This blog is about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. But also about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things.
Last year I paid a visit to Miya's Sushi, in New Haven, a restaurant that tries* to be sustainable
We are aware that the restaurant industry has a very harmful impact on the environment; in particular, the traditional cuisine of sushi is destroying our oceans. Therefore, we try to maintain a restaurant in as ecologically responsible manner as possible. We do our best to not use ingredients that are either overfished or that in their production have a negative impact on the environment. As a result, half of our vast menu is vegetable-centered; the other half does not utilize traditional sushi ingredients such as Toro, Bluefin Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, certain Yellowfin, Unagi, Red Snapper, Maine Sea Urchin, Octopus, and so on. Instead, we’ve created dishes that include unconventional sushi ingredients such as Catfish, which, unlike the farming of many farmed fish, are grown in confined ponds that make it virtually impossible to cross-contaminate other species or destroy the aquatic ecosystem around them.
I was reminded of it because on a popular Facebook group called International Paleo Movement Group, there was an argument between me and Lana, the admin of Ethical Omnivore Movement, a facebook page where she posts various articles and other information.
Lana thinks it is unacceptable to eat any seafood ever because we need to give our damaged oceans a rest. That there is no such thing as sustainable seafood. She was promoting a film called Sea the Truth, which is produced by the Dutch animal rights party.
They also produced Meat the Truth and I think here it's where we find parallels between many tactics that animal rights activists use to discourage omnivory. The main tactic is to highlight parts of the industry that is destructive and then also highlight incidences where corrupt governments and NGOs labeled meat or fish sustainable where it wasn't. The implication is that the entire industry is bad and it is impossible to buy sustainable versions of these products. With the growth of the local food movement, in meat at least, this position has become untenable since a growing number of people have personal relationships with the farms they buy from and see that not all meat is produced in the way portrayed by these documentaries. So they also increasingly ally themselves with other arguments that appeal to self-interest such as that meat or fish is all full of toxins or will clog your arteries and kill you slowly.
They also attack small producers, trying the best they can to find small producers that are poorly run in order to undermine consumer's confidence that they can find good products or to highlight the idea that even small producers can have a negative effect on the environment such as Meat the Truth's emphasis on methane that even grass-fed cows produce.
They want you to firmly believe that there is never an acceptable meat or seafood to buy.
When this kind of stuff gets incorporated by the paleo movement, it becomes even worse since so many people in this movement are rabidly anti-government and anti-agriculture. Fish farming? It has the word farming in it, so it must be always bad. Government monitoring and regulation of fish stocks? Nope, because a lot of governments are corrupt. I don't even know what solution they are proposing. Lana simply said people who eat fish are being selfish and small picture and we have to personally change in order to save the ocean.
Given that the ocean is the commons and in general owned by no one (a more sophisticated libertarian argument would attack lack of ownership), and that we can't assume that rest of the world's population is willing to give up seafood because of animal rights films, unfortunately the main viable solutions will be on a global policy level. Which definitely is difficult considering the capture of governments by industry interests, but the consensus on individual action is that it is ineffective at even making a dent on global problems like ocean health or climate change. I think even the makers of these films understand that. Marianne Thieme, the Dutch politician that helms these films, is a big supporter of bans for things she doesn't like, not trying to guilt consumers into making different buying choices. The Dutch understand this more than most people with their multiculturalism struggles. Marianne, knowing that many of the things she opposes are deeply culturally embedded, has backed bans on Kosher and Halal slaughter for example.
I'm not saying that small local solutions aren't important, but they will fail if they rely on the commons and the commons are not protected. A good example was efforts in the Gulf to develop sustainable fisheries that were stymied by the oil spill there.
The reality on fish and meat is that it's not all black and white, that the presence of bad apples shouldn't tarnish efforts to reform the industry, develop alternatives, and lobby for regulations or other methods that protect the commons for everyone. Some methods of harvest will need to be banned like trawling (some countries have already banned them) and some species will require harvest moratoriums.
Sustainable solutions do mean we have to consume less of certain things and not consume others at all, which is why arguments about emissions from grass-fed cows and other similar arguments can be so deceptive. Methods like pastured cattle raising are less productive, which means higher prices for consumers. Even though I get my beef at a very good price, it is still more expensive than factory-farmed beef. Which means the average consumer will buy and eat less. There are costs, but they are worth it in order to support functioning ecosystems that can produce all kinds of foods for future generations.
Of course when you are dealing with a wild animal things get harder. You have to have sophisticated monitoring in place in order to determine what can be taken sustainably. You have to accept that some years you might not be able to hand out any tags for animals or harvest quotas. It's possible that the best solution for some of these stocks is to treat them a bit like we started treating land hunting in the US after overhunting became an issue: we heavily regulated it, de-commercialized most of it. If you want a deer, you can go out and get it yourself with a tag given out by the government. This method has already been applied to abalone in California. You have to dive to get wild abalone. Given that this is kind of dangerous, sustainable abalone farms have been developed for the commercial market.
Back at Miya's, I thought most of our sushi tasted very good. The menu describes the production method, harvesting method, and a little bit about each fish. Well, maybe not a little bit. One of our complaints was that the menu was the length of a small novel, which made it difficult to actually decide what to order. I'm not going to pretend that my own choices or even your choices can save populations of fish. For every bluefin tuna I chose not to consume, there is a consumer in a developing economy who probably just got his or her first paycheck and is going to probably order fish without looking at their "seafood watch list" card. Solving ocean problems requires large scale policy solutions, not telling a relatively well-off educated person in New York City that they are selfish for eating grouper like Lana was doing on IPMG.
But I do think those of us in the food industry, whether its writers, chefs, or grocers can make a small dent by promoting good products and leaving bad ones off the menu. Good products might not reach everyone, but they provide business models that can be used around the world and generate demand that might spur development of similar production/harvesting elsewhere.
We hear a lot of endangered seafood, but what about marine species that are pests? That are invasive and negatively impact ecosystems? These are ideal to consume, we just need to make sure that we are purposefully overharvesting and not replenishing. And that we accept that if we are successful, these things won't be on the menu anymore. Jackson Lander's Eating Aliens highlights some of these species. Miya's has a tasting menu of invasives.
There are also conservation success stories that have been so successful that these species flood the market, which is the case with lobster right now.
I also think that we need to embrace some forms of aquaculture. This isn't black and white either. There are bad fish farms. Maybe right now most fish farms are bad, but there are good systems that are being developed right now. Development of fish feed for aquaculture that is not itself wild harvested and is not also species inappropriate grain pap is a major issue right now. We need to look at systems that farm seafood at every level of the ecosystem, from aquatic plants to brine shrimp. I visited an aquaponics operation here at the Plant in Chicago recently and there were farming herbivorous Tilapia there. Unfortunately, with most of their diet being grain, consuming them has almost none of the benefits of consuming wild fish. Innovations in the production of DHA-rich algae could be a possible solution. Closed salt-water fish production systems are already being developed. I have had an interest in aquaculture for some time and would very much like to produce freshwater prawns on my family's farm.
Also, I can't help but notice Lake Michigan in my backyard, which is full of fish. Maybe someday once the remediation is done, we can get pollution under control so we can consume fish out of their more often. I eat fish my father catches from there sometimes, but try not to consume it very often.
Either way, we can't let ourselves be derailed by sexy documentaries and books created by people who have other motivations, namely the end of omnivory, in mind. Even as a niche market, we can drive the development of better solutions.
I recommend the book Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe which takes a look at the current state of the fish industry. It's a short read and free of extremism. When buying seafood, I would recommend Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch website. You can even print out a card to take with you to restaurants and the grocery store. They use several criteria to determine which seafood are good choices. The ideal choices come from healthy populations which only what can be replenished is harvested, using methods that do not damage the ecosystem. The ideal fishery is managed in a way that preserves and maintains the marine habitat. You can read more here. You should also take toxin levels into account like mercury and PCBs. If you take fish oil, consider switching to algae-based DHA or source your oil carefully, as much fish oil production is currently unsustainable. I used to buy Marine Stewardship Council certified fish, but based on their approval of fisheries that use trawling, I do not believe they are a trustworthy source of information.
I treat buying seafood the way I treat buying anything. There is a wrong way to produce things. There is contamination everywhere. But if I ditched anything that was possibly bad, I'd have nothing to eat. Instead, I look for and support the best I can find. This requires me to ask questions and be knowledgeable. With sardines for example, there are two main fisheries. One is threatened (Atlantic), the other thrives (Pacific).
Personally, I've never been crazy about fish oil. I think the benefits have been exaggerated and there might actually be some negative health effects to high consumption.
I never ever ate fish until I was about 20, when I first started trying to use diet to treat my health problems. I hated fish and remember drenching it in spices to choke it down. But now I actually appreciate the taste of many fish and think it is a very important element in the flavors of my cooking. The main seafood items in my kitchen are:
I really would like to find a better source for shrimp. When I see wild caught Oregon shrimp at Whole Foods, I definitely buy them. Since fraud is an issue, I would suggest finding a reputable fish monger and buying whole easily-identifiable fish.
So no, I don't think the solution to our ocean's problems is to leave them alone. Good fisheries are stewards of the ocean and by relying on the ocean for food, our stake in the matter is much higher. Good community fisheries can even mount effective resistant about threats like undersea drilling. I also think it's important to preserve traditional healthy livelihoods and work with small local community fisheries to adapt their traditions to new global challenges as best as we can, a sentiment Lana does not share. To her it's black and white- there is no fish from the ocean that is acceptable to eat. I won't be liking "Ethical Omnivore Movement" any time soon on Facebook. It's time for a rational omnivore movement.
* they had no information at the time I dined there on the sustainability of the rest of the menu, such as the vegetables or the grains.
Sometimes people ask me where I get my iodine. I get most of it from seaweed. I find seaweed to be absolutely delicious, but not all types of seaweed are good sources of iodine. Nori, for example, has only 15 ppm iodine, whereas kelp has 500-1500 ppm. What does kelp taste like? It tastes briny to me and I greatly enjoy it with braised pork dishes. I first had pork and seaweed at a small ramen bar on the Upper East Side and I feel in love with the sea salty silky fatty combination. At home I use these organic kelp granules from Maine in place of salt. The back of the container recommends 1/4 teaspoon on average, but up to several teaspoons for those who may be deficient. It references a book called Iodine: Why You Need It by David Brownstein, which I definitely want to check out.
However, kelp isn't for everyone. Some people dislike its very strong flavor. If you aren't eating a lot of seafood, you might want to take it in pill form.
Expect more posts on iodine in the future...I haven't been posting much because I'm terribly behind with work, but hopefully I can get caught up soon!
When I started out on paleo, I used to buy a container of almond butter every couple of days. Some of you might be thinking that it's a lot of omega-6, others might be thinking...what's the big deal? I think at the beginning of your paleo diet you shouldn't worry about omega-6 from whole foods like nuts. You will probably see great improvements, as I did, even on a diet dominated by nuts. I don't want to turn people off from paleo by making these foods seem problematic, but as time passes there might be issues you are still having and it make be worth going closer and closer to the diet of the Stone Age.
I think it's worth mentioning the economic concept of diminishing marginal returns here. The idea is that inputs initially contribute a great deal to production, but eventually the return per individual added unit decreases. It can be a useful analogy in dietary philosophy as well. I'm betting that the very basic first steps towards an evolutionarily appropriate diet are going to be the most significant for us- the removal of soda, candy bars, whole wheat bread, pasta, and other food that's mostly just bad. Beyond that we might get diminishing returns. I personally have cleared up a few minor problems by reducing my intake of omega-6 fatty acids from even whole foods, but they certainly aren't as significant as the ones I got from not eating vegetable shortening and high fructose corn syrup. We all have to look at how close we can get to our ancestor's food and how much is worth it, which can be very individual and can seem nitpicky and obsessive.
But people in the Stone Age didn't have to worry about these things because they simply weren't exposed to them. Nuts were a seasonal food, olive oil didn't exist, and humans simply didn't encounter avocados until we migrated to South America. Even if they are pastured, domestic hogs and poultry require significant amounts of legume and grain rations, so they are going to have very different fatty acid profiles anything our ancestors encountered. One of my friends who processes poultry told me the sad story of a farmer who tried to do pastured chicken without grain/legume rations and they were miserably sickly and thin. Domestic poultry isn't built for surviving on that diet.
I'm not saying that these foods are bad, but if you are on a paleo diet and you are still having some nagging problems, it might be worth limiting them.
This is the diet I've moved to personally. Nuts are there, but I'm no longer eating bags of them. I'm also through with my "lets eat every type of salted/cured pork for every meal" stage. A "basic" paleo diet took care of most of my problems, like GERD, but I still had some lingering IBS issues. Minimizing these foods that are on the borderline made a big difference, but it required trial and error. I've met people who can eat as much bacon as they want, but no tomatoes. When I eliminated nightshades...nothing happened that I could discern and I missed the taste. It just wasn't worth it.
I do think that just because we know saturated fat isn't the worst thing in the entire world means that we should eat as much as we want.
This interview with Cordain points out that while the Inuit were healthier than many modern Americans on an almost all-meat diet, there is evidence they had arterial plaque and lower bone density. I also think Kurt Harris has been a great voice of reason from the other side and his recommendation of mostly animals that eat grass has worked well for me. Probably because I am already thin, I have had good results with a "medium" saturated fat, low omega-6, and medium-carb diet. I don't need to count any calories or do any micromanaging if I eat mostly seafood, coconut, vegetables and things that ate grass...and treat the rest as dessert and flavoring.
What has been your experience?
Edit: Just want to clarify that I don't think saturated fat is bad. I certainly get more than any mainstream recommendation and get much of my calories from it, but I think there is an upper limit to how much is optimal.
Scientists have found that Japanese people seem to possess gut flora for digesting seaweed that Americans do not. The sample size for the bacteria collection is fairly small though. They theorize that the Japansese might have acquired the bacteria through eating raw seaweed. An interesting implication they make is that this bacteria not only affects the digestion of seaweed, but carbohydrates in general.
I wonder if it's more a reflection of the homogenized American culture we live in then anything. Plenty of my recent ancestors consumed seaweed as well in both Scotland and Wales- mostly laver, but they also used seaweed as livestock feed and fertilizer. Coming to America (by force or choice), they lost this tradition. Perhaps the loss of a tradition is more than just a loss of cultural knowledge, but an loss of a species inside us as well. When we are reviving traditions these days, it's often in the context of a sterile food system that might not allow us to truly regain what we lost.
I found this picture and became jealous of my old self. I made this in Sweden. It was fish roe, sea buckthorn berries I collected in the autumn and froze, thyme from our window garden, and a real treat...early spring honey. We collected it our bee course because it was ending, but most beekeepers don't collect that early. It tasted heavily of airy sweet dandelions.
Surprisingly enough, many people write to me asking what I eat and where I get it. I think it's boring, but I guess it's useful for many people, especially if you live in NYC. I haven't been good at posting the rest of my week, but here are some things I've been eating!
What delicious foods have you been eating lately? Where are you getting your ingredients?
Feeding off my post about what our bodies expect, I thought I'd take it to another dimension. It's a total myth that since humans evolved in the seasonless equator, seasons don't matter. They do have seasons at the equator, they are just different from what we think of as seasons. As discussed in Seasonality and Human Evolution, the seasons we dealt with for most of our evolution were just two: wet and dry.
Neanderthals show physical adaptation to cold climates, but all humans have a fairly "tropical" morphology. That doesn't mean that the northern four seasons are unimportant, especially since the duality is still present and there is the possibility of smaller, but still important, genetic changes. Particularly significant is that genes for energy metabolism show climactic variation.
Either way, no matter where your ancestors came from, eating the same diet all year is probably not natural. Eating with the seasons enables you to adapt better to your environment and to reap the benefits of two types of diets. Paleo dieters already mimic the feast and famine of early life with intermittent fasting, but eating seasonally allows you to also mimic another important duality.
Right now many of my locavore friends are complaining about the lack of food selection in this late winter season. Most of them are vegetarians or eat very little meat and are having to buy imported foods to get by. There are a few stalwarts surviving mostly on various roots and tubers, but that doesn't seem very delicious or nourishing to me.
While they eat their potato beet rutabaga pie, I'm eating luscious chicken confit, beef stew, lamb shanks with celeriac mash, and wild boar with garlic kale. Local doesn't feel forced to me anymore, it's easy and natural.
It took me a long time to get to this point. When I was raw vegan I savored bananas. melons, and salads in the dead of December. Back then, even a teensy draft set me a shivering. I was completely miserable. My diet was full of "live" foods, but I felt dead. No matter how many layers of sweaters and blankets I put on, I was freezing. A walk along the frigid harbors of Stockholm was impossible.
This winter I have eaten ample amounts of fat and thyroid-supporting foods like seaweed. I feel perfectly warm and no longer need five gazillion wool blankets to get to sleep. The cold north wind blowing off the Hudson river doesn't faze me. I hardly feel deprived...I LOVE the food I'm eating and I feel nourished. The best thing is that I no longer crave sweet foods like I used to. I chalk it up to adequate fat.
December used to be for peppermint ice cream, February for gallons of heart shaped candies, and in early March I started my Cadbury Cream Egg binge. Last night I passed the Cream Eggs at the store and was briefly filled with nostalgia....but then I remembered how insipid they taste and how much better my duck confit tasted.
I hesitate to recommend TS Wiley's Lights Out: Sugar, Sleep, and Survival, because I feel it's a little lacking in scientific rigor, but it does have some important ideas. Wiley believes eating sugar in the winter keeps your body in a constant state of summer, where you need to eat as much as possible to pile on pounds for a long winter. Her prescription is to eat no sugar in the winter, but as much as you want in the summer. A similar idea may apply to omega fatty acids-: omega-3s are a summer fat and omega-6s a winter fat according to Susan Allport (hat tip to Matt Metzgar). That makes so much sense to me. The omega-3s in meat come primarily from fresh grass and animals lay down omega-6 rich fat stores for the winter. Omega-3s in large amounts can also have an immunosuppressive effect, which could be maladaptive for a long tough winter. Another area of concern that seems to be seasonal for me is the acid-base balance, which is slightly controversial, but regardless, my diet is net acid in the winter and net alkaline in the summer.
We can't forget the obvious thing: Vitamin D from sunlight, which probably accounts for the seasonality of some of the illnesses in the aforementioned book. Vitamin D is important in the winter, but it's even more important to go outside and get some sunlight in the summer when your body is expecting it.
Despite the richness of my diet and exercising much less in the winter, I have no gained any weight. In the summer I expect that my desire for fat will wane and I'll fully enjoy the bounty of fruit, herbs, and fish at the farmer's market. By autumn, as the days get colder, I will yearn once again for richer foods.
My ancestors have lived in the North for a long time, perhaps this is what my body expects. Either way, eating seasonally has allowed me to feel better and to truly enjoy local food in a way I never did when I forced myself to eat low on the food chain.
Some readers have wondered: what's the big deal about these omega-3 fatty acids you have been talking about? So here is a list of important facts and why you should care about them.
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that both have important roles to play. The scientific evidence shows that omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the health of the heart and the brain as discussed in this post from Mark's Daily Apple on Fats.
The standard American diet is very very high in omega-6 fatty acids primarily from vegetable oils and grains and fairly low in omega-3 fatty acids. Why is this bad? From an evolutionary perspective it's inappropriate- we evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that was 2:1- 1:1. There is strong evidence excess omega–6 intake prevents the body from utilizing omega-3 and even depletes it from our body.
Of course we can have a brain without adequete omega-3s, but for optimal mental development omega-3s play a huge role. This post at Whole Health Source talks about research showing that deficient children suffered various effects ranging from low verbal intelligence to poor social behavior.
In another post he talks about how omega-3s play a huge role in the risk for heart disease.Omega-6s oils are often considered heart-healthy, but this is based on outdated and misinterpreted research. The unfortunate connsquences of a high-omega 6 diet are evident in the Israeli Paradox: people in Israeli consume tons of "heart healthy" oils like soybean oil, yet have very high rates of heart disease.
Seafood is the primary source of omega-3s that are readily utilized by the body. Flax and some other plant sources have small amounts, but their conversion to the usable form is low, though this can be increased by decreasing intake of omega-6 as I discussed in my post about seeds. The most interesting evidence, which Susan Allport talks about in The Queen of Fats, comes from a study that compared Africans eating no fish compared to Minnesotans eating some fish, but also lots of Western high omega-6 foods. The Africans had more optimal omega-3 levels! Their low omega-6 intake allows them to utilize more of the omega-3s found in plants.
The role of the ratio is controversial. Some believe that as long as your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 10:1-1:1, you are in the clear, but Stephen from Whole Health source presented some good evidence that the total amount of omega-6 is more important. His conclusion is that you should get no more than 4% of our calories from omega-6 fats. The sad fact is that eating lots of fish and fish oil might help with preventing heart disease, but it's like putting a bandaid on a severed arm if omega-6 intake continues to be high. Acculturated Inuit still eat plenty of fish, but that so far hasn't protected them from getting obesity and diabetes from consuming too much omega-6.
The bottom line is that omega-3s are important and too much omega-6 is damaging. Ditch the high-omega 6 oils (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, canola) and anything with them (store-bought mayo and sauces unfortunately). All the omega-6s you need can be obtained by consuming nuts and fruit oils like olive oil..though not too much of course! It's also probably wise to consume some seafood or fish oil, but the lower the consumption of omega-6s is, the lower that need is. I personally don't take fish oil anymore because it does have some side effects (burping, bleeding more when cut) that I found unpleasant and it's hard to find a fresh and environmentally friendly source.
I hope Stephen from Whole Health Source writes a book about this someday! The only book I can recommend right now is Susan Allport's The Queen of Fats, which is an interesting primer, though unfortunately it focuses too much on the ratio theory.
"I'm going to Florida. I'll stop my vitamin D because I'm going to lay in the sun."
Wrong. 90% of adults over 40 years old have lost the majority of their ability to activate vitamin D in the skin. A typical response might be an increase in blood level from 25 to 35 ng/ml--a 10 ng increase with a dark brown tan.
This 2007 study found YUP’IK ESKIMOS who consumed the most traditional foods obtained on average 1232iu/D from food
This underscores the fact that the foods such arctic people ate were quite different from what we can get on the grocery store. For example, the seabirds that the Yupik eat consume lichen, which means more vitamin D than chicken.
Another comment noted that rural Belgian women retain the ability to use sunlight, but those in a polluted urban environment did not. Either way, this reminds me of the response to the thyroid post where some commenters said their problems failed to respond to dietary iodine. Perhaps because of thyroid toxins in our environment? Maybe even the paleo diet can't overcome the reality that it's not just our food that is awash in chemicals, but the entire environment. Furthermore, our food is different. It's just reality that domestic meat is different than wild meat and our soils have been depleted of nutrients. Supplementing shouldn't be seen as something only people on an inadequate diet need.
In the mainstream scientific community there is a consensus that there was a major dietary shift that occurred in our evolution which allowed us, as humans, to have the large energy-hungry brains we have now. The most largely accepted theory is that it was hunting down large predators on the savanna. The Wrangham hypothesis that it was cooked tubers is getting press lately because he has a book out. But there is another theory that I think deserves a look: that our move from chimpanzee-like primate to humans was when we started living by the waterside. That would account for why the human brain seems to run on omega-3 fatty acids that are so abundant in seafood.
Anecdotal, but the diet I have settled on is most like what early humans dwelling by the waterside might have eaten. I personally gravitate towards water: I'm a good swimmer and when I think about processing a rabbit or digging in the ground for tubers vs. grabbing a fish and a coconut....well I think most early humans would have picked the latter. Note that I'm not advocating the discredited aquatic ape theory, which theorized an ape ancestor that had gills and fins.
While we fully agree that the structural, cognitive and visual development of the brain requires adequate amounts of certain nutrients including DHA (Crawford and Sinclair 1972), we think the initial shift might have included more abundant and easily obtainable DHA-rich sources such as shellfish, crayfish, fish, turtles, birds and eggs (Broadhurst et al. 1998). Since the primary source of DHA is algae and plankton, it is abundant in the marine and lacustrine food chains, but almost absent in the meat, fats and offal associated with carnivore remains (Broadhurst et al. 2002). Other brain-selective nutrients are also more abundant in aquatic than in terrestrial milieus. This is notably the case for brain-selective minerals such as iron, copper, zinc,selenium, and iodine (Table 5). Of all the major food groups, shellfish requires the least amount (900 grams) to meet the minimum requirement for all five minerals, and is also the food group for which these requirements are most evenly distributed. Eggs (2500 grams) and fish (3500 grams), both more abundant at the waterside than in terrestrial environments, are next, while 5000 grams of meat, five times more than shellfish, would be needed to meet the minimum daily requirements for all five minerals (Table 5). Iodine especially is more abundant in littoral food chains than terrestrial food chains, and before the iodinisation of drinking-water and salt, hypothyroidy caused by iodine deficiency resulted in mental retardation and cretinism in millions of humans who lived away from the coasts....
Humans have about ten times as much subcutaneous fat as most terrestrial mammals and non-human primates including chimpanzees, and in this respect they approach ‘lean’ aquatics such as fin whales