Millions of years of evolution debunked

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Millions of years of evolution debunked
Sun, 06-23-2013 - 9:35am

Millions of years of evolution….

Science has recently debunked the Paleo Diet. It's the diet in which you eat meat, meat fats, nuts and plants. Often justification for the diet starts off with "millions of years of evolution". Many people use the same argument to justify breastfeeding (including myself).

So I checked out a couple online science articles which refute the logic behind the caveman-type diets. As fate would have it what scientists think allows us to eat a modern diet is our gut microbes.

Snip-it:

"What might be different, either between you and me or between you and me and our ancestors is the sort of gut bacteria we have to help us digest our food….The new era in study of gut bacteria (and their role in digestion)—the era of the microbiome—may reveal that our stone age ancestors, by eating a little more meat, cultivated bacteria that help break down meat, which they then passed on to us (during birth which is messy and has long been), their maybe meat-eating descendents….

Interestingly, if our gut bacteria responded rapidly to shifts in diets toward more meat during the stone age, they might be expected to have shifted again when we began to farm, at least for those of us with ancestors who began to farm early. When our gut bacteria met up with our agricultural diets, beginning twelve thousand years ago or so, they would have begun to compete with new microbial species that kicked butt at living off wheat, barley, corn, rice or any of the other grasses that have come to dominate the world, sometimes at our expense. This may even mean that which diet is best for you depends not only on who your ancestors were, but also who the ancestors of your bacteria were. "

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/23/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/

One of the big criticisms of the Paleo-type diets does not apply to breastfeeding at all. The diet attempts to identify a period of time in our past in which we ate an ideal diet. That's impossible. Breastmilk, OTOH is always adapting to current circumstances. Millions of years of evolution have created a way for breastmilk to be always adapting to new environmental challenges. Formula is stagnent.

We also know that the gut bacteria of breastfed and formula fed infants are different. According to science, those are the differences that matter. So while the "millions of years of evolution" logic is debunked for caveman diets, it appears to still apply to breastmilk. How were we to know fifty years ago that the proportions of fat, carbs and protein are not necessarily the key factors in breastmilk? We didn't and we don't know what else is important. But we do know that the milk will adapt.