7

votes

Is Paleo for Indian people significantly different?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2010 at 7:37 AM

Most paleo converts are white. I'm Indian. Europe is way colder than India, and you guys might be different with respect to nutritional needs. The obvious stuff like lactose tolerance notwithstanding, what else is different? Here's some speculative ideas:

-Paleo Europeans eat more meat, because fruits and veggies didn't grow all year -Paleo Euros eat more berries, Indians eat more (mangos?) -Indians have been eating coconut longer? (depending on region of India) -We darkies need more sunlight to get vitamin D (not really speculative, or food related) -Our tubers are different than yours, but I don't know what they are/were

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Yup, my Gujarati family is full of diabetics, even though everyone has a very low BMI. I'm trying to get them to eat paleo, but it is a tough sell for people that have been vegetarian or mostly vegetarian for so many years. What I need is for a doctor (Indian, preferably!) to physically walk up to them and tell them to eat paleo. What were you doing in India?

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on April 30, 2011
at 04:12 AM

Working with families who have diabetes. I met Dr. Rosedale there when he was working in Chennai. We hit it off and I have enjoyed the learning experience of my life. 3 years now back and forth. I would love to find a Paleo Indian Doc. The explosion of diabetes is readily apparent in the diabetic bellies and skinny fat that is everywhere.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 30, 2011
at 02:18 AM

Have you tried any elimination diets? Maybe if you find what is safe for you to eat, even it's monotonous, then you can build from there. In any case, if you have any Indian-paleo insights, please do post them! My goal this summer is to get really nice and dark for the first time, and accumulate enough vitamin D to last me through the winter.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on April 30, 2011
at 02:03 AM

Nor for me. My body is struggling, but then again, it has on every other diet I've tried to, except for an Ayurvedic diet. But I don't have the time to make those meals. I have wondered the exact same thing, but have no answers for you. :(

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on April 30, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Interesting. I am actually trying to eat more mangos and bananas for dual reasons: they taste great, and they are quite Indian. One thing I wonder about is what if any epigenetic changes have predisposed us Western Indians to deal with protein differently. I'm not a huge meat fan outside of bacon, and paleo isn't super easy for me.

D83e454e794d761ab524814c0ff8f838

(531)

on April 29, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Kamal, I asked a similar question a while ago. Or, actually, the conversation turned towards that. I def feel better when I eat mangos, coconuts, and veggies, and worse when it's meat meat meat. I'm from Pune.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:31 AM

If you find ppl well adapted to wheat, please let me know. Re: cancer, I don't see why it's not (theoretically) comparable if there are plenty of HGs who lived to be in their 70s. "Cancer incidence spirals up ridiculously when you hit old age" -- yes, in SAD-eating peoples. But does it spiral up ridiculously in HG-eating peoples? I'm willing to buy that argument, but show me the evidence.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 10:29 PM

And cancer incidence in pre-agrarian cultures is not at all comparable to cancer incidence for modern cultures. Cancer incidence spirals up ridiculously when you hit old age, I believe the nature of "elderly" oncogenes and telomeres has something to do with this.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 10:26 PM

Exactly- the reason I never mentioned unfermented soy is because people have eaten fermented soy for so long. Truthfully, I know little/nothing about wheat adaptation, so I'll do some research and report back.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 09:13 PM

Perhaps <1% cancer incidence is a little too optimistic given that there are factors in modern life that are difficult to control (artificial light, stress, social structures, pollutants, etc.). My main concern is I don't want you to say "well the lifetime incidence in the US for all cancers is around 45% and population X eats wheat and has a lifetime incidence of 25%; therefore population X is well adapted to wheat." There are plenty of data to suggest that cancer is virtually unknown in populations until they are exposed to neolithic agents of diseases, chiefly among them wheat and veg oil.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 08:52 PM

OK, let's backtrack. If you want to say some people are well adapted to fermented soy, that's fine. As far as I can tell, no population is well adapted to soy in its unfermented state, where "well adapted" is defined as "close to optimal health." This means largely free of cavities and other diseases of civilization. Also as far as I can tell, no population is well adapted to wheat in any of its modern forms. And don't point me to that one group in Weston Price's book -- they had the most health problems among the groups presented, although they were still more healthy than SAD eaters.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 08:37 PM

I have no problems with some kinds of fermented soy. Unfermented soy sucks. Wheat is pretty much poison whether fermented or not.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 06:17 PM

If a population such as the Japanese lived to a mean age of 86 (as their women do), with <1% incidence of cancer, etc, that would be quite strange. Also, soy consumption is relatively high in Japan, and super high in some areas such as Okinawa. Note that I never mentioned "unfermented" in my above comment.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 06:17 PM

That definition of "nicely adapted" would be almost impossible to meet, because people living up through their 70s and 80s will die from those diseases at higher proportions no matter what their diet. Although HG cultures certainly didn't die young as CW states, they also died of accidents and the like at a much younger age than people nowadays.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:33 PM

Please name specific examples of people who are "nicely adapted" to unfermented wheat and soy. Also, keep in mind that for me, "nicely adapted" implies means <1% incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc. as seen in many HG cultures around the world prior to exposure to Neolithic agents of disease. "Nicely adapted" does not mean (to me) merely "slightly better health outcomes than SAD." To quote Dr. Harris again, tolerated is not optimal.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:46 PM

Except for trans fats, those things are not poison to everyone (from what I've seen). Some people adapted quite nicely to diets of wheat and soy, just like northern Europeans adapted quite nicely to dairy. But yeah, step one paleo is pretty straightforward, step two paleo seems more complex and rich in research opportunities.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:11 PM

Let me put it this way... if you want to OPTIMIZE the diet, maybe you have to take genetic differences into account. (And it seems from the answers below that we're not quite clear on how exactly this plays out.) But the key thing in the beginning is mainly to remove all the crap that is poisonous to everyone: wheat, soy, trans fats, vegetable oils, and so on down the list.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:11 AM

Yeah, my 110 pound mom and 120 pound uncle both are diabetic Gujaratis. I'm trying to get them to eat more meat and less whole grains, which is quite a challenge. Interestingly, digestion-wise, I seem to do the best with a diet consisting solely of refined wheat and rice! Meaning no fiber. More than a piece of fruit a day really throws me off, and spicy foods do too. I'm not the Indian prototype I guess.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:08 AM

Yoannah, I do not see your logic. Skin color was an adaptation to get more vitamin D, which is arguably the most important nutrient deficiency in modern man. Milk/dairy is an entire food group, and the lactase gene is a permanant adaptation. My ancestors have not mixed so much, probably being in western Indian for many thousands of years.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:39 AM

Indians are still Caucasian so I think there would be more similarity than not. Also what about Euros from warm climates such as Southern Italians, and Greeks (and Iranians and Turks)?. I would think that what works for these people would be similar to your needs. Especially is you are Indo-Aryan and not Dravidian. Im a Southern, Eastern and Western European mix and my girlfriend is East Asian. Dang, I hope my future kids can narrow down their Paleo needs, haha

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on September 07, 2010
at 01:36 AM

Indians are still Caucasian so I think there would be more similarity than not. Also what about Euros from warm climates such as Southern Italians, and Greeks (and Iranians and Turks)?. I would think that what works for these people would be similar to your needs. Especially is you are Indo-Aryan and not Dravidian.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on September 06, 2010
at 09:12 PM

There are smaller differences - adaptations, which I think are minor even if very visible, like skin color. The base, the majority of who we are, is identical. The higher tolerance for milk is also not a permanent change in a population but rather it occurred more often than in the other group. We as species have mixed so much, that it's really difficult to develop significant differences.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 06, 2010
at 08:28 PM

I'm with Patrik, western European dairy adaptation is a prime example. Skin adaptation to sun exposure for vitamin D absorption is another

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 06, 2010
at 07:46 PM

I think scientists are just starting to find differences. Not many are known now. I know that vegetable oils and sugar have devastated Gujarat and many other Indian regions. Gujarat is considered a diabetes hotspot.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2010
at 07:40 PM

Well actually I agree TOTALLY with originalthe post above Patrik . How can anyone really argue against such sensible reasoning? Give de tails please.... Unless - like many - you don't agree with the "out of Africa " hypothesis (and I would have a lot of sympathy there)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:55 PM

Hi Patrik, please expound.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:54 PM

I vehemently disagree and to be clear, I think that the Paleo diet can and should be tuned to people of varying ethnicities.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:49 PM

@Kamal -- I think this is a great question you are asking and while I do not know the specific answer, I suspect you are asking the right questions.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:48 PM

This is radically incorrect.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 06, 2010
at 12:06 PM

Um, what part of India? It's a big place with varied diets!

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6 Answers

3
149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

on April 29, 2011
at 08:36 PM

Kamal, I have just returned from India. I worked on my own and with Dr. Rosedale. The majority of Diabetics I worked with were from Gujarat. I would be curious to know how you are doing. India is a vast country with so many different peoples. However, all who climbed on board to a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet responded well. Vegeterians in India tend to be protein deficient and hard pressed to jump on the higher fat bandwagon. Diabetes is a problem that is exploding there. If you choose to get your sugar from Mangos as opposed to berries, I would see it as a cultural rather than a biologic choice. Namascar to you and your family.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Yup, my Gujarati family is full of diabetics, even though everyone has a very low BMI. I'm trying to get them to eat paleo, but it is a tough sell for people that have been vegetarian or mostly vegetarian for so many years. What I need is for a doctor (Indian, preferably!) to physically walk up to them and tell them to eat paleo. What were you doing in India?

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on April 30, 2011
at 04:12 AM

Working with families who have diabetes. I met Dr. Rosedale there when he was working in Chennai. We hit it off and I have enjoyed the learning experience of my life. 3 years now back and forth. I would love to find a Paleo Indian Doc. The explosion of diabetes is readily apparent in the diabetic bellies and skinny fat that is everywhere.

3
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on September 06, 2010
at 12:59 PM

Even though there are changes that occurred over the past 60,000 years since we left Africa, the biggest chunk of evolution had happened over 2,5 mln years since we started eat meat and our brains could rapidly develop. The changes, mutations and adaptations that happened since our move out of Africa are only cosmetic compared to it - like skin color, higher tolerance for milk among peoples with early cow and goats domestication. There might be a slightly benefit with eating whatever is local and available, just as everywhere else. I moved around, I don't live where I used to live, and I assuming my ancestors spent at least some dozens of generations in Europe b/c I am very pale. It's also good to know when a particular style of agriculture was introduced in your general area. I don't know exactly where my ancestors came from, but I know that in Easter Europe the grains were introduced very late, so although they might have eaten them on their way from Asia, they probably weren't a staple of their diets as much as in ancient Western Asia, central Asia etc., which might mean even less adaptation. I am actually celiac, but of course that can happen everywhere.

We all have the same biological base. There is no such thing as race from biological perspective, the differences in the ways we look is only as differences in clothing that had to be adapted to a particular climate. So I wouldn't bother much beyond the Vit.D absorption if your skin is of very dark shade. There are some genetic accommodations that had happened over the past few tens of thousands of years which helped people survive particular local challenge, like higher numbers of people with a kind of anemia (which helped survive malaria) or malfunction in iron handling which might have been beneficial in contact with some diseases. I think a lot of it is more of a realm of epigenetics than genetics. Which means that they can still be changed even "against" what your ethnic group has been doing for a while if you move somewhere else and don't need that particular genes expression/switched on.

I think the other principles - eating meat, fish, natural fats and local veggies with some fruits is the same like everywhere else.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:08 AM

Yoannah, I do not see your logic. Skin color was an adaptation to get more vitamin D, which is arguably the most important nutrient deficiency in modern man. Milk/dairy is an entire food group, and the lactase gene is a permanant adaptation. My ancestors have not mixed so much, probably being in western Indian for many thousands of years.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:55 PM

Hi Patrik, please expound.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2010
at 07:40 PM

Well actually I agree TOTALLY with originalthe post above Patrik . How can anyone really argue against such sensible reasoning? Give de tails please.... Unless - like many - you don't agree with the "out of Africa " hypothesis (and I would have a lot of sympathy there)

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on September 06, 2010
at 09:12 PM

There are smaller differences - adaptations, which I think are minor even if very visible, like skin color. The base, the majority of who we are, is identical. The higher tolerance for milk is also not a permanent change in a population but rather it occurred more often than in the other group. We as species have mixed so much, that it's really difficult to develop significant differences.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on September 06, 2010
at 08:28 PM

I'm with Patrik, western European dairy adaptation is a prime example. Skin adaptation to sun exposure for vitamin D absorption is another

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:54 PM

I vehemently disagree and to be clear, I think that the Paleo diet can and should be tuned to people of varying ethnicities.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on September 06, 2010
at 06:48 PM

This is radically incorrect.

2
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 06, 2010
at 07:02 PM

I'm really wondering whether the subtleties in diet differences are big enough to warrant attention. Because we can't/don't do randomized trials comparing different ethnicities' response to different foods, there may be stuff we don't know about other than lactose/wheat adaptation.

Even with the out of Africa hypothesis, we had many thousands of years to develop differences in the way we digest and metabolize nutrients. Personally, I wonder about my immediate ancestors. My region of Indian (Gujarat) has been largely vegetarian for a while. No one in my family has eaten meat for many many years until me. Probably too short of a time to give a survival advantage to those that deal with wheat and beans better than meat, but who knows. Also, I'm sure some regions have eaten a large percentage of tubers for eons, while others have eaten barely any. It's these kinds of things that I'm looking for any existing anthropological/archaeological evidence on.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:11 AM

Yeah, my 110 pound mom and 120 pound uncle both are diabetic Gujaratis. I'm trying to get them to eat more meat and less whole grains, which is quite a challenge. Interestingly, digestion-wise, I seem to do the best with a diet consisting solely of refined wheat and rice! Meaning no fiber. More than a piece of fruit a day really throws me off, and spicy foods do too. I'm not the Indian prototype I guess.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 06, 2010
at 07:46 PM

I think scientists are just starting to find differences. Not many are known now. I know that vegetable oils and sugar have devastated Gujarat and many other Indian regions. Gujarat is considered a diabetes hotspot.

0
02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 07, 2010
at 11:41 AM

This sounds like a case where a little self-experimentation would be very useful. If you do that, Kamal, I'd be very interested to know the results. As an aside, I think we should rely less on theory and speculation than we often do, and just give different things a try and see what happens. I suspect that people from warmer climates may have higher insulin sensitivity on average, due to higher availability of fruit year around, but this is just speculation.

0
6fa48935d439390e223b9a053a62c981

(1676)

on September 06, 2010
at 12:36 PM

Paleolithic humans inhabited various biomes, each of which provided food to the humans who lived there. Paleo polynesians obviously ate very differently from paleo europeans, but they all ate paleo, or they didn't eat at all. As far as Vitamin D goes, there is always supplementation for those days when we don't get some strong sun.

0
2fd2b2346da1afd4cea4de40ed8480a0

(106)

on September 06, 2010
at 08:53 AM

well some things like rice and grains are never beneficial to the body in the long run, but there is definitely meat in india, and there are definitely vegitables. The fruits seem to be the only big difference, and for that idk.

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