Paleolithic Diet Abstracts 2


Paleolithic technology and human evolution
            (Ambrose, 2001) Download
Human biological and cultural evolution are closely linked to technological innovations. Direct evidence for tool manufacture and use is absent before 2.5 million years ago (Ma), so reconstructions of australopithecine tech- nology are based mainly on the behavior and anatomy of chimpanzees. Stone tool technology, robust australopithecines, and the genus Homo appeared almost simultaneously 2.5 Ma. Once this adaptive threshold was crossed, technological evolution was accompanied by increased brain size, population size, and geographical range. Aspects of behavior, economy, mental capacities, neurological functions, the origin of grammatical lan- guage, and social and symbolic systems have been inferred from the archaeological record of Paleolithic technology.

Response: paleolithic diet, evolution, and carcinogens
            (Ames and Gold, 1987) Download
Davis takes issue with our documentation that carcinogenic hazards from current levels of pesticide residues or water pollution are likely to be of minimal concern relative to the background levels of natural substances. She indicates that humans, as opposed to rats or mice, may have developed specificresistanceto these natural chemicals, since we have been selected by evolution to deal with plant toxins or cooked food. This is unlikely…

Isotope evidence for paleodiet of late Upper Paleolithic humans in Great Britain: a response to Richards et al. (2005)
            (Bocherens and Drucker, 2006) Download
Measuring the stable-isotope composition of carbon and nitrogen in fossil bone collagen is a powerful approach to deciphering the diet of ancient people. It is especially useful for investigating human paleodiets during transitional periods of Paleolithic times in Europe, such as the Middle-to-Upper- Paleolithic transition around 35,000 years ago, which corre- sponds to the replacement of Neandertals by anatomically modern humans … However, we consider this paper to be flawed due to method- ological problems. We propose an alternative interpretation, based on a more accurate definition of dietary end members, a correct reconstruction of the isotopic signature of the con- sumed proteins, and the use of linear mixing models. Although our new interpretation confirms that the human isotopic data cannot be explained by a fully terrestrial diet, it shows that seal consumption was not compulsory and could have been re- placed by salmon or other marine fish, while freshwater fish was most likely an important resource.

Paleolithic diet, evolution, and carcinogens
            (Davis, 1987) Download
Philip H. Abelson (Editorial, 31 July, p.473) and Bruce N. Ames et al. (Articles, 17 Apr., p. 271) observe that cancer is a complex of diseases with multiple causes, ranging from carcinogens and hormonal factors to chronic infectious diseases and dietary patterns. Moreover, Ames et al. advise that naturallyoccurring carcinogens in the food supply are generally more toxic than industrial carcinogens, excepting workplace exposures. This interpretation of greater toxicity of food-borne carcinogens derives from the HERP [Human Exposure dos./Rodent Potency dose] index of Ames et al., which uses data from animal studies of carcinogenicity and finds alcohol and peanut butter more potent than pesticide residues.

Effects of snacks on energy intake: an evolutionary perspective
            (de Graaf, 2006) Download
The question addressed in this paper is whether the consumption of snacks contributes to higher energy intake and body weight in humans. Currently available snacks have a higher energy density than most of the foods that were available in Paleolithic diets. Humans have a weak defense against overeating, which is a functional trait from an evolutionary perspective. Various studies found that people do not compensate their energy intake after the consumption of snacks. This is particularly true for energy-containing drinks, which provide calories in liquid form. It is concluded that snack consumption may contribute to a positive energy balance.

Stone agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective
            (Eaton et al., 1988) Download
From a genetic standpoint, humans living today are Stone Age hunter-gatherers displaced through time to a world that differs from that for which our genetic constitution was selected. Unlike evolutionary maladaptation, our current discordance has little effect on reproductive success; rather it acts as a potent promoter of chronic illnesses: atherosclerosis, essential hypertension, many cancers, diabetes mellitus, and obesity among others. These diseases are the results of interaction between genetically controlled biochemical processes and a myriad of biocultural influences--lifestyle factors--that include nutrition, exercise, and exposure to noxious substances. Although our genes have hardly changed, our culture has been transformed almost beyond recognition during the past 10,000 years, especially since the Industrial Revolution. There is increasing evidence that the resulting mismatch fosters "diseases of civilization" that together cause 75 percent of all deaths in Western nations, but that are rare among persons whose lifeways reflect those of our preagricultural ancestors.

Paleolithic nutrition revisited: a twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications
            (Eaton et al., 1997) Download

Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet
            (Frassetto et al., 2009) Download
BACKGROUND: The contemporary American diet figures centrally in the pathogenesis of numerous chronic diseases-'diseases of civilization'. We investigated in humans whether a diet similar to that consumed by our preagricultural hunter-gatherer ancestors (that is, a paleolithic type diet) confers health benefits. METHODS: We performed an outpatient, metabolically controlled study, in nine nonobese sedentary healthy volunteers, ensuring no weight loss by daily weight. We compared the findings when the participants consumed their usual diet with those when they consumed a paleolithic type diet. The participants consumed their usual diet for 3 days, three ramp-up diets of increasing potassium and fiber for 7 days, then a paleolithic type diet comprising lean meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and excluding nonpaleolithic type foods, such as cereal grains, dairy or legumes, for 10 days. Outcomes included arterial blood pressure (BP); 24-h urine sodium and potassium excretion; plasma glucose and insulin areas under the curve (AUC) during a 2 h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT); insulin sensitivity; plasma lipid concentrations; and brachial artery reactivity in response to ischemia. RESULTS: Compared with the baseline (usual) diet, we observed (a) significant reductions in BP associated with improved arterial distensibility (-3.1+/-2.9, P=0.01 and +0.19+/-0.23, P=0.05);(b) significant reduction in plasma insulin vs time AUC, during the OGTT (P=0.006); and (c) large significant reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides (-0.8+/-0.6 (P=0.007), -0.7+/-0.5 (P=0.003) and -0.3+/-0.3 (P=0.01) mmol/l respectively). In all these measured variables, either eight or all nine participants had identical directional responses when switched to paleolithic type diet, that is, near consistently improved status of circulatory, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism/physiology. CONCLUSIONS: Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.

From the Miocene to olestra: a historical perspective on fat consumption
            (Garn, 1997) Download
Given the extraordinary dietary and geographic diversity of Pleistocene hominids, there is no single "Paleolithic diet" or average pre-Holocene fat intake. Even the Neanderthals initially were scavengers, possibly becoming seasonal hunters of large game at a later period. Fat intakes of greater than 20 g/day (11% of total caloric intake) developed after the domestication of mammals and then by selective breeding of genetically fatter animals in suitably temperate climates. By the late 1940s, the percent of fat in the diet rose to more than 40% in many Western countries (including France), decreasing somewhat to about 35% by the late 1980s in the United States, following reduced consumption of whole milk, fried meats, and other high-fat foods. Overall, fat reductions to less than 30% may be facilitated by no-fat or low-fat substitutes or texturizers or (perhaps more effectively) by increased intakes of fiber and calcium and greater reliance on fats that are poorly absorbed because of their stearate content.

Control of potassium excretion: a Paleolithic perspective
            (Halperin et al., 2006) Download
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Regulation of potassium (K) excretion was examined in an experimental setting that reflects the dietary conditions for humans in Paleolithic times (high, episodic intake of K with organic anions; low intake of NaCl), because this is when major control mechanisms were likely to have developed. RECENT FINDINGS: The major control of K secretion in this setting is to regulate the number of luminal K channels in the cortical collecting duct. Following a KCl load, the K concentration in the medullary interstitial compartment rose; the likely source of this medullary K was its absorption by the H/K-ATPase in the inner medullary collecting duct. As a result of the higher medullary K concentration, the absorption of Na and Cl was inhibited in the loop of Henle, and this led to an increased distal delivery of a sufficient quantity of Na to raise K excretion markedly, while avoiding a large natriuresis. In addition, because K in the diet was accompanied by 'future' bicarbonate, a role for bicarbonate in the control of K secretion via 'selecting' whether aldosterone would be a NaCl-conserving or a kaliuretic hormone is discussed. SUMMARY: This way of examining the control of K excretion provides new insights into clinical disorders with an abnormal plasma K concentration secondary to altered K excretion, and also into the pathophysiology of calcium-containing kidney stones.

Hunters of the Ice Age: The biology of Upper Paleolithic people
            (Holt and Formicola, 2008) Download
The Upper Paleolithic represents both the phase during which anatomically modern humans appeared and the climax of hunter-gatherer cultures. Demographic expansion into new areas that took place during this period and the diffusion of burial practices resulted in an unprecedented number of well-preserved human remains. This skeletal record, dovetailed with archeological, environmental, and chronological contexts, allows testing of hypotheses regarding biological processes at the population level. In this article, we review key studies about the biology of Upper Paleolithic populations based primarily on European samples, but integrating information from other areas of the Old World whenever possible. Data about cranial morphology, skeletal robusticity, stature, body proportions, health status, diet, physical activity, and genetics are evaluated in Late Pleistocene climatic and cultural contexts. Various lines of evidence delineate the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) as a critical phase in the biological and cultural evolution of Upper Paleolithic populations. The LGM, a long phase of climatic deterioration culminating around 20,000 BP, had a profound impact on the environment, lifestyle, and behavior of human groups. Some of these effects are recorded in aspects of skeletal biology of these populations. Groups living before and after the LGM, Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) and Late Upper Paleolithic (LUP), respectively, differ significantly in craniofacial dimensions, stature, robusticity, and body proportions. While paleopathological and stable isotope data suggest good health status throughout the Upper Paleolithic, some stress indicators point to a slight decline in quality of life in LUP populations. The intriguing and unexpected incidence of individuals affected by congenital disorders probably indicates selective burial practices for these abnormal individuals. While some of the changes observed can be explained through models of biocultural or environmental adaptation (e.g., decreased lower limb robusticity following decreased mobility; changes in body proportions along with climatic change), others are more difficult to explain. For instance, craniodental and upper limb robusticity show complex evolutionary patterns that do not always correspond to expectations. In addition, the marked decline in stature and the mosaic nature of change in body proportions still await clarifications. These issues, as well as systematic analysis of specific pathologies and possible relationships between genetic lineages, population movements and cultural complexes, should be among the goals of future research.

Evolution of the human diet: linking our ancestral diet to modern functional foods as a means of chronic disease prevention
            (Jew et al., 2009) Download
The evolution of the human diet over the past 10,000 years from a Paleolithic diet to our current modern pattern of intake has resulted in profound changes in feeding behavior. Shifts have occurred from diets high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood to processed foods high in sodium and hydrogenated fats and low in fiber. These dietary changes have adversely affected dietary parameters known to be related to health, resulting in an increase in obesity and chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer. Some intervention trials using Paleolithic dietary patterns have shown promising results with favorable changes in CVD and diabetes risk factors. However, such benefits may be offset by disadvantages of the Paleolithic diet, which is low in vitamin D and calcium and high in fish potentially containing environmental toxins. More advantageous would be promotion of foods and food ingredients from our ancestral era that have been shown to possess health benefits in the form of functional foods. Many studies have investigated the health benefits of various functional food ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, fiber, and plant sterols. These bioactive compounds may help to prevent and reduce incidence of chronic diseases, which in turn could lead to health cost savings ranging from $2 to $3 billion per year as estimated by case studies using omega-3 and plant sterols as examples. Thus, public health benefits should result from promotion of the positive components of Paleolithic diets as functional foods.

Nutrition, evolution and thyroid hormone levels - a link to iodine deficiency disorders?
            (Kopp, 2004) Download
An increased iodine requirement as a result of significant changes in human nutrition rather than a decreased environmental iodine supply is suggested to represent the main cause of the iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). The pathomechanism proposed is based on the fact that serum concentrations of thyroid hormones, especially of trijodothyronine (T3), are dependent on the amount of dietary carbohydrate. High-carbohydrate diets are associated with significantly higher serum T3 concentrations, compared with very low-carbohydrate diets. While our Paleolithic ancestors subsisted on a very low carbohydrate/high protein diet, the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago brought about a significant increase in dietary carbohydrate. These nutritional changes have increased T3 levels significantly. Higher T3 levels are associated with an enhanced T3 production and an increased iodine requirement. The higher iodine requirement exceeds the availability of iodine from environmental sources in many regions of the world, resulting in the development of IDD.

Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet
            (Kuipers et al., 2010) Download
Our genome adapts slowly to changing conditions of existence. Many diseases of civilisation result from mismatches between our Paleolithic genome and the rapidly changing environment, including our diet. The objective of the present study was to reconstruct multiple Paleolithic diets to estimate the ranges of nutrient intakes upon which humanity evolved. A database of, predominantly East African, plant and animal foods (meat/fish) was used to model multiple Paleolithic diets, using two pathophysiological constraints (i.e. protein < 35 energy % (en%) and linoleic acid (LA) >1.0 en%), at known hunter-gatherer plant/animal food intake ratios (range 70/30-30/70 en%/en%). We investigated selective and non-selective savannah, savannah/aquatic and aquatic hunter-gatherer/scavenger foraging strategies. We found (range of medians in en%) intakes of moderate-to-high protein (25-29), moderate-to-high fat (30-39) and moderate carbohydrates (39-40). The fatty acid composition was SFA (11.4-12.0), MUFA (5.6-18.5) and PUFA (8.6-15.2). The latter was high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (3.7-4.7 en%), low in LA (2.3-3.6 en%), and high in long-chain PUFA (LCP; 4.75-25.8 g/d), LCP n-3 (2.26-17.0 g/d), LCP n-6 (2.54-8.84 g/d), ALA/LA ratio (1.12-1.64 g/g) and LCP n-3/LCP n-6 ratio (0.84-1.92 g/g). Consistent with the wide range of employed variables, nutrient intakes showed wide ranges. We conclude that compared with Western diets, Paleolithic diets contained consistently higher protein and LCP, and lower LA. These are likely to contribute to the known beneficial effects of Paleolithic-like diets, e.g. through increased satiety/satiation. Disparities between Paleolithic, contemporary and recommended intakes might be important factors underlying the aetiology of common Western diseases. Data on Paleolithic diets and lifestyle, rather than the investigation of single nutrients, might be useful for the rational design of clinical trials.

A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease
            (Lindeberg et al., 2007) Download
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Most studies of diet in glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes have focused on intakes of fat, carbohydrate, fibre, fruits and vegetables. Instead, we aimed to compare diets that were available during human evolution with more recently introduced ones. METHODS: Twenty-nine patients with ischaemic heart disease plus either glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes were randomised to receive (1) a Palaeolithic ('Old Stone Age') diet (n = 14), based on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, root vegetables, eggs and nuts; or (2) a Consensus (Mediterranean-like) diet (n = 15), based on whole grains, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, fish, oils and margarines. Primary outcome variables were changes in weight, waist circumference and plasma glucose AUC (AUC Glucose(0-120)) and plasma insulin AUC (AUC Insulin(0-120)) in OGTTs. RESULTS: Over 12 weeks, there was a 26% decrease of AUC Glucose(0-120) (p = 0.0001) in the Palaeolithic group and a 7% decrease (p = 0.08) in the Consensus group. The larger (p = 0.001) improvement in the Palaeolithic group was independent (p = 0.0008) of change in waist circumference (-5.6 cm in the Palaeolithic group, -2.9 cm in the Consensus group; p = 0.03). In the study population as a whole, there was no relationship between change in AUC Glucose(0-120) and changes in weight (r = -0.06, p = 0.9) or waist circumference (r = 0.01, p = 1.0). There was a tendency for a larger decrease of AUC Insulin(0-120) in the Palaeolithic group, but because of the strong association between change in AUC Insulin(0-120) and change in waist circumference (r = 0.64, p = 0.0003), this did not remain after multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: A Palaeolithic diet may improve glucose tolerance independently of decreased waist circumference.

Up-regulation of intracellular signalling pathways may play a central pathogenic role in hypertension, atherogenesis, insulin resistance, and cancer promotion--the 'PKC syndrome'
            (McCarty, 1996) Download
The modern diet is greatly different from that of our paleolithic forebears' in a number of respects. There is reason to believe that many of these dietary shifts can up-regulate intracellular signalling pathways mediated by free intracellular calcium and protein kinase C, particularly in vascular smooth muscle cells; this disorder of intracellular regulation is given the name 'PKC syndrome'. PKC syndrome may entail either a constitutive activation of these pathways, or a sensitization to activation by various agonists. The modern dietary perturbations which tend to induce PKC syndrome may include increased dietary fat and sodium, and decreased intakes of omega-3 fats, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chromium. Insulin resistance may be both a cause and effect of PKC syndrome, and weight reduction and aerobic training should act to combat this disorder. PKC syndrome sensitizes vascular smooth muscle cells to both vasoconstrictors and growth factors, and thus promotes both hypertension and atherogenesis. In platelets, it induces hyperaggregability, while in the microvasculature it may be a mediator of diabetic microangiopathy. In vascular endothelium, intimal macrophages, and hepatocytes, increased protein kinase C activity can be expected to increase cardiovascular risk. Up-regulation of protein kinase C in stem cells may also play a role in the promotion of 'Western' fat-related cancers. Practical guidelines for combatting PKC syndrome are suggested.

Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers
            (Osterdahl et al., 2008) Download
OBJECTIVES: Prevention of cardiovascular diseases by paleolithic or hunter-gatherer diets has been discussed during recent years. METHODS: Our aim was to assess the effect of a paleolithic diet in a pilot study on healthy volunteers during 3 weeks. The intention was to include 20 subjects, of whom 14 fulfilled the study. Complete dietary assessment was available for six subjects. RESULTS: Mean weight decreased by 2.3 kg (P<0.001), body mass index by 0.8 (P<0.001), waist circumference by 0.5 cm (P=0.001), systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg (P=0.03) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 by 72% (P=0.020). Regarding nutrient intake, intake of energy decreased by 36%, and other effects were also observed, both favourable (fat composition, antioxidants, potassium-sodium rate) and unfavourable (calcium). CONCLUSION: This short-term intervention showed some favourable effects by the diet, but further studies, including control group, are needed.

Isotope evidence for the intensive use of marine foods by Late Upper Palaeolithic humans
            (Richards et al., 2005) Download
We report here on direct evidence for the intensive consumption of marine foods by anatomically modern humans at approximately 12,000 years ago. We undertook isotopic analysis of bone collagen from three humans, dating to the late Palaeolithic, from the site of Kendrick's Cave in North Wales, UK. The isotopic measurements of their bone collagen indicated that ca. 30% of their dietary protein was from marine sources, which we interpret as likely being high trophic level marine organisms such as marine mammals. This indicates that towards the end of the Pleistocene modern humans were pursuing a hunting strategy that incorporated both marine and terrestrial mammals. This is the first occurrence of the intensive use of marine resources, specifically marine mammals, that becomes even more pronounced in the subsequent Mesolithic period.

Evolutionary aspects of omega-3 fatty acids in the food supply
            (Simopoulos, 1999) Download
Information from archaeological findings and studies from modern day hunter-gatherers suggest that the Paleolithic diet is the diet we evolved on and for which our genetic profile was programmed. The Paleolithic diet is characterized by lower fat and lower saturated fat intake than Western diets; a balanced intake of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids; small amounts of trans fatty acids, contributing less than 2% of dietary energy; more green leafy vegetables and fruits providing higher levels of vitamin E and vitamin C and other antioxidants than today's diet and higher amounts of calcium and potassium but lower sodium intake. Studies on the traditional Greek diet (diet of Crete) indicate an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of about 1/1. The importance of a balanced ratio of omega-6:omega-3, a lower saturated fatty acid and lower total fat intake (30-33%), along with higher intakes of fruits and vegetables leading to increases in vitamin E and C, was tested in the Lyon Heart study. The Lyon study, based on a modified diet of Crete, confirmed the importance of omega-3 fatty acids from marine and terrestrial sources, and vitamin E and vitamin C, in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, and cancer mortality.

The Tortoise and the Hare. Small-Game Use, the Broad-Spectrum Revolution, and Paleolithic Demography
            (Stiner et al., 2000) Download
This study illustrates the potential of small-game data for identifying and dating Paleolithic demographic pulses such as those associated with modern human origins and the later evolution of food-producing economies. Archaeofaunal series from Israel and Italy serve as our examples. Three important implications of this study are that (1) early Middle Paleolithic populations were exceptionally small and highly dispersed, (2) the first major population growth pulse in the eastern Mediterranean probably occurred before the end of the Middle Paleolithic, and (3) subsequent demographic pulses in the Upper and Epi-Paleolithic greatly reshaped the conditions of selection that operated on human subsistence ecology, technology, and society. The findings of this study are consistent with the main premise of Flannery's broad-spectrum-revolution hypothesis. However, ranking small prey in terms of work of capture (in the absence of special harvesting tools) proved far more effective in this investigation of human diet breadth than have the taxonomic-diversity analyses published previously.

Estimation of the diet-dependent net acid load in 229 worldwide historically studied hunter-gatherer societies
            (Strohle et al., 2010a) Download
BACKGROUND: Nutrition scientists are showing growing interest in the diet patterns of preagricultural (hunter-gatherer) humans. Retrojected preagricultural diets are reportedly predominantly net base producing in contrast to the net acid-producing modern Western diets. OBJECTIVE: We examined the dietary net acid load [net endogenous acid production (NEAP)] for 229 worldwide historically studied hunter-gatherer societies to determine how differences in plant-to-animal (P:A) dietary subsistence patterns and differences in the percentage of body fat in prey animals affect the NEAP. DESIGN: With the use of 1) ethnographic data of dietary P:A ratios of hunter-gatherer populations, 2) established computational methods, and 3) knowledge that fat densities of animal foods consumed by hunter-gatherers varied between 3% and 20%, we computed the NEAP for the diets of 229 populations in 4 different models of animal fat densities (model A, 3%; model B, 10%; model C, 15%; model D, 20%). RESULTS: As P:A ratios decreased from 85:15 to 5:95, the NEAP increased from -178 to +181 mEq/d (model A) and from -185 to +120 mEq/d (models B and C). Approximately 50% of the diets consumed by the 229 worldwide hunter-gatherer populations were net acid producing (models B and C). In model D, 40% of the diets were net acid producing. CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirm that the NEAP of hunter-gatherer diets becomes progressively more positive as P:A ratios decline. The high reliance on animal-based foods of a worldwide sample of historically studied hunter-gatherer populations renders their diets net acid producing in approximately 40-60% of subgroups of P:A ratios. Only further investigations can show the implications of these findings in determining the NEAP of human ancestral diets.

Latitude, local ecology, and hunter-gatherer dietary acid load: implications from evolutionary ecology
            (Strohle et al., 2010b) Download
BACKGROUND: Past estimations of the net base-producing nature of the Paleolithic "Diet of Evolutionary Adaptedness" derived primarily from interpretations of ethnographic data of modern historically studied hunter-gatherers. In our recent ethnographic analyses, we observed large variations in diet-dependent net endogenous acid production (NEAP) among hunter-gatherer diets. OBJECTIVE: We proposed to determine whether differences in ecologic environments influence estimations of NEAP. DESIGN: By using ethnographic data of plant-to-animal subsistence ratios and mathematical models established previously, we computed frequency distributions of estimated NEAP in relation to latitude in 229 worldwide modern hunter-gatherer societies. Four different models of animal fat density were used: models A (3%), B (10%), C (15%), and D (20%). In addition, we estimated NEAP by primary ecologic environments in those hunter-gatherer societies (n = 63) for which data were documented. RESULTS: With increasing latitude intervals, 0 degrees -10 degrees to >60 degrees , NEAP increased in all 4 models. For models A, B, and C, the diets tend to be net acid-producing at >40 degrees latitude and net base-producing at <40 degrees ; the same held for model D (>50 degrees and <50 degrees , respectively). For models A, B, and C, the diets of hunter-gatherers living in northern areas (tundra and coniforest) and in temperate grassland and tropical rainforests are net acid-producing. In all other ecologic niches, hunter-gatherers seem to consume a neutral or net base-producing diet. CONCLUSIONS: Latitude and ecologic environments codetermine the NEAP values observed in modern hunter-gatherers. The data support the hypothesis that the diet of Homo sapiens' East African ancestors was predominantly net base-producing.

Great apes prefer cooked food
            (Wobber et al., 2008) Download
The cooking hypothesis proposes that a diet of cooked food was responsible for diverse morphological and behavioral changes in human evolution. However, it does not predict whether a preference for cooked food evolved before or after the control of fire. This question is important because the greater the preference shown by a raw-food-eating hominid for the properties present in cooked food, the more easily cooking should have been adopted following the control of fire. Here we use great apes to model food preferences by Paleolithic hominids. We conducted preference tests with various plant and animal foods to determine whether great apes prefer food items raw or cooked. We found that several populations of captive apes tended to prefer their food cooked, though with important exceptions. These results suggest that Paleolithic hominids would likewise have spontaneously preferred cooked food to raw, exapting a pre-existing preference for high-quality, easily chewed foods onto these cooked items. The results, therefore, challenge the hypothesis that the control of fire preceded cooking by a significant period.



Ambrose, S. H. (2001), ‘Paleolithic technology and human evolution’, Science, 291 (5509), 1748-53. PubMed: 11249821
Ames, B. N. and L. S. Gold (1987), ‘Response: paleolithic diet, evolution, and carcinogens’, Science, 238 (4834), 1634. PubMed: 17737657
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——— (2010b), ‘Latitude, local ecology, and hunter-gatherer dietary acid load: implications from evolutionary ecology’, Am J Clin Nutr, 92 (4), 940-45. PubMed: 20702605
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