What is Evolutionary Nutrition and Why is it so Important

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In the quest for the “perfect diet,” many nutritional experts strive to bring us as close as possible to what our ancestors ate – as in the Paleo approach. The reasoning goes that since we human beings evolved in certain specific circumstances, with certain foods available to us, our body systems must have evolved to process those particular foods more easily and efficiently than other, more recently discovered sources of nourishment.

Today, many people invest a lot of money in trying to replicate the diet of their cave-man ancestors, but there’s one little flaw in this train of logic. Wherever humans first evolved and whatever they ate in those days, we haven’t stopped evolving, and our nutrition shouldn’t, either. Join Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, as he explains why we need a nutritional science that’s flexible enough to change with the times in this fascinating new video from #IPEtv!

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: What is Evolutionary Nutrition and Why’s It So Important?

Usually, when we look at nutrition, whether we know it or not, we tend to view it as the kind of science where we simply need to get things right. Meaning, there must be an ideal diet, and once we determine what that is, then we can relax and push the nutritional cruise control button. We have the answers. We don’t need to search anymore.

Some nutrition experts feel that we simply need to look into our past to what our ancestors ate and find the one true diet from there. Other experts believe that we simply need more scientific sophistication to alter the genetic structure of our food and perhaps even alter the DNA of the body, and with this genetic wisdom we will somehow create nutritionally optimum human beings.

But what most approaches to the field of nutrition tend to miss is this one all-important concept:

We are still evolving as a human species.
We are still evolving as a planet.
We are still evolving metabolically.
Furthermore, we’re evolving culturally and spiritually.

Evolutionary nutrition alerts us to this simple and all-important fact.

It would be easy to assume that human beings, as we are right now, are at the flowering of our biological evolution. We’ve made it. We’ve reached the top of the evolutionary food chain. And what I would like to suggest to you is that nothing can be further from the truth.

If we truly want to create a healthier nutritional present, and a brighter nutritional future, we need to re-imagine how we see things.

So yes, we need to look to our nutritional past to get important insights into how we can practice the art of healthy eating today. This is extremely important, and is one of the key driving forces in the field of nutrition today.

But we have to put ourselves in the context of an evolving species.

In fact, it can be argued that from a genetic standpoint, we’re changing very rapidly. The field of epigenetics is clearly showing us that gene expression can change at a moment’s notice in response to foods, nutrients, herbs, thoughts, feelings, environmental toxins, and so much more.

So many people get confused in response to all the nutritional systems and all the differing opinions that are out there. Essentially, what you’re seeing is nutritional evolution in action.

Every nutritional expert, scientist, and clinician who’s touting a new way of eating is participating in the beautiful experiment called self-evolution. We can literally use our mind and our intention and our intellect to invent ways to help the body adapt to an ever-changing world and an ever-changing environment.

How cool is that?

Creatures and organisms evolve when they try new strategies. Sometimes life forms are forced into adapting to new challenges – the climate might change, an Ice Age might happen, a meteor strike might change the face of the planet, other organisms are getting bigger and stronger around us and we need to find ways to protect ourselves better.

We humans have the amazing opportunity to fuel our metabolic evolution.

So, when we first started producing junk food, this was literally an evolutionary experiment. Let’s eat mass-produced food that’s low in nutrition, high in sugar, intensely processed, stripped of nutrients, with all sorts of chemicals that don’t exist in nature for added color and flavor – let’s eat that for a bunch of decades and see what happens.

By the way, I want you to consider this a failed evolutionary experiment. Nice try. Makes sense. Quick and easy food, mass-produced, at a nice big profit, sold cheaply, easy to purchase, who could argue? Well, the body has essentially said no.

If you adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet, then you’re participating in an evolutionary experiment as well. Congratulations. According to the battlefield of cultural anthropology, there’s maybe one culture – a tiny group in India – we can say with any certainty have been long-term vegetarians. There is a virtually 100% chance that your ancestors going back for many generations have been eating animal foods. So when you adopt a diet without animal foods, that’s an evolutionary experiment. Let’s try this, and see if it works.

By the same token, most of the new supplements that appear in your health food store are relatively new to the food chain – especially in the forms that they’re in. Consuming super foods from all over the globe is yet another fascinating experiment in nutritional evolution.

Those who adopt the paleo diet are participating in the fascinating genetic experiment called let’s see what we believe our ancestors ate. Let’s change up what we’ve been doing for the last few generations and see what happens to the body. Many people have some pretty amazing results. For others, such an experiment is only short lived.

My point is this:

Let go of what you think is right or wrong when it comes to food, diet and nutrition.

Embrace change. Embrace the need to experiment. Celebrate all those experiments that look like they’re going well. Criticize the ones that are clearly not working – and I’m talking about GMO foods, and the majority of over-processed, over-sugared foodstuffs that occupy virtually every inch of every shelf of every supermarket.

The beauty of evolutionary nutrition is that your life now becomes an ongoing experiment. Try fasting. Try cleansing programs. Eat locally grown. Eat organic. Use herbs. Take immune enhancing substances to protect you against a hostile environment.

And consider each one of these a reasonable and intelligent experiment in our metabolic evolution.

I hope you can get a sense of how empowering this can be, how interesting it is, and how it takes us out of the conversation of finding the perfect diet, arguing with each other about what’s nutritionally right or wrong – and places us in the laboratory of life where anything’s possible.

I hope this was helpful my friends.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment. Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.

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