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Thread: Dumb Questions IV

  1. #1 Dumb Questions IV 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    If people ate all their food raw or uncooked would we be any worse off? or better off? I'm positive we'd be saving a lot of electricity and natural gas if we did but that's another story.

    I was wondering if the cooking of food has helped increase our lifespan on average. Since the first of our ancestors cooked a morsel of food have we become less immune, perhaps to malevolent organisms that inhabit uncooked or raw food, thus making us depend more on cooked food?

    How do I differ from my ancestors who killed something and ate it immediately or over a few days? Have we evolved to the point where most of our food has to be cooked?


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  3. #2 Re: Dumb Questions IV 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    How do I differ from my ancestors who killed something and ate it immediately or over a few days? Have we evolved to the point where most of our food has to be cooked?
    i shouldn't think so - imo it's just habit
    on the other hand making soup from veggies and some bone with marrow in probably gets more out of the bone than if you tried to extract it manually


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    I believe we have to eat meat, fish, etc. cooked, and to some extent vegetables, because 1. It's easier to digest, and 2. It prevents us from getting harmful microorganisms such as salmonella into our gut. So to your question about whether we'd be better off eating our meals cooked, the answer is 'yes.'
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    2. It prevents us from getting harmful microorganisms such as salmonella into our gut.
    surely this only applies to meat and fish, not veggies, nuts etc. ?
    but yes, i can see how a habit of cooking meat might have survival value

    (although come to think of it, hyenas, vultures and other scavengers seem to have a higher tolerance for putrid meat)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    2. It prevents us from getting harmful microorganisms such as salmonella into our gut.
    surely this only applies to meat and fish, not veggies, nuts etc. ?
    but yes, i can see how a habit of cooking meat might have survival value

    (although come to think of it, hyenas, vultures and other scavengers seem to have a higher tolerance for putrid meat)
    yea...this one only applies to meat.
    1. applied to both meats and some plants, though.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    If the cooking of food is beneficial as in preventing the spread of harmful, if not deadly micro-organisms, then it must have a major influence on the progress of man. But I would think that in the past, we or some ancestor of humans, may have been more resistant to germs and such.

    I wonder if there are groups of people that eat everything raw. If so they might be worth studying, or maybe they didn't get past the entrees and died off because of it.
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    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos

    ....I wonder if there are groups of people that eat everything raw.
    I think there are some Alaskan Inuit people who traditionally eat their meat raw...since it's so cold there, there really isn't any wood to build fires. They now have access to modern gas stoves...but they still eat alot of stuff raw. I guess the cold temperatures keep the food-poisoning bacteria at bay.

    When I worked at the bar, I had to pass a food safety certification test. Food that is "potentially hazardous" Have a lot of free water, and a medium Ph. Most of the bacteria that infect PHF's are not life-threating, they only give you a case of "Montezuma's revenge", but there are some that be more nasty. I think our bodies have a limited ability to adjust to increased bacterial or amoebic ingestion...like native Mexicans that have no problem drinking the water...but tourists get a bad case of the runs. It's the more rare nasties that give us problems.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    and obviously the japanese eat raw fish
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    and obviously the japanese eat raw fish
    Sushi is specialized and "raised" in special sterile environments. Full of parasites it aint.

    The difference between the now, and when we actually used to eat things raw, is that we no longer have the natural defenses to withstand the severe punishment such an act would have on our bodies.

    In short, due to humans being picky bastards, we can't eat things raw anymore.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Cooking does release nutrients. Also in plant material. As we all should know plant cells have cell walls that are not easily broken down. Most herbivores walk around with 30 kilometers of gut just for that purpose (I might have exaggerated a little bit on the length). Cooking does destroy some stuff but overall the benefits are greater.

    It aided us in finding new food sources and increase the energy content of certain food sources.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    and obviously the japanese eat raw fish
    Sushi is specialized and "raised" in special sterile environments. Full of parasites it aint.

    The difference between the now, and when we actually used to eat things raw, is that we no longer have the natural defenses to withstand the severe punishment such an act would have on our bodies.

    In short, due to humans being picky bastards, we can't eat things raw anymore.
    I'm not so sure if this is correct. You're saying that humans have genetically changed to such an extent that we can no longer take the punishment as far as eating "dirty" food is concerned. I don't have anything more than circumstantial evidence to back my point, but my feeling is that humans still have the genetic ability to "take the punishment", but we are not conditioned to do it. I think that gradual exposure to "dirty" food can take a human to a point where you can handle most foods that would almost kill an uncondtioned person. I live in Africa and can tell you that many indigenous people eat things that I wouldn't dare touch. They claim to like some of these foods but I think they're basically forced to eat it due to poverty etc.

    Another point on the adaptability of the human body is the following. In Charles Darwin's book, the "Voyage of the Beagle" (an adventurous account of his travels and not a scientific book), he describes how they camped somewhere on the southern tip of South America in extremely cold conditions. They had all their warmest clothes on and made a huge fire around which they huddled in an attempt to get away from the bitter cold. They local indians joined them around the fire, dressed only in loincloths, but they were sweating profusely from the heat of the fire and stayed meters back, unable to come any closer because of the heat! Both these groups were humans, but they were differently conditioned to an amazing degree as far as handling extreme temperatures are concerned. I'm saying that the same is probably true as far as handling "dirty" or uncooked food is concerned.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    The conditioning of temperature I can imagine. I'm always hot at home because the average finnish home is kept at a higher temperature than a Dutch one. Moreover, I grew up in a poor household with only a heater in the living room. I therefore experienced cold a lot in for instance my bedroom and other rooms. And this makes me intolerant for warm rooms even this day.

    At work I always walk around in t-shirt, winter or summer. People find that funny, but let's be honest, it is always the same temperature inside. In the summer it is slightly warmer inside due to the greenhouse effect, but you are not going to freeze at 18-15 degrees.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burger
    I'm not so sure if this is correct. You're saying that humans have genetically changed to such an extent that we can no longer take the punishment as far as eating "dirty" food is concerned.
    Humans have, in fact, showed a progressive decline when it comes to genetics (we used to be able to run our prey to death. look it up), that isn't entirely the reason we can't. In fact rereading my post, I said nothing about "genetics".

    As you are born into a world with such things, your body developed natural immunity from birth (children have developed an immunity for AIDS and other such diseases from birth. So I have heard). our ancestors were immune because their bodies would fight it off. largely because they were born into it. Environment vs. heredity = yay.

    Now since our bodies no longer have that from-birth "pesticide" immunity, we're vulnerable. And increasingly so as we become more and more "clean".

    P.S: and apparently I said what you did, only in a less lengthy fashion. Go me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht

    P.S: and apparently I said what you did, only in a less lengthy fashion. Go me.
    Or maybe in a less clear fassion? GOME!! :wink:
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  16. #15  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    it doesn't necessarily have to be a case of genetics - e.g. one of the theories about allergies is that the the immunity system isn't primed sufficiently from the fact that our environment is too clean and then triggers an attack when it shouldn't

    i wonder whether digestion of food and the challenge of bacteria in it works the same way
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR

    i wonder whether digestion of food and the challenge of bacteria in it works the same way
    That's exactly what I was wondering too. i'm thinking that it probably does to a certain degree.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    The internal flora and fauna does change in composition in response to dietary changes. Some researchers are quite interested in this because they wonder if inducing changes in the bacterial composition could have beneficial effects without changing the actual diet itself.
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  19. #18 yeah 
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    animals get conditioned to their physical and social environment. it's a basic law.

    in a study in which mice have grown in germ free condition will result in mice with comparatively different mucous membranes than mice grown in normal environment.
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