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Evolution, Healthy Eating, and the Role of Nutrition

Evolution, Healthy Eating, and the Role of Nutrition

There is no separating nutrition from health. What you eat influences how you feel; this isn't exactly news, but considering all the wacky stuff out there, one has to wonder if anyone realizes the link. That's how easy it is. Food choices have both immediate and long-term effects on health.

Using a medication will only mask the symptoms. Make a permanent improvement to your health by switching to a healthier diet. Yet there are so many ways to approach food and so much contradicting advice that it all comes down to this: does the food you're consuming right now make sense to you?
Common sense is rare, and it requires solid evidence to be effective. Here's a question to ponder, then: What kinds of food do people really thrive on? Cheetos? 

Definitely not. That's obviously true, but what about other foods, like bread and pasta, that were once considered healthy but aren't anymore? In your mind, travel back in time to the days of the hunter-gatherers, before agriculture and the first appearance of obesity in humans. 

Think about what they would have eaten on a daily basis. If you're about to eat something that wasn't around before agriculture (a relatively recent event in human history), then you should know that your body doesn't see it as a "regular" food. Meals that are 'normal' for your body are beneficial to your health, while all others are either inert or dangerous. as simple as that?

Dr. Peter D'Adamo's "Eat Right for Your Type" is a popular investigation of the idea that specific foods help our bodies thrive; his recommendations for what to eat and what to avoid are organized according to the reader's blood type. According to D'Adamo, the A type is a relatively recent development that did not appear until the advent of agriculture, while type O is far older. Those with blood type O should avoid eating too much grain and focus instead on a diet rich in protein and vegetables. Grain is acceptable for Type A, but dairy is not. Only those with the most modern blood type, AB, are allowed to eat dairy products. My favorite weird foods are Cheetos and red licorice, so maybe we can develop a strain that can tolerate these.

What does it matter that D'Adamo has done extensive study to back up his blood-type theory? Do you think it's reasonable for people to eat only what's found in nature? Absolutely. Humans are basically made up of wheat, so if you're going to eat a grain like wheat, eat it whole or don't eat it at all, and don't eat much of it anyway! I won't spend too much time debating the question, "Does it occur naturally?" because it's time to consider the views of yet another scientist who has studied the correlation between food and evolutionary change.

Aimed towards the weight loss industry, Dr. Philip Lipetz penned "The Good Calorie Diet." He has backed up his claims with an extensive study. His analysis shows how the coping mechanisms for food scarcity that evolved in the Neolithic period are still in use today. It's ironic that our modern diets, which are plentiful, delicious, and nutrient-dense, make our bodies react as if we're about to go hungry.
The brief explanation is that before the ice age, people ate whatever was around, which included things like carrion as well as roots, vegetables, and fruit. 

Due to the onset of the Ice Age, those foods became increasingly rare. Humans were now obligated to go on hunting expeditions, although doing so was dangerous and time-consuming due to the lack of sophistication in the available weapons. As a result, our forebears adapted mechanisms to efficiently turn surplus glucose in the bloodstream into energy-dense fat. The people survived on their fat reserves when they ran out of food.

Our genes warn us that, because the modern diet is so heavy in fat and protein, we are once again at risk of famine. You had better put on some weight. In his book, Lipetz provides believable information about how to pair different foods. He lists butter on bread as an example of a fattening food. His pairings that prevent fat storage, such as lean meat and most vegetables, are the most practical. These meal pairings are worth paying attention to in a society plagued by obesity and its related health problems. 

The most important takeaway from his studies, however, is that the foods that lead us to gain weight all had one thing in common: they were not part of our ancestors' typical diet.

You can go in the next time you're about to eat anything without having to keep track of a bunch of regulations and weird information, whether you're trying to watch your weight or improve your health. Put your common sense to use. Determine if it is a food that existed before agriculture. To that end, if it was, by all means, proceed. Remember that if the meal wasn't properly prepared, your body won't recognize it as "normal," and that has both immediate and long-term effects on your health.

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