4

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Can we outsmart evolution?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 08, 2010 at 8:34 PM

"Evolution is cleverer than you are." (Leslie Orgel???s Second Rule)

The evolutionary paradigm for health is such a strong one and has proven to be really helpful to many. Still, evolution is not about health, it's about replication of genes, it's about reproduction.

my favorite illustration

Of course, good health is often needed to reproduce, but it is not the goal of evolution (I know it is dangerous to speak of goals and evolution in same sentence, but you get what I mean) . I think the same can be said about happiness.

Now we, humans, can actually choose a different goal for our lives.

Now my question. Do you think that we can somehow outsmart evolution, to suit better our personal goals, and not reproduction? And I???m not talking about birth control, but about dietary choices.

Maybe one possible example. Insulin and it???s detrimental effects on health, but it???s possibly advantageous effects on reproduction. Low insulin (see research on caloric restriction) causes extended life. High insulin levels actually mean something like this: go and reproduce, times are favourable now! So, although high insulin levels are bad for long term health, they could be beneficial for our Darwinian fitness.

Does anybody know something else that is similar? Something we better avoid or be careful with, that still could be selected for because of reasons of enhanced reproductive success?

(and please correct me if the insulin example is not true)

Dfd71315b44a74520ead7d6752e70fc7

(678)

on June 11, 2010
at 12:03 AM

Like I said, eventually something will give. Society will not allow those babies to die but the financial pressures of having that big of a health drain will cause some of the safety nets of society to fall apart and those babies will die from lack of medical attention. No one wanted anyone to die during the Irish Potato Famine but a million people did because there simply wasn't enough food. If something happens to the insulin supply or insulin skyrockets to $200 a week, not every life can be saved.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on June 09, 2010
at 05:58 PM

Patrick, another quiqk quote from nephropal:"Summer Mode - This was the time of food/calorie abundance. Moreover this was a time of sex, replication, and growth. Insulin activity is higher. Insulin is growth hormone in a sense. Also, sugar accelerates aging. This was a time of growth. HOWEVER, excessive, persistent summer mode (like the Western diet), is associated with the metabolic syndrome and inflammation."

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on June 09, 2010
at 09:11 AM

Patrick, could you explain what's wrong with it? Below 2 quotes that show why I think this way: "Regardless of which pathway mediates increased longevity at the molecular level, we already have evidence that reduced caloric intake is the trigger, and the hormone insulin seems like the most likely nexus for the effects" Dr. Kurt Harris "Insulin is a phylogenetically old hormone. It is a biological messenger that in excess, is metabolically saying the following to your tissue and organs: "Go ahead and store energy, and go ahead and mature, reproduce and die." Art De Vay

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 09, 2010
at 02:08 AM

Weed it out by having babies with diabetes? We don't allow for natural selection unlike the rest of nature, we spend extra time and energy on the weak and sickly. evolution fails when emotion enters the arena

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 08, 2010
at 09:56 PM

I don't agree with your interpretation of insulin levels.

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2 Answers

1
Dfd71315b44a74520ead7d6752e70fc7

(678)

on June 09, 2010
at 12:41 AM

I see where you're going and I agree, you can "trick" evolution for a few generations but evolution is a multi-generational process. Humans have been cultivating grain for 10,000 years and we still haven't adapted to properly processing it so the last 50 years of the SAD diet is not likely to be affected by evolution, for the better or worse, for some time.

You could actually argue that a seditery nature and, due to that, insulin resistance, has more value in this culture and modern society. If you're a computer wizz or a wall street magician or some sort of post-industrial field specialist, your physical health is of lesser importance. Your value to society is your intellect and social power. However, those factors offer little biological benefit to the human race. Glucose is toxic so homo sapiens who developed a strong insulin reactivity were more likely to reproduce simply because the excess glucose would kill those without the reactivity. In our modern society, it may be stretched out longer than that but I could see how morbid obesity, oxidized fat consumption, and excessive insulin resistance could lead to genetic malformations or a myriad of health issues as generations build one after the other. Maybe in 20 generations, those genes will be so badly damaged that those humans become sterile and can no longer reproduce. I'm not a bio-chemist or the like so anything I suggest is just brainstorming.

What is a MORE likely occurrence is that those who are insulin resistant will use external insulin injections to regulate their glucose levels. They may take their diabetes "seriously" but if they are excessively overweight or continue to eat poorly and just use the insulin to correct their blood sugar, their survival will depend on that outside source of insulin. If something catastrophic were to happen to that supply or if the health care system breaks down and the affordability of insulin skyrockets, those people will either have to adapt REAL QUICK or they will probably perish. Those who are not dependent on external sources of insulin will not be affected that by specific problem (although a breakdown in the health care system could affect us in other ways). This is how natural selection could weed out those with high insulin resistance.

In either scenario, there is no biological advantage to having a high insulin tolerance and eventually evolution will weed it out.

Dfd71315b44a74520ead7d6752e70fc7

(678)

on June 11, 2010
at 12:03 AM

Like I said, eventually something will give. Society will not allow those babies to die but the financial pressures of having that big of a health drain will cause some of the safety nets of society to fall apart and those babies will die from lack of medical attention. No one wanted anyone to die during the Irish Potato Famine but a million people did because there simply wasn't enough food. If something happens to the insulin supply or insulin skyrockets to $200 a week, not every life can be saved.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on June 09, 2010
at 02:08 AM

Weed it out by having babies with diabetes? We don't allow for natural selection unlike the rest of nature, we spend extra time and energy on the weak and sickly. evolution fails when emotion enters the arena

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on June 08, 2010
at 10:36 PM

Correlation is not causation

I'm more of the school that insulin is there as a mechanism to prevent the toxin sugar from flooding our bloodstream and killing us. Again c not c tho.

I think energy availability has more to do with reproductive drive not insulin. That any extra energy source tells our hormonal system, game on

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