Primitive vs Modern Diet

Primitive diet vs modern diet



Between the primitive period of man and modern society, the human diet has undergone some major changes.

During the primitive era, food had to be hunted and gathered. Our ancestors ate everything at its natural state, fresh and without any preservatives.

On the other hand, our modern diet consists of processed food which are high in sodium. Our human bodies which are used to natural diets have not adapted to high sodium processed food. In fact, it needs more potassium than sodium. Till today, we remain genetically adapted to the primitive diet. (17)


Differences between the two diets


The imbalance in minerals in our modern diet increases our risk of suffering from hypertension.

In the bar chart, our average salt intake is much higher than the recommended daily intake (RDI), while our potassium intake is lower than the RDI. We need to reverse this trend.

Recommended daily intake (RDI) of

Sodium – 2000mg / day (Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010)

              - 2300mg / day (American Dietary Guidelines 2010)

Potassium – 4700mg / day (Institute of Medicine, USA)


Lessons we can learn from the primitive diet



Processed foods are foods that have been packaged for easy consumption. They often contain additives, artificial flavourings, other chemical ingredients and a high amount of Sodium.

We consume many servings of these high-sodium foods daily. In contrast, the primitive man consumed very little Sodium but a lot of Potassium through plants, fruits and nuts.

We have strayed from the primitive man diet and need to increase our potassium intake and decrease our sodium intake.

* Paul Elliott and Ian Brown, “Sodium Intakes Around the World” WHO Forum and Technical meeting on Reducing Salt Intake in Populations, Paris 5-7th October 2006



What we need to do

This increase in Sodium and low intake of other minerals in our modern diet, namely Potassium, remains a major factor in the increase of cardiovascular diseases and non communicable diseases since after primitive times.

The imbalance of minerals in our bodies has to be addressed. It’s time to take action and give our body the right amount of sodium and potassium to lower our risk of suffering from these diseases.



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