I'm not saying we should revert back to a hunter and gatherer lifestyle, but attending to what we evolved to eat has benefits. Take a look at this quick timeline (and pay attention to the time scale bar up top!) of humans and food to see just how abnormal our current eating patterns are in the scope of human history.
ANCESTRAL EATING AND LIFESTYLE ~200,000 YEARS AGO
Food was acquired from the natural environment through hunting, gathering, foraging, and rotating permaculture created by humans in their natural habitat. Diets ranged widely based on what was available in a given place and during a given season - but all humans were likely omnivorous and their diets were nutrient-dense. With some variance, humans were likely quite active. Chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline did not yet exist.
THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION ~10,000-12,000 YEARS AGO
Food was acquired from farmed crops and the domestication of animals in societies around the world. People moved into higher density living environments, like cities. As a result, food became less nutrient-dense, and habitats were harmed or lost. Also, soil degradation began. The change in diet led to a loss of human bone density and the tight packing of humans in city environments led to the increased spread of communicable diseases.
INTRODUCTION OF REFINED SUGAR ~400 YEARS AGO
Processed sugar was proliferated around the world. First, it was only enjoyed by the wealthy. Then, it became cheaper and consumption increased at all socio-economic levels of the population. Initially, consumption was a few pounds per person, per year. Whereas, today, the average annual consumption is between 150-200 pounds, per person. Excess sugar consumption is causally linked to diabetes and obesity.
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ~200 YEARS AGO
Food was mostly purchased from stores and vendors rather than hunted, gathered or cultivated. To prevent spoiling, food was processed to allow for transportation and storage before being sold. As a result, food became increasingly less nutrient-dense. At this time in history, chemicals and toxins were introduced at staggering levels into the environment.
THE RISE OF BIG FOOD ~100-120 YEARS AGO
Big companies such as Nestle, Kellogg's, and Coca-Cola began to form and produce highly processed, hyper-palatable and shelf-stable foods that were highly profitable, but not very nutritious. Companies leveraged how the human brain responds to food to get customers hooked young, and for life.
THE CHEMICAL REVOLUTION ~80 YEARS AGO
World War II led to "innovations" to create rations for soldiers which impacted the food industry and modern food choices. Foods that are "cheap, abundant, highly processed, non-perishable, and covered in chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides" become the norm. People are now overfed but under-nourished. Chronic disease now runs rampant.
THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION ~30 YEARS AGO
The proliferation of technology in the information age has "significantly impacted the way we eat, move, sleep, work, and live in ways that are less than ideal." We move less, we spend less time outdoors, our posture has declined which impacts our digestive system, and we are regularly exposed to blue light frequencies from screens that can negatively impact our sleep patterns as well as potentially harmful electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs).