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Is there an Optimal Natural Diet? No, Simply Too Much Choice!

*Newsflash* – there is no such thing as an Optimal Diet!

Nutrition experts have debated for years about whether there is an optimal diet that humans have evolved to eat.

However, a recent study published in the journal of Obesity Reviews (December 2018) found that there is no single natural diet that is best for human health.

The researchers studied the diets, habits and physical activity of a number of modern hunter-gatherer groups and small scale societies and found that they all generally have excellent metabolic health while consuming a wide range of diets.

As a recent article in Well Newsletter stated: “Some (societies) get up to 80 percent of their calories from carbohydrates. Others eat mostly meat. But there were some broad strokes: Almost all of them eat a mix of meat, fish and plants, consuming foods that are generally packed with nutrients. In general, they eat a lot more fiber than the average American”.

And there is a key take-away (!): the benefit of limited choice. Modern society simply has too much choice. Studies have shown that the more options in front of us (that tempting chocolate brownie for dessert), the longer it takes to feel full. A phenomenon known as “sensory specific satiety”.

Minimising the ‘naughty’ options in your cupboard at home (including processed foods) is a step in the right direction. Of course without completely depriving yourself!

This is our considered but brief and light introduction to the topic. For further information please check out:

Hunter‐gatherers as models in public health, Obesity Reviews, Well Newsletter, December 2018.