Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):682-92.

Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA. cordain@cahs.colostate.edu

Abstract

Both anthropologists and nutritionists have long recognized that the diets of modern-day hunter-gatherers may represent a reference standard for modern human nutrition and a model for defense against certain diseases of affluence. Because the hunter-gatherer way of life is now probably extinct in its purely un-Westernized form, nutritionists and anthropologists must rely on indirect procedures to reconstruct the traditional diet of preagricultural humans. In this analysis, we incorporate the most recent ethnographic compilation of plant-to-animal economic subsistence patterns of hunter-gatherers to estimate likely dietary macronutrient intakes (% of energy) for environmentally diverse hunter-gatherer populations. Furthermore, we show how differences in the percentage of body fat in prey animals would alter protein intakes in hunter-gatherers and how a maximal protein ceiling influences the selection of other macronutrients. Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45-65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (> or =56-65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods. This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which protein is elevated (19-35% of energy) at the expense of carbohydrates (22-40% of energy).

Comment in

PMID:
10702160
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk