The Paleolithic or caveman diet is a diet copied from the eating habits of Homo habilis ancestors of the Paleolithic age which began almost 2. 5 million years ago.
This paleo diet may seem new to some, but it has been revived for decades. In the 1970s, the American gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin launched the idea that it is possible to learn from the habits of our Paleolithic ancestors how to eat healthily in modern times. Focus on the subject.
How did cavemen live?
Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at Bastyr University Neal Malik has told us that cavemen ate anything and everything and at any time. They were not intentionally dieting but just eating what they needed to survive. In fact, some scientists have assumed that early humans ate the same diet as pigs.
Professor Neal Malik has also pointed out that early humans did not live in the same places but spread out around the globe. This meant that they did not eat the same foods. So each had their own diet, just as some ate beans and others cereals.
It has been claimed by Dr. Loren Cordain, mentor of the modern Paleo Diet movement, that the Paleolithic diet can help lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more, as early humans did not suffer from these.
But this statement cannot be completely true because the ancestors lived on average until the age of 28, whereas these diseases only manifest themselves at certain ages or even in old age. Also, the ancestors were much more active, unlike modern people who are sedentary.
What did the cavemen eat?
After an analysis of the dental plaque of the Paleolithic men, made during a major scientific study, it was confirmed that they ate cereals, tubers and sweet fruits. Another study was done and published in 2017 that their foods were different on different continents.
Africa : As this continent is large, there was a variation in food depending on the region at that time, said paleo biologist Amanda Henry. But wild yams, melons and berries were eaten across most of the region. Therefore, intensive sportsmen and women on a paleo diet should eat yams in particular because of the abundant carbohydrate content, as they need them for performance.
Middle East: they were adept at eating wild wheat, barley and wild oats especially in the Israel area. Their diets were all rich in carbohydrate content, says Peter Ungar in the book "Evolution Bite: A History of Teeth, Diet and Human Origins. "
South America: their diets were based on sweet foods. They ate the stems of palm trees and its fruits as their favourite food.
North America: most of their foods no longer exist in modern times such as edible sunflowers, oil-rich seeds from a variation of long squash and a cousin of barley. They ate them with hunted meats including human flesh.
Europe: their diets reflect the more traditional Palaeolithic diet with a small amount of grain. They also ate mushrooms, pine nuts, tree bark, mosses and wild grasses.
Asia: Asians at that time regularly ate millet and yams. They also feasted on acorns, beans, and some wild grasses.
What are the benefits of the paleo diet?
The paleo diet consists of not eating any sweets or processed foods.
This diet consists of eating lots of fruit and vegetables and also healthy fats. This helps to lower blood pressure and helps to balance blood sugar levels.
A study of 29 individuals with ischaemic heart disease at Lund University found that a paleo diet improved glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean diet.
Eating like hunter-gatherers could possibly fight cardiovascular disease, according to the study by the Karolinska Institute.
What are the risks?
As with many other diets, people who follow the paleo diet risk having an unbalanced diet, because the paleo diet requires eating large amounts of meat. This means a high intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. This is not so bad for your health unless the amount of carbohydrates in the food is high.
Also note that the acid composition of meat in animals today is not the same as it was 100 000 years ago, according to Neal Malik. He said that in the days of the ancestors, the fatty acid composition of stray animals was composed of an abundant amount of omega-3 which is good for health. Whereas today's animals tend to contain higher amounts of omega-6.
People on the paleo diet also have a deficiency of fibre, vitamins and minerals because they come from a diet of good seeds and dairy products. Some nutrients are also likely to be deficient, such as iron, calcium, zinc, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus.
In summary, the paleo diet is not a good diet to follow as it is not rich in substances that are essential for the body and can therefore compromise health. It has therefore been ranked as one of the five worst celebrity diets to avoid by the UK Dietetic Association in 2015. It is also difficult to follow because of the mistakes you should not make.