The Pima and the Alaska Natives’ genes evolved from a life of physical activity and a diet of gathered fruits and greens and hunted meat and fish. They were not prepared for the diet of processed foods and refined carbs, or for the sedentary lifestyle that was pushed on them after they were conquered. And they weren’t prepared for the terrible stress of being dominated by an outside culture.
Like the Natives, most people in modern society have been placed in food, stress, and limited activity environments that are radically different than our hunter-gatherer roots. Highly-refined foods, sugars, sedentary jobs, and chronic stress are not what our genes evolved to handle. As a result, Type 2 diabetes rates are soaring.
Some people are gifted with genes that can resist these things. A small percentage of people can sit around and eat sweets all day without getting diabetes, or even gaining weight.
The genes that might contribute to diabetes are “switched off.” But for the rest of us, changing what we eat and how much we move will do more to protect us – and cure us – than any drugs or genetic engineering.