Modern vascular imaging technology has demonstrated calcified atheroma in medium and large arteries of preserved humans, between two and four thousand years old. The largest number studied was in Egypt, which at the time and before, was the wheat bowl and beer brewing capital, of the Mediterranean. All those studied had dental evidence of caries, abscess, broken teeth and the wear of grinding sand and wheat seed. The first conversion to gardening and farming by homosapiens seems to have been 10-12,000 years ago in an area between the Euphrates and Indus Rivers known as the Golden Cresent, now part of Northern Iraq. Similar, slow patchy changes to agriculture arose in areas many thousands of miles away, for reasons still unclear.The hunter-gatherer life practice areas and numbers contracted and groups were being discovered in the mid 20th century The conversion to forms of agriculture were spread over many thousands of years and haphazardly over the planet.The hunter-gatherer life practice, not growing plant food, has been the predominant source of nutrition, inspite of becoming omnivores near two million years ago, up to the Neolithic period, 5-12 ,000 years ago. As herbivores then omninivores our source of Carbohydrate was from arguably over 200 plant items, where it was part of the fibrous structures, tissues and polysaccharide compounds with starches and celluloses. Sugars were few except for some fruits and berries in season. The gut structures, organs, physiology, digestion, hormone release, metabolism, were orchestrated to this very diverse nutrition, energy, necessity.Carbohydrate from any source or type had the potential to produce blood glucose when needed; unlike today where glucose and fructose is available extensively and quickly in processed food.Biologically and metabolically there is an adaptive way of dealing with this glucose excess, by converting glucose to fatty acids and placing them in adipose(fat) tissue.
The current Gorilla, Chimpanzee, herbivore primates would have a close semblance to the nutrition of our fore-bears, where the demand for Insulin would be less than today; as processed CHO, sugar, fructose and processed vegetable oils, dominate all commercial food. Pre-agriculture dietary CHO was ‘tied up’ so to speak in plant, berry, leaf, fibrous and root materials that required time consuming gut digestion, where limited quantities of glucose were released and absorbed. Blood levels of glucose over 24 hours were lower and flat, so insulin release was like-wise.Diurinal, nocturnal starvation was the norm, but today, the CHO load can continue up to sleep. Normal peristalsis would move digested and partly digested food remains on, where small and large bowel fermentation provided a source of energy and new organic compounds.The demands on the pancreas, insulin production and levels were modest and different to the processed and sugar consuming humans today, that had its genesis at the early Neolithic period, where modified and ground grains were first consumed.
This increased demand on the pancreas and extent of insulin release into the blood is ‘recent’, variously 10-12 thousand years maximum and slowly since, until the major boost with sugar and recent processed food.Too many commentators ignore our history biologically and the fact that primates and arguably all land based species have never relied on glucose as their sole source of energy, but used a state of variable ketosis, because their extensive species range of energy-nutrition at the most eco productive time, did not have processed CHO and freely available sugars. So a critical hormone insulin since the Neolithic period, but markedly since excess sugar and fructose, entered our nutrition recently, has had production and blood levels generally elevated.Is that a problem?
It certainly is.Both crystalline sucrose and fructose laden corn syrup are hs conceived products, processed from sugar cane and sugar beet and the fructose from corn. While both satisfied the taste sensation we refer to as ‘sweetness’, this’ advance’,’ progress’ in nutrition took no account of their metabolic consequences when consumed in excess. Sugar, processed CHO and salt were adopted by the ‘food industry’to produce food products in numbers and variety never seen before, purely for commercial reasons.
Too many affluent nations for several generations, have OWOB at 65-75% of the adult population and children at 40-45%. The percentage of this OWOB cohort with elevated insulin and insulin resistance is variable but high. Arguably it is the most important reason to reduce weight or avoid OWOB. No it has nothing to do with fashion or appearance.It created a template for pathologies like insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, DM, CVD and some cancers!