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The Egyptian Mummy Diet Paradox
Reports over the past century have shown that heart disease and other forms of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) were present in about half of Egyptians entombed as long as 3500 years ago. This finding has raised questions about the dietary causes of modern diseases, and has given rise to the “Egyptian mummy diet paradox.” The paradox being, if the diet of most Egyptians living during these ancient times was nearly vegetarian, consisting mainly of vegetables, fruits, and breads made from emmer wheat or barley (meat, cheese, and eggs were rarely consumed), why was evidence of heart disease and atherosclerosis being found. This observation seems to be in contradiction to the current scientific consensus that atherosclerosis is caused by a diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol (which means animal foods).
The Egyptian mummy diet paradox has fueled the rise of the theory that carbohydrates are the cause of obesity, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and other modern diseases. And not just carbohydrates in the form of refined sugars, but also naturally carbohydrate-rich foods, such as rice, corn, potatoes, wheat, beans, and barley. Popular low-carb diets promoting this belief are Atkins, Carbohydrate Addicts, Zone, South Beach, Dukan, and Protein Power. Authors have specifically invoked the Egyptian mummy diet paradox as solid evidence to support their theories that grains, vegetables, and fruits are the sources of illnesses for Westerners, and that meat, dairy, and eggs are actually health foods. But a closer look is warranted.
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