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    Controlling Biochemistry

    Excerpted from
    The Body Code: Wellness and Weight Loss Plan: At The World Famous Green Valley Spa
    By Jay Cooper, Kathryn Lance

    You may be wondering how people can be so different. Do we really have such different needs? To understand the reasons for the very real differences among humans, we need to take a look at how the different genetic types developed.

    The Ancestry Connection

    The biochemical differences between humans begin with the reality that each of us has a unique set of ancestors, going back tens of thousands of years. We did not all come from the same geographic location, nor did we develop under the same sets of climatic conditions or with the same available foods.

    Many of our ancestors' physical characteristics, such as hair and skin color and texture, varied according to where they lived. Skin and hair pigment lightened in those who moved to cooler climates, and hair loss increased, to take advantage of the limited sunlight available.

    Some of our forebears lived in warm climates with abundant plant foods. Their digestive systems and body chemistry slowly evolved to process these plant foods for optimum health. Other groups of humans evolved in harsher climates, with short growing seasons. Their bodies adapted to richer foods, such as meat, eggs, nuts, and fish. Still other early humans developed in fertile agricultural areas, where it was easy to grow food, and where grains were the staple foods of the diet.

    Over time, the functional characteristics of each of these types-their digestion, absorption, assimilation, and elimination processes-adapted to use the basic types of nutrients most easily available to them. Those who developed in harsh climates, for example, developed relatively shorter intestines, to better utilize the energy and more quickly eliminate the wastes provided by animal-based foods. These people ate fewer carbohydrates, so their systems never developed to efficiently process them.

    Those who subsisted on plant-based foods developed longer digestive systems, better suited to breaking down grains and other slower-to-digest, fiber-based nutrients, but not as well suited to a heavily protein-based diet.

    Well, so what? you might think. That was then, and this is now. Yet if you think about it, "pow" isn't so far removed from our ancestors in evolutionary terms. It took nature tens of thousands of years to develop genetic variants to take advantage of the local conditions. These built-in variations in body build, type of metabolism, and energy patterns/usage could not be changed in a few-or even several-generations.

    When the hunter-gatherer humans began migrating, they found themselves in changing conditions that did not match those they had evolved from. Thus, certain problems, such as allergies and food intolerances, sprang up. If you find that milk products make you feel gassy and uncomfortable, some of your ancestors probably originated in a place where the only milk available was human milk, so their bodies never evolved to process cow's or goat's milk effectively.

    Our ancestors' bodies also evolved in a time when much physical activity was necessary just to survive. They needed the stamina to spend long hours hunting for food, running from predators, and defending their territory. We no longer have to worry about those sorts of physical survival strategies-although our bodies are still genetically coded to need the body motion.

    Our metabolisms are still geared to the lifestyles of our primitive forebears. They are still coded to require the same basic mix of fuel and activity that our ancestors experienced. They don't adjust overnight to having transportation, computerized conveniences, and a never-ending supply of concentrated foods.

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