Originally Posted by marieandchris
<<snip>>our genetics dictate that the Palaeolithic way of eating is the way our biology (all of us) are supposed to eat. We became genetically human at the dawn of the palaeolithic period. Homo sapiens sapiens. We are the same people now as we were at the beginning of the palaeolithic period -- genetically, brain size, smarts, emotionally...language, sentimentality, art...we had it all by the time the palaeolithic period started. We have not adapted physically (genetically) to the influx of calories (with less nutritional value) that the neolithic/agricultural way of eating provides for us. This is a very very recent invention (Palaeolithic period begins 500,000 yrs ago in the NE. Compare that to the c. 10,000 yrs ago for the inception of agriculture.) People's health deteriorated in the Neolithic because of this.
I guess what I'm having trouble with is the inference that every dietary innovation since the NE is implicated with disease, while only
foods that were part of a paleolithic diet are biologically acceptable. This seems like too big a stretch.
Yes, the archeological record clearly shows a decline in health among neolithic people, but that does not necessarily mean that including
foods that were adopted in the NE (grains, dairy, honey, sea salt, etc.) into our modern diet is unhealthy. As I said earlier, there are number of factors that may have contributed to the decline in health.
One may be the over-reliance
of just a few products of agriculture. Early agricultural societies focused their resources on relatively few products. They went from a paleolithic diet that included foods from a wide variety of sources to obtaining most of their calories from just a few. This doesn't mean that having milk or grains as part of a varied diet is bad for you, but perhaps having only milk or grains for your primary source of nutrition is not a great idea.
As a corollary to this, early agricultural societies marked an interesting change in social structure. Where many hunter/gatherer societies conferred status to those individuals who had resources that they shared
with members of their group, we begin to see the rise of kings/priests, slavery and conscripted labor, hoarding of wealth and resources, (i.e., hierarchical social structures) with the development of early agricultural societies. The implication of this is that there is now a significant portion of the population that does not have access to adequate nutrition, both because they relied too much on a few agricultural products and because they were poor. Excavations of the tombs/barrows/graves of ruling class members showed that they had greater stature and enjoyed better health than their subjects.
I'm sure there are other factors too that go along with the transition from a nomadic, hunter/gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one. These are just two that strike me right off the bat.
Just because neolithic era civilizations adopted milk and grains into their diets, while our paleolithic ancestors didn't, does not mean that they are inherently unhealthy for us. It does not mean that we are biologically equipped to tolerate and even thrive on these foods. As omnivores (with a genes that have evolved for millions of years prior
to the appearance of homo sapiens sapiens
), our survival strategy is dependent on being able to tolerate a wide variety of foods, even novel foods. This is not to say that there is no genetic variation among the species however. That's one of the way that adaptation works.
Sorry to rant, but if we could have a discussion about the actual specific benefits or disadvantages of milk, that would be one thing, but this idea that it is somehow not "intended" for us just seems illogical to me.
Marie also wrote:
|Sure, raw milk is better than pasturized (absolutely) but it was meant for BABY COWS and is a perfect food for them. Humans are able to ingest milk at the beginning of their lives, human milk, but loose the enzymes that allow for the full digestion of milk after infancy (which, of course was extended 4,5,6 years for many cultures!) So, we are supposed to ingest milk early in life, but we loose the ability as adults.
But there are lots
of foods that don't allow us to "fully digest" them. If that a criterion for choosing a particular food, many fruits, greens, and vegetables would be off-limits by this reasoning. I guess I need some explanation here. What do you mean by "full digestion"?
|I know Marie is going to do a much better job than I am of replying to this post, but there IS evidence of what our ancestors in the Paleolithic era ate & of their health. There is also evidence of how the health of Homo sapiens deteriorated in the Neolithic era when dairy was introduced & grains became a regular staple in their diets.
Yes, there is evidence, but be careful of what conclusions you draw from this evidence. If grains and milk became a staple of one's diet, to the exclusion of other foods
, I believe that yes, one would be in for some rather serious health problems. But that does not mean that grains and milk cannot be included
in a healthy diet, and that they are not themselves healthy foods for the people who can tolerate them.
Please don't get me wrong. I think most of the features of a Paleo diet sound great. I'm paraphrasing Marie here - wild game, fish, birds, greens, berries, fruit, olives, eggs... Great! Yum! I think Marie forgot to mention bugs. That was an important staple of many Paleolithic diets, one which I don't see too many people promoting, but whatever... I just don't think that just because a food appeared in our diets a relatively short time ago (just a few thousand years), means that it needs to be excluded.