The Paleolithic Diet
You see it every day, someone goes to grocery store grabs a box of Mac and Cheese some frozen burgers and goes home to make their families dinner for that evening. But what did man do before processed food was available? Even more so, what did man do before the agricultural revolution almost 10’000 years ago? The term “Hunter-Gatherer” is almost lost to the modern world, something that you only hear about in stories of our past or in fictional recollections. Another question I pose to the reader, What is the food that we consume today doing to our bodies? Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death, accounting for 41% of fatalities. So what can we do, How do we change how we have been eating our entire lives? The answer in certainly not simple but there is evidence to support that by adopting a not-so new approach to dieting we can literally prevent disease, increase vitality, and prolong our life-span. But what is the approach that I’m talking about, And if it is not so new then why are people still virtually unaware of its existence? There could be any number of reasons to that question, and that is not the point of this research paper. I am here to discuss one particular food movement and the positive effects it can have on the human body. So what is the Paleolithic, or paleodiet? It is a nutritional plan of wilds plants and animals that the various human species consumed during the Paleolithic era, a period that lasted about 2.5 million years, and ended about 10’000 years ago with the introduction of the agricultural revolution. (O'Keefe & Cordain, 2004) Terms such as Paleolithic diet refer to our actual ancestral diet, it includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It excludes however all grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Paleolithic nutrition is based on the idea that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have barely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore that the best diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet. The topic of eating Paleo is controversial among dieticians and nutritionists, having even made claims that it is in fact a fad diet. If this is the case however then how did books like Dr. Atkins’ New diet revolution, protein power, and the south beach diet rule the best-selling book lists for over five years? (Lor05) These diets are actually quite similar to the plaeodiet believe it or not. They are all low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets, and millions of Americans have lost weight by using methods that directly conflict with what you see printed on the food pyramid. In 2003 the un-realistic became reality with the publication of the first long-term, well-controlled scientific studies on the low-carb, high-protein diets. These results of these studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and demonstrated that low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets were in fact more effective in promoting weight loss than the generally accepted low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet prescribed by the American heart Association. (Cordain & Friel, 2005) So what exactly did cavemen eat, and why should you eat like them? Modern man has advanced significantly in food production, we have discovered ways to make food in all shapes and flavors. We have so many options on what to eat, and so many opinions on what’s good for us and what I not good for us. From the consumer view, nutrition is chaotic at best. One day something is good for you, the next it can cause disease. Eggs increase cholesterol, Eggs do not increase your cholesterol. Pizza is a healthy food, Pizza is junk-food. With so many different methods and practices it can get rather confusing. Take the USDA food pyramid for example, his poster can be found in school cafeterias and hospitals across the country. However an article from Scientific American...
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