2

votes

Should we base our diet off of where in the world our ancestors lived 20,000 years ago?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Is it possible that there may be another side of Paleo which we have not really gotten the chance to dig into yet.

For example should someone originally from Eastern European descendant try to mimic what their ancestors 20,000 years ago ate. And people of African descent try to mimic what their ancestors ate, etc. 20,000 years ago we had already migrated all over the world. http://www.roperld.com/homosapienevents.htm

All these eating styles would still fit into the Paleo framework however maybe if we researched it it may help answer some questions as why low carb works for some and medium to high carb works better for others. Also maybe give us some insight as to why some fructose from fruit is ok for some but does not work as well for others.

Any thoughts?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 12, 2011
at 10:56 AM

Just eat the damn cheese !

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 12, 2011
at 04:44 AM

Well, all humans require glucose for glycogenesis, so I think the adaptations would be to make gluconeogenesis less toxic/stressful in populations who don't have access to starch.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 12, 2011
at 02:34 AM

oakOy - can you explain??

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:49 AM

jspaleo, was 50,000 years enough to adapt our bodies to sitting in front of a TV?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:45 AM

I have similar frustrations with the acronyms. Some posters here are kind enough to define them before using them to compress text, but most presume you know what they're talking about.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 11:44 PM

I hear what you are saying but do you think our ancestors diets would have any effect on how we react to fructose or starchy carbs? Maybe as you said toxins. So some of us can handle nightshades or brassicas better than others? I am not sure. I do agree that differences in what meat was eaten would have minimal effect on evolution.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:40 PM

It might helpful for perspective purposes to remember that most of northern Europe was covered by the Weichselian ice sheet 20k ybp and that much of the area south of that was permafrost. There are very few instances of ice age animals being found in this area prior the melting of the ice sheets. So your ancestors had to have been somewhere else prior to that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:40 PM

It might helpful for perspective purposes to remember that most of northern Europe was cover by the Weichselian ice sheet 20k ybp and that much of the area south of that was permafrost. There are very few instances of ice age animals being found in this area prior the melting of the ice sheets. So your ancestors had to have been somewhere else prior to that.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:30 PM

Really excellent points.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:18 PM

standard paleo diet?

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:57 PM

If I were you I would concentrate on adding a few pounds of muscle and that should help balance your skinny w/ belly look. It may also help you lose a few pounds of fat. You may want to add a starchy carb a few times a week after an intense weight-based workout to help you build muscle. For the weight loss and Ketosis questions I will let someone more knowledgeable answer...

3cfb0760fc1679e4c1fd3cdbf7e74e86

(10)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Thanks! I'll try it out. I also have another question: Since I am skinny, and have a gut. Would pure ketosis be a good option for me? Or will it be damaging? I mean, I cut off even vegetables. So I can just eat meat/eggs for a few weeks. I was thinking, of just getting supplements for the vegetables. But is it true that you NEED their carbs?

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:07 PM

I'm Jewish as well. :). Not sure how realistic this approach is but it could hypothetically (if we could trace it back) explain why some people react different to different Paleo-acceptable foods.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:03 PM

sorry I meant to say: factor into a healthy diet for you. You could test it by eliminating dairy for 2 weeks and then adding it back in and seeing how you react to it. Does it slow down weight loss or cause any adverse effects?*

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:02 PM

Welcome! Your recent ancestors from a few thousand years ago may have been big on milk but I doubt your ancestors of 10-50k years ago would have access to milk. This is not to say that milk will or will not factor into a healthy diet

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 11, 2011
at 09:01 PM

I'm Jewish, so theoretically, my people were in the middle east for many thousands of years...but 20,000??? Can we really trace it back that far?

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:15 PM

One could argue that if it was enough time for our skin color to change to better suit our climate than it may be reasonable to believe that our bodies would have also evolved a little to best fit our food environment.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:14 PM

To answer your other questions. The way evolution usually works is that is shapes us to best fit our environment. So if a paleolithic clan liven for thousands of years with little root vegetables or fruit you could assume that they would not be as fine tuned to eat and digest carbs and fructose. On the other hand some clans bodies may have evolved to make the most of starchy root vegetables and can use those well as a source of food/energy. The questions would be is 50,000-20,000 years enough time for our bodies to evolve to better fit the food environment.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:10 PM

N=1 is just another way of experimenting on yourself. So the results that you get from experimenting with n=1 may apply to you but no one else.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:09 PM

n usually stands for the number of subjects tested in an experiment.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I have been frustrated in that there is no ONE answer. It would be nice if we could better understand some reasons why we are different.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I agree that the science and N=1 experiments are our best sources for finding out what works for us. I thought this idea, however, may help us better understand why something that works for me, N=1, does not works as well or the same way as others. As we have realized from the forums here everyone is different we have yet to be accurate when we say ZC, VLC, LC, fructose, Vitamin/Mineral deficiency is responsible for a certain condition in everyone that has that condition.

A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on September 11, 2011
at 06:02 PM

you can submit a sample to the DNA Ancestry Project to track where much of your lineage is. however in general if you can trace your family tree back a thousand years it's a safe bet that those people were from a gene pool that remained relatively coherent for centuries. for example family genealogy going back to 1200CE shows the majority of my ancestry is western and northern european, and I take this into account. I think as a broad rule conventional paleolithic wisdom applies whereas fine tuning should be tailored to individual observation in the light of more recent ancestral adaptation.

Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on September 11, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Cool idea, but we have no idea where our personal ancestors were that long ago ...I guess that's why different people do well on such different macronutrient ratios!

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 05:40 PM

Yeah I thought of that too. Definitely would be hard to follow since so many of us are mixed. Maybe we get to choose a mix of both their diets. : ).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 11, 2011
at 05:29 PM

it sucks for those of us who are mixed :)

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10 Answers

4
Medium avatar

on September 11, 2011
at 11:28 PM

Assuming no disparities between two individuals with regard to past deficiencies etc., I would guess that the actual nutrient requirements would be almost the same for any two humans. I could see certain illnesses (like Crohn's for example) requiring more of one thing or another due to reduced absorptive abilities, but I'd be willing to bet that two random, healthy humans who are age/gender/size-matched would have pretty much the same requirements no matter what the populations are you're drawing them from. There'd be obvious differences in things like vitamin D requirements if there is a difference in melanin content in the skin, but most things should be the same.

In fact, I'd go out on a limb (of our family tree) and say that a different species of hominid like H. neanderthalensis would have pretty much the same requirements as an H. sapiens individual matched in the same way. The differences between individuals would be in what sort of toxins they have adapted to, not what foods they should eat. We may see variation between individuals with how well they tolerate the SAD, but that isn't real food. Discarding Holocene food "advancements" would probably result in little difference between groups.

If my ancestors focused on megatheres and yours focused on aurochs, I don't think that means that I have to eat 3-toed sloths and you have to eat beef. That'd be one helluva raw deal.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 12, 2011
at 04:44 AM

Well, all humans require glucose for glycogenesis, so I think the adaptations would be to make gluconeogenesis less toxic/stressful in populations who don't have access to starch.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 11:44 PM

I hear what you are saying but do you think our ancestors diets would have any effect on how we react to fructose or starchy carbs? Maybe as you said toxins. So some of us can handle nightshades or brassicas better than others? I am not sure. I do agree that differences in what meat was eaten would have minimal effect on evolution.

4
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 11, 2011
at 05:51 PM

Other than keeping an evolutionary/ancestral framework in the back of my mind - I don't really care that much what so-and-so ate 20kya or 2.5mya. Wide variety of eating - and there is no basis to say that what they ate was optimal - just perhaps not as poisonous as the toxic crap at 7-11.

I lean much more toward looking at the current science (realizing that that is inadaquate as well) and doing my best to figure out what is right/what works for me. And then changing my bad habits the best I can manage. I'm such a mutt anyways... And my kids even moreso. It just seems like speculation that is not going to be all that useful (at least to me).

My two cents. And sorry to be such a Debbie Downer! (Why is it a penny for your thoughts and people keep throwing their two cents in?)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:30 PM

Really excellent points.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I agree that the science and N=1 experiments are our best sources for finding out what works for us. I thought this idea, however, may help us better understand why something that works for me, N=1, does not works as well or the same way as others. As we have realized from the forums here everyone is different we have yet to be accurate when we say ZC, VLC, LC, fructose, Vitamin/Mineral deficiency is responsible for a certain condition in everyone that has that condition.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I have been frustrated in that there is no ONE answer. It would be nice if we could better understand some reasons why we are different.

2
E95216c62a14d21c371fcbf2fed8469b

(1867)

on September 11, 2011
at 05:32 PM

I like the paleo philosophy but I do occasionally eat homemade beans and corn tortillas for bike riding and running fuel. I also like roti. My recent ancestors grew up eating that stuff. My mother is West Indian and father is Sicilian. I do better with a modest amount of meat, lots of green and some fruit. I'd go insane without some nice apples of my tree. Eat good and pray over the rest I say.

1
9f6bfebdd22f2b98145000fef5a70223

on September 12, 2011
at 01:30 AM

You'd be surprised a) how much your ancestors have moved around in the last 12,000 years, b) how much local climate zones and flora and fauna have changed in that time even if they stayed in one spot (New York state was COVERED BY GLACIERS 12,000 years ago. The Sahara was wet and green with lakes and inland seas!) and c) how fast we adapt to diet. East Africans and Middle Easterners, for example, have developed better metabolism of alkaloids through mutations in the CYP450 enzymes, and those dietary changes are the result of adopting "weird" seasonings (weird to the rest of us) probably just in the last 2-3,000 years.

Long story short, trying to figure out what your ancestors in the Upper Paleo ate is probably a losing proposition, and personalized genetics will probably eventually (not right now) do a much better job. Especially because so many of us, esp. in North America, are mixed.

1
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on September 11, 2011
at 11:05 PM

I had been thinking about this and for curiosity's sake, I tried looking up what vegetables were native to my family's little corner of the globe. I'll be honest, I'm having a hard time tracking them down. Most of them seem to be introduced later on.

But what I did find out is that I totally need to eat some reindeer. I'm game! (... and so are they! groan haha)

That, and I totally need to buy that book. Awesome.

1
3cfb0760fc1679e4c1fd3cdbf7e74e86

(10)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:11 PM

Well my ancestors mostly eat camel meat, cow meat and drank Milk or water as the only available beverage. (Milk being more prominent.)

Kind of OT: I'm starting the Paleo tomorrow. And I expect I will fair well with the absence of starches and grains. I look forward to finally eating and knowing that what I am eating is actually gonna be healthy for me. Instead of feeding myself pizzas, pastas ( doesn't help that my mother raised me on pastas)- and breads.

I am a skinny person. But I do have somewhat of a huge belly. It's horrific. So, I am hoping this will change my body chemistry enough for it to live off of this supply of stored fat all over my body. Hoping to go into ketosis and finally feed myself some proteins, vitamins and minerals

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:03 PM

sorry I meant to say: factor into a healthy diet for you. You could test it by eliminating dairy for 2 weeks and then adding it back in and seeing how you react to it. Does it slow down weight loss or cause any adverse effects?*

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:02 PM

Welcome! Your recent ancestors from a few thousand years ago may have been big on milk but I doubt your ancestors of 10-50k years ago would have access to milk. This is not to say that milk will or will not factor into a healthy diet

3cfb0760fc1679e4c1fd3cdbf7e74e86

(10)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Thanks! I'll try it out. I also have another question: Since I am skinny, and have a gut. Would pure ketosis be a good option for me? Or will it be damaging? I mean, I cut off even vegetables. So I can just eat meat/eggs for a few weeks. I was thinking, of just getting supplements for the vegetables. But is it true that you NEED their carbs?

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:57 PM

If I were you I would concentrate on adding a few pounds of muscle and that should help balance your skinny w/ belly look. It may also help you lose a few pounds of fat. You may want to add a starchy carb a few times a week after an intense weight-based workout to help you build muscle. For the weight loss and Ketosis questions I will let someone more knowledgeable answer...

0
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 11, 2011
at 11:29 PM

I hope this is true...if it is I get to eat a lot of cheese! Dutch.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 12, 2011
at 10:56 AM

Just eat the damn cheese !

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:59 PM

Its just a framework. Not the specific set of rules. You are supposed to customize it. It makes sense to consider as starting grounds the details of the environment we evolved in. The problem is not if this is good strategy, but if current findings we base our starting template are correct. For instance, most people think milk is not paleo, but there is some evidence that people are utilizing goat milk for far longer time then thought.

Even if we know for sure the facts of paleolitic dietary habits, epigenetics tells us that genetic changes are faster then we originally thought so adaptations to specific foods are expected, even in short time span.

0
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on September 11, 2011
at 09:28 PM

I've read about this and there are companies that will tell you where you came from and what your ancestors ate, but it is, for the most part meaningless.

The effects of diet usually affect the person after they are able to have children and often times don't affect them until their grandchildren are old enough to have children. So, in 100,000 years, people will probably not be adapted to eat wheat and fructose.

The things that get bred out of a population are the things that prevent children in the first place.

Without paying me, I can tell you that your ancestors from around 25,000 years ago ate meat, insets, plants, fish, and crustaceans. They did not drink milk, eat refined sugar, fruit all year round, nor did they eat grain. Basically, they ate a pretty standard paleo diet.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on September 12, 2011
at 02:34 AM

oakOy - can you explain??

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 11, 2011
at 10:18 PM

standard paleo diet?

0
3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 11, 2011
at 07:44 PM

But, how do you know if those ancestors ate their most optimal diet? Maybe they just ate what was available to them...

BTW, could someone explain what the code "N=1" means? I saw it on several places but have no clue how to decipher it. ;-)

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:10 PM

N=1 is just another way of experimenting on yourself. So the results that you get from experimenting with n=1 may apply to you but no one else.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:49 AM

jspaleo, was 50,000 years enough to adapt our bodies to sitting in front of a TV?

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:14 PM

To answer your other questions. The way evolution usually works is that is shapes us to best fit our environment. So if a paleolithic clan liven for thousands of years with little root vegetables or fruit you could assume that they would not be as fine tuned to eat and digest carbs and fructose. On the other hand some clans bodies may have evolved to make the most of starchy root vegetables and can use those well as a source of food/energy. The questions would be is 50,000-20,000 years enough time for our bodies to evolve to better fit the food environment.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:09 PM

n usually stands for the number of subjects tested in an experiment.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 11, 2011
at 08:15 PM

One could argue that if it was enough time for our skin color to change to better suit our climate than it may be reasonable to believe that our bodies would have also evolved a little to best fit our food environment.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 12, 2011
at 01:45 AM

I have similar frustrations with the acronyms. Some posters here are kind enough to define them before using them to compress text, but most presume you know what they're talking about.

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