- Although early studies found no clinical evidence of heart disease in the Masai, they did not actually measure food intakes or frequency at that time.
- The Masai are extremely active people walking 12 more miles a day then the average American and much of the evidence suggests they were chronically calorie deficient when studied (Caloric deficiency has been well documented as slowing down aging and decreasing degenerative disease) and they probably endured intermittent fasting, due to food scarcity. (Which is also likely to be cardioprotective!)
- The Masai populations referenced in the studies had few subjects over age 50 — when one is more likely to see clinical evidence of heart disease — and cardiovascular dis-ease is often decades in the making before clinical symptoms manifest.
- Even though clinical evidence of heart disease was absent, autopsies of 50 males did show extensive atherosclerosis — but with enlarged arteries (from their active lifestyle?) which may have mitigated the atherosclerosis.
- The animals consumed by the Massai likely were not injected with hormones and antibiotics, and likely were not grainfed making them more similar to the most expensive, classist meat and dairy sold in the US — rather then like what most Americans actually have access to (which may have additional health harms) and yet they still had atherosclerosis.)
Given that heart disease is the number one cause of premature death in the US, It is important that we balance romantic notions of "traditional" populations and mythology that encourages unhealthy approaches to weight-loss with reliable facts. The lives of people we care about just may depend upon it.
Info taken from the article: Masai and Inuit: High Protein Diets a Closer Look.