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Is it these staple starches in natives' diets that makes their bellies protrude? Why do these people look this way when they are supposedly eating the healthiest of foods?

by (-2)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created April 16, 2014 at 7:53 PM

I have been studying a lot of indigenous tribes and am finding it odd that some of these people, seemingly eating the healthiest of diets (wild game, fruits, and starches, so essentially paleo which would be considered healthy) seem to have extremely protruding bellies and look, for lack of a more polite word, fat! For example if you look at pictures of the Huaorani people, I notice their bellies are abnormally protruding and fat, it doesn't look healthy at all.

What made me dig deeper is supposedly these people eat wild game and plant foods so one would assume they would have aesthetically appealing bodies. Upon researching more I found the Huaorani's staple food is manioc, which is a starch that they often ferment into a drink. It is not the meat that is their staple, but this starch.

I have noticed this with other tribes as well. Originally I had seen a picture in Weston Price's nutritional degeneration book of the new zealand maori and was stunned to see their bodies looking like that when they were supposedly eating a lot of shellfish. Digging deeper you find out it is not the seafood that is a staple but the sweet potato.

I'm trying to discover what it is that makes these peoples' bellies protrude like so; I know it's vain to look at the outer, but honestly if these people are eating the foods they are and looking this way it makes one really reconsider what is considered healthy.

Is it possible that starch, though it might be healthier than white flour and such, can make your belly protrude and give the impression of obesity?

Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks!

30b67994df5cebd930e09584d85375d1
0 · April 22, 2014 at 8:04 PM

It's interesting to think of starch consumption in those societies- I always assumed it was less of a staple in comparison to proteins and vegetables but it makes sense that starches, which are easier to farm/scavenge and provide quick energy, would be more prevalent than previously considered. But it's important to note that malnutrition, dehydration, and starvation can all show symptoms in extreme stomach distension, and that, unfortunately, many of these native communities are more subject to such poor conditions.

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583 · April 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM

They can "adjust to these parasites" but, AFAIK, all that means is that they can lead a reasonably productive life despite the infection, not that it ceases to effect them.

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Maybe you're a troll but I learned something. Thanks hardthinker.

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-2 · April 17, 2014 at 7:53 AM

i appreciate your input!

fruit gluttony doesn't cause the same "look" though which is why i'm thinking the starch is causing this. fruitarians like michael arnstein, anne osborne, and don bennett don't have that same pregnant look to them. so the equation would point to either starch alone that causes this or that it's what happens when you eat the starch with a meat product?!?! the only other possible reason would be it's the fruit and starch combining but that would mean vegans who consume fruit and starch would look pregnant.

?!?!?!?!

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 7:48 AM

this is why i came to the conclusion it has to be the starch that is causing this. if people can eat all the fruit they want and have a flat, non-severely-bloated-looking stomach then it's either the combining of certain foods (the meat and the starch, or the meat and the fruit) or the starch alone that is causing this, and then of course it could be the gluttony as well, but as i said that wouldn't explain why fruit gluttony doesn't cause the same look.

anyways i appreciate your input it definitely could be the cause.

i will continue thinking about this :)

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM

hey i greatly greatly appreciate your input! that makes perfect sense and seems to be a possible cause for this! i still feel ideally if a food is "best" it shouldn't bloat you no matter how much you eat, for example i don't think meat bloats you no matter how much is eaten, but again i can see that this might be a reason for the bloating!

but i still like to dig deeper, WHY is the food causing this and what food group is doing this: see what's weird is, for example, Anne Osborne and other fruitarians can eat as much fruit as they like and i don't see pregnant-looking stomachs on them

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 4:41 AM

Matt is basically right, except that they have an entirely different concept of what "healthy" means. It's not having washboard abs, it's being able to stuff yourself with food. Maybe food wasn't plentiful in the past, before shotguns, and they gorged to survive. So far as eating little monkeys, 30 pound monkeys are more the norm today. A LOT of meat.

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 4:33 AM

I don't think they care much about health. Gluttony is normal behavior, and there is no shortage of meat in their diet.

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-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:47 AM

which is exactly why you wouldn't expect them for an instant to have such a belly, especially the men! it's one thing when a woman is pregnant i know, but these stomachs on these men obviously isn't about pregnancy! if they are getting the exercise they are getting with regards to the way they live their life in that indigenous way and they are eating this seemingly healthy, nutritious diet this just completely blows my mind why the men would have such stomachs?!?!

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-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:44 AM

well what's interesting has to do with what you brought up regarding the protein content. these bellies almost look like kwashiorkor which is brought about by living off starches like this manioc with a low protein content. i wonder if they just aren't eating enough meat (maybe only once a week?!?!) or what?!?

your parasite theory could be correct i suppose, i would just assume (though i really have no background in this) that because they have lived their lives off this type of meat they would be adjusted to these parasites and such?!?

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:41 AM

They live off mainly small monkeys and fish and some fruit! This fermented manioc they turn into a drink is the main staple other than the game and fish. I would never imagine someone eating such a way to look the way they do!

And I cannot believe for a second it has to do with them not working out as stringbeany says. I can give plenty of examples of indigenous people, natives, whatever who have amazingly fit bodies and do not "work out" in our generations' sense.

Again the bloat has nothing to do with having washboard abs, anyone would be frightened to see how unhealthy this looks.

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

Matt please have more kindness in your heart. I don't know why some people always have to disagree and bring conflict.

Are you kidding me? It is not about washboard abs in the slightest! I do not know if I can post pictures due to copyright issues. Really though, it has nothing to do with a "nice set of abs" ; literally some of the men look pregnant! It's an extreme extreme bloat!

This is exactly why I'm questioning the health of starches because these people are eating the cleanest you could!

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0 · April 17, 2014 at 3:21 AM

+1. Good call and I'm assuming indigenous tribes don't have the time, luxury or the vanity to "workout" with such perfectionist manners like we do. Their whole life is a workout out of necessity.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
245 · April 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Could see this as possible, saw a kitty that was adopted off the street, when it was originally acquired it looked like a cat balloon that was about to explode. ~Willy Wonka song here~

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 4:16 AM

http://books.google.com/books?id=_rdgRSPb76MC&pg=PT53&lpg=PT53&ots=IjISoHW5Pd&focus=viewport&dq=huaorani+bloat&output=html_text

Quoting this text from "Savages", the Huaorani eat "beyond simple gluttony." Manioc, banana juice and animals of all kinds.

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 7:48 AM

this is why i came to the conclusion it has to be the starch that is causing this. if people can eat all the fruit they want and have a flat, non-severely-bloated-looking stomach then it's either the combining of certain foods (the meat and the starch, or the meat and the fruit) or the starch alone that is causing this, and then of course it could be the gluttony as well, but as i said that wouldn't explain why fruit gluttony doesn't cause the same look.

anyways i appreciate your input it definitely could be the cause.

i will continue thinking about this :)

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM

hey i greatly greatly appreciate your input! that makes perfect sense and seems to be a possible cause for this! i still feel ideally if a food is "best" it shouldn't bloat you no matter how much you eat, for example i don't think meat bloats you no matter how much is eaten, but again i can see that this might be a reason for the bloating!

but i still like to dig deeper, WHY is the food causing this and what food group is doing this: see what's weird is, for example, Anne Osborne and other fruitarians can eat as much fruit as they like and i don't see pregnant-looking stomachs on them

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41361 · April 16, 2014 at 11:21 PM

Washboard abs don't mean anything with regard to health.

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 4:41 AM

Matt is basically right, except that they have an entirely different concept of what "healthy" means. It's not having washboard abs, it's being able to stuff yourself with food. Maybe food wasn't plentiful in the past, before shotguns, and they gorged to survive. So far as eating little monkeys, 30 pound monkeys are more the norm today. A LOT of meat.

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:41 AM

They live off mainly small monkeys and fish and some fruit! This fermented manioc they turn into a drink is the main staple other than the game and fish. I would never imagine someone eating such a way to look the way they do!

And I cannot believe for a second it has to do with them not working out as stringbeany says. I can give plenty of examples of indigenous people, natives, whatever who have amazingly fit bodies and do not "work out" in our generations' sense.

Again the bloat has nothing to do with having washboard abs, anyone would be frightened to see how unhealthy this looks.

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:39 AM

Matt please have more kindness in your heart. I don't know why some people always have to disagree and bring conflict.

Are you kidding me? It is not about washboard abs in the slightest! I do not know if I can post pictures due to copyright issues. Really though, it has nothing to do with a "nice set of abs" ; literally some of the men look pregnant! It's an extreme extreme bloat!

This is exactly why I'm questioning the health of starches because these people are eating the cleanest you could!

Thumbnail avatar
0 · April 17, 2014 at 3:21 AM

+1. Good call and I'm assuming indigenous tribes don't have the time, luxury or the vanity to "workout" with such perfectionist manners like we do. Their whole life is a workout out of necessity.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
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41361 · April 16, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Beauty is not health. Washboard abs are not indicative of good health.

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583 · April 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Without due diligence I'd suspect maybe the manioc just isn't a good staple. Compare 500 calories of manioc with 500 calories of plain old white potato. The white potato wins by a VERY long shot regarding nutritional value. Even protein quality/content is much better.

It's also quite likely that they suffer from chronic parasitic infections. Worms can certainly make your belly protrude and, perhaps, a lifetime of infection would lead to chronic inflammation and visceral fat deposits. Again, due diligence would be good and I'm just throwing this stuff out there.

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
-2 · April 17, 2014 at 3:44 AM

well what's interesting has to do with what you brought up regarding the protein content. these bellies almost look like kwashiorkor which is brought about by living off starches like this manioc with a low protein content. i wonder if they just aren't eating enough meat (maybe only once a week?!?!) or what?!?

your parasite theory could be correct i suppose, i would just assume (though i really have no background in this) that because they have lived their lives off this type of meat they would be adjusted to these parasites and such?!?

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9
245 · April 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Could see this as possible, saw a kitty that was adopted off the street, when it was originally acquired it looked like a cat balloon that was about to explode. ~Willy Wonka song here~

4bf47833e2e71bbbb6946dcec7dfd5da
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-2 · April 16, 2014 at 7:58 PM

In case you don't know what to look for: just type in Huaorani under google. It seems to be more severe the older the person, which makes me think the older one's body gets the less able it is to handle that much starch?!?! I mean it's obvious you can't miss it: some of the older men look almost pregnant! That just cannot be healthy by any stretch of the imagination!

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10161 · April 17, 2014 at 4:33 AM

I don't think they care much about health. Gluttony is normal behavior, and there is no shortage of meat in their diet.

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