Is the Paleo Diet Based on Fact or Myth?
The Paleo diet is one of the most popular diets in the world, inspired by the eating habits of our hunter-gatherer ancestors nearly two-million years ago. It was the Stone Age, formerly known as the Paleolithic Period—and an exciting time to be alive.
Our ancestors had just discovered how to make rough tools out of stone and soon became skilled hunters. Their plant-based diets improved dramatically with the addition of fresh meat. All that protein eventually made their brains grow larger and helped us to develop more human traits. Eating Meat: The Meal That Made Us More Human
Paleo dieters believe in the special power of eating “Paleo.” The high protein-low carb regimen is based on exclusively eating the foods our ancient ancestors hunted and gathered—meats, fish, eggs, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil. Starchy foods like candy, pasta, potatoes, and cereal are conspicuously absent from the plan.
Recent findings propose that protein in our diets wasn’t the only super food that helped us develop as humans.
Would You Like a Baked Potato With Your Ribeye?
Recent findings suggest that protein in our diet wasn’t the only super food that helped us develop as humans. Two years ago, a provocative research paper proposed that “plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for our prehistoric ancestors to continue evolving during the Pleistocene epoch.”
The researchers made the point that carbohydrates like carrots and potatoes and other root and tuber vegetables also played a major role in making us smarter and more human. Carbohydrates provided the fuel and energy our bodies and brains needed to grow and become capable of more complex thinking.
The report painted a vivid picture of how the genes in our ancestors changed over time so that they could eat and digest a healthy mix of proteins and carbs. They also learned that cooking foods like potatoes and other starchy vegetables made them tastier and more nutritious.
Even for Paleo dieters, an occasional baked potato wouldn’t be out of step with our true ancient history.
Scientists continue to study our Paleo ancestors and shed more light on how they lived and died millions of years ago. Every new discovery tells us more and changes what we thought we knew. Now we know that these hunter-gatherers also ate starchy tubers and root vegetables.
So what should Paleo enthusiasts do with this new information?
We can thank our Stone Age ancestors for inspiring millions of us to stop eating heavily processed modern foods and start living a healthier lifestyle. We have returned to the basics of whole foods, healthy meats, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables.
Should you eat starchy carbs? Even for Paleo dieters, an occasional baked potato wouldn’t be out of step with our true ancient history.
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