I’m blessed to have been in Tanzania three times now. I was lucky enough to meet with the Masai, the ancient hunter-gatherers who shared with me all of their herbal knowledge.
I was also blessed to be able to visit the Ngorongoro Crater and get a personal tour from the chief conservator of the crater. He told me the inside story of how they take care of the biggest lions on the planet.
The Hadza tribe, which I’m planning to visit in a few months, live near Lake Eyasi, just south of the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania.
Then I had an incredible climb up Kilimanjaro, the highest walkable point on Earth…
And I also went to see Olduvai Gorge, the birthplace of humankind. It’s one of the most important archeological sites in the world, where the archeologist Mary Leakey discovered almost 2-million-year-old australopithecine pre-human remains.
I held pieces of their skulls, jawbones and tools in my hand. Truly incredible.
It’s amazing one country has all those things in it… and now I’m making plans to go back there to visit another ancient tribe of hunter-gatherers.
Because after reading a recent article in The New York Times, I’m definitely planning on seeing the Hadza people.
At the time I read the article, I was reading the latest research on exertion and oxygen uptake for my new subscription newsletter Confidential Cures.
I read a study called “Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity” and noticed that the lead author had written an article in The Times. His article is titled “Debunking the Hunter-Gatherer Workout.”
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I use the example of our hunter-gatherer ancestors often when I describe why my P.A.C.E. workout program is so effective.
So I wanted to see what the article was all about.
The gist of it is that the author and his colleagues wanted to try and figure out if a lack of physical activity is the reason that modern human beings are fat. So they decided to measure calories burned in a hunter-gatherer group in Africa and compare it to our calories burned.
They looked at the Hadza from northern Tanzania, a group pretty much untouched by the West, which is very rare in the modern world. And they found that the Hadza didn’t burn more calories than we do.1
I’ve visited many of these tribes myself, including the Batwa and the Masai in Africa, and the Ashaninkas in South America. And it’s not surprising that they don’t burn that many calories…
They don’t hunt that often. We push ourselves at a low level of exertion all day long every day because of our busy lifestyle. They sit back and pretty much lie around most of the time.
The lead author went on to write in The Times that, because we burn the same amount of calories, we are not fat due to being sedentary… and that this debunks the hunter-gatherer style workout.2
But what they studied has nothing to do with proving why people are fat. The researchers never looked at the quality of the Hadza’s exertion, or the intensity of it, or even what kind of exertion it was… which makes all the difference.
What they should have done was open their eyes and look around and see that the Hadza were all thin. And being thin is not about burning calories. It’s about the kind of calories you take in, and the way you exert yourself.
Compared to how hunter-gatherers ate, we more than doubled the percentage of carbohydrates that we consume. Plus, the character of the carbohydrate has changed to a much higher glycemic index.
Your body converts carbs into either sugar or fat. So if you religiously follow the latest low-fat, high-carb diet, your waistline will only get bigger.
And the modern notion of constant, low-level endurance exercise to get in “the fat-burning zone” makes it worse. Exertion for short periods and a total of less than 20 minutes, like I show you how to do in my P.A.C.E. program, will use these carbs during exercise and signal your body that you don’t need fat. You burn off the fat after your workout while you replenish the carbs for your muscles.
P.S. – If you’d like to learn more about how P.A.C.E. works, and how to build yourself a naturally lean body, subscribe to my newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get my special report on P.A.C.E. and why it works, including over 20 pages of workouts you can use starting today. Click here and this exclusive report is yours as a free gift!
1. Pontzer H, Raichlen D, Wood B, Mabulla A, Racette S, Marlowe F. “Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity.” PLoS ONE August 2012;7(7): e40503.
2. Pontzer, H. “Debunking the Hunter-Gatherer Workout.” The New York Times Sunday Review. www.nytimes.com. August 24, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012.