Friday, June 29, 2012


From: Improving on Pritikin - You Can Do Better


Using the electron microscope to reveal previously undetectable wear patterns on fossil teeth of pre-human and early human creatures and comparing these with wear patterns on teeth of other animals, scientists have produced evidence that our ancestral line evolved, anatomically and physiologically, on a diet composed primarily of fruit.

Because anatomically and physiologically the human body has not changed in all the millions of years that have passed since that stage of evolution, it is logical to assume such a diet to be best suited for us still today. That of course is the theme of this entire book, and the evidence from our remote past adds further to support
this theme.

Dr Alan Walker of Johns Hopkins University, Maryland is one researcher in this field with whom the author has conversed, having initially read the following report from The Health Crusader, July 1979. The report originated from an article in the New York Times, May 15, 1979:

"Dr Walker has come to the startling conclusion that early humans were fruit eaters — not just fruit eaters but exclusively and only fruit eaters — eaters of nothing but fruit. This comes as quite a bombshell from a noted publication that has a vested interest in a heavy meat-eating society. By careful examination of fossil teeth and fossilized remains of humans with the aid of electron microscopes and other sophisticated tools, Dr Walker and other researchers are absolutely certain that our ancestors, up to a point in relatively recent history, were fruitarians. Hygienists are not necessarily fruitarians but all will tell you that humans are, by physiology and anatomy, frugivores. A cursory study of biology will reveal this, even if written by meat-eating professors, which most of our biologists are.

The scope of the article is rather far flung. They trace humans through history as expanding to herbiage and nuts and, finally, to meat as a full-fledged omnivore.

But, the essence of the article is that, though we undertook omnivorous eating practices, our anatomy and physiology have not changed — we remain biologically a species of fruit eaters. Our dietetic character is established by our disposition toward fruits. Our natural diet has great eye and taste appeal. It passes from the stomach in digestible form in from 10 minutes to 30 minutes after ingestion.

Contrast this with concentrated fat and protein foods which take three to five hours to pass out of the stomach.

We do not have the four stomachs that herbivores usually have. This rules out most herbiage.

We have only one starch-splitting enzyme versus a multitude of them in omnivores and starch-eating animals. Our ptyalin is very limited. This rules us out as starch-eaters which includes grains or cereals. We are not graminivores. Neither are we carnivores. It is repugnant to our thoughts to kill and eat an animal while it is still warm and bloody, to eat its brains, heart, offal and blood as true carnivores do. True carnivores do not chew meat — they have in their digestive tracts a hydrochloric acid so concentrated, about 1100% more so than ours, that it will digest the flesh from our hands if they swallowed them. But our acids are so weak we digest meat poorly even if we chew it thoroughly. Even then we cannot handle uric acid except at great expense to our vitality and well-being. Cholesterol plays havoc with our circulatory system. So don't think we're natural meat-eaters. We're suffering
very dearly for our dietary indiscretions — America has more sick people than any country in the world.

Can you imagine the dismay with which our meat and dairy industry, not to mention our extensive junk food industry, will view such damaging propaganda? Can you not see how many advertisers will have second thoughts about placing advertising in the New York Times?

Well, it doesn't quite work like that. The junk food advertising in the New York Times amounts to about nil. It is a newspaper that 'prints all the news that's fit to print'. It serves a cultured aware audience.

But one of the surprising things that came out of this article is its attribution of the harmfulness of our shift from our natural diet of fruits to other items of food that range from eggs and insects to milk and meats, that range from roots to cereals."

A similar study by Associate Professor of Anthropology Frederick Grine, New York State University, and Professor of Anatomy Richard Kay, Duke University, North Carolina, comparing dental wear patterns of various animals with known diets to those of the earliest humans and apes indicated that humans ate soft fruits and leaves whereas their evolutionary cousins, the apes, included nuts and bark in their diets.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine, January 31, 1985, called "Paleolithic Nutrition — A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications" by S. Boyd Eaton M.D. and Melvin Konner Ph.D, supported the evidence of the other scientists. The article described the progression of the early primate line from
insect-eaters (insectivores) to dependence on fruit and vegetables so that: "During the Miocene era (from about 24 to about 5 million years ago) fruits appear to have been the main dietary constituent for hominids, but their fossilized dental remains seem suitable for mastication of both animal and vegetable material." The six page article went on to discuss the deviations into meat-eating and so on since those remote times and had this to say about the diets of primitive populations today: Except for Eskimos and other high altitude peoples, hunter-gatherers typically use many species of wild plants for food. Roots, beans, nuts, tubers and fruits are the most common dietary constituents, but others, ranging from flowers to edible gums, are occasionally consumed. Small cereal grains, which have been staples for 'civilized' people since the Agricultural Revolution, make a surprisingly minor contribution overall." The article concluded: "The extent to which some of the major chronic diseases of industrialized society are related to the typical Western diet is controversial, but evidence for an important linkage is steadily accumulating. Medical researchers in diverse fields are beginning to define a generally preventive diet — one of benefit against conditions ranging from atherosclerosis to cancer. Such investigations are converging in several ways with the studies of paleontologists and anthropologists. Ultimately, of course, only experimental and clinical studies can confirm hypotheses about the medical consequences of dietary choices. Nevertheless, it is both intellectually satisfying and heuristically valuable to estimate the typical diet that human beings were adapted to consume during the long course of our evolution. Points of convergence between this estimate and modern recommendations are encouraging, and points of divergence suggest new lines of research. The diet of our remote ancestors may be a reference standard for modern human nutrition and a model for defense against certain 'diseases of civilization."