Re: history questions: meat, siberian land bridge, horses in the Americas

Staffan Lindeberg (
Sun, 22 Dec 1996 22:23:14 +0100

A.L.Sriram wrote:
> And, coming back to the main topic of the thread ... it would certainly be very
> interesting to know what our prehistoric ancestors ate, but that doesn't need
> to influence our food habits today. After all, if men 1000000 years ago lived
> in caves or swung from trees, it is hardly any reason for us to do the same.

Man is an omnivorous animal, but 70% of the daily energy intake in a
modern society like Sweden is provided by foods that were practically
unaccessible during human evolution: dairy products, oils, margarine,
refined sugar and cereals. Substantial evidence indicates that diet and
other lifestyle factors are important causes of common western
disorders, most evidently cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which
appear virtually absent in populations pursuing a traditional
subsistence way of life.

The emergence of rickets during medieval urbanization and its epidemic
explosion following industrialism may be partially explained first by an
increased intake of phytate from cereals and later by the disappearence
of old methods of reducing the phytate content of cereals.

Normal ageing in westernized humans most probably differs markedly from
normal ageing in prehistoric hunter-gatherers, implying that
non-infectious plagues of contemporary humans are highly preventable and
that lean meat could be part of a healthy diet.

Staffan Lindeberg M.D. Ph.D.