I argue for the paleolithic diet -- the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors for which we are genetically adapted. It is a diet limited to meat, fish, fowl, eggs, fruits, nuts and vegetables. It differs from the standard American diet in that it is devoid of agricultural and dairy products.
Humans developed the technologies of animal husbandry and agriculture about 10,000 years ago, only yesterday in evolutionary terms. Animal husbandry brought us high-fat dairy products, while agriculture brought us high-carb grain products. The human genome has simply not had enough time to adapt genetically to the products these industries produce.
The health risks of processed sugar and refined high-carb grain products are well known. Hi-carb foods trigger excess secretion of insulin, leading to insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
With regard to dairy: a significant percentage of adult humans lack the enzyme necessary to digest lactose (milk sugar). Also many adult humans are allergic to casein (milk protein).
Hundreds of years of human tradition and marketing by the dairy industry have convinced most people, especially those of us of European descent, that consumption of dairy products is healthy and natural. But no other species on earth drinks the milk of another species, nor does any species other than our own drink milk in adult-hood. Far from being "natural," the peculiar practice of stealing and consuming the milk of another species is in fact a parasitic and aberrant behavior with no basis in evolutionary biology.
The dairy industry argues falsely that we need the protein and calcium from dairy products. However the human body expects to receive protein and calcium and all other nutrients from meat, fish, fowl, eggs, fruits, nuts and vegetables. These healthy foods were the staples of our human and hominid ancestors for many millions of years. If we need dairy for strong bones then how is it that our prehistoric ancestors were taller than us, with stronger and thicker bones than us?
This is not to say that dairy and agricultural products are poisonous -- to
many people they have some potential value as relatively cheap sources of food
energy during times of food scarcity. But there is no shortage of calories in
the modern western diet, so why not spend those calories on foods rich in real
Your DNA will love you if you eliminate breads and dairy and limit your diet to meat, fish, fowl, eggs, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Adopt the diet of your genetic ancestors: eat only that which would be edible if you were naked in the forest with a sharp stick.
Insulin helps transport tryptophan across the blood brain
barrier, where it acts as a precursor to serotonin, which reduces
food cravings. High carb meals induce secretion of insulin, and
this is a likely reason that high carb foods are so satisfying to
carb addicts, and the reason they are so addicted to carbs.
The theory is that high-carb meals increase blood sugar, which increases insulin, which increases tryptophan uptake into the brain, which increases serotonin synthesis. Serotonin binds to the 5HT1B receptors in the brain which affect appetite for both food and sex. This is likely the reason people who take serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac tend to have lower appetites for both food and sex, and the reason that for some people carbohydrates are as addicting and as appealing as sex.
Carbohydrate addicts should consider taking tryptophan or 5-HTP to help replace the needed brain tryptophan.
This is a great post I found on sci.med.nutrition from "Marty B" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You asked me to be more specific about antioxidants for people who exercise on
a regular basis and I said I couldn't without my notes which can not be
I got my notes from my office and I will now answer your question by typing in
Antioxidant protection starts with a good diet. There are over 5,000 different
carotenoids and over 30,000 different bioflavinoids in nature. Plants are the
premier chemical factories on this planet. While animals do synthesize
antioxidants, what animals synthesize pales in comparison to what plants
produce (both in terms of quanity and effectiveness). No animal can survive
well without these plant chemicals.
Herbivores get them in hugh quantities. Carnivores get them by eating the
herbivores. Even in the sea, the food chain starts with plants.
We say that animals can not survive on this planet without plants because
plants take our waste (carbon dioxide and water) and convert that waste back to
glucose and oxygen.
But the reality of the situation is that every living animal on this planet
owes their survival to plants because plants have developed the premier system
to protect themselves from oxygen. Animals could never afford the energy
needed to make the antioxidant defense system that plants have developed.
I want you to get 2-3 servings of fruit each day from among the following,
apples, avocados, cantaloupes, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwis, mangoes,
nectarines, oranges, pineapple, rasberries, strawberries or watermelon. You
can use fruit juice to replace one of these servings of fruit. Don't use the
watered down stuff.
You need fruit with each meal. Serving size is one for fruits that are sold as
individual fruits. If it's very small, it's 1/2 cup. If it's big, it's 1/2 of
the fruit except watermelon which is one wedge. Canned is not as good as fresh
but that's okay (as a student you will have a hard time getting fresh fruit).
You can eat other fruits if you like but try to focus on these because they are
very rich in antioxidants.
I want you to get 5-6 servings of vegetables every day. For vegetables, one
serving is 1/2 cup. Choose from these:artichoke, asparagus, beans, beets,
broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, Romaine
lettuce (not iceburg lettuce), leeks, mushrooms, onoins, parsely, peas, peppers
(red or yellow are better than the green), shallots, spinach, squash, sweet
potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes or watercress. You can eat other vegetables
once in awhile but try to focus on these, again because they are the best
sources of the antioxidants. You need to have two servings of a vegetable with
each meal. Mix them up, don't keep eating the same ones.
Each fruit and vegetable that I listed has different mixes of antioxidants.
What you get from celery you can not get from carrots. If we were eating true
herbivores, we would be a lot healthier than we are from an antioxidant
perspective. We don't eat true herbivores because we give most of the animals
that we eat grains to fatten them up before we kill them.
The term that I've used is that we flush the antioxidants out of the animals
that we eat by feeding them grain. Grain does not really alter the mineral or
vitamin content of the meat but it does cut off the supply of plant
antioxidants that the animal was getting which means that when we eat it we get
If you have a good diet, then you can progress to the next step. You are
probably in a moderate stress situation. What I'm going to list is not the
amount of supplementation, it's the amount you should be getting each day from
your diet. If your diet can't do it, then add a supplement. There are many
sites that provide diet analysis if you are not sure how good your diet is.
Adding to a bad diet is not going to help you as much as adding to a good diet
is. The reason is that it's impossible to get a good mix of antioxidants from
supplements, you can only get a good mix from your diet.
Carotenoids (2 to 4 grams per day). If you use a supplement make sure it's
mixed carotenoids. If you are getting 1.5 grams of beta-carotene per day from
your diet, you will be meeting this goal. Diet analysis programs list this as
vitamin A activity in plants. 12 micrograms of beta-carotene equals 1 IU of
vitamin A activity. 125,000 IU of vitamin A coming from plants is 1.5 grams of
beta-carotene. One carrot has over 20,000 IU of vitamin A and so does 1 sweet
potato. Remember, I want you to eat these foods.
Vitamin E (100 to 400 IU per day). Diet is unlikely to get you up this high.
If you use a supplement, make sure it's mixed natural tocopherols.
Vitamin C (500 mg to 1 gram per day). Diet could do this but it's hard.
Vitamin C is the hardest one to estimate because the requirement really goes up
under stress and there are some big differences between different people in
what they need. Some say go with several grams because then you know that you
should have enough but too much vitamin C if the body does not need it is not
really good for you as far as the antioxidant protection system is concerned.
I've told people in this news group in the past to get the vitamin C test
strips for urine. Cathy recently posted that she was doing this. Take vitamin
C until the strip shows that you are putting vitamin C out in your urine, then
back off to the dose above. After awhile check it again to make sure that your
demand has not gone up. I've got a completely different set of recommendations
for high stress but I'm just listing moderate stress for you.
Selenium (200 to 300 micrograms). If you have seafood in your diet, you will
be in this range. If you never eat sefood, you could take a 200 microgram
Manganese (5 to 10 mg). Hardly any American is getting this kind of intake
from their diet. Manganese is not widely distributed in food. Tea is the best
source but if you don't drink tea, use a 5 mg manganese supplement. Average
manganese intake in cultures that drink tea on a regular basis is over 10 mg
per day. Don't drink tea with your meals though, it will decrease mineral
absorption from the food that you ate.
Zinc (20 to 30 mg per day). Zinc is deficienct in most American diets. If you
have seafood in your diet you will get the zinc you need. If you don't use a
15 mg zinc supplement.
Copper (3-4 mg per day). If the water that you drink is coming from copper
plumbing, you will not need any extra copper. Likewise if you have seafood in
your diet on a regular basis you will not need copper. After iron, copper is
the most toxic mineral in your body. I would not supplement unless you know
that you need it. Unfortunately, it's hard to find multivitamin/mineral
supplements that do not have copper but some companies do produce them.
Cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase needs copper and zinc but the one that causes
most of the problem with low activity is zinc.
Bioflavanoids (2 to 4 grams per day). No diet analysis program will tell you
what your bioflavanoid intake is. If you followed my advice on diet, your
intake should be in this range. For high stress, I recomend bioflavonoid
supplements. I recommend mixed, 200 mg per day (some vitamin C is sold with
bioflavonoids in it) , proanthocyanidins (grape seed or pine bark extract) 200
mg per day, and green tea extract, 400 to 800 mg per day (not needed if you
drink alot of green tea).
Milk Thistle extract (80% silymarin), 300 to 600 mg per day.
Rosemary extract, 50 to 100 mg per day.
Gingko extract, 50 to 100 mg per day.
Turmeric (95%curcumin) 200 to 300 mg per day. Since you are a student you can
not add curry to the foods that you eat. Rosemary and curry are two spices
that everyone should try to use because they have some extremely powerful
antioxidants in them. If you use them to cook with, you don't need any
N-acetylCysteine, 500 mg per day. Some foods contain this precursor for
glutathione but diet is generally an uncertain source. Again, you said that
you run 30 to 50 miles a week. If you were in a low stress situation, I would
not be recommending the N-acetylCysteine.
Lipoic acid, 100 to 200 mg per day. You can't get much lipoic acid from your
diet, no matter how good it is. The sulfur containing antioxidants are the
ones that are most important for animals. This is one of them.
Taurine, 500 mg per day.
Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg per day.
Carnitine, 500 mg per day.
For anyone who is using their muscles hard, I also recommend 500 mg to 1 gram
of alpha-ketogluterate each day. This will help to trap ammonia in the muscle
and protect it from damage during exercise.
Again, if you are going to be using your muscles on a regular basis, I also
recommend 400 mg of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per day. Immunosuppression
caused by exercise seems to be linked to both oxidative damage and excess
prostaglandin E2 formation. CLA is extremely effective in cutting down
prostaglandin E2 production. The only other way to do this is to eat a lot of
fish or use fish oil supplements.
I go even further for high stress situations and include many other things,
including herbals, beside what I've just listed for you. It's a long list.
As a student on a limited budget, if you don't want to try it all, make sure
that you at least include lipoic acid and taurine (I assume that you will use C
and E because just about every runner does).
Marty B, "You are what you eat."