dietary evolution...

The incidence of diseases such as heart disease and cancer is soaring. Researchers looking at their relationship to diet and lifestyle, suggest that our bodies may genetically be best adapted to unprocessed foods, or foods in their most natural state.

Yes, it is the twenty-first century – but your body is probably still programmed for life in the Middle Ages, or even the Stone Age! Our ancestors ate very basic foods, most of them in their natural state. It is increasingly being speculated that the rapid changes resulting from developments in food production have not allowed enough time for our genes to adapt to a diet of processed and refined foods, predisposing us to many diseases and health problems.

The Human Body and Its Environment
Our genetic make-up, inherited from our ancestors, represents the way people’s bodies have adapted to their environment over many centuries. Our environment includes lifestyle conditions and diet, and it is likely that the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals about 10,000 years ago, and the industrial and technological developments of the past century, brought about dietary changes too rapid and extreme for our bodies to cope with. Many of the health problems and diseases of the modern, western world could therefore result from our ancient, genetic biology not being able to adapt to our rapidly changing environment.

The Diets of Our Ancestors
Our ancestors’ diets were determined by the foods available to them, but they had certain aspects in common. These diets were very different to our current Western diet, giving clues as to why our eating habits may be causing chronic disease.

1/3 of ALL Cancer Deaths are Related to Nutrition Chronic Diseases
Statistics of diseases of the Western world related to diet are astonishing. In the US for example:

» 65% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.
» Some 300,000 deaths per year are estimated to be attributable to obesity.
» More than 64 million people have one or more types of cardiovascular disease.
» 38.5% of all deaths are linked to cardiovascular disease.
» 50 million people have high blood pressure.
» 37 million have high cholesterol levels.
» 25% of deaths in the US are cancer related.
» One-third of all cancer deaths are related to nutrition.

Our Diets Today
More than 70% of the energy in the typical Western diet comes from foods that would not have been part of our ancestral diets. These foods include:
» refined vegetable oils
» refined sugars
» refined grains
» processed dairy products
» alcohol

Most of the foods we eat bear minimal resemblance to the foods our bodies are programmed to require. Almost a third of the energy in the Western diet comes from ‘empty-calorie’ foods that provide hardly any micronutrients

In Conclusion...
Chronic lifestyle diseases related to diet affecting 50-65% of adults are the main cause of death in the US and most westernised countries. We often try to identify a single dietary cause for chronic disease, such as a high intake of saturated fat being associated with heart disease. However, most ‘diseases of lifestyle’ are related to a range of lifestyle and dietary elements. Why not change your eating habits to include more unprocessed foods, or foods in their most natural state – a diet that your body may genetically be better adapted to?


» More Health Bites... click here