The paleo diet has become one of the most popular diet options for people all over the world in the last decade. The idea of getting back to a more natural diet consisting large of meats and vegetables appeals to our desire to do anything we can to stay healthy and fit.
That being said, there are still many critics of the paleo diet, and the mainstream media hasn’t done the best job of truly informing people about the pros and cons of this “caveman diet.” Through the popular media, many myths regarding the paleo diet have been unfortunately proliferated.
If you’ve gotten most of your information about the paleo diet from the mainstream media, it’s likely that most of what you’ve heard is actually wrong. Here are a few common myths about the popular paleo diet:
“Our Ancestors All Died Before 30”
One of the most common proclamations made by critics of the paleo diet goes like this: “Why should we emulate the diet of our ancestors when they all died before they were 30?” While it is true that our Paleolithic ancestors had shorter average lifespans than modern humans, the difference cannot be attributed to diet alone.
Healthcare has obviously improved drastically since the time of our ancestors, who likely lived to such young ages as a result of many other influences such as high rates of infant mortality, tribal warfare and violence, and exposure to the elements.
When these additional challenges are taken into account, studies show that our ancestors lived lifespans that are roughly equivalent to those of modern humans, and they did so without developing any of the modern, chronic, inflammatory diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, that plague humans today.
“The High Protein Content Is Dangerous”
This criticism of the paleo diet is largely based on the idea that high proteins diets lead to an increased risk of kidney problems. However, scientific evidence has done very little to support this criticism to this point. In addition, the paleo diet is not necessarily high in protein and, in fact, it should range from low protein to high protein depending on the individual needs.
“Whole Grains Are Superfoods”
Despite the fact that humans got along without grains for nearly two million years prior to the agricultural revolution, we continue to perpetuate the false notion that whole grains are some kind of “superfood” that is essential for the maintenance of your health.
To put it bluntly, this is simply false. Many modern studies indicate that grains are one of the least nutrient-dense food groups available. In a study published in 2007, scientists found that all forms of meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy products, and legumes were more nutrient-dense than whole grains.
“Paleo Is All-Meat”
This is one of the easiest and most widespread myths being perpetuated by the mainstream media today. They seem to love to portray scantily clad cavemen chowing down on huge chunks of meat in conjunction with scathing criticisms of the paleo diet.
As you might not know, about two-thirds of the typical paleo plate consists of plants such as broccoli, winter greens, salad, sweet potatoes, fruit, or nuts and seeds. The actual meat portion of a paleo plate is technically supposed to be in the minority.
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