The Paleo diet, or the caveman diet, is a trend that just doesn’t seem to go away. A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping some fitness classes and they all seemed to come with an expectation that I would follow the Paleo diet, so much so that I felt like it was a requirement of their pilates/yoga/whatever exercise program.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Paleo diet, it’s basically for people who don’t think Atkins is strict enough and who can afford organic, free range meat.
The idea behind it is that it mimics the way our caveman ancestors ate. Two problems with that: It doesn’t and it shouldn’t.
Scientists have a whole lot of disagreements with Paleo converts, beginning with the fact that no, cavemen did not eat tons of bacon slathered in butter and coconut oil. They ate what they could get their hands on and their diets were a lot more varied than Paleo cultists would have you believe.
Throughout the vast majority of our evolutionary history, balancing the diet was not a big issue,” said (researcher Ken) Sayers. “They were simply acquiring enough calories to survive and reproduce. Everyone would agree that ancestral diets didn’t include Twinkies, but I’m sure our ancestors would have eaten them if they grew on trees.
Source: CBS News
The other problem is that the Paleo diet ignores evolution, both of food sources and of human beings.
The Paleo diet is based on the idea that human genetics have not changed or evolved over the past 10,000 years, since the time before the use of agriculture,” (evolutionary biologist Marlene) Zuk said.
“Plenty of evidence exists that our genes have changed over the last few thousand years, and these changes mean we can eat foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors could not,” she added. “The ability to digest milk is an example of this.
Source: Raw Story
While the Paleo diet might be okay for adults (although there are a lot of missing food items, like legumes and many fruits), it can be deadly for children.
Featured image via wikipedia