2

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What's wrong with this statement?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 13, 2012 at 5:20 PM

This is on the third page of this paper:

"The ready availability of dietary fats are so recent that natural selection has not yet had a chance to deal with them."

My physiology professor sent us this article to read and it definitely made me stop to think. Are they right? Or do you think they're talking about bad fats such as vegetable oil? It sounds like it's talking about all types of fat to me, though....
I think they listed this as a cause of a type of flaw the human body has. Should the authors change "dietary fats" to "refined/processed grains/sugar?" (Obviously the answer is yes, but why do you think they called out fats on this?)

*Edit: Just another thought: is it because the meat that our ancestors were eating were more lean than the meat we eat today? And of course they weren't cooking in butter or coconut oil.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 13, 2012
at 06:32 PM

I encourage you to peruse the links in my answer in response to your edit.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:42 PM

I know what they meant, from reading the paper. In fairness, at least in 1998, parroting CW could also be called accepting the scientific consensus.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:41 PM

To clarify...they hypothesise that modern diseases are caused by new circumstances that we have not evolved to cope with. They *take as an assumption* that dietary fat causes obesity. They conclude that dietary fat is a new factor we have not evolved to cope with. With better information they could have fitted in sugars as their assumption just as easily, or simply excess food, or a sedentary lifestyle for that matter.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:38 PM

That was a great read. Thanks.

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4 Answers

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on January 13, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Well, in terms of dietary saturated fats, they are completely wrong. The sentence might have made sense if they were talking about corn or soybean oil. From a semantic perspective, Nesse and Williams are not transmitting information; they are transmitting emotion. They rely heavily on passive voice and use plenty of emotional words.

2
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:34 PM

It's post-hoc rationalisation. Later on in the paper they identify fat, sugar and salt as scarce for HG, explaining our highly developed appetite for sweet and fatty foods. Because everyone knows that it's the fat content in fast food that causes obesity (at least they did in 1998), they lay the blame there. They've not done any research themselves on this, and it's not a study of what hunter-gatherers actually ate or what was truly available. Their hypothesis is that the change in food availablity has been too rapid for evolution to keep up with, which has resulted in many diseases escalating. Which is fair enough. But they are blind to other factors because they assume dietary fat is the culprit, which leads them to make ridiculous statements suggesting that we're unable to deal with dietary fat.

There's an argument that we're unable to deal with "readily available" anything. There's also an argument that the ready availability of dietary fat in combination with readily available carbohydrates is the biggest problem with the SAD. Either way, it's simply a flawed paper, as so many others have been, because pretty much any researcher has to rely on some elements of conventional wisdom to illustrate their point. And in this case it leads to a host of incorrect conclusions, even though they had the right idea. That's why it's so tragic.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:41 PM

To clarify...they hypothesise that modern diseases are caused by new circumstances that we have not evolved to cope with. They *take as an assumption* that dietary fat causes obesity. They conclude that dietary fat is a new factor we have not evolved to cope with. With better information they could have fitted in sugars as their assumption just as easily, or simply excess food, or a sedentary lifestyle for that matter.

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:32 PM

Well, there are no cites or references, so who knows what they meant. They may just be parroting CW (fat is bad for you). Or they have gone the Cordain route, thinking that all wild game is lean and not fatty. See Kurt Harris' "Jousting with the Atlantic" for why that is just silly:

http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/4/9/jousting-with-the-atlantic.html

Also, in the same vein, Melissa McEwen's "Faileo Diet" post:

http://huntgatherlove.com/content/are-you-faileo-diet

Maybe they mean the current consumption of veg oils, but I doubt it. If that's what they meant, they probably would have said it.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:42 PM

I know what they meant, from reading the paper. In fairness, at least in 1998, parroting CW could also be called accepting the scientific consensus.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 13, 2012
at 05:38 PM

That was a great read. Thanks.

1
Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 13, 2012
at 06:44 PM

Jaminet in Perfect Health Diet points out that modern predators, modern hunter-gatherers, and paleolithic man targeted the fat heavy organs first (marrow and brain) before proceeding onto muscle tissue.

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