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anon615 posted:
Dr. McD points out that since we have genes coded for amylase we are able to eat starches. Primates have only two of these genes. Humans have anywhere between 2 and about 16 with an average of six. I am wondering , for those of us who only have two of these genes, as do fruit, insect and leaf eating primates, if the low carb diet might be better than the higher starch diet.

heretk responded:
This could be a vestigial feature like appendix. I think Dr. Mcd is probably blowing it out of proportion to its real meaning. The real bulk of the starch is broken down in the stomach mostly by means of hydrochloric acid. How much amylase is getting in through saliva versus how much more acid is there already? Starch is split by acid into glucose molecules which then dissolve and are readily absorbed.

I remember a demo/experiment at school, probably 8-th grade: a teacher put some corn flour and HCl, mixed it in a flask and we waited for it to became transparent, to see starch dissolving in water as glucose. She did the same with a piece of a meat and adding peptyde enzyme. That took much longer to break.
anon615 replied to heretk's response:
Vestigial. H, where do you come up with these things? You also know the stomach acid of carnivores is strong enough to break down raw meat Perhaps they were designed to eat meat. Oh excuse me, I mean perhaps they accidentally after years of evolution developed digestive systems that can make short shrift of meat (unlike ours). When I was in eighth grade I learned digestion begins in the mouth.

heretk replied to anon615's response:
Our stomach acid is strong enough (about 10% HCl) to break meat even if you do not chew it well. It takes 4h to break cooked beef and about 2h to break uncooked raw beef.

What I wrote about amylase being vestigial is a hypothesis, I am not sure 100% about its real main role but I am quite sure that it is not for digesting starch. Being vestigal or vestigial (sorry too lazy to check the spelling) is one hypothesis. The other one is that amylase is produced in the mouth used to break down starch into something soluble just to keep teeth clean, to prevent starch from accumulating in the crevises and causing dental problems. I think now that the second one is more likely. Yes of course we are adapted to consume plant food too, absolutely! Amylase may be one indication of such adaptation present or vestigial, perhaps, but we are still omnivores not herbivores! Amylase does not change that.

heretk replied to heretk's response:
Correction, sorry, not 10%, stomach acid is about 0.5%.

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