This is a question I regularly get asked, and the answer is of course yes. We have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to thrive off the food around us, in the natural environment. Through natural selection, our bodies became extremely efficient at utilizing the food and environment around us to the point that we aspects such as exercise like exercise to be healthy. (which, we would have gotten from hunting/ climbing etc).
The problem is that although our bodies are based on the same environment and diet, that environment and diet doesn’t exist in any modern lifestyle. Our body has taken thousands of years to reach this level of synergy with our environment, being able to survive off the plants and animals around us, but in just a few years the environment and food we have available has changed dramatically, and our body just cannot evolve that quickly!
Foods we refer to as a staple food, (such as pasta and bread) are not foods which our body has evolved to eat. These foods contain very little micro-nutrients, and are essentially empty calories, but we eat them every day, sometimes in every meal! Not only is our body not designed to consume these foods, they provide very little nutrients! The food we are eating contains less micro-nutrients, than they did 100 years ago, even fruits and vegetables. Selective breading and genetic modification has resulted in flavors and yields being chosen over nutrition.
There are also artificial chemicals on so many foods – our body doesn’t know how to deal with sodium nitrates, sucralose, PCB’s and methylmercury. All of which damage our body.
Cities are often refereed to as the ‘concrete jungle’, and it is far from the environment we evolved to thrive in. We evolved in a pollutant free environment, where we would regularly exercise with fresh air and exposed to sunlight. Now we spend most of our time sat down indoors, in artificial light breathing in pollutants from cars or factories – how natural is that?
It is clear that the food and environment we experience now, are not what our body is designed for. Not only is our diet not providing us with the quantities of nutrients we need, but our environment is demanding more nutrients to stay healthy.
So, in short, yes, we should get all our nutrients from our food, but the reality is that it is near impossible to become truly healthy from food alone. We are so far detached form our natural foods and habitat that supplementation is often the only way to get all the nutrients we need.