Paleo Diet, Stone Age Bodies in Modern Times
The American public radio programme Fresh Air featured an interview with Harvard evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman recently, whose new book The Story of the Human Body details, among many other things, how the modern diet results in so many of the non-infectious diseases plague us today. Things like diabetes, IBS, acne, breast cancer, obesity and depression simply didn’t exist (or at least nowhere near to the numbers they do today) in ancient or pre-industrial times, due to a paleo diet.
Speaking about sweet foods, Lieberman noted that the sweetest food our pre-historic ancestors had access to was no sweeter than a carrot:
“We evolved to crave sweet foods. Everybody loves sweet foods. But if you try to eat foods that hunter-gatherers eat or chimpanzees eat, you’d be surprised at how unsweet they are. Most wild fruits are about as sweet as a carrot. So we love sweetness, but until recently, pretty much the only food that we got that was sweet was honey, and honey of course was a special treat — honey was pretty much the only form of dessert in the Paleolithic. But now we have access to abundant quantities of sugar and simple carbohydrates, which we evolved to love because they’re full of energy, but we don’t have the metabolism. We don’t have the bodies that are able to cope with those kinds of levels of sugar, and the result is that we get sick.”
This goes along with what I’ve said in all my books and much of my writing. The modern diet is the cause of so many health problems because it is based around processed, packaged foods that don’t fall under the criteria of “The Four R’s“: Does is roam the earth? Can you eat it raw? Does it rot? And can you recognise the ingredients? The Paleo diet strictly adheres to the 4 R’s.
The full interview is definitely worth a listen, as it goes into detail on why so many ailments of modern times are linked to the standard wheat, dairy and sugar-heavy diet. It also goes into detail on the popular paleo-diet, which stresses eating whole foods that follow my criteria of the four R’s. You can listen to the interview here.