Should our Diets be More Based on Paleolithic Ways?

By: Michele Wolfson

It would probably be pretty hard for our ancestors from hundreds, let alone thousands of years ago, to imagine the world which we live in today. Our prehistoric predecessors were hunters and gatherers because they had to be in order to eat and survive. In many ways, they lived almost the opposite as we do now. Food is easily accessible and different varieties are at our fingertips. It just takes a few clicks of scouring the Internet in order to choose from a plethora of different food options.

Paleolithic-dieters believe the main components of our modern diet should focus on eating mainly lean meats and plenty of vegetables, just like our ancestors. Their notion is pretty basic: if a caveman didn't eat it, neither should you. The diet is deemed controversial since people from the Paleolithic era lived short lives than we do today, so one may wonder, how is it possible that these people cared about nutrition?

Well for one, hunting and gathering was a strenuous activity, which in turn made strong and healthy bodies. The food that they consumed wasn't filled with hormones and contaminated with pesticides. Sugary foods and cancer were unheard of and GMO's of course didn't exist. Is it possible that we have taken a turn for the worse when it comes to our current eating habits?

There are anthropologists who believe that the paleo-diet has room for improvement. Endangered species have been put at risk (such as certain types of wild boar) in order for extreme Paleolithic dieters to live out their goal of consuming exactly what their predecessors used to eat.  Some vegetarian's have also raised concerns that the diet promotes a highly carnivorous lifestyle.

This isn't always the case as some paleo-dieters refuse to eat animals that come from factory farms and some don't consume much meat at all.  There is also controversy on what it means to maintain a Paleolithic lifestyle. Some believe meat should be a main component because hunting was a major source of food intake when stone tools were invented. However, before that, the diet was overwhelmingly plant-based, judging from clues archaeologists have found in teeth and bones. It could be argued that the more authentic diet was vegetarian.

According to US HEALTH, many nutrition scientists say that there isn't enough proof that the diet is beneficial. Some don't believe the diet provides enough carbohydrates and think the lifestyle is costly, impractical, and that its mantras for good health are medically unproven. We live in a world where practically every food product is highly processed or genetically modified and humans are developing more allergies than ever before.  Is their something to be said for going back to our roots in the way that we eat and live our lives?

Would you ever try the Paleolithic diet?

Photo:  deHaines

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