Primal Man Mark Sisson on Nutrition, Fitness and Success

force. As such, we were “designed” to function optimally on these whole real unprocessed foods. And since we’re genetically quite identical to those early hunter-gatherers, my view is that we still function best eating a diet composed mostly of those whole foods. We must also consider what wasn’t available to us. What foods weren’t eaten by early humans? What foods failed to participate in our evolutionary design?

Well, if you go back 10,000 years, to the advent of agriculture, grains, legumes, and dairy are recent additions to the human diet and only possible in an agricultural setting. There’s evidence of limited adaptation to some of these foods, but it’s not widespread or conclusive.

If you go back 100 years, processed food, refined sugar, and vegetable oils like corn, canola, and soybean have begun to enter the diet en masse. There is no way that we’ve adapted to this stuff, and anytime these dietary agents are introduced to a population, obesity, diabetes, and all the metabolic diseases soon follow.

Ultimately, my dietary philosophy celebrates the sure things about what we’re adapted to eat – the meat, the vegetables, the fish, the fruit, the roots, the nuts. You start with that stuff, see how it affects you, and if you want, you can try some of the newer foods to see how you tolerate them. Most people find that sticking to that original list works out the best, and that adding back in grains or beans or refined sugar brings back the health problems. I’m among them.

Food companies spend lots of money creating new products that are either genetically or artificially engineered to taste great and last a long time.  Why should men steer clear of these “foods”?

As you said, these foods have teams of brilliant scientists, food engineers whose sole job is to create food products that are irresistible. And it’s not just about tasting good, because a can of Pringles doesn’t taste nearly as good as duck confit. It’s about targeting the reward centers in the brain, the same areas that control our response to addictive behaviors and substances. These food scientists employed by the processed food companies use their deep knowledge of the reward system to design products that override our natural impulse to push a plate of food away and say “I’m full, I’ve got enough nutrients for awhile, and I don’t need any more food.”

Processed food is literally designed to make you want to


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