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Nutrition Past and Future

TPNS 46: The Gloomiest Diet

Primitive Nutrition 46:
The Gloomiest Diet

The Garden of Eden is the most utopian condition for humanity we can imagine.  All kinds of life coexist in this painting without stress or conflict.  It seems a fruit has been found to be appealing.  This is how we think of paradise.

It seems when people acquire the means, they like to try to create their own rendition of paradise.

And the results can be spectacular.

When we want a special vacation in a place that feels like paradise, we go places like here.

Or here.

That are home to people we imagine look like her.

Or her.  Tell me, guys. Which do you prefer?  This.

Or this?  Not quite as pleasant to look at, is it?

Here, I'll try to make it up to you.

A woman's beauty has long been likened to sweet fruit.  Fruit evokes the warm and inviting places it comes from, and our attraction to sweetness is deeply ingrained.

We love sweetness before we are even born.  If amniotic fluid is sweetened, a fetus will swallow more of it.

Sweet carbohydrates induce a rapid calming in crying newborns.

Adults are no different. Facial reactions to sweetness in adults are much like those seen in newborns.

Primates react to sweetness just like newborns, too.

Our closest relatives eat diets dominated by fruit whenever they are abundant.

Our hominid ancestors are believed to have maintained those preferences.

All food energy comes from the sun.  It first takes the form of sugar through photosynthesis. Sugar is here called the universal food and energy source of most living things.  Herbivores get their sugar through plants, and carnivores get theirs by digesting other animals.

Sugar is sensed at a very deep level.

...  in particular for special types of sweet compounds, the ones we like the most, sucrose and glucose and fructose, the monosaccharide and disaccharide sweeteners, there are extra pathways, extra mechanisms that let us taste something like that as being sweet.

And these are, as we reported in this recent paper, sugar transporters and special ion channels, potassium ion channels, that respond to the metabolic state of the organism or the metabolic state of the taste cell.

And remarkably enough, these same things you'll find in other parts of your body, in the gut, in the stomach, small intestine and in the endocrine cells in the pancreas.

... you can actually train mice and rats to tell if they've gotten something sweet in their stomach or in their small intestine.

So you can bypass their taste buds in the oral cavity and directly put sugar into the stomach or small intestine, and those animals can be trained to know that that's something good and something positive, and they will seek more of that stimulus.

We have multiple pathways in our bodies to sense when we consume it.

Sweet fruit has long been prized by humans. 

But throughout history most humans have gotten their sugar in the form of starches, even if that required eating the inner bark of trees.  It has only been when humans had minimal access to carbohydrate that they have resorted to high fat diets.

Our long time dependence on starches is reflected in our genes.  We have probably been subjected to strong selective pressures to thrive on starches, differentiating us from other primates.

Yet low carbohydrate diet promoters want you to crave a diet that would be forced upon you in a place like this.  Does this look like paradise to you?  Just looking at this photo gives me seasonal affective disorder.  This guy looks like he could use a vacation.

Would you rather be here than Hawaii?  Where do you think you would last longer?  If you lived here, you would need to bundle up like this little boy just to survive.  You would need warm air against your skin.  You’d me making a little tropical bubble for yourself.

Even the Labrador Inuit would gather berries by the barrel and store them so they wouldn't have to do without them through the winter.  What few carbs they could find, they went to a lot of trouble to utilize.

What about these Plains Indians?  Can there be any doubt that life was hard for them living in such unforgiving places through all seasons?  Would you trade places with them?

Whereas a carbohydrate-based diet is immediately attractive

A low carbohydrate diet seems just a bit lacking in aesthetic appeal.

It's amazing to me that people think we should avoid sweet fruit.  We are not carnivores.

Yet even some carnivores are sweet tasters.

Humans have wide variations in their sensitivity to tastes associated with meat.

Yet misguided fad diet promoters want you to think your pancreas can't handle eating fruit.  Denying ourselves the healthiest sweet foods is somehow supposed to be a strategy for lifetime maintenance.  To me it sounds like a lifetime battle with your very nature.

This is rationalized through evolution by people who don't understand evolution.  Fad diet authors focus on places humans managed to inhabit through technological adaptations, and ignore the places our ancestors originated and thrived.  Humans survive everywhere, so how does this logic tell us anything?  What responsible health authority would tell you to avoid oranges because it's cold outside?  You're inside where it's warm, aren't you?

In the next video, we’ll get better acquainted with gloomy low carb, high fat diets.

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