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BTD Forums  /  Journal Club and Literature Review  /  article on the paleo diet and genome
Posted by: BHealthy, Thursday, November 22, 2012, 6:02am
Very interesting article on the paleo diet and the genome of the early people who supposedly ate it.

Apparently, the foods we eat now are nowhere near what our ancestors ate.  They've been bred to taste better and, as a result, have less nutrition.  I never knew that!

Quoted Text
For wild people around the world there were no seedless grapes. The eggplant didn’t exist. Corn was a grass with two rows of kernels concealed inside very hard fruit cases. And watermelon (its ancestor) was a small, seeded, extremely bitter fruit about the size of a lemon. The point is that these foods aren’t ancestral foods and represent an agricultural food — foods that have been genetically modified through breeding and subsequently possess altered nutrition.

Quoted Text
Understand that your genome, the exact sequences of nucleotides, is almost identical to people living 50,000 years ago. But clearly something has changed, and that is the expression of genes.

The food you eat has a profound effect on genetic expression (the turning on and off of genes that code for proteins). In fact, as much as 30% of the expression of your genome is affected by the plants you eat (through tiny structures called micro RNAs).

If we add up the sum total of food’s effect on our genome, it is even more substantial. Therefore, it seems prudent to consume foods that have a long history of positively impacting the functioning of our genetic machinery.

Quoted Text
When you purchase cultivated plants, seek out forms that more closely resemble their wild ancestors (e.g., blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, seeded grapes, ground‐cherries, mulberries, mustard greens, whole grains from more ancient species, yucca root).

Avoid large, super‐sweet, seedless forms (forms that couldn’t even exist without our care because they have lost the ability to defend themselves from herbivores).

Follow the seasonality of foods more closely. If you live in a region that receives a lot of snow, your plant foods should be very different that time of year than what you consume during the growing season.

Learn to appreciate stronger flavors, including bitters and resins. These indicate the phytochemistry of the plant is intact and the medicine is still present (i.e., it has not been bred out).

(Mods, please move this to the ER4YT forum if that's where it belongs.)
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, November 22, 2012, 6:58am; Reply: 1
have you read all the monographs up at gtd website?
click on the epigenotype pull down menu....fascinating!
Posted by: DoS, Thursday, November 22, 2012, 9:49pm; Reply: 2
Very poor article. He is a botanist, not a geneticist. You can read my reply to it at the bottom...  
Posted by: BHealthy, Friday, November 23, 2012, 7:04am; Reply: 3
Yes, Lola, I have read almost every word Dr. D has written.  Nowhere does he mention the difference between the wild foods our ancestors ate and modern cultivated ones, with the same detail this botanist does, which was the point I was trying to share.  

I was surprised, and pleased, that a botanist had a rudimentary knowledge of Dr. D's theory that the foods we eat can affect the expression of our genes.  He didn't take it to the degree that Dr. D does but his assertion is correct -- CAFO meats and GMO veggies are not what our ancestors ate.

DoS, I have found that almost everything I read offers something of value.  I rarely agree with everything, as written, but I'm smart enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.  

In this case, the most important point, IMO, is that wild foods have more nutrition than their cultivated counterparts; so, if beef or honey or blueberries are beneficial for me then I will seek out wild versions.  If SWAMI allows both collard and mustard greens, I'll choose mustard.  Haines advice and my SWAMI are not mutually exclusive.

Personally, I enjoyed the article immensely, I thought the comparisons were fascinating, and I intend to add the information to my arsenal of nutritional advice.  

It is not my goal to introduce every blogger to Dr. D's philosophy.  Nor do I force Dr. D's dietary theories on anyone, not even my husband who, BTW, thinks they're all bunk. If someone prefers to follow the Paleo diet then the advice given in Haines blog is valid.        
Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Friday, November 23, 2012, 9:28am; Reply: 4
Actually I enjoyed it :)
I do think he has lots of valued points regarding wild food vs modern food...
While I think most people will probably benefit to a paleo diet( whatever ii is ;) compared to a SAD... I do find some of their advice weird...
I have criticized The danish cook Thomas Rode who is very much in love with Paleo... ;)
some of the stuff he advocates doesn´t make sense... but sure better than modern danish diet-
First all I don´t understand the love for almond milk and broccoli muffins ;)  not foods from Paleo...
He says no root veggies...??  As an archeologist I can say we find lots of traces that people ate lots of plant stuff in summer - late autumn - in the stone age just before agriculture hit Denmark( but they did not eat it all the time..
He says lean meat -  well people has always preferred fatty cuts  and while modern animals fed on soy and grain are not as healthy as wild animals or grass fed - I still think it is wrong advice.
etc etc

So while I think Paleo do have some good aspects,,,,
Each man/woman must listen to their bodies...
I don´t do well on neolithic food like most grains -and beans are sadly not great either ( even though the Nomad diet says so...)
- but dairy is really good for me.
Posted by: DoS, Friday, November 23, 2012, 7:29pm; Reply: 5
I'm not saying you can't find more nutritionally dense food that what we typically find in a grocery store.

Plus a lot of now cultivated things were not edible before at all; but our genetic expression now can use them to powerful degrees of healing because we did cultivate them.

What I don't like is mis, poor, and lies of information. There was some to be found within that article. It doesn't make the paleo crowd look good, so why do it? There is plenty to think about health wise as far as the integrity of food goes, so there is plenty of material to talk about to support much of the paleo diet world without doing a disfavor.
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