Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted September 15, 2012

Published in Health

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The Paleo Diet Dangers and Distortions

Read More: Paleo diet, whole foods plant-based diet

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Still Another "High-Protein" Diet Threatens Your Health

The Paleo Diet can hook you with its story. This "cave man" diet promises to reunite you with your ancestors from 2.5 million years ago through the simple act of eating meat. In this complex era of busy lives and disconnected community, caveman cartoon smaller.jpgthis is an appealing picture. Agriculture, which began 10,000 years ago, is the story's villain, supposedly leading people away from the hunt to an unnatural diet.

Loren Cordain, PhD and professor at Colorado State, launched the Paleo Diet with his book of the same name. This restrictive eating plan forbids all grains, potatoes and legumes (peas, lentils, beans) as well as dairy and processed foods (including processed meats). You eat all you want of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Bone marrow, animal organs, and meat from wild animals are all on the menu.

The book represents that you can cure just about any chronic illness, from heart disease to cancer, by eating this way because it would match the way your distant ancestors ate for over two million years. You are also supposed to lose weight, and fast - up to 75 pounds in six months.


Let's determine whether the Paleo Diet is science or science fiction by looking at some simple facts. Here are a few key Paleo myths vs. reality.

Myth: Human genetics has been basically the same for the last 2.5 million years, with the ideal diet unchanged during that time.

Reality: You and all humans alive today belong to a species called Homo sapiens. Our species did not come into being until about 200,000 years ago. So through over 90% of the Paleolithic, the human ancestors that existed (and there were many) were by definition genetically different from us because they were entirely different species!

According to the Smithsonian Institute, most scientists currently recognize some 15 to 20 different species of early humans. We don't know how many of them related to each other or us. Leading researchers don't agree on critical questions in human evolution. It's misleading for Professor Cordain to represent he has all these answers.

Myth: Humans ate a lot of meat and bone marrow they scavenged from kills made by large predators, starting 2.5 million years ago.

Read the rest of this post, with more Paleo Diet dangers, myths, and realities and learn why Paleo still touts some success stories