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Old 09-08-2009, 06:54 AM   #15
Darryl Shaw
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 681

Originally Posted by Mike Romano View Post
Yes.....but grains are farcry from the types of starches you mentioned.
It's a common misconception that the starchy roots and tubers that were staple foods for the majority of paleolithic hunter-gatherers could just be dug up roasted and eaten. Many of them contained high levels of toxins that required some very creative processing before they could be eaten safely. Cassava for example is a staple food for millions of people around the world today yet it can contain as much as 1g/kg of cyanide; process carefully and you've got lunch get it wrong and.......

So maybe the adoption of grains as a staple food wasn't that big a deal really as they provided a steady supply of calories with no obvious health risks. Also while it's undeniably true that grains are not a natural part of the human diet the same can be said for cassava so all we did really was trade one source of processed starchy carbohydrates for another. They both carried some health risks but thanks to our genes we're able to digest almost any starch and this change in our diet certainly caused us fewer health problems than would have been the case if we'd replaced starchy carbohydrates with fattier meats.

Anyway, to get back to the Tarahumara my hypothesis is simply that regardless of where their staple starchy carbs come from their low saturated fat intake is probably closer to what was the norm for our species before we became proficient hunters and that the increase in hunting and meat consumption that occurred in our recent history although neccessary for our survival causes us some degree of harm.

I should make it clear at this point in order to avoid any pointless arguments that I'm not advocating a vegetarian diet and I think that vegans are misguided idiots, all I'm suggesting is that the Tarahumara's low saturated fat and animal protein intake may be more appropriate for our species than the higher saturated fat and protein intakes that have become the norm in more recent times.

Originally Posted by Mike Romano
Many sources put daily carbohydrate estimates much lower than fat, and slightly higher than protein. Will work on finding these after I finish work.
I'd be interested in seeing your sources but in the meantime you may find this study interesting -

Relating Chimpanzee Diets to Potential Australopithecus Diets.

Originally Posted by Mike Romano
Another study that shows big game was hunted earlier than you claim:
I don't dipute the fact that humans hunted for hundreds of thousands of years before adopting what we now consider to be the modern hunter-gatherer lifestyle ~30,000 years ago it's just that it was more an opportunistic part of a scavenging lifestyle than the organised hunts of later hominds. The fact that we engaged in hunting is hardly surprising though given that chimpanzees are incredibly efficient hunters and even our free-loving cousins the bonobos engage in cooperative hunting (link), so this type of hunting behaviour is just a Hominini thing.

One question about that report on evidence that meat was butchered though; did they find evidence that the meat was scavenged or hunted? The reason I ask is because it's quite common to find that tool marks on bones from around that time overlay the tooth marks of predators and this usually indicates that the meat was scavenged rather than hunted.

Cooperative hunting and meat sharing 400–200 kya at Qesem Cave, Israel.

Last edited by Darryl Shaw; 06-17-2011 at 03:11 AM. Reason: typo
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