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An evolutionary perspective on nutrition

Evolutionary Nutrition is the study of the changing diet of our ancestors, and the effects these changes had on our health and disease patterns. This study is relatively easy where we have documentary evidence, such as in the case of classical Greece, but it becomes difficult and uncertain when we try to examine the foods and eating habits of our more distant ancestors.
 
To bypass the relative lack of data associated with our hominid and later ancestors, Evolutionary Nutrition uses ethnographic parallels but also indirect ways to obtain the necessary data, based on the fact that our biochemical reactions are very much the same as these of our ancestors no matter how distant these may be. Thus many unknown biochemical as well as physiological reactions that have no explanations, are not only explained by the special viewpoint of Evolutionary Nutrition, but they become sources of an unusual amount of information.

The careful study of our ancestors' diets shows among other things that they had:

  • A very large variety of plant foods in their diet
  • A diet rich in soluble and insoluble fibers
  • A relatively large number of calorically small meals
  • Virtually all their foods in the raw state with their enzymes intact
  • Separated their proteins and fats from their carbohydrates
  • A balanced but lean diet in terms of animal fats


Connie Lambrou-Phillipson, John Phillipson
Institute of Paleonutrition, Greece

 
 

Holidays in Greece in
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