Call it Paleo Chic. The eating habits of cavemen have not been more popular. But should we be taking menu cues from our ancient ancestors?
And stars from Miley Cyrus are allegedly avid followers.
While the Paleo diet has been around for a long time, it’s just now gaining some mastodon-like impetus. But a lot of nutrition experts will not be impressed. The magazine indicated the caveman the movement was envisioning–“a tall, slender, rent and agile 30-year-old” was an invention. Though cutting back on preservative-filled processed foods was smart, the post noted, the notion that banning “any form of food unavailable to Stone Age hunter gatherers,” including dairy products, grains and legumes, was nutritional bad-think.
“Experts took issue with the diet on every measure,” the magazine scolded.
What is the pros’ beef, as it were, with the dietary plan? When it first surfaced in academic groups in the late 1970s, so that as popular diet books started appearing in the 1990s, the plan was boosted as a lifestyle including a weight loss system, first cousin to Dr. Atkins and the low-carb craze.
The theory supporting the diet is simple: our hunter gatherer forebears, who survived on meat and fish which was not saturated with growth-stimulating antibiotics or hormones, as well as on fresh fruits and vegetables, were about the right path before the Agricultural Revolution introduced toxins into the food chain some 10,000 years past. And so the target is for citizens of the 21st Century eat the way primitive people and to lean back–way back– did in the Paleolithic Era, circa.
But dieticians find for example sticking with really thin, pure meats and plants the goal’s prohibitive, even finicky, demands, unrealistic. As Scientific American put it, “The Paleo diet is founded more on privilege than on logic. Hunter- fathers hunted and gathered because they had to. Paleo dieters try to consume like hunter gatherers because they want to.” Any diet that restricts certain food groups and accentuates others isn’t unbalance, these specialists say, and there isn’t powerful science to establish that Paleo- eaters live longer, or are more healthy than those who don’t follow the diet.
Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist has a gripe that is different. In her new novel, “Dream: What Development Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live,” she rips apart a lot of the contemporary beliefs about our Paleolithic ancestors. “I didn’t compose a diet book,” she says, “and I don’t need to tell people how to eat. But I do need people to comprehend development.”
However, the Paleo crowd’s ancestral diet is passionately defended by it. Kellyann Petrucci, a nutritional clinician who’s the composer of three popular “Dummies” novel concerning the Paleo lifestyle (“Living Paleo,” “Paleo Cookbook” and “Paleo Work Outs), offers herself as Exhibit A of the advantages of primal habits. “I became interested in Paleo because when I hit 40 a few years back, I crashed and burned,” she says. “I was gaining weight like crazy…my skin seemed lifeless, my hair began thinning and I’d no energy. When the Paleo template was followed by me, it was clear to me that something was occurring on a deep cellular level. Not only did I get myself back, however a healthier, more vibrant version.”
Kresser, who practices integrative and practical medicine in Berkeley, Cal., credits the diet with re-establishing his own health after years of a debilitating digestive disease. “Today, myself’m blessed with exceptional health, a loving family, along with a booming practice,” he says.
He rejects the claim the diet is overly labor intensive for the common indivdual, or that it is hard to get the fixings of the early diets, mentioning a plethora of restaurants and new convenience foods for example gluten-/sugar-/soy-free beef jerky, kale chips and grain-free crackers and deserts.
In the previous three years, he says he has treated 900 people in his Berkeley, California office. “My practice has been closed to new patients for most of the last two years,” he says, “because there’s this kind of high need for clinicians who espouse Paleo in their own work.” Kresser says the diet is booming in popularity because “Many people experience a profound transformation in their own health after switching to Paleo and they are excited to share that with others. This has generated a powerful, grassroots, word of mouth movement of people eager to spread the word.”
That word is not enough, yet. New York nutritionist Jennifer Andrus sees some wise principles in the dietary plan, which includes the lean meats and fish, and fruits and vegetables, but says it’s unnecessary to go to the extremes of the Paleo bunch. “It removes dairy, legumes and some other foods that may be healthy section of one’s diet.” She is also worried about our present day gluttony, while she shares the Paleo crowd’s concern about modern convenience foods and sweets. “Myself think processed food deserves the criticism, but probably not because we haven’t evolved; more likely because we eat too much of it and most of it’s nutritionally void.”
Andrus suggests a common-sense strategy, one that Kresser says in his publication he is able to endorse. “Some people like to abide by the 80/20 rule; if 80% of your diet is perfect, there is wiggle room for the rest,” she says. After all, “there is a lot of space between Paleo and also a crappy diet of Pop-Tarts and