View Full Version : A deeper look at Evolutionary Fitness
05-04-2009, 05:33 PM
I wrote this essay up for my blog but was curious what everyones thoughts here would be. Here is an excerpt
"This is the common appeal to the archetypal paleo man we are lead to believe we are really the same as underneath the modern lifestyle and should try to live like.
There are two problems with this one there is no archetypal paleo man, evolution is process of constant change of adapting to changing contexts with what is available and we are never optimally designed for anything there are costs and benefits to every thing and there is a tremendous amount of individual variation finally we are not cavemen in modern clothing evolution did not stop 10,000 years ago."
You can read the whole post here http://naturalathletics.blogspot.com/2009/04/deeper-look-evolutionary-fitness.html
I don't want to copy it over in full because I don't want to have to do all the formatting hotlinking etc again.
05-05-2009, 01:12 AM
Rafe, I thought the article was refreshing. I'd been wondering about the claim that we were simply Paleo humans transplanted into a modern environment and there had been no significant evolutionary changes or adaptations to agriculture.
I think the evolution of blood types also shows clearly that there have been significant evolutionary changes in recent times - A & B if I'm not mistaken have been around for about 10,000 years while AB is a matter of centuries.
As far as applying conclusions from the article to one's own diet and training, I still think the majority of people do better without grains because they are descended from populations that ate a meat-based diet. Looking at your ancestry should provide some clues to what kind of diet and training is optimal to you. However in the end it will be a matter of trial and error, since so many people are of mixed descent.
05-06-2009, 12:21 AM
Yeah there is tons of evidence we are not just cavemen with better fashion sense but a deep look at the evidence is rarely behind any trend.
As far as Grains I am open to the argument they are unhealthy to some degree for everybody if there is good science to show it. However I a think arguing from an evolutionary stand point would indicate that properly used there is significant portion of the worlds population that can do quite nicely with grains as part of their diet. The lifestyle diseases that typify americans are no more common among the rice scarfing okiniwans then the are among high cholesterol eating french, the evil grains hypothesis just replaces one hypothesis for the cause of all dietary ills that doesn't accord with fact with another that equally doesn't accord with fact. You have look at where you come from and how your body responds to different nutrients.
If your native American, sub Saharan African, or aboriginal grains are likely poison to you but if your Chinese or Thai some rice in your diet is unlikely to be huge problem, if your Lebanese or Iranian wheat is probably not to be bad for you baring celiacs disease.
I know for myself I can eat tons of grain maintain weight and perform well I have traveled in places were that was the only option however if I want to cut weight cutting grains out is the fastest route. There is difference between what is optimal for fat loss and what is optimal for performance though. I eat a high fat paleoish diet, because it works for me and I enjoy it I just think that people are getting carried away in touting Paleo as the be all and end all of diet based on rather flimsy arguments. We have to aware of individual and population level differences and understand optimal diet may vary.
05-06-2009, 06:59 AM
It's minor point but until fairly recently the staple source of starchy carbohydrates in Okinawa was the sweet potato not rice so their traditional diet has more in common with a hunter-gatherer-agriculturalist diet like that of the Yanomamo than more modern rice based asian diets.
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