Effects of diet on Neolithic Man

As previously mentioned, the fossil records show that early Neolithic (modern) man had shrunk in size from their Paleolithic predecessors by as much as five inches. The average height of a man from the Agricultural Revolution (early Neolithic) was 5 feet 3 inches and a woman was 5 feet. In addition, the bones from a 10,000 year old Neolithic site known as Ganj Dareh in Iran, showed signs of arthritis, there were signs of ear infections and gum inflammation, and teeth showed lack of development which is a sign of malnutrition. Surviving childhood and reaching middle age was difficult.

mom and zach“From a life-cycle perspective, the most crucial time to meet a child’s nutritional requirements is in the 1,000 days including the period of pregnancy and ending with the child’s second birthday. During this time, the child has increased nutritional needs to support rapid growth and development, is more susceptible to infections, has heightened sensitivity to biological programming and is totally dependent on others for nutrition, care and social interactions.”  Improving Child Nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progress. United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) April 2013. page 3

“Whenever we can glimpse the remains of anatomically modern human beings who lived in early prehistoric environments still rich in large game, they are often relatively large people displaying comparatively few signs of qualitative malnutrition. The subsequent trend in human size and stature is irregular but is more often downward than upward in most parts of the world until the nineteenth or twentieth century.” Health and the Rise of Civilization by Mark Nathan Cohen (read more).

During a trip reminiscent of the one conducted by Weston A. Price, Mira and Jayson Calton in 2005 took a six-year, around-the-world research expedition to study populations and the effects of modernization on these groups. When visiting remote tribes untouched by outside influences, “there was little or no tooth decay and most often, their teeth were straight and white. Tribes that primarily consumed protein and fat through hunting or fishing were leaner and taller than those who received their protein mainly through a plant-based diet.”  When visiting a tribe in Papua New Guinea undergoing modernization, they reported the first signs of obesity and mouth cancer.  This occurred about the time that white dinner rolls and soda were being consumed for breakfast. While visiting modern cities they noted that: “obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer, among other diseases, are rampant. These urban dwellers have become intimately familiar with these conditions, and most are on one or more prescription medications. However, the medications are not helping. More people are dying of cancer and heart disease and being diagnosed with diabetes and obesity despite pharmaceuticals.”  Naked Calories: Discover How Micronutrients Can Maximize Weight Loss, Prevent Disease, and Enhance Your Life by Mira Calton, CN and Jayson Calton, PhD pages 10-12.

3D Food Pyramid“Contrary to popular belief, America’s dietary guidelines aren’t the magnum opuses of high-ranking scientists, cerebral cortexes pulsating in the moonlight as they solve the mysteries of human nutrition. What reaches our ears has been squeezed, tortured, reshaped, paid off, and defiled by a phenomenal number of sources. And as my own story proves, the USDA’s wisdom, pyramid and beyond, isn’t the only source of misguided health information out there. But it is some of the most pervasive, the most coddled by the food industry, the most sheltered from criticism, and-as a consequence-the most hazardous to public health.”  Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interest Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger page 7.  Even Dr. Loren Cordain believes the USDA MyPyramid Guidelines are flawed and he follows humanity’s original diet for optimal health.  The very diet our Paleolithic ancestors thrived on which was primarily lean meats and vegetables.

Additional Sources:
Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat by Paul Jaminet, PH.D and Shou-Ching Jaminet, PH.D
The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young by Loren Cordain, PH.D

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For my next post, I will begin to uncover conditions that lead to our current state of malnutrition and disease.

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