Paleolithic nutrition is a diet craze quickly gaining ground amongst many people within the healthy living community. The diet proposes that eating only what is found unprocessed in nature, similar to our Paleolithic ancestors, is the key to unlocking our maximum nutritional potential. There is a large following to the Paleolithic lifestyle, though this following has not gone unnoticed by the traditional health care community. A vigorous debate has erupted on both sides of the issue both supporting one side’s own cause while playing up the faults and tribulations of the other.
The field guide to Paleolithic nutrition purports that modern man lives opposite to the lifestyle of the Paleolithic man, specifically because Paleolithic man was forced to hunt, forage and find their own food. Nutrition often came from raw, or only mildly warmed meats, fruit and vegetables. Products such as processed milk, wheat and products created through the use of yeast or fermentation were unavailable to the Paleolithic man and thus not part of their diet. Proponents of the Paleolithic diet suggest that processed foods, foods made from commercial grains and dairy products are the cause of the obesity epidemic and serious illnesses such as lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.
Members of the traditional nutritional system believe that the exclusion of important food groups within Paleolithic nutrition is detrimental to the general public’s health. It is argued that wheat and grains are essential to aiding the body in its digestion of natural fats and cholesterol, while dairy provides high sources of calcium used in growth and bone development. The high inclusion of protein in a diet with limited carbohydrate intake has been suggested to be a cause of ketosis, or the buildup of Ketones in the body. Ketones can create products such as acetone in the body which may cause impairment to the kidneys or liver.
Another common criticism to Paleolithic nutrition lifestyle is the reported lifespan of Paleolithic man. Modern man has a typical life span of 60-80 years thanks in part to a combination of modern agriculture, modern medicine and the control of natural predators. Paleolithic man is reported to have had a lifespan closer to 30 years of age, though proponents to the Paleolithic lifestyle state that this was primarily due to the fact that Paleolithic nutrition did not include many of the medical advancements that we know today, nor did it prevent the onslaught from vicious the vicious predators that were often a major source of food to Paleolithic man.
Paleolithic Nutrition – Conclusion
While both sides to the argument make valid points, the one element lacking from both seems to be the element of moderation. Sources of lean protein are important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but so are whole grains and dairy. Too much protein, even lean healthy cuts of fish and chicken, can be detrimental to one’s overall health and well being. There is such a concept of too much of a good thing when it comes to nutrition. Be sure to contact your physician before considering Paleolithic nutrition to determine if it is appropriate for you.