Palaeolithic diet: Ötzi the Iceman did not have any weight problems…

In the mid-1990s, a mountaineer came across the remains of a man on the Similaun glacier, thus causing a great sensation. The Iceman was approximately 5,250 years old and originated from the Neolithic period. The body was exceptionally well preserved under the ice. Even the stomach contents of the man known as “Ötzi” survived the millennia and provided scientists with interesting insight into the eating habits of our ancestors.

Ötzi probably travelled far and survived on fruits and wild animals he had killed himself – a bow and arrow were among his belongings. His last meal consisted of deer and ibex meat, vegetables and some grains. Always on the go, Ötzi nourished himself like those of the Palaeolithic Age. His increasingly sedentary contemporaries went about farming and clearly ate more carbohydrates in the form of grain.

But, did hunters and gatherers really lead healthier lives? In the Palaeolithic Age, there was a great deal of fruit and meat on the menu; potatoes and rice had not yet been cultivated, and cereals and grains were largely unknown.

A Swedish study aimed to find this out. For five weeks, ten overweight women nourished themselves from lean meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs and nuts, as cave dwellers had. If they still felt hungry after eating their rations, they were allowed to supplement their diet with “Palaeolithic meals”, as long as the content of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats remained in a constant “Palaeolithic” ratio.

The scientists were amazed by the results: Although fat intake had almost doubled since starting the diet, the women lost nearly 5 kg. Furthermore, heart rate and blood pressure decreased and the Palaeolithic diet positively affected the liver function. Protein-rich foods obviously increase satiety and heat production of the body, which stimulates metabolism.

These results were confirmed in a follow-up study in 45 obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. These individuals were also subjected to a Palaeolithic diet for months. In addition to weight loss, they also experienced improved metabolic regulation without additional strain on the kidneys. The high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio positively affected the heart and circulation, thereby stimulating weight loss.

The caloric intake thus plays a smaller role than many assume. Unsaturated fatty acids, which are found in higher proportions in the Palaeolithic diet, positively affect hepatic function and insulin sensitivity. In this way, the catabolism of fat in the liver increases considerably, thus facilitating weight loss.

A carbohydrate-rich diet, which has been typical since the Neolithic period, often leads to hormone imbalance and – as a result of current overconsumption – obesity. Obesity, in turn, stabilizes hormonal imbalance, thus resulting in a vicious cycle.

As a regular reader of my blog, you are well aware that I am highly in favor of the Palaeolithic diet! Such a diet is “species appropriate”, not only because of the weight, but also because our systems work better and does not age as fast as with a carbohydrate-rich diet.

However, an ideal weight unfortunately cannot always be achieved simply by switching to a “Palaeolithic” diet with a lot of fish, fat, fruit and vegetables, but few grains and other carbohydrates. In the case of obesity, there is often an unbalance of T3 and T4 hormones and estrogen (caused by, for example, thyroid inflammation), which can be balanced with bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormones are similar in structure to our human hormones.

At the beginning of a medically supervised weight loss program, hormone levels and general health are analyzed. Based on this, a customized plan will be created according to individual needs. As soon as the hormonal balance is restored, weight loss through dietary changes and exercise become substantially easier. A weight loss program typically lasts for three to six cycles (1 cycle = 28 days).

Troublesome problem areas that are resistant to diet and training can be sculpted before the weight loss through tissue-conserving microcannular liposuction with local anesthesia. By reducing estrogen-producing fat deposits, the body will be prepared for “fat reduction”.

In addition, dietary supplements can stimulate bodily processes that promote weight loss. In this way, Weight Loss Phaseolin, which is produced from white kidney beans, hinders the uptake of carbohydrates from the intestine. The beneficial effect of the beans has already been known by the Indians for thousands of years.

People from the Palaeolithic Age and primitive cultures had a staggering amount of knowledge about nutrition and health. We have learned a great deal from Ötzi and can provide scientific evidence for the comprehensive knowledge of our ancestors. It is now up to us to rediscover this wealth of ingenious knowledge and to use it for human well-being.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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