Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Nutrition, Evolution, and Having a Healthy Diet


Nutrition has everything to do with health.  This isn't news, exactly, but looking around at the crazy information on the market, one wonders if anyone actually makes the connection: what you eat affects how you feel.  It's that simple.  Your health depends on the food choices you make in both the short and long term. 

Take a pill, and all you've done is treat a symptom.  Change your eating habits, and create a lasting change in your well-being.  There are so many approaches to eating, however, and so much conflicting information that it's come down to this simple question: does whatever you're eating right now make sense?

Well, sense isn't common, and it does depend on some good information.  So here is something to consider: what kind of foods are humans evolved to eat?  Cheetos?  Don't think so.  That's a no-brainer, but what about some others that we counted as healthy staples until recently, like bread and pasta.  Go way back in your imagination, to hunter gatherer days - before agriculture and the obesity which followed for the first time among humans - and consider what would be part of our ancestors' normal diet.  If you're about to pop something into your mouth that wasn't around before agriculture, (a relatively recent development in human history), then eat it knowing it's not considered a 'normal' food by your body.  Foods your body considers 'normal' contribute to your health, other foods are either neutral or harmful.  How simple is that?

A well-known exploration of this concept that certain foods help our bodies thrive is Dr. Peter D'Adamo's book, "Eat Right 4 Your Type," in which he bases his lists of what to eat and avoid on blood type.  D'Adamo asserts that type O is the oldest type, and the newer A type didn't show up on the scene until agriculture.  So, Os should eat lots of meat and veg because that blood type doesn't know how to handle too much grain.  Type As can eat grain, but not dairy.  Dairy is a category reserved as a 'normal' food only for the yet more recent human blood type, AB.  (Maybe we'll evolve a new type that can handle Cheetos and red licorice, my personal favorite abnormal foods).

D'Adamo supports his blood-type theory with all kinds of careful research, and so what?  Does it make sense that humans should rely primarily on foods that occur naturally?  Absolutely.  If you're going to eat a grain like wheat then, eat it whole, or don't eat it at all, and don't eat much of it anyway because humans pretty much made wheat up!  I'm not going to take the, "Does it occur naturally?" debate too far, because it's time to look at another researcher's take on the food and evolution connection. 

Dr. Phillip Lipetz wrote "The Good Calorie Diet," a book for the weight loss market, but he also has supported his theories with all kinds of careful research.  His describes how the human response to starvation that was developed during the ice age carries on today.  Ironic, isn't it, that the food available to us today - rich and sweet and abundant - causes our bodies to behave as though starvation is at hand.

The short story for how this works is that up until the ice age, humans ate whatever was readily available, like roots, plants, fruit, and a little tasty carrion now and then.  Along came the ice ages, and those foods became scarce.  Now humans were forced to hunt, but it was dicey and the weapons were primitive, so spans of time occured between kills.  The result: our ancestors evolved ways to make the most of the conversion of excess blood sugar into stored nutrition in the form of body fat.  When they starved, they lived off stored fat.    

Today's diet mimics the ice age diet: high fat and high protein, and our genetic programming says, "Uh oh, we're facing starvation again.  Better store up some fat."  Lipetz goes into convincing detail about food combinations in his book.  He describes some that cause the creation of excess fat, such as butter on bread.  More useful are his combinations that actually inhibit fat formation, like lean meat with most vegetables.  In a society where obesity and its attendant health issues are rampant, these food combinations are helpful places to focus our attention.  Yet the single most useful bit to remember from his research is that foods which cause our bodies to create excess fat all have one thing in common: they weren't part of our ancestors' normal diet. 

Armed with this overview, next time you're about to pop something in your mouth - whether your focus is health or weight - you don't need to have a bunch of rules and whacky information in mind.  Just use common sense.  Ask whether it's a food that was around before the advent of agriculture.  If it was, go for it.  If it wasn't, then consider that your body won't consider the food 'normal,' and in both the long and short run, that's got health consequences.  

 

Judith Schwader earned a Master's degree in Education, and has written extensively on health and nutrition.  She has a background in social science and addressing chronic health conditions through nutrition.  Judith invites you to visit http://QandAHealth.com, an excellent resource for health. 


MORE RESOURCES:

TheHealthSite

National Nutrition Week 2014: 5 myths about nutrition that can ruin your child ...
TheHealthSite
Parents from time to time wonder whether or not their kids are getting nutrition for their optimum growth and development. Parents try and educate themselves about the right nutrients for their kid's growth, what foods do they need in order to meet ...



TheHealthSite

National Nutrition Week 2014: What has the government done to improve ...
TheHealthSite
The programme came about as a way to help children beat nutritional deficiency diseases and other ailments caused due to various factors including malnutrition, so that they grow up to be healthy adults. It was also a way to reduce healthcare costs of ...



World Health Organization (press release)

Nutrition clinics help tackle obesity in Bahrain
World Health Organization (press release)
Nutrition clinics have become central to tackling obesity in Bahrain. In 2007, the country had one of the highest rates of overweight and obesity in WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (after Kuwait and Saudi Arabia), with 33% of adults aged over 20 ...

and more »


TheHealthSite

National Nutrition Week 2014: 5 reasons your school-going child needs better ...
TheHealthSite
Nutrition is something we all usually take for granted. It is a common belief that if you eat some fruits and have food cooked at home it is a recipe for a healthy life full of nutrition. This belief often percolates to our children too. That tall ...
Street plays mark National Nutrition Week in KolkataBig News Network.com
World Vision India to observe National Nutrition Weekindiablooms

all 6 news articles »


Businessweek

Tossing the First Lady's Lunch
Businessweek
As superintendent of the Fort Thomas Independent School District in northern Kentucky, Gene Kirchner oversees 3,000 students who buy about 1,400 cafeteria lunches each day. At least they used to. Since federal school lunch nutrition requirements ...

and more »


Pilot randomized trial demonstrating reversal of obesity-related abnormalities ...
Nature.com
The intervention was delivered in-person to groups of 15–20 participants by nutrition professionals with experience in behavioral weight management programs. There was a total of nineteen 60-min didactic and support group sessions to deliver during the ...



CNN

Fuel right! 9 triathlon nutrition rules
CNN
(Triathlete.com) -- A solid nutrition strategy will help your body make the most out of all your hours swimming, biking and running. We asked registered dietitian and multiple Ironman finisher Lauren Antonucci for her top nine rules for beginner ...



TheHealthSite

National Nutrition Week 2014: Why we need to make better food choices
TheHealthSite
Good and adequate nutrition sets the foundation of a healthy living. A balanced nutrition when coupled with required physical activity and salutary lifestyle helps keep diseases and disorders at an arm's length. With so much being talked about on the ...



UK parliamentarians seek health warning, nutrition content on liquor labels
Gant Daily
London, United Kingdom (4E) – A group of U.K. parliamentarians want to introduce a law requiring all alcoholic drinks in the country to include a health warning and nutritional content in their labels. The proposal is one of 10 the All-Party ...

and more »


United States Department of Agriculture nutrition guidelines expanded for students
Journal of the San Juan Islands
“We are delighted with the changes coming this school year to make all foods in our schools healthier and consistent with nutrition education taught in our classrooms,” said Wendy Weyer, Director of Nutrition Services for Seattle Public Schools. “We ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.