It's difficult not to agree with a caveman diet really.
Do you know how long a caveman lived for? (average age). I certainly don't have a clue. But the average age of a typical Victorian was about 50. Today it is more like 70. Where's the connection?
It's just what we would naturally eat. To me that makes total sense.
Except it isn't:
That may need a username and password, so:
Our bodies didn't evolve for lying on a sofa watching TV and eating chips and ice cream. They evolved for running around hunting game and gathering fruit and vegetables. So, the myth goes, we'd all be a lot healthier if we lived and ate more like our ancestors.
This "evolutionary discordance hypothesis" was first put forward in 1985 by medic S. Boyd Eaton and anthropologist Melvin Konner, both of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (NEJM, vol 312, p 283). In it they claimed that while our genes haven't changed for at least 50,000 years, our diets and lifestyles have changed greatly since the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, and it has all happened too quickly for us to evolve to deal with it. This, they argued, is the reason why diabetes, heart disease and cancers are rife. If we could only exercise more and eat like hunter-gatherers, we'd be fitter, happier and healthier.
In recent years, the Stone Age or "paleo" diet based on these ideas has become very popular. It involves eating game, fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts, and avoiding grains, dairy, legumes, oils, refined sugars and salt. Some aspects, such as exercising more and eating less highly processed grains and sugars, agree with the latest evidence. But others, such as ditching grains, legumes and dairy, do not. And the underlying rationale is flawed.
The idea that there was some evolutionary sweet spot 50,000 years ago just isn't true, says Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, who has written a book debunking the paleo lifestyle. Our ancestors were not perfectly adapted to their lifestyles, and we have adapted to our agricultural diet.
For instance, many people have extra copies of genes for digesting the starch found in grains. The ability to digest milk as an adult – lactose tolerance – has also evolved independently in several populations.
Another criticism is that we don't know for sure what our ancestors ate. They definitely didn't eat anything like the animals and plants we eat today, whichhave been transformed beyond recognition by selective breeding. Last but not least, it's not clear that ancient hunter-gatherers really were that much healthier than the rest of us (The Lancet, vol 381, p 1211). Evolution, after all, doesn't care if we drop dead once we've raised our children and grandchildren.
The original proponents of the discordance hypothesis still stand by their idea, but they have revised it in light of the latest evidence. Eaton and Konner now include low-fat dairy products and whole grains in their recommended foods (Nutrition in Clinical Practice, vol 25, p 594).
No signature worth mentioning...
I wonder why the low fat dairy. I mean, it seems reasonable to suppose paleolithic folk ate quite a lot of fat...
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I think many people get rubbed up the wrong way because they feel there is a holier than thou attitude and proselytizing, which means vegetarians get put in the same basket as Jehova's Witnesses and AVI proponents.
There's plenty of good vegetarian food, and it is usually most succesful when it doesn't try to imitate meat. I've had vegetarians boasting that they could do great things with tofu, so that even a meat eater would love it. Worst meal I've ever had. Tofu is a great ingredient by itself and there's no need to try and make it into something it isn't. Same goes for soy milk I've had in Australia. They add salt, sugar, vegetable oil and other ingredients to try and make it taste more like milk, but it never tastes like milk. Real, fresh soymilk, on the other hand, is wonderful.
Observe the signature in its natural habitat.
Last night I had lasagne and half a bottle of red wine. All the food groups...
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