The Open Nutraceuticals Journal




(Discontinued)

ISSN: 1876-3960 ― Volume 8, 2015

Nutrition in Transition from Homo sapiens to Homo economicus


The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 2013, 6: 6-17

Ram B Singh, Toru Takahashi, Takashi Nakaoka, Kuniaki Otsuka, Eri Toda, Hyun Ho Shin, Moon-Kyu Lee, Vicky Beeharry, Krisimira Hristova, Jan Fedacko , Daniel Pella, Fabien De Meester, Douglas W Wilson , Lekh R Juneja, Danik M. Martirosyan

Halberg Hospital and Research Institute, Civil Lines, India.

Electronic publication date 22/3/2013
[DOI: 10.2174/1876396001306010006]




Abstract:

The food and nutrient intake among Paleolithic Homo sapiens, hunter-gatherers and among Asian and Homo economicus Western populations shows marked variations. Economic development and affluence may be associated with a decrease in the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids and significant increase in the intakes of carbohydrates, (mainly refined), fat (saturated, trans fat and linoleic acid) and salt compared to the Paleolithic period. The protein or amino acid intake was 2.5 fold greater (33 vs. 13%) in the Paleolithic diet Homo sapiens compared to modern Western diet consumed by Homo economicus populations. Approximately 10,000 years ago, prior to the Agricultural Revolution, our diet was based on an enormous variety of wild plants. However, today about 17% of plant species provide 90% of the world’s food supply which is mainly contributed by grains produced by fertilizer based on rapidly grown crops which may result in a decrease in nutrient density and increase in energy. Wheat, corn and rice account for three fourths of the world’s grain production on which humans are dependent for their food supply. Grains are high in omega-6 fatty acids and carbohydrates and low in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants compared to leafy green vegetables. It has been estimated that diet of Homo sapiens was characterized by higher intakes by essential and nonessential amino acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, flavonoids and w-3 fatty acids whereas modern Western diet of Homo economicus has excess of energy-rich refined carbohydrates, w-6, trans fat and saturated fat and low in protective nutrients. The consumption of such diets in wealthy countries in conjunction with sedentary behavior is associated with increased prevalence of morbidity and mortality due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).


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