Observe the scientific evidence of early human diets and lifestyles if you want to understand the Primal-Paleo-Ancestral approach to eating and living today. Our modern, stressful lifestyles – thanks in part, to the overabundance of toxic, industrially-processed fast “food”, – has led to a genetic mismatch, in which our genes and our diet and lifestyle are at odds. According to a branch of science called epigenetics, many modern chronic illnesses are in no small part caused by genetic processes triggered by poor diet, nutrition and lifestyle choices (like poor sleep and exercise habits). In other words, our genes are literally affected by what we eat, how much and well we sleep and exercise, as well as the cumulative effect of stress and toxins in our environment.
Our bodies are biologically (that is, hormonally and metabolically) affected by the food we eat, therefore a calorie is not just a calorie. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Eat Fat Get Thin, puts it succinctly on his website: “There are good and bad calories. Your body is much more complex than a simple math problem. When we eat, our food interacts with our biology, a complex adaptive system that instantly transforms every bite. Food is more than just calories and flavors. Food is information telling our cells what to do. In fact, every bite you eat affects your hormones, brain chemistry and metabolism. Sugar calories cause fat storage and spike hunger. Calories from fat and protein promote fat burning. What counts more is the quality, not the quantity, of the calories.”