Another Review Article In Favor Of Paleolithic Eating

It’s in the Annual Review of Plant Biology. The authors promote fruit and vegetable consumption. A snippet from the 2013 article:

Our Paleolithic ancestors were hunter-gatherers, consuming diets rich in lean wild meat or fish, with relatively high consumption of fruits and green leafy vegetables. Our modern diets, in contrast, are high in saturated fats and starches, added sugars with high energy load, and “unnatural fats” such as transfats. Paleolithic diets, in contrast to those of simians and present-day hunter-gatherers, are estimated to have been approximately 75% fruit [that’s news to me; reference is from S. Lindeberg]. In modern US diets, foods unavailable to Paleolithic societies—including dairy products, cereal grains, refined cereal flour, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol—on average make up 70% of total energy consumption. Of this, 50% is in the form of vegetable oils and refined sugars .Americans currently consume less than 60% of the US Department of Agriculture recommendations for vegetables and less than 50% of the recommendations for fruits.

h/t Bill Lagakos

Reference: Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 2013. 64:19–46. This article’s doi:10.1146/annurev-arplant-050312-120142

6 responses to “Another Review Article In Favor Of Paleolithic Eating

  1. charles grashow

    From the study – “However, it should be possible to reduce the risk of a significant proportion of chronic disease by encouraging diets that encompass more of the good things from Paleolithic diets, particularly
    increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, reduced consumption of meats (particularly high-fat meats) and saturated fats, significantly reduced amounts of added sugars (particularly high-fructose corn syrup), and elimination of trans fats.”

    SO – a low saturated fat diet is a paleo diet? What say the LCHF diet people to that?

  2. Well, the idea is that Paleo people ate whatever was available, and that encompassed a wide variety of locations and climates and situations: hot climates and cold, coastlines and mountains, and tropical areas too. I have little doubt that a lot of tropical Paleo people ate a lot of bananas and various fruits, whenever available, and certainly lots of green vegetables and tubers. And they probably ate all the meat/protein (small creatures and large, as well as insects) they could get their hands on. There’s also a lot of things they didn’t eat, too: cookies and Pringles, ice cream, cokes, whole wheat bread, etc.

    I very much doubt that Paleo people aimed for or preferred to eat “lean” meat: the prey animals obviously have muscle meat and organs and internal fat, and our Paleo ancestors probably ate the entire beast. and then broke the bones and sucked out the marrow. The question is then about how fat various prey animals might be. My understanding is that, except for times of rare and extreme nutritional stress, most prey animals have a significant amount of internal fat. It would be ridiculous to assume or propose that Paleo people would be on some sort of slimming diet and undertake some low-fat diet, eating only the leanest of muscle meat. They probably preferentially ate the most nutritious and and energy rich parts first, and that mean the fat and then the liver.

    The one thing that I have not heard about is any intentionally vegetarian Paleo cultures: there are just some locations where prey is just scarcer than other places.

    • Richard, your comments remind me of a Alaskan salmon and grizzly bear documentary I saw a few months ago. At the time of the spawning runs, the salmon are easy for the bears to catch. The surprising news to me was that the bears typically stripped off and ate the high-fat skin and discarded the muscle flesh.

  3. I agree with Richard, fat, or even saturated fat, is not the issue that is causing most of the problem in modern diets–it is the vegetable oils, sugar and grains. Look at the fat intake of Eskimos and Inuits, very high in saturated fat. It is the high level of omega-6 in vegetable oils and grains that is causing the problem, sugar even makes that worse while adding additional problems. Even or [organ? -SP] meats are higher in omega-6 than Paleo meats that were close to a 1:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3. Now, grain fed meats are often near 4:1. Grass fed beef and wild game are still close to 1:1.

  4. Reblogged this on Oil-Change Diet and commented:
    The paleo diet is not a bad diet, it corresponds well with my oil change diet. I still think it is important to keep the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in balance. My book will provide the information you need to do that whether you prefer the Paleo diet or even a vegetarian diet.

  5. David Boothman

    75% fruit, ridiculous. Paleolithic peoples did not have air freight and supermarkets so did not have access to fruit for many days of the year, and when fruit was available it was nothing like the fruit we buy today which exists only as a result of selective breeding since farming began. If you really believe this nonsense then join us on a wild hog hunt in the bush in Georgia at any time of year. But don’t bring any food, you can show us how you can live off the fruit you find there.