The Paleolithic Diet is, rather unlike the name suggests, a modern nutritional approach to eating, also known as the Paleo Diet or Paleodiet.
This Caveman diet or Stone age diet harks back to the time when man was a hunter gatherer and ate that way; a presumably healthier diet than we eat today.
Though it is a paradoxical term the Contemporary Paleolithic diet consists of what modern man presumes may have been the diet of our predecessors. It includes things that hunter gatherer communities may typically have consumed, such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and roots as well.
Since prehistoric man lived a nomadic existence rather than a settled agrarian lifestyle, cultivated crops such as legumes would not have been part of the diet; obviously neither would processed foods, refined oil, sugar, salt and dairy.
The proponents for this diet which was conceived and popularized by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin argue that though human societies have evolved away from this basic diet pattern, human genetics have not.
The argument in favor of the Paleolithic diet is that humans are still genetically adapted to the diet of our cave dwelling ancestors and that this diet is therefore ideal for us. The argument in favor of this diet is also that it is free from the “diseases of affluence” that modern societies struggle to cope with.
It is certainly true that many of the modern diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and hypertension owe themselves only to modern diet and lifestyles.
In fact 70% of what modern man consumes comes from industrial era food such as dairy products, refined sugars and oil, alcohol and processed cereals which is not what our bodies have evolved to eat.
Many nutritionists and anthropologists however do offer several arguments against the Paleolithic diet; many others including the National Health Service of England as well as the American Dietetic Association dismiss this as a fad diet.
Many experts dispute the existence of such a diet in prehistoric times failing to find sufficient evidence to support the claims of supporters.
The other argument against the Paleolithic diet is that it does not provide enough health benefits and poses healthy risks instead since it is not likely to reflect authentic features of prehistoric man’s diet. Further this may not be a healthy or practical for many of us, it is argued.