Abstract of the chapter

Introduction to evolutionary aspects of diet: Its relationship with human evolution

Isabel Ojeda

Anthropologists have long been dealing with the knowledge on how our human descent differs from other primates. Several theories exist, but one of the possibilities is that differences are due to natural selection, which aimed on maximising quality of food and better efficiency when searching for food. The resulting variability in the diet, which is characterised by a higher protein intake surely helped with the development of brain size of hominids, one of the differentiating features of our species.

In this chapter milestones in the evolution of humans are summarized, including bipedalism, increase of brain size and the influence of diet.

Further, published work is presented which analyzed and proposed a model on Palaeolithic diet, comparing it with current westernized diet and overall dietary recommendations.

For several authors, a great deal of current diseases is a consequence of moving from our ancestors’ diet.