Was this political theorist the first person to suggest evolutionary analysis of nutrition? You can read a short article all about Engels' theories of meat and the brain, or read his longer, Darwin-influenced work, in which he writes:
Labour begins with the making of tools. And what are the most ancient tools that we find ??? the most ancient judging by the heirlooms of prehistoric man that have been discovered, and by the mode of life of the earliest historical peoples and of the rawest of contemporary savages? They are hunting and fishing implements, the former at the same time serving as weapons. But hunting and fishing presuppose the transition from an exclusively vegetable diet to the concomitant use of meat, and this is another important step in the process of transition from ape to man. A meat diet contained in an almost ready state the most essential ingredients required by the organism for its metabolism. By shortening the time required for digestion, it also shortened the other vegetative bodily processes that correspond to those of plant life, and thus gained further time, material and desire for the active manifestation of animal life proper. And the farther man in the making moved from the vegetable kingdom the higher he rose above the animal. Just as becoming accustomed to a vegetable diet side by side with meat converted wild cats and dogs into the servants of man, so also adaptation to a meat diet, side by side with a vegetable diet, greatly contributed towards giving bodily strength and independence to man in the making. The meat diet, however, had its greatest effect on the brain, which now received a far richer flow of the materials necessary for its nourishment and development, and which, therefore, could develop more rapidly and perfectly from generation to generation. With all due respect to the vegetarians man did not come into existence without a meat diet.
Furthermore, his friend Karl Marx described the process by which agriculture came to be dominant in his analysis of primitive accumulation, in which people were separated from the land and therefore had to rely on industry for their means of subsistence.
Is this the secret history of paleo nutrition?
asked byMax_Renn (207)
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on July 22, 2011
at 07:00 PM
I will agree with you to an extent. If we consider the political influence then yes. But like you said, he was influenced by Darwin's work and therefore, we could posit that Darwin was the originator of nutritional evolution.
Marx, on the other hand, goes a step beyond the political bent of Engels in hypothesizing our disconnect from the land and reliance on industry. I certainly agree that the political forces of industry (corporations) have the greatest negative impact on our food system. I could go one further and be all conspiracy-theorist and say that corporations feeding us junk (mentally and nutritionally) are doing so to keep us under control. A mind fed with junk has difficulty making decisions for itself. Though I suspect it is not so dastardly and really just revolves around profiteering at the expense of humanity's progress.