What can we learn from the Tsimane People with Diet and Exercise

Shed load of carbs and the healthiest hearts in the world?


The BBC reported that the Tsimane people in the forests of Bolivia have the healthiest hearts in the world despite

1) Having a diet consisting of 75% carbohydrate (western diets have around 50%)

2) 14% of their diet is fat compared with 30% of Western diets or the ever popular Ketogenic diet which is 70%

3) The Tsimane folk have around 14% of their diet from protein and maybe eat a little bit more meat

Interesting right?

They also walk on average 17,000 steps per day.

Our 10,000 step a day goal seems pretty lame.

But here is the clincher

“At the age of 45, almost no Tsimane had CAC in their arteries while 25% of Americans do. By the time they reach age 75, two-thirds of Tsimane are CAC-free compared with the overwhelming majority of Americans (80%) having signs of CAC”

So what is the take home here?

We see these types of studies through the years.

The most popular in nutrition circles is Western Price’s study that took in several cultures throughout the world.

His conclusions were interesting and varied in terms of what folks were eating.

We had people on high fat diets, high carb diets, low protein, high protein

A lot was based on the geography of the people and what they could forage and source.

Does that mean that we should follow the Tsimane people?

70% carbs?

It is pretty simple really and goes to show that diets are far from sexy.

What can we draw ourselves?

– Your genes determine your food intake. So whilst you think eating 70% of your diet from carbohydrates is a card towards doing the same yourself..

Their reported choices were from “rice, maize, manioc root (like sweet potato) and plantains (similar to banana)”

Organic. Do you need to ask?

Their activity levels drive their need for this energy balance of food combined. Has their been a genetic adaptation to this pattern? Perhaps..

The Takeaways

– Move more. Stop being lazy and move. It is up to you to change your sedentary environment and move.

They have a need to move in this pattern. But so do we. Yes gym visits are great.

But I would argue what you do outside of this VERY SMALL window is even more important.

  Eat a whole foods diet that is based around good unprocessed and healthy foods.

– Don’t smoke

– Maintaining a balanced approach to fat and keeping it on the lower end of intake.

We know that the Mediterranean diet which is is high in monounsaturated sources such as Olive oil and nuts is also heart healthy.

– A strong sense of community is important and not one to be overlooked. Where is your support network?

Nothing sexy right? Move right, eat right have a someone in your corner.


http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39292389 (Date Visited 18th March 2017)

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