On reading the more or less famous Pure White and Deadly by John Yudkin, I came across a reference to a TL Cleave
who I mentioned in a previous post. He was a doctor in the Royal Navy and argued amongst other things that the consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates caused a host of modern diseases that he described together as “the saccharine disease”. Saccharine in this context meaning “sugar” rather than the artificial sweetener. He argues that, in evolutionary terms, we are simply not adapted to cope with these concentrated foods and the body does not recognise what it is eating and when we have eaten enough of it or, indeed, too much. This reminded me of Melissa Hartwig’s description in It Starts With Food of sugar and refined carbohydrates as “food without brakes”.
He says many things in his 1975 book The Saccharine Disease (I found a second hand copy on Amazon but it’s online too, link on his wiki page) that a modern day paleo person would agree with and of course some that we wouldn’t, but it set me wondering who first started this paleo thing.
My thoughts then went to William Banting who I first came across years ago when I was discovering the Atkins Diet and losing a lot of weight.
If you haven’t read his 1863 Letter on Corpulence you should give it a go. At the very least it will probably make you smile. At last week’s seminar a lady from South Africa asked me if I had heard of him. I said yes, of course. She told me that in South Africa they still had “Banting” restaurants where you could eat food based on his diet recommendations.
Low carbohydrate living has a long and successful history that started a bit before even William Banting though. About 7 million years before…