Friday, February 22, 2008

What was a Paleo diet....


I sometimes get accused of pushing a paleo diet. I don' think I'm pushing anything, just giving you something to think about...



Anyway Matt points to an article (pdf) which speculates on at what a paleo diet was.....

3 comments:

Sasquatch said...

I have to say, I'm skeptical about this report. He says 35% of calories came from carbs, but where are you going to get carbs in the African savannah?

You'd have to eat 10 apples a day to get 35% of your calories from them. Modern apples are bigger and sweeter than wild fruit, so you'd probably have to eat a lot more than that. Plus, fruit is seasonal.

There may have been some starchy tubers, but again that's seasonal and probably not abundant enough to account for that many calories.

I don't believe that they got 2-3% of their calories from honey either. Honey is not a common food in any part of the world. That means they would have to eat an average of 2 tbsp honey per person per day. At that rate, they'd probably deplete the local honey stocks in a couple of months.

So basically I think it's implausible that they ate that much carb because it probably was not an abundant nutrient. I could believe 15%, with seasonal variability.

Also, I don't agree with their figures for polyunsaturated and saturated fat. I've seen some pretty potent rebuttals of those numbers. When you include organ meats and the fact that HGs went after the fattest animals, you get a pretty hefty amount of saturated fat. They reference Cordain in that article, who has been notoriously wrong about fat composition of HG diets in his earlier studies.

Chris said...

I must admit that I have the same concerns as you about this Sasq. The honey reference struck me as particularly odd. Good comment

Sasquatch said...

Yeah it sounds like they really wanted to pump up the carb and polyunsaturated fat so it would be closer to conventional nutrition recommendations.

It doesn't square with what I've read about 20th-21st century HGs, or the archeology I'm aware of.

Although I have to admit, if every American ate like that paper claims early humans ate, we would definitely be healthier than we are now.

Thanks for posting the article.