Problematic Paleo Diet

The “paleo diet” comes from the Paleolithic age – a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools and covers roughly 95% of human technological prehistory. The diet is based on the premise that cavemen were never obese and they lived to a ripe old age of perhaps 30. The number 30 is just a guess as I do not have the data. However, it’s an educated guess as I do have the data for the life expectancy during a Bronze Age. It was around 34 – for people who have lived past their 15th year.

Paleo Diet

The paleo gurus push their guesses even further. Before the invention of agriculture, they figured that our paleolithic ancestors probably ate the foods you see above. But as you can see, it looks remarkably familiar, almost as modern as their “ketogenic” counterparts. There are a few obvious (to me) problems with this diet. I won’t go into the nutritional aspect but at first glance, we should know that:

1. The human population was dispersed all over the globe. Nations didn’t exist back then, but there were different tribes and communities occupying different habitats. Without the benefit of trade, the same Paleolithic humans in different habitats must have consumed vastly different foods. Research has shown that some Paleolithic humans were almost carnivorous while others were practically herbivores. Seasonal changes also changed diets drastically within a year. To factor in all these changes, an authentic “paleo” diet in our times is practically impossible.

2. Sure, we don’t have to recreate dinosaurs who went extinct long before humans evolved, but most plants and animals that Paleolithic humans ate are now extinct following the end of the Ice Age. We will never be able to duplicate the genuine Paleolithic diet with any amount of accuracy

3. Human evolution did not stop after the Paleolithic period. We have continued to evolve and it’s wrong to think that we are genetically identical to our ancestors who lived a genuinely Paleolithic diet 100,000 years ago. With agriculture and the mass production of diary produce and products, lactose intolerance has become less and less common. It’s only logical to deduce that our digestive systems are very different from those of our ancestors.

4. As mentioned earlier, Paleolithic humans probably didn’t live past 30. For all your unhealthy habits, you’re very, very likely to live way past that.