Debunking the Paleo Diet

Christina Warinner is an archaeological scientist, who debunks the notion behind paleolithic fad diets.  This fad started in the 70’s with the Stone Age Diet, and then reappeared as the Primal Blueprint, Paleo, and NeanderThin diets.  All of these diets are based on the idea that “we should abandon our modern agricultural diets, which are making us sick, and move far back in time to our paleolithic ancestors more than 10,000 years ago, and eat like them.”

This rationale, however, is based on the idea that we know what our ancestors ate, namely a diet consisting mainly of meat, supplemented with fruits and vegetables, and devoid of grains, legumes, and dairy. Warinner explains why these ideas have no basis in archeological reality, and dispels the myth that humans have evolved to eat meat.  Although some populations did adapt to milk consumption during agricultural periods, Warriner points out that “humans have no known physiological, anatomical, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption.” She goes on to explain why humans during the paleolithic period would not have had access to even rudimentary presses for making olive oil, or to large quantities of meat, as the Paleo Diet suggests.

Warriner’s main take away is that if we want to eat like our ancestors, we should be eating fresh, whole, mostly plant-based  foods, and avoid preservatives and processed foods.  Listen to the full Ted Talk to learn about the flawed science behind these ‘Paleo’ fad diets, and the things we can learn, and apply to our own diets today, through studying our paleolithic ancestors.

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