Ancient or New Age? The Paleo Diet | Cufflinks Blog

Ancient or New Age? The Paleo Diet

Could our ancestors hold the key to good health? For most of us, after the holiday rush dies down, we turn an inward eye on the self–or more specifically, the body. It’s normally part of your New Years resolution to lose a few pounds and we all dream of ways to do it. One of the most trending diets right now on google is called the Paleo Diet. Basically, if the cavemen didn’t eat it, neither should you.

What Is The Paleo Diet?

“The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” – Robb Wolf (Source:

Check out what Dr. Minich has to say on the Huffington Post:

“Where did all this talk about the Paleo diet originate from? Some of the earliest publications on Paleolithic nutrition were from anthropologists Eaton and Konner in 1985 (1). Eaton specifically defined the ancestral human diet to contribute roughly equal amounts of calories from all the macronutrients (fats: 35 percent; carbohydrates: 35 percent; protein: 30 percent), which is quite different than our modernized Western diet of primarily refined carbohydrate (2). Of the fat category, unsaturated fats were predominantly eaten over saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol consumption was estimated at 480 milligrams daily (higher than the 300 milligram threshold in today’s dietary recommendations) (2). The foods thought to be eaten as part of the ancestral diet include uncultivated fruits and vegetables, honey, fresh meats, fish and seafood, seeds, nuts and oils. Omitted from this list are dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods (3).”

“Although I am not an advocate of any “diet” in general, I can appreciate the Paleo diet working well for many people due to the reduction of ubiquitous, modern-day starchy carbohydrates and nutrient-poor processed foods, which can cause blood sugar increases and inflammation. One of the points brought up in the class discussion was — is it true that prehistoric people refrained from eating any starchy carbohydrates? What about all the positive studies and proclaimed benefits of a vegetarian diet, which includes complex carbohydrates from grains? What about the Blue Zones work from Dan Buettner who showed that centenarians live in parts of the world where dietary carbohydrates predominate, like brown rice in Okinawa and grainy breads and pasta in Sardinia, Italy? After all, there are numerous studies to support dietary fiber intake for promoting health benefits for the cardiovascular system, gut and metabolism.”

Health Benefits of a Paleo Diet

“For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough.  Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.”–Robb Wolf.

Think meats, nuts, fruits, and healthy fats–but no dairy, alcohol, processed foods, or grains.

But some people say “Come on! Our Ancestors lived short, brutal lives! This Paleo Diet is all bunk, right?” According to Robb Wolf, “The Paleo concept is new for most people and this newness can spark many questions. We like people to not only read about and educate themselves on this topic but also to “get in and do it.” Experience is perhaps the best teacher and often cuts through any confusion surrounding this way of eating. Now, all that considered, there are still some common counter arguments to the Paleo diet that happen with sufficient frequency that a whole paper was written on it. Enjoy: Evolutionary Health Promotion. A consideration of common counter-arguments.”

Happy hunting, New Agers!

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