Here’s an interesting article on human evolution. In a nutshell, it says that Tibetans that live at 13,000 feet – an altitude where the oxygen level is so low as to make it impossible for people from lower elevations to function properly – evolved the capability to live at this altitude in about 3,000 years. While the article discusses the controversy surrounding the time spans, it brings up an important point – our genetic heritage plays a role in what type of environment we might thrive in – and that includes our food environment.
A better known example is lactose tolerance. Adult humans were originally not able to properly digest milk. Then, with the rise of agriculture and the beginnings of animal husbandry, primitive peoples had a rich supply of calories in the milk of the animals they raised for meat.
They drank it and got sick. But not all of them.
The ones that didn’t get sick probably tended to have more kids – who could drink milk as well – and thus, people with European heritage can drink and digest milk, while a lot of other races find it a big problem.
This is why you find cultures – modern ones – where dairy is almost nonexistent in their traditional foods – how many dishes in your local Chinese restaurant have a cream sauce?
Another example is alcohol. Some people metabolize alcohol very differently than others. Some Asians and Native Americans – which share a common heritage as it is believed that Native Americans originated from Asians that crossed the land bridge between Alaska and Asia during the last Ice Age – are more profoundly affected by alcohol.
Basically – they can’t hold their booze.
Give some of them a single drink and they’re done – they turn purple and can’t drink anymore.
There’s plenty of links on this to be found – here’s one if you don’t believe me.
All of this leads me to wonder: why are there no diets based on our race?
Is it because we are so obsessed with eliminating racism that we deny the fundamental differences between peoples?
There’s a big difference between thinking we’re better than another race or culture, and acknowledging we’re different.
If we can really evolve in as little as 3,000 years, then it might be smart to consult our genealogies before we begin a diet, find what foods our ancestors ate, and use these as our basics.
The good news for us cookie-eaters is: if we just keep at it, in a few thousand years, our descendants will thrive on a diet of Chips-a-Hoy.