The paleolithic diet, also known as the paleo diet or caveman diet, is a fad diet based on the food humans' ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as lean meat, nuts and berries.
The diet is based on several premises. Proponents of the diet posit that during the Paleolithic era — a period lasting around 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals — humans evolved nutritional needs specific to the foods available at that time, and that the nutritional needs of modern humans remain best adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors. Proponents claim that human metabolism has been unable to adapt fast enough to handle many of the foods that have become available since the advent of agriculture. Thus, modern humans are said to be maladapted to eating foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, and in particular the high-calorie processed foods that are a staple of most modern diets. Proponents claim that modern humans' inability to properly metabolize these comparatively new types of food has led to modern-day problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. They claim that followers of the Paleolithic diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life.
Critics of the Paleolithic diet have pointed out a number of flaws with its underlying logic, including the fact that there is abundant evidence that paleolithic humans did in fact eat grains and legumes,that humans are much more nutritionally flexible than previously thought, that the hypothesis that Paleolithic humans were genetically adapted to specific local diets remains to be proven, that the Paleolithic period was extremely long and saw a variety of forms of human settlement and subsistence in a wide variety of changing nutritional landscapes, and that currently very little is known for certain about what Paleolithic humans ate.
Paleolithic life expectancies were much shorter than modern life expectancies, and food and diet composition are among the main reasons for this change.
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