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, 33 (9), 867-87

Phylogenesis and Nutrition

  • PMID: 2697806

Phylogenesis and Nutrition

H Haenel. Nahrung.


The evolution of man is connected with a life-style of hunting and gathering, and with the development and use of tools. The success of tools promoted the evolution of brain, thinking and skills. The food sources--animal and plant--remained the same during the whole of evolution. But the proportions of foods, preferences, preparations and the attainability changed. Evolution was a process continuously based on omnivorous nutrition. Compared to modern nutrition, paleolithic nutrition is richer in animal protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium and fibre, and poorer in fat and sodium. Saccharose, lactose and alcohol play no roles. The quality of the fat is marked by a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This shift from a paleolithic diet to a modern diet caused nutritional risks, partly responsible for the dramatic increase in modern chronic diseases of heart, circulation and so on. Man's metabolism works in a stable genetic frame, derived during phylogenesis. We have to adapt our nutritional behaviour to its tolerances or we may succumb to disease and premature death. While our paleolithic metabolism is overdone with modern nutrition, our psychological heritages press in the direction of overdoing.

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