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Evolution, Healthy Eating, and the Role of Nutrition

Evolution, Healthy Eating, and the Role of Nutrition

Nutrition has everything to do with health. Although this isn't exactly breaking news, with all the contradictory information out there, one has to wonder whether anybody sees the connection: the food you consume has an effect on your mood. That's how easy it is. Your diet has both immediate and long-term effects on your health.

If you take a tablet, you're just masking the symptoms. You may make long-lasting improvements to your health by altering your dietary habits. But there are so many ways to approach food and so much contradictory information that the issue comes down to this: does the food you're consuming right now make sense?

Actually, common sense is rare, and it requires solid evidence. So here is something to consider: what type of foods are humans designed to eat? Cheetos? I really doubt it. That's obviously true, but what about other foods, like bread and pasta, that were formerly considered healthy but aren't anymore? Think back to the period of the hunter-gatherers, far before agriculture and the first appearance of obesity in human history, and try to imagine what they would have eaten on a daily basis. To put it simply, if you're going to put something in your mouth that wasn't there before agriculture (a relatively recent event in human history), then you should take it with the understanding that it is not what your body considers to be "normal" food. Only the kinds of meals your body deems "normal" are helpful to your health, while everything else is either indifferent or dangerous. Simple enough, if you ask me.

Dr. Peter D'Adamo's "Eat Right 4 Your Type" is a popular investigation of the idea that specific foods help our bodies flourish; his recommendations for what to eat and what to avoid are organized according to the reader's blood type. According to D'Adamo, type O is the most ancient, whereas type A is a relatively recent development that appeared only after the advent of agriculture. Thus, Os should have a diet high in protein and vegetables since people with this blood type should avoid eating too much grain. Type A can consume grain but not dairy. Dairy is a category classified as a "normal" meal solely for the still more recent human blood type, AB. (Maybe we’ll create a new variety that can manage Cheetos and red licorice, my personal favorite aberrant foods).

What does it matter if D'Adamo has done extensive studies to back up his blood-type theory? Does it make sense that people should depend mostly on foods that exist naturally? Absolutely. We humans are made up of wheat, so if you're going to eat it, eat it whole or don't eat it at all, and don't eat much of it.It's time to check out another scientist's perspective on the link between food and evolution, so I won't spend too much time debating the question "Does it occur naturally?"

For those looking to lose weight, Dr. Phillip Lipetz has written "The Good Calorie Diet," and he has backed up his claims with extensive studies. His analysis shows how the coping mechanisms for food scarcity that evolved in the Neolithic period are still in use today. It's funny how our bodies still react to eating as if we were about to be hungry, even when we have access to such delicious, nutritious, and plentiful options.

How this works might be summed up by saying that before the ice age, people subsisted on whatever was there, which included things like roots, plants, fruit, and the occasional nice bit of carrion. The cold ages came and went, making such foods hard to come by. When humans had to hunt to survive, they often went long periods without bagging any prey due to the inherent dangers of the chase and the lack of sophistication in their weaponry. As a consequence, our forebears adapted mechanisms to maximize the process by which the body turns dietary sugar into fat for later use. They survived by eating their fat reserves when food supplies ran low.

Our genes warn us that, since the modern diet is so heavy in fat and protein, we are once again at risk of famine. It's probably a good idea to put on some weight. In his book, Lipetz provides persuasive specifics regarding what to eat together. He lists butter on bread as an example of a fattening food. Some of his pairings, such as lean meat and most veggies, may actually prevent fat storage, which is why they are so helpful. These dietary pairings are worth paying attention to in a culture plagued by obesity and its associated health problems. Nonetheless, the most important takeaway from his study is that foods that cause our systems to build extra fat all have one thing in common: they weren't part of our ancestors' usual diet.

With this summary in hand, you may make more informed food choices in the future, regardless of whether your primary concern is with your weight or your health. Do the logical thing. Consider inquiring whether it is a food that predates the development of agriculture. Then, by all means, do it! If it wasn't, then your body could not see it as "normal," and that might have both immediate and long-term effects on your health.

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