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Reason 642 that I wish I had paid more attention in school

Also known as: Reason 738 that I wish I had the time and money to go back to chool.


From this article about how drinking milk is good for you and can help you lose weight (because of the calcium) comes this quote;

“It's been estimated that human adults during the Stone Age ingested from 2,000 mg to 3,000 mg of calcium per day, 3 to 5 times the median calcium intake of present-day U.S. adults.”

What I want to know is
1.Were our ancestors actually healthier than us?
2.If so, might that have to do with total diet and something called exercise?
3.What were they eating that had more calcium? (Less processed food? No high fructose corn syrup? More meat? Animal bones? What?)
4.Who estimated this… how do they know? Based on calcium levels of found remains? Any notes on the socio-economic status of who has been found vs who hasn’t? As in… if we found a bunch of bones can we know that it is an accurate sampling of the population or perhaps it is just a sampling of powerful individuals who warranted special burials?


I have this vague idea that these aren’t complicated questions, that it is possible to know these things and either move on with my life or to write a properly scathingly bitter letter to the writer of the article.

However, after a bit of time spent on Google, I don’t have too much more information.

Anyone?

3 comments:

Anthroslug said...

"1.Were our ancestors actually healthier than us?"

No. Analysis of material available to us indicates that stone age hunter gatherers had very short lifespans (some estimates place the average around 35 years), and a wide variety of health problems related to the feast-or-famine diet that they were required to survive on. In the prime of their lives, they were likely healthier than us int he prime of ours, but we tend to be healthier overall and have a longer life span. When these people switched to farming, their health suffered initially - it was only after a long while that health actually began to improve with a more stable food supply and social organization aimed at furthering people's well being.


"2.If so, might that have to do with total diet and something called exercise?"

During those times of their lives when they may have been healthier, you just hit the nail on the head.

"3.What were they eating that had more calcium? (Less processed food? No high fructose corn syrup? More meat? Animal bones? What?)"

Depends on which group you talk about. Some would likely have made use of higher calcium foods, others did not. The "Stone Age" spanned the latter part of the Pleistocene and ended as recently as 1900 in parts of the Americas and Australia (in fact, it is still going on in some remote regions). That's alot of time and alot of space, so it is entirely possible that some had more calcium in their diet, but it's guaranteed that many didn't.

"4.Who estimated this… how do they know? Based on calcium levels of found remains? Any notes on the socio-economic status of who has been found vs who hasn’t? As in… if we found a bunch of bones can we know that it is an accurate sampling of the population or perhaps it is just a sampling of powerful individuals who warranted special burials?"

I have no idea who estimated it, but likely this is simply a misunderstanding of a more complex study, and it is porbably based either on calcium measurements of remains or on isotopic study of remains looking for traces of specific foods - assuming that there has been a study of this and the article isn't just BSing. Also, without knowing where they got this information, if they aren't just making it up, it's impossible to know what kind of biases may be in their data.

Dianne said...

I'm dying to hear about the vigil last night - good on you for going

I read this post and Anthroslug's comment twice and headed directly over to the University of Phoenix site ;)

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

Well...I know this...people in like the 13th and 18 centuries only lived to be, like, 21 or 13...because once they got a bacterial infection...BOOM! They died! And that's because they didn't have antibiotics yet!

We have all the good medicines AND food supplements these days! Science is way better these days!