Medical Research: “Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity”


(by Ian Spreadbury, Queen’s University, Canada via

[Whew, that’s a mouthful!  The Conclusion to the study is posted below including PDF link to article. -ed.]

Published Date July 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 175 – 189
Ian Spreadbury

Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Download paper:

The increased storage life and convenience of some of our oldest agricultural products may come with a hitherto unrecognized metabolic cost. The foods eaten by hunter-gatherers, non-cereal horticulturalists, and those following a modern Paleolithic or “primal” diet are sharply delineated from modern foods by their lower carbohydrate densities. Consumption of exclusively low-density carbohydrates is suggested to produce a less inflammatory GI microbiota, and may explain the apparent absence of overweight and metabolic disease in two of these groups, and the promising early data from the third. This hypothesis may also explain (1) why obesity incidence scales with refined food intake, but has such confusing correlatory patterns with macronutrients; (2) why calorie-controlled diets of Westernized foods require a perpetual fight with homeostatic correction mechanisms; (3) the link between periodontal disease and systemic atherosclerotic disease and obesity; (4) why the benefits of a diet of fruit and vegetables have not been replicated by supplements of the constituent antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber alongside a Western diet; (5) why low-carbohydrate diets produce ad libitum weight loss, but low-fat diets do not; and (6) the relative resistance of European people to obesity and diabetes from Westernized diets.

We should not settle for the meager improvements attainable from the consensus dietary advice when it is already clear that so much more might be achieved. Our sights should be set high, to see how close we can move levels of industrialized metabolic health toward those enjoyed by non-Westernized populations. While many will resist making dietary changes of such magnitude, official advice must nonetheless point in the correct direction, allowing individuals to make informed decisions.

The social and financial burden of the epidemic of obesity and metabolic syndrome threatens the long-term viability of our health-care systems and perniciously undermines the other benefits of modern civilization, including redirection of scarce financial resources. If this dietary pattern is confirmed to work, practical policy solutions must be sought. Some grain cultivars may be found to produce less inflammation, sprouting techniques may be found to be of benefit, or grain production may be replaced with root-vegetable cultivation where practical. Over time, the interplay between market forces, attainable agricultural yields, and the practicalities of food-distribution networks may allow shifting demand from a newly informed populace to reshape global agribusiness.

A dietary pattern with carbohydrates exclusively from cellular low-density sources may remove the root cause of a range of our most prevalent diseases. The potential savings in health-care costs should be borne in mind, and the hypothesis tested.

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