Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paleo Diet

The Kitchn featured a thing on some people doing a Paleo diet barbecue. I responded to someone a few months ago on facebook regarding my take on how idiotic the Paleo diet argument is. It's a little trite, but it gets my point across, mainly that using the argument that we should all eat like cavemen for some as-yet-unexplained-clearly-to-me reason is silly reason as it has no bearing in science or fact. Also, on a pettier note, Paleo dieters are smug. Like pregnant women
"This diet suggests that we should all eat like "cavemen" (I assume they mean homo sapiens during the Pleistocene era). The idea is that all of them lived on a specific diet (a ludicrous idea - considering that at this point, humans were scattered all across Africa, Europe and Asia - hardly likely that we were all eating the same food) and therefore, if we all live on this specific diet, it is "healthier" and more "natural". That specific diet is low-fat meat, nuts, fruit and vegetables, no legumes and no grains. This is because of the suggestion that we only started eating legumes and grains after the advent of agriculture - something I find hard to believe, considering we would have had to have eaten them before agriculture - why else would we have started cultivating them??

Humans were probably scavengers and definitely omnivorous. Our teeth are a great clue as to what we were eating - you don't develop large molars for high meat diet, you need them for breaking down fibrous plants! Look at a dog's mouth - known omnivores - and compare to ours and to a horse's mouth. Not to mention that it is VERY HARD to catch an animal without a gun. So hard, in fact, that lots of hunter-gatherer tribes developed interesting ways of deciding who owned the food. For example, someone kills a deer, they get part, but the man who made the arrow also gets a part as does the leader of the hunt...etc... a typical diet more likely consisted of lots of what was "gathered" combined with occasional meat. But once again, this absolutely depends on where one was. People of Scandinavian descent have a much easier time digesting milk and dairy than people of Asian descent due to available diet. Another thing to remember is that there are differences between humans then and humans now - not enough to warrant speciation, obviously, but we see changes in things such as aforementioned digestive enzymes and the intelligence not to follow fad diets.

There are more reasons I could go into, but that's the gist of it. Eat a high protein diet if one find that it is best, but rationalising it with science one barely understands makes for a weak argument."


Kate said...

I always thought of the Paleo diet as a pretentious opposite to a vegetarian / vegan diet. My opinion is that it arose from meat eaters who got tired of hearing from their vegetarian friends how unhealthy their diet was, so they developed a "diet" that fits with their carnivorous urges.

Honestly, I just wish I could get through a day without having to explain my dietary choices to someone. Why is it anyone's business what I put in my stomach?

Incident Alice said...

Eh. I think all dietary choices can come off as pretentious. I've also met an awful lot of smug vegans and vegetarians too.

I guess I'm just against dogma of any kind.