- The proteins they eat account for up to 31% of their total diet
- They do it to meet their energy needs
- These are levels similar to some hyper-proteic diets
Contrary to human beings, who are increasingly concerned about rising levels of obesity, the mountain gorillas in Uganda remain at their ideal weight thanks to a diet rich in protein.
Their levels of consumption are similar to those recommended by the American Heart Association, one of the largest scientific references in cardiology in the world.
According to the New York Times, a team of researchers led by Jessica Rothman, an anthropologist at Hunter College in New York, tracked mountain gorillas in Uganda and found that they based their diet on many proteins and fruit supplements.
Levels similar to human diets
The proteins that gorillas in Uganda eat account for about 17% of their total food consumption, while the American Heart Association recommends levels close to 15% in people’s diet.
The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, notes that during certain periods of the year, when fruits are not yet available, gorillas in Uganda feed on leaves rich in protein, which makes up about 31% of their diet.
These levels, warns Rothman, are similar to some hyper-proteic regimens that are used for weight loss like the Atkins diet. What the gorillas do in these times, explains the anthropologist, is to “eat too much protein to meet their energy needs.”
“Proteins account for 17% of the diet of gorillas and recommended levels in people is 15%“
According to David Raubenheimer, a co-author of the study and nutritional ecologist at Massey University in New Zealand, “understanding the diet of gorillas can help researchers better understand the evolution of the human diet.”
The research could also help in the preservation and creation of an ideal habitat for mountain gorillas, which are categorized as an endangered species, of which only about 880 remain around the world, as of September 2017.