Is the Atkins diet evolutionary compatible?
26 Aug 2008
The major sticking point of the Atkins regimen has been his statement that humans had a long evolutionary history of being primarily meat-eaters . Most people felt that , since we evolved from fruit-eating apes , this needed more proof than an assertion and mountains of evidence . We needed A Theory .
We try to follow the chronological sequence .
We find that there was indeed a very long period when it was easier to get all the food necessary by hunting or scavenging .
We try to put some numbers to the discussion .
Some understanding of Epigenetics is essential .
1. The Proto-human ape .
The bonobo’s are descendents of this eden . Fruit come into season all year round
The living is easy .
1.1Fear of heights .
This is situated on a single gene (refer to Mohawk tribe , who does not have it) . It is most likely a genetic switch (ie you can develop a fear of heights after a certain age , thus more likely transmitted through epigenetic factors)
Apes with this disability started to populate the ground . Paradoxically , the more successful ones also had a complementary genetical deformity : the inability to manufacture certain amino acids they could obtain only from meat . These would have died before , but now could survive and increase by turning into obligate hunters(ie they had to eat meat about once a month) .
A chicken-and-egg feedback process .
We can assign exact values to this process using Order of Randomness maths .
An optimal hand-mouth-digestive system evolved . You can’t eat more than a hand-size ,since your mouth is not big enough . A bigger size activates disgust , based on ape fairness protocols , which are very deeply hardwired . It is even species independent . Greedy , sloppy eaters like sharks excites revulsion . This revulsion is hardwired .
Default-humans (ie females) still have the small hands . Males evolved big hands during the breeding episode circa 10 000 BC . It still turns females off . In true Freudean fashion many have become hysterical in a anorexic or bulimic mode .
They perceive their hands as being too big .(Transference)
An interesting treatment would be to make their hands smaller : a-la-chinese feet . Tape the middle three fingers to the palm , give them a spoon or chopsticks and let them get on with it . A significant percentage would benefit .
Note that some men have enormous hands (ie Michael Phelps) , but their mouths are normal size . Their mothers or grandmothers had very high levels of testosterone in the womb . If this is an advantage , it slowly gets incorporated into the genome .
2.1 Hunter Gatherers .
As can be imagined , hard data is uncertain . The events occurred tens of thousands of years ago and all that is left are bones , teeth , some artifacts and cultural artifacts.
The jargon is Harris-lines (bone lines formed after a stress event) and apoplasia(dental lines formed during the stress event) .
Epigenetic events (not recognised when my major source was written ) : decrease in skeletal heights since the hunter-gatherer stage .
Remember that the language is the interface and the external database
(See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “AI” )
The major hard-science evidence is from bone and dental growth lines , which is open to different interpretations .
But the general consensus is that hunter-gatherers were , and surprisingly , still are better nourished than the general populace today . Even present day hunter-gatherers are better nourished than the average agricultural populations .
My data is from “Hunger in history” , a study by Brown University
This prehistoric data is from chapter 3 “ Prehistoric patterns of hunger” by M.N Cohen .
The data is surprisingly hard to come by from using the internet . The data is usually only available to accredited persons . I presume that it is not PC to admit that people today are worse off than 50 000 years ago . A corollary of “The greatest good for the greatest number” .
Let us get some numbers on the subject:
Source of hard data:"Hunger in History" ISBN 1 55786 044 0 Brown University USA
Chapter 3 : "Prehistoric patterns of hunger" by MN Cohen
Calory and carbohydrate values from standard commercial counters .
Benchmarks for one standard human
kCal needs per day= 2000
Std 30g handful g= 30 Small human or ape handful
kCal per 30g beef= 86
kCal per 30g veg= 30 Onion as benchmark
NetCarbs per 30g veg= 5.5 Onion
Table to get needed kCal per day Nbr of handfuls(30g)
g meat g veg G nettcarb Meat veg
698 0 0 23 0
660 108 20 22 4
232 1334 245 8 44
116 1667 306 4 56
58 1834 336 2 61
30 1914 351 1 64
0 2000 367 0 67
Note that the ape has to work about three times as hard on a veg diet to get the same calories . (ie the number of handfuls)
We know that the largest functional group of homonins is about 150 (Microsoft et al)
We know from “Infinite Probes” in previous discussions that critical points are at a third and two thirds of this (ie 50-100).
How much meat does a reasonably successful homonin group of 100 require ?
For 700 g a day per person this translates to 70 kg per day for a group of a hundred . This is easily achievable . One big buck dresses out as 300-400 kg . Plus innumerable hares , birds , fowl etc . The country was teeming with wildlife until the 1800’s .
The big governor of the Hunter-Gatherer way of life .
Everything had to be carried .
They could not exactly load it on daddy’s hovercraft , you know .
The food had to be cooked . While meat could be roasted or smoked on the spot , vegetables had to be cooked or prepared at some central point , as all natural edible plants had evolved poison defenses of some kind (eg cassava , potatoes , yams ,etc) .
Look at the extreme vegetarian case from the table above . Two kg per person for 100 people works out at 200 kg per day . About twenty women are supposed to cart this at ever increasing distances every day , plus collecting and carting firewood .
The male-only hunting model:
The men have to hunt , as all need the amino acids from meat .
This model leads to a revolt from the women . Remember , the living is easy . The women don’t see any reason to bust a gut doing unneccesary carting . They also gather the herbs and veggies , most of which are poisonous .
You can see the result : moving along is much easier and healthier for all concerned .
The result : everybody hunts . Women use nets and snares and men go for bigger game . Juveniles collect eggs and vegetables , but in small quantities .
The easier route is eating a lot of meat .
But there is a problem with fats .
The one thing that was scarce was fat . This was the governor on human reproduction.
Wildlife under predation change their behaviour . They run hither and thither , burning up energy instead of turning it into reserves that can be used by predators .
Women need reserves of fat , especially emega3 and omega6 for normal conception and prevention of spontaneous abortions .
Children were literally timed to coincide with maximal fat of the mothers .
Hence the evolution of big ,fatty bums in a lot of female human populations . See Hottentot , !San , Babushkas . Tellingly , these are seen as sexually attractive to men in Northern Europe and Africa . (Rubens) A promise of fertility .
Carrying was first done in baskets . Weaving . Very early , concomitant with unpicking and ropes . Watertight weaving (still used) .
Cooking was first done by dropping hot stones in watertight woven baskets with some sand at the bottom to prevent burn-through . It was noticed that some types of clay baked hard and gave a longer-lasting basket . These clays were smeared over the inside of the baskets . Proto-pottery was birthed . Because of its brittle and perishable nature , no recognizable traces lasted . But it formed the bridging to pottery which did last , seeming to come into existence from nothing .
Food Preservation .
The major problem for any hunter-gatherer with a uncertain food-supply .
Meats preserve easily and well .
Jerky (biltong) , salted meat , smoked meat .
Alcohol and vinegar as a preservative :
Fermentation followed directly from proto-pottery (about a week) . Alcohol and vinegar then was used extensively in pickled veggies and meats . Real pottery exploded as there was huge market for preservatives .
Market for vinegar .
Market for beer .
Domestication of heavy carriers (oxen) . Done before , but now large numbers needed in nuclei points . To feed the oxen and fuel the fermentation pots , large sources of high-carb seeds were needed . Small-scale agriculture expanded .
Then agriculture happened .
Humans did not at first eat grains on large scale .
They fed it to their animals during the process of domestication .
But , it was the Cow that did it , your honor .
Also , the horse , the goats and the sheep .
Fat was supplied by milk-fermentation products . The single greatest spur to human population growth .
Milk + fermentation + containers bypassed the mammalian lactose intolerance .
Cheese , kumiss ,yoghurt , etc.
Cheese ,mainly .
Hard Cheeses to be exact .
This was one of the main trading items during the Bronze Age .
An item under strict import control in states like Pharaonic Egypt and Cretan Minos . They were well aware of the effect of cheese on the birthrate .They had been keeping detailed records for thousands of years .
Since they were in small , eco-sensitive states , cheese was reserved for the elite . The development of local hard cheeses were discouraged . Indeed , Africa never developed an indigenous hard-cheese suitable for trading . It is one of the major reasons why it never had explosive population growths resulting in empires .
The Elba-Etruscan-Marseille-Gaul trade .
Before Alexander the Great channeled Greek expansion to the East , they had founded colonies in Sicily , Italy , Southern France and Spain . Elba had rich Greek iron mines.
Worked tools and weapons were traded for wine from Etruria and shipped via Marseille up the Rhone to the interior of Europe . (This was what stimulated the Etruscan and Roman civilizations) .
But what did they get in return ?
This has always been a puzzle .
Celtic Gaul circa 1000 BCE was a post-collapse society , an exhausted Bronze age civilization overrun by Celtic barbarians . But they did know their cows and their cheeses .
What they had in return was cheese , furs and charcoal .
But mainly cheese .
But not cheese as we know it , Jim .
Hard , rock , like Parmesan . Formed in ox-hide shapes as a brand . Far more valuable than metals . (Post-collapse societies have lots of metals lying around , but things to eat are scarce .) (That is why there are so many ox-hide shapes in old ship-wrecks from this era : not metals , but cheese , eaten by the sea-life .)
The Greek trading drove them to alter the manufacturing process to softer cheeses in containers . The Greeks and Romans only knew how to make cheap round pottery containers . So we are still stuck with cheese wheels .(Remember , the home of Cheese , Holland , never had a collapse op the Western Roman Empire . )
Think India had sacred cows ? Try Europe . The cow was more important than children , because the whole family could die in winter without it .And future generations depended on the fat of the human mothers(known , but not in a scientific way).
You don’t have “Kobe beef” in Europe not because the pampered beef , but because they would skin anybody who made such a suggestion . Eating dogs or horses had an easier reception .
Do not confuse the Celtic , Bantu or Texas cattle-cultures with West-European Swiss or Hindu cow-cultures .
Celtic and Bantu cultures .
These are so similar that we have to wonder if there is not cultural contamination .
Both used the same huts , cattle as wealth , clan structure , border raiding , metallurgy etc, etc .
Bantu culture suddenly erupted from the West coast of Africa south of the Congo-delta circa 50 BC and spread south-eastwards because of the cattle . No other societies around them had the same cattle-based economy or iron metallurgy . The iron-working (a variant of bog-iron folding) spread into Angola and Southern Africa . The same with the cattle .
Where did this come from ?
An intriguing speculation is that it came from the Celts .
The Celts had this mechanism of getting rid of surplus population : split the populace at random in three . One third has to leave . By about 70-60 BCE , the Romans had made it clear (after Marius massacred 500 000 at Aquiliae Sextae) that no further volkewanderung in Gaul or Italy would be tolerated .
So they tried the sea-route down the west coast of Africa . About 200 coast-hugging ships of the time could take about 100 000 people . Another 100 ships for the cattle and horses . A population of about 500 000 would be rich enough and powerful enough to get the lowlanders to build the ships . The Druids probably could see problems ahead either with the Romans . So they would also give their support , and more importantly , money .
This is why Julius Caesar invaded Britain . He knew that a powerful Gaul fleet had sailed not long ago , and he had to know where they were . There was no way that he could tell the Senate
“By the way , a fleet of 100 000 Gauls can descend anytime on Rome , Egypt or Carthage . “
He knew that they had not been recently sighted in the Mediterranean . His most immediate danger would be that they had gone to Britain and would sally forth at their leisure . So he took the initiative : a reconnaissance in force .
When he found out the truth , he withdrew .
But he sent pursuit forces to make sure they did not return .
Talk about the last legion .
But he probably sent no more than two maniples . About 1200 men . Enough for the job .
These were real Romans with orders to make sure that the Gauls never return .
The highest probability is that they caught up with the weather-beaten fleet and burned most of it on the beach .
His policy decision then to eradicate Druidism because of their demonstrated capability to mobilize a fleet of about 300 ships coloured Roman and Roman-Catholic policy since .
Prestor John Empire myths
The Prestor John Empire myths stem from this episode . The ambivalence of the Roman-Catholic Church is understandable . They knew very well there might be a Western culture in Africa , but that it probably would have Druidic roots .
So what did happen to the Gauls ?
They hopped down the western coast of Africa in true Peoples of the Sea fashion . The first place suitable for cattle is south of the Congo .
This is probably where the Romans caught up with them , catching them by surprise and burning the ships on the shore .
After they lost the horses and the ships , they made the best of a bad business and acculturated , slowly drifting south-eastward . The Druids formed the core of the traditional healers , and still has the old verbal knowledge .
What happened to the horses ?
They are notoriously susceptible to diseases , especially African Horse sickness .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “Mongols of the Serengeti”
Horses could survive , but only with a large initial influx or continual replenishment .
Without replenishment of new blood they would have died out . This implies that the Gaulish force lost sea-going capability , which is consonant with pursuing Romans catching up with them .
What happened to the Romans ?
They probably walked back . Well , most of them . They could sail as far as the Niger and then up to Lake Chad . Then march back to Egypt (It was wetter then). Take them about two years . There was little in Africa that could stop two Roman maniples .
The Primus Pilum probably retired on the shore of the Red Sea , telling unbelievable stories to his grandchildren on their visits .
Agricultural production quadrupled after Jethro Tull invented the seed-planter in 1700.
But exactly how did this translate into greater wealth ? More agricultural produce did not immediately lead to more people . The lag is too great and the produce could not be stored directly . But it could be stored indirectly via living organisms , ie cows , the major consumer of Western European produce . There was an explosion of cow numbers . Cream and cheese went from expensive delicacies to affordable items . The birthrate responded . The Great English Speaking Population explosion happened . Growth rates of about 13% per year was recorded .
A corollary can be seen in the production of nitrates for gunpowder . Europe was self-sufficient . England had to import nitrates from Bengal , laying the groundwork for successive famines in the area (nitrates were produced from cattle and horse urine , which depended on their feedstock)
Lots of people , lots of food and lots of munitions .So the humans had a war-fest called the Napoleonic wars .
Their response to the age of reason .