“Paleo” Diet Best Left in Caves
No matter what you call the fad of eating more meat and less grains, beans, and other agricultural products—Paleo, caveman, Stone Age, hunter-gatherer—this diet is not going to support overall, long-term health.
Here are the facts related to preagricultural-style diets:
- The Paleolithic era was not only a long time ago, ending approximately 10,000 years ago, but it spanned an extremely long period of time, starting more than 2 million years ago. Additionally, populations lived in a wide range of geographical areas throughout this span of time. To pinpoint one diet for such a vast period of time and array of habitats is impossible.
- DNA tests show that humans who lived during the Paleolithic era did consume grains and legumes.
- The plants that were available during the Paleolithic era were much different than the plants available to us now.
- The animals consumed during the Paleolithic era were quite different from what you see on a “Paleo” dieter’s plate today. Game, rodents, and other wild animals were on the menu, not cows and chickens.
- Many hunter-gatherers were smaller and less well-nourished than people today.
- Modern-day hunter-gatherer tribes are less healthy, and infections related to eating raw meat (e.g., hookworms) are common.
- On the upside, “Paleo” diets do discourage processed food products and dairy products. But a couple of steps in the right direction cannot overcome the giant pitfalls that result from eating high-fat, high-cholesterol meat products and avoiding nutrient-dense plant foods like beans and whole grains.
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