The real paleo diet: what people ate 5,000 years ago

The fashion for the Paleolithic diet is dictated by the romanticization of the image of a world without industrial facilities, where ancient man allegedly lived in harmony with nature. And how he ate in reality, recently established a team studying the famous mummy Otzi. This is a man who lived 5300 years ago in the Eastern Italian Alps, whose perfectly preserved remains were found by climbers back in 1991. Now researchers have reached Otzi's stomach.

It's funny, but true - due to the complex process of mummification, Otzi's internal organs shifted and changed, so scientists, roughly speaking, did not know where to look for a quarter of a century. Now we figured it out, carefully analyzed the contents of the stomach and intestines and found out that Otzi simply adored fat. It was probably the fat of mountain goats, and it occupied almost half of the stomach of ancient man.

The reason for this is skillful adaptation to the conditions of the cold highlands - Otzi knew very well that as a source of energy, fat is better than meat. There are traces of lipids throughout the intestines, it has been fed on fat for many years. In contrast, the meat in Otzi's diet was strictly of two types - fresh and dried-cured. That is, he ate squirrels only when he killed the beast or from a great hunger, as an emergency supply. The same is true for wild wheat - Otzi did not eat long-stored crackers made of coarse flour, he chewed exactly the grains.

The biggest mystery was the presence of traces of poisonous fern in the stomach. According to one version, Otzi suffered from parasites in the intestines and in this way tried to erase them. According to another, the ancient man simply did not understand the danger of the plant and accidentally wrapped his supplies in its leaves. However, scientists have just begun to study the microbiome of Otzi's stomach and hope for new interesting discoveries.

Food samples taken from the intestines and stomach of Otzi