The question is the title, im wondering if our genes and digestive system and stuff is really that similar to the ones of our bodies nowadays.
Because my experience is, that the strongest argument of the Paleo diet is practically the one, that our bodies havent changed in those 2.5 million years in which humankind has been habitating planet earth, and so our digestive system, and this is why stuff like grains arent good for us, because our ancestors many years ago ( more than 10.000 years ago, before the domestication) didnt consume it.
But- obviously- if you just look at the outward appearance: modern-day people dont really look like those Neanderthal men, or any kind of those. They are way more hairy, have way sharper teeth and a way stronger natural dentition and are looking just way different.
So maybe our digestive system isnt even the same like the one of those people back then...
What do you think?
( I hope you get the hint and the aim of my question..)
asked byJonas_2 (5)
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on September 04, 2013
at 04:55 PM
Simple answer is: Our digestive system closely resembles that of pre-agrarian homo sapiens. Some people have some adaptations to post-agrarian diets, but they're incomplete.
Also, we're not to be compared with Neanderthals. While they are close relatives, we are not their decedents. At best, there may have been some cross breeding between homo sapiens and neanderthal populations.
Not everyone pursuing a Paleo diet and lifestyle believe we should attempt to mirror the diets of pre-agrarian humans. Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are certainly not Paleo in that sense, and neither is chocolate or olive oil. However, we can attain a similar balance of macronutrients to fuel our bodies to the best of our abilities while looking to modern science to tell us what is really best. We can also consume things like butter, tallow, and coconut oil, which are more nutrient dense than what the ancestors had available. We can engorge on superfoods like kale, blueberries, and chocolate.
It's still unclear what is actually good for you long term, but the short term studies are overwhelming.
Just don't let yourself believe that our modern day super-grains are in any way good for your body, paleo or not. They're good for the economy, not for your health.
on September 01, 2013
at 08:26 PM
Who cares what the cavemen ate. The whole point here is: what is the ideal diet for a human being ? What should it include and what should we avoid, in order to maintain or achieve the best possible health and energy levels throughout our lives ?
It turns out that scientific studies confirm that what our hunter/gatherer ancestors generally ate corresponds to the healthiest choices we can make. Great. Makes sense from a genetic point of view. Have there been mutations in our genes which imply that we should modify some aspects of our diet ? Perfect, let's make those changes.
If scientific evidence clearly demonstrated that eating meat or eggs (yes, we can take a subtle hint) was harmful and sub-optimal for a healthy life, I would be the first to give it up and binge on seitan. But all available evidence seems to show that a plant-based diet is not healthier. Now, if one considers that saving animals is more important than one's own health, I can understand that, but it should be stated clearly.
on September 01, 2013
at 11:14 PM
The complete Palaeolithic Era covered a very long time range from an organic perspective: From 2.5 million years ago (first stone tools) to approximately 10 thousand years ago (prior to Neolithic agriculture).
Anatomically modern humans arrived 200 thousand years ago. There was either a sharp or protracted population bottleneck for humans after 200 thousand years ago but prior to 50 thousand years ago. Thus we all share similar genes and we haven't diverged excessively in the short time since.
Hence a health assessment of Paleo practices should be geared on human life between 50 - 10 thousand years ago.
Neanderthals were a different homid species which, if the admixture theory holds, we share about 1 - 4% DNA with, varying by geography (another 4 - 6% for Denisovan homids).
The evolution of our gut biota is still an emerging scientific discipline and much more flexible than our cellular chromosomes, so the degree of difference in our gut biota over 10 thousand years ago is unknown.
Note: Regarding specific health initiatives - they should not be derived solely from Palaeolithic extrapolation; but rather the newest scientific evidence-based clinical trials. Our evolutionary heritage is a great source of inspiration, but it was many thousands of years ago.
on September 01, 2013
at 09:03 PM
Truth be told, the longest living groups in the world eat a lot of vegetables, in fact, it is the sole recurring theme. One can start by looking at the five Blue Zone groups, then proceed to other long lived groups in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Indeed the correlation between longevity and meat consumption is weak at best.
But beyond that, we have changed. The switch from hunter-gatherer to agriculture, 5-10,000 years ago, depending on where your genes come from, was a dramatic period in the history of mankind, with population collapse and widespread disease. In short, it was a clear moment of non-Darwinian (rapid) evolution. Only those with some resistance to grains survived. To these days, whenever Western diet penetrates a previously pristine group, such as the Tokelauans, American Indians, and Inuit, the collapse in health is immediate.
Me, or any other forum member whose ancestors have farmed for a long time, have much greater resistance to grains than them. My genes are from mid-central Europe, and probably not as good as genes from the Middle East regarding grains, for agriculture arrived there much later than the Middle East, where it was born. To me it is obvious that there are people out there with high tolerance to grains. My mother for example, but not my father. Lots of variability, and one has to find his own optimum on his own.
on September 01, 2013
at 10:33 PM
Neanderthals are a completely different species from sapians. Comparing us to Neanderthals is like comparing is to chimps.
on September 07, 2013
at 04:46 PM
Very new to Paleo, so new we (husband & I) haven't even started yet. But I'm not new to thinking and using tools at my disposal. This is my first post please read it with a certain air of timidity. ;-)
When first learning about Paleo I had a rudimentary understanding of human evolution. I did not take the words "Paleo Diet" literally. I understood it to mean that I was going to be using the technology & expanded pantry of the 21st century to consume a Paleo-esque diet.
In application, what that means to me: what the nomadic humans <200k years ago ate is important. However, considering I have access to the information of what those humans ate as they traversed over & populated the planet before the advent of agriculture I would be able to apply that to the PD. What humans mainly consumed in one region would be different in another. They adapted to what was available in that particular region as they spread across the current nations over the course of those 200k years. they adapted where we have access to those foods. We can grow in our own yards the plants that they had to travel to discover. We can raise the animals on a farm that once only populated a specific region in another country. For instance, cows are from Europe & chickens came from Asia (EXTREMELY simplified, I realize that it's more "complicated" than that). :-)
The Neanderthals are not us. They are a part of our "family tree" but we are Homo sapiens, they were Homo neanderthalensis. They are extinct. We are not. We are looking at the diet of Homo sapiens, the species that has roamed this green & blue marble for the last 200,000 years.
on September 02, 2013
at 09:33 PM
Paleoithic humans did eat grains and god knows what else. I'm pretty confident they weren't eating bacon and eggs cooked in coconut oil. But it's not entirely relevant anyway, they were different and lived extremely different lives. Besides, both humans and animals in the wild eat for reproduction not longevity. Heart disease or dementia in the 80's was the least of their worries.