What Is The Paleo Diet?
The Paleolithic diet also referred to as The Paleo diet, The Caveman diet, The Stone Age diet and Hunter-Gatherer diet, is based on the presumed ancient diet of the early humans who lived during the Paleolithic era, which ended 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.
Centered around commonly available modern foods, the modern version of the Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, organic vegetables, organic fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts. The Paleo diet differs from the Mediterranean diet mainly in the sense that the Paleo diet excludes grains, legumes, dairy products and potatoes. This diet also forbids the consumption of refined salt, refined sugar, and all types of processed oils.
What Is The Scientific Logic Behind The Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet was introduced into the mainstream in the mid-1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin who studied evolutionary medicine. Scientists who study evolutionary medicine and Paleolithic nutrition base their studies on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture. Therefore an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.
With the advent of agriculture and the beginning of animal domestication around 10,000 years ago we started consuming large amounts of dairy products, beans, cereals and salt. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Industrial revolution led to the large scale development of mechanized food processing techniques and intensive livestock farming methods, that enabled the production of refined cereals, refined sugars and refined vegetable oils, as well as fattier domestic meats.
These foods have altered key nutritional characteristics of the human diet since the Paleolithic era, including glycemic load, fatty acid composition, macronutrient composition, micronutrient density, acid-base balance, sodium-potassium ratio, and fiber content. Of course, doctors and nutritionists can’t help but conclude that these dietary changes are risk factors that lead to many of the so-called “diseases of civilization” including obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, acne depression, and diseases related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Photo courtesy of: sbshine