Human Diet and Evolution

Since: Aug 14

Lake Villa, IL

#1 Aug 4, 2014
Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it is

Are we more adapted to African fruits and plants?

We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better?

There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets? I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation?

Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#2 Aug 4, 2014
Why are you spamming the same question across multiple threads in the same forum?

Don't you like kittens?

Since: Oct 14

Alexandria, VA

#3 Oct 6, 2014
The Dude wrote:
Why are you spamming the same question across multiple threads in the same forum?
Don't you like kittens?
Why are you on almost every thread? Don't you have a life?

“Do not bend, fold, staple or”

Level 9

Since: Jan 11

mutilate. Point down range.

#4 Oct 6, 2014
makingmoves123 wrote:
Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it is
Are we more adapted to African fruits and plants?
We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better?
There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets? I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation?
Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?
No, humans are not suited to eat many of the same foods as chimpanzees and gorillas. We have far less jaw strength than gorillas and chimpanzees as well. Humans are capable of eating a variety of foods however, and we generally do well with even foreign proteins as attested by the variety of exotic fruits, vegetable, meat and fish that are consumed around the world. Most of the undeveloped countries eat more staple foods because that is what is available, but in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia we are presented with a much greater array of foodstuffs for consumption.

There is no indication that we digest plant material from Africa better than from other sources. What is known is that eating raw food requires far larger volumes of food to provide nutrition than if we eat cooked food. We are adapted to eating cooked food. The cooking process makes many nutrients more readily available as well as killing off parasites and pathogens.

It appears to be all the same in general. There have been adaptations that have opened up new food sources for us, such as the mutations allowing lactase persistence. There are also population differences in preference, but on a whole, we are capable of eating and getting nutrition from a far greater variety of foods than we actually make full use of. A large part of this bounty has been further opened up to us through cooking.

“Do not bend, fold, staple or”

Level 9

Since: Jan 11

mutilate. Point down range.

#5 Oct 6, 2014
perrybb wrote:
<quoted text>
Why are you on almost every thread? Don't you have a life?
Is there a problem being on every thread. This is an open forum. I would point out that you have at least been reading every thread if you are able to determine who is on them and how much. I think you would be better served policing your own time.
The Dude

London, UK

#6 Oct 6, 2014
perrybb wrote:
<quoted text>
Why are you on almost every thread? Don't you have a life?
No, what's it to you anyway?(shrug)

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#7 Oct 7, 2014
makingmoves123 wrote:
Let me pose the question better because I now see how poorly written it is
Are we more adapted to African fruits and plants?
We spent a long part of our history evolving and, eating plants and fruits on the continent of Africa.. Could it be that our bodies obtain nutrients and digest the plants and fruits of Africa better?
There are all these various African fruits and greens we don't eat because we dont have access! I mean our closest relatives the chimps and bonobos eat figs and nuts and various African vegetation in the form of leaves, nuts,berries, etc... Would we as humans be better suited to eating these foods? Or maybe the foods of the African Savannah? We then moved out Africa and starting eating diets of the local foods that were available to us in various places? Did we start finding better foods and more nutritious foods all over the world and that's why we now incorporate them into our diets? I know we can survive anywhere obviously as we have been doing it since we left Africa....but are we still more adapted to these African foods? Or is it the all about being able to obtain nutrients from any plants and fruits regardless of where they are from? I could be eating blueberries and wild dandelions right now in North America, or I could be eating an African wild Fruit with African greens...Or since white people are European is it that they would be more adapted to eaten European vegetation?
Or once again does it not matter.... Is it all the same as long as we digest and obtain nutrients regardless of where they come from.?
That is a question which has inspired the whole Paleo food movement - the idea that our diet should more closely reflect pre-agricultural paleolithic diets that humans subsisted on for 2-4 million years before agriculture.

However the evidence we have does not support a fruitarian diet African or otherwise. Fruits are a valuable item but it appears that humans, especially once acquiring larger brains, have lived on a diet of meats and tubers more than anything. Perhaps it was a shift to more concentrated animal sources that enabled the development of larger brains in the first place.

Chimps eat quite a lot of meat in the wild, in many cases by organised hunting. Gorillas very little but even they will eat insects and the occasional carcase.

Human artefacts of hunting and stone smashed bones (to extract the valuable fatty marrow) appear from more than a million years ago. Not only have our jaws shrunk significantly, but so have our colons, which are less than half the size of a chimp's and a third the size of a gorilla's.

Colons house bacteria that digest the rough fibre we cannot digest directly, feeding us with short chain fatty acids such as butyrate and propionate from these fibres. The shrinkage of this organ in our anatomy suggests a long ago transition to more digestible fats and carbohydrates as can be found in tiger nuts (still a primate favourite), root tubers, and of course animal food sources. So we still need the fibrous vegetable sources ideally, but also meatier nutrition.

Another interesting point is the the first pattern of human migration out of Africa about 60-90,000 years ago seems to have followed the coastline all the way from Arabia, around India, and down to South East Asia, before major inland adventures. Looks like these guys were relying in sea food quite heavily.

“Do not bend, fold, staple or”

Level 9

Since: Jan 11

mutilate. Point down range.

#8 Oct 7, 2014
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
That is a question which has inspired the whole Paleo food movement - the idea that our diet should more closely reflect pre-agricultural paleolithic diets that humans subsisted on for 2-4 million years before agriculture.
However the evidence we have does not support a fruitarian diet African or otherwise. Fruits are a valuable item but it appears that humans, especially once acquiring larger brains, have lived on a diet of meats and tubers more than anything. Perhaps it was a shift to more concentrated animal sources that enabled the development of larger brains in the first place.
Chimps eat quite a lot of meat in the wild, in many cases by organised hunting. Gorillas very little but even they will eat insects and the occasional carcase.
Human artefacts of hunting and stone smashed bones (to extract the valuable fatty marrow) appear from more than a million years ago. Not only have our jaws shrunk significantly, but so have our colons, which are less than half the size of a chimp's and a third the size of a gorilla's.
Colons house bacteria that digest the rough fibre we cannot digest directly, feeding us with short chain fatty acids such as butyrate and propionate from these fibres. The shrinkage of this organ in our anatomy suggests a long ago transition to more digestible fats and carbohydrates as can be found in tiger nuts (still a primate favourite), root tubers, and of course animal food sources. So we still need the fibrous vegetable sources ideally, but also meatier nutrition.
Another interesting point is the the first pattern of human migration out of Africa about 60-90,000 years ago seems to have followed the coastline all the way from Arabia, around India, and down to South East Asia, before major inland adventures. Looks like these guys were relying in sea food quite heavily.
Nice. This adds to, corrects and helps refine my thoughts on this subject.

I should have remembered the colon, but I only consider it periodically.

I think the growing evidence supports the development of our brains on changes in diet to more nutritionally dense foods. I have often been curious if our relationship with dogs had any influence on our mental development, but that is too recent and a different discussion.

Sea food! Then we were pretty well developed at that point.

You mentioned the Paleo food movement before. I haven't yet checked it out, but it would fit my slow, but definite, move away from processed foods. It sounds like it might provide some new and interesting ideas to support that front. I understand that it has been said, "If it has more than three ingredients, it isn't food".

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#9 Oct 7, 2014
DanFromSmithville wrote:
<quoted text>Nice. This adds to, corrects and helps refine my thoughts on this subject.
I should have remembered the colon, but I only consider it periodically.
I think the growing evidence supports the development of our brains on changes in diet to more nutritionally dense foods. I have often been curious if our relationship with dogs had any influence on our mental development, but that is too recent and a different discussion.
Sea food! Then we were pretty well developed at that point.
You mentioned the Paleo food movement before. I haven't yet checked it out, but it would fit my slow, but definite, move away from processed foods. It sounds like it might provide some new and interesting ideas to support that front. I understand that it has been said, "If it has more than three ingredients, it isn't food".
A fun site is Mark's Daily Apple, which discusses the primal or paleo approach quite well and includes approaches to exercise etc too. The whole Paleo thing takes on the same dogmatic overtones as every other movement at times, but read with an open yet critical mind, there is a lot of value in it.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/welcome-to-mar...

I tend to eat few grains esp bread, avoid seed vegetable oils or large amounts of sugar, and stick to low levels of low glycemic carbs. Eat real food. Meat, eggs, veg. But it gets more interesting than that when you look into it.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#10 Oct 7, 2014
DanFromSmithville wrote:
<quoted text>
I should have remembered the colon, but I only consider it periodically.
Roughly once a day at least I hope.

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