The 6 major differences between modern and ancestral diet
Grains that we consume now are far different from the ones that our ancestors were eating. Through selection and hybrids, the structure of the proteins in the plant has changed, making it more difficult for us to metabolize it. On top of that, grain products are also often deprived from their bran, which significantly changes the fibers to carbs ratio.
Milk and dairy products:
Before breeding, humans would only consume milk, breast milk, during infancy. While it’s still debated if time let us evolved to be able to digest dairy products, it’s clear that we were not made for that from the start. And with industrialization, milk and dairy products is also often tainted with antibiotics, pesticides and other environmental pollution.
The image of the caveman roasting a big drumstick of meat over fire is completely erroneous. In fact, even if fire has been discovered more than 400 000 years ago, archaeology suggests that cooking started only around 7000 years BC. This makes the vast majority of our human diet history uncooked. Cooking dramatically changes the food structure and can greatly affect health.
As for cooking, the use of oils comes later in history. Separated from their food of origin, oils act differently than whole food. This is especially true for refined oils and trans fat, than can have a devastating effect on our health. But beyond the quality of oils, the quantity that we can ingest through whole food is far less than with processed food.
Pesticides and food pollution
The wide use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers has a direct impact on our health. Most of those substances are carcinogens and can damage the central nervous system. Those substances are stored into fat tissues and can rapidly return into the blood system during drastic weight loss, which may cause serious intoxication symptoms. Organic foods are of course a far better option. But we must understand that pesticides and other air pollutants are highly volatiles. In 1995, it has been evaluated that around 1 million tons of pesticides per year has been used in the US only. Traces of those pesticides have been found all over the globe, as far as the North Pole.
Decreased nutrient content
This is a direct impact of pesticides use, but which is also increased by intense agriculture methods and water, soils and air pollution. The soils in which our fruits, grains and vegetables grow are much poorer in essential nutrients than what our ancestors have known. This means that fewer nutrients are taken in by the plant, which changes its natural nutritional content. This may explain why wild foods, like blueberries, have a higher nutrient levels than commercial varieties.