Surely we must have adapted to agriculture by now? The answer is no and sort of yes to that question. It depends on what your ancestral heritage is or how long you have been exposed to agriculture.
Let’s take dairy.
This map shows the distribution of lactose intolerance. Note that the exceptions in the US are Native Americans and African Americans – whose heritage introduced them to dairy very late. If you are Asian, milk is not part of your heritage either.
This map shows the spread of agriculture in the west. It’s not that long ago.
Evolution takes time to make an impact – if at all. It must have taken a very long time for humans to evolve to eat mainly meat For instance, Chimps love meat but cannot eat much of it. If they do, they get ill. Chimps, like early hominids, have a very large digestive system that is designed to process raw veggies and powerful jaws and teeth designed to chew for hours. About 8 hours a day. It took maybe a million years for our ancestors to adapt to cooked food and meat. As a result they also changed their physiology. We lost 1/3 of our gut and all those big teeth and jaw muscles.
In the next series of posts we will explore how your ancestral heritage fits into the modern diet. In summary:
- If you are from the Middle East you will have the best adaptation to wheat – But remember that the wheat we have today is a 50 year old modern strain with an exceptionally high gluten content. It is not the old wheat. You will also lose your adaptation in middle age
- If you are from Northern Europe, you will have the best tolerance for dairy. But again, if you live in the US where growth hormone in cows is permitted, you are not drinking even your parents milk. You also will lose this tolerance in middle age.
- If you are from Northern China, you will have a good tolerance to wheat with all the provisos – if you are from Southern China and Asia you will have a strong tolerance for rice. Again as you age and if you select very processed rice, you will lose this.
- If you are from Asia and Southern Africa and America you will have a low tolerance for all dairy.
- If you are from a recent Hunter Gatherer heritage, Inuit – First Nations – you will have no tolerance for Agriculture.
- None of us have any tolerance for highly processed industrial food.