Dietary Shifts And Digestive Disorders
Human evolutionary history clearly shows that we are primarily herbivores. Human saliva contains alpha-amylase, an enzyme specifically designed to break down complex carbohydrates into sugar compounds. Our teeth are designed to cut vegetable matter and grind grains. The so-called canine teeth of humans bear no resemblance to the canines of even a domestic house cat. The human digestive system is long, and the food is processed slowly to extract all the nutrients from plant material. Conversely, carnivores have short digestive tracts that digest flesh very quickly. The digestive systems of carnivores are able to eliminate the large amount of cholesterol consumed in their diets, and carnivores do not have alpha-amylase present in their saliva.
The effect of the shift in our diets during the past 100 years has resulted in 44% of Americans and Canadians being afflicted with heartburn, 5% of the population suffering from peptic ulcer disease, and 20-40% of Americans plagued with non-ulcer dyspepsia. Over-the-counter medications for these ailments are a multibillion-dollar industry. Nearly every hour, there is at least one television commercial selling an antacid or similar product.