What is Paleo?
The Paleolithic diet is a diet based on the premise that if our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t eat it. It is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our ancestors. Also known as the caveman diet, the Stone Age diet, and the hunter-gatherer diet, it became popular in the late 2000s, and was Google’s most searched-for weight loss method in 2013.
The diet is based on several premises, one of which is that our ancestors evolved for thousands of years and became well-adapted to foods of the Paleolithic era. Advocates argue that things took a turn for the worse about 10,000 years ago, with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals and that our species hasn’t evolved to properly digest new foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, much less the highly-processed and high-calorie processed foods that are so readily available and cheap, and this has led to modern-day problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Advocates claim that followers of the diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life, unlike our ancestors.
Critics of the diet point out that we are much more adaptable than previously thought, that the hypothesis that we are genetically adapted to the Paleolithic environment is flawed, that it is in any case practically impossible for us to know how our ancestors ate. Nutritionists have pointed out that the diet may be less effective than other popular diets in promoting good health.