I was chatting to someone, who works for a medical company, about the Paleo diet, we’d talked in the past about what constitues being Paleo & he had a general understanding of the principles. He mentioned that he’d had chance to speak to an endochrinologist who worked for the same company as he does & had asked his opinion of the Paleo diet. The endochrinologist hadn’t heard of the Paleo diet per se but his recommendations for what he thought constitued a healthy meal was a piece of meat the size of your fist with plenty of vegetables and a small portion of carbs, not a million miles from what most Paleo folks would eat on a fairly regular basis, of course there was no mention of dietary fats, grains, legumes or dairy. The conversation then continued along the lines of “but the trouble with fad diets is…………..” at which point a figurative light bulb went off in my head. How ironic, I thought, that the person I was talking to & his endocrinologist colleague both viewed Paleo as a fad diet.
Well let’s have a look facts for a minute – the Paleo diet is what the genus homo has subsisted on for over 2 million years. Our forebears lived off what they had close at hand, obviously geography dictated variations, for example fruits & vegetables would vary between the tropics & colder more northerly climes but the diet would’ve comprised of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables with some nuts, seeds & eggs, all based on the season. The agricultural revolution happened very recently, around 10,000 years ago, and the massive explosion in the consumption of refined carbohydrates, processed foods & massively increased sugar intake has happened in only the last 100 – 150 years.
It’s certainly no coincidence that the decline in health that we have seen in recent years is inversely proportional to the increased consumption of processed foods, which is, in turn, leading to a strain on health services and a miserable existence for those people suffering from the consequences. Framed in this context Paleo is not a “fad diet” but an efficient fuelling system that has enabled us to thrive and evolve into who we are today, the real “fad diet” is the the over-processed, sugar rich diet which is, sadly, all too common today.