Humankind has come a long way from caveman days.

The paleo bore and I crossed paths at a work lunch, when he helped himself to all of the sashimi from the communal platter and then explained, as I bleakly contemplated the vegetarian maki rolls, that he never touched carbs – “I’ve gone paleo.” Adopting the diet of our stone-age ancestors had apparently lost him two stone and gained him a “hot chick” half his age – at which point I stopped listening and sought solace in a tempura prawn.

The rationale behind the puzzlingly popular paleo diet is that “for optimal health, modern humans should go back to eating real, whole unprocessed foods that are more healthful than harmful to our bodies” – which seems to make sense. But “real foods” in this context means the foods available to “our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors” – so no dairy or processed grains, no legumes such as peanuts, lentils and beans (full of “antinutrients”, apparently), no sugars apart from honey, and no seed oils or alcohol of any kind, which seems unfair given that, as any monkey knows, fruit ferments naturally. Instead, adherents are encouraged to eat grass-fed meat, and fish, vegetables, eggs, animal fats and “healthful oils”, and fruit in moderation.

There are several problems with the caveman plan. For a start, it’s impossible to source the same ingredients as those our bodies are alleged to have evolved to thrive on: you may think you’re fine tucking into a salad, but wild lettuce contains copious amounts of mildly toxic sap, as well as being tough and prickly; wild tomatoes are the size of berries and twice as sour; and wild avocados have just a couple of millimetres of flesh on them.

Agriculture may apparently be to blame for all ills, but it …read more

Source:: New Statesman

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