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Food for Thought

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George Bernard Shaw

Cicero

Unit 15. Food

Exercise 8. Summarize all the information about age-related transformations in the human organism discussed in this unit and speak on aging and the current research in this sphere.

 


 

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry.

Ecclesiastes 8:15:

 

One should eat to live, not live to eat.

 

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

 

Exercise 1. What do you know about food?

1. What nutrients are necessary for human life?

2. Why are vitamins and minerals necessary?

3. How much food should people consume? What does the daily norm of food consumption depend on?

4. What is generally understood as “healthy diet”?

5. What food products are considered healthy and unhealthy? Why?

6. What factors can lead to overweight and obesity?

7. What role have dietary habits played in human evolution?

8. How did cooking food affect human physiology?

 

Exercise 2. The article below deals with the role of dietary habits in human evolution. As you read the text, find answers to the questions:

  1. What were the main dietary shifts in human evolution?
  2. What changes have they led to?

 

Dietary change was a driving force in human evolution

By William R. Leonard

We humans are strange primates. We walk on two legs, carry around enormous brains and have colonized every corner of the globe. Anthropologists and biologists have long sought to understand how our lineage came to differ so profoundly from the primate norm in these ways, and a growing body of evidence indicates that these miscellaneous quirks of humanity in fact have a common thread: they are largely the result of natural selection acting to maximize dietary quality and foraging efficiency. Changes in food availability over time, it seems, strongly influenced our hominid ancestors. Thus, in an evolutionary sense, we are very much what we ate.

So when and how did our ancestors’ eating habits diverge from those of other primates? Further, to what extent have modern humans departed from the ancestral dietary pattern?

To appreciate the role of diet in human evolution, we must remember that the search for food, its consumption and, ultimately, how it is used for biological processes are all critical aspects of an organism’s ecology. The energy dynamic between organisms and their environments—that is, energy expended in relation to energy acquired—has important adaptive consequences for survival and reproduction. The type of environment a creature inhabits will influence the distribution of energy into maintenance energy (which keeps an animal alive on a day-to-day basis) and productive energy (which, on the other hand, is associated with producing and raising offspring covering the increased costs that mothers incur during pregnancy and lactation). Thus, by looking at the way animals go about obtaining and then allocating food energy, we can better discern how natural selection produces evolutionary change.

 





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