Consider this: the eating habits of human beings have evolved over the last hundred thousand years. But unlike most of the other evolutionary changes, our eating habits may not really lead to the survival of the fittest. Just the opposite in fact, our eating habits may in fact lead to the extinction of the fittest!
How you ask? We will come back to that. But you must remember that early man and woman was never obese. Our diet then was determined by what we could kill with our primitive weapons or what we could find on the ground or pick from trees within our reach. There was no agriculture, no cultivation and no dairy products. Yet human beings in Paleolithic times showed no signs of osteoporosis. Since there was no agriculture, there was no wheat and bread – yet we were comparatively healthy then. The average life span was much shorter but that was because life was hard. Human died from exposure to extreme weather, becoming food to wild animals, succumbing to infectious diseases. But they definitely did not die from heart disease, lung cancer or hypertension.
As anthropologist Irven DeVore stated: “We were vaulted into the 20th century with the heart, mind and body of a hunter-gatherer.” Fact of the matter is, there has been little genetic evolution of human beings in the last hundred thousand years. The nutritional needs and the habits of prehistoric humans still defines the way we consume food. The food available then was low in Sodium. Since sodium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate the distribution of fluids within the body and is involved in muscle contraction and expansion along with nerve stimulation, we automatically developed an affinity for salt. Because cave dwellers were so highly active, they needed fat (not present in hunted game) and fruit sugars to provide energy. Cravings for these nutrients developed as an evolutionary advantage ensuring survival of the race. These cravings then became embedded in the genes, which is why we still continue to crave these nutrients today!
We evolved to want what we need. We need Vitamin C, so we crave sweet things. But the food choices we make no longer represent the things in the environment that are necessary for our survival. The craving for Vitamin C is now no longer connected to the sweet fruit that we had to climb a tree to eat but rather to the gooey ice cream we can now so easily buy from the corner store. Those same cravings that were originally satisfied by the foods that helped us survive are now satisfied by foods that are slowly killing us bite by bite.
In our quest for abundance and variety, modern day humans have also taken away the medicinal and therapeutic aspects of food. We use preservatives to make our foods last longer but at the same time, we also reduce their vitamin content. Instead of eating whole grains, we have processed grains into white flour and white flour products. We have produced a white crystalline chemical known as sugar which we then combine with highly processed white flour so that we can prepare baked goodies that appeal to our ever-demanding tastes. And what’s more, we gorge on these foods in dangerously high amounts. And the result: Obesity, degenerative illnesses, cancer, elevated cholesterol, problems of the lower bowel and diabetes. The refined foods that we continue to eat in large quantities were never a part of the human evolutionary food chain. They have been created for mass appeal and consumption and are merely designed for their entertainment value and not nutritional!
What Can We Do Now
Follow Your Metabolic Type
As you can see, we are a product of the past. If we want to make sense of the present, we only to need look back to our earliest ancestors who roamed the Savannahs and grasslands eating fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. The ones who had to make do with a vegetarian diet because of the geography that they found themselves in, developed a metabolic type that works smoothly on a vegetarian diet.
Our ancestors who lived in cold climates, where fruits and vegetables were scarce, found an abundance of fatty meats. These people developed a metabolic state that could accommodate their hybrid diet. Thousands or years have elapsed, but we still carry on the genetic code of our ancient ancestors. People may come in all shapes and sizes, but eventually we can all fit into one of the three metabolic types: fast, slow and mixed. Understanding which metabolic type you fit in is the key to understanding which foods you must eat, what supplements you should consume and what type of exercise plan you should follow to improve your overall health, lose weight and achieve a sense of balance in your life.