What happens if humans are locked up in a zoo and fed only the kind of things that our ape-like ancestors once ate?
Being locked in the zoo and offered bananas to eat is the kind of extreme diet scenario to wake some of us screaming in the night. But that was how a group of volunteers opted to try to cut their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
They set up home in a tented enclosure at Paignton Zoo, Devon, next to the ape house, in an experiment filmed for TV. The idea, says Jill Fullerton-Smith, who helped organise the trial, was that modern diets, often dominated by processed foods and saturated fats, cause
costly health problems.
Apparently, very good things:
Over 12 days he lost 5.7kg (12.5lbs), and reduced his cholesterol by 20%. His blood pressure also fell.
Despite nearly backing out at the start - the first day's food arrived in a cool-box, was raw and he was distinctly uncomfortable with the idea of broccoli - he was converted to eating vast portions of fresh fruit and veg.
"I didn't feel any loss of energy, I didn't feel ill at all," he says. "It's not a diet you'd recommend as a diet itself, but it worked to bring my cholesterol and blood pressure down."