Sunday, 29 December 2013

Powered By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition - New Book by Don Matesz

I am proud to share the news that Don Matesz has released the book Powered By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition. Here is a brief description of the book:
Don Matesz
In Powered By Plants: Natural Selection & Human Nutrition, Don Matesz proposes that a plant-based diet powered human evolution. Challenging anthropologists and advocates of low-carbohydrate and 'paleo' diets who claim that we require meat in our diet because meat-eating drove human evolution, Matesz cites a large body of evidence indicating that the human organism has numerous heritable anatomical, physiological, and biochemical features primarily adapted to acquisition or metabolism of whole plant foods, but lacks the heritable features expected as evidence of evolution primarily driven by meat consumption. While natural selection appears to have favored a human biology that thrives on a plant-based diet, sexual selection may explain the apparent paradox that we are athletically capable of hunting but highly susceptible to diseases caused by the luxury of meat consumption.  Matesz surveys human biology from head-to-toe, and, backed by hundreds of references, shows that our sensory, locomotive, manual, digestive, and reproductive systems, and our nutrient metabolism, are all adapted to a whole foods plant-based diet. This evidence indicates that consumption of animal products promotes disease because it conflicts with basic human biology. 
Without question, this is one of the most well researched books on the topic of evolutionary nutrition, containing hundreds of high quality relevant references. Throughout this book Don Matesz critically examines many of the claims published in peer reviewed journals by prominent proponents of the so-called Paleo diet. Matesz ultimately concludes that the hypothesis brought forward by these proponents that humans evolved and thrived on a predominantly meat based diet is over-simplistic and is in disagreement with a broad spectrum of evidence. Matesz demonstrates this by examining dozens of factors that cast doubt on the hypothesis that Paleolithic humans were the successful hunters that these proponents have made them out to be. For example, Matesz points out the relatively low hunting success rate and low energy return from hunting by modern African hunter-gatherers, casting doubt on whether Paleolithic humans who used more primitive weapons would have had a greater rate of success. Another important point raised is the known high rate of dehydration and hyperthermia among modern day athletes running long distances in warm climates despite being supplied with water throughout their races, suggesting that Paleolithic humans living in warm African climates who had fewer reliable sources of water would have unlikely relied on persistence hunting to provide any significant portion of their diet

In this book, Matesz also examines the natural occurring pathogens found in animal foods, demonstrating that these are found in similar quantities in both intensively farmed livestock and wild game, and provides a significant amount of evidence for their role in human disease. This book is an essential read for anyone interested in evolutionary nutrition, and highly recommended for anyone interested in health in general.

Don Matesz has studied the topic of evolutionary nutrition for the best part of two decades, and his extensive knowledge on this topic allowed him to be selected as a presenter for the first ever Ancestral Health Conference. Read about Matesz's fascinating decision to return to a plant-based diet after 14 years of following a Paleo diet, and his struggle with ill-health caused by this former diet in his blog post Farewell to Paleo.

Click here for the paperback copy and here for the digital copy. A sample of the book can be viewed on Amazon.

Other recommended reading by Don Matesz

Response to The Miracle Cure for Losing Weight
Phytates: Antinutrients or Essential Nutrients?