Rating the Paleo Diet

Most of the mainstream articles I’ve read that critique or rate diets, rate the Paleo diet/way of eating near last based on where it gets its name. What?  Whether or not one can literally “eat like a caveman” when we obviously just can’t find the EXACT foods our caveman ancestors ate, ie: mammoth, nor can we prepare them the same way, ie: electricity, doesn’t determine the health value of the diet.  It’s not literal.

Sometimes critics try to dismiss Paleo based on “errors” about what was eaten in the Paleolithic era. What does that have to do with evaluating whether or not Paleo is a healthy way of eating now?? Anthropology of today and of the Paleolithic era comes into play as rationale for what is true health given the way our bodies need to function. Since eliminating variables is difficult to do in scientific nutrition studies, anthropological studies can offer insight. The foods accessible to peoples of the past are rather simplified which lends well to studying nutrition by narrowing the variables.  It’s rather ingenious!  My respect to WestonAPrice!  I think there is some validity to the idea that our physiology hasn’t evolved as quickly as our food supply has changed. Therefore, our bodies cannot cope and be in optimal health if we eat modern processed, micronutrient depleted foods.  I doubt our distant ancestors lost micronutrients because their food traveled too far or because the soil was nutrient-depleted or it sat a long time in the fridge or was processed with chemicals and heat in a factory.  And they seemed to enjoy strong bodies and no degenerative diseases.  Definitely communicable diseases and injuries shortened their life expectancy, however, while they lived it a was in strong, energetic, agile, optimally healthy body.  Who doesn’t want the best quality of life they can have?

Most Paleo folk that I subscribe to base their health goals on eating the most nutrient dense foods possible, not whether or not they are imitating cave-people.  They consider the methods in which foods are raised, processed or grown. So to critique the diet by critiquing how it got its name is really a moot point. IMO. To claim the anthropology is wrong or un-imitatable is to completely miss the point of Paleo. Critique the diet by how it’s actually practiced by those that consider their diet to be primarily Paleofied.  Critique the diet based on what’s good for the true, optimal health of our bodies.  I find that’s a value in the Paleo movement, to debate science which points to optimal health, long term!  Rant over.

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