Doctors around the world agree that the “Western diet” is unhealthy, but could a return to a tribal hunter gatherer diet, known as the “tribal diet,” be the solution? One scientist thinks so, but dieticians worry that it may not be a feasible choice in the modern world, even though it may boost gut health in just three days.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, spent three days living and eating with the hunter/gatherer Hadza community in Tanzania, and believes that their tribal diet may be the cause of their exceptional gut diversity and overall commendable health. Their diet consists largely of gathered fruits and vegetables, and birds and game they hunted, and it’s this simple diet and lifestyle that Spector believes is at the root of their healthy guts, thin frames, and strong immune systems.

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“The Hadza have the healthiest guts in the world in terms of diversity,” explained Professor Spector, The Independent reported. “They live as we would have done, in the same spot eating the same food.”

It didn’t take very long for this diet to change the gut, as Spector noticed changes to his own microbiome after only 3 days. A stool sample showed that he gained 20 percent more microbe diversity in this short time period, The Independent reported.

While the tribal diet sounds like it’s full of health benefits, it may not be feasible to maintain. First, Spector believes that modern society’s obsession with cleanliness and sterility may prevent our food from having such a strong effect on our gut microbiome.

“It’s not just the food, it’s the outdoor, non-sterile lifestyle,” said Spector. “Maybe we should occasionally go back to our roots - rewild ourselves, go camping with the kids, and get dirty.”

In addition, Sport Dietitian Katie Kissane, of NoCo Nutrition and Fitness, told Medical Daily that modern farming has greatly changed the nutritional value of some crops, making them different from what our ancestors, or the Hadza tribe, would eat. Kissane suggests that foraging for fruits and vegetables, and personally hunting wild game would be most similar to this tribal diet, but this is not an easy lifestyle.

“A person following a tribal/primitive diet would have to exert an extreme amount of self control,” wrote Kissane. “Social interactions would be limited since many social interactions involve food and it might be difficult to find a restaurant that caters to this type of diet.”

Rosanne Rust, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of DASH Diet for Dummies explained that a tribal diet was “unrealistic” for the average Westerner, and more importantly, it's not the only way to boost gut health.

“Rather than “going caveman,” I’d recommend eating a diet with plenty of variety, including lean meats, lots of vegetables, fruit, as well as dairy products,” Rust told Medical Daily.

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