Debunking the paleo diet Updated for 2021


Updated: June 18, 2021


I’M going to talk about the paleo diet. It’S one of the fastest growing diet, furors in America. We live their lives longer and be healthier. We were able to waive our modern agricultural meat. It would become us sick. We must go back to eating like our Paleolithic predecessors from more than 10,000 years ago. I am really interested in this idea because it claims to exploit archaeological lore to use data from the past to help us today. It had begun in the 1970 s with the book “ The Stone Age Diet ” since then diversified into several variants, including the Paleo Diet, the First Blueprint, the New Evolution, Diet and Neanderdun ....


The jargon of these diets refers to anthropology nutritional scientific and evolutionary medicine. The nutrition appears to be aimed primarily at men, Show the ads virile. Caveman-Like figures cries like “ live primitive ” and “ heaps of red meat ”. The project behind it is contained in four percentages, One. Today’S agricultural foods make us chronically ill, they don’t fit our biology Two. We need these agricultural diets leave it for what they are and go back in time to the Paleolithic to eat more than our ancestors did more than 10,000 years ago. Three, we know what these nutritions was like and that they were mainly based on meat, supplemented with vegetables, outcome, some nuts and petroleums, but certainly no cereals legumes or dairy Four. If we’re going to mimic this old diet will improve our health and we will live longer. I want to make it clear today that this version of the paleo diet, which is promoted in notebooks on TV on self-help websites and in most press releases, does not rely on archaeological actuality. That was it Thanks,( Laughter from the audience ). No, I don’t end here.


I’M going to explain As an archaeologist, I am going to do certain basic archaeological hypothesis on which this thing is located. Demythologize Then I want to talk about what we really well known the archaeological register and from scientific studies of what Paleolithic humans ate. Myth 1. Is that humans evolved to eat meat and that Paleolithic peoples munch large quantities of meat Humans have no known anatomical, physiological or genetic changes for the flesh diet? To the contrary, we are much more adapted to eating weeds. Take vitamin C, for example, Carnivores make their own vitamin C because it is is located within embeds. If you don’t devour plants, you have to create them yourself. We cannot create it. We have to get it from floras. Our digestive plot be greater than that of carnivores Because our menu is still in our torso longer so that we have more time to digest floras. We need more intestinal surface and more bacteria We have omnivorous teeth, so choose enormous to shred fibrous weed tissue. We don’t have a cut. These are the specialized teeth that carnivores use to shred flesh and we have some genetic mutations in some populations adapted to animal nutrition, but for milk , not for meat.


These originated in certain populations during agricultural ages, mainly in Europe and Africa. I call that’The Meat Myth ‘. The sentiment is that we should gobble a great deal of red flesh, but that’s just absolutely no truth to the rumors. The meat on this bowl here comes from fattened cattle, so domesticated swine, The food of Paleolithic beings was probably very thin and small in size. They genuinely wouldn’t have eat much meat, Likewise bone marrow and organ flesh would have been very important. We check evidence of this in animal remains where the characteristic trimming open of bones can still be seen to get the pith out Sure parties gobble meat, especially in the Arctic and in areas with long periods without available weeds. They devour a lot of flesh, But for people who lived in more temperate or tropical spheres, a very large part of their diet was vegetable. Where, then, does this Meat Myth come from From two sources?


One is ingrained in the characteristics of the archaeological enter: 80 % of the bone. Mass is mineral That prolongs over thousands of years much better than tender flower residues, But then there are earlier biochemical studies of bone who the hell is accomplished on Neanderthals and early humans. The Biochemical Study of Bone is based on an analysis of stable nitrogen isotopes. It’S complicated, but I’m going to explain it simply.


The basic meaning is that you are what you dined. The report contains heavy and light versions of nitrogen N1 5 and N14. We get onto through our nutrient, But there is an important difference. As you move further the menu hierarchy, you get more N15 By measuring the amount of N15 in the bone. You can deduce where that creature is in the food chain. This is an example of a generalized isotopic example. The flowers are typically at the bottom above the herbivores and over there above the carnivores, But not all ecosystems. Listen to this model. There is a lot of regional variability. If you don’t take that into account, you can come to wrong inferences. I will give some examples In animals and primeval humans in Eastern africa. We ensure some very strange patterns. First of all, how can a human be higher than a lion? Lions exclusively eat swine, Then. Why is he above? A lion Turns out the menu you snacked is not solely is in charge of these isotopic costs. Drought can also have an effect. ...


We are probably examine a difference in access to water here, Let’s move from the savannah to the humid spheres, For example, with the ancient Maya Again we see something different. The ancient Maya are on a par with the jaguars. Now we know that the ancient Maya ate a lot of corn. What is going on here? We don’t know exactly, but we think this is because of it their way of farming and fertilizing crops.


Now to the Pleistocene: Here extremely, we encounter a number of interesting blueprints. Reindeer are very low, even in the field of the flowers, We identify, wolves where you would expect herbivores and we view mammoths spread across all three heights, together with plants, herbivores and carnivores. We is hypothesized that in very cold environments animals ingest unusual things In this case we think so mammoths chew, lichen and bark making such a appreciates. Look very strange. Do we now look at people from now and from the past, then we find them in the same isotopic cavity. Like wolves and hyenas, But if you misjudge the regional isotopic ecology, you can come to a wrong resolution. I think it is too early to say that this is strong evidence for meat intake.


Because we still know too little about Paleolithic ecosystems, Myth 2 is that Paleolithic peoples did not eat whole grains or legumes. We find stone tools from at least 30,000 year ago, that is 20,000 times before the fabrication of agriculture. People utilized stone implements, like mortars to grind seeds and speck. More recently, we developed procedures to investigate’tartar’ Very interesting. It is fossilized dental medal. We can isolate plaque from people’s cheeks and remove microfossils of flowers and other remains. My team develops methods to extract DNA and proteins, while other investigate groups concentrates on microfossils, such as starch grains, pollen and phytolites. We are merely in the early stages, but likewise with the limited research we have. There is an abundance of vegetable residues in the tartar of Paleolithic beings, Including grains such as barley. We find barley in Neanderthal teeth or in dental medal.


We likewise find legumes and tubers Myth 3, that the nutrients of the paleo food cult that’s what our Paleolithic ancestors eat. That is simply not true. Any food depicted in these ads is domesticated meat agricultural products. They come from the Neolithic transition phase. Let’S give an example: bananas Bananas are the ultimate farm food; They can no longer reproduce in the wild. We have’bred apart’ their ability to induce seeds. Every banana you ever ate is a genetic clone of every other banana grown from shortens To be sure, she’s domesticated, A wild banana is so full of seeds that many parties now wouldn’t even recognize them, as edible Salad seems like great paleo diet, food, Except that it Is totally adapted to our needs? Wild lettuce contains a lot of latex That does not digest and chafe our gastrointestinal system. It is harsh the foliages are tough, We domesticated it for softer and larger leaves to take out the latex and the bitterness the stickers, on the foliages and stems of the wild categories to induce them more luscious. The tomato shown here shortcoming the tomatine and solanine toxins of its mad relatives. All member states the poisonous nightshade family


It is true that olive oil is the only natural vegetable oil which can be harvested without synthetic chemicals, But at least it takes rudimentary media to get wise out. No one in the Paleolithic could make it. This is domesticated meat. I felt this representation food on an internet site. It looks like a delicious and healthful breakfast, but no one from the Paleolithic ever threw their teeth into it.



The blueberries are from New England avocados from Mexico and eggs from China,( Laughter ). This was never on a Paleolithic plate And eventually, we have a size. Problem. Cultivated blueberries are twice the size of wild blueberries. We previously talked about bananas Now avocados A wild avocado. May have a few millimeters of paste and the same exits for mad olives And, of course, chickens are lavish creators. They lay an egg almost every day, Predictable, big and a lot, But not so with mad chickens. They don’t lay all year round. They are not that easy to find and the eggs are usually small-time If you are not reassured more, then I’ll give a few cases more specimen.


Everyone knows this as broccoli. Broccoli did not even exist in the Paleolithic On the left. You can see wild broccoli looks very different, But mad broccoli is also wild, green wildernes cauliflower, mad kale, wild kohlrabi and mad Brussels sprigs. They are all of the same kind. The only gap is that they are different cultivars. We have selectively multiplied the same strain to produce the kind of food that we like best. These are human inventions. Broccoli is interesting because it is a strange thing. What is Broccoli? It’S such a strange seeming vegetable (, Laughter) In lawsuit you don’t know it’s the flowers of the weed. We have changed the wild weed in something that produces so many dense buds. It’S growing this weird thing, but it’s flowers,


If you don’t believe me, buy a broccoli placed it in a vase like this on the right and it will bloom, You will get a nice bouquet,( Laughter, ). Now about carrots. You will recognize the carrots on the right, but on the left you hear the mad carrot, It contains falcarindiol and natural pesticides, They are rancorous in appreciation and preference bad, But “were having” ennobled them, did them bigger, much bigger, much sweeter and with many more vitamins, because That’S what we want. Many of you don’t know that almonds and apricots are very closely related, plum categories, But almonds no longer contain cyanide, so we can eat the grains.


With apricots we croaked for bigger, thicker outcomes because we just wanted that of that nature. They are very closely related and like carrots and broccoli, they are essentially human work. Now, let’s talk about true paleo diets. First of all, I must clarify that there is not just one genu: There are a lot countless paleo diets As parties crowded all over the world. They ingest neighbourhood meat, which of course, was very variable. When we talk about paleo diets, we must speak in the plural. Let’S take a look at one example: We go back in time, 7,000 times to Oaxaca Mexico. You look at the position outside the Guila Naquitz rock shelter, one of the first areas in Mexico.


This is a photo I took in December. People lived there then, and you see here what they ate. This has little to do with a paleo diet or with what you would find in a supermarket, But there was plenty to eat here in the right season. September was the time at Guila Naquitz. Then a lot of parties came together in these protects and eat the neighbourhood nutrient. As “youre seeing”, it consisted of a lot of return legumes agave, which we use to clear tequila today, Too every kind of nuts beans and pumpkins, And lots of game, peculiarly rabbits. But by April there was little palatable in this region, So they to come to other arranges with more menu. So we may ask what we can really understanding of the Paleolithic diets of the world. We can start a few general remarks, One that they are regionally variable. ...


People above the Arctic Circle must and will eat something else than people in the tropics. Their food informants differ People in places without floras start to eat more swine and beings in places with countless bushes will munch more bushes. They are seasonal, as seeds carry food at different times, Herds, migrate and fish spawn according to the seasons. As a make, people have to move forever with occasionally high-pitched mobility, sometimes over long distances Again, depending on the region. Food packets were usually tiny When you glean mad broccoli, you have to collect a lot to have as much as the modern collection. The meat you procured is now substantially tough, woody and fibrous. You would feed meat, but likewise bone marrow and organ meats. The animals would generally be very thin.


Finally, the flowers eaten would be still contain different levels of poisonous substances, But also phytochemicals, including very healthy ones, But this kind of diet is now almost impossible. Three billion people on this planet cannot eat as collectors. We are too many for that. Can we to learn from these Paleolithic diets that we can still apply to our life today And the answer is’yes ‘? I remember three things are important. First, there is no single, correct food. Diversity is key Depending on where you live. You can eat very different things, but you need diversity. We cannot synthesize countless vital nutrients ourselves , no vitamins either We have to get it from our meat Eating. A nutrition rich in species is very important.


In today’s American diets, regrettably, the trend is going in the opposite direction. When you get processed food from the storage it does not matter whether it is pie, smash, mayonnaise or chocolate creamer. More and more, you will find only three categories in almost everything we feed. That’S corn, soy and wheat. That is going the wrong way. Second, we progressed to eat fresh meat when it is ripe, Then it has the most prominent nutritional ethic, But we also need to talk about preservation and preservatives, because in the major city civilizations you can’t always munch everything. Fresh Food departs bad. Some meat, such as seeds and nuts naturally store well. That is why they were so important to agricultural people, But we can store them differently through salting, sugar and vinegar. We can pickle them, inhale them cool and add artificial preservatives. The interesting thing is that they all direct the same way. They impede the growth of bacteria, But remember that our stomach and bowels are too full of bacteria, good bacteria that do a lot of are you all right. They accept your food, regulate the immune system, promote the mucous sheath impact. ...


If you munched nutrient full of preservatives, how does that affect your microbiome? Your good bacteria And the answer is “. We don’t really know .” We’re just beginning to investigate. Third, we progressed to eat food in its natural enclosure, with its fibers husk and everything on the side It turns out. This is really important. Your menus are not just the sum of the calories and vitamins. The indigestible divisions is equally important. The fiber you dined regulate the speeding at which food progresses through your bowels. They modulate the metabolism, they slow down the handout of sugars, they have all kinds of runs. They feed the good bacteria in your entrails. We are increasingly seeing this low-fiber food associated with microbial societies that start things like obesity and diabetes. Regrettably, in the globalized arrangement of processed foods is that we lose these communications, we lose the whole food. We dined reconstituted, center foods, We lose the benefits of fiber and pectin in the fruit juice because they have been filtered out. We all lose the remaining balance As an example of how all this has become so unbalanced. Can we now eat a lot more calories? So much more food in a very small package without realizing it


That diminishes the possibility to know when we’ve had enough. I have a question. Imagine that you have a soft drink of the current ordinary size, (, 950 ml ). You go back to the Paleolithic and you want to consume the equivalent extent of sugar. How much carbohydrate cane, if you find a sugar cane realm, how much should you eat how many meters of sugar cane should be used eat? I have some sugar cane now. How many meters of carbohydrate cane do you have to eat to reach that degree? Does anybody know 1 …? How numerous attaches should be used devour? They are quite massive, No , not 12 rhythms. You would have to eat eight feet of sugar cane to reach that position. That’S a good deal of carbohydrate. In no way would anyone from the Paleolithic can eat. So much carbohydrate cane, even if they actually wanted to – and you can get it in about 20 minutes By decoupling, the whole food from the nutrients in it. We fool our the organizations and can ignore existing mechanisms that have derived to see fullness and saturation


These are the three main assignments we can learn from Paleolithic diets. There is nothing single compensate food, but diet diversity is important. We should feed so much better fresh menu as possible and we must eat it in its entirety. Anthropology and evolutionary medication can school us a lot about ourselves and new technologies open brand-new spaces to the past, But we still have a lot to learn of our Paleolithic and Neolithic ancestors.