I wrote this description of it:
Time permitting, I plan to post a preview sometime later this week, and after the symposium, I will present the lecture in blog form.For about 65 million years our primate ancestors consumed plant-dominated diets. Humans developed the technological ability to consume meat-based diets only within the last 2 million years, so at least 98 percent of the evolution producing our basic primate physiology occurred before humans could obtain meat-based diets.Condensing the 65 million years of primate evolution into a 24 hour period, our ancestral diet was plant-based for at least 23 hours and 30 minutes, and animal-based diets emerged only within the last 30 minutes.
Ninety-eight percent of the human genome is identical to the nearest primate relative, chimpanzees, who eat a 95 percent plant diet. Recent hunter-gatherers consume up to 20 times more meat than chimpanzees on a percent energy basis, a substantial deviation from the primate baseline.
Similar to other primates, humans retain many physiological and behavioral features displaying adaptation to a plant-based diet, some of which are potentially maladaptive for diets supplying a high proportion of energy from meat, fat, or refined carbohydrates. Recent hunter-gatherers and pastoralists appear protected from maladaptive responses to animal-based diets by their baseline body composition, ecological context, low total energy intake, and evolved non-nutritive ingestive behaviors.
Modern people adopting meat-based ‘paleo-facsimile” diets may differ from recent hunter-gatherers in lifetime caloric balance, body composition, ecological context, and non-nutritive ingestive behaviors. By comparing hunter-gatherers and modern people, I show how the quality, quantity, and context of meat consumption will affect the outcome for any individual.
Plant and animal foods generally have opposite yet complementary nutritional characteristics. I present an integration of Chinese medical yin-yang theory with Western nutrition that can enable us to understand the relation each type of food (plant or animal) to modern diseases of deficiency or excess, and can help guide us to identify an appropriate dietary plant-animal ratio for any individual.