Is a high-carb diet and intense exercise the secret behind the “healthiest hearts in the world”? This is what the media reported after a study of the Tsimane people in the Bolivian Amazon:
However, it’s impossible to know what in their lifestyle causes heart health. It’s an enormously common mistake to use imperfect food questionnaires and correlate them with health data, drawing big conclusions.
This kind of suggestive statistical correlation – even in the best case scenarios – has been shown to be wrong 80% of the time! And yet it’s treated as fact in the media.
This is basically the main reason that the whole nutrition field has been such a disaster zone for decades, with high-carb guidelines marking the start of the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
Here’s some sanity, as Dr. Zoe Harcombe analyses the study and what it actually proves:
Heart disease is a disease of civilisation and that’s pretty much it. Industrialised people can do some helpful things to minimise heart disease (don’t smoke, be active and live outdoors near the equator).
However, there is a world of difference between the lifestyle of remote tribal people and Wall Street bankers. If you think eating several hundred calories of even unrefined carbohydrates, without being active for approximately 6 hours a day, will help, even without addressing the numerous and significant other stresses and exposures of modern life, you’re in for a disappointment at best and diabetes at worst.