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HealthWatch: New Documentary Highlights Health Benefits Of 'Paleo Diet'

LOS ANGELES (CBS 5) - A new documentary film looks at how one man's near-death experience caused him to reexamine his diet, and return to ancestral eating habits.

In 1978, at the age of 24, CJ Hunt suffered a cardiac arrest while running on Memorial Day at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.

"I went a lap and a half and dropped dead," said Hunt. He spent 10 days in the cardiac care unit at UCLA and learned he had a heart birth defect known as IHSS, idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis. "I was given predictions of greater than a 50% chance of dying in the next 2 years."

The experience started him on a quest for good health. He changed what he ate and experimented with a variety of traditional and non-traditional diets. He followed the standard U.S. Dietary guidelines, he was vegetarian, and even was a raw food vegan for 5 years.

Then a radical about face - Hunt turned carnivore. He started eating meat, fish, and poultry. And, it wasn't just meat. Hunt, a former reporter, landed on the diet of our ancient ancestors - meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, while staying away from sugars, grains, and dairy. He said he felt great.

Hunt's dietary conversion led him, in turn, to an around-the-world investigation of the "caveman diet." His journey is chronicled in the new documentary film, "In Search of the Perfect Human Diet."

For the film, Hunt interviewed anthropologists, archeologists, authors, and top scientists to piece together a cohesive explanation of the science behind this way of eating.

He went to a dig site in the south of France to see what has been learned from the bones. Hunt found that, while our caveman ancestors were big and strong, once humans began to cultivate grains there was a change for the worse.

"This is when we dropped 4-6 inches in height," he said. "This is when we got weak and brittle bones. This is when we got rotting around the orbits of our eyes and dental caries."

Hunt said the introduction of grains fueled brand new diseases, adding "it was not good for our bodies. Tt was the wrong fuel and we paid a big price."

Science writer Gary Taubes, author of "Why We Get Fat," said grains and processed foods are fueling our current obesity epidemic.

"The fundamental argument is we didn't evolve to eat certain foods, and those are refined grains and sugars, foremost. So you remove those from the diet and you see pretty dramatic results pretty quickly."

Robb Wolf, author of "The Paleo Solution," agreed.

"What's the definition of insanity?" asked Wolf. "It's doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our medical approach to managing obesity (and) Type 2 diabetes is broken."

Hunt's film ends up in a grocery store for a simple "How To Paleo' lesson with another physician, Dr. Lane Sebring, who said skip the biomolecular nutrition and the evolutionary nutrition—just keep it simple.

"(Sebring) creates these distinctions between human foods and non-human foods," said Hunt. "You can't get any simpler than that."

Additional Information:

Previous CBS 5 coverage of the Paleo Diet

For more information on the film visit:

Tickets available at:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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