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How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution - Issue 30: Identity - Nautilus

A Stronger Immunity 

Westerners who grew up in villages, in farms, living among livestock at a ranch, or are exposed to certain infections at an early age, tend to have a lower risk of autoimmune diseases.

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How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution - Issue 30: Identity - Nautilus

How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution - Issue 30: Identity - Nautilus

http://nautil.us/issue/30/identity/how-the-western-diet-has-derailed-our-evolution

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Key Ideas

Microbes

Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:

  • Intestinal microbes of people living in villages, having a natural diet, are much more complex, and can degrade fiber.
  • People in cities, eating a western diet, have microbes in their stomach adapted towards processing protein, fats, and sugars.

Wrong Baseline Data

Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect. 

Digesting Fibre

The Western world has stomach microbial communities that could digest junk food and might re-diversify and recover (to a limited extent) if we just ate more whole grains and veggies.

Internal Extinction

The microbial die-outs, a form of mutation inside our stomach due to our specific diets, gets compounded across generations.

This is leading to a sort of internal 'extinction' of microbes, which were abundant inside our ancestors, but are not present in us.

Microbial Extinction

As Western civilization fails to nourish key microbes, the type of food taken is starving them out of existence. Many factors cause this:

  • Antibiotics 'nuke' our internal ecosystems, killing all good microbes.
  • Sanitary facilities of the modern age prevent the sharing of disease, along with health-promoting microbes.
  • City life limits our exposure to soil, plant and animal microbes.

New Kinds of Diseases

As the Medical and Pharma industries get equipped with better research and technology, there should ideally be a decline in diseases. Instead, we have an increase in non-communicable diseases.

This rise can be blamed partly to the microbial extinction inside us, altered by Sanitation, Antibiotics and Junk food.

A Stronger Immunity 

Westerners who grew up in villages, in farms, living among livestock at a ranch, or are exposed to certain infections at an early age, tend to have a lower risk of autoimmune diseases.

Fiber-Rich Diet

Americans consume less fiber than what is recommended, eating fewer nuts, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

A fiber-rich balanced diet is known to prevent colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Chronic inflammation 

Regular poor diet leads to a rise in endotoxins in our bloodstream, making the immune system respond to this by inflammation.

Chronic inflammation, every time we eat junk food, leads to cellular dysfunction and diseases of the stomach and organs.

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Fiber gap

Only 5 percent of people in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily target of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That amounts to a population-wide deficiency.

Benefits of a fiber-rich diet

Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, even some cancers. Fiber slows the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation.

Fiber doesn’t just help us poop better — it also nourishes our gut microbiome.

Processed foods and fiber

Instead of munching on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, more than half of the calories Americans consume come from ultra-processed foods. On any given day, nearly 40 percent of Americans eat fast food. These prepared and processed meals tend to be low in fiber, or even fiber free. 

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Humans evolved on a diet very different from today's eating habits. To be healthier, leaner, stronger and fitter, we must re-think our diet and remove some of the food groups we ...

What to eat
  • Animals (especially a "whole animal" approach, including organs, bone marrow, cartilage, and organs).
  • Animal products (such as eggs or honey).
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Raw nuts and seeds.
  • Added fats (like coconut oil, avocado, butter, ghee).
What to avoid
  • Grains, although research suggests eating whole grains improve our health and appear to be neutral when it comes to inflammation.
  • Heavily processed oils, such as canola and soybean oil.
  • Legumes, although research suggests the benefits of legumes outweigh their anti-nutrient content. Cooking eliminates most anti-nutrient effects. Some anti-nutrients may even be good.
  • Dairy.

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There has been a lot of hype around the health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics in recent years, but while they're increasingly used in treatments including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, several reviews suggest there needs to be further research on which strains and dosages are effective. Recent studies have found some people are even immune to probiotics.

Gut microbiota

Gut microbiota has a major role to play in the health and function of the GI tract, with evidence that conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often coincide with altered microbiota. But it also plays a much wider role in our health, and this is largely determined in the first few years of life.

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