The evolution of human cooking began somewhere between 1.8 million and 400,000 years ago when our ancestors started consuming at least half of their calories from cooked food. This particular phase of evolution would eventually set the stage for at least three revolutions. The first of these revolutions was the evolution of language facilitated by communal cooking. The second was the tribal bonding resulting from common cooking traditions built on similar taste preferences. The third and foremost was the ability to control the dietary regimes that a particular group of humans is on. This third revolution, which was kick-started by cooking, has been carried forward through food processing and biotechnology innovations.
The scientific ability of humans to manipulate what they can eat has resulted in food preferences that are governed by 5 factors (a) Need To Eat, (b) Taste, (c) Perceived Nutrient Requirement, (d) Medical Prescription, and (e) Belief System. Humanity has for time immemorial been driven to food by the Need To Eat and Taste. However, changing lifestyles have brought three new drivers of dietary trends – Perceived Nutrient Requirements, Prescriptive Nutrition, and Belief System. For e.g., the trend of Immunity Boosting Foods is driven by perceived nutrient requirements while that of Veganism is driven by belief systems.
1. Intermittent Fasting: Fasting and intermittent fasting are Vedic dietary prescriptive regimes that have found popularity in modern times. The adoption is driven by scientific benefits and subsequent prescription of intermittent fasting by medical doctors. People in performing arts understand the benefits of intermittent fasting to look the best versions of themselves.
2. Vegan Diet: Veganism is a manner of living that tries to exclude all types of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Hence, the vegan diet is empty of animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Vegan Diet has various benefits like; if done correctly, it could help lose extra weight and helps to keep a check on blood sugar as well.
3. Paleo Diet: A diametrically opposite belief system is Paleo which argues that one should eat the same foods our hunter-gatherer forerunners ate before agriculture evolved. The theory weighs on the fact that current diseases are linked to the modern diet and the consumption of grains, processed foods, and dairy, and hence it accentuates whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. While it’s disputable whether this diet supplies the exact nutrition your ancestors ate, it is linked to several impressive health advantages, one of which is reducing risk facets for heart disease.
4. Low-carb Diet (Ketogenic): This diet is particularly famous for weight loss. There are several versions of low-carb diets, but all involve restricting carb intake to 20-150 grams per day. The primary purpose of the diet is to compel one’s body to use more fats for fuel instead of using carbs as a primary source of energy. A low-carb diet effectively downsizes damaging belly fat, which accommodates around one’s organs.
5. Gluten-Free Diet: This diet excludes the protein gluten, including wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is frequently referred to as Wheat Protein. A diet free from wheat protein has various benefits like a boost in energy and stamina, also weight loss, and helps to reduce inflammation in those with Celiac disease and relieve digestive symptoms.
Regardless of the inconsistent specifics of future dietary changes, there is no doubt that these new global trends will demand more resources to produce higher-quality and specialty foods for their worldwide distribution. Public education about healthy nutrition is imperative, but it is an uphill task in societies saturated with gluttony-promoting advertisements and lacking dietary discipline.