100 Million Years of Food
Picador, 2016 (2016)
Reviewed by Bob Walch
t seems every week there's a new book on diet, healthy eating, and how to sustain a healthy balance between weight control and good nutrition. Biological anthropologist Stephen Le turns to evolution to not only illustrate how the choices of what we consume have changed over the centuries but also how we have missed the boat when it comes to understanding how evolution has moved us in the wrong direction.
he author explains that his main goal in writing this book is '
to explain what we should eat and how we should live by combining the latest in scientific studies on human nutrition and medicine with a dose of evolutionary biology and a review of how people past and present ate and live.
n the past, cuisines of different regions were developed over time using the plants and animals available. Clever experimentation created diets that complemented human biology, but today we have by and large strayed from these ancestral diets and lifestyles and the results have been an increase in everything from heart problems and diabetes to certain types of cancer.
e takes the reader on a tour around the globe as he shows that there are still some people who rely on traditional as well as modern methods of raising and preparing food. Of course, his contention is that this approach that tends to follow ancestral ways of eating and living is superior to what exists in so many societies currently.
f the reader is looking for concrete suggestions on how to improve his or her health, Le makes some simple suggestions. Keep moving, eat less meat and dairy when younger, avoid sugar and deep fried foods, and eat traditionally. Will that really make a difference? That's a good question and one that each reader will have to decide for himself or herself.
ighly readable, this volume offers plenty of food for thought but it is very doubtful it will launch the next trendy diet or food craze. Very entertaining and often quite engaging at times, Le moves so quickly from country to country as he presents his views that he never really makes an extremely compelling case for the book's premise.
t is quite obvious that this book is also an extension of the author's Ph.D. work in biological anthropology at U.C.L.A. and, as such, has been watered down for the general reader.
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