I've been reading Spencer Wells's Pandora's Seed. He mentions the cavity rate among hunter-gatherers was around 5%, whereas after growing, cultivating and eating wheat as a main staple the cavity rate during the early parts of the neolithic era was more like 25%. We may have been gathering wheat as hunter-gatherers, but it definitely wasn't a huge part of their diet. In fact, he says that the bulk of their calories came from vegetation.
Which makes me wonder, should they really be called gatherer-hunters? He doesn't explicitly say it, but it seems like hunting was always secondary to gathering. Only when gathering failed did we turn to hunting.
He also states that females were held in higher regard than males because they were the gatherers of food and bearers of life. If meat from hunting was their primary food source, then men, who did the hunting, might be the ones held in higher regard as the primary providers of food for the group.
Just gets me thinking a bit about how much meat to vegetables we should really be eating.
Last edited by Steve-O; 07-09-2010 at 05:49 AM.
Actually this stuff is relatively settled science (as ancient studies goes) and laid out in lots of interesting layperson friendly books. Marks version of the story is consistent with all the prehistory / anthro that Ive read. Read some Jared Diamond if you want to learn lots of good stuff about early man, hunter gatherers, etc. Man hunted enough to cause the extinction of all the mega- mammals on the N American continent many thousands of years ago - the giant American camels and ground sloths disappeared soon after man arrived, for instance.
We were not eating many if any grains until about 10 000 years ago, and even then only in a couple of places, most of the world continued as hunters or at least herders for a few thousand years beyond that.
It wasn't really something he got into. The point of the book wasn't to examine the nutrition, diets and health/mortality rates of hunter-gatherers during their different times on Earth. There were obviously times, conditions, and environments where hunting was the only way to get food.
The point of the book is actually how survival means adapting and how humans have done it very well. And if some people only had meat available, then that's what they ate. I was just talking about primary versus secondary. If enough vegetation wasn't available, then hunting happened.
It wasn't that the nutrition from the meat that made us smarter. It was creating tools, figuring out how to out smart our prey, and generally adapting to new (sometimes harsh) climates and conditions that evolved our brains over relatively little time. The last ice age really changed things dramatically.
He also mentions that people during hunter-gatherer times were very non-confrontational (because there were so much room for everyone to do what they wanted), and didn't exert more energy than what was absolutely necessary. If enough vegetation was available from women gathering, I can't see how the men then wanted to risk their lives hunting--unless absolutely necessary. In Mark's meat-eating blog post, he even mentions that man probably wasn't meant to eat meat, but we adapted well too it.
Not trying to stir anything up. Just got me thinking about how with unlimited vegetables, meat and grains available today, what should the ratios really be (for adults) if we want to truly emulate the ideal/preferred diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Who knows? Maybe we liked meat so much more, it was worth the risks of hunting more and more? I guess it depends on which point in time you want to use.
But one thing is for sure, grains should not be the main staple of our diet. Nasty stuff.
Cabeman agreed with me that people must have done some collecting for a while before they started to cultivate. I didn't say they had been collecting for thousands of years. I didn't speculate about that at all.
In my statement and replies, I use lots of qualifications like "it would seem" and "if". I believe that all of my posts have been written in the style of scientific writing.
For the record, my belief is that it is unhealthy to eat lots of grains at the level espoused by conventional pyramids. I eat maybe five servings of rice or corn per week. (I can't do wheat.) It seems to me that trying to exclude all grains, and white potatoes, from one's diet is a set-up for long-term failure for most people. No corn tortillas, no fresh corn on the cob, no mashed potatoes, no jasmine rice, no fried rice, etc.
I am not "on" PB. However, I have been doing very close to it, but with a little daily grain or potatoes for about a month. I feel better than any time in decades. (I'm 67 and feel 35.) I feel great. I have shifted from burning carbs to burning fat. I usually only have the grains/potatoes at dinner. There are still some things that will take a while to heal. I see no possible benefits of excluding grains/potatoes that would outweigh the pleasure they bring.
I'm thinking more and more that some of these foods that paleo man ate weren't necessarily good for him, despite being part of "the paleo diet". Paleo man would eat anything that didn't kill him right away, because starvation is worse than some medium-grade inflammation, and his goals are far-removed from ours. We want optimal vitality, immunity, and longevity; paleo man wanted to live to see his next birthday. Also, all of these terrestrial tribes subsisting on jungle foragings can't really be considered to be the optimal food for humans. Whatever it was that facilitated the evolution into modern day homo sapiens was the optimal human food, as it made us what we are, everything else is an adaptation. We are absolutely terrible at converting ALA to DHA, and human brains require a lot of DHA. And considering what Cordain has supplied us with in the way of empirical evidence, grains are clearly not an adaptation up to the level that meat and vegetables are. Then again I don't think that the muscle meat of animals beyond a certain point is very good for us either. More muscle meat was available than would make a human optimally healthy, but it would have been eaten because once the fat and gelatin are used up, paleo man is still likely hungry.
In my opinion speculation as to "what grok did" is only useful as a means to form a testable hypothesis and should carry no weight on its own. And it is difficult to pinpoint what an ideal condition rather than a tolerable condition is without the presupposition of what an ideal condition would be, which would beg the question.
Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.
Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!
I am deliberately not commenting.....much like I should have consciously done in that other thread.
Loren Cordain July, 2010
Currently there’s an epidemic of type 2 diabetes (T2D) worldwide, especially in Westernized countries. T2D is characterized by persistent elevated glucose levels due to disrupted insulin action or an alteration in pancreatic insulin production1.
It was estimated that 171 million people were suffering from T2D in 2001, with a total overall population prevalence of 6%. More alarming is the fact that in Caucasian adolescents 4% suffer from T2D and 25% are glucose intolerant1. However, T2D prevalence in hunter-gatherer societies is low2-6, and even nonexistent in the island of Kitava in Trobiand Islands in Papua New Guinea3.
Genetics does not seem to explain the difference, because when these populations are Westernized they suffer even more from diseases of civilization such as T2D, obesity, myocardial infarction and stroke among others7-10 than original Western populations. Furthermore, there’s evidence showing that hunter-gatherer populations can reverse T2D when they are resettled in their ancient habitat8, a fact that has been demonstrated in two recent clinical trials conducted on Western populations11, 12.
Insulin resistance seems to be one of the factors involved in T2D which is caused, by low-grade chronic inflammation13-15 among other factors. Interestingly, low-grade chronic inflammation is a hallmark16-19 in T2D patients.
Considering these factors, it seems plausible that the nutrition introduced with the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago played an important role in the current diabetes epidemic in Westernized populations. Western foods are overload with antinutrients, namely lectins, saponins and gliadin, which may explain the great disparity between paleolithic and modern Western food when it comes to metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes). There is evidence showing that antinutrients act as endocrine disrupting substances, promoting metabolic syndrome20. On the other hand, antinutrients may elicit their negative health effects through increased intestinal permeability21. However, scant evidence exists regarding the role of antinutrients in the aetiology of Western diseases.
Gliadin and increased intestinal permeability
One of the most studied foods in the recent years is wheat, which contains a protein called gliadin, and is part of the gluten protein family22. Gliadin increases gut permeability by means of Zonulin production (a protein that regulates in tight junctions between cells in the wall of the digestive tract) in the gut enterocytes (epithelial cells found in the small intestines and colon). Zonulin binds the CXCR3 chemokine receptor leading to intracellular signalling cascades, mediated by protein kinase C (PKC), which ultimately causes disruption of the tight junction proteins which maintain the gut barrier function, and lead to increased gut permeability23, 24.
In addition, when intestinal permeability is increased, gliadin - which is resistant to heat and digestive enzymes - is able to interact with gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) stimulating the innate immune system, leading to low-grade chronic inflammation22, 24. Several studies have demonstrated that gliadin induces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (a small protein released by cells that has a specific effect on the interactions between cells, communications between cells or the behavior of cells), independent of one’s genetic predisposition to celiac disease – which is virtually everyone23, 25, 26.
Lectins and increased gut permeability
Lectins are a family of glycoproteins (a complex protein containing a carbohydrate combined with a simple protein) found in the plant kingdom, including grains, legumes and solanacous plants (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers)21, 27. Lectins also have the ability to bind sugar containing molecules. They were first studied for their ability to agglutinate (cause to adhere) red blood cells by binding to their cell membranes. Many lectins present in other foods are harmless, but some lectins found in grains, legumes and solanaceous plants have been shown to be harmful to human physiology28. Lectins are resistant to heat (unless cooked by pressure cooking)29 and digestive enzymes38, and therefore arrive intact when they reach the intestinal epithelium, passing through the intestinal barrier into peripheral circulation. Lectins are able to bind peripheral tissues, producing many deleterious health effects21. Furthermore, lectins disrupt intestinal barrier and immunological function when they bind surface glycans (a carbohydrate polymer containing simple sugars) on gut epithelial cells, causing cellular disruption and increasing gut permeability. Lectins also facilitate the growth of certain bacteria strains, stimulate T-cell proliferation, increase intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAM), stimulate production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, TNF-alpha, etc.), and amplify HLA class II molecules expression, among other effects21.
Saponins and increased gut permeability
Saponins are glycoalkaloids (a family of poisons commonly found in the plant species Solanum dulcamara - nightshades) produced by plants, technically known as steroid glycosides or triterpenoids, are formed by a sugar compound (glucuronic acid, glucose or galactose, among others) and aglycone (non-sugar molecule) portion30-32. The aglycone portion binds the cholesterol molecule on gut cell membranes. When certain amounts of saponins bind cell membrane cholesterol molecules of the intestinal epithelial cells at a 1:1 ratio, the sugar portion of the saponins bind together, resulting in a complex molecule consisting of cholesterol and saponins. This new molecule disrupts the gut barrier and increases intestinal permeability. This has been shown in humans who consume a diet rich in alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine - two of the saponins found in potatoes31.
On the other hand, saponins have adjuvant-like activity, which means that they are able to affect the immune system leading to pro-inflammatory cytokine production33, 34, ultimately inducing insulin resistance.
Intestinal permeability and endotoxemia
Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.
Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!
Intestinal epithelia act as a physical barrier between the outside and the inside of the body, meaning that the intestinal lumen is technically outside the organism. When the intestinal barrier is disrupted, it allows increased passage of gut luminal antigens derived from food, bacteria and viruses into the organism21. In case of bacteria derived antigens, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the most commonly studied and utilized antigen to induce acute immune stimulation, this is known as endotoxemia (the presence of endotoxins - a toxin that forms an integral part of the cell wall of certain bacteria - in the blood which may cause hemorrhages, necrosis of the kidneys, and shock)35. In addition, endotoxemia is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and T2D13, 18, 36. In a recent human study it was demonstrated that LPS induced low-grade chronic inflammation in adipose tissue in T2D36 humans.
LPS-TLR4 interaction and low-grade chronic inflammation
The innate immune system is localised in the GALT. When luminal antigens pass through the intestinal barrier, they are phagocited (consumed) by dendritic cells or macrophagues, key components of the innate immune system. Dendritic cells or macrophagues recognize antigens through a family of receptors known as Toll-like receptors (TLR). The best studied and known antigens from gram negative bacteria are LPS which interact with toll-like receptors-4 (TLR4), inducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and ultimately insulin resistance and T2D35. Interestingly, a recently published study demonstrated increased TLR4 expression in T2D humans, contributing to an increased inflammatory state37.
In summary, antinutrients introduced with the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago may be one of the causal factors in the epidemic of obesity, (as well as T2D) in Western countries. Lectins, saponins and gliadin increase intestinal permeability and allow increased passage of gut bacteria from intestinal lumen to peripheral circulation. LPS - an antigen found in gram-negative bacteria cell membranes - interacts with TLR-4, leading to inflammatory cytokine production and low-grade chronic inflammation, which is at the root of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is recognised to induce the metabolic syndrome, including T2D. Endotoxemia-induced insulin resistance in T2D patients may be exacerbated, in part, by antinutrients.
- Stumvoll M, Goldstein BJ, van Haeften TW. Type 2 diabetes: principles of pathogenesis and therapy. Lancet 2005;365(9467):1333-46.
- Joffe BI, Jackson WP, Thomas ME, Toyer MG, Keller P, Pimstone BL. Metabolic responses to oral glucose in the Kalahari Bushmen. British medical journal 1971;4(5781):206-8.
- Lindeberg S, Eliasson M, Lindahl B, Ahren B. Low serum insulin in traditional Pacific Islanders--the Kitava Study. Metabolism: clinical and experimental 1999;48(10):1216-9.
- Merimee TJ, Rimoin DL, Cavalli-Sforza LL. Metabolic studies in the African pygmy. The Journal of clinical investigation 1972;51(2):395-401.
- Spielman RS, Fajans SS, Neel JV, Pek S, Floyd JC, Oliver WJ. Glucose tolerance in two unacculturated Indian tribes of Brazil. Diabetologia 1982;23(2):90-3.
- Zimmet P. Epidemiology of diabetes and its macrovascular manifestations in Pacific populations: the medical effects of social progress. Diabetes care 1979;2(2):144-53.
- Cruickshank JK, Mbanya JC, Wilks R, Balkau B, McFarlane-Anderson N, Forrester T. Sick genes, sick individuals or sick populations with chronic disease? The emergence of diabetes and high blood pressure in African-origin populations. International journal of epidemiology 2001;30(1):111-7.
- O'Dea K. Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984;33(6):596-603.
- O'Dea K, Spargo RM, Akerman K. The effect of transition from traditional to urban life-style on the insulin secretory response in Australian Aborigines. Diabetes care 1980;3(1):31-7.
- O'Dea K, Spargo RM, Nestel PJ. Impact of Westernization on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in Australian Aborigines. Diabetologia 1982;22(3):148-53.
- Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahren B, et al. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovascular diabetology 2009;8:35.
- Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, et al. A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007;50(9):1795-807.
- Fernandez-Real JM, Pickup JC. Innate immunity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM 2008;19(1):10-6.
- Reyna SM, Ghosh S, Tantiwong P, et al. Elevated toll-like receptor 4 expression and signaling in muscle from insulin-resistant subjects. Diabetes 2008;57(10):2595-602.
- Song MJ, Kim KH, Yoon JM, Kim JB. Activation of Toll-like receptor 4 is associated with insulin resistance in adipocytes. Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2006;346(3):739-45.
- Duncan BB, Schmidt MI. The epidemiology of low-grade chronic systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes technology & therapeutics 2006;8(1):7-17.
- Kimberly MM, Cooper GR, Myers GL. An overview of inflammatory markers in type 2 diabetes from the perspective of the clinical chemist. Diabetes technology & therapeutics 2006;8(1):37-44.
- Pickup JC. Inflammation and activated innate immunity in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care 2004;27(3):813-23.
- Spranger J, Kroke A, Mohlig M, et al. Inflammatory cytokines and the risk to develop type 2 diabetes: results of the prospective population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam Study. Diabetes 2003;52(3):812-7.
- Jonsson T, Olsson S, Ahren B, Bog-Hansen TC, Dole A, Lindeberg S. Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence--do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance? BMC endocrine disorders 2005;5:10.
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- Bernardo D, Garrote JA, Fernandez-Salazar L, Riestra S, Arranz E. Is gliadin really safe for non-coeliac individuals? Production of interleukin 15 in biopsy culture from non-coeliac individuals challenged with gliadin peptides. Gut 2007;56(6):889-90.
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Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.
Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!