But Australian nutrition experts warn against this eating trend and go so far as to call the diet “potentially dangerous”.
According to the Dietitians Association of Australia’s CEO Claire Hewat, the scientific evidence to support eating like our Palaeolithic ancestors just doesn’t stack up.
“A recent search of the published studies looking at Palaeolithic diets revealed no more than ten studies, all with very few participants over very short timeframes – most less than three months. And many people dropped out of the studies, claiming the diet was difficult to follow.
“We all eat, and so to a certain extent, we know what food makes us feel good. But rather than getting on the latest fad diet bandwagon, I urge Australians to become familiar with the Dietary Guidelines and to seek expert nutrition advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian,” said Ms Hewat.
In recent years, the Paleo Diet has gained popularity, mostly due to celebrity followers and gym-goers. However, Palaeolithic diets are not new.
Ms Hewat said Palaeolithic diets were first suggested by researchers in 1985 on the basis that current-day chronic disease has resulted from a gene-culture mismatch and the human body’s inability to adapt from Palaeolithic times. Yet Ms Hewat said there are multiple examples suggesting that this is simply not true and that we continued to develop as a race.
“Some proponents of ‘Paleo’ suggest we avoid all grains, legumes, certain dairy products, conventionally-raised meats, non-organic produce, and genetically modified and processed foods. This simply isn’t practical for many Australians,” said Ms Hewat.
She said an American-based assessment of the Paleo diet suggested we would need at least a nine per cent increase in income to afford this diet.
“Any diet excluding whole food groups should raise suspicions. The idea of cutting out grain-based foods and legumes is not backed by science, and eating more meat than is needed by the body certainly has risks, according to the World Health Organisation,” said Ms Hewat.
Based upon a press release from the Dietitians Association of Australia, 23/7/14