Food allergies and diets

This is an interesting article on the risks of a vegan diet…

While making a decision to abstain from particular food group may be for the right personal reasons, it appears evolution of the human body to consume such food groups is a weak link in delivering a good health outcome.


I was surprised to ready about the nickel allergy from pulses and grains. You might expect this to be more well know especially as some cultures (eg India) eat much more of those foods than here in Oz.

But on your point about our evolution, the further you step out of the omnivore frame the more effort it takes to stay healthy and for some people, despite making the effort, it still doesn’t work.


An article regarding ongoing human evolution with some people now being born without having wisdom teeth.

It is believed that wisdom teeth were used by prehistoric humans to help chew rough food.

Nickel sensitivity leading to allergy is reported to be on the rise, although the common cause for this is attributed to jewellery rather than diet. One theory around diet-induced nickel allergy is that people are eating more whole, unprocessed foods, which includes more plants grown in soils that naturally contain nickel.

I’m a bit cautious about drawing health conclusions on the basis of ideas around the evolution of the human body. I think paleo is the foremost proponent of a diet based on this theory, but regardless of diet type, whether we achieve a positive or negative health outcome is ultimately going to depend on the actual application of the diet from a nutritional standpoint. From this perspective, there are any number of diet types that can be beneficial. Alternatively, relying on non-nutrition-based ideas can have some negative outcomes.

So what is the nutritional perspective here? Is the argument that people with nickel sensitivity can’t assume a healthy plant based diet? Is the argument generally against higher consumption of “soy, pulses, beans and wholegrains”, and if so, why does this warning target only vegan diets and not also other diet types that encourage higher consumptions of wholefoods or grains? If we accept the argument against eating wholefoods, are their potentially other health concerns beyond nickel allergy that come into play?


The comment I made about evolution is that the human body has developed on a diets from a broad range of different foods and food groups (both plants and animals)…and not directed towards nickel sensitivity per say. The article in the Fairfax paper indicated that restrictive diets (restrictive to that which may have been normal in the past) can lead to health side effects where essential food nutrients can’t be provided by the restrictive diet.

Human evolution has resulted in many of the nutrients needing to be consumed to meet the dietary requirement for good health (vitamins are a good example where the body is unable to make some vitamins). It is important that to maintain good health, that sufficient nutrients are provided through diet. The article indicated that some individuals struggle to meet necessary dietary intake of essential nutrients to which the body needs for good health.

While conviction to a restrictive diet for personal reasons is admirable, I wonder how many who follow highly restrictive diets are supported by professional dietary advice or health testing to ensure that they are getting the necessary nutrients so that their health is not negatively impacted.


Most medical practices now have access to professional dieticians. Despite what the professional title implies or we might think their priority is healthy eating, and addressing nutritional related diseases. It’s not about body shape or size unless that is a particular concern. I’ve met quite a few who have a BMI that is greater than mine. It would seem the best place to get advice that is reliable and unbiased.

If it’s played a role we only have supposition and minimal evidence of what humans mostly ate 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 years past. There is zero evidence they were any healthier or on average lived as long as we do today. Survival required one to eat what was available on the day and season. Hunter gathers verses the development of agriculture and desert vs jungle environments few groups followed similar daily diets.

Evolution might suggest that as we learnt to cook or process more types of foods our genome evolved in parallel to best utilise what we eat now. Reverting to a diet (Survival based and limited at times) our ancestors might have been forced to eat? Why not go the whole paleo and live in a cave with only stone tools to ensure a complementary rhythm to existence?


My reference to this was only in the broadest sense that biologically we have evolved as omnivores. Our tooth structure, gut capabilities and nutritional requirements (which well predate written history) are of an omnivore. Specialist eaters have attributes, like teeth, that clearly identify their food. This flexibility allowed us prior to technology to colonise almost every climate and biome, there is no other macro animal that can come close. Much of that is due to intelligence, language, culture and tool use but unless we could eat such a wide range of diets it would never have happened.

It isn’t clear to me whether all this means the diet that we imagine our hunter gatherer ancestors ate is better than others or not. I think that adopting the principles of variety, balance, freshness and moderation are better than any named diet.


Looks like some still end up eating meat.

Did anyone else pause to think about the comment from Life coach Bianca Riemer: “my acupuncturist suggested I should eat eggs and meat again”… Taking dietary advice form the acupucturist??

In an article espousing looking at the scientific evidence, rather than just listening to social media, that seemed a strange anecdote to include.