For years now, The Paleo Diet supporters have stridently advocated to the wide-eyed health-conscious that emulating the meat and vegetable-heavy diets of our ancestors who lived in the Paleolithic Period (hence the diet’s name) just made so much darn sense.
Well, new research says The Paleo Diet isn’t actually all that Paleolithic.
Ken Sayers, an anthropologist and lead author of the study, said:
“Based on evidence that’s been gathered over many decades, there’s very little evidence that any early hominids had very specialized diets or there were specific food categories that seemed particularly important, with only a few possible exceptions. Some earlier workers had suggested that the diets of bears and pigs—which have an omnivorous, eclectic feeding strategy that varies greatly based on local conditions—share much in common with those of our early ancestors. The data tend to support this view.”
Besides “cavemen” being opportunistic eaters with much broader diets than paleo diet subscribers often contend, the anthropology team behind the study also emphasizes that early humans’ diet varied heavily by region—hunter-gatherers in colder climates relied almost exclusively on animals for food, while their equator-based counterparts incorporated plant-based resources.
As well, Sayers says that characterizing our ancestors’ diet as “healthy” isn’t easy since their lifespans were much shorter and because the diseases associated with modern diets today might only be apparent because we’re living long enough to see their effects.
On today’s goal of balancing a diet vs. our ancestors’ diets that were based on survival, Sayers said: