When you think of a caveman, what image springs to mind? It likely isn’t a finely chiseled ‘stud-muffin’ with six-pack abs and bulging biceps. Instead of a Paleolithic Tarzan, you’re probably picturing something quite different. Fred Flintstone, perhaps?
Let’s face it. Our prehistoric ancestors weren’t likely the epitome of physical beauty or glowing health. And, yet, modern humans increasingly look to them to be a nutritional guiding light.
Does he look like someone who makes consistently wise dietary choices?
When it comes to altering your diet, you should conduct careful research and look to the opinions of the experts. And, no, this does not include Carol from Marketing–no matter what she tells you. Here are some things the experts want you to know about the Paleo Diet.
Meat has Its Problems
Adherents to the Paleo Diet loudly laud the benefits of red meat. According to The Huffington Post, however, several studies have shown that a diet high in animal protein can prove problematic. A 2012 Harvard Study, for instance, shows that eating a high percentage of animal protein increases the likelihood of dying from heart disease by 14 percent and cancer by 28 percent. And the American Cancer society recommends limiting one’s consumption of red meat.
Paleo is a Diet
Many Paleo proponents say that it is not a diet, but a way of life. Fox News, however, posits that the restrictive behaviors required to follow the Paleo plan make it unmanageable in the long term–like a diet.
Paleo Isn’t Just About Food
Many Paleo books and blogs focus on what to put in your mouth, while neglecting to address the woes associated with a sedentary lifestyle. According to ‘An Expert Interview with Jeff Sarris on Paleo Diet Myths,’ Paleo followers should move frequently and lift heavy things. And this does not mean raising a Fred Flintstone-sized Brontosaurus rib to your mouth.
The Prehistoric Menu is Not ‘Paleo’
Our two-legged Palaeolithic ancestors had a definite physical disadvantage when it came to hunting and killing four-legged, large beasts–making it highly unlikely that they enjoyed a steady diet of animal protein. Ken Sayers, co-author of Blood, Bulbs, and Bunodonts, states that they likely ate a diet consisting of tubers, sedges, fruits, invertebrate and vertebrate animals, leaves, and bark–a diet far-removed from the one of freshly killed bison and woolly mammoth portrayed by proponents of the modern Paleo Diet.
Foods Have Been Altered
Plants and animals have drastically changed since the Palaeolithic Era, meaning that many of the meats, fruits, and vegetables of today were not available to our pre-wheel ancestors.
As Scientific American states corn was once a straggly grass, tomatoes were smaller than berries, bananas were rife with seeds, and cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale are fairly modern inventions, cultivated from a single plant species. The Paleo Diet, therefore, does not resemble that of prehistoric man at all.
It Faces Harsh Criticism
Sure, all diets have ardent supporters and detractors, but the Paleo Diet has more than its share of expert opponents. In fact, a Time magazine article states that the US News’ 2014 rankings of ‘Best Diets Overall’ placed the Paleo Diet at the bottom of the list, tied for number 31 with the Dukan Diet. Why did it fair so poorly? Experts feel that any diet that restricts certain food groups and emphasizes others is not balanced, plus there has been insufficient scientific evidence to show that Paleo Diet adherents are any healthier than anyone else.
Before embarking on a quest to achieve the healthiness, physical perfection, and energetic stamina once enjoyed by our club-wielding forefathers, you will want to conduct some in-depth research. It’s quite possible that your knuckle-dragging, Palaeolithic relations enjoyed less-than-stellar health.
Yes, they, too, may have suffered from flabby abs, constipation, and endless exhaustion. And, they’d likely have given their overly pronounced eye-teeth for a big plate of macaroni and cheese.
What do you imagine when you think of Palaeolithic man?