Our ancestors’ diet: surprising discoveries from a 5000 year old iceman

Our ancestors’ diet: surprising discoveries from a 5000 year old iceman


A mummified man found in the mountains of Italy on a nutrition science podcast? Have we gone completely off track? 

We haven’t - we promise. 

This unfortunate soul could be the key that unlocks an entirely new understanding of human health. 

This mummy, discovered in an alpine snow drift by two hikers, gives us a remarkable glimpse into the surprising dietary choices of our ancestors.

In today’s episode, Jonathan discovers some secrets held by our ancestors by speaking to two outstanding guests:

Frank Maixner works at the Institute for Mummy Studies in Italy and travels the world uncovering the secrets of our ancestors.Tim Spector is a co-founder at ZOE and one of the top 100 most cited scientists in the world.

Download our FREE guide — Top 10 Tips to Live Healthier: https://zoe.com/freeguide


00:00 - Intro

00:10 - Topic Introduction

01:45 - What happened thirty years ago high in the mounts on the border between Italy and Austria

03:02 - Who was the Iceman?

03:39 - What happened to him and what did we discover about him?

05:10 - How old was he and what do we know about his lifestyle?

06:01 - What was he eating?

09:02 - What’s surprising about his health?

11:56 - The Iceman & mushrooms

13:08 - Iceman’s microbiome

14:13 - The most surprising information about the Iceman’s microbiome

15:27 - What’s microbiome diversity?

17:30 - Iceman’s origins

17:56 - The start of a new academic discipline

19:41 - Finding out about salt miners

21:02 - What did these salt miners eat?

23:05 - How plant-based was their diet?

23:39 - Did they eat dairy?

25:05 - Their diet diversity

26:40 - What do their microbiomes tell us?

32:31 - What does this mean for us? What is the actionable advice?

36:24 - Summary

38:16 - Goodbyes

38:40 - Outro

Episode transcripts are available here.

Follow Frank: https://twitter.com/frankmaixner

Follow Tim: www.instagram.com/tim.spector/

Follow ZOE on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zoe/

This podcast was produced by Fascinate Productions.

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