4 years ago254 views
How Much Sugar Is Too Much?
California Academy of Sciences - California Academy of Sciences
Modern human behavior, ranging from tool use to cooking to agriculture to industrial food processing, has allowed us colonize virtually every environment on earth – and even parts of outer space. Our love of grains and tubers has increased the number of our starch-digesting genes, and our taste for dairy has genetically altered at least 10% of the human population to do something no other mammal can do – digest milk after weaning. We have turned grassy weeds into corn, cyanide laced seeds into almonds, and bitter flowers into broccoli. And we are not alone - we also carry within us trillions of microbes that we feed with the indigestible, fibrous parts of our diets, and they in turn make our vitamins, protect us from food poisoning and food allergies, and modulate our metabolism. Dr. Zeresenay Alemseged will present data from isotopic studies and examine the evidence for the first major expansion of the hominin diet, millions of years ago, to include more grasses and animals. This adaptation was the precursor that made future expansion possible. Dr. Christina Warinner will then explore more recent changes in human diet, from 50,000 years ago to the present, and discuss how these changes have fundamentally affected human biology, ecology, and societies.