2

votes

Fruit was used in evolution to fatten us up for winter?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 21, 2010 at 11:37 PM

I read somewhere and would love to give credit, but I'm not sure where I read it. The tropical is personal addition however. I won't recreate this theory as eloquently but the general premise is:

in the spring/summer meat was plentiful, we hunted and ate meat, to stay fit enough and athleticly light enough to hunt effectively, we burned the fat as fuel to have the energy to keep hunting and because we had more calories available soon, fat caveman doesn't hunt well

late summer/fall fruit bloomed we ate it and stored it as fat(as we know fructose does)and that gave us both warmth and fuel to survive the winters animals were scarce but coupled with scrounged veggies, fermented whatever, stored meat etc we made it thru winter. As spring hit we were lean from burning the weight over the winter and ready to hunt once more

the more tropical climates were winter was less a concern have fatty fruits like coconut and avacado..?? Coincidence or were they our way of staying trim year round with energetic sat. Fats?

Opinions? (please note original source of this theory if you can)

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 18, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Well, let's all defer to the arm-chair hunter-gatherer experts, then.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 09:21 PM

They certainly do it. Primates are smart. Macaques have cheek pouches in which they can store food as they forage, and transport it away to eat later. They are probably smart enough to put it away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_(chimpanzee) proved how smart they can be.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 18, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Melissa, is there any evidence to suggest that other primates store food? I would think that unless availability due to climate was an issue that this wouldn't be common.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 18, 2011
at 07:12 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_tree_propagation

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 18, 2011
at 07:09 PM

Take your favorite apple. Plant 12 of it's seeds and wait 5 years for apples. Now sample an apple from each tree. They will all be different. Do the same with a wild apple and the result will be the same. People/companies grow entire orchards hoping for that one rare tasty apple so that they can sell cuttings.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Addictive, ha Kamal ? Your low-reward thing started to show on other fronts.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Addictive, ha ? Your low-reward thing started to show on other fronts.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:35 PM

We say "Thanks man" all the time. Thanks woman is pretty cool too. lol.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Thanks woman. .

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:47 PM

"abuse its addictive property" Is fruit really inherently addictive? You can't persuade a lot of people now to eat any fruit.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Another thing that surprises people about paleolithic people is that they wasted meat. In the best parts of the upper middle paleolithic, there were so many animals around that they'd drive a bunch off a cliff and eat a few, leaving the rest to the hyenas. They didn't bother saving any, they didn't have to.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 05:37 PM

If you have 50 people in your tribe, at least a quarter of them very-active muscular men, you can definitely go through a single caribou in a day or more.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I'm basing my above comment on the fact that we like big game, which is harder to find and takes longer to eat. If we were truly killing and eating meat daily we would've concentrated on squirrel- and rabbit-sized critters.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Okay, I buy what you're saying in general but I still think HGs could move into an area and take several days to hunt and cook/dry some meat rather than having to kill every day.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Sorry, Melissa, I admire you greatly overall but I think HG folks definitely salted and dried meat and fat--I'm thinking sun-dried jerky and pemmican. In temperate climes, they probably moved around less in winter using deer yards, etc., as food banks.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I disagree with many comments on this question! I can't remember the link, but I read a thoughtful article that indicated our "home" in Africa offered sweet fruits nearly yearlong. I'm not saying we should be fruitarians, but using bears as an example they may eat lots of fruit in the fall but they also gorge on salmon. Anyhow, we have tons of fruit available in summer and fall fruits (of which I don't eat that many) are very starchy in nature--apples, pears, etc. Personally, I love peaches, plums, pineapples, melons, etc. and they are not fall fruits.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Interesting about sedentism. Thanks woman.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:32 PM

"That said NAFLD is often caused by excessive fruit consumption" based on what???

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Sedentism also coincided with more disease (because people lived in larger and more concentrated societies).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:24 PM

The anthropological definition for hunter-gatherer = people who gathered and hunted food and ate it immediately. Once people were storing food, they may still have been foragers, but not true hunter-gatherers. There is no evidence that paleolithic people stored food until the upper paleolithic, when populations were moving towards agriculture and cultivating things like rice. This intermediate stage is known as "sedentism." Most people in this stage were quite a bit less healthy than the true HGs because they were relying on less nutritious foods like sago starch.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:14 PM

That said NAFLD is often caused by excessive fruit consumption. But its most probably about fruit juices.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:11 PM

I think fruits evolved to hijack sweet sensors of specific animals and abuse its addictive property for its own benefit - reproduction.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:10 PM

That doesn't mean anything in combination with other food. When those deficiencies are resolved by inclusion of other food, fruit might very well fatten you up.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:06 PM

The anthropological definition of hunter-gatherer precludes storing food. As for temperate climates, there is enough evidence that humans who are descendants of ice age HGs in Europe are genetically distinct, that the temperate-climate thinking is quite valid.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 01, 2010
at 02:04 PM

Just a note: im currently reading a book called "Cold" by Bill Streever. Fun and lighter read, and not at all directly concerned with paleo or anything, but it does have lots of tidbits about the earth's changing landscape that coincided with different times in our own evolution, different animals' hibernating/cold-coping mechanisms, etc etc. Just a fun read and im sure a lot of you would enjoy it: http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Adventures-Worlds-Frozen-Places/dp/0316042927/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285941801&sr=1-1

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on May 24, 2010
at 08:22 AM

It is totally true what you say. My point was that fruitarians have to eat alot of fruit and often end up very skinny. Not good evidence that fruit itself is a good way to fatten up for the winter.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on May 24, 2010
at 08:21 AM

It is totally true what you say. My point was that fruitarians have to eat alot of fruit and often end up very skinny. Not good evidence that fruit is a way to fatten up for the winter.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 11:43 PM

As a very extreme vegan diet, fruitarianism is highly restrictive, making nutritional adequacy almost impossible.[26] The Health Promotion Program at Columbia University reports that a fruitarian diet can cause deficiencies in calcium, protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, most B vitamins (especially B12), and essential fatty acids. Additionally, the Health Promotion Program at Columbia reports that food restrictions in general may lead to hunger, cravings, food obsessions, social disruptions and social isolation.

4a1512c822f4698855f126e16236668a

(116)

on May 22, 2010
at 02:38 PM

Avocados are from the new world so played no role in human evolution.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on May 22, 2010
at 09:40 AM

Try becoming a fruitarian for a few weeks and see if you lose or gain weight http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitarianism

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 04:58 AM

Never seen that link before, apparently it's a wide theory

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 04:57 AM

How many humans were active in the "ice ages" it's really just speculation if fruit evolved with us, which fruits are newer more adapted to humans? Surely many fruits adapted to other creatures instead of being optimally human what if avacado/coconut adapted to us but bananas didn't?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 04:54 AM

Quantity of fat gain would be Linked to climate of course

B289fd8670257e77badb0c77709f8572

(10)

on May 22, 2010
at 03:54 AM

http://newsletter.vitalchoice.com/e_article000906373.cfm?x=b8drcdL,b5PRNLJ0,w

0a8f18c1bf567443a481a7fd40b3777d

(164)

on May 22, 2010
at 01:01 AM

Agree 100%. It's also important to keep the evolution of fruits in mind as they co-evolved with the animals that ate them.

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6 Answers

8
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 22, 2010
at 12:40 AM

This "theory" is idle evolutionary speculation that everyone falls prey to at some point or another. It fails to hold up to scrutiny, but is intuitively satisfying if you don't really think about it.

Basic questions:

1) What is "winter" in east Africa like?

2) What was the seasonality of fruits in the rift valley?

3) Do existing HG tribes "fatten up" for the winter? (recall that a core founding observation for paleo is a lack of fatness in HG tribes)

4) How much fruit do you think we ate during Ice Ages?

5) When was the last time you hibernated?

Point 5 is more snark than genuine point, but it's worth remembering that most animals which fatten up at a certain time do so in preparation for a months long fast. Humans are active year round, have access to animals year round, and hunt year round. We don't follow the pattern.

All that said, it's possible that the presumed fat-storage enhancing effect of high blood sugar is an adaptation to a rare food like fruit - better to store and save it then burn it off - but then again maybe it's just a last ditched effort of your metabolism to prevent glycation damage. Speculation breeds speculation!

I haven't seen any real evidence that humans evolved to fatten on specific foods because of their rarity. It strikes me as implausible given that HGs tend to do well all over the planet, from places with zero fruit to places with abundant plant food sources. If we actually were adapted to fruit rather than just being generalists, I think it would play a much more important role in our health than being so obviously optional.

4a1512c822f4698855f126e16236668a

(116)

on May 22, 2010
at 02:38 PM

Avocados are from the new world so played no role in human evolution.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 04:57 AM

How many humans were active in the "ice ages" it's really just speculation if fruit evolved with us, which fruits are newer more adapted to humans? Surely many fruits adapted to other creatures instead of being optimally human what if avacado/coconut adapted to us but bananas didn't?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 22, 2010
at 04:54 AM

Quantity of fat gain would be Linked to climate of course

0a8f18c1bf567443a481a7fd40b3777d

(164)

on May 22, 2010
at 01:01 AM

Agree 100%. It's also important to keep the evolution of fruits in mind as they co-evolved with the animals that ate them.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 01, 2010
at 02:04 PM

Just a note: im currently reading a book called "Cold" by Bill Streever. Fun and lighter read, and not at all directly concerned with paleo or anything, but it does have lots of tidbits about the earth's changing landscape that coincided with different times in our own evolution, different animals' hibernating/cold-coping mechanisms, etc etc. Just a fun read and im sure a lot of you would enjoy it: http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Adventures-Worlds-Frozen-Places/dp/0316042927/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285941801&sr=1-1

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I disagree with many comments on this question! I can't remember the link, but I read a thoughtful article that indicated our "home" in Africa offered sweet fruits nearly yearlong. I'm not saying we should be fruitarians, but using bears as an example they may eat lots of fruit in the fall but they also gorge on salmon. Anyhow, we have tons of fruit available in summer and fall fruits (of which I don't eat that many) are very starchy in nature--apples, pears, etc. Personally, I love peaches, plums, pineapples, melons, etc. and they are not fall fruits.

1
Medium avatar

on October 18, 2011
at 06:16 PM

This is the best argument that I've sen on the subject: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917125/

...but I still disagree with it completely. The loss of ascorbic acid synthesis occurred while we were still frugivorous apes living in tropical climates. No seasonal fattening would have occurred, nor would it have been particularly useful.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:16 PM

The anthropological definition of hunter-gatherer precludes storing food.

Why does it preclude storing food ?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Another thing that surprises people about paleolithic people is that they wasted meat. In the best parts of the upper middle paleolithic, there were so many animals around that they'd drive a bunch off a cliff and eat a few, leaving the rest to the hyenas. They didn't bother saving any, they didn't have to.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 05:37 PM

If you have 50 people in your tribe, at least a quarter of them very-active muscular men, you can definitely go through a single caribou in a day or more.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:24 PM

The anthropological definition for hunter-gatherer = people who gathered and hunted food and ate it immediately. Once people were storing food, they may still have been foragers, but not true hunter-gatherers. There is no evidence that paleolithic people stored food until the upper paleolithic, when populations were moving towards agriculture and cultivating things like rice. This intermediate stage is known as "sedentism." Most people in this stage were quite a bit less healthy than the true HGs because they were relying on less nutritious foods like sago starch.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Interesting about sedentism. Thanks woman.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Thanks woman. .

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 18, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Melissa, is there any evidence to suggest that other primates store food? I would think that unless availability due to climate was an issue that this wouldn't be common.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Okay, I buy what you're saying in general but I still think HGs could move into an area and take several days to hunt and cook/dry some meat rather than having to kill every day.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:35 PM

We say "Thanks man" all the time. Thanks woman is pretty cool too. lol.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Addictive, ha Kamal ? Your low-reward thing started to show on other fronts.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Addictive, ha ? Your low-reward thing started to show on other fronts.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 18, 2011
at 09:21 PM

They certainly do it. Primates are smart. Macaques have cheek pouches in which they can store food as they forage, and transport it away to eat later. They are probably smart enough to put it away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_(chimpanzee) proved how smart they can be.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:25 PM

Sedentism also coincided with more disease (because people lived in larger and more concentrated societies).

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:28 PM

I'm basing my above comment on the fact that we like big game, which is harder to find and takes longer to eat. If we were truly killing and eating meat daily we would've concentrated on squirrel- and rabbit-sized critters.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 18, 2011
at 04:03 PM

It is a myth started by some temperate-climate thinker who has obviously never hunted, gathered, stored, or grown his/her own food. Many fruits and vegetables keep well on their own, or are easily fermented or dried. Most hunters know it is better in the winter. Most farmers know that fruits and vegetables ripen at many times of the year, not just the fall. It is more likely that people survived the winter eating fatty meats killed throughout the fall. Fat cavemen could have sat around even more making nets and small traps, and catch all the fish and small game they could use.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 18, 2011
at 04:06 PM

The anthropological definition of hunter-gatherer precludes storing food. As for temperate climates, there is enough evidence that humans who are descendants of ice age HGs in Europe are genetically distinct, that the temperate-climate thinking is quite valid.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 18, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Sorry, Melissa, I admire you greatly overall but I think HG folks definitely salted and dried meat and fat--I'm thinking sun-dried jerky and pemmican. In temperate climes, they probably moved around less in winter using deer yards, etc., as food banks.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on October 18, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Well, let's all defer to the arm-chair hunter-gatherer experts, then.

0
Baee039180715ad8f06c42dd044853cd

on October 02, 2010
at 06:08 PM

Fruits and vegetables in paleo times would only have been used at medicine cause they were all bitter, except maybe wild berrys which were probably the sweeter varietys. Fruits now adays are hybridized to taste sweeter, thus being sugar bombs we need pesticides to keep insects away. Have you ever eating a wild banana? Try it.. And wild apples? Well they tasted more like crab apples if you ever tried one...

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 18, 2011
at 07:09 PM

Take your favorite apple. Plant 12 of it's seeds and wait 5 years for apples. Now sample an apple from each tree. They will all be different. Do the same with a wild apple and the result will be the same. People/companies grow entire orchards hoping for that one rare tasty apple so that they can sell cuttings.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 18, 2011
at 07:12 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_tree_propagation

0
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on October 01, 2010
at 07:26 AM

A lot of people who practice the bestselling Paleo™ diet (as opposed to a style of personal nutrition one could call the Paleolithic diet) seem to have some assumptions of Paleolithic humans based on stereotypical imagery of cavemen in Ice Age Europe. First, we must dispel this by noting that humans did not become humans during the Ice Age or in Europe, and that even during the glacial maximum (18,000 BCE, the peak of the Ice Age) most of the world was pretty warm, tropical and temperate.

Humans did not evolve into the species we are now in the Arctic like animals that have evolved body fat for warmth. The existence of "blubber" on Arctic mammals is an evolved necessity, as much as the cold blood of reptiles is for keeping cool in the desert. Winter, as a cold and snowy event, is unknown to those in warm climates, which are the type of climates in which most of our evolution occurred. The move into cold climates is relatively recent, and humans already had the tools available to adapt to it without the need for any kind of biological mechanism. The use of fur and fire kept humans warmer than they would be otherwise.

Fruit is not the cause of obesity. You need only look at the members of the website 30 Bananas a Day wouldn't be so thin. How could fruit make you fat, as I hear often, yet at the same time, the same people will call these fruitarians "emaciated"?

We all learn about USDA "myths" but then it seems like I can't read anything on paleo sites without being confronted with new "truths" that to me appear to be myths as well. Questioning these is like questioning some holy religion. If the paleo diet is going to become more respected it's not by simply being a repackaged version of the Atkins Diet.

Another "truth" I can't seem to stop hearing: humans only ate the fatty portions of wild animals and threw away the rest of the meat to dogs. First of all, wild animals like deer are so lean that there would be no point in hunting them if we did not eat their lean muscle meat. And after all that we gave most of it to dogs, well then dogs really are the top of the food chain and the master species of the world, not humans. My dog barks and barks and barks begging for some food when I'm eating (quite annoying actually!), and I usually give her some, but I don't give her most of it!

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