Chapter One – A Lesson from American Indians
American Indian hunter-gatherer societies living in temperate climates were known to lose a lot of weight at certain times of the year. The funny thing is that this wasn’t the middle of the winter, as is commonly thought. They lost most of the weight, at the quickest rate, in the spring.
Their prey animals (like Bison, Caribou, Deer and Moose) had also had to make it through the winter.
Male stags use up a lot of their fat (and energy) trying to get some action with Mrs Moose during the fall Rutting Season. By the end of the winter their fat reserves are at an all time low because the grass they need for food is such poor quality (and often covered by snow) during the winter.
The females weren’t in much better condition. They had been pregnant across the cold winter months, using their fat reserves to nourish their unborn calves. Even after they’d given birth, what meagre fat stores were left on these animals was used to produce milk. They were down to single digit body fat levels. This was about as lean as meat can be.
The American Indian tribes were also running low on stores – stores of carbohydrate rich vegetables that weren’t available during the winter. Their supply of smoked, preserved meats was at a minimum. However, they did have an ample supply of fresh meat available because the hunting there was excellent.
See the quote from a trapper from the Bear River Valley of Utah in the 1830’s below:
“We killed here a great many Buffalo, which were all in good condition, and feasted, as may be supposed, luxuriously upon the delicate tongues, rich humps, fat roasts and savoury steaks of this noble and excellent species of game. Heretofore we had found the meat of the poor buffalo the worst diet imaginable, and in fact grew meagre and gaunt in the midst of plenty and profusion…”
The fact was that members of the Native Tribes could eat 6 lbs of meat per day, but still lose weight. They would often kill Deer, Bison and Caribou only to leave the lean meat on the carcass, heading off in search of other prey. Why would you do that if you were losing weight?
The fact is, lean meat alone is not the best source of energy for the body. Lean meat is an excellent source of protein, but has very little carbohydrate or fat to provide the body fuel.
In fact, by eating a diet comprised of 80-90% animal protein these Tribes elevated their metabolism by around 30%. In tests done since, those on an all-meat diet raised their resting metabolic rate by 15-25%, with one test showing a whopping 45% increase! How does this happen?
Basal Metabolic Rate
Your body “burns” a certain amount of calories, regardless of whether you do any exercise or not. This is called the “Basal Metabolic Rate” and is dependent on your Lean Body Mass. (We use this to set up your diet in Chapter 5 – don’t worry, it’s easy to do).
One element of that number is the amount of calories used to digest the food we eat – and it’s a known fact that digesting pure protein “costs” around 30% of the calorie content of the food consumed.
Put simply; eating calories only from protein causes more calories to be burned in digestion.
As the percentage of protein in the diet went up, the amount of calories used to digest the food went up too. There was no fat or carbohydrate available to help “plug the gap”, and the hunter-gatherers began to lose weight.
Now, I know you guys are smart cookies, and you’re probably thinking “didn’t the hunter-gatherers also have to work harder (do more exercise) to get their food than we do?” Of course they did, and this is accounted for in the diet we’ll set up for you. But as you’ll see in Chapter 3, it was NOT the extra exercise they did that caused their rapid weight loss.
You’re probably also wondering if this diet mandates you eating 6lbs of meat a day – and I can categorically say it does not. Given the high price of meat in most countries (and the fact that not all our readers are a crack shot with a high calibre rifle, living near herds of bison), as well as some of the issues mentioned below (Mal de Caribou), you will have to eat more than just meat. We’ll have more on this in Chapter 2 and in Chapter 5.
Some tribes noticed problems stemming from this type of diet over the long term – so called “Rabbit Starvation” or “Mal de Caribou” that comes from eating a diet based solely on protein (specifically >300g of protein per day, and you won’t go that high). We avoid these problems by:
- Using specified supplements (discussed in detail in the next chapter)
- Inserting planned breaks from the diet; and
- NOT using the diet for any longer than 2 weeks at a time
Unlike many other “crash diets” – this diet is a perfectly safe and sound method to deliver rapid weight loss. The meat you will be eating will provide protection to your muscles and organs, ensuring most of the weight lost will be fat. We also provide guidance on training so you get the best results from the least effort. That said, we don’t know you (even though we’d like to get to know you better!) and some folks would do well to consult their medical practitioner prior to embarking on any diet at all.
What we know at the end of Chapter 1:
- It is possible to lose weight on a full stomach; hunger isn’t necessary to lose fat
- High protein levels are key to boosting metabolism
- The lack of available carbohydrates and fat meant these tribes lost fat FAST
- You won’t be eating only meat; and
- You’ll learn and use some secrets these tribes didn’t know to make the diet even better…
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