Otzi the “Iceman” and the Paleo Diet

Some of the most important aspects of the scientific evidence in favor of the paleolithic diet as opposed to the grain heavy, sugar laden, omega 6 drenched modern diet comes from analysis of hunter gather versus agriculturalist remains from thousands of years ago. Numerous studies have demonstrated the inferior health of agriculturalists versus hunter gatherers. As Dr. Eades noted in “Nutrition and health in agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers“:

The anthropological record of early man clearly shows health took a nosedive when populations made the switch from hunting and gathering to agriculture. It takes a physical anthropologist about two seconds to look at a skeleton unearthed from an archeological site to tell if the owner of that skeleton was a hunter-gatherer or an agriculturist.

Unlike the Egyptian mummy data, there is usually no soft tissue material left when remains of early man are found. But the skeletal remains of hunter-gatherers show them to be much healthier than agriculturalists. Hunter-gatherers had better bones, had no signs of iron-deficiency anemia, no signs of infection, few (if any) dental cavities, fewer signs of arthritis and were in general larger and more robust than their agriculture-following contemporaries.

A study of the teeth of Otzi, the so-called “iceman”, whose 5000 year old corpse was discovered in the Italian Alps shows the typical poor dental health that is the hallmark of a grain based diet.

Ötzi the Iceman could have used a dentist. The amazingly preserved Neolithic mummy found in the Italian Alps had tooth decay, gum disease and dental trauma, new research suggests.

The new findings, published Tuesday (April 9) in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggest that the Iceman mummy’s grain-heavy diet took a toll on his dental health.

“It’s surprising how bad condition he is in,” said study co-author Frank Ruhli, a paleopathologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “We have the whole range of disease pathologies you can imagine.”

‘… scientists had never analyzed his teeth before. So Ruhli and his colleagues used a CT scanner to analyze the condition of Ötzi’s teeth. They found that the ancient farmer had several cavities, likely caused by his carbohydrate-rich diet.

Ötzi also showed severe wear of his tooth enamel and severe gum disease. Hard minerals in milled grains abraded the surface of his teeth and gums, exposing the bone below and making the roots loose. Similar wear-and-tear is found in the teeth of Egyptian mummies who ate milled grains.

The entire article can be read here.

H/T Dr. William Davis.

Image from http://news.yahoo.com

Image from http://news.yahoo.com

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