Allergies and Tolerances

I have included this in the major problems facing the world as there is a general move towards science informing or persuading the population that certain foods are bad for them. What a creature has as a food supply defines how they operate and how they develop. Some foods are hard to tolerate and some are not, with the effects varying from person to person from not at all, to fatal. But there is a big difference between food tolerances, intolerances and allergies.

The idea that anything that causes an intolerance is bad has developed in modern society, but the food we eat has an evolutionary effect on us. Normally the evolutionary progression is inedible, through intolerance, developing into tolerances, then food of choice.

But we must be cautious about backing ourselves into a corner of extinction by removing things unnecessarily from the diet.

We have a progression into increasing numbers of allergies where foods can cause major effects and damage, and a fashion trend for removing certain things from our diet. Nuts are a major cause of allergy, so nut consumption has reduced over the decades meaning more people are now intolerant of these things. Lactose is steadily being removed from the diet, allowing for greater intolerances, similarly with gluten.

A small minority are nut, lactose or gluten intolerant, in that consumption will cause them harm, the toleration for more processed foods expanding higher fat and sugar becoming more tolerated and less of a problem except in people being overweight.

But removal of nuts, lactose or gluten has the effect on present and subsequent populations in that many are now becoming intolerant due to lack of exposure. So, if we have the condition where other foods are not available, you will find they will have severe problems in using them. A progression that may end up with people being totally unable to eat them, removing the diversity of diet if things go really wrong and food supplies are limited.

This may be true for other foods such as meat, a move to remove meat from the diets allowing for meat intolerances to develop, so a population evolving that could not tolerate meat easily without problems, then leading onto a population that could not eat meat.

Imagine a society that cannot not eat any animal product, nuts, or gluten. An ideal philosophy in times of plenty. It has also removed a lot of fat, sugar and salt. Then problems strike and food becomes scarce, as it has happened many times in the past, and will happen again. The population then has to turn to other foods, requiring a fully functioning society to produce them, but it can’t handle any of the other foods.

An example of this is the Giant Panda. It is a bear that has specialised in eating a very narrow band of foods that very few other creatures consume. This very narrow band at the moment is quite plentiful in a particular area they are found, but disease, pests or climate change means that this specialisation, although good at present, makes them a prime target for extinction. If the climate does change its very likely that there will be no giant pandas in 100 years’ time, having backed themselves into an evolutionary corner. The average cost to keep a giant panda around works out to about £500,000 per bear for its 20-year lifetime, compared to £10,000 for a humans 72 years.

Climate change may mean they are the first to fail. By such specialisations the human race seems to be backing itself into a similar evolutionary dead end with its options closed down by choice.

From medical research it has been ‘proven’ that the body has exact tolerances and limits, any body being out of those limits cause for concern and correction. So everything is ‘calculated’ to this understanding with vague stepped quantities.

The correct height is 163 cm for women and 176.5 cm for men, weighing about 155lbs, with a BMI of 22. A BMI of below 20 or above 26 pushes you into the extreme range and is ‘unhealthy,’ so needs to be corrected. Similarly, with drugs, a dose of paracetamol for an adult is 1000mg. This is an exact amount of a drug, but what is not said is that this dose is statistically exact for a statistically exactly average person where the drug is mainly used. For a person who does not originate from that country, and is not that average, this dose is incorrect and not exact. A lighter person may need 953mg or 757mg to get the required exact effect, probably varying by race, sex, age, the time of day, activity and time of year. The requirement for mass production standardising everything according to an idea of the planned use, but with large steps between available application.

Think of the human body in terms of a machine slowly going out of specification. An unskilled operator would make quick and large adjustments as the information says it is going out of bounds. A long term skilled hand makes minor changes as and when needed. The effect is to make it wildly fluctuate from one extreme to the other in the best tradition of uppers and downers in the movie industry. The end is a destabilised system that advanced medical knowledge can keep running for longer, but in many cases ignore the destabilisation that may have been put in place in the first case, where a less severe treatment may have a better long term effect and prognosis. A medical situation similar to the control of advanced jet aircraft, where they are quite often built with instability as part of the frame requiring computer control to keep them stabilised, and they work better than a more stable frame that a pilot would control. But what happens if something disrupts those computer controls? They fly like a brick and are a liability, not an advantage. In a perfect situation with guaranteed supply lines, such as in peacetime, it works, in an imperfect and failing system, like the situation in wartime, it doesn’t. Most of the equipment in a time of problems start to fail and become unusable, the logistics overhead preventing continuation and all the advanced stuff gives way to old and reliable equipment that needs less maintance.

This is close to the idea of ‘species resilience.’ Keeping to a set of standards and having back up systems in place and available that will work when things start to go wrong and the environment changes. Such as irreversable global warming.