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Epigenetics: The Death of The Paleolithic Human?

Jeffrey Bland, PhD

In 1985 Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner, professors at Emory Medical College in Atlanta, authored their classic paper, “Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of its Nature and Current Implications.”1 Their premise was that although our genetics had not changed significantly since Paleolithic times, our diet had changed radically. They proposed that changes associated with standing agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing had resulted in dietary changes that our Paleolithic genetic heritage could not accommodate, thus causing the diseases of Western civilization. In 1997 the team wrote a follow-up article, “Paleolithic Nutrition Revisited: A Twelve-Year Retrospective on its Nature and Implications,” which expanded upon their hypothesis that the increased consumption of refined flour products, decreased intake of vegetables, and reduced consumption of lean animal protein high in omega-3 essential fatty acids contributed to the rise in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases seen primarily in highly industrialized nations.2

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