Re: Evolution of human diet

Osmo Ronkanen (ronkanen@cc.Helsinki.FI)
26 Nov 1995 20:18:07 +0200

In article <wardnik-2211951042140001@>,
Ward Nicholson <> wrote:
>I'm new to this newsgroup and am curious about the evolution of human
>diet. My interests come from the fact that I coordinate/publish a small
>(very small) newsletter/discussion group on natural foods, meat-eating vs.
>vegetarianism, eating raw foods vs. cooked foods, etc. Many of the people
>who subscribe/participate are vegetarians (I used to be myself but no
>longer am) and are convinced that homo sapiens was "originally" (whatever
>that means) a vegetarian species, even a so-called fruitarian species that
>ate nothing but raw foods and so that is what we should be doing today.

Hardly likely. How did Neanderthal men live on winter for example.
Modern man is so accustomed to the idea that he can at any time go to a
supermarket and get all imported vegetables he needs, but just 100 years
ago things were very different. Let alone before agriculture.
Ideological vegetarianism is a 20th century luxury that people in the past
could not afford.

>Starting from the premise that health is far more likely if we eat foods
>that are in line with our biological adaptation, one idea would be to
>discover just what humanity's "original" or "primitive" diet was and
>follow it.

That makes no sense, as the level of physical activity can be very
different now (either lower or higher depending on the person). Second
people are now healthier and live longer than ever. In the west we can
eat what is really healthy to us (or what tastes good :-) ) instead of
what we can get.

What is healthy to us can be found without looking what humans were
hundreds of thousands of years ago. On the other hand when we study the
past of humans, we should not do that to justify our current
philosophical beliefs.

> Well, you would not believe (yes you would!) how many different
>ideas there are from armchair philosophers about just what such an
>idealized "original" diet is supposed to consist of, usually being some
>variation of all vegetarian raw foods, and that meat-eating was a
>"degeneration" from some pristine state.