We Live the Way We Eat

I heard the word dietic the other day for the first time. Honestly I didn't know what it meant but it sounded like it had to do with nutrition. Actually, I used the context to deduce that much. But it means the study of diet. Different cultures have different diets, Mexicans eat differently than Americans (mostly) and Italians. Each culture has it own local cuisine and dietary principles.

Sometimes it appears like dieticians use the word to describe their profession but it does not mean that it is correctly applied to them.

Let me give you a quick example how things balance in fats, fibers, and starch:

Countries that consume couscous combine starchy (carbohydrates), fibre ( vegetables), meat (lipids and proteins) and is often accompanied by curd/chutney (calcium).

Now take the English breakfast, which can include eggs, fried bacon, fried potatoes, sausages, etc. is very high in fat, but complements a diet that was once traditionally porridge-based during the day.

A distinction must be made between the food consumed by the human species for 7 million years until the Neolithic (and still consumed by the last hunter-gatherers) and that consumed since the Neolithic. Until the Neolithic, the diet mainly includes fresh and oilseed fruits, vegetables, tubers (but not potatoes), meat and fish. There were no dairy products, cereals, salt, sugar or oil. Of course, given the difficulty in obtaining meat, the diet was probably more carbohydrate based. On the other hand, our ancestors consumed food in the largest quantities possible, oilseed fruits that formed the parallel (in much greater terms) with our modern oils. With the use of fire and thus the cooking of foods allowing the consumption of starchy foods (tubers, cereals, grain) and life expectancy increased because of it.

Today diets are varied, but they adhere to the same principles that formed the basis for our modern diet. Each region is shaped by its heritage and the societies that sprung up around them and the dietic that related to them.

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