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Are Hunter-Gatherer Diets Better For You?

Are Hunter-Gatherer Diets Better For You?

Reverting to traditional hunter-gatherer diet patterns can improve your health, according to research being presented at the New Zealand Dietetic Association conference this week.

Keynote speaker Professor Kerin O’Dea, Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, reports that even a temporary return to traditional hunter-gatherer diet and lifestyle has therapeutic potential in dealing with type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.

Professor O’Dea argues that her research has profound implications for the global epidemics of lifestyle and diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. She says the type of food consumed, as well as the way it was prepared, were significant factors in making the diet a healthy one. The relative scarcity of food types that are energy-dense -- high in fats or sugars – was also a factor. These food types were highly prized in the traditional setting, and those preferences may have improved survival chances in ages past, but now these same preferences are a driving force for diet-related disease, she argues.

Professor O’Dea is just one of the international researchers presenting their findings at the NZDA conference, which is a vital training opportunity for New Zealand’s small and dispersed professional dieticians.

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