We are the Naturally Selected!!

I just found this in an article on food allergy and intolerances. A different viewpoint perhaps?

Natural Selection:

Some commentators have argued or theorised that before agricultural societies evolved, those individuals that had more sensitive immune systems were generally better adapted to the natural environment than those who did not, as they were better able to seek out and destroy viruses and other infections in their bodies. Those individuals with antibodies that were less reactive were perhaps less inclined to survive, and more likely to fall victims of Natural Selection. Thus the law of Survival of the Fittest would dictate that more individuals with sensitive immune systems survived in each subsequent generation. The genetic and phenotypic predisposition to mistaking certain protein forms as viruses is from one perspective a good thing. However, with the advent of commecial food production and agriculture, and especially with hybridisation, this characteristic of having a more sensitive immune system then becomes a potential hazard to one's health, if one is not aware of the situation, well informed and that one is consuming proteins that resemble toxic and pathogenic viruses. Thus one could argue that modern society from a Neo-Darwinian perspective encourages the weaker and less robust and punishes the naturally 'stronger', thus creating a genetic disadvantage in the human gene pool, which as discussed above, arguably affects large segments of the population, who may be more prone to developing other allergies, asthma or even autoimmune diseases.

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  • Well yes, except that coeliacs who eat gluten are more prone to life threatening illnesses, such as cancer and so are more likely to be naturally selected!

    So that argument does not really stack up! :)

  • I actually agree with both points here.

    I think the article that sassyl has posted makes a very valid point that as long as a coeliac stciks strictly to their diet then they have the potential of avoiding the traps of junk food, which creates a culture that is over fed and under nourished. Which's what we have in the ''developed'' nations.

    However Meanioni also make a very valid point that because coeliac have eaten gluten it has weakened our bodies with osteoporosis, RA, Colitis, Lupus etc.

    I also think that we are actually in the early days of coeliac diagnosis and treatment and in my opinion the biggest problem with the ''gf'' diet is we are allowed to eat too much gluten with codex wheat, wheat derivatives, malted products and possibly oats.

    This is based on what I have experienced and seen in other coeliac in the 17 years since diagnosis. In that we are diagnosed and go from eating Hovis to codex and feel better but how many coeliac still have low iron levels and persistent IBS on their strict gf diet?

    So I think that if CD was diagnosed very quickly and coeliac went on an ultra strct gf diet with no allowed levels of gluten then the article posted by sassyl would be spot on.

    Before anyone takes umbrage at this. This is my opinion based on my experience and my observations. As I am just a coeliac who can not tolerate gluten and not a non coeliac ''expert''

  • Yay for devolution *rolls eyes*

  • Every living organism exists through natural selection or interference from man but natural selection only fits a particular place in time and space. So to me the argument is probably more that coeliacs have not evolved as quickly as Triticum, and other grains have, and our society places an expectation to consume vast amounts of grain (as it feeds a large amount of people, cheaply). The highest rate of childhood mortality due to coeliac disease is Africa as food aid increasingly sends wheat, yet CD was once seen as a disease of mainly white, Northern Europeans.

    In a very short space of time, wheat species seem to have undergone dramatic genetic changes in gluten proteins (most notably for us is the development of GF CODEX wheat starch). In 2005 scientists were working with gluten proteins that lacked 1 or more of the known T-cell-stimulatory sequences. As the mainstream "loaf" actually contains thousands of times more gluten than it did post-war, to me that probably accounts for the increase in gluten sensitive individuals.

    Source: Mapping of gluten T-cell epitopes in the bread wheat ancestors: implications for celiac disease. [Gastroenterology. 2005 Feb;128(2):393-401] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/156...

  • I think it it a lot simpler than this. For hundreds of thousands of years man survived on a diet of animals and seasonal fruit/veg. In the last ten thousand years the agriculture system has been growing wheat (and rice, corn and potatoes) which are starchy carbohydrates. Seeds have natural defence mechanisms that we have not really had time to evolve to eat them safely. A plant spends a lot of energy creating it's seeds so it will evolve to make them toxic to varying degrees. Red kidney beans are a good example of a really toxic seed. Would you feed a lion in a zoo bread and expect it to stay healthy?

    I suspect there are a whole host of diseases which are being made worst because of these toxins building up. It's only when I became a Coeliac that I realised what a wheat laden diet I was eating, forget balanced diet, wheat is an ultimate convenience food and energy source which is the main part of the greater population's diet. Because it is so ubiquitous I believe it is almost impossible for researchers to see it's effects on health.

    It is not surprising that here is an outbreak of Diabetes in the industrialised world when all this wheat is quickly digested into sugar which our bodies were never designed to cope with on a daily basis. There is a strong body of people researching 'ancestral health', Google it if you want to find out more, it makes a lot of sense to me.

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