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Revista chilena de nutrición

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7518


VALENZUELA B, Alfonso. BIOCHEMICAL EVOLUTION OF NUTRITION: FROM THE NAKED APE TO THE OBESE APE. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2007, vol.34, n.4, pp.282-290. ISSN 0717-7518.

The different stages of the development of human beings has been mainly determined by the climate modification at Earth. The evolution from a vegan quadruped hominid of arboreal life with a very small brain, to a bipedal terrestrial omnivore not well-adapted-to-be carnivore, with a bigger and more complex brain, produced modifications in their feeding habits, particularly in the consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The transition from a vegan feeding to an omnivore-carnivore feeding needed an obligatory modification of the biochemistry and physiology of the hominid nutrition. It was necessary the development of insulin-resistance in some tissues such as skeletal muscle, and also a certain degree of leptin-resistance to improve the access of glucose to those tissues with high glucose-dependence. These changes induced a genotype, now identified as the «thrifty genotype», which is expressed in a phenotype that favors the accumulation of fat as an energy reservoir. However, nowadays the activity of the thrifty genotype is not needed and its expression results in the vertiginous increment of obesity in the population. The present work reviews the evolution of nutrition in different stages during the development of the genus Homo, emphasizing the importance of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in brain development. It is also discussed how the modification of nutrition during the development of human being influenced on the increment of obesity which is presently observed in the population

Palabras clave : Omega-3 fatty acids; brain development; human evolution; nutrition and evolution.

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