by Rich Murray

I am PARMENTIER, the king of potatoes.
I am not crazeeeee!

How complex are the issues of diet and toxicity, the importance of
perpetual open-mindedness, and the uniqueness of each person's optimum
pattern, and show how simple, instant searches on GOOGLE can reap
valuable, multi-faceted results.

I am grateful to the eminent Prof. Masters, whose questions triggered
this day of writing and exploration. I am re-evaluating my two-year
commitment to the McDougal Diet, which emphasizes very low-fat,
low-protein foods, only from grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, with
some nuts and legumes. You can surf to https://www.drmcdougall.com/

It appears that blacks and similar low income groups in world urban
cultures have less calcium intake, due to their not drinking milk, due
to their lactose intolerance, leading to higher lead absorption and
resulting neurotoxicity.

There must be, then, evidence that these groups are also eating fewer
vegetable sources of calcium, compared to the original native diets. Is
there evidence that calcium deficiency promotes absorption of other
heavy metals, such as mercury, zinc, tin, copper, (common in "silver"
dental fillings), and uranium and thorium (from coal burning), chromium
(pans), arsenic (water) and even aluminum (pans)? All these metals are
prevalant in urban areas. (factories tossed them there.) Throughout
most of history they would not have  been a problem for most groups. But they are now!

As a poorly informed layman, I have a general vision about milk toxicity
in human history. The groups in Southern Siberia who developed the
mutation that allowed adults to drink milk were nomads in dry areas,
herding cattle about scattered water holes and pastures.

Milk growth and endocrine hormones promoted the fast growth of large
bodies, early sexual maturity, and increased sexual desire, perhaps
along with neurotoxic symtoms like restlessness, impulsiveness,
aggressiveness, subtle cognitive impairments, and childish immaturity,
fueled by the abundant calories in milk, able to travel far with
portable cows and storable cheese-- all ingredients for the perpetual
adolescent character type, epitomized in our culture as the cowboy.

The smelting of copper, bronze, and later iron with charcoal fires would
have introduced high levels of heavy metal toxicity into humans for the
first time, along with chronic low-level carbon monoxide, in caves,
huts, tents, buildings, and ships.

This mobile, restless culture, with its herds of cattle, sharp iron
weapons, hyper-masculine warrior ethic, potent wine, loquacious and
imaginative, spread over the millenia west to Ireland, and east to
India-- the IndoEuropean language and genetic family, well described in
the hystorical myths of the Bible, the Illiad and Odessey, and the
ancient Hindu epics, and this culture and genetic constellation has
dominated world history ever since, for some six millenia.. Do the
Arabic armies fit into this vision, the intripid murderous Vikings, and
the Hun hordes that each in their turn swept over their neighbors, in
constantly repeating replays of Cain killing Abel? Robert Cohen, the
"not-milkman", has quoted passages in the Old Testament that denounce
the drinking of milk by adults. Recall the flushed face of the Beefeater
Gin Englishman, proudly holding his sharp, shiny sword, once ruler of
half the world.

The Americas were overrun, and the natives, mostly vegetarians with low
lean meat use, were almost exterminated by disease, war, habitat
destruction, alcohol, sugar, and high levels of red meat and dairy, as
the survivors took up a mobile, warrior horse-buffalo-cow culture, armed
with steel blades and then guns. How much neurotoxicity is caused by
casting lead bullets over open fires in tents?

http://www.rense.com/general7/nativeg.htm Native Americans &
Vegetarianism 1.14.01 Rita Laws, Phd]

Not so surprising that the cowboy cultures would hack each other to
pieces in the meaningless insanity of two world wars. The Napoleanic
Wars and then the American Civil War were rehearsals. Did high levels of
animal proteins, fats, and hormones, and heavy metals and carbon
monoxide from coal fires, and, after 1830, dental amalgam fillings,
along with ever more abundant, increasingly potent alcoholic drinks
induce this general cultural insanity, infecting every strata of

Note also that there is evidence that two alkaloids from potatoes,
introduced widely into world diets after 1800, could well be a major
co-factor for schizophrenia, unknown before then-- the world's highest
incidence of schizophrenia is in-- Ireland! Is this the dietary root of
the intractible violence there?

Add to this the many problems caused by ever-increasing gluten from
wheat family grains in the last ten millenia, a major cause of child
death and many adult diseases-- the Celtic cultures have the highest
level of gluten intolerance, about 1% in Europe.

Japan's warrior samurai culture may be related also to heavy metals and
carbon monoxide from metal smelting and charcoal fires, also used in
firing pottery. How much toxicity comes from making and using pottery
and metal pots, and consuming tea and hot sake?

Prometheus brought down fire to humanity, and was duely punished, chained
to a rock, a vulture tearing forever at his liver. Pandora sneaked a
peek into her secret box, irrevocably releasing a plague of horrors.
What a profound archtypal mythic "sound byte" about the seminal simian
innovation in our species history, as much as half a million years ago,
when fire was "tamed", resulting in increasing toxicity in the "liver"
ever since.

Fire! Enabled small groups to colonize the high moutains and the wintry
and polar regions, living for endless millenia huddled about smokey
fires in caves, and later, huts, tents, wood-stone- brick buildings, and
ships, developing a tolerance and then an actual craving for smoke--
hence modern pipes and cigarettes, likewise, tolerance, then craving for
carbon monoxide, while switching from largely vegetarian to cooked meat
diets, and to previously unedible plants, with novel toxins, tolerated,
then craved. Recently, scientists have been advancing arguments that
grains were domesticated and then increasingly desired, due to their
addictive opoids, some ten millenia ago.
What carb addiction?

Yours lady. Or why can't you stop at three?

Then there's toxins from Fire! In Genesis, God made man from clay. Damp clay, mixed with straw,
and fired, became pottery, later embellished with increasingly complex
chemical glazes, then hot charcoal fires, leading to copper, bronze, and
iron. Humanity was exposed to heavy metal toxins, and more and more
carbon monoxide, for the first time.

Toxic pots and poison pans-- the Roman empire's elite declined from
widespread lead from pots and plumbing ("Plumbum" is Latin for lead) and
lead-laced wine. The Roman empire fell, killed by the inventions of the good life.

Before "civilization", the caves concentrated radon from uranium decay,
enough to produce chronic oxygen-deficit intoxication, and a high
mutation rate for accelerated evolution. (we call that CANCER.)

The brain, the body's largest user of nutrients, is most affected by
toxins-- paradoxically, the typical result is addictive craving for the
toxin, whether alcohol, smoke (carbon monoxide), caffeine, starch
(sugar), or nicotine, or even, famously, all of the above at once-- the
prototypical "Continental breakfast". Bacon, eggs, toast, butter,
coffee, sugar, croissant. Killed by the good life.

Our perennial childhood chant, "I scream, you scream, we all scream, for
ice cream." Killed by the good life.

We surmise that the brain responds to low-level chronic toxic challenges
by growing even more-- natural selection would favor accelerated growth
and development of the brain to compensate for the multiple neurotoxins
of a life centered around fire. Beethoven suffered from lead toxicity
all his life-- extremely irritable and totally deaf in his 30's,
socially isolated, his genius produced the most inspiring music in

But cultural evolution, "unnatural selection", tens of thousands of
times faster and more powerful than genetic natural selection, has
fostered the strangely persistent pattern of organized war, in which the
"first-born" sons are sent off proudly in shining armor with keen
knives to slaughter each other in droves, mutual sacrifices to Mars. As
the movie "Thirteen Days" and the life of JFK shows, the neurotoxic
and sex addicted male elites of America and Russia were barely able to
 restrain themselves from the final spasm of thermonuclear cataclysm.

Yes, indeed, life is "complex". It's time to write the actual world
history of the "vicissitudes of civilization". "Civilization and its
discontents", wrote the distinguised radical physician Freud, addicted
to nicotine and cocaine, and, no doubt in a very average way, to sex,
probably with a mouth full of mercury "silver" amalgams...

Bemusedly, Rich Murray rmforall@earthlink.net

FROM: Roger.D.Masters@Dartmouth.EDU (Roger D.
Masters) rmforall@earthlink.net

DEAR MR MURRAY:I have a question.Your posting puzzles me.
Genetic diversity within the species clearly has a great deal to do with
responses to milk. Lactose intolerance is characteristic of all
non-human primates and of individuals in many population groups that
have no long history of milk consumption (most African blacks, except
the Masai), many Asians, Native Americans, and Hispanics. This genotype
was, before domesticaton of cows, obviously selected as part of the
weaning process. If milk consumption led to survival based on a
mutation, natural selection must somehow be involved in this story and
yet you ignore it. I have focused on this for a reason linked with our
research. Among ethnic groups with lactose intolerance, calcium intake
is low AND, probably, this is a big factor in enhanced lead uptake among
blacks and hispanics, which in turn is related to higher alcoholism &
death from violence and heart disease. Life is complex.

NEXT FILE is by Roger Masters

In the human body, inorganic lead is not metabolized but is directly
absorbed, distributed, and excreted. The rate at which lead is absorbed
depends on its chemical and physical form and on the physiologic characteristics of the exposed
person (e.g., nutritional status and age). Inhaled lead deposited in the
lower respiratory tract is completely absorbed. The amount of lead
absorbed from the GI tract of adults is typically 10% to 15% of the
ingested quantity; for pregnant women and children, the amount absorbed
can increase to as much as 50%. The quantity absorbed increases
significantly under fasting conditions and with iron or calcium
deficiency. *******


Mean intakes of calcium are lower for females than for males and
lower for blacks than for whites. USDA surveys..


http://www.chiroweb.com/archives/15/23/26.html The presence of a
significant amount of heavy metals in hair will almost invariably be
accompanied by a general "stress pattern," and marked alterations of the
essential elements: The stress pattern, indicative of adrenal stress is
presented in hair analysis by a marked, paired deviation in calcium and
magnesium with an opposing deviation in sodium and potassium in the
opposite direction. This pattern is accompanied by an increased level of
zinc (which is displaced from functional sites by cadmium, nickel, lead
and mercury), and elevated boron.

Commonly associated with significant levels of heavy metals in hair,
invariably with mercury, is a distinct pattern of malabsorption of
essential elements. The malabsorption pattern is characterized by very
low levels of calcium, manganese, cobalt, chromium, copper and sometimes
zinc. The malabsorption pattern can be associated with intestinal yeast
over growth, hypochlorhydria, achlorhydria (B12, thiamin, zinc or
histamine deficiency), food allergies (increased with heavy metal
burden), or inflammatory bowel disease. *******

http://www.beyondveg.com/nicholson-w/hb/hb-interview1a.shtml Ward
Nicholson 1996, 1998 ward3@beyondveg.com Paleolithic Diet vs.
Vegetarianism: What was humanity's original, natural diet?
http://www.beyondveg.com/cat/paleodiet/index.shtml "Statistics on breast
cancer rates in Europe also are higher for countries who have been
practicing agriculture the least amount of time.[124]"

...Fire and cooking in human evolution, rates of genetic adaptation to
change, hunter-gatherers, and diseases in the wild. Part 2 looks at the
question of early fire discovery and use, and whether humans might be
evolutionarily adapted to some amount of cooked food in the diet, as
well as a number of other issues of interest when considering questions
about natural diets. These topics include hunter-gatherer diets, the
health of animals living on their natural diets in the wild, the use of
foods introduced to the human diet quite late in evolutionary history
such as milk and grain products, and genetic rates of change related to
dietary shifts.

http://www.beyondveg.com/nicholson-w/hb/hb-interview2c.shtml Influence
of human culture on genetic selection pressures. However--and this is
where it gets interesting--those population groups that do retain the
ability to produce lactase and digest milk into adulthood are those
descended from the very people who first began domesticating animals for
milking during the Neolithic period several thousand years ago.[119]
(The earliest milking populations in Europe, Asia, and Africa began the
practice probably around 4,000 B.C.[120]) And even more interestingly,
in population groups where cultural changes have created "selection
pressure" for adapting to certain behavior--such as drinking milk in
this case--the rate of genetic adaptation to such changes significantly
increases. In this case, the time span for widespread prevalence of the
gene for lactose tolerance within milking population groups has been
estimated at approximately 1,150 years[121]-- a very short span of time
in evolutionary terms.

[The estimate of 1,150 years is from the Cavalli-Sforza data. A somewhat
more conservative estimate based on the prevalence of lactose tolerance
in those of Northern European extraction is that the gene for adult
lactose tolerance would have increased from 5% to 70% prevalence within
about 5,000 years (approx. 250 generations). [Aoki 1991]]

Relationship between earliest milking cultures and prevalence of lactose
tolerance in populations. There is a very close correlation between the
30% of the world's population who are tolerant to lactose and the
earliest human groups who began milking animals. These individuals are
represented most among modern-day Mediterranean, East African, and
Northern European groups, and emigrants from these groups to other
countries. Only about 20% of white Americans in general are lactose
intolerant, but among sub-groups the rates are higher: 90-100% among
Asian-Americans (as well as Asians worldwide), 75% of African-Americans
(most of whom came from West Africa), and 80% of Native Americans. 50%
of Hispanics worldwide are lactose intolerant.[122].....

Genetic changes in population groups who crossed the threshold from
hunting-gathering to grain-farming earliest. Another interesting example
of the spread of genetic adaptations since the Neolithic has been two
specific genes whose prevalence has been found to correlate with the
amount of time populations in different geographical regions have been
eating the grain-based high-carbohydrate diets common since the
transition from hunting and gathering to Neolithic agriculture began
10,000 years ago. (These two genes are the gene for
angiotensin-converting enzyme--or ACE--and the one for apolipoprotein B,
which, if the proper forms are not present, may increase one's chances
of getting cardiovascular disease.)[123]

In the Middle East and Europe, rates of these two genes are
highest in populations (such as Greece, Italy, and France) closer
to the Middle Eastern "fertile crescent" where agriculture
in this part of the globe started, and lowest in areas furthest away,
where the migrations of early Neolithic farmers with their
grain-based diets took longest to reach (i.e., Northern Ireland,
Scotland, Finland, Siberia). Closely correlating with both the
occurrence of these genes and the historical rate of grain
consumption are corresponding rates of deaths due to coronary
heart disease. Those in Mediterranean countries who have
been eating high-carbohydrate grain-based diets the longest
(for example since approximately 6,000 B.C. in France and Italy)
have the lowest rates of heart disease, while those in areas
where dietary changes due to agriculture were last to take hold,
such as Finland (perhaps only since 2,000 B.C.), have the highest
rates of death due to heart attack. Statistics on breast cancer
rates in Europe also are higher for countries who have been
practicing agriculture the least amount of time.[124].....

But again, and importantly, the key point here is that genetic
changes in response to diet can be more rapid than perhaps once thought.

The difference in time since the advent of Neolithic agriculture
between countries with the highest and lowest incidences
of these two genes is something on the order of 3,000-5,000 years,[126] showing
again that genetic changes due to cultural selection pressures for
diet can force more rapid changes than might occur otherwise......

Rates of gluten intolerance (gluten is a protein in certain grains such
as wheat, barley, and oats that makes dough sticky and
conducive to bread-baking) are lower than for lactose intolerance,
which one would expect given that milk-drinking has been
around for less than half the time grain-consumption has.
Official estimates of gluten intolerance range from 0.3% to 1%
worldwide depending on population group.[129] Some researchers,
however, believe that gluten intolerance is but the tip of the iceberg
of problems due to grain consumption (or more specifically, wheat).
Newer research seems to suggest that anywhere from
5% to as much as 20-30% of the population with certain genetic
characteristics (resulting in what is called a "permeable
intestine") may absorb incompletely digested peptide fragments
from wheat with adverse effects that could lead to a range of
possible diseases.[130].....

So to bring this back around to the question of adaptation to cooking,
it should probably be clear by this point that given the time span
involved (likely 125,000 years since fire
and cooking became widespread),
the chances are very high that we are in fact adapted to the
cooking of whatever foods were consistently cooked......

What about the contention by raw-food advocates that
cooking foods results in pyrolytic by-products that are
carcinogenic or otherwise toxic to the body, and should
be avoided for that reason?

MY NOTE: Beverly HIlls Italian cafe, I go to washroom pass thru
kitchen. Cooking away? A DOZEN  gigantic aluminum pots full of tomato sauce
leaching aluminum into the acidic tomatoes. Ten buck spaghetti good for cancer!

It's true cooking introduces some toxic by-products,
but it also neutralizes others.[132]
In addition, the number of such toxins
created is dwarfed by the large background level of natural toxins
(thousands)[133] already present in plant foods from nature to
begin with, including some that are similarly carcinogenic in
high-enough doses.
(Although only a few dozen have been tested so far,[134] half
of the naturally occurring substances in plants known as "nature's
pesticides" that have been tested have been shown to
be carcinogenic in trials with rats and mice.[135])
Nature's pesticides appear to be present in all plants,
and though only a few are found in any one plant, 5-10% of a plant's
total dry weight is made up of them.[136]

[The reason "nature's pesticides" occur throughout the plant kingdom
is because plants have had to evolve low-level defense
mechanisms against animals to deter overpredation. On one level,
plants and animals are in a continual evolutionary "arms race"
against each other. Fruiting plants, of course, have also evolved the
separate ability to exploit the fact that certain animals are
attracted to the fruit by enabling its seeds to be dispersed through
 the animals' feces.]

We have a liver and kidneys for a reason, which is that there have
always been toxins in natural foods that the body
has had to deal with, and that's one reason why these organs evolved.
There are also a number of other more general defenses
the body has against toxins. These types of defenses make evolutionary
sense given the wide range of toxic elements in foods
the body has had to deal with over the eons.
[Perhaps not clear enough in the original version of the interview is
the point that a wide range of GENERAL defenses
might therefore be reasonably expected
to aid in neutralizing or ejecting toxins even of a
type the body hadn't necessarily seen before, such as those that might
be introduced by cooking practices.] Such mechanisms
include the constant shedding of surface-layer cells of the digestive
system, many defenses against oxygen free-radical damage,
and DNA excision repair, among others.[137]

The belief that a natural diet is, or can be, totally toxin-free is
basically an idealistic fantasy--an illusion of black-and-white
thinking not supported by real-world investigations. The real question
is not whether a diet is completely free of toxins, but
whether we are adapted to process what substances are in our foods--
in reasonable or customary amounts such as
encountered during evolution--that are not usable by the body......

How are we to determine an optimum diet for ourselves, then,
given that some genetic changes may be more or
less complete or incomplete in different population groups?

I think what all of this points to is the need to be careful in making
absolute black-and-white pronouncements about invariant
food rules that apply equally to all. It is not as simple as saying
that if we aren't sure we are fully adapted to something to just
eliminate it from the diet to be safe. Because adaptation to a food
does not necessarily mean just tolerance for that food, it also
means that if we are in fact adapted to it, we would be expected
to thrive better with some amount of that food in our diet.
Genetic adaptation cuts both ways......

Large and significant differences between domesticated meat vs. wild
game. One of them might be the difference in composition between
the levels of fat in domesticated meat vs. wild game: on average
five times as much for the former than the latter. On top of that,
the proportion of saturated fat in domesticated meat compared to
wild game is also five times higher.[146]

Other differences between these two meat sources are that
significant amounts of EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid thought to
perhaps help prevent atherosclerosis) are found in wild game
(approx. 4% of total fat), while domestic beef for example
contains almost none.[147] This is important because the
higher levels of EPA and other omega-3 fatty acids in wild game help
promote a low overall dietary ratio of omega-6 vs. omega-3
fatty acids for hunter-gatherers--ranging from 1:1 to 4:1--compared
to the high 11:1 ratio observed in Western nations. Since omega-6 fatty
acids may have a cancer-promoting effect, some
investigators are recommending lower ratios of omega-6 to omega-3
in the diet which would, coincidentally, be much closer to
the evolutionary norm.[148]

Differences like these may go some way toward explaining the similar
blood cholesterol levels and low rates of disease in both
the rural Chinese eating a very-low-fat, low-animal-protein diet, and
in hunter-gatherers eating a low-fat, high-animal-protein diet.
Rural Chinese eat a diet of only 15% fat and 10% protein, with
the result that saturated fats only contribute a low 4% of
total calories. On the other hand, those hunter-gatherer groups
approximating the Paleolithic norm eat diets containing 20-25%
fat and 30% protein, yet the contribution of saturated fat to total
caloric intake is nevertheless a similarly low 6% of total

What about the contention that high-protein diets promote
calcium loss in bone and therefore contribute to osteoporosis?

The picture here is complex and modern studies have been
contradictory. In experimental settings, purified, isolated protein
extracts do significantly increase calcium excretion, but the
effect of increased protein in natural foods such as meat is smaller
or nonexistent.[150] Studies of Eskimos have shown high rates
of osteoporosis eating an almost all-meat diet[151] (less than 10%
plant intake[152]) but theirs is a recent historical aberration
not typical of the evolutionary Paleolithic diet thought to have
averaged 65% plant foods and 35% flesh.* Analyses of
numerous skeletons from our Paleolithic ancestors have shown
development of high peak bone mass and low rates of bone loss
in elderly specimens compared to their Neolithic agricultural
successors whose rates of bone loss increased considerably
even though they ate much lower-protein diets.[153] Why, nobody
knows for sure, though it is thought that the levels of phosphorus
in meat reduce excretion of calcium, and people in Paleolithic
times also ate large amounts of fruits and vegetables[154] with an
extremely high calcium intake (perhaps 1,800 mg/day
compared to an average of 500-800 for Americans today[155])
and led extremely rigorous physical lives, all of which would
have encouraged increased bone mass.[156].....

Okay, let's move on to the hunter-gatherers you mentioned earlier.
I've heard that while some tribes may have low
rates of chronic degenerative disease, others don't, and may
also suffer higher rates of infection than we do in the West.

This is true. Not all "hunter-gatherer" tribes of modern times
eat diets in line with Paleolithic norms. Aspects of their diets and/or
lifestyle can be harmful just as modern-day industrial diets can be.
When using these people as comparative models, it's
important to remember they are not carbon copies of
Paleolithic-era hunter-gatherers.[157] They can be suggestive (the best
living examples we have), but they are a mixed bag as
"models" for behavior, and it is up to us to keep our thinking caps on.

We've already mentioned the Eskimos above as less-than-exemplary models.

Another example is the Masai tribe of Africa
who are really more pastoralists (animal herders) than hunter-gatherers.

They have low cholesterol levels ranging from 115 to
145,[158] yet autopsies have shown considerable atherosclerosis.[159]
Why? Maybe because they deviate from the Paleolithic
norm of 20-25% fat intake due to their pastoralist lifestyle by
eating a 73% fat diet that includes large amounts of milk from
animals in addition to meat and blood.*[160]
Our bodies do have certain limits....

Additional indications of incongruence between dairy and human
physiology. Further, beyond the question of lactose tolerance,
I have since learned there would be many additional genetic
changes required (than just that for lactose tolerance) to
result in more complete adaptation to milk consumption.
A number of recent studies demonstrate problems of milk
consumption that go considerably beyond whether or not
a person is capable of handling lactose:

Lactose and heart disease. One is that lactose itself is a
risk factor for heart disease, since in appreciable quantities it
induces copper deficiency which, in turn, can lead through
additional mechanisms to heart pathologies and mortality as
observed in lab animals.

Poor Ca:Mg ratio which can skew overall dietary ratio.
Another problem is the calcium-to-magnesium ratio of
dairy products of approximately 12:1, which is directly at
odds with the ratio of 1:1 from a Paleolithic diet composed of
meats, fruits, and vegetables. Depending on the amount of
milk in the diet, the resulting overall dietary ratio can go as
high as 4 or 5:1. This high ratio leads to reduced magnesium stores,
which have the additional ramification of increasing
the risk of coronary heart disease, since magnesium helps to
lower levels of blood lipids (cholesterol), lower the potential
for cardiac arrthymias, lower the oxidation of LDL and VLDL
cholesterol (oxidation of cholesterol has been linked to
atherosclerosis), and prevent hyperinsulinism.
(More about hyperinsulinism shortly below.)

Saturated fat. Milk has also been linked to
coronary heart disease because of its very high saturated fat content.

Molecular mimicry/autoimmune response issues. Additionally,
autoimmune responses are being increasingly
recognized as a factor in the development of atherosclerosis.
In relation to this, research has shown milk to cause
exceptionally high production of certain antibodies which
cross-react with some of the body's own tissues (an
autoimmune response), specifically an immune response
directed against the lining of the blood vessels. This process is
thought to lead to atherosclerotic lesions, the first step
that paves the way for consequent buildup of plaque.
[See Part 2 of Loren Cordain, Ph.D.'s posting of 10/9/97
to the PALEODIET list (relayed to the list and posted by Dean
Esmay) for details and references relating to the above points about
dairy consumption.]

Signs of evolutionary mismatch between grains and human physiology
*** "Nobody yet, at least so far as I can tell, really knows
whether or not the observed genetic changes relating to
the spread of milk-drinking and grain-consumption are
enough to confer a reasonable level of adaptation to these
foods among populations who have the genetic changes,
and the picture seems mixed."

The most succinct addendum to this assessment is:
Not any more, as we have seen above with milk. Where grains are
concerned, there are several similar problems which I have
since learned have been uncovered. To list a few:

Certain wheat peptides appear to significantly increase the
risk of diabetes through molecular mimicry of the
body's own tissues, leading to autoimmune responses
destructive of cells that produce insulin. [See Loren Cordain,
Ph.D.'s post of 6/23/97 on the PALEODIET listgroup
for reference citations, and also his article on this site about the
evolutionary discordance of grains and legumes in the human diet, for
details. ]

Increasing amounts of research suggest that
celiac disease is probably also caused by autoimmune
responses generated through molecular mimicry
by certain peptides in wheat and other grains (known collectively as
"glutens"). Additional studies on autoimmune problems
have led some researchers to believe numerous additional chronic
conditions are also traceable to autoimmune responses
generated by the glutens in grains. [See Ron Hoggan's various
postings in the archives of the PALEODIET listgroup
for information and reference citations about this.]

It is well documented that the phytates in grains bind the
minerals iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, which
can impair bone growth and metabolism, among other problems.
Antinutrients in grains also negatively affect vitamin D
absorption which can lead to rickets with sufficient levels of intake.
Grain consumption also generates biotin deficiencies
in experimental animal models--the lack of which impairs
fatty acid synthesis. [See Loren Cordain's post of 10/1/97 on
PALEODIET for a brief summary and references
pertaining to the preceding points, as well as the article on the
evolutionary discordance of grains and legumes
mentioned in the first bullet point just above.]

Hyperinsulinism and excess carbohydrate consumption.
Lastly, and most importantly, significant amounts of grain
consumption considerably increase the carbohydrate intake
of the diet, and excessive carbohydrate consumption is the
primary factor driving what has come to be known as
the hyperinsulinism syndrome. Hyperinsulinism and its
associated constellation of resulting symptoms,
collectively known as "Syndrome X," is not yet well-accepted in the
medical and mainstream nutritional communities,
but recent research has been increasingly pointing in its direction
as a potential underlying factor in the development of many
"diseases of civilization," which may be linked together via
hyperinsulinism as a common cause.

The etiology of hyperinsulinism leading to the
symptomology of Syndrome X is as follows:

All carbohydrates, from whatever source (natural or artificial),
whether simple or complex, are ultimately broken down
into glucose, or blood sugar. (And remember here that grains
contribute the largest percentage of carbohydrates in most
modern diets.)

For glucose to be taken up by the cells of the body and used as fuel,
the hormone insulin must be secreted by the pancreas.

When chronically excessive levels of carbohydrates are eaten,
insulin is overproduced, and the body eventually becomes
dulled--more unresponsive--to insulin. This can become a
vicious circle: Since the body is dulled to insulin, more has to
be produced, which causes further dulling of sensitivity,
leading the body to produce even more.

Biomarkers indicating hyperinsulinism. High levels of insulin
have been correlated with high blood pressure, high
cholesterol, high triglycerides. If the relationship is causative,
then by extension hyperinsulinism would also presumably be
causative of the health problems that these symptoms
themselves lead to (i.e., heart disease, etc.). High levels of insulin
also lead to obesity, since in addition to enabling glucose to be
used as fuel, insulin also promotes fat storage, while inhibiting the
burning of fat.

Hyperinsulinism and diabetes. The foregoing constellation of
symptoms constitutes what has come to be called "Syndrome
X." The extreme end of Syndrome X is probably Type II diabetes,
in which the body has become so insulin-resistant it can no
longer control its blood sugar levels, or even Type I diabetes,
in which the pancreas overloads and is no longer able to produce
insulin at all.

Recent studies indicate diets higher in protein reduce symptoms
of Syndrome X. Dovetailing with this research on
Syndrome X is that diets higher in protein--or diets which
lower carbohydrate levels by substituting animal protein--improve
blood lipid (cholesterol) profiles by lowering LDL, VLDL
(the "bad cholesterols") and total cholesterol, while increasing HDL
("good cholesterol") and improving other symptoms of Syndrome X.
Conversely, repeated studies are showing that low-fat,
high-carbohydrate diets popular today do the opposite.
[See Loren Cordain, Ph.D.'s posting of 3/26/97 to the PALEODIET
list, relayed to the list by Dean Esmay, for reference citations on

Note particularly that these dietary changes which
improve hyperinsulinism parallel the macronutrient composition
that would have prevailed in the evolutionary diet of humans
during Paleolithic times. (I.e., fairly low carb intake combined
with relatively higher levels of fat and protein due to the
prevalence of animal flesh in the diet, and more limited
availability of fruits with high sugar content.).....

While Americans have only been experimenting with vegetarianism in
larger numbers since the 1960s and 1970s, epidemiological studies of
populations in Southeast Asia where cultures have lived on
grain and legume-based diets for centuries (often supplemented by
dairy)-- which is not so different in character to many vegetarian
diets--show high rates of heart disease and widespread nutritional

Magnitude of effect from macronutrient ratios likely
plays the most influential role. Indeed, as we outlined above,
more and more Paleodiet-relevant research seems to be
showing that it is the overall macronutrient profile of a diet, in terms
of: Types of fats, and their ratios and sources
(which are considerations that seem to be more important than former
analyses emphasizing simply total amount of fat), and

Factors that may precipitate Syndrome X. Just as crucially, the balance
between proteins and carbohydrates in avoiding hyperinsulinism. (As we
have seen, substituting more protein for carbohydrate increases the
"good" HDL cholesterol while lowering the "bad" LDL cholesterol, and
significantly reduces risk for other symptoms of Syndrome X).

It seems likely that these factors plus avoiding to the degree
possible known non-evolutionary foods play the largest role in
health, overshadowing what effect cooking may have.....

Christie: potato alkaloids trigger schizophrenia July 1999

Jan 25 2000 Oh no! Not potatoes! I'm a vegetarian! But, guess what
country in the world has the highest incidence of schizophrenia?
Ireland. And in Ireland there are counties with epidemic psychosis,
while adjacent may be completely lower rates, probably because the
poor, long settled, and tradition-bound farmers maintain the same local
strains of potatoes for generations. There are over 60 varieties
(cultivars), with large variations in the two most dangerous
steroidal glycoalkaloids, especially high in some varieties when
stored too long. This detailed 6-page review has extensive
references. Much progess has been made in reducing the akaloid
content of widely used strains, but there is unknown risk when
varieties from all over the world arrive on our table. I shudder to
think of the fast food places, with their mounds of French fries.
Schizophrenia has roughly a 40% genetic basis, and 60% from unknown
environmental factors. The disease was unknown anywhere until after
1800, and only medically described after 1890. Its spread seems to
correlate with the spread of potatoes: very isolated places like the
jungles of New Guinea still have no psychosis. When Afro-Caribbean
folk immigrate to the UK, their psychosis rate increases in the first
generation, and much more in the next. Dr. Christie cites much more
evidence, very telling in its accumulation. The two most toxic
steroidal glycoalkaloids are alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine.

Rich Murray rmforall@earthlink.net

Med Hypotheses 1999 Jul; 53(1): 80-6

Schizophrenia: is the potato the environmental culprit?
Christie AC +61(0) 2 9958 2715 Amiel C. Christie, MD
Emeritus Consultant Pathologist, The Wollongong Hospital,
New South Wales, Australia.

The pathology and etiology of schizophrenia are reviewed in the light
of the most recent research into the genetic/sporadic occurrence of
this disease complex of world-wide distribution but of variable
incidence. Although the etiology is still unknown, numerous hypotheses
have been postulated including dietetic factors but never has the
potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) been suspected. However, a strong case
can be advanced incriminating this widely, in fact almost universally,
consumed vegetable tuber with its variable content of steroidal
glycoalkaloids (SGAs) with known toxic action on both animals and
humans, including possible teratogenic and cell membrane-damaging
properties, as a very likely aetiological contender in most but
possibly not all cases. PMID: 10499833, UI: 99428179

Contact: Paul G Hilton Senior Nurse Manager
Telephone: 02-4222 5524 B Email: hiltonp@iahs.nsw.gov.au
Address: Wollongong Hospital Crown St, Wollongong, NSW, 250


Although not mentioned in the paper prepared for
publication two years ago, further evidence suggests that
other edible members of the solanaceae family should
also be suspected, namely tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum and
egg-plant and excluded in any subsequent clinical trial,
particularly as all the known facts concerning the
aetiology of schizophrenia point to a final exciting
toxic factor acting in cases many of which have a
predisposing genetic component.