Insulin Signaling—Science and Policy [2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12)]

Panel presentation at the 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12): Insulin Signaling – Science and Policy

The Food Pyramid, established by the USDA in 1982, recommended ingestion of 55-70% of calories as carbohydrate. The subsequent 30 years showed a growing epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as identifiably increased risks for cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. The Food Pyramid has recently been abandoned. Recommendations for carbohydrate intake now are in the range of 40-55% of total calories. Some propose that we should increase consumption of whole grain foods, natural fruits, etc. Other approaches recommend reducing total carbohydrate consumption further than current recommendations on grounds that 90% of the carbohydrates ingested nowadays are sugars or starches that digest to sugars.These are points of discussion, but regardless of specific dietary recommendations, we believe that a new dietary paradigm can be identified that calls for reducing overall insulin signaling. Benefits include reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemias, cardiovascular disease, arthritis as well as cancers: in short, many of the chronic diseases of our time.The panel and audience will discuss risk factors for chronic diseases and their inter-relations, mechanisms of insulin signaling that appear likely to contribute to these relationships challenges and possible suggestions toward improving dietary patterns.

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John Welbourn, B.A. – Food for Performance

John Welbourn presenting at the 2nd Annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012.

Most professional and collegiate athletes are their own worst enemies when it comes to smart training and nutrition. For a group who is compensated purely on performance, they pay little to no attention to nutrition and more importantly, how nutrition can affect recovery and performance. I began working with several elite level powerlifters to revamp their diets and repair the damage they have done. After only short period of following my nutritional guidelines I had two athletes set the world records in their weight classes in powerlifting. I have seen this same progress in athletes from high school, college and professional sports as I have implemented my training and performance based nutrition with many athlete and schools.

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Jamie Scott—High Performance Evolutionary Fitness – Using EvoBio to Optimize Training for Endurance (AHS12)

Jamie Scott, PGDipNutMed, PGDipSportExMed presenting at the second annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).

High Performance Evolutionary Fitness – Using EvoBio to Optimize Training for Endurance Sports
Following a paleolithic lifestyle incorporating a diet relatively low in carbohydrates and promoting high-intensity intermittent exercise is often seen as incompatible with conventionally-held nutrition and training recommendations for endurance sports such as cycling. With these sports becoming more popular amongst individuals who may also be drawn toward the health-promoting benefits of a paleolithic lifestyle, people can often be left struggling to make the two fit. Undertaking large volumes of endurance training whilst trying to follow a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diet can lead to rapid failure at either endeavour.
Recent challenges to conventional wisdom within the fields of exercise physiology and sports nutrition have shed light on strategies which are very much in line with many of the commonly promoted paleolithic lifestyle recommendations. These include a renewed focus on adaptation to high-fat diets, “train-low, race-high” nutrition strategies, and a focus on training at both very low and very high exercise intensities, with a decrease in time spent at high-draining “Goldilocks” intensities. This presentation looks at how these recent advances in sport science and our current understanding of biologicaly appropriate nutrition and fitness strategies can be combined to produce high-performance evolutionary fitness.

Jamie is a nutritionist, researcher, and writer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is one of only two specialist paleo nutritionists in New Zealand, and is the lead researcher and writer for the only corporate health company applying evolutionary biology to all of its corporate programmes. Jamie presented at AHS11 alongside Emily Deans, M.D.

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Elizabeth A. Thiele, M.D., Ph.D.—Dietary Therapy: Role in Epilepsy and Beyond

Elizabeth Thiele presenting at the 2nd Annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12).

Dietary Therapy: Role in Epilepsy and Beyond

Dietary treatment is probably the oldest treatment for epilepsy. It has an important role even today, as nearly a third of people with epilepsy don’t respond to the available anticonvulsant medications.
This presentation will describe the history of diet modification in the treatment of epilepsy, the role of the classic ketogenic diet, and recent modifications that make dietary therapy more tolerable and practical. The role of dietary treatments for other neurological disorders and for cancer will also be considered.

Dr. Thiele is Director of the Pediatric epilepsy program at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of the MGH Center for Dietary Therapy of Epilepsy, and Director of the Herscot Center for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

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Miki Ben-Dor, M.B.A., Ph.D—Man The Fat Hunter: Animal Fat Shortage as a Driver of Human Evolution and Prehistory

Miki Ben-Dor presenting at the 2nd Annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).

Man The Fat Hunter: Animal Fat Shortage as a Driver of Human Evolution and Prehistory

Using a bioenergetic approach and physiological, anatomical, archaeological, ethnographic, isotopic, botanical, genetic and zoological evidence my research has identified an obligated animal fat requirement in human nutrition beginning with the Homo erectus.

In a recent paper published PLoS ONE (linked in bio), written in co-operation with researchers from Tel Aviv University: we applied a bioenergetic model to test the hypothesis that shortage of animal fat that developed locally in the Levant 400 thousand years ago due to the disappearance of elephants was an important factor in the evolution of a new modern human lineage.

Presently, we continue with the application of the Obligated Fat Model in an attempt to understand more recent critical developments in humans’ existence. Some of our present research results will be reported.

The lecture will also provide an opportunity to recognize the important role that the Paleo/Low Carb/Ancestral community bloggers in general, and some bloggers in particular, have played in the initiation and development of my research.


Miki Ben-Dor, M.B.A., is a Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Tel Aviv University (Israel). He blogs in Hebrew at and has there, over one hundred posts on human nutrition from an evolutionary point of view. He is the lead author on a recently published a scientific paper: Man the Fat Hunter: The Demise of Homo erectus and the Emergence of a New Hominin Lineage in the Middle Pleistocene (ca. 400 kyr) Levant.

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Richard Nikoley—Paleo Epistemology and Sociology

Richard Nikoley presenting at the second annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).


Primitive peoples evolved to account for the values and actions of a relatively small tribe of family and close acquaintances comprising of 30-60 members whereby, every individual had a critical role and opportunity to influence the behavior and actions of the group or tribe as a whole.

This is far removed from the unhealthy social trends in modern society where individuals are fooled into believing that they have real power at the voting booth and other activism when in reality, their influence is insignificant and pales in comparison to the social power a primitive hunter-gatherer would have wielded.

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Eugene Fine, M.D.—Dietary Insulin Inhibition as a Metabolic Therapy in Advanced Cancer (AHS12)

Eugene Fine, M.D. presenting at the 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).

Abstract: We aim to discuss the rationale behind reducing insulin secretion via a carbohydrate restricted diet (CHORD) as a metabolic therapy in cancer, illustrated by data from our human pilot safety feasibility trial, as well as in vitro studies. Methods: Eligible outpatients had failed or refused > 2 standard chemotherapy courses and demonstrated FDG-positive PET scans. Conclusions: Preliminary study suggests safety and feasibility of CHORD in selected patients with advanced cancer. Disease stability correlated with metabolic ketosis and insulin inhibition, not caloric restriction. Results in this small sample size must be interpreted cautiously but support additional CHORD study for a complementary role with metabolic or cytotoxic therapies.

Full abstract and bio can be on our website:

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Keith Norris — Health vs Performance: Two Distinct—and Oftentimes, Conflicting—Wellness Goals

Keith Norris presenting at the 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12).

The lay public—and, unfortunately, many professionals within the “fitness” and “strength and conditioning” community—consider “health” and “performance” to be synonymous and/or interchangeable terms. This is a disservice both to the lay community, who then assumes, that only an inordinate amount of exercise (both in time and intensity) can elicit superior health, and to the sporting community, who wrongly assumes that superior sporting performance is indicative of superior, underlying health.

This knowledge gap is a tremendous impediment to those most at danger of manifesting some variant of the prevalent “diseases of modernity” as this notion discourages them from seeking and undertaking intelligently programmed exercise regimens that would otherwise mitigate, arrest, or even reverse these same, insidious conditions. The result is often a competitive athlete who maintains a false sense of security concerning their own underlying health. To that end, both the general public, and the competitive sporting community, need to be educated on the true relationship between health and optimum performance.

Keith Norris is the regional manager for Austin Texas’s premier personal training experience, Efficient Exercise, and maintains the always-informative blog, Theory to Practice. He is an expert in the emerging field of Ancestral Wellness based strength and conditioning, utilizing the best, most efficient modern training methods to achieve a proper balance between health, fitness and well-being.

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Rainer Klement, Ph.D.—Is There a Role for a Paleolithic Lifestyle in the Treatment and Prevention of Cancer

Rainer Klement, Ph.D. presenting at the 2nd Annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).

Is There a Role for a Paleolithic Lifestyle in the Treatment and Prevention of Cancer?

Cancer could be considered a disease of civilization that has consistently been reported to be very rare among uncivilized hunter-gatherer societies. This observation makes sense from an evolutionary perspective from which it is reasonable to assume that the lifestyle factors that protect our genome against tumorigenesis have been selected for early in the history of the genus homo when humans lived as hunter-gatherers.
In this talk, we are going to address the question whether the implementation of a “paleolithic” lifestyle can have beneficial effects in the prevention as well as the treatment of cancer. Thereby, we are going to focus on the roles played by three important factors: regular sun exposure (leading to sufficient vitamin D levels), physical exercise (leading to sufficient muscle mass, inversely correlated to overall mortality due to its anti-inflammatory effects) and diet.

While there is already compelling evidence for the beneficial effects of the former two, the influence of the altered nutritional patterns in the Western diet upon cancer incidence and outcome is less clearly defined. However, based on recent research linking cancer metabolism to diet, we are going to argue that a paleo-oriented, low carbohydrate diet could suppress, or at least delay, the emergence of cancer, and that proliferation of already existing tumor cells could be slowed down.

Overall, the paleolithic lifestyle, including resistance training, may offer a reasonable and valuable possibility of protection against cancer.

Bios for Rainer and Dirk:
Rainer Klement, Ph.D., is a medical physicist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. His research interests focus on tumor metabolism and the effects of ketone bodies on tumor cells in combination with radiotherapy.

Together with Ulrike Kämmerer, a leading expert in the field of ketogenic diets as supportive treatment for cancer patients, he has recently published a highly accessed review article entitled Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer? in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism.
As an ambitious triathlete, he has a strong interest in a healthy lifestyle and adopted a paleolithic diet some three years ago.

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Emily Deans, M.D. — What Not To Eat for Good Mental Health

Emily Deans, M.D. presenting at the 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS12).

Our modern diets are filled with empty calories and often devoid of important micronutrients. In this presentation, we will explore how what we consume affects how our brain works. We will cover what the latest scientific literature says about fructose, polyunsaturated fats, wheat, and various other so-called neolithic agents with respect to neurologic function. We’ll review gut dysbiosis, several types of “paleo” diets, and the role of micronutrient deficiency in mental health. We will conclude the presentation with some pointers as to what to eat.

Emily Deans, M.D. is a board certified adult psychiatrist practicing in Massachusetts. Her interest in how differences between modern lifestyle and ancestral lifestyles affect human physical and mental health is explored at her blog, Evolutionary Psychiatry, at and at Psychology Today.

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