How often do we hear the arguments of why or why we shouldn’t consume dairy? Heaps yeah? Have you ever stop to think about the argument? Is it based on your own beliefs, ethics, moral, medical reasons or are they based on science? Does it matter?
How does one prove or disprove if we are meant to consume dairy? Ever wondered about the history of dairy and how it came about? I don’t want to get into the whole it’s all about what they have done to the milk, I really want to talk about the evolutionary aspect.
Some of us can and do drink it and some don’t and cannot, no one is right or wrong. Consume it or don’t consume it doesn’t matter to me! We are all unique.
Let me ask you this…If we were not “meant” to drink it why did lactase persistence spread so quickly? There must have been some evolutionary advantageous reason for this surely?
The reason that really gets my goat is the one we are not “meant” to consume it, whatever that means…according you who, cause you say so? What are you basing this off, and of course they say we are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning, but that is not true either. We are supposed to be the most intelligent mammal and hopefully have intelligent arguments. Most mammals do not have the capacity to get the milk for a start, yes they can suckle but they don’t have opposable thumbs to actually milk! and if they did they would drink it!
In southern Europe, lactase persistence is relatively rare — less than 40% in Greece and Turkey. In Britain and Scandinavia, by contrast, more than 90% of adults can digest milk. So why do we have lactase persistence if we weren’t “meant” to consume it??? Did evolution screw this up? Think about it. It was advantageous to have it. Why? Will talk more about this later.
Most mammals lose the ability to digest the milk sugar lactose after weaning because of an irreversible reduction in expression of the intestinal enzyme lactase. This pattern is also seen in most humans, but some continue expressing lactase throughout adult life [lactase persistence (LP)]. This trait is common in populations of northern and central European descent and shows intermediate frequencies in southern and Eastern Europe. Africa and the Middle East show a more complex distribution.
It has been suggested that the modern frequency of LP in Europe is the result of a relatively recent and strong selection process. Although not fully understood, the biological advantages of LP probably include the continuous availability of an energy- and calcium-rich drink that enables a farming community to overcome poor harvests. This gene is quite recent and spread pretty rapidly which in turn means in must have conferred an advantage strongly selected for by evolution.
Given that dairying in the Middle East started thousands of years before the LP allele emerged in Europe, ancient herders must have found ways to reduce lactose concentrations in milk. It seems likely that they did so by making cheese or yogurt. (Fermented cheeses such as feta and cheddar have a small fraction of the lactose found in fresh milk; aged hard cheeses similar to Parmesan have hardly any.)
Milk fat on pottery in the Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent going back at least 8,500 years offers clear evidence that herders in Europe were producing cheese to supplement their diets between 6,800 and 7,400 years ago. By then, dairy had become a component of the Neolithic diet.
That next step happened slowly, and it seems to have required the spread of lactase persistence. The LP allele did not become common in the population until sometime after it first emerged. Mutations in samples of ancient human DNA and has found it only as far back as 6,500 years ago in northern Germany.
As Middle Eastern Neolithic cultures moved into Europe, their farming and herding technologies helped them to out-compete the local hunter-gatherers. As the southerners pushed north, the LP allele started spreading.
Lactase persistence had a harder time becoming established in parts of southern Europe, because Neolithic farmers had settled there before the mutation appeared. But as the agricultural society expanded northwards and westwards into new territory, the advantage provided by lactase persistence had a big impact.