Eating like your ancestors may boost health: study

Eating like your ancestors may boost health: study

Consuming a diet like our ancestors - highly diverse and rich in nutrients - may boost human health, a study claims.

Researchers from Washington University in the US also found that consuming a monotonous diet of staple cereals and ultra-processed foods may be leading to malnutrition.

Malnutrition problems can be traced to poor-quality diets lacking in diversity, a recent phenomenon in evolutionary history, researchers said.

The study, published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, posits that there is a misalignment of modern diets and the genome formed through time. Evident in the divergence are shared risk factors for both under- and over-nutrition.

"Earlier diets were highly diverse and nutrient dense, in contrast to modern food systems in which monotonous diets of staple cereals and ultra-processed foods play a more prominent role," said Lora Iannotti, associate professor at Washington University.

The study focused on higher dietary quality, which points to the need for altered macronutrient ratios - lower percentages of carbohydrates, in particular - and higher concentrations of a variety of micronutrients.

"This review shows that ultra-processed foods, in particular products made from substances extracted from whole foods, particularly oils, flours, and sugar, were not part of evolutionary diets and may be the  main driver of malnutrition across most current food environments," Iannotti said.  

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