Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Paleolithic Diet

Melinda sent a link to an essay by Dr. Loren Cordain, the author of The Paleo Diet. Dr. Cordain argues that grains and legumes are making modern man ill, in essence because the human gut hasn't evolved to digest and assimilate their nutrients.

He robustly defends his position. A critical mind can't help but question some of his assumptions though. See what you think:

The Late Role of Grains and Legumes in the Human Diet, and Biochemical Evidence of their Evolutionary Discordance

Wikipedia places the Paleolithic Period from between 2,500,000 to 11,000 years ago, ending with the introduction of agriculture.

Below is an illustration and caption from Australia's news site The Age.

  1. HOMO HABILIS ~ NICKNAME: Handyman. LIVED: 2.4 to 1.6 million years ago. HABITAT: Tropical Africa. DIET: Omnivorous – nuts, seeds, tubers, fruits, some meat.
  2. HOMO SAPIEN ~ NICKNAME: Human. LIVED: 200,000 years ago to present. HABITAT: All. DIET: Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts, pizza, sushi.
  3. HOMO FLORESIENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Hobbit. LIVED: 95,000 to 13,000 years ago. HABITAT: Flores, Indonesia (tropical). DIET: Omnivorous - meat included pygmy stegodon, giant rat.
  4. HOMO ERECTUS ~ NICKNAME: Erectus. LIVED: 1.8 million years to 100,000 years ago. HABITAT: Tropical to temperate - Africa, Asia, Europe. DIET: Omnivorous - meat, tubers, fruits, nuts.
  5. PARANTHROPUS BOISEI ~ NICKNAME: Nutcracker man. LIVED: 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago. HABITAT: Tropical Africa. DIET: Omnivorous - nuts, seeds, leaves, tubers, fruits, maybe some meat.
  6. HOMO HEIDELBERGENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Goliath. LIVED: 700,000 to 300,000 years ago. HABITAT: Temperate and tropical, Africa and Europe. DIET: Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts.
  7. HOMO NEANDERTHALENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Neanderthal. LIVED: 250,000 to 30,000 years ago. HABITAT: Europe and Western Asia. DIET: Relied heavily on meat, such as bison, deer and musk ox.

No comments: