The Paleo-Diet: Nature’s Most Manly Way to Lose Weight and be Healthy

I have been on The Paleo-diet for 5 weeks. I have dropped 23 lbs in that time. I feel better than I have in 20 years. I have more energy and less joint and muscle pain. I have tried other diets none have worked this well. Adkins dropped the weight faster but I never felt full. The key to the diet is simple. Eat meat( a mix of fish, red meat, pork, and chicken…. eat the fat off that steak), green veggies, and drink water. Staying away from bread, all grain products, potatoes, and don’t fry your foods.
The article linked below from Scientific American is the opinion of biologist  Rob Dunn. He believes that we have the paleo-diet all wrong and that the paleo-diet is not the diet that kept ancient humans trim and fit. While the Dunn is correct in the assertion that proto-humans were often vegetarians, he discounts or at least belittles the fact that those ancestors that survived to become human were meat eaters. He conveniently neglects to mention the evidence that early human ancestors began eating carrion and that this increase in protein allowed us to develop larger brains and differentiated us from our ape cousins leading eventually to modern man.



Let me address point by point why this article is incorrect from the point of view of an archaeologist (me)


1. Dunn’s first point is that paleolithic man often starved to death. This is patently not true. Starvation is not often associated with hunters and gatherers. In fact the few tribes that anthropologists studied while they were still hunters and gatherers, such as the Kalahari Bushmen, were often chubby. These people live in one of the most hostile desert environments on earth and can hunt and gather enough food so that they only work about three hours a day. Mass starvation never becomes a problem until people moved into farming. While paleo people did starve on occasion, it was rare. The article treats starvation as a part of the paleo-diet which is absurd. This statement alone negates the entire argument of the article. Many modern scientists use contemporary hunting and gathering tribes to try and determine the diet and activity of early man. They neglect to consider that these modern tribes live on land that the technologically more advanced agriculturalists do not want or can not use. This forces them to consist on a diet of what little vegetable and meat they can scavenge including insects. The typical hunter and gatherer twenty thousand years ago had his pick of hunting grounds. They occupied the best land with the most game and very little competition. They were able to carry on massive hunts with huge amounts of meat taken in each hunt.


2. Every dig I have ever been on that has been associated with native cultures that predate farming are also associated with massive number of animals bones….cooked bones.


3. Cooked meat is an artificial way to make meat soft like it would be if rotten. This is the reason we digest cooked meat so well because it is like the carrion we evolved to eat.


4. The article suggest we look further back into evolutionary history to find out what our distant ancestors ate. That is rubbish. Chickens are evolved from small dinosaurs like raptors but I don’t see people feeding them live rats. We have evolved and changed since we were in the trees. It is better to see what homo sapiens ate at the time of the emergence of the species rather than distant ancestors to get a sense of the natural human diet.


5. Dunn suggests that we have a digestive system which is uniquely suited to breaking down plant matter. Wow, we have a digestive system that is good for digesting plants. What a revelation. We are omnivores we also eat plants and lots of them, that is part of the paleo-diet as well.


6. Dunn says in the article that if we evolved to eat meat that, “Our bodies would have to have simultaneously have evolved to be less able to deal with more ordinary primate diets.” He goes on to say that there is no evidence we have evolved away from the traditional primate diet  and this is one of the main reasons he thinks we have not evolved to eat meat. Let me draw his attention to a little organ we call the appendix. It doesn’t work anymore because we have evolved away from eating tree bark.

7. Dunn asks someone to show him the evidence we evolved to eat meat? The fact that we have been killing or scavenging animals for meat for the past 3 million years. That our finger tips and tongue have evolved so that they can handle hot cooked foods (meat)  without getting burned as easily as other parts of our bodies. The fact we have meat digesting bacteria in our stomach that have evolved with us.The list goes on an on. We have hundreds of evolutionary traits that allow us to eat meat, where do I begin? In fact if we are so suited to eat nuts which Dunn champions over and over in the article why did Homo Sapiens develop a smaller weaker jaw. Our current jaw structure is unlike other primates in that we would break our teeth trying to break nuts.The evolution of the jaw is the direct result of humans cooking and eating soft meat and vegetables.

8. Dunn seems to believe we have evolved or adapted more since we became agriculturalists than we did for the millions of years we were hunters and gatherers. I guess that is why each and every time a hunting and gathering tribe has been introduced to an agricultural lifestyle the rate of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity sky rockets.

This is another one of those pro-vegetarian people that can’t get it through their head that the vegetarian diet is not healthy for humans. For all humans other than those of pure African descent we carry within us 3-4% Neanderthal DNA. Neanderthals were carnivores almost exclusively. We have evolved beyond the pure vegetarian diet of our distant ancestors. We as humans could not survive on a strictly vegetarian diet in the wild. The fact we can’t survive on a pure vegetarian diet without supplementing protein from non-traditional vegetable sources (provided by farming) is proof enough that this article is worthless. He asks for proof that humans evolved to eat meat… Try to survive without meat protein in the wild.

J. Baird

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