People have a tendency to dream about the past. Unfortunately, that can sometimes lead to poorly informed decisions. The Paleo diet, which is named after the Palaeolithic era, is marketed as the diet that our ancient human ancestors would have survived upon during the Palaeolithic era. The diet is based on the theory that our Palaeolithic ancestors led a healthier lifestyle than modern man, had fewer modern lifestyle diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and that people of the Palaeolithic era were more in tune with their surrounding environment. These assumptions are the basis for many of the diet’s supposed health benefits.
About Paleo Diet
Some of the premises on which the Paleo diet is based are actually good nutritional advice. For example, people who follow these diets avoid processed food. Processed foods are energy-dense and high in fat, and have been associated with numerous health risks.
Despite some of the good qualities associated with the Paleo diet, it also has a number of definite shortcomings. Those who follow the Paleo way (also commonly known as the caveman diet) consume a diet laden with vegetables. However, even if our ancestors did consume a more vegetable-based diet than what we do today, they did not consume the same vegetables. Due to the evolution of the agricultural industry, nearly all of the vegetables you see available in the supermarket or greengrocer are markedly different to what our ancestors consumed, even if they are organic. Simply put, the plants that our ancient ancestors ate are no longer available to us. The agricultural industry selectively breeds plants to bring out the most desirable traits. In spite of this, the plants we consume today are not necessarily detrimental to our health, nor were the plants consumed in the Palaeolithic era necessarily better for us. Even if the same plants were available, the human race has evolved and the bacteria of our gut which are needed to digest food have also evolved accordingly. This means that even if these ancient plants were available today, modern humans would be unlikely to be able to digest them and absorb the nutrients they contain.
The caveman diet also emphasises the consumption of lean meat, often wild game. In truth, you probably would not want to eat the same meats as your ancient ancestors. Our ancient ancestors were likely to consume meats including bugs, insects, organs, vermin and numerous other slow animals. Palaeolithic humans consumed pretty much any animal they were able to hunt and capture.
Avoid the Fads
Dietitians, using science, can give you good recommendations as to how to improve your diet. If you want to follow a balanced, healthy diet that is suited to your own individual needs, it is beneficial to consult a dietitian to help you formulate an evidence-based eating plan.
If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.