The ‘Paleo Diet’, as it is called, is the latest popular get-slim fast diet going around. The idea is definitely different from other stuff [and not as obviously stupid as swallowing tapeworms], since it claims that eating the healthy, all-natural diet of a prehistoric human who lived before McDonald’s and Pepsi is the key to a thin body.
Originally I was very skeptical, and since I’m both interested in paleontology in general as well as human evolution, I started asking questions like ‘what exact era?”, “Which species? Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens both lived around the same time.” as well as the big one lots of people wondered: “What part of the world are these foods from? Where was the tribe they studied that got these effects?”
1. Homo Sapiens 2. Neanderthals 3. Early Hominids
I checked the site, and it referred to our ancestors, so this wasn’t what our Neanderthal cousins were eating. It might sound petty to differentiate between the two, but these guys weren’t just another skin colour: Neanderthals were as different as dogs are from wolves: they had denser bones and muscles, a completely different skull [meaning anyone could tell they were different, not just someone with a forensic lab or a PH.D] with a larger brain and jaw, not to mention other things. Another interesting fact is that the word ‘Paleo’ from ‘Paleo Diet’ doesn’t stand from Paleontology, it actually references the diet’s time zone [Paleolithic era], which goes from 2.6 million years ago to just before the agricultural revolution: about 10,000 years ago.
You can check this on the official site yourself, just type in Paleo Diet and it is the first search result, even above Wikipedia. By the way, there’s another paragraph about my take on how accurate the science behind this is. If you want to skip the anthropology and get straight to where I talk about how effective the diet is, skip to where you see !!!!!!!!!!!! [well, it’d catch your eye, wouldn’t it?]
I have a problem with how broad that time zone is: two million years, when compared to the rest of human history, meaning from Stonehenge to WWII, is just ridiculous! 2.6 million years ago is after the australopithecines evolved into the first upright man. I could blab about Homo Erectus this and Homo Habilus that but the point is, 2 million years is literally way longer than it took for the Romans to worship the god Apollo and then for NASA to send people to the moon is a capsule of the same name.
I understand that technology was vastly more primitive and that there weren’t churches or spaceships being invented then, but there were different species of human evolving and dying out, or changing, not to mention the constant climate/ecological changes [for instance, there were wooly mammoths and sabre-toothed cats that aren’t around now].
And they also didn’t say what part of the world this diet is from. People in Mexico would’ve eaten Maize, but Europeans wouldn’t. There were glaciers up north but not down south, and you can only imagine what differences there’d be in vegetation in both sides.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [it’s the skipping feature I mentioned earlier, sorry about the eye sore to those of you who actually read the whole paragraph] But let’s exclude that. Let’s just say that, hypothetically, it is just pseudo-science used to deceive the public who think ‘cave man’ is an accurate term, [god, that must really make me sound like a college-bred, smarter-than-you @sshole] it wouldn’t matter if this thing worked, right?
Editor’s note: I couldn’t find the poster Callum was talking about, but this is close
I read an article about it and it sounded convincing enough. Frankly, the tone seemed a little biased towards the diet, but maybe that’s just because I’m a skeptic [basically means that I like really good evidence], but I liked how the poster mentioned that not all types of fat are bad, and that how animals who ate more natural vegetation–such the grass they evolved to eat instead of the corn silly humans feed them–yielded less fat, and more of the right kind. Natural veggies and nuts are excellent as well, it seems like the diet promotes a lot of good things. But then there’s what it excludes.
The Paleo Diet excludes:
Alcohol [aside from overly ripe berries, booze came around during the Viking Age]
Refined Sugar [I agree it’s the devil, but good luck avoiding it]
Grains [most are refined and crap, but some are quite healthy]
Potatoes [wait a minute, won’t those around back then? I’m pretty sure they were]
Anything else starchy or sweet
Dairy products [I’m going to have a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG rant about this]
I understand that people weren’t eating milk back in ye olde days, but it’s still very healthy. I’m sorry, but I’m a 6’5 [roughly 2.35 meters, but I’m pretty off] 14-year-old who exercised four days a week, I need calcium, otherwise I’ll grow up crippled, or break my foot at Tae Kwon Do. And it’s not just me, people of all ages and heights need calcium, what other natural source is there that has such a ridiculous amount like dairy, PILLS!? So, they’re going to be all vague about stuff like when and where they found this supposed ‘diet’ [sarcastic quotes, the literary middle finger], but there going to be specific about making sure people don’t eat anarchistic foods that are good for you (not to say that the critics of the diet aren’t also guilty of being maddeningly vague as well)? Another way to look at it is that this is a great diet for people who are going lactose/gluten-free, or that this part can be edited based on what your personal doctor says.
Maybe there should be a list of foods that aren’t from the Paleolithic that are healthy to eat: like potatoes. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure some edible form of potato, starch or legume, all of which are banned, would have been eaten somewhere on Earth over the course of two million years, although it could be argued either way whether or not they actually were or if that’s just unproven conjecture.
You could argue that they did, but were completely different from the modified products of today. That’s true, but so were so many other vegetables or other plant-based foods that are on the Paleo-diet’s okay list, like greens. Farmers, for thousands of years, unwittingly genetically engineered foods to be greener, bigger, sweeter, healthier and all that good stuff,( by planting the seeds from crops with more desirable traits) but they certainly aren’t like what people ate 10,000 years ago. An interesting point would be that the modern vegetables are healthier than the prehistoric ones, and any diet that promotes simple leafy greens is more trustworthy than one that has miracle pills/easy to do tricks.
There are a lot of criticisms about how much meat is in the diet: more so than is necessary. One source pointed out (I’m not afraid to admit it, the masculine me did check Women’s Health Magazine, it was a good article)
It’s so hard to find all the meat the Paleo Diet demands so it’s users start eatin unhealthy, non-lean crap. While we’re here, the meats that early man ate were lean enough to run away from you, they didn’t sit around a farm house for life waiting to get slaughtered.
But it’s a bit of an urban legend that the Paleo Diet is meat heavy: there were some quite reliable sources that warned against too much meat and kept tugging me back and forth between supporting this thing or being against it. Also, a lot of the diseases that are claimed to not have existed in ye olde age are either impossible to prove (like high blood pressure, although obesity would leave some marks on the fossil bones due to the pressure of weight) or people would have been killed by a predator or an untreatable infection before they would get the disease eg. Alzheimer’s
Johnny Depp would be really old in the Paleolithic, and he’s only 50!
I believe that the idea of eating more natural food is a noble one, and avoiding all the untested experiments in food is smart, but this is not the way to do it. I admit I could be over doing it because I just plain don’t trust something that relies on this kind of flimsy, or at least vague, research. Probably that combined with all the publicity, extra merchandise and the fact that I’m the kind of person who believes the cynical expose filmography of Michael Moore [although I agree it’s more hypocritical than the States themselves that he hates the 1% of filthy rich people while he is the 1% of filthy rich people, but I digress].
I find the diet too restrictive. Also, while humans have mostly stayed the same for 10,000 years, it’s also quite possible that maybe by now we do need to drink milk, and it is not only possible but proven that the greens the diet supports were entirely different in the way back.
Aside from the vague time-line which I’ve probably talked too much about, my only other criticism of the Paleo Diet isnt’ really even its fault: the controversy. There are so many arguments for and against this thing, both of which are equally biased and unproven, it looks more like the topic of a flame war in the YouTube comments sections (like the ones about YouTube’s new update – don’t get me started). I hope I don’t sound like a snoot who thinks he has the answer to the stupid world’s problems, but everyone is taking about this as if it is a one-size-fits-all. That is too much to ask of any diet, and is probably why the research and experiments are inconclusive. There are too many variables.
Personally I would recommend to follow the advice of sources that talk a lot about moderation – but not exclusion – of fats, sugars etc. It’s better than a lot of those other sham diets around, so why not five it a try” Unlike what some people may want you to believe, it ruin your life; if it doesn’t work…. than just quit. Good Luck.