Tuesday, May 7, 2019

"Perception versus facts": What is the future for sustainable food? The case for prospective thinking (UH)

Food is any substance consumed that provides energy and nutrition to our body and brain, and thus influences human development over a lifespan and over generations. Our ancestors started to consume bone marrow 3.5 Mya. This new 'diet' triggered a reduction of their guts and an expansion of their brains, giving room for new mental faculties. After the introduction of Epipaleolithic, they baked the first bread and brewed the first beer. After the introduction of the Holocene, the agricultural revolution took place. During the Enlightenment, Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg proposed a vegan diet in preparation for the second coming of Jesus. He was followed by Sylvester Graham and the Seventh Day Adventist church. In the 1950s John Yudkin warned about the negative consequences of eating sugar and carbs. He was outmaneuvered by Ancel Keys who proposed the diet-heart hypothesis, which evolved to the Eat well plate, that focused on the diet our ancestors abandoned 3.5 Mya. The result: welfare diseases, including mental issues spread on a record scale. Ergo, animal source food is the best way to sustain physical and mental Health. 8 pages.

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Food is any substance consumed that provides energy and nutrition to our body and brain, and thus influences human development over a lifespan and over generations. Some also claim that our food preferences influence the climate. But the question is, is it true, and if so: to what extent?

Recent findings support previous finding, both suggesting that our ancestors started to eat bone marrow [and brain] some three and a half million years ago. That is, it wasn't our genus that introduced ASF but Australopithecus afarensis (McPherron et al. 2010; Thompson et al. 2019, popular by Kemeny, 2019).
Marrow and brains, meanwhile, are locked inside bones and stay fresh longer. These highly nutritional parts are also a precursor to the fatty acids involved with brain and eye development. And more easily than flesh-meat, bones could be carried away from carcass sites, safe from predators.
The emergence of this new diet took place in the midst of Pliocene (5.33 - 2.58 Mya), or 'just after' the Zanclean flood.

Our genus - Homo - emerged ~ 2.8 million years ago (Villmoare, 2018Villmoare et al. 2015). Soon after, in connection with the transition from Neogene (23.03 - 2.58 Mya) to Quaternary (2.58 - ), or the transiton from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene (Brigham-Grette et al., 2013; Filippelli & Flores, 2009), our ancestors ate meat (Pobiner, 2013Sahnouni et al. 2018 (popular by Gibbons, 2018 and Zaraska, 2016).

Bone marrow and meat are nutritiously denser compared to vegetables, and as a consequence, this new 'diet' gave evolution a boost. To cut a long story short, after they introduced animal source food, their guts started to reduce and their brains started to expand, from 450 ccs to 930 ccs, and further to our current size ~1300 cc (Aiello and Wheeler, 1995; Coolidge ad Wynn, 2018; Pontzer et al. 2016). And as the brain expanded, from the occipital lobe and forward, that gave room for new mental faculties (Pringle, 2016):
Inside this spacious braincase, an estimated 100 billion neurons processed information and transmitted it along nearly 165,000 kilometers of myelinated nerve fibers and across some 0.15 quadrillion synapses. “And if you look at what this correlates with in the archaeological record,” says Dean Falk, a paleoneurologist at Florida State University, “there does seem to be an association between brain size and technology or intellectual productivity.
These mental faculties are: social cognition, symbolic thinking, the ;executive functions which deals with mental operations like goal-setting, and combinatory thinking (creativity) that we can run forward in time (Diamond, 2013; Gallistel, 2017; Gilbert & Wilson, 2007; Ingvar, 1985; Kaku, 2014; Locke & Latham, 2002; Österberg, 2012; Schacter & Addis, 2007; Schacter, Addis & Buckner, 2007; Szpunar et al. 2014; Wynn, Coolidge & Bright, 2009).
The established archaeological doctrine states that humans first began baking bread about 10,000 years ago. That was a pivotal time in our evolution. Humans gave up their nomadic way of life, settled down and began farming and growing cereals. Once they had various grains handy, they began milling them into flour and making bread. In other words, until now we thought that our ancestors were farmers first and bakers second. But Arranz-Otaegui's breadcrumbs predate the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years. That means that our ancestors were bakers first —and learned to farm afterwards (Zeldovich, 2018).
The very ending of the Pleistocene (2.58 mya - 11 6000 years ago) is called the Epipaleolithic. It got a little warmer, and our ancestors took the opportunity to settle (Hodder, 2018), bake the first bread, and brew the first beer.

Putting bread and beer on "the table" wasn't the staple diet, but rather something that was served for special occasions. One reason was the effort-to-nutrition ratio; the energy and time used to bake bread and to brew beer gave less nutrients and energy compared to hunting for marrow and meat (Arranz-Otaegui et al. 2018;Liu et al. 2018).

These findings show that baking and brewing predated the agricultural revolution by several thousand years. But why did they continue to use their 'super-mind' to invest time and effort to produce something that was less nutritious compared to animal fat and meat?

Some years ago, a local food supplier testified that some hours before closing, people would return to the store for snacks and sodas. He smiled when he said that these products were the lion's share of the company's profit (He had his Jaguar parked behind the store). It's a demonstration of the vulnerability of our newly founded, or expanded, executive functions - how it easily becomes victims of emotional PRIMEs which sometimes leads to dysrationalia (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Stanovich, 2009). The Epipaleolithic was also the time of great upheavals; in parallell to the introduction of bread, Melt water pulse 1 A occurred, causing sea levels to rise.

12,800 years before present, the warming was interrupted by Younger Dryas - Earth was thrown back to significantly colder temperatures.

When the climate changed again, from the Pleistocene to the Holocene (11 600 years before the present), the weather again became warmer and more stable. It's likely to suggest that these cravings for treats - blood-glucose raising bread and beer - was the driving force behind the introduction of agriculture in south-east Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). They just wanted more.

Agriculture was a game-changer. When our ancestors, who for millions of years lived as meat-eating hunters and gatherers, settled to develop this new lifestyle, it wasn't an immediate success story. It took its toll on health, it transformed societies from egalitarian to hierarchical and divided humans into a number of societal roles still present in modern societies: guards, priests, administrators and so forth (Kohler et al. 2017; Mummert et al. 2011).

Even so, agriculture spread in all directions, for example to the land between the rivers - Mesopotamia or modern-day Iraq - where written language - cuneiform - emerged (~6000 BCE). With a written language they could keep track on trade with grains and other stuff.

Cuneiform was also the language used to communicate the first doomsday prophecy ~1750 BC in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Gilgamesh story later transformed into monotheism (you may have heard about this guy who was commanded by God to build a ship because of a flood. His original name was Utnapishtim). Since the beginning of our current era, doomsayers has brought about some ~200 doomsday prophets, predicting the ending of the world. Often by the prospect of a flood.

Agriculture also spread to the Pontic-Caspian steppes where the shepherd people called Yamnaya (Kurgans) lived. They buried their relatives in pits and used innovations like the wheel and the wagon.
The indigenous people suffered from diseases or were killed, and those who arrived began a demographic, cultural and political dominance (Kristian Kristiansen, professor of Archaeology at Gotheburg university, in the Swedish popular science journal Forskning och Framsteg).
Like in any honor culture, the ownership was passed from father to the eldest son. That meant the younger sons of Yamnaya/Kurgan had to do what Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors would do almost 4500 years later - explore new territories. Besides spreading technological innovations during their travels, the Yamnayas brought diseases and cultural domination to northern Europe and to Fennocandia.

After Medieval times (including the Dark ages), societal progress began with the Renaissance, escalating by the transition to Enlightenment, where democracy and literacy soared and poverty plunged (Pinker, 2018; Pinker's TED talk about the book).

In the 1700s, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a Swedish scientist turning mysticist/theologian, claimed to have had dreams and visions that he believed transported him directly into heaven and a deeper understanding about how people should prepare for the second coming of Jesus:
Drawing on the passage in Genesis (1:29-31) in which God Institute a vegan diet, Swedenborg said that meat-eating corresponds to the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden and was, therefore, the point of entry of sin and suffering into the world(Phelps, p. 149).
In 1817 the Swedenborgian Church of North America was established,
"and 1845, when the movement toward Swedenborg was in full tide, George Bush, professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in the University of the City of New York and long a favorite oracle of the orthodox church, was converted and took the lead of it" (John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886), Letters: 1867).
In 1830, William Millet (1782-1849) is said to have started the Adventist movement by projecting the second coming of Jesus somewhere around 1843-44. The failure of the prophecy led to the Great Disappointment and the formation of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Sylvester Graham (Graham Crackers; 1794-1851), like Swedenborg, promoted a plant-based 'Garden-of-Eden' diet, and in 1850 he, together with Alcott, William Metcalfe (1788-1862), and Russell Trall, founded the American Vegetarian Society.
The meeting was called by William Metcalfe who had led a migration of 40 members of the Bible Christian Church from England to Philadelphia in 1817, all abstainers from flesh foods. By 1830 Sylvester Graham (picture right) and William Alcott MD were also following the meatless diet. Metcalfe soon heard about the formation of the Vegetarian Society in Britain in 1847, and about the new word 'Vegetarian' now being used. He contacted Graham and Alcott and arranged the New York gathering (IVU).
Seventh-Day Adventist church was formally established in 1863, following the religious zeitgeist to promote a Garden-of-Eden, plant-based, diet in preparation for the second coming of Jesus. Ellen G. White (1827-1915), one of the leading characters of the Seventh-day Adventist movement, argued that meat, milk, and butter were responsible for 'carnal urges' - impure thoughts - in men.
John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) was one of the early founders of Adventist health work. His development of breakfast cereals as a health food led to the founding of Kellogg's by his brother William (Wikipedia).
New stuff: See and listen to Belinda Fettke - 'The Evolution of Plant-Based Dietary Guidelines' (~20 minutes).

In England, Dr. John Yudkin (1910-1995), among others performed experimental research, showing a connection between the consumption of sugar and other carbohydrates with high Glycemic Index (GI), and welfare diseases like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (Yudkin, 1972). (Llewellyn Smith, J. (2014). John Yudkin: the man who tried to warn us about sugar).

But instead of following Yudkin, and many other experimental researchers, an epidemiologist named Ancel Keys (1904-2004) stole the show. Key's was influenced by Haqvin Malmros (1895-1995), a Swedish biochemist, who proposed something called the diet-heart hypothesis (Noakes, 2019). Malmros joined forces with Key's who launched the Seven Countries Study (Two samples in Finland, one of which was Karelia, thus, the North Karelia Project) (Leslie, 2016). The Seven Countries study evolved into the Eatwellplate, following the meme that probably was culturally rooted since the first bite of bread. This message was recently re-iterated by another epidemiologist, Willet et al. 2019, with sponsorship from Welcome Trust as well as an organization founded by Scandinavian hospitality mogul Petter Stordalen, probably as a gift to his second wife Gunhild. They also claimed a connection between production of animal source food an the climate.

The proposed claims made by Willet al., about health and the climate, was critized (Blythman, 2019; Ede, 2019; Harcombe, 2019 a , b; Hauver, 2019 ; Howard et al. (2006); Kendall, 2019; Leroy and Cofnas, 2019; Leroy and Cohen, 2019; Reed, 2019; Teicholz, 2019).

Adding to that, similar claims had historically been rejected.

Dehghan et al. 2017, Dehghan et a. 2018, Leslie, 2016, Lustig, 2017, Mitloehner, 2018, Paschos and Paletas, 2009, Prentice et al, (2017), Ramsden (2016), Teicholz, 2014, White and Hall, (2017), andYudkin, (1972).

Most likely because of the link between consumption of sugar and other refined, processed, and ultra-processed carbohydrates and welfare diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), type 2 diabetes, and so forth (Hall et al, 2019).

Popular science by (Brueck, 2019 ab).


The food that opened the door for our genus millions of years ago and which gave us a large brain, is still the best choice if we want to sustain physical and mental health.

The idea that we should abstain from animal source food seems to be caused by dysrationalia - the inability to think and behave rationally despite adequate intelligence (Stanovich, 2009).

In addition, watch: Dr. Andrew Mente, Dr. Nadir Ali's presentation on the connection between fat and cholesterol, and Dr. Zoë Harcombe - 'What about fiber?

Also read Will conformity about food preferences and collapse anxiety suppress viewpoint diversity at universities?

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  1. An excellent overview of how the dietary aberration of vegetarianism arose.

  2. Excellent article, too bad those who read it already know most of what needs to be known, while those most in need of this info will never see it.