The “Paleo Fantasy” Book

Evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk has a new book,  Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live.

She feels the Paleo diet is a fantasy,  rooted in evolutionary myths, and a mere ‘popular trend’ at the moment.

She goes on to state, “Trying to emulate what people ate 10,000 or 100,000 years ago is really difficult. Our foods have changed so much that virtually every item in a supermarket is drastically genetically different from its prehistoric equivalent. This is what humans do: We modify foods so that they become more palatable and digestible. I’m not out to diss paleo diets. Clearly a lot of people who eat that way are happy with it and feel like they’re healthy. It’s almost certainly better than living off junk food. But it seems to me that decisions about what’s going to be good for you have to be based on data, not just trying to eat what everybody ate tens of thousands of years ago.”

Therein lies the problem.  The very first sentence is where the apparent perception of what Paleo is goes awry.  What those of us who live a truly Paleo lifestyle are trying to teach people is to emulate hunter-gathere food groups with modern day foods we can easily procure at our local farmer’s market and grocery store, not trying to actually be hunter gatherers from a historical perspective.

Later in the same article, the following idea: “What’s harmful is when you misunderstand the way evolution works and end up worried that because humans didn’t use to do X, we shouldn’t do X now. Almost all traits are a trade-off. Individuals with longer legs might survive better because they can run away from predators. But they might also get colder faster, because they lose more heat through their legs. The advantage or disadvantage depends on the environment you’re in now”.

So does that mean that the environment we’re in now, rich in processed, refined non-food products should be the mainstays of our diets?

Above and beyond scientific research and papers with hard data, isn’t it worth something that thousands of people across the globe have found health after years of battling a plethora of sicknesses and sub-clinical illness by following the modern day Paleo diet?

For the full article, click here.