This is trial with obese diabetics (55% of Native heritage) eating a traditional pre-contact diet of fish, meat, wild plants, and berries.
Nice poster of the improvement of weight, body comp, A1C, Blood lipids over 7 months. http://www.cbc.ca/thelens/bigfatdiet/Poster.pdf
It's still a work in process.
A similar study was done on the Pima Indians, comparing the communities that still lived south of Mexican border and ate their traditional (low-carb) diet and those living in Texas, eating a "typical" American diet (read "too much junk food"). Immigrants from Central America seem especially prone to what we would sometimes call "the starch bomb," blowing up in weight when starting to consume a more high-carb diet. The Pima made good test subjects because they had two genetically related but geographically separated populations to study. The Pima evolved eating game, parts of cactus, and other low-carb foods. Their bodies were genetically programmed to store every carb they consumed for energy, so when they consumed excess carbs, they stored it as fat even faster than normal. So it makes complete sense that indigenous people in Canada would respond well to Paleo diet. However, it should also be noted that these results may not be as rapid and dramatic in populations that have long been consuming more starch-based diets for a very long time. There are populations of people who eat a lot of grains who are not fat and unhealthy. Their lifestyle is not sedentary and requires a lot of calories, more than they can get from animal protein. In Papau New Guinea, enough protein is hard to obtain and the only significant source of carbs is from taro (hard to grow, hard to prepare). Now that improving methods of farming and preparing taro has been a focus of improving the diet of Papau New Guineans, it will be interesting to see how impacts their overall health..
As much as we blame agriculture for changing our diets, it is one of the most significant factors in the development of civilizations. Now that more developed areas of the world have the luxury of not having to hunt and gather for all their daily sustenance, we start to suffer from a disease of plenty. But if vegetarians can thrive with no animals protein and larger quantities of grains and legumes for protein, AND still be healthy, that indicates to me that the Paleo diet is not the only way to eat for everyone. Quality of food is important, but so is quantity.
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