18

votes

Why isn't the "starchy root vegetable" theory of evolution more popular in paleo circles?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 01, 2013 at 4:42 PM

I am of the opinion that root vegetables and tubers (underground storage organs) were one of the main driving forces in our evolution. The omega 3 fish model doesn't make sense to me (considering that the Hadza and Bushmen don't eat any fish), I don't believe that we learned how to kill and cook large quantities of meat before we learned how to dig tubers, and I don't believe it's a coincidence that we have more copies of the amylase gene than any other species...as well as for the reasons stated in the article "The rise of the hominids as an adaptive shift in fallback foods: Plant underground storage organs (USOs) and australopith origins" http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004724840500093X

Now, how come this view is not more popular in paleo circles? What compelling evidence is there to discredit it? (It also doesn't even make sense to me that grains were not consumed in the paleolithic period, because no one would ever waste their time eventually harvesting foods that they've never eaten before)

Thanks in advance for your responses.

"No food can afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution..." - Adam Smith's thoughts on potatoes.

350bbbf48293b8d86b47839ab33477fa

(30)

on December 27, 2013
at 05:55 PM

@raydawig. There is not any flow in my comment. You should read carefully. I wrote: "....the low number of amylase gene copies in some humans suggest that these people have adapted to a low starch diet." It means that those who adapted most probably lived in colder environment.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on December 27, 2013
at 02:36 PM

Be weary of pointing to outliers to create complete models of the human diet. Look at a modern day population density map (http://all-that-is-interesting.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/world-population-density-map.jpg), where do the majority live? Tropical and temperate climates! This would have been more pronounced in paleolithic days. Small populations may have adapted to a niche habitat, but they were a tiny minority.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 27, 2013
at 01:40 PM

Here's the flaw in that argument: How does a stoneage hominid dig through frozen ground during an ice age, or the coldest parts of winter? A: They can't. Sure, we evolved from apes that ate lots of fruit, but without the adaptation to hunt and, cook, we would have gone extinct, or at least would have only survived in the tropics.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 27, 2013
at 01:36 PM

The thing with tubers is they're only available when the weather permits. If you're in northern climates, the ground freezes over during the coldest parts of winter, and you wouldn't be able to even dig them out. The only thing you could do at that point is to hunt.

During the ice ages, this lasted for very long extended periods. Were we not adapted to eat meat, we would have gone extinct, or would have only survived in the tropics.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 26, 2013
at 11:41 PM

In order to get much nutritional benefit from those dozen grains of wheat you'd need to cook them. Cooking grain is not simple, and probably developed from earlier practices of roasting larger starchy things like roots and nuts. Out of desperation to survive.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on December 24, 2013
at 06:01 PM

Early man/woman went for the easiest food they could find as we all wanted and still want an easy life. So there were few people around and lots of animals but they take time to hunt so we'd prefer those already dead or rivers so full with fish you just reach in and get them out or sea food on the shore and seaweed and fruit in season when it's around.

I eat paleo/primal and am not anti tubers which are much better than the rubbish protein bars never mind the standard US/UK junk food. In fact I often eat as a snack food when watching a film a small swede/turnip raw.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on December 24, 2013
at 02:08 PM

For being an online care-bear community for nutrition Paleohacks does not suffer from as much group think as one might expect. Of course group think still occurs, but many people here have already had to admit that they were hilariously wrong about nutrition at least once, so why not be open to change once again?

350bbbf48293b8d86b47839ab33477fa

(30)

on December 24, 2013
at 01:08 PM

Humans have higher number of amylase gene copies then other primates, who eat predominantly fruits. This corresponds to anthropological evidence that exploitation of underground storage organs (USOs) played an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo, these items serving as ‘fallback foods’ during periods of low food availability. However, there is also high variability among number of amylase gene copies among humans. Personally I think, that the low number of amylase gene copies in some humans suggest that these people have adapted to a low starch diet.

5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

(907)

on March 09, 2013
at 07:15 AM

Wow. I'm surprised I got 3 upvotes. I was expecting it the other way around.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on March 07, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Just to play devil's advocate here, finding and interpreting tool-based evidence of any particular human activity prior to 40,000 years ago is tricky. Materials would've been highly biodegradable. Also, I have a relative who can spear rainbow trout right out of a stream with a sharp pointy stick, and I've seen others who can just harvest them manually. (Also, certain individual dogs became the ancestors of modern dogs because they possessed a low flight radius from humans, which allowed them to feel relatively comfortable scavenging our trash heaps and food leftovers.)

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:44 PM

Yes, I don't know why foreveryoung says only the hunters eat offal. I would assume some hunters would bring the stuff home. But there is likely some anthropologist out there claiming hunters were offal selfish.

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 04, 2013
at 06:40 AM

It's a video of Paul Jaminet. It was done on Dr. Mercola's show but the interview is of Paul and his and his wife's research. Very interesting stuff.

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:55 PM

Grubs are improved by chocolate.

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:53 PM

Note on cassava: it has to be properly cooked or else you are dosing yourself with cyanide.

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:51 PM

Wouldn't the pregnant women eat the offal?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 02, 2013
at 05:28 PM

Why would humans mimic other animals? I just find that statement odd, as if humans couldn't identify food sources on their own? Humans wouldn't innately know their food sources, just as animals do?

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

(4176)

on March 02, 2013
at 02:37 PM

'[paleo is a] repackaging of the Atkins diet with shiny pseudoscience/wild speculation wrapping paper' - so fucking true

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on March 02, 2013
at 02:24 PM

You forget that Antediluvian civilizations of humans and pre-homo sapiens all evolved in the TROPICS. (This was after Pangea split, but the continents were still relatively close together.) The Inuits lived tropically at one point, hence why they thrive in a harsh environment that at the very least provides them seafood.

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on March 02, 2013
at 01:04 PM

Gotta agree w/UncleLongHair. The way I eat now isn't Akins. E.g. I eat lots of tubers and no mayo! It's not a repackaging at all. The scientific basis of paleo is dodgy, but it seems much stronger than anything else out there. Paleo "leaders" are generally as scientific as they can be given the weak data out there. Everybody has to guess at the margins, but paleo people at least admit they are guessing, and THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS (e.g. about tubers) when the data shows they are wrong.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 02, 2013
at 06:21 AM

The Paleo diet makes so much more sense to me than the "deep fried cheese and bacon" Atkins diet that I can't agree that it is a repackaging. If the Paleo diet were not low carb I think it would be a lot more representative of what our ancestors ate, and brings a lot more awareness of omega 3 vs 6 which I think is otherwise lost. I don't know anyone who has stuck to the Atkins diet for more than a few months but many that have been Paleo for years, there must be some difference.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 02, 2013
at 06:05 AM

Totally agree with the idea that incorporating animals (seafood) into our diet coincided with evolutionary breakthroughs.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 02, 2013
at 03:44 AM

Great answer but I think I have a different perspective. I am not personally familiar with the habitat where human evolved (e.g., east Africa) but I am familiar with where I live -- North America. In season, I can walk outside and find seemingly unlimited amounts of starch for the picking - cattails, wapoto, and wild rice. It's not the best eating but it's got to have a competitive cost/benefit ratio to hunting.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 02, 2013
at 03:40 AM

Great answer but I think it's wrong. I am not personally familiar with the habitat where human evolved (e.g., east Africa) but I am familiar with where I live -- North America. In season, I can walk outside and forage 100,000 calories of starch in about a day's work - cattails, wapoto, and wild rice. It's not the best eating but it's got to have a competitive cost/benefit ratio to hunting.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 10:10 PM

And baskets were part of hunt-and-gather survival, presaging pottery for collecting, storing and cooking. Half women in a tribe could be occupied with making them. Early descriptions of surviving basket makers show a reflexive need to be weaving all the time.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 09:13 PM

it's likely that grubs came first, but the calorie density is probably so low.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:56 PM

@foreveryoung Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but extremes inform the mean, for better or for worse.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:47 PM

Bears travel 150 miles to get to a good hazelnut patch. Why not Grok? At the very least it'd be a good place to hunt fat bears.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:44 PM

Grubs are improved by seasoning

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:34 PM

And baskets were part of hunt-and-gather survival, presaging pottery for collecting, storing and cooking. Half the some in a tribe could be occupied with making them. Early descriptions of surviving basket makers show a reflexive need to be weaving all the time.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:32 PM

Grubs are tastier!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:27 PM

It was peculiar to me that the neolithic baskets made on central Turkey were nearly identical to pre-contact Salish baskets. That a skill could travel so far from its pre-literacy origin and survive for so long is amazing.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:19 PM

We've always had to stick close to the water. The first big leap was when we started to use our hands to crack oysters. The second was the first oyster knife...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:14 PM

Which came first, the grub or the tuber? Or a combo grub and wild onion sandwich?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:09 PM

hmm. I didn't think of this way. Makes sense to me. I don't what i'm more convinced of. I actually think that yeah all nutrient/calorie denise items were utilized to varying degreees. +1

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:08 PM

+1 for "we were like hell yeah" and "we asid f'k this shit and started cooking." LOL. You seem to know a lot about this sort of thing and this is top notch answer. Thanks, Bro.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:07 PM

+1 for shiny. I had a friend who described some terrible amateur musicians he knew in France, who owned brand new instruments: "The French like shiny things."

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:04 PM

It wasn't just the breakfast cereal. There was a lot of white rice consumption too. The only thing I tried to avoid was fried carbs. I overate them because they were tasty, cheap, and I THOUGHT that they were good for me with all the fiber and vitamins.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:04 PM

Good answer. but about the offal, children and women do not eat offal. Only the hutners do.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:47 PM

+1 outstanding answer. but here's my thoughts, I read that study too and if they spit out the fiber, then their carbs aren't actually very high in indigestible fiber anymore are they? Druing certain parts of the year tehy live almost soly off one food group or another, and 4 out of their 5 basic food groups of carbohydrate based. Not saying meat is not important, it is, just the afformetnioned model resonates beter with me than any of the others. I'm not an expert in the subject though, just curious minded.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:41 PM

...maybe women have a higher carb tolerance than men do. Anyways rambling but +1 outstanding answer.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:39 PM

and also considering women and children don't eat organ meats (the hunters do), really has me skeptical about all the "necessity" of everyone consuming offal at bare minimum of once a week. Probably more like a bare minimum for active men at once a week.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:36 PM

Point is that i think glucose containing foods were essential in our evoltion from Africa because wild game was not always a reliable source of energy. I don't think the fiber conent of the tuber makes a difference, I think the ACTIVELY seeking them out does.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:33 PM

Point is that that I see both the meat/fish heavy (and therefore meat/fisH) heavy diet not really the norm. For Neanderthals, but i don't think for early hominids. don't get me wrong, i eat a lot of meat, but I also eat tubers and think that I would not survive long in the wild if i did not have sort of glucose. Personalyl i feel it makes me more resiliant, not weaker.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:30 PM

The nutrition data I saw shows sugar content per 100 grams varying widley up to about 60grams/100 grams if I remember correctly. It seems to me like these people actively incorporate a plethora of sugar containing foods in their diet (honey, berries, fruit, various tubers). the key I think is the actively and not really the fiber content. during certain times of year they will live off of almost exclusively 1 food group or another, and 4 of the 5 groups are carbohyrate based.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:27 PM

Just agreeing, not contending anything you said.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:26 PM

@Mscott, tubers are hardly nutrient void foods. And when you start comparing non-paleo starches (like bread) to paleo starches (potatoes), the difference is quite minimal (I posted graphs to isocaloric amounts of bread and potatoes a while back, it was not obvious to folks which was which.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:24 PM

@foreveryoung: +1 and more if I could. Paleo as proposed/practiced by many is a sick man's diet for healing. The normalization of dysfunction by many bothers me quite a bit.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:23 PM

Yes, i read that men and women wake up early and are back at camp typically within 6 hours. And, i don't understand the indigestible fiber part because they spit it out (I read taht study you're referring too). This seems like a very similar method of obtaining pure glucose that the people of the Amazonian rainforest use (I forget what the tuber they eat in this method is called though..they just suck out the starch and leave the fiber).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:17 PM

I don't htink the norm should be creating dietary models that best suites sick and metabolically derranged people who live sedentary lives. the norm should be creating dietary models for fit people who live helathy lifestyles.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:16 PM

It is no surprise that the vast majority of people who admonish carbs are those that abused them in the past.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:15 PM

It is no shock that the majority of people who recommend low carb high fat diets are those that abused processed grain carbs and did not know the meaning of self control. Mark Sisson is one example, you are another, Dr. Kruse is another, Gary Taubes is another, Robert lustig is another and the list goes on. How do I know these people abused them? 1 because Sisson admits to it and 2 because all of the other people suffer from poor body composition.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:12 PM

My guess is you got type 2 diabetes not because you ate starch, but becuase you overate processed breakfast cereal. if you disagree, that's fine, but if you have excess bodyfat than you overe ate.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:01 PM

You wanna know what has way less nutrients than lettuce or potatoes? Butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil, olive oil, etc...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:58 PM

Lutefisk, melted butter and boiled potatoes are a match made in heaven. If you hate lutefisk, fresh cod (torsk) is, well, OK.

A0c49f398499246c623e6527e9dd5ca2

(548)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:53 PM

145% for VitC, 828% for VitA, 589% for Folate and 168% for copper. Which serving will you tend to overeat and which will deliver more important nutrients to your body? Consumption of every food will have at least psychological advantages. Of course there are many individuals that are much more active than I described above but some aren't. Active individuals and especally athletes should indeed eat more calorie dense, carb-rich foods but they will undoubtedly use this energy to run, swim, lift or whatever.

A0c49f398499246c623e6527e9dd5ca2

(548)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:44 PM

"You're speaking for yourself, definitely not healthy people with satiety signals in tact." It's not my opinion, it's actually a fact. Let assume that one eats 2 medium baked white potatoes. Not an abnormal serving size, right? These 300g provide about 290calories and 72% of the RDA for VitB6, 56% for VitC and 75% for Copper. Now compare that to romaine lettuce. To get the same amount of calories one would have to eat more than 1,7kg. An abnormal serving size, right? This however would provide you with soooo many nutrients... it's really insane. 1951% for VitK, 170% for VitB6,

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:41 PM

Well, I think some Northern Europeans (among my friends, the more Germanic ones) do generally tolerate grains better than I do (and the Celts - high incidence of coeliac among the Basque and the Irish, who are related), and I wonder if that has something to do with a more specific part of my ancestry. Well, in fact, I'm actually convinced of it. Generalisation is ok, as long as it is confessed as such - there will be exceptions all over the place.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:36 PM

Dr. Mercola? Not a fan.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:34 PM

Yes this is the main reason I am a fan of the Jaminets and PHD. It, unlike all other forms of popular paleo, recognizes the necessity (not optionality) of starch for health.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:33 PM

Irrelevant was harsh and I actually thought it sounded that way when I wrote. The way you phrased it sounds more like what I mean. I agree with what you're saying, but if you're willing to concede that Europeans (I am one) have adapted to be able to better tolerate dairy and alcohol, then why not include grains as well? If we do that, then we are no longer talking about the standard "paleo" framework. For the record though, I don't think any of those (grains, alcohol, or dairy) are the cause of Neolithic disease. Their abuse, probably, but not their use.

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:28 PM

But thanks for the +1, as I said, I didn't frame my response appropriately. I was expecting a -1 !

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I wouldn't say "irrelevant", but perhaps of questionable relevance. If it is entirely irrelevant, why don't all primates, for example, exist on identical proportions of the same foods? The bulk of our development, if you want to talk about it like that, was from before we were fully human, and even among modern human cultures, I think it's fair to accept that certain hereditary factors influence what is easily tolerated in the diet (Europeans with alcohol, for example, or lactose)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:24 PM

-1 because I disagree with almost everything you said. "We can't control our selfs (it's actually ourselves)"? You're speaking for yourself, definitely not healthy people with satiety signals in tact. Also, many people choose to remain active throughout their lives. Not everyone works a desk job, and many people are athletes. In addition, carbs don't only fill glycogen stores. THey make you feel good (reduce cortisol and affect serotonin uptake), provide satiety, provide vitamins and minderals, and provide glucose for our brains and central nervous system.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:23 PM

-1 because I disagree with almost everything you said. "We can't control our selfs (it's actually ourselves)"? You're speaking for yourself and yourself only. Also, many people choose to remain active throughout their lives. Not everyone works a desk job, and many people are athletes. In addition, carbs don't only fill glycogen stores. THey make you feel good (reduce cortisol and affect serotonin uptake), provide satiety, provide vitamins and minderals, and provide glucose for our brains and central nervous system.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:20 PM

But thanks for taking the time to answer, and I do think it's a good poin (+1), however I don't think it affects the argument very much.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:18 PM

I am not saying that meat was never consumed in our evolution, or that tubers are better than meat. I recognize both as important in a balanced diet and I personally consume both. But your point about your ancestors being Northern European is actually irrelevant, considering the widely held (and I think valid) belief that our early (and indeed the bulk) of our development as a species occurred in Africa, not Europe.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:18 PM

I think you're missing the point. I am not saying that meat was never consumed in our evolution, or that tubers are better than meat. I recognize both as important in a balanced diet and I personally consume both. But your point about your ancestors being Northern European is actually irrelevant, considering the widely held (and I think valid) belief that our early (and indeed the bulk) of our development as a species occurred in Africa, not Europe.

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21 Answers

17
Medium avatar

on March 01, 2013
at 06:13 PM

It's probably because "paleo" is generally unhinged from anthropology/evolution and is usually a repackaging of the Atkins diet with shiny pseudoscience/wild speculation wrapping paper. Even so, there's no reason to believe that we wouldn't have utilized all available sources of energy (fruit, honey, marrow/bones/scraps from other predators' kills etc.) before we were able to make a substantial number of kills.

That being said, you ought to keep in mind just how difficult it is to acquire tubers. You mention the Hadza, so let's use them as an example. The tubers are primarily dug by the women who set out early and end up walking miles over the course of the day to areas that haven't been exploited previously. Camps would have to be moved simply because they'd exhaust the supply over time. Anyway, they eat something like 5-10 different types that they have to be able to identify. They then have to take a sharpened stick and dig them out, some of which are quite deep. Now, I dunno much about Tanzanian soil, but I don't imagine that it's particularly easy to dig tubers out with a sharpened stick. Once out, they build a fire and roast them. Now, they have a nice potato meal, right? Actually, the tubers they eat are so fibrous that they have to chew them up, suck out the juices as they do and spit a big fibrous quid out. Incidentally, Marlowe describes their diet in general as having a degree of ingested fiber that is closer to that of a chimpanzee than to a standard westerner's diet.

Anyway, energetically speaking, the acquisition of tubers requires the expenditure of lipids in locating/transporting them and then the expenditure of muscle glycogen in digging them out. It's not like rolling out of bed and nuking a sweet potato at all, especially since they are far less carbohydrate-dense. As such, one might reasonably argue that even if tubers are an essential part of our diet, their consumption historically had various glucose dampening mechanisms built-in since the overall blood glucose AUC was lower and there was always a "glucose sink" in the form of muscle glycogen stores that needed to be repleted.

All told, the surplus is marginal, although obviously worth the trouble.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:23 PM

Yes, i read that men and women wake up early and are back at camp typically within 6 hours. And, i don't understand the indigestible fiber part because they spit it out (I read taht study you're referring too). This seems like a very similar method of obtaining pure glucose that the people of the Amazonian rainforest use (I forget what the tuber they eat in this method is called though..they just suck out the starch and leave the fiber).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:39 PM

and also considering women and children don't eat organ meats (the hunters do), really has me skeptical about all the "necessity" of everyone consuming offal at bare minimum of once a week. Probably more like a bare minimum for active men at once a week.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:41 PM

...maybe women have a higher carb tolerance than men do. Anyways rambling but +1 outstanding answer.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 02, 2013
at 03:44 AM

Great answer but I think I have a different perspective. I am not personally familiar with the habitat where human evolved (e.g., east Africa) but I am familiar with where I live -- North America. In season, I can walk outside and find seemingly unlimited amounts of starch for the picking - cattails, wapoto, and wild rice. It's not the best eating but it's got to have a competitive cost/benefit ratio to hunting.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:36 PM

Point is that i think glucose containing foods were essential in our evoltion from Africa because wild game was not always a reliable source of energy. I don't think the fiber conent of the tuber makes a difference, I think the ACTIVELY seeking them out does.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:47 PM

+1 outstanding answer. but here's my thoughts, I read that study too and if they spit out the fiber, then their carbs aren't actually very high in indigestible fiber anymore are they? Druing certain parts of the year tehy live almost soly off one food group or another, and 4 out of their 5 basic food groups of carbohydrate based. Not saying meat is not important, it is, just the afformetnioned model resonates beter with me than any of the others. I'm not an expert in the subject though, just curious minded.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:07 PM

+1 for shiny. I had a friend who described some terrible amateur musicians he knew in France, who owned brand new instruments: "The French like shiny things."

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:33 PM

Point is that that I see both the meat/fish heavy (and therefore meat/fisH) heavy diet not really the norm. For Neanderthals, but i don't think for early hominids. don't get me wrong, i eat a lot of meat, but I also eat tubers and think that I would not survive long in the wild if i did not have sort of glucose. Personalyl i feel it makes me more resiliant, not weaker.

7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

(4176)

on March 02, 2013
at 02:37 PM

'[paleo is a] repackaging of the Atkins diet with shiny pseudoscience/wild speculation wrapping paper' - so fucking true

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

(4400)

on March 02, 2013
at 01:04 PM

Gotta agree w/UncleLongHair. The way I eat now isn't Akins. E.g. I eat lots of tubers and no mayo! It's not a repackaging at all. The scientific basis of paleo is dodgy, but it seems much stronger than anything else out there. Paleo "leaders" are generally as scientific as they can be given the weak data out there. Everybody has to guess at the margins, but paleo people at least admit they are guessing, and THEY CHANGE THEIR MINDS (e.g. about tubers) when the data shows they are wrong.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 02, 2013
at 03:40 AM

Great answer but I think it's wrong. I am not personally familiar with the habitat where human evolved (e.g., east Africa) but I am familiar with where I live -- North America. In season, I can walk outside and forage 100,000 calories of starch in about a day's work - cattails, wapoto, and wild rice. It's not the best eating but it's got to have a competitive cost/benefit ratio to hunting.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:30 PM

The nutrition data I saw shows sugar content per 100 grams varying widley up to about 60grams/100 grams if I remember correctly. It seems to me like these people actively incorporate a plethora of sugar containing foods in their diet (honey, berries, fruit, various tubers). the key I think is the actively and not really the fiber content. during certain times of year they will live off of almost exclusively 1 food group or another, and 4 of the 5 groups are carbohyrate based.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 02, 2013
at 06:21 AM

The Paleo diet makes so much more sense to me than the "deep fried cheese and bacon" Atkins diet that I can't agree that it is a repackaging. If the Paleo diet were not low carb I think it would be a lot more representative of what our ancestors ate, and brings a lot more awareness of omega 3 vs 6 which I think is otherwise lost. I don't know anyone who has stuck to the Atkins diet for more than a few months but many that have been Paleo for years, there must be some difference.

350bbbf48293b8d86b47839ab33477fa

(30)

on December 24, 2013
at 01:08 PM

Humans have higher number of amylase gene copies then other primates, who eat predominantly fruits. This corresponds to anthropological evidence that exploitation of underground storage organs (USOs) played an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo, these items serving as ‘fallback foods’ during periods of low food availability. However, there is also high variability among number of amylase gene copies among humans. Personally I think, that the low number of amylase gene copies in some humans suggest that these people have adapted to a low starch diet.

11
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:41 PM

To be completely honest I lean towards this theory: we were apes in Africa, there was a change in the environment. Some areas were flooded. Some apes ran out/low on their plant based food sources and possibly on brink of extinction adopted a new food source. That food source was crustaceons, clams, oysters. As we ate more of those our babies started developing bigger brains in the third trimester (this is distinct to mammals since instead of living in eggs we live in the womb during serious development so what the mother eats has cascading effects on our development). Over time we got smarter, we said f'k this shit and started cooking. We cooked plants, tubers , seafood, probably fish and other animals. We were like hell yea and started killing bigger and bigger predatory animals. After we killed all the natural predators we had enough security to plant crops, like grains. Then because grains deteriorated health we ended up adopting dairy. The adaptation to dairy (lactose persistence gene) spread so quickly in Europe that those who didn't have the gene literally didn't procreate (I think lalonde talks about this somewhere). So were tubers a part ? Yes, very likely, but were they the part that were responsible for the rise of humans? Meh, seafood is bar none responsible for our brain size, people who say otherwise are wrong, but starchy tubers would likely be a part of our diet and could be the critical factor second to seafood, since I'd say brain size is responsible for human development, of course considering our brains have shrunk to around below Neanderthal levels while we remain the most technologically advanced in knowable history, maybe I'm wrong and starches drive evolution more than fish/brain size.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:19 PM

We've always had to stick close to the water. The first big leap was when we started to use our hands to crack oysters. The second was the first oyster knife...

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:08 PM

+1 for "we were like hell yeah" and "we asid f'k this shit and started cooking." LOL. You seem to know a lot about this sort of thing and this is top notch answer. Thanks, Bro.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 02, 2013
at 06:05 AM

Totally agree with the idea that incorporating animals (seafood) into our diet coincided with evolutionary breakthroughs.

8
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:59 PM

I think nutrient density plays a huge role in brain development and it makes sense to me that humans would mimic the wild animals around them (watching predator eat prey, digging for grubs, eating wild greens, fruit and honey), before figuring out that they could eat tubers and roots.

http://www.livescience.com/24875-meat-human-brain.html

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:32 PM

Grubs are tastier!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 09:13 PM

it's likely that grubs came first, but the calorie density is probably so low.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:09 PM

hmm. I didn't think of this way. Makes sense to me. I don't what i'm more convinced of. I actually think that yeah all nutrient/calorie denise items were utilized to varying degreees. +1

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:55 PM

Grubs are improved by chocolate.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:44 PM

Grubs are improved by seasoning

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:14 PM

Which came first, the grub or the tuber? Or a combo grub and wild onion sandwich?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 02, 2013
at 05:28 PM

Why would humans mimic other animals? I just find that statement odd, as if humans couldn't identify food sources on their own? Humans wouldn't innately know their food sources, just as animals do?

7
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:01 PM

I am not sure that I would call it a main driving force in our evolution. However, a huge driving force in the paleolithic was something known as hunger. So, folks had a set of knowledge of what was food- probably animals, fruits, vegetables- whatever you could walk through your environment and see as food. Sometimes there wasn't any food- so folks started doing strange stuff, like digging up roots and even desperately trying to smash grains into something that could be eaten.

Tubers are orders of magnitude easier to digest than grains. Sweet potatoes don't even need to be cooked, though regular potatoes do. I am not sure about things like cassava, but in any case, a simple cooking and/or fermentation process brings alot of these things to a level to where we can subsist on them.

Once tuber eating was learned, it would be retained in the tribe as a survival mechanism. These people aren't having lovely little arguments about macronutrient ratios, nor are their appetites driven by modern taste standards. Rather they put forth one hell of a lot of effort to kill animals, eat liver, brains, and other parts because they had to. They couldn't go have a bag of potato chips and then chase it down with a multivitamin.

It is an evolutionary floor, rather than a driver, for there is a huge difference between subsistence and vitality.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 07:04 PM

Good answer. but about the offal, children and women do not eat offal. Only the hutners do.

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:51 PM

Wouldn't the pregnant women eat the offal?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:27 PM

It was peculiar to me that the neolithic baskets made on central Turkey were nearly identical to pre-contact Salish baskets. That a skill could travel so far from its pre-literacy origin and survive for so long is amazing.

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:53 PM

Note on cassava: it has to be properly cooked or else you are dosing yourself with cyanide.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 10:10 PM

And baskets were part of hunt-and-gather survival, presaging pottery for collecting, storing and cooking. Half women in a tribe could be occupied with making them. Early descriptions of surviving basket makers show a reflexive need to be weaving all the time.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:44 PM

Yes, I don't know why foreveryoung says only the hunters eat offal. I would assume some hunters would bring the stuff home. But there is likely some anthropologist out there claiming hunters were offal selfish.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:34 PM

And baskets were part of hunt-and-gather survival, presaging pottery for collecting, storing and cooking. Half the some in a tribe could be occupied with making them. Early descriptions of surviving basket makers show a reflexive need to be weaving all the time.

6
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on March 02, 2013
at 06:12 AM

If you have ever eaten wild tubers I think you would think differently about trying to subsist on them. Wild tubers aren't big, plump, orange sweet potatoes, they are bitter, thin, fibrous, stringy messes that take a lot of work to find and dig up, and need to be cooked or grated or otherwise prepared. I think I would rather chase a squirrel a mile than try to dig wild tubers out of a swamp.

I will posit that trying to subsist on starchy root vegetables (which is entirely doable, as evidenced by the Irish potato famine, which was caused by an entire culture being largely dependent on cultivated potatoes) is possible but only if the veggies are cultivated. Which probably involves far more planning and technology than we normally associate to our distant nearly-chimp ancestors.

5
Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:12 PM

EDIT: Apologies, I didn't frame my answer very well, but I'll leave it anyway...

My ancestors are mainly Northern European (Irish, Norwegian), with some Native American coastliners and some latin in them. I reckon me and fish are meant to go together.

Also, regardless of what those two peoples you mention ended up eating, there's evidence that hunter gatherer people ate and will eat both seafood and tubers when available. Why go for one over the other as a rule? Listen to your own body and see what you need, and recognise that both are healthy choices. Variation is allowed.

http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2011/05/12/weston-price-looked-for-vegans-but-found-only-cannibals/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:20 PM

But thanks for taking the time to answer, and I do think it's a good poin (+1), however I don't think it affects the argument very much.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:18 PM

I am not saying that meat was never consumed in our evolution, or that tubers are better than meat. I recognize both as important in a balanced diet and I personally consume both. But your point about your ancestors being Northern European is actually irrelevant, considering the widely held (and I think valid) belief that our early (and indeed the bulk) of our development as a species occurred in Africa, not Europe.

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:41 PM

Well, I think some Northern Europeans (among my friends, the more Germanic ones) do generally tolerate grains better than I do (and the Celts - high incidence of coeliac among the Basque and the Irish, who are related), and I wonder if that has something to do with a more specific part of my ancestry. Well, in fact, I'm actually convinced of it. Generalisation is ok, as long as it is confessed as such - there will be exceptions all over the place.

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:28 PM

But thanks for the +1, as I said, I didn't frame my response appropriately. I was expecting a -1 !

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:58 PM

Lutefisk, melted butter and boiled potatoes are a match made in heaven. If you hate lutefisk, fresh cod (torsk) is, well, OK.

Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on March 01, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I wouldn't say "irrelevant", but perhaps of questionable relevance. If it is entirely irrelevant, why don't all primates, for example, exist on identical proportions of the same foods? The bulk of our development, if you want to talk about it like that, was from before we were fully human, and even among modern human cultures, I think it's fair to accept that certain hereditary factors influence what is easily tolerated in the diet (Europeans with alcohol, for example, or lactose)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:33 PM

Irrelevant was harsh and I actually thought it sounded that way when I wrote. The way you phrased it sounds more like what I mean. I agree with what you're saying, but if you're willing to concede that Europeans (I am one) have adapted to be able to better tolerate dairy and alcohol, then why not include grains as well? If we do that, then we are no longer talking about the standard "paleo" framework. For the record though, I don't think any of those (grains, alcohol, or dairy) are the cause of Neolithic disease. Their abuse, probably, but not their use.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:18 PM

I think you're missing the point. I am not saying that meat was never consumed in our evolution, or that tubers are better than meat. I recognize both as important in a balanced diet and I personally consume both. But your point about your ancestors being Northern European is actually irrelevant, considering the widely held (and I think valid) belief that our early (and indeed the bulk) of our development as a species occurred in Africa, not Europe.

4
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on March 02, 2013
at 04:23 AM

Btw. It's funny how you ask why a certain theory of evolution isn't being accepted and half the replies are basically "because I don't want to eat that way". So there you have it. It's because that particular theory threatens or at least casts into doubt the wisdom of eating unlimited meat and copious amounts of added fats.

5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

(907)

on March 09, 2013
at 07:15 AM

Wow. I'm surprised I got 3 upvotes. I was expecting it the other way around.

4
C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

on March 01, 2013
at 05:30 PM

Paul Jaminet believes you should eat tubers, sweet potato and white rice on a paleo diet. While meat will convert to give the brain the glucose it needs, eating these gives the brain glucose. Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDoPwIp71_I

He explains the necessity of tubers, etc.

and here:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/

The book he wrote goes into it further, too.

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 04, 2013
at 06:40 AM

It's a video of Paul Jaminet. It was done on Dr. Mercola's show but the interview is of Paul and his and his wife's research. Very interesting stuff.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:34 PM

Yes this is the main reason I am a fan of the Jaminets and PHD. It, unlike all other forms of popular paleo, recognizes the necessity (not optionality) of starch for health.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:36 PM

Dr. Mercola? Not a fan.

3
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on March 07, 2013
at 04:12 PM

I'm gonna add a second answer that says why the idea that tubers drove evolution is probably also partially right:

The researchers link the advent of tuber cooking to changes in body size and tooth size that separated Homo erectus from earlier hominids such as australopithecines... They said that tuber cooking could also have brought about basic changes in hominid social structure... Lucy had huge teeth suitable for chewing all day long, and males were much bigger than females. But 1.9 million years ago, things changed. Teeth got smaller, and both sexes increased in size. Females increased in size more than males, and so the size gap between the sexes shrank. Homo erectus had arrived, and cooking of tubers made the difference... fire wouldn't have worked as a 'spark' to evolution if roots hadn't already been in the diet.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990810064914.htm

So if we're talking about brain size, tubers probably weren't responsible for our comparatively large brain to body ratios. But if we're talking body size, tooth structure or mating practices, yes tubers were probably downright essential and were very likely a major major driving point in our evolution.

EDIT:

I'm going to go super off topic just to add one more point. Native Hawaiian royalty were VERY big and tall. King Kamehameha was at least 7' and his wife was 6'6"+? Their diet consisted heavily of something called poi, which is mashed up taro root (kind of like a potato when mashed up). Just like the Science Daily article said how the cooking of tubers was probably responsible for the increased stature of apes I wouldn't be surprised if generations of eating these tubers accounted at least in major part for the increased stature of the native Hawaiian royalty. Like I said this is kind of off topic but I think it helps to emphasize the difference between carbs from grains and carbs from tubers in evolution.

3
68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on March 02, 2013
at 10:07 AM

It was the consumption of energy-rich foods that fueled the evolution of the large human brain, by allowing the gut to shrink. This is the basal metabolic rate theory and is pretty common knowledge.

What exactly were those energy-rich foods? I'm not really convinced that it was starches or omega 3 fish that drove our evolution. It was something else - meat, and scavenging! There used to be a lot of mega fauna. Before humans started hunting in earnest, they were probably scavengers. And what is often left over from a mega-fauna kill?? Big, marrow filled bones, fatty and calorific. Probably we did a little hunting for easy to kill things

Once we started scavenging energy-dense animal foods, the gut could get shorter, and the brain could get larger (This is the basal metabolic rate theory). As we got smarted, we probably did more hunting. Eventually we started cook our meat, allowing the gut to get even smaller, and the brain larger. Maybe by then we were able to start cooking starchy tubers too, as well as meat.

3
39311794c054f89a226f33e1afd08721

on March 01, 2013
at 08:42 PM

The paleo connection for me is just the beginning of asking questions. It doesn't have to lead me to eat just like Grok, but there are so many questions to be asked about the mainstream diet that it's good to have Grok's diet as a baseline to know what questions to ask. My goal is to find reasoned arguments about what's the best nutrition-wise, not so much to fangirl over Grok.

I like that the label is a little off from what I'm looking for, though, as long as enough others are okay with that, too, that they are willing to be forthcoming with information even if it is contrary to Grok's preferences. The last time I tried too hard to be about an identity, I made too many compromises.

3
A0c49f398499246c623e6527e9dd5ca2

(548)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:20 PM

Because carb-rich-foods aren't appropriate for most peoples lifestyle.

It's a very wise idea to look at our ancestors on how they lived and you might want to orient yourself a bit towards their attitude. But you mustn't forget that we don't run through the wilderness like crazy and sleep in a cave.

Nowadays we have adapted a lifestyle that's much more comfortable for us and brings many advantages but most people forget to change their diet in response to their much more sedentary lifestyle.

To get 100grams of nuts which contain about 600kcals grook had to find a nut tree, collect the nuts before predators or other nut-eating animals come and than open nut for nut back in his cave. We, however, sit at a desk in front of a computer for like 5mins, get our salary of 1$, move with the elevator down to the parking lot, where we get in our car and drive to the supermarket. There we grab a bag of almonds, pay for them, rip the bag open and shovel the nuts into our mouth.

To come back to carb-rich-food, we can hardly control our selfs regarding the amount we consume. It will give us tons of energy, that we really don't need. They are also pretty poor in nutrients.

That means we can not simply look back to the eating habits of our ancestors and adapt them. We either have to change every aspect of our lifestyle or make the more intelligent move and listen to the science and your body to come to know the best foods for yourself, in your own lifestyle.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:24 PM

-1 because I disagree with almost everything you said. "We can't control our selfs (it's actually ourselves)"? You're speaking for yourself, definitely not healthy people with satiety signals in tact. Also, many people choose to remain active throughout their lives. Not everyone works a desk job, and many people are athletes. In addition, carbs don't only fill glycogen stores. THey make you feel good (reduce cortisol and affect serotonin uptake), provide satiety, provide vitamins and minderals, and provide glucose for our brains and central nervous system.

A0c49f398499246c623e6527e9dd5ca2

(548)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:44 PM

"You're speaking for yourself, definitely not healthy people with satiety signals in tact." It's not my opinion, it's actually a fact. Let assume that one eats 2 medium baked white potatoes. Not an abnormal serving size, right? These 300g provide about 290calories and 72% of the RDA for VitB6, 56% for VitC and 75% for Copper. Now compare that to romaine lettuce. To get the same amount of calories one would have to eat more than 1,7kg. An abnormal serving size, right? This however would provide you with soooo many nutrients... it's really insane. 1951% for VitK, 170% for VitB6,

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:26 PM

@Mscott, tubers are hardly nutrient void foods. And when you start comparing non-paleo starches (like bread) to paleo starches (potatoes), the difference is quite minimal (I posted graphs to isocaloric amounts of bread and potatoes a while back, it was not obvious to folks which was which.)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:47 PM

Bears travel 150 miles to get to a good hazelnut patch. Why not Grok? At the very least it'd be a good place to hunt fat bears.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:27 PM

Just agreeing, not contending anything you said.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:01 PM

You wanna know what has way less nutrients than lettuce or potatoes? Butter, tallow, lard, coconut oil, olive oil, etc...

A0c49f398499246c623e6527e9dd5ca2

(548)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:53 PM

145% for VitC, 828% for VitA, 589% for Folate and 168% for copper. Which serving will you tend to overeat and which will deliver more important nutrients to your body? Consumption of every food will have at least psychological advantages. Of course there are many individuals that are much more active than I described above but some aren't. Active individuals and especally athletes should indeed eat more calorie dense, carb-rich foods but they will undoubtedly use this energy to run, swim, lift or whatever.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:23 PM

-1 because I disagree with almost everything you said. "We can't control our selfs (it's actually ourselves)"? You're speaking for yourself and yourself only. Also, many people choose to remain active throughout their lives. Not everyone works a desk job, and many people are athletes. In addition, carbs don't only fill glycogen stores. THey make you feel good (reduce cortisol and affect serotonin uptake), provide satiety, provide vitamins and minderals, and provide glucose for our brains and central nervous system.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on March 02, 2013
at 12:58 PM

"I am of the opinion that root vegetables and tubers (underground storage organs) were one of the main driving forces in our evolution." This has been discussed in paleo circles, e.g. Chris Masterjohn's AHS 2012 talk. Tubers clearly were really important, and we are evolved to eat them. Also important was meat/fish (and wild meat has omega-3, by the way), which ALL hunter-gatherers that we've known have eaten, and sophisticated anthropological evidence indicates our ancestors have consistently eaten in quantity as long as they've been human. They both have been extremely important. We've seen from current healthy hunter-gatherers that a little meat and a lot of tubers works, as does the reverse -- humans are flexible that way. And, to be more mundane, BOTH are Paleo.

2
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on March 01, 2013
at 06:38 PM

So, tubers or not tubers, that is your question?

I have always thought tubers were an important part of Paleo,. I can see your point, but in Northern climes, tubers would have been more seasonal. Most cultures perserve meat over the winter months (Pemmican, jerky) and it's still possible to hunt meat over the winter, when tubers would be hard to gather. At least until they developed more storage systems.

That's my take on it, and I admit fully, right here, that I am basing this on what I have read, and there might well be better information.

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on March 02, 2013
at 02:20 PM

I have nothing of particular value to add to the discussion of tubers, but if you're going to cite Adam Smith as some kind of nutritional authority on potatoes you ought to at least cite the entertaining part of his argument!

1
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on March 02, 2013
at 04:03 AM

Doesn't evidence of fishing only date back 40,000 years or so? Tubers or at least other forms of starchy carbs would date back before then. Carbs seem to have played a factor in wolves evolving into dogs so it's plausible a similar shift occurred in humans as well.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on March 07, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Just to play devil's advocate here, finding and interpreting tool-based evidence of any particular human activity prior to 40,000 years ago is tricky. Materials would've been highly biodegradable. Also, I have a relative who can spear rainbow trout right out of a stream with a sharp pointy stick, and I've seen others who can just harvest them manually. (Also, certain individual dogs became the ancestors of modern dogs because they possessed a low flight radius from humans, which allowed them to feel relatively comfortable scavenging our trash heaps and food leftovers.)

0
161750c67d1c0a39309fa8fa06ce1d35

on December 28, 2013
at 12:05 AM

You have to keep one very important thing in mind. Even though this diet is called Paleo, in reality it has little to do with the Paleolithic era, or much of evolution. It is essentially a crowd-sourced way to eat healthy. Virtually everyone has a differing opinion on what is acceptable and what is not and while many times those opinions do intersect for good reasons, that is often equated to 'how our ancestors must have eaten.'

Removing large amounts of pre-processed foods is a no-brainer. Removing refined sugars (and sugars in general) is another no-brainer. Removing barely digestible legumes is also easy to understand (no matter how tasty they are or how you can "fix" them). Removing starchy vegetables is not quite as clear cut since starch serves the body very well in certain ways at certain times, acts as a great filler ingredient for small meals, are long-term food stores in times of low meat availability to warm and fuel the body, etc...

In the reality of here and now, while we all love our mashed or baked potatos and french fries, the body doesn't need that extra energy and a lot of us these days don't expend sufficient amounts of energy to rid the body of the amount of energy that starches produce in the body, so it's turned to fat and/or consumed in the body more quickly than other, more healthy sources of energy such as proteins. The whole ketosis argument is a point of great contention throughout the entire medical community as it is a form of selective starvation (and as a side note has been proven to be very dangerous in some circumstances).

Balance is important, not starving your body of one thing or another. Small amounts of starches aren't going to kill you or balloon your waistline, just don't go nuts. I would absolutely guarantee that our ancestors ate tubers, though probably not in great amounts since meat would have been of greater appeal. And they would have ate them for much different reasons. Thar be my 2c.

0
Medium avatar

on December 26, 2013
at 09:56 PM

As for roots and tubers, I have no idea. As for grains and your statement "(It also doesn't even make sense to me that grains were not consumed in the paleolithic period..." grains were really not consumed in the quantities we consume them in today.

Before agriculture, you would not have had enough wheat in one spot to make bread with. On top of that, the wheat we eat today has a mutation that causes it to not scatter its seed when ripe. Wild wheat scatters its seed when ripe (to disperse and propagate the species). So if cavemen ate wheat (they probably did), they were probably picking up individual grains off the ground around a wheat patch, and really only getting what they could gather before the birds ate it. Jared Diamond speaks about this and the agricultural revolution in "Guns, Germs and Steel". Corn is another example of a grain that has been selectively bred until it does not really resemble the original corn that paleo man may or may not have eaten. The original ear of corn was probably smaller than what we call "baby corn" or "Chinese corn" today, in fact it was probably like half that size.

So if somebody wants to eat, say a dozen whole grains of wheat once in a while, I'll still call them "paleo".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 26, 2013
at 11:41 PM

In order to get much nutritional benefit from those dozen grains of wheat you'd need to cook them. Cooking grain is not simple, and probably developed from earlier practices of roasting larger starchy things like roots and nuts. Out of desperation to survive.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 27, 2013
at 01:36 PM

The thing with tubers is they're only available when the weather permits. If you're in northern climates, the ground freezes over during the coldest parts of winter, and you wouldn't be able to even dig them out. The only thing you could do at that point is to hunt.

During the ice ages, this lasted for very long extended periods. Were we not adapted to eat meat, we would have gone extinct, or would have only survived in the tropics.

0
350bbbf48293b8d86b47839ab33477fa

on December 24, 2013
at 01:06 PM

Humans have higher number of amylase gene copies then other primates, who eat predominantly fruits. This correspond to anthropological evidence that exploitation of underground storage organs (USOs) played an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo, these items serving as ‘fallback foods’ during periods of low food availability. There is also high variability among number of amylase gene copies among humans. Personally I think, that the low number of amylase gene copies in some humans suggest that these people have adapted to a low starch diet.

350bbbf48293b8d86b47839ab33477fa

(30)

on December 27, 2013
at 05:55 PM

@raydawig. There is not any flow in my comment. You should read carefully. I wrote: "....the low number of amylase gene copies in some humans suggest that these people have adapted to a low starch diet." It means that those who adapted most probably lived in colder environment.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 27, 2013
at 01:40 PM

Here's the flaw in that argument: How does a stoneage hominid dig through frozen ground during an ice age, or the coldest parts of winter? A: They can't. Sure, we evolved from apes that ate lots of fruit, but without the adaptation to hunt and, cook, we would have gone extinct, or at least would have only survived in the tropics.

0
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2030)

on March 09, 2013
at 03:32 AM

I think it's because their isn't much evidence of fire use beyond the Middle Pleistocene, and habitual fire use shows up only at the final stages of the the Lower Paleolithic(400-300k yr ago). Fire would have been essential to eat a lot of underground storage organs. I suppose you could make the argument that we were making fires randomly and not long enough in one spot, but where are the burnt animal bones?

I see eating USO's as a purely Homo Sapien activity, which does make it a very good source of calories for us but I don't think it had much to do with the growth in brain size, smaller teeth, smaller guts etc. I'm open minded about it though as it does seem almost impossible to figure out what we ate in our distant past.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/106631/was_the_emergence_of_home_bases_and_domestic_fire_a/ (Sorry this is quite long)

-1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 05:54 PM

Because starches aren't conducive to ketosis is one major reason. But more broadly, because starches are a major component in cheap processed foods. I ate breakfast cereals ad libitum for the good fiber and vitamins. My reward was type 2 diabetes.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:17 PM

I don't htink the norm should be creating dietary models that best suites sick and metabolically derranged people who live sedentary lives. the norm should be creating dietary models for fit people who live helathy lifestyles.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:56 PM

@foreveryoung Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but extremes inform the mean, for better or for worse.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 01, 2013
at 08:04 PM

It wasn't just the breakfast cereal. There was a lot of white rice consumption too. The only thing I tried to avoid was fried carbs. I overate them because they were tasty, cheap, and I THOUGHT that they were good for me with all the fiber and vitamins.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:12 PM

My guess is you got type 2 diabetes not because you ate starch, but becuase you overate processed breakfast cereal. if you disagree, that's fine, but if you have excess bodyfat than you overe ate.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:15 PM

It is no shock that the majority of people who recommend low carb high fat diets are those that abused processed grain carbs and did not know the meaning of self control. Mark Sisson is one example, you are another, Dr. Kruse is another, Gary Taubes is another, Robert lustig is another and the list goes on. How do I know these people abused them? 1 because Sisson admits to it and 2 because all of the other people suffer from poor body composition.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:24 PM

@foreveryoung: +1 and more if I could. Paleo as proposed/practiced by many is a sick man's diet for healing. The normalization of dysfunction by many bothers me quite a bit.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 01, 2013
at 06:16 PM

It is no surprise that the vast majority of people who admonish carbs are those that abused them in the past.

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