How do we explain the concept of RDA with respect to the Paleolithic?
It is quite likely that various groups ate very similar foods for days on end. A relatively large hunted animal would feed a group for days and they might eat a portion from it every time they have a meal - and then there would be relatively long periods when they would just forage and live on sub optimal food.
If RDA was so important, these groups would not be able to have healthy off-springs, and over a long period - poor nutrition coupled with probable in breeding would result in their extinction.
How did we get past this to be where we are today?
RDA is an institutional construct and IMHO has little to do with reality. Grok and Grokkina probably got a balanced ratio of nutrients over a longer time period - probably weekly or monthly, perhaps, as in vitamin D, even seasonally. For some reason, contemporary medicine has shrunk the period for obtaining nutrient balance down to t=24hours. It would be interesting to delve, Taubes-like, into the reasons why. Methinks money might be involved.
Wild foods in general are much more nutritious and HG's eat very varied diets. Many tribes probably did suffer from certain deficiencies as well(and had health problems), its a logical fallacy to assume they all got perfect nutrition and had good health.
Grok managed his RDA the old-fashioned way; he either survived/thrived on the available foods or died. Those who lived to raise offspring at least to adolescence were those who did the best on whatever could be scrounged/hunted/foraged.
Over time, the RDA became those foods that were available in the natural environment. With the ebb and flow of glaciers up north and forests/savannahs down south, he was even more challenged and again either found a way to survive or died out--and fossils show that many did the latter.
And here we are today! (Unfortunately trying to live on cereal and manufactured food-like products.)
RDA is a starting point but it's hardly a basis for health. I could meet the minimum requirement for vitamin C and end up with scurvy if I had a condition that depleted vitamin C rapidly and was not raising insulin enough (to recycle it). Equally you could think you'd be getting enough vitamin A from the RDA and actually getting no usable amount for a number of reasons (inability to convert carotene to vitamin A, lack of fat etc).
Eating nutrient dense low toxicity foods is the best route to health. If I were eating lean meats and vegetables I'd be worried too. :-)
Also, who ever said Grok was never lacking in some nutrients?
@ Cliff: The link below has the full text of the journal article you quoted from. The part you quote about Anderson is on bottom of page 654 and continued on top of page 655 and refers to what happened after the all meat/fat diet. It specifically speaks of Anderson having completed the 367 days on the all meat/fat diet (January 24, 1929) and then being tested for 3 additional subsequent weeks on a "variety" of diets "all high fat" but not all meat/fat. He became ill during this additional 3 week period of variety diets and mid-February got the attack. Most importantly, on the morning of the attack, he was subjected to 100 grams of glucose for a glucose tolerance test. Full text is in the link above. The devil is in the details.
Great question. Eating the organs of animals will provide a lot of the nutrients our ancestors needed, but they weren't available to them all the time like they are to us. This is where evolution comes in, because they survived when certain nutrients were low or nonexistent in their food supply for various amounts of time. We have the needs we recognize today because of the foods that were/weren't in our ancestors diet that changed their needs for each nutrient. They evolved to produce the molecules that filled the most important functions of our body, and if they didn't evolve to make certain molecules or lost the ability to do so (like vitamin C) it was because there was evolutionary pressure against producing that molecule because it could be found in the food supply. Keep in mind they ate many things from the soil and the soil back then was nutrient rich so they got a lot more minerals that way. Also, they could afford to be low in certain nutrients at various times because they ate the best foods for their bodies so they weren't putting the stress on their bodies many people in modern times do from a bad diet and poor lifestyle choices which depletes various nutrients in the body.
Food availability determined where paleos could survive at all. Traveling distances greater than 5 miles was difficult and uncertain. Our ability to eat food in quantities far in excess of modern RDA, and to digest a wide range of nutrients, is a result of successful adaptation to survive in a small locality.