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    CaptSaltyJack's Avatar
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    Scientific evidence that man was not eating grains 10,000+ years ago?

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    You know, I never thought to really ask.. but.. where is the scientific evidence that man did not eat grains 10,000+ years ago, as Mark states in his book? Because corn WAS growing in certain parts of the world, and it is edible in its raw state (except for GM corn), and actually the corn of yesterday had higher protein content.

    I'm a heavy PB'er, BTW, and have had great success ditching grains. In case anyone thought I was a pro-grain troll. I'm just looking for facts to back up my.. er.. debates I get into with people.

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    10000 years ago was when we started consuming them en masse. We ate some grains before then, but natural selection doesn't work unless it is enough to affect ability to reproduce. And since grains are biologically designed to harm those who eat them, it would likely take a massive overhall of the human digestive system, which didn't really happen. I think the grains assumed that we would be smart enough to realize that grains were bad for us and stop eating them...

    There is Cordain's original grains article. It mentions the agricultural revolution and has citations for most of its statements.

    http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles...%20article.pdf
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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    Early corn was teosinte, nothing like corn from later on. It had to be bred for hundreds of years to get all that starch and the heavy ears.

    And wheat wasn't a high-gluten grain until the Middle Ages. Remember the Bible talking about breaking bread? It was all flat bread until the high gluten wheat appeared in Germany, so that the bread would rise. I've read theories that the big epidemics in Europe in the late Middle Ages were due to immune problems from eating high-gluten wheat. Those who couldn't adapt at least a little died out.

    They can tell when grain became a common food, because they find the grinding stones. Grain has to be ground up and cooked before it can be eaten. At the same time, they find that humans lost about six inches of height, and started having a lot of degenerative diseases. The teeth got rotten or missing, the bones had osteoporosis, the joints had arthritis. None of that before grains showed up and people started a settled existence depending on them for calories.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptSaltyJack View Post
    You know, I never thought to really ask.. but.. where is the scientific evidence that man did not eat grains 10,000+ years ago ...?
    Basically, he did. He didn't cultivate grain, before that he gathered.

    And actually people were doing this quite extensively far earlier than is often assumed:

    ... 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. ...

    Deep in this cave, they uncovered dozens of stone tools, animal bones and plant remains indicative of prehistoric dietary practices. The discovery of several thousand starch grains on the excavated plant grinders and scrapers showed that wild sorghum was being brought to the cave and processed systematically.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ets121409.php

    It's the systematic processing in the cave that's interesting, of course.

    There used to be rather unrealistic theories among archaeologists over why people would choose to farm - as if people back then were sitting around making rationalist decisions on a cost-benefit basis. That over-values the rational in human life (and probably reflects cultural assumptions of our own). There can also be a hint of Marxism at times - that not being unknown among academics back in the old days - it being assumed that culture is merely "superstructure" and economics the "base".

    But, really, how can you evaluate the economic benefits of farming when you have no idea what an agricultural way of life would be like? It's a "teleological trap" in the theorist's thinking.

    In fact, agriculture probably came about accidentally as a kind of by-product of cultural activity. People were likely leaving gathered grain at ritual sites as offerings, which led to its sprouting and becoming established there. Similarly, shamanic beliefs about animals probably led to people corralling them to have a supply available for sacrifice. Back at the end of the 19th century Eduard Hahn had suggested that "The economic uses of the animal would have been a by-product of a domestication religious in origin". But such suggestions were forgotten for a long time.

    I don't know about debates with people as to what they should eat. There would be some interesting things to be said about over-consumption of starchy foods among current populations I guess. Insulin resistance isn't arising for no reason. And its effects are all around us in the form of people's bellies, and in conditions like type-2 diabetes. On a podcast the other day Rob Wolf even claimed it has a role to play in male-pattern baldness. Perhaps so. I guess the other side of it is under-consumption of healthy fats, and I'm not really sure what's driving what. If I cut the visible fat off my meat, don't put butter on my vegetables, buy low-fat products, and so on and so forth, because of the insitutionalized panic that's resulted in the wake of the lipid hypothesis, then I guess I end up eating even more calories in the form of carbohydrate.

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    Eamon's Avatar
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    Or here,
    Jared Diamond's original paper on grain cultivation, health, surplus, and civilization.

    http://www.environnement.ens.fr/pers...ed_diamond.pdf

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    Eamon, what a fascinating link! Just read it through to its thought - provoking conclusion.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eamon View Post
    Or here,
    Jared Diamond's original paper on grain cultivation, health, surplus, and civilization.

    http://www.environnement.ens.fr/pers...ed_diamond.pdf
    Yes, some good points there, although he hasn't really got anything on why farming would have arisen.

    And he has got rather carried away with the "evils of farming", which he makes to encompass just about everything he can think of:

    Women in agricultural societies were sometimes made beasts of burden. In New guinea farming communities today, I often see women staggering under loads of vegetables and firewood while the men walk empty-handed.
    The same was true of hunting communities. Samuel Hearne was told by Canadian indians that his big mistake on his first expedition was not negotiating with them for women to carry all the equipment. That was often the way it went in pre-modern society I'm afraid.

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    I agree with Stabby...it's conceivable that humans ate some morsels of grain once in a while...but it didn't constitute the majority of our calories, or even a significant portion for that matter. Besides, grain that was eaten pre-agricultural revolution is nothing compared to the GM grain we see today.

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    Acteon's Avatar
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    >They can tell when grain became a common food, because they find the grinding stones.

    Not entirely true, in Africa, wheat is grounded by using a hollow piece of wood and it is pounded

    http://www.wrightschool.org/eaglesafrica.html

    Such a device, when abandoned would quickly rot leaving no traces of it centuries later. It is possible though to know some things through isotope analysis of the teeth:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotope_analysis

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    here's something to add to the debate; go buy (or better yet, go pick) some unhulled grain (a feed store may be the only place to get this). take it home and try to make it edible w/o any of our modern utensils.....in other words, if you ever get the husk off, grind it w a couple rocks or just chew some up.
    it's just not worth it.

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