The Paleo diet is a diet that’s based on the historical hunter and gatherer or caveman diet. Human ancestors of the Paleolithic period lived 2.5 million years ago. The diet promotes seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits, and meat and excludes cereals and dairy products. Advocates of the Paleo diet argue that our bodies aren’t built for food derived from modern agricultural processes and that food processing is the main cause of modern diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. The Paleo diet is very controversial among all kinds of nutritionists.
This article debunks myths related to the current diet of our ancestors throughout The Paleolithic period in addition to discusses the cons and pros of the diet from a nutritional perspective.
Some, but not all, aspects of the Paleo diet are undeniably healthful – Most nutritionists agree that limiting extremely processed foods is a healthful practice. Many unhealthy foods include high amounts of salt, preservatives, and refined sugars while offering little nutritional information. Nevertheless, nutritionists disagree as to whether cutting dairy, whole grains, and legumes from the diet are healthful. These foods tend to be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and tend to not spike blood sugar.
The doctrine of the Paleo diet is imperfect – The Paleo diet assumes we’re genetically identical to our ancestors that lived in the Paleolithic time period.
This isn’t true, we’ve evolved to meet the changing needs of the environment. It’s believed that humans in the Paleolithic period were lactose intolerant, that’s the reason why they avoided dairy. Nevertheless, within about 7, 000 years, some groups of men have developed the capability to tolerate lactose in adulthood.
This illustrates that genes aren’t fixed, but that they can change and sometimes relatively rapidly from an evolutionary timescale perspective. There’s evidence of other major changes in the genome like the appearance of blue eyes, adaptations to the immunity system and red blood cells to withstand mosquito-borne diseases, and the makeup of our gut microbiota.
These shifts occurred in 10, 000 years or less. Therefore, foods that inflicted discomfort or disease in the Paleolithic people may not arouse the same negative effects today.
The Paleo diet philosophy doesn’t address why this time period and not another time period holds a diet which will maximize human health. Why not the common diet of humans in the Mesolithic archaeological period, or the Neolithic period? The Paleo diet doesn’t Address the diversity of diets which existed in the Paleolithic period – Since of limited physical evidence, it’s challenging to delineate exactly how much and in what proportions food has been consumed in the Paleolithic period.