'Caveman diet' to stay slim
'Caveman diet' to stay slim
By Suzanne Finney
September 15, 2005
Feast and famine ... our caveman ancestors most likely looked like Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC
IF you want to lose weight but hate eating healthy low-fat food, there is good news and bad news.
The good news is you can eat three square meals, including plenty of burgers, sausages and ice cream.
The bad news is you have to eat all three meals within two hours and starve for the rest of the day.
The Warrior Diet mirrors the eating habits of our cave-dwelling ancestors, who tended to eat just one big meal a day after killing their prey.
US researchers are making the first detailed study of the diet's success.
Two groups of volunteers, aged between 40 and 50, have been given identical diets of "ordinary" foods including burgers and ice-cream.
One group eat at normal meal times and the other eats all three meals between 4pm and 7pm.
While most struggle to "gorge" at first they eventually find it suits them more and many have lost weight.
Study leader and National Institute of Ageing neurosciences laboratory chief Dr Mark Mattson said the study was still going but the early signs were promising.
"I have had 40 or 50 e-mails from people who ate one meal a day, most say it was uncomfortable for the first one or two months but then they felt great," Dr Mattson, who follows the same regime himself and boasts a slender frame, said.
"Some lost a lot of weight. Some have seen changes in their blood glucose and pressure that suggest better health."
The first group is served a three-course evening meal, typically soup and bread, roast chicken and vegetables followed by fruit.
Breakfast is cereal and bread, sometimes accompanied with sausages or eggs, and lunch is soup or salad.
The second group get the same menu but have to eat it all during one early evening sitting.
The hours between 4pm and 7pm were chosen because that is when we tend to be hungriest.
"From an evolutionary point of view, our bodies are accustomed to feasting and fasting rather than to grazing," Dr Mattson said.
"Three or four meals a day may be good for young people but not for adults.'
Between the gorging hours, the recommended drinks are water and fruit juices.
Dieters are advised to cut alcohol consumption, though the occasional glass of wine or beer is allowed.
British nutritionists have dismissed the Warrior Diet as just another gimmick.
Professor Andrew Prentice of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Medical Research Council's international nutrition group said: "Metabolically, it looks as though nibbling is a good way to do things. It is much healthier and does not put as much strain on the body taking in so much food all at once".
And last week a UK Government adviser warned that there was no scientific evidence fad diets worked. Claire MacEvilly of the Medical Research Council said they are popular only because of celebrity endorsements but cannot back up their claims of dramatic weight loss.