, sulphur and zinc. Different foods leave unique isotopic fingerprints. For instance, meat, plants and seafood have distinct carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios, which help us determine what kinds of foods people were eating.

We also used cutting-edge techniques involving zinc isotopes developed by one of my PhD supervisors, Klervia Jaouen, which we applied to tooth enamel. This method, combined with analyses of amino acids, allowed us to further differentiate between plant and animal sources in the diet.

This innovative approach gave us a clearer and more detailed picture of what ancient diets looked like, shedding light on how these people adapted to their environment long before anyone started farming crops.

We analysed tooth enamel and bones from seven individuals from the cave of Taforalt and various isolated teeth. Our analysis revealed something unexpected: instead of a meat-heavy diet, the isotopic signatures showed a significant reliance on wild plants. We also found minimal evidence of seafood or freshwater food consumption, which was surprising given their proximity to water sources. Our research indicated that while the Iberomaurusians did consume some meat, their diet relied heavily on wild plants which they might have stored to provide a food supply through the year.

One of the interesting discoveries we made was that a baby started eating solid foods at the early age of around six to 12 months. This baby was apparently given plant-based foods, probably as porridge or soup. This gives us a fascinating glimpse into how hunter gatherers took care of their children in the past.

The findings also help explain why tooth cavities were common among the people of Taforalt. They ate a lot of starchy foods, which can lead to cavities, especially since they didnt have toothbrushes or good dental hygiene back then. The plant bits would get stuck in their teeth and cause decay, leading to tooth problems.

People who were mainly hunters would have to follow a nomadic lifestyle. At Taforalt, however, archaeologists found grinding stones likely used for plant processing. The use of the cave as a burial site, in addition to heavy plant consumption, suggests that this population might have already been leading a more settled lifestyle, exploiting available food resources from the surrounding area.

Read more: Chemical traces in ancient West African pots show a diet rich in plants

These findings challenge the traditional view that a heavy reliance on plant-based diets started only with agriculture. The Iberomaurusians were consuming a lot of wild plants 8,000 years before farming began in Morocco. This suggests that early humans were more adaptable and resourceful in their dietary habits than previously thought. Understanding this helps us appreciate the complexity and flexibility of human diets in prehistory and how these dietary practices influenced our evolution and health.

Our study also shows how novel isotopic techniques can give us detailed insights into our ancestors diets, helping us understand the foundations of human nutrition.

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Hunter-gatherer diets weren't always heavy on meat: Morocco study reveals a plant-based diet - The Conversation Indonesia

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Jun 13

Middle Easterns relied on Mediterranean Diet thousands of years ago – The Elkhart Truth

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Jun 13

At 58, Elizabeth Hurley Shares Her ‘Simple’ Habits for Looking and Feeling Her Best – Prevention Magazine

At 58,

She recently spilled the secrets to The Sydney Morning Herald. First and foremost, junk food is off the table, literally. Ive always watched what I eat, since forever. Ive never wanted to eat processed food. Right back to my teens, Ive always looked at the labels on food, she said. In a January Instagram, she delved deeper into her eating habits, defining junk food as anything that contains any ingredient that I dont have in my own kitchen.

She doesnt jump on any wellness bandwagons, either. My tastes are pretty simpleI dont drink weird green juices or anything like that, she said, adding that her diet is very normal.

In the January Instagram, she elaborated: My mantra is: Dont eat too much, too fast, too often or too late. Or, put another way, eat smaller meals, chew properly, ban snacking, and eat dinner earlier. This works for me.

She continued, adding that she prioritizes fruits and vegetables, ensuring that they take up half her plate with every meal, and she only take[s] supplements if a blood test tells me Im lacking something.

As for Hurleys fitness routine, its just as simple as her diet. I dont go to the gym, but Im very active ... I dont really sit still very much, she said. Gardening, for example, is one of her favorite pastimes, she added.

As low-maintenance as those choices seem to be, Hurley is unafraid to admit that she does plenty of things, in general, to keep up her energy and appearance. I work for a cosmetic company, I work for fashion companies, I have my own fashion company, Im in high definition on massive cinema screens, she said. So its my business to make more effort ... of course I do, its my bread and butter.

Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer-editor who covers health, nutrition, and lifestyle topics for various publications including Prevention, Everyday Health, SELF, People, and more. Shes always open to conversations about fueling up with flavorful dishes, busting beauty standards, and finding new, gentle ways to care for our bodies. She earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Ohio University with specializations in women, gender, and sexuality studies and public health, and is a born-and-raised midwesterner living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two spoiled kitties.

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Jun 13

Middle Easterns relied on Mediterranean Diet thousands of years ago – Watauga Democrat

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Jun 13

The promise and peril of ChatGPT diet plans – Salon

In 2003, The Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking international scientific endeavor that decoded the 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome, was officially completed. The project had started 13 years prior and promised to provide valuable insights into human biology, disease and evolution, though enterprising corporations saw another realm in which the findings would be potentially useful (and lucrative): dieting.

At the time, American culture was definitely saturated in diet talk. Former Surgeon General David Satcher had declared obesity an epidemic in the United States in 2001, which led to an onslaught of fitness and nutrition-focused news segments, documentaries and television programs, ranging from The Biggest Loser and You Are What You Eat to Super Size Me and MTVs Fat Camp. Not all of these pieces of media have aged well in the ensuing two decades, but their existence speaks to the relentless societal interest at the time in how we should be feeding our bodies.

When companies like Nutrigenomix, DNAfit and Habit began offering pricy nutrition plans based on genetic testing and biomarkers, it was just one example of how the advent of new scientific technology and knowledge tends to be floated as a personal health solution. For instance, digital watches quickly started to double as heart monitors, while our smartphones now count our steps, sleep and menstrual cycles.

Now, there are questions as to whether language-based artificial intelligence models, like the popular ChatGPT, could serve as a tool for creating specialized nutrition plans that are potentially both cheaper and quicker than visiting a nutritionist.

Last year, researchers published a paper in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism that compared the answers between ChatGPT and human dieticians to common nutrition questions.

Dieticians were asked to provide their most commonly asked nutrition questions and their own answers to them. We then asked the same questions to ChatGPT and sent both sets of answers to other dieticians or nutritionists and experts in the domain of each question to be graded based on scientific correctness, actionability and comprehensibility, the study authors wrote. The grades were also averaged to give an overall score, and group means of the answers to each question were compared using permutation tests.

Surprisingly, ChatGPT's responses often outperformed those of the dieticians across various criteria.

The overall grades for ChatGPT were higher than those from the dieticians for the overall scores in five of the eight questions we received, they continued. ChatGPT also had higher grades on five occasions for scientific correctness, four for actionability, and five for comprehensibility. In contrast, none of the answers from the dieticians had a higher average score than ChatGPT for any of the questions, both overall and for each of the grading components.

These findings were underscored by a more recent paper in Frontiers of Nutrition. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of personalized AI-generated weight-loss diet plans for clinical use through a survey-based evaluation by experts in obesity medicine and clinical nutrition. Similarly, the researchers used ChatGPT and graded the plans on effectiveness, balance, comprehensiveness, flexibility and applicability.

Results from 67 participants showed no significant differences among the plans, with AI-generated plans often indistinguishable from human-created ones. While some experts identified the AI plan, scores for AI-generated personalized plans were generally positive.

Distinguishing AI-generated outputs from human writing, particularly those created by ChatGPT, presents a significant challenge, the study authors wrote. Our study reinforced this observation as only 5 out of 67 experts were able to accurately identify and select the AI-generated diet plan. These experts highlighted characteristics such as the broad comprehensiveness of the diet plan and the inclusion of atypical recommendations.

They continued: Moreover, an intriguing finding emerged in which 24 experts who initially reported that they could not identify the AI-generated plan correctly selected the AI plan. Their reasoning revolved around nonspecific characteristics, such as the absence of brand names and meal preparations perceived as unrealistic. Therefore, although the task of identifying AI-generated diet plans is complex, some experts were able to pinpoint them, typically because of factors not directly related to the quality of the diet plan.

"Distinguishing AI-generated outputs from human writing, particularly those created by ChatGPT, presents a significant challenge."

For all the promise of AI-generated diet plans, there are some definite drawbacks to the technology currently that would need to be addressed in order to really level-up the safety and efficacy of the plans outside of concerns about lack of specificity and unrealistic preparation suggestions

For instance, when assessing the plans ChatGPT created, they noticed tomatoes were frequently recommended; while tomatoes are a key part of a Spanish diet which the prompt specified the test subject desired they may conflict with dietary restrictions for conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Similarly, the plans ChatGPT created often emphasized protein consumption for weight loss, despite the fact excessive amounts of protein can negatively impact CKD patients.

This underscores the challenge AI faces in balancing diverse considerations for patients with multiple, potentially conflicting chronic health issues. ChatGPT also seemed to struggle with providing specific portion sizes, macro and micronutrient breakdowns and serving suggestions (though as dietician Eliza Savage astutely pointed out, Its not very good at math or science. Its a language model, after all).

Researchers remain optimistic, however, while suggesting theres a need for an extra layer of expertise before suggesting or implementing these plans.

Current AI models, like ChatGPT, lack the capability to fact-check their outputs, they wrote. Therefore, it remains the responsibility of human experts to validate these outputs.

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Jun 13

The diet that can save you from an early death and help the planet – The New Daily

Researchers from Harvard University have found the diet that is healthiest for the planet is also potentially healthiest for humans.

The study, which was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the Planetary Diet and whether it could reduce the risk of a premature death.

The Planetary Diet is simply a plant-based diet, where half a plate of food is made up of fruit and vegetables.

For the study, health data from more than 200,000 women and men enrolled in the Nurses Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study was examined.

The participants didnt have any major chronic diseases at the start of the study and every four years, for up to 34 years, each person completed a dietary questionnaire.

The participants diets were scored and those who followed the Planetary Health Diet (PHD) fared much better than others.

The study found that the risk of premature death was 30 per cent lower in the top 10 per cent of participants most closely adhering to PHD compared to those in the lowest 10 per cent, Harvard said in a press release.

Every major cause of death, including cancer,heart diseaseand lung disease, was lower with greater adherence to this dietary pattern.

We already know that the agriculture industry is harming the environment.

Climate change has our planet on track for ecological disaster, and our food system plays a major role, said the studys author Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition.

Shifting how we eat can help slow the process of climate change. And whats healthiest for the planet is also healthiest for humans.

Researchers also found those with the highest adherence to the diet had a substantially lower environmental impact when compared to those with the lowest adherence rate.

Willett said the study was noteworthy given the US Department of Agriculture has refused to look at the environmental impacts of dietary choices.

The findings show just how linked human and planetary health are, he said.

Eating healthfully boosts environmental sustainability, which in turn is essential for the health and wellbeing of every person on earth.

The Planetary Health Diet was designed to help both people and the planet. Photo: Getty

The Planetary Health Diet is meant to be flexible, but it is first and foremost a plant-focused diet, however meat and dairy products are allowed to be consumed in moderate amounts.

It emphasises a plant-forward diet where whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes comprise a greater proportion of foods consumed, the non-profit EAT explains.

Meat and dairy constitute important parts of the diet but in significantly smaller proportions than whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.

An example of the Planetary Health Diet. Photo: Lancet

The diet was conceived by the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019, with help from 37 scientists from around the world.

The goal was to find a diet that would be beneficial for humans and having a minimal environmental impact.

An example of the diet on a plate, as described by the Lancet, would look something like; Half a plate of vegetables, then the other half made up of a combination of wholegrain, starchy vegetables, dairy, animal protein, plant protein, plant oils and added sugar.

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Jun 13

Eat blueberries, adopt a Mediterranean diet. Things to do this week for your health and wellness. – Yahoo Life

Hello, health and wellness enthusiasts. My name is Kaitlin and Im here to help you get your week started right. To kick things off, read your horoscope and check your local forecast (we hope it's cooling down after a heat wave hit most of the country). Then keep reading for some easy tips and hacks that may improve your life.

Wed all be grateful for a little more snooze time, but actually getting it can make you feel more gratitude overall. According to a new study from Baylor University, participants who got more shut-eye also had increased feelings of gratitude, resilience and well-being. Eager to feel higher levels of bliss? Focus on improving your sleep hygiene and full permission from me to splurge on that pricey sleep mask.

There are few things in this world that I love more than a brownie, but unfortunately, baked goods might not be the best food for your mental health. (Even if, yes, it feels very comforting in the moment.) A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that eating a diet high in sugar and saturated fats can lead to changes in the brain associated with rumination a symptom of depression and anxiety that includes focusing on negative thoughts and feelings. The study also found that participants who ate a mostly Mediterranean diet (lots of veggies, fish and healthy fats like olive oil) didnt have these brain changes so while cake is great, if you can fall equally in love with salmon and asparagus, your mental health may thank you.

Fruit is good for you but apparently, theres one fruit thats the berry best. Dietitian Samantha Cassetty looked at the research for the "Today" show and declared that antioxidant-rich blueberries are the healthiest fruit. Eating them can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and fortunately, theyre also pretty delicious. Sprinkle some in your oatmeal or blend them into a smoothie.

Look, I get it: The last thing you want to do while youre on your period is push yourself. New research, however, suggests that doing so may not be the worst idea in the world. (Sorry!) A new study published in Neuropsychologia found that people who were menstruating did better on tests that measure reaction time, attention, mental agility and spatial skills during their periods even though they thought they would do worse.

Everyone from Chris Hemsworth to Lauren Miller Rogen is talking about Alzheimers prevention these days but you dont have to be a celebrity to help ward off this cognitive disease. Dr. Dean Ornish, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, asked 49 people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimers dementia to participate in an intensive program of diet, exercise, stress reduction and social interaction to see how it would affect their symptoms. While the study is small, Ornish and his team of scientists saw some encouraging results. Heres what they believe can improve brain functioning:

A plant-based diet

30 minutes of exercise a day (and yes, walking counts!)

Strength training three times a week

Manage stress through meditation, yoga and other relaxation exercises

Find some mental and emotional support (Ornishs participants went to a support group three times a week)

Take supplements that may improve cognition, such as omega-3s, a multivitamin, lions mane mushrooms and probiotics (as always, consult with your doctor first)

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Eat blueberries, adopt a Mediterranean diet. Things to do this week for your health and wellness. - Yahoo Life

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Jun 13

Intermittent fasting guru Dr. Michael Mosley goes missing on Greek island – New York Daily News

A search is underway for Dr. Michael Mosley, a guru of intermittent fasting, after he failed to return from a walk Wednesday on the Greek island of Symi.

The 67-year-old British journalist, author and broadcaster is known for championing the so-called 5:2 diet, involving two days of extremely restricted calories followed by five days of normal, healthy eating.

He left for a walk along the coast at around 1:30 p.m., heading to the village of Pedi, police told Reuters. When he hadnt returned by 7:30, his wife raised the alarm.

A police dog and drone were brought over from neighboring Rhodes to help search the small, rocky island, and on Thursday a chopper was sent over from Athens.

Mosley was walking along a rocky, cliffside path near the Agios Nikolaos beach, a notoriously difficult area to hike. Most of Symis beaches are best reached by boat, BBC News reported.

Compounding the search was an intense heat wave, with temperatures projected to soar as high as 118 degrees Fahrenheit, putting the island under a heat advisory, the outlet noted.

Moselys 2013 intermittent-fasting bible The Fast Diet, co-authored with journalist Mimi Spencer, laid out what would become known as the 5:2 diet. He later introduced the Fast 800 diet, designed for rapid weight loss.

He has appeared regularly on British television, written a newspaper column on health and has made several films focusing on diet and exercise.

Mosely won an Emmy for the BBC science documentary The Human Face, unpacking the science behind notions of beauty, as well as several other shows, most famously Channel 4s Who Made Britain Fat?

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Intermittent fasting guru Dr. Michael Mosley goes missing on Greek island - New York Daily News

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Jun 13

Overweight leopard compared to Disney character ‘too old to diet’ – The Independent

An overweight leopard that has been compared to a Disney Zootopia character has been forced to stop its weight-loss plan due to old age.

The 16-year-old big cat, fondly called Officer Clawhauser by zoo visitors, had recently been eating half-meal portions.

But officials at the Panzhihua Zoo in Sichuan, China, claim there has been no noticeable drop in its weight.

They added the reduced meals had stressed the big cat out, so they had to stop.

Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at World Animal Protection, said the very least staff could do was make sure the leopard had to work to find the food by putting it in difficult-to-reach places.

Animal obesity is a growing concern in many zoos across China, primarily due to issues related to space constraints and improper feeding practices.

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Overweight leopard compared to Disney character 'too old to diet' - The Independent

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Jun 13

What Is Planetary Health Diet? Study Says It May Reduce Premature Death By 30% – Medical Daily

The food choices we make today impact both our health and the health of the planet we live in. Researchers have discovered that adhering to a healthy, sustainable diet, termed the planetary health diet, can help preserve the environment and lower the risk of premature death.

The planetary health diet focuses on consuming plant-based foods with larger portions of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. While meat and dairy are included, they are consumed in much smaller amounts.

According to the results of the study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, better adherence to the planetary diet was associated with a 30% reduced risk of early death.

"Climate change has our planet on track for ecological disaster, and our food system plays a major role. Shifting how we eat can help slow the process of climate change. And what's healthiest for the planet is also healthiest for humans," said corresponding author Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition in a news release.

Previous studies have shown that plant-based foods offer greater benefits for both human and planetary health compared to animal-based diets. However, most of these studies relied on one-time dietary assessments. This makes the current study, which involved continuous dietary assessment over 34 years, particularly significant.

The study examined the health data of more than 200,000 participants of the Nurses' Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The participants completed dietary questionnaires every four years for up to 34 years. The adherence to the planetary health diet was assessed based on their intake concerning 15 food groups including whole grains, vegetables, poultry, and nuts.

The results showed that the top 10% of participants with the most adherence to the planetary health diet had a 30% reduced risk of premature death compared to those in the lowest 10%. Greater adherence to the diet was also linked to a lower risk of death from all causes, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

"In addition, the researchers found that those with the highest adherence to the PHD had a substantially lower environmental impact than those with the lowest adherence, including 29% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 21% lower fertilizer needs, and 51% lower cropland use," the news release stated.

"Our study is noteworthy given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has refused to consider the environmental impacts of dietary choices, and any reference to the environmental effects of diet will not be allowed in the upcoming revision of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. The findings show just how linked human and planetary health are. Eating healthfully boosts environmental sustainabilitywhich in turn is essential for the health and wellbeing of every person on earth," Willett added.

More here:
What Is Planetary Health Diet? Study Says It May Reduce Premature Death By 30% - Medical Daily

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