Evolution and Nutrition – What we are Programmed to Eat

Evolution and Nutrition - What are we Programmed to Eat

The human specie is around for approximately 2.5 million years now. Throughout this whole time, humans have eaten mostly in the same patterns.

Agriculture has only started to develop 11,000 years ago. That’s when grains have started to be massively produced. Some of the crops were used to feed the animals, while the rest were used for personal consumption.

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So, up until 11,000 years ago, we’ve especially eaten meat, berries, some plants and some fruits, which is what humans have been able to hunt and gather. Grains, which are very rich in carbohydrates have been around for only an extremely small percentage of human evolution.

Think of 11,000 years in the context of 2,5 million years. This is what it actually looks like:

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I think it is pretty clear that we are better equipped to run on meat and high-fat foods rather than high-carb.

Take a look at the general medical guidelines and you’ll see that they recommend somewhere between 50 to 60% carbohydrates, while the rest should be protein and small amounts of fat, which is crazy if you ask me. Only very few people are able to process such amounts of carbohydrates. And people asks themselves why the obesity epidemic. Think again.


Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek – The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

Photo: here, here, and here

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4 Responses to Evolution and Nutrition – What we are Programmed to Eat

  1. Alaister Copland says:

    In her “Lessons from the Vegans” presentation to the Ancestral Health Symposium 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFfK27B_qZY Denise Minger draws our attention to the fact that the metabolic state achieved with very high carbohydrate, very low fat, no oil and non-animal protein diets, for which she coined the term ‘carbosis’, has similar health benefits to ketogenic diets, including weight loss and diabetes cured; not just alleviated but fully cured. It seems, therefore, that we’ve evolved to make efficient use of two nutrient sources, fat AND carbohydrates, probably according to their historical seasonal availability. That being so, it seems entirely plausible that we’re programmed to expect both dietary extremes consistent with to our body’s seasonal rhythms. So, perhaps we should eat accordingly.

    • Chris Chris says:

      context is key…and it depends on what you want to achieve…ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce oxidative stress which along with other non dietary interventions can prolong life span. carbohydrate moderate or rich diets exert higher oxidative stress regardless of the type of carbs as well as the amount…of course, this is just my thought as of now and again context is very important. it may be true, it may be not 🙂 thanks for your insight

  2. Alaister Copland says:

    The context was set by you: “What we are Programmed to Eat”. I’m not debating the advantages or disadvantages of either diet, I’m simply observing we can make efficient use of both and that, historically, seasonal availability must have played a part. I’m concerned that sticking to one or other diet long-term may ultimately be unhealthy and that swapping from one to the other with the seasons may be the healthier lifetime option – the one we’re programmed to expect.

    • Chris Chris says:

      Okay, if you really want me to make a generalization, here it is:

      Higher levels of insulin have been shown to be detrimental to the human body. If you can eat a high-carb diet without spiking insulin levels then go ahead.

      Dont get me wrong: insulin is important, even critical…but the body can make use of it without you having to eat carbs. Second of all, if you did not know, there are essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and guess what: there is no essential carbohydrate.

      In this whole equation I think insulin plays a key role. I enjoyed Denise’s talk. This means that I do not have to agree with everything that she said. And in my case, if I want to live longer, I want lower oxidative stress, lower insulin levels, lower t3, as well as other interventions that I’m currently experimenting with and researching about. This is my personal context.

      When writing this blog I was not aware of many concepts. It does not entirely reflect my current view of the world, but I take responsibility for the post and I will leave it the way it is.

      Not sure if this helps you 🙂

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