Image by Alex Strachan from Pixabay

December 21st, 2020 

A recent publication in Science Advances looked at an ancestral community of Turkanans and their risk of cardiovascular disease based on the lifestyle choice of ancestral diet versus modern. The abstract from the paper states: "The “mismatch” between evolved human physiology and Western lifestyles is thought to explain the current epidemic of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in industrialized societies. However, this hypothesis has been difficult to test because few populations concurrently span ancestral and modern lifestyles.

To address this gap, we collected interview and biomarker data from individuals of Turkana ancestry who practice subsistence-level, nomadic pastoralism (the ancestral way of life for this group), as well as individuals who no longer practice pastoralism and live in urban areas. We found that Turkana who move to cities exhibit poor cardiometabolic health, partially because of a shift toward “Western diets” high in refined carbohydrates. We also show that being born in an urban area independently predicts adult health, such that life-long city dwellers will experience the greatest CVD risk. By focusing on a substantial lifestyle gradient, our work thus informs the timing, magnitude, and evolutionary causes of CVD." (Lea et. al. 2020)

There is now a fundamental set of studies that have looked at this ancestral life versus modern including the Tsimane indians study. The answer is clearly that modern lifestyle decisions are a net negative towards longevity.

From a cardiovascular perspective, we now know that humans are going to suffer disease when they consume large amounts of refined carbohydrates
coupled with saturated fats in highly processed foods, are exposed to air and water pollution and are mentally stressed out.

Go old school,
Dr. M

Lea Science Advances