Friday, April 5, 2013

Debunking the Paleo Diet

After I first heard about the Paleo Diet, it didn't really impress me.  The way our paleolithic ancestors lived appeared to be elevated to an almost cult-like status that didn't appeal to my more middle of the road attitude to most things in life, especially when it was quite clear to me that the vast majority of us had very little information about what life was really like so long ago.

Over time, though, I started to change my mind.  I began to realize that there is a lot of nutritional science that backs up this fast growing diet and lifestyle phenomenon that is often called a fad by its detractors.

I realized I could go along with it too, as long as I didn't take the movement too literally.  I don't feel any need to engage in rock pulling competitions or to wear Flintstone-like clothing.  I am quite happy to accept the apparent contradiction of living in a highly developed internet world where we have a wide variety of food choices that quite clearly were never available to prehistoric peoples.

It was interesting, therefore, to come across a Ted talk on Robb Wolf's site,  that supposedly debunked the Paleo diet.

If anything, I found myself wondering if Professor Warinner disagrees more (like I do) with the jaunty, glossy appearance of the Paleo Diet - the way it appears in the media when you don't know too much about it.

She had nothing good to say about the way factory-produced food products increasingly contain soy, corn and wheat, rather than a wide variety of health-inducing natural ingredients.  She was absolutely correct in pointing out that we could never realistically return to the way hunter-gatherers ate. I'm also in total agreement with her that there can never be one Paleo diet.

Do watch it for yourself, right to the end.  And check out Robb Wolf's annotations as you go along.

My suspicion is that the "debunking" language was the hook to attract her audience.  It sounds so much more interesting than a comparison of the nutritional landscape in the Paleolithic era to our modern  times.

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