CARTA: The Evolution of Human Nutrition

CARTA: The Evolution of Human Nutrition

Tracing the evolution of the human diet from our earliest ancestors can lead to a better understanding of human adaptation in the past. It may also offer clues to the origin of many health problems we currently face, such as obesity and chronic disease. This fascinating series of talks focuses on the changing diets of our ancestors and what role these dietary transitions played in the evolution of humans. Leslie C. Aiello (Wenner-Gren Foundation) begins with An Overview of Diet and Evolution, followed by Richard Wrangham (Harvard Univ) on Fire, Starch, Meat, and Honey Steven Leigh (Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) on Diets and Microbes in Primates. [2/2013] [Show ID: 24807]

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50 Comments

  1. 23:23 … Why leave fat out? Protein is not an energy source. Our ancestors were after fat, and probably ate meat because it was there, and tasted pretty good. Fat does not need cooking.

  2. Why is more energy extraction the measure of good/bad? This is a major assumption to make for a Harvard Professor?? If more energy is better, then why not sprinkle the food with high-density glucose sources like cane sugar and honey? I don’t get the reasoning.

  3. Seems to me the thing that’s missing in all these talks about energetics and the crucial requirement for calories and digestibility is … fat. Where is the observation that eating fat would have been the most useful adaptation? Is it digestible compared to carbs and protein? Does it need cooking? I see cooked and pounded carbs and proteins…what? There were huge, fat animals throughout the pleistocene … hello?

  4. Poor research, or just poor conclusions–it’s hard to tell. Nuts and seeds would have had ample fat that all humans need in their diet. The occasional "successful hunt" would have provided even more. Carbs are the luxury foods that make humans obese.

  5. Animal foods are the most difficult to digest and they putrefy in our long intestines, so her theory is thin. Also, chimps are known to use tools and eat meat, but we are studying them, not the other way around. What is it about humans that make us so unique considering we share 98% of our DNA with apes? We use fire to cook, and utilize the starchy storage organs of plants! Our characteristic reduced facial features would be the result of no longer needing to process such intense levels of tough plant fibers which allowed our jaw, lips and teeth to reduce, as well as our reduced guts and also explain our extra copies of amylase, the enzyme that breaks down starches. I think the newer theory about our discovery of plant storage organs in combination with utilizing fire to cook and make nutrients more available makes a whole lot more sense as to why our brains grew, and also explains the reduction of the physical changes in the other areas too. Just because we don’t have concrete proof of the history of fire usage does not mean it didn’t happen long before what we can show so far. Cooked bones fossilize, but how could we quantify cooked plant matter that would not? If meat was such a big player in developing big brains, why aren’t the other apes just as big brained, and why aren’t the true carnivores smartest of all? Also, nature always supplies it’s creations with all the inherent attributes necessary to feed themselves and their young efficiently. I challenge anyone to go out into the wild sans tools and weapons and try to catch even a chipmunk with your native physiology! And IF you somehow manage, you just bite off big chunks of it raw and gulp it down, still warm and bloody with no seasoning… and only then call yourself a carnivore or even an omnivore! We are both inept at hunting, and disgusted at even the thought, let alone the act of eating it like a true meat eater does, but my kitty cat would be very efficient and ecstatic, because he is evolved for the task. Humans do have the anatomical apparatus to gather really well however… plants, tubers, fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, grubs, mollusks, even shellfish or other easy to harvest water based animals…and the ability to run…AWAY from predators initially, not in pursuit of them. I wonder if maybe our increasingly poor health, stress levels, and mental illnesses are so rampant because we are no longer interacting with our natural surroundings as we have evolved to do, and are living in an industrial, chemicalized, artificial world with artificial diets?

  6. Infants are not born without a microbiome. They acquire some of their microbiome from vaginal secretions in the birth canal and from breast milk.

  7. Lesson for us today: eat real food. No processed food heavy in sugar useless starches and fake fats. No Mountain Dew and M&Ms. No frozen lasagna. If you become a fat burner like our ancestors you dont need to eat 6 times a day. You dont even need to eat every day.

  8. Please that first speaker a lapel mic next time. she makes eye contact with the entire audience so as she moves around the audio fades in and out like a fast car speeding by. great talk

  9. Note to camera: the slides, not the speaker. Everytime a slide pops up, I have to be very fast and stop the video, so I can read the slide. I’m not interested in the speakers’s necktie.

  10. Anything coming out of cali I just wont take seriously…the most biased snobbish people I have ever met…so much so they absolutely refuse to investing other possibilities lol. Fk cali! Give it to mexico!

  11. What a moronic speaker: the caveman died at an average age of 30 cause they were LIVING IN THE WILD with wild animals out there to hunt him, and wild nature waiting to kill him! I mean, seriously, these morons give lectures? 🙄

  12. Ok, great..so since almost everyone in developed countries is spending tons of money to lose weight, they can solve the problem by eating everything raw

  13. we became humans  at the moment we learned to cook….  many plants and meats are   making you sick, or kill you, if you don’t cook, or at least  sterilize it ..    science… not   ideology….  choose people…  common sense  or  cultism…  even raw beans are poisonous…  common sense,  common country folks  wisdom..

  14. Raw foodist really means raw plant eater here since there is no raw meat eating in his data. That’s a problem and so the only conclusion that can be drawn is that cooking plants offers greater benefit and could be necessary to a plant eating diet over eating them raw and not cooking in general. Besides, it’s should be obvious that cooking hasn’t always been around and people must have ate and ate well before that.

  15. 3:50 Another consequence of a lack of good basic education. When scientists say that the average lifespan of a population is 30 years, that means that for every infant who died at birth or shortlly after, another person lived to 60.

  16. Where did we get the energy to feed our large brains?…. FAT! We cant get it from fiber like a gorilla, so we have to eat it.

  17. To the second guy, his whole argument about starches is debunked because Hadza hate starches, they prefer the fat of the animal they kill the best.

  18. Actual Scientists: "It’s all very subtle and complex. We’re still working on it… The only thing we know for sure is that as we evolved, our guts shrank, because we were able to extract a larger number of calories and nutrients from a smaller volume of food. Meat, honey, and cooked starch were probably important."

    Paleo(tm) people: "Fat! It’s all about high fat, low carb! Grains are toxic, legumes are toxic, dairy is toxic. Paleo man didn’t have access to alcohol, and forget about caffeine and chocolate. But… go ahead and do what feels good."

    Peatarians: "Silly Paleo(tm) meatheads~ It’s all about the sugar. Have a Coke! BUT, OMG… PUFAs WILL KILL YOU AND MAKE YOUR EYEBALLS EXPLODE!!!"

    WAPFers: "If in doubt, put butter on it! And go Icelandic: do some cod liver oil shots!"

    Vegans: "HUMANS ARE NOT DESIGNED TO EAT MEAT. IF YOU EAT A SINGLE CALORIE OF ANYTHING THAT COMES FROM ANIMALS, YOU’LL DIE!!!!!!!!!11"

  19. Worst speaker in the world, out of breath she has not good pace, it’s unbearable to listen to her sounds like she is talking while jogging

  20. It says in the beginning of the video, "no commercial use only". So why the FUCK there is commersials IN THIS VIDEO!?

  21. Meat would not be the most delicious food group (by far) if we hadn’t evolved to eat plenty of it. Simple, i know; for i am a simple man.

  22. Aielo does not understand correlation, causation and averages. Arg age of 30 does not mean, they die at 30! it is mainly due to 50% of children not making it till 5! And then nutrition s not the main determinant of health..

  23. Why is BMI the standard of measurement? I find it disturbing that the reasoning for this is not outlined. It seems that ‘rawfooders’ have lower BMI indicating that they are underweight? What is the point? I’m very curious, not attacking any of the research. 🙂

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