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Pre-agricultural and modern diets

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 26, 2007   #1

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback? Thank you very much!

The prompt is:

Compare the hypothesized pre-agricultural diet with that consumed by most Americans today. How does meat from wild animals compare with meat from domesticated ones? And, why does living in settled communities and raising domesticated animals and plants lead to increased exposure to infectious disease?

Thank you in advance

"Mummy, what do we eat?" Is there a single mother in the United States of America who has never listened to that question? It seems she does not exist, as if food has always been an obvious thing for kids. However, the archaeology provides with evidence that demonstrates the pre-agricultural subsistence pattern was far from the present day one, and therefore the archaeologists assume the diet was also far from the current one. To what extent the early diet was different from the current American diet? What are the benefits and detriments of agriculture and particularly of the domesticated animals for the American consumers today? The translation from the hypothesised pre-agricultural lifestyle to the contemporary routine observed in the United States of America has influenced the composition of the dietary consumption along with the medical consequences over the individuals.

The comparison between the pre-agricultural and current dietary compositions highlights the evolutionary history of the human beings. On the one hand, the individuals lived in pre-agricultural societies because they survived thanks to foraging, which was their exclusive subsistence pattern. Indeed, they gathered as much vegetal food as possible, such as nuts, wild vegetables, and dried grasses that were directly available on the ground without having to dig. Moreover, the anthropologists supposed that our ancestors remained engaged in scavenging for a long span of time, insofar as they were not able to produce sufficiently efficient weapons to kill big game. Nonetheless, the passage from the middle Pleistocene to the upper Pleistocene marked an important cultural evolution, namely the transformation of the Acheulian stone tool industry into the Mousterian and the subsequent stone tool industries. That alteration allowed the early hunters to create refined weapons, which indicated the beginnings of a diet including a more regular supply of fresh meat. Consequently, the foragers' ancestral diet, as either scavengers or hunters, was high in animal protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre, due to their consumption of, respectively, meat and vegetal aliments. Their nutritional regime was low in fats, and particularly in saturated fats, because they did not utilize additional fat for cooking their meals, in addition to be deprived of extra salt. Finally, the emergence of the animal domestication entailed an increase in the consumption of calcium, because they were able to keep herbivorous mammals and draw their milk.

On the other hand, the humans who currently live in the United States of America enjoy the alimentary products of a modern highly industrialised society within the framework of a free market system. The victuals are diverse in quality and abundant in both quantity and choice, for the individuals who can afford them. Although the early third millennium American society is made up of a wide range of ethnic communities, the great majority of the United States inhabitants consume similar kinds of products. Modern agriculture provides large amounts of fresh meat, cereals and vegetables that are essential for preserving one's health. Nevertheless, the use that is made of those basic aliments is extremely detrimental to the Americans' fitness. Indeed, contrary to the foragers, modern Americans and food companies make an extensive use of salt and satured fats when eating meat and vegetables or producing ready-made meals, because those condiments are cheap flavour enhancers. Moreover, although the modern American agriculture produces tremendous quantities of varied vegetal or animal aliments, the American consumers do not buy those natural and unadulterated products but prefer ready-made foodstuffs that are mainly substandard derivatives of cereals and meat. Consequently, medical organisms recurrently warn the Americans against the damaging effects of diets that are low in carbohydrates, fibres, animal proteins and dairy products.

The transformation from the hypothesised pre-agricultural lifestyle to the contemporary existence observed in the United States of America has involved medical consequences over the individuals due to the domestication. Indeed, the early foragers have virtually not suffered from excess of body fat thanks to an active lifestyle in opposition to the modern Americans who enjoy a far more sedentary lifestyle. Furthermore, the early foragers have never injected growth hormones into their preys, nor genetically modified those organisms. Neither have they cooked their meat with added oil or butter. Conversely, they have grilled their meat under open fires that allows the fat to evacuate. The direct consequences of the modern Americans' inappropriate utilization of meat have led them to experiencing diabetes, coronary artery diseases, and strokes. As well as those medical conditions, other kinds of diseases are more likely to break out. The most probable maladies are due to exposures to zoonoses, which are infectious diseases in some animals or plants, that are transmitted from infected animals or plants to humans. Pathogen agents may infect humans who breed animals, cultivate plants or consume derivative of those products. The problem is even more severe when a disease is endemic in a domesticated animal or plant population because it can easily be spread through direct transmission or through familiar vectors such as bugs, and can develop into a pandemic with potentially worldwide consequences. Consequently, the domestication of animals and plants permits to regulate the foodstuff supply but it may hide serious disadvantages by its own nature or the utilization that is made of it. Today, the Americans are simply enduring the consequences of the early human cultural evolution, during the Palaeolithic, and that have never ceased, such as the taste for gluttony. For thousands years, early humans have certainly dreamed of taming animals and plants for eating them at will. They have certainly not imagined what could have been the devastating effects of obesity and, in the end, their chance to forage many hours a day.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jul 27, 2007   #2

Great job, as usual! Here are some editing tips for you:

"Mummy, what do we eat?" - This is a small point, but "Mummy" is more of a British term, seldom used by American kids, who would say "Mommy" or just "Mom."

However, [b]archaeology provides [delete 'with'] evidence that demonstrates the pre-agricultural subsistence pattern

The translation from the hypothesised pre-agricultural lifestyle to the contemporary routine observed in the United States of America has influenced the composition of [delete 'the'] dietary consumption along with the medical consequences over [delete 'the'] individuals. - I'm sure it's very confusing trying to figure out when to leave the article "the" out in English. A general guideline is that you don't need it when speaking of a general category of things, rather than specific things. So, "dietary consumption" which is a general term, but "the medical consequences," because you are referring to specific consequences, and "individuals" because you are not speaking of a specific set of individuals.

Similarly, say "the evolutionary history of human beings." You would use "the" if you meant a certain group of human beings; for example, "the evolutionary history of the human beings who live next door to me."

medical consequences over [the] individuals due to [the] domestication. - you don't need either "the" here, for the same reason.

Good work!


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