Health-conscious folks all over the western world maintain that the key to a long, salubrious life is kicking it old school – at least 12,000 years old-school. It’s called the Paleo diet.
Well everybody’s favourite bespectacled scientist, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, is here to tell us that it’s all a load of old baloney.
The Paleo concept (heroed by celebrity chef Pete Evans) centres around the idea that our bodies weren’t designed to consume processed foods, or indeed anything produced by agriculture, leaving you to make your meals out of little more than meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. That means no grains, no dairy, no table salt, nothing at all processed.
Responding to a listener’s question during his weekly radio segment on Triple J, Dr Karl crushed the whole ‘caveman’ culinary philosophy in four simple points.
- There was no single diet during the Paleolithic era. People ate different things depending on where they lived.
- “We actually have evolved a lot in the last 12,000 years.” Consider lactose intolerance, for example.
- “We can’t eat what they ate, because it’s not around.”
- It’s “way out of kilter” with the recommendations of professional dietitians.
He went on to clarify that last point, by saying: “Now, I’m not talking about somebody whose job is being a professional celebrity, but somebody’s whose job is to spend four years at university to get their bachelor’s degree, then their master’s degree.”
One of those well-educated experts is his co-host nutrition and dietetics expert Professor Clare Collins, who chimed in to point out “the paleo man isn’t here today for a reason.”
“The positive is the big diversity of vegetables and fruit, so that’s one of the most positive things, and it’d be a pretty high-fibre diet,” said Prof Collins. “But there isn’t actually any evidence for paleo-specific.”