A recent study says that the paleolithic diet is not necessarily what the cavemen ate. There is no evidence to support this, and healthy diets were not a consideration during that time. The cavemen were more focused on survival, which involved eating anything that was available.
The paleolithic diet, also referred to as the paleo diet, is something that people have followed for a number of years to help lose weight and live healthier. The aim is to cut out all processed foods and only eat the food that would have been around during the cavemen era. This lasted two-and-a-half million years, and the theory is that the human body has not really changed. The genetic makeup of the cavemen and the human race today is very similar, so the body is designed to live on the same diet.
Most of the food that cavemen ate would have likely been meat from animals raised on grass, fish, fruits, vegetables and a very limited amount of dairy products. The use of grains, processed oils, refined sugars and salt would have been excluded completely.
The recent study was completed by Georgia State University to look into the hominid evolution, which covers some of the Paleolithic era. Study author Ken Sayers says that there is no proof that the cavemen focused on a healthy diet. There was not a food that was regarded as important and there was no “particular feeding strategy.” It is clear that the cavemen were more focused on survival than anything else.
The Paleolithic diet was not what the cavemen ate, according to the study. In fact, there is more to support the idea that the food pigs and bears eat now is closer to the food that the cavemen would have eaten. These animals have the same feeding strategy and focus on survival.
Sayer commented that reconstructing the diet of the ancestors is more than just looking at the type of food available. It is important to consider the habitats and how valuable items would have been. It is important to consider the handling of the food and the energy content.
There is also the element that the food in the paleolithic diet is not the same as the food from today. Strawberries are hand-picked for selling. People want sweet, larger ones. However, in the cavemen days the smaller, blander ones would have been acceptable because they offered the energy needed.
While refined sugars and processed foods were not available then, the ancestors would have eaten them if they were. All the cavemen cared about was getting enough calories for surviving on the terrain and reproducing. It did not matter what was actually in the food when it came to nutrients.
That does not mean the paleolithic diet does not have health benefits. Fruits, vegetables and meats are full of fiber and protein. They breakdown in the body slowly and keep the blood sugar at more stable levels. People feel fuller for longer, because there is not the quick burst of energy from the carbohydrates. This can help with weight loss, but so can a healthy and balanced diet that focuses on proteins and fibers. Fewer refined carbohydrates means that the body has to burn the fat stores.
While following the paleo diet is a option, it is important to look into the reality of it being the diet of the ancestors. The recent Georgia study finds that the paleolithic diet is not necessarily what the cavemen ate.
By Alexandria Ingham