Paleo Theory: Dietary Changes Over the Millenia and Effects on Human Health

Three Europe-based researchers have attempted to summarize what we know about dietary changes over the course of human and cultural evolution, and the effects on our health. Well worth a read if you have the time, intelligence, and interest in the paleo diet. A quote:

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the present concerns the relationship between nutrition and health. Increasingly, more and more people around the world are suffering from various diseases of civilization, from diet-related intolerances, and are suffering from malnutrition despite the wide range of food available. At least in Western countries, there are fewer and fewer people in recent decades who must perform strenuous physical labor, but they still eat as if they worked in heavy industry. In addition, the calories supplied from processed foods have a high energy density but provide hardly any fiber and micronutrients. The failure to adapt diet and caloric intake to predominantly sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise has consequences, the roots of which today often lie in childhood. Nutrition today is about its quality. Food should predictively promote health and help avoid diseases. This is why countless food trends and concepts are promoted, such as the veggie boom, the paleo diet, volumetrics, the Mediterranean diet and superfoods. Healthy living means consistently decimating or eliminating risk factors. But far too often we end up eating highly processed fast-food dishes and are addicted to sugar. However, the medical effects of our current diet in the form of CNCDs [chronic non-communicable diseases, aka diseases of civilization] are much more extensive than the most common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, as well as caries, periodontal disease, and others. For example, the consumption of predominantly soft, highly processed food has made the teeth’s job of grinding food almost obsolete, with fatal consequences that have not really been recognized. Since we no longer abrade our teeth, like we do all other body tissues, they may be causing diseases whose causes remain unrecognized because we lack a view into the past. 


Steve Parker, M.D.

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