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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 258624, 9 pages
Review Article

The Carnivore Connection Hypothesis: Revisited

1The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, The University of Sydney, G89 Medical Foundation Building K25, NSW 2006, Sydney, Australia
2The School of Molecular Bioscience G08, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
311 Nursery Street, Hornsby, NSW 2077, Sydney, Australia

Received 4 August 2011; Accepted 21 October 2011

Academic Editor: Martine Laville

Copyright © 2012 Jennie C. Brand-Miller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The “Carnivore Connection” hypothesizes that, during human evolution, a scarcity of dietary carbohydrate in diets with low plant : animal subsistence ratios led to insulin resistance providing a survival and reproductive advantage with selection of genes for insulin resistance. The selection pressure was relaxed at the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution when large quantities of cereals first entered human diets. The “Carnivore Connection” explains the high prevalence of intrinsic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in populations that transition rapidly from traditional diets with a low-glycemic load, to high-carbohydrate, high-glycemic index diets that characterize modern diets. Selection pressure has been relaxed longest in European populations, explaining a lower prevalence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, despite recent exposure to famine and food scarcity. Increasing obesity and habitual consumption of high-glycemic-load diets worsens insulin resistance and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in all populations.