Here is a great video from archeologist Christina Warinner with an intelligent look at the Paleo diet. It is unfortunate that this type of presentation will never be seen or heard by those who need to hear it. Now I am not against the Paleo diet per say. There are many good foods on it and it is better than the standard North American diet of refined and chemicalized foods.
However, any diet that removes groups of whole foods is a diet that is not going to work well for most people, especially in the long run, for people who think it is working for them now.
As you may or may not know, the Paleo diet involves eating the way people assumed our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago before we produced our food from farming. Paleo enthusiasts assume that we did not eat legumes and grains and so they do not eat them. However, according the archeologists, our ancestors in the Paleolithic age did eat grains and legumes.
First they have found mortar and pestle-like grinding tools with grains residues dating to the Paleo period and even before.
Second, by analyzing Paleo fossilized human dental plaque (sounds like a fun job) archeologists found grain and legume residue along with other types of foods. Who knew plaque could be so useful?
Another point made by Christina is that all the foods, the fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables that people consume on a Paleo diet are all products of agriculture and bear no resemblance to the wild versions available in the Paleolithic era. Farmers have bred out tough fibres, bitter taste and increased more pleasing flavor profiles. This means we cannot eat as our ancestors ate. We can’t even come close.
So what is happening? The removal of grains and legumes makes people following the Paleo diet feel better. Grains and legumes must be digested properly by our good gut bacteria. These are two of good gut bacteria’s favourites foods.
Therefore, if you cannot digest grains and legumes, then you do not have enough good gut bacteria and this may cause gas bloating and other symptoms. By removing the legumes and grains, the gas and bloating disappears, making people happy. However, they are not feeding their good gut bacteria and this will have consequences in the long term.
What are those consequences? Researchers are just beginning to unravel this. But what is clear is that we should not be creating 21st century diets based on what happened 10,000 years ago when we really do not knot that our ancestors actually did eat or how they lived.
And more importantly, we should be focusing on what we are doing to ourselves now – and looking for solutions that solves these issues, which of course, are issues our ancestors did not have. This means feeding our good gut bacteria as best we can so it can help us function at our best.
Check out the presentation for more – it’s just 22 minutes.