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Tibetans evolve in 3000 years

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  • Tibetans evolve in 3000 years

    Some of PB is going to turn out to be wrong. My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs, so I can't predict what will turn out to be wrong.

    One tenet of PB is that 10,000 years isn't enough time for Grok to have evolved much. Perhaps. Recent research suggests that Tibetans evolved to be able to survive with 40% less oxygen in less than 3000 years. Not everyone agrees with the researchers' conclusions, naturally. Scholars earn their living by attacking other scholars' work. But it is thought provoking. Is it really true that we have not evolved enough to eat grains? Just playing devil's advocate.
    Last edited by Harry; 07-04-2010, 09:38 AM.

  • #2
    I love devil's advocate, good stuff. Some humans have indeed adapted to various neolithic foods like cow's milk, to an extent. There was genetic information floating around in the genome that allowed for lactose metabolism into adulthood (it is in mother's milk so we have the ability) whereas without having to adapt to cow's milk such an adaptation would have never had the reason to manifest itself in a population. This is why Mark and most other paleo people believe in formulating a hypothesis based on evolutionary conditions and then testing them empirically. It can be no other way if we want genuine knowledge and not just speculation. Pathology shouldn't be a priori or theoretical, lest we all perish in an untimely manner. WGA, saponins, and various other toxic substances in grains are demonstrably harmful so I can't see those turning out to be not harmful, they are and there's evidence that they are. Same goes for sugar, industrial seed oils, and a whole whack over other stuff we despise. The question is have we evolved mechanisms for preventing the harm of various neolithic foods? In some cases maybe we have, in some cases maybe we haven't, in some cases maybe we have but it's not 100% and we're still harmed. So that's why Mark has been in the habit of citing his sources in blog posts. I bet in a few years when he decides to write a new book, he will have some changes but I doubt it will be much.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


    • #3
      <<One tenant of PB is that 10,000 years isn't enough time for Grok to have evolved much.>>

      PB is a landlord? what type of house or apartment is it renting out?

      i am looking for a new place to live, maybe i can rent from PB too.


      • #4
        Evolution is not about perfection, it is about being simply adequate enough to live long enough to reproduce. If you look across the planet, the diets of humans as we moved out of Africa is quite diverse. If you haven't read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" you should. As the title suggests a main topic of the book is that throughout our history we have been able to figure out what to eat and how to prepare it so it can be eaten. Natural selection has favored the individuals that successfully negotiated poisonous plants and fungi etc: It favored "chefs" and creative problem solving. There's a joke that the first human to see the chicken as edible was a brave individual indeed.

        Then there is the issue of thriving vs just getting by tolerably.
        Can you tolerate a post stoneage/modern agricultural diet? Sure. Look at any Food Court in any mall or airport in America. We can tolerate eating all sorts of crap.

        By way of example: feed lot cattle are stuffed with corn and other grains even though it makes them sick (they are ruminants and evolved to eat grass, not grains) so we pump them full of drugs to keep them alive long enough to get them to slaughter. The cows tolerate corn, sort of, but don't thrive on it.
        Eating what works best is a problem we as a species have dealt with as individuals everyday. What do you feel and operate best on is the question each of us has to answer for ourselves.
        Last edited by couch handy; 07-03-2010, 05:21 AM.
        Free the Kettlebell


        • #5
          Originally posted by paul101 View Post
          <<one tenant of pb is that 10,000 years isn't enough time for grok to have evolved much.>>

          pb is a landlord? What type of house or apartment is it renting out?

          I am looking for a new place to live, maybe i can rent from pb too.


          • #6
            I got to agree with Stabby, some people may be better adapted to eat grains, beans etc and deal with the problematic compounds in them but I think it is clear that as a whole humans haven't got to the stage where they cause no harm. Some foods have more positives that outweigh the risks and in purely survival terms it's worth it just to get to the next day. Some (mainly rawists) use the same logic on cooking. Have we adapted 100% to eating so much cooked food? Who knows. It can cause AGEs/carcinogens/damage etc but it's one thing that helped get us to where we are. Fire and cooking were/are great survival tools too but the benefits definitely outweigh the risk in this case if done properly.

            There is some evidence that humans ate grains earlier than 10,000 years ago, but then they wouldn't have been highly processed and possibly prepared in a way to limit the damage. Then again I'm sure grains wouldn't have been a staple of the diet like they are today. It's part of the evolutionary arms race; anything that can't flee (i.e plants) are probably going to have some defense mechanism so it isn't eaten into extinction. And animals that eat them either learn to deal with the anti-nutrients etc or in the case of humans prepare them to limit the negatives. I'm not 100% sure if all grains are definitely non-primal foods but people would benefit from either avoiding them, or preparing them properly and not having them as a staple. There were some primitive groups that were pretty primal that ate grains and had apparent great health after all.

            Humans are like rats in a sense because given enough time they can adapt to so many different conditions. Milk is a good example of this in some populations. Personally though these days I'm limiting my dairy to only raw grass fed butter, and raw milk twice a month (eventually going to cut out milk and see how I do). Never really been a fan of cheese. Who knows if 10,00 years is enough time but people definitely have changed since for better or worse.
            "My mom made two dishes: Take it or Leave it." -- Stephen Wright, comedian


            • #7
              One reason we are significantly better adapted to drinking milk as adults than to eating grains at all, is that we actually drink milk naturally as babies. I am no expert, but I don't think that we have ever eaten grains prior to 10,000 years ago. We may have eaten all sorts of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, animals, fungi, and plankton. We may have even chemosynthesized at one point. But I am pretty sure we split off from any particular grain eating animal, before they started to eat the grains. Even in 10,000 or so years, we have done a remarkable job of learning to "edibilize" grains, in addition to somewhat adapting to them. I am sure that a 15,000 year old man would fare far worse on SAD than even the disgustingly unhealthy average American today. Some adaptation has gone on, we are not the exact same as 10,000 years ago (but still close enough to follow the PB).


              • #8
                Originally posted by muaythaimike View Post
                There is some evidence that humans ate grains earlier than 10,000 years ago ...
                You can times that by ten.

                The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought, according to a University of Calgary archaeologist who has found the oldest example of extensive reliance on cereal and root staples in the diet of early Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years ago. ...

                This anti-grain thing is a kind of superstition. It comes out of people theorizing about what on the one hand hunter-gatherers and on the other agriculturalists ate without actually having much actual archaeological (or anthropological) knowledge.

                Grains need careful processing - like many other plant foods. This is what you don't get with modern factory bread (ironically enough, considering how commercial foodstuffs are so over-processed in most ways). Australian Aborigines would do things like roast some particular root ... and then grate it and wash it in a stream for twelve hours, as well. You have to know your foodstuffs, and you have to treat them with respect. Aborigines did.

                The other thing is that you can't have over-reliance on one particular foodstuff. Many farming communities subsisted on virtually nothing but bread and beer. Those are the two foods the wild-man Enkidu is introduced to in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, which is perhaps the earliest piece of literature we have:


                You'd find the same among the poorer classes in urban medieval Europe. A benefactor back then once left money for a hand-out of a mug of ale and a piece of bread for any traveller passing through some particular gate at Winchester who asked for it. When Daniel Defoe visited Winchester in the 17th century, the benefaction was still in operation.

                You can eat (good, craft-prepared) bread or beer in moderation. What you can't do is eat them instead of meat, fish, eggs, butter, etc. and stay healthy. You need what's in those other foodstuffs.


                • #9
                  IMO, adapting for low oxygen environment is a little different than adapting to eat grains. The need for oxygen is inescapable, and is a harsher selection criteria (for lack of a better term) than food that may not be optimal, but still somewhat digestable, providing calories, if not optimal nutrition. The deficits from a high grain diet can be made up, eventually, whereas you can't exactly breath a lot now, and only a very little bit for the next 8 weeks or so, the way you can with food (eat a lot in spring, summer and fall, and live on stored fat/hoarded food during the winter).

                  Being unable to survive in a low oxygen environment would likely mean immediate effects-reduced fertility, increased genetic selection, and higher rates of extinction for those that don't meet the requirements.

                  Please forgive the clumsy wording. I know what I'm trying to express, just having a hard time articulating it. And maybe my conjecture is way off base, but it seems logical to me.

                  By way of example: feed lot cattle are stuffed with corn and other grains even though it makes them sick (they are ruminants and evolved to eat grass, not grains) so we pump them full of drugs to keep them alive long enough to get them to slaughter. The cows tolerate corn, sort of, but don't thrive on it.
                  Cattle and other ruminants CAN thrive on grains in appropriate quantities. They specifically search out seed heads in fall to eat, eating the stemmy remains ONLY after all the seeds have been stripped.

                  It is not so much the fact that they are fed grain that is problematic, as it is the ratio of grain:hay (too much grain increases the acidity of the rumen, causing acidosis-which can be chronic or acute) and the concentration of animals in small areas, which causes stress, which affect rumen pH. Some quantity of grain is perfectly natural for ruminants-even corn. Cattle can do VERY well on large quantities of grain as long as the stress is kept low.

                  The medication used to treat acidosis caused by excess grain is - Baking soda and probiotics.

                  Antibiotics ARE used to treat pneumonia caused by stress. They are not used willy-nilly because they are expensive, labor intensive, and increase the risk of acidosis and bloat, AND pathogen resistance. Hormones are not used much anymore-they aren't cost effective. The statements put forth by certain authors that steers cannot finish WITHOUT because of a lack of testosterone are completely false-I've fattened more steers than I can count without hormones. And at remarkable rates of gain. They prey on the general publics lack of knowledge on the realities of finishing meat animals. Every 4H and FFA kid knows that steers (and heifers) finish just fine on hay and grain (and water, of course. And the occasional slick of ice cream. Or peppermint candy...)

                  Please note, however, that being able to flourish on grains is different than producing an optimally O3:O6 balanced meat.
                  Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

                  ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~