The Paleo Diet revolves around eating like a caveman, like aspiring to be like a caveman is something sexy? Are we truly sliding downhill so fast as human beings that the thought of eating like a caveman is something we should aspire to do? Cavemen are extinct.
Scientific evidence supports the high protein, low carbohydrate content of the Cavemen or Paleo Diet as being detrimental to healthy living. Yes, in the short-term a high protein low carb diet will show some benefit, but in the long-term this approach to eating is detrimental to healthy living whether or not you eat lean and unprocessed meat.
Secondly, if man or mankind evolved from gorillas and chimpanzees or some common ancestor on the plains of Africa, which science suggests, and gorillas and chimpanzees have a genetic or biological tendency to eat fruits and vegetation, then why didn’t these Paleo men and women have the same tendency to eat diets high in fruits and vegetation?
Fruits And Vegetables Were The Diet Not The Paleo Diet
I am not saying Paleo man didn’t eat meat since gorillas and chimpanzees may occasionally eat meat, but I am saying it was a very small part of their diet. Science supports that the predecessors of the modern human originated in Africa and had access to the same vegetation food sources as gorillas and chimpanzees.
Since we know that vegetation and fruits are the natural staple of gorillas and chimpanzees in Africa then it would seem likely that it would also be the staple of the diet for Paleo man in Africa. For one thing, it is just easier to walk up to a tree or plant and pull off some leaves or fruit because they will not run away. Secondly, animals will run away or attack you to preserve their own lives, which would jeopardize your life and make it much harder to feed yourself and your family.
Now there is also the theory that along with this Paleo man and woman in Africa who are the predecessors of modern human beings, Neanderthals roamed the mountains of Europe. The eating habits of Neanderthals were likely different from the Paleo man who ran the plains of Africa, because the Neanderthals may have had to resort to eating more meat since they may have had less access to fruits and vegetables in the mountains of Europe.
One theory is the “more” modern human beings in Africa travelled out of Africa in small numbers and interbred with some of the Neanderthals, while the other lesser evolved Neanderthals eventually died off.
Another theory is there were large migrations out of Africa and the more culturally and technologically advanced modern humans outcompeted the Neanderthals for resources and the Neanderthals died off. In both scenarios it would appear the eating habits of the more advanced humans would also win out, or become more widespread.
Though I do feel there is some merit to what is currently termed the Paleo Diet, I think the heavy emphasis on meat and lack of emphasis on carbohydrates does not paint the true picture of the actually Paleo Diet. It paints a picture of the less effective Neanderthal diet. The less effective high protein low carbohydrate diet which is more likely how Neanderthal men and women ate might be a contributing factor as to why are extinct.
The Good And Bad Of The Modern Paleo Diet
What is compelling about the modern Paleo Diet is its emphasis on removing processed foods and dairy from the diet. This concept is shared by people who eat a whole food plant based diet. Processed foods include genetically modified organisms and toxins that are detrimental to our healthy living. Dairy also undermines our healthy living by supporting excess mucus buildup in the body and its casein protein is linked to increased risk of cancer and other illnesses.
The Paleo Diet emphasizes eating lean meat to get the necessary amount of protein and fat it feels the body requires, but it is clearly demonstrated by numerous healthy people who eat a plant based diet that they can can get all the protein and fat they need from plant based foods. Diets that consist of more than 10% of animal protein promote an increased risk of cancer an other illness because of its growth hormones and other toxic substances. Consumption of vegetable protein doesn’t pose the same risk.
The Paleo Diet avoids grains and promotes a low carbohydrate diet because grains are a form of carbohydrates and some grains have a negative effect on the body. Grains like “common wheat” compromise our health not because they are inherently bad for us, but because much of the grain we consume is hybridized and in this instance it compromises its nutritional value.
The recent problems with gluten intolerance and other gluten related diseases is not due to the natural makeup of wheat and other grains, but it is the hybridization and sometimes genetic manipulation of the grains that make it foreign to our bodies and causes it to compromise our health.
Promoting a low carbohydrate diet because of this problem only creates more problems. Not all carbohydrates are the same and we need carbohydrates to support healthy living. The Paleo Diet should not generalize and promote a low carbohydrate diet, but it should specifically call for minimization of grain consumption and the total avoidance of hybridized grains like “common wheat.” Carbohydrates and fats are our energy sources and we need both.
Too much fat in the diet is linked to numerous health conditions, so we need to get the majority of our energy from carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are major sources carbohydrates and the Paleo Diet’s calling for minimizing carbohydrate consumption unfortunately leads some people to minimize their consumption of fruits and vegetables when they should be the main staple of their diets. We have a genetic disposition towards fruits and vegetables and rely on them heavily keep our bodies in a state of homeostasis. Nuts, seeds, some legumes, and some grains also support this homeostasis.