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Genome-nutrition divergence: evolving understanding of the malnutrition spectrum.

Authors
  • Eaton, Jacob C1
  • Iannotti, Lora L1
  • 1 Institute for Public Health, Brown School, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Nutrition Reviews
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2017
Volume
75
Issue
11
Pages
934–950
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nux055
PMID: 29112753
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Humans adapted over a period of 2.3 million years to a diet high in quality and diversity. Genome-nutrition divergence describes the misalignment between modern global diets and the genome formed through evolution. A survey of hominin diets over time shows that humans have thrived on a broad range of foods. Earlier diets were highly diverse and nutrient dense, in contrast to modern food systems in which monotonous diets of staple cereals and ultraprocessed foods play a more prominent role. Applying the lens of genome-nutrition divergence to malnutrition reveals shared risk factors for undernutrition and overnutrition at nutrient, food, and environmental levels. Mechanisms for food system shifts, such as crop-neutral agricultural policy, agroecology, and social policy, are explored as a means to realign modern diets with the nutritional patterns to which humans may be better adapted to thrive.

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