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Thread: Evolution and Human Nutrition

  1. #1 Evolution and Human Nutrition 
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    If 99 percent of our evolutionary history happened in Africa....
    would it make the most sense that the best fruits, herbs and vegetables
    for humans are the ones that grow in Africa?





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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Maybe not, which if many humans decided to go to other places where the food was better instead of staying on the old homestead would explain the diaspora of humans from Africa.


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  4. #3  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Evolution has little to do with "best" - "adequate" is all it requires.
    If there was no food in Africa, then we wouldn't have evolved there.
    But, as long as there was some food, that would have allowed us to live and eventually evolve.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anopsology View Post
    If 99 percent of our evolutionary history happened in Africa....
    would it make the most sense that the best fruits, herbs and vegetables
    for humans are the ones that grow in Africa?

    Wow, just wow..

    Define our evolutionary history... You mean since the beginning of life? Then it is the sea. Did you mean since we became protozoa, then it is the sea, since eukaryotes, the sea, since multiple cells in one organism, the sea. since vertebrates, the sea, since arriving on land.. Not sure which country sprouted this, most probably the rain-forests in general.

    And evolution is not driven by the best conditions, like best fruit, herbs or vegetables. Evolution is driven by the lack of it.
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  6. #5  
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    no.....the thing is the base elements of all foods are the same, things like carbs, proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc. These are just in different measures.

    It's accepted our best diet is a balanced one, I guess this reflects us being omnivores. But then I think we can eat anything provided we can physiologically handle it. It's why we have obesity, we're not built to handle 5000 calorie, 200g fat or 200g sugar diets daily.
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  8. #7  
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    Woo. That's pretty near my own quack theory of nutrition, that is "eat ingredients in isolation so that you may experience their nutritional qualities", or, "take-apart-your-sandwich". Anopsology.

    Anyway, I see some flaws to the idea African species are best for us. One is that, while we evolved and migrated, the plants and animals of Africa have also evolved and migrated. Another is, a great many species - and apparently our own - are known to thrive better when introduced to new lands.
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    Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it isAre we more adapted to African fruits and plants? We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better? There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets? I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation? Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?
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  10. #9  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    What I find hilarious is that the guy who dreamt up this raw, natural, food theory was called……..wait for it…….Burger.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anopsology View Post
    Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it isAre we more adapted to African fruits and plants? We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better? There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets? I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation? Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?
    It seems to me the answer to your questions is a long string of "no"s. There is no evidence that the human race is unhealthy outside Africa. Quite the contrary. There are one or two dietary adaptations that can be attributed to the regions where people have been living, one well-known one being the adult lactose tolerance in most Europeans that is absent in many Asians. But generally it can't be true or we would not have such long and healthy lives in N America, Europe and Japan.
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  12. #11  
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    i just always wondered if there was a difference when Im eating a peach and some wild dandelion greens if I am getting just as good of nutrients as say an African Mango and some African greens.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anopsology View Post
    i just always wondered if there was a difference when Im eating a peach and some wild dandelion greens if I am getting just as good of nutrients as say an African Mango and some African greens.
    Yes, I'm sure you are.
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  14. #13  
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    On anopsology

    The evidence suggests very strongly that we are adapted to eating cooked food. This evidence comes partly from the fossil record (like charred bones from meat animals) showing that prehumans also cooked food. It comes also from our bodies. We have, for example, the shortest and smallest digestive tract of any primate for our size. We simply cannot digest raw food terribly well. That, of course, means a raw food diet is good for losing weight, but a kind of food that makes us starve is not exactly the kind of food we evolved to consume.

    Humans are omnivores, and we can thrive on a wide range of foods. We have societies that live almost entirely on fish and seals (Inuit), others that live mostly on blood, milk and meat (Masai), and everything else right through to people who almost never consume animal protein. Of course an unbalanced diet will carry a cost in terms of health and life span, but if we accept that cost, we can survive for long periods on weird diets.

    So the answer to the OP is no. We are not especially adapted to African foods, and the healthiest and longest lived peoples today are definitely not African!
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  15. #14  
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    [QUOTE=exchemist;583732]
    Quote Originally Posted by Anopsology View Post
    Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it isAre we more adapted to African fruits and plants? We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better? There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets?


    The most likely reason for migration out of Africa was population pressure. Probably the food in Africa was just great, but there were too many humans competing to eat it, so moving away from Africa and eating less nutritional food, but having fewer other humans competing for it was a good tradeoff.

    A good example of this sort of thing happening would have been the transition from a primarily meat diet toward a primarily grain diet. At the time of the transition, humanity had been primarily hunters and gatherers for a very long time. Grain would almost certainly have been less nutritious, but it was much easier to get.


    However, that was sufficiently long ago, that it is likely the humans who migrated away have gradually evolved toward preferring the foods commonly consumed by their more recent ancestors. No way to know how much change has occurred, but almost certainly some change has occurred.


    I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation? Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?


    There's no way to know for sure just how much evolution has happened or not happened.

    However, there is another thing you have to consider, which is the question of "invasive species". The reason invasive species laws exist is because it quite often happens that a species that is adapted to one environment, turns out to be even more adapted to another. So much so that they immediately begin killing off all of the members of a native species in the new habitat.


    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    It seems to me the answer to your questions is a long string of "no"s. There is no evidence that the human race is unhealthy outside Africa. Quite the contrary. There are one or two dietary adaptations that can be attributed to the regions where people have been living, one well-known one being the adult lactose tolerance in most Europeans that is absent in many Asians. But generally it can't be true or we would not have such long and healthy lives in N America, Europe and Japan.

    Yeah. And another example would be the difference in tolerance for alcohol between people in places that got the technology to distill liquor later on in history, like the British Isles - when compared with places like Eastern Europe.
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