Diet changes could pose several health risks.
Modern lifestyle brought a huge change in the way we eat. Calorie-dense food is a part of our life now and adequate nutrition can be achieved with a sedentary lifestyle. The so-called ‘western diet’ has gradually encroached our ‘desi’ diet and changed our food preferences drastically. Across the globe, a major shift has been seen from primitive diet to commercial diet, especially in industrialised societies. This stands in stark contrast to the ecological conditions experienced over the major part of our evolutionary history.
If the findings of a recent study are to be believed, this drastic dietary change could be blamed for the rising incidences of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular issues and obesity.
The researchers from Princeton University claim that the “mismatch” between human physiology, which evolved to cope with a mixed plant- and meat-based diet could be difficult for our bodies to adapt to. Human bodies have been designed to adapt to the foods our ancestors ate, and may not metabolise and digest the current crop of foods.
However the researchers also pointed out that no one diet is universally bad. It’s actually the mismatch between our evolutionary history and what we are currently eating that posits the health issues and lead to the current epidemic of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
“To address this gap, we collected interview and biomarker data from individuals of Turkana ancestry who practice subsistence-level, nomadic pastoralism (the ancestral way of life for this group), as well as individuals who no longer practice pastoralism and live in urban areas. We found that Turkana who move to cities exhibit poor cardiometabolic health, partially because of a shift toward “Western diets” high in refined carbohydrates. We also show that being born in an urban area independently predicts adult health, such that life-long city dwellers will experience the greatest CVD risk,” said Amanda J. Lea, co-author of the study published in the journal ‘Science Advances‘.