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Paleo diet: truth and myths about the 'most natural' diet for humans

'14.05.2022'

A source: Clever

Not all diets are the same! What's wrong with one of the most publicized principles of nutrition, says the portal Clever.

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For more than 8 years, both foreign and domestic adherents of proper nutrition have been discussing the possibilities of the Paleolithic diet. It represents the use of dishes prepared only from plants and animals, supposedly the food of ancient people who lived 2,5 million years ago. But what happens if you really eat constantly the way the inhabitants of the Paleolithic era did?

Sudden weight gain

According to the conclusions of historians, 1,5-2 million years ago, mankind was not yet engaged in cattle breeding and farming and was a scattered society of hunters, fishermen and gatherers.

Several scientific and medical studies of modern, still surviving representatives of primitive tribes have shown that their health is indeed different from the adherents of the current Western lifestyle. In ancient times, people did not have malignant tumors, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. And this has become one of the important aspects of the popularization of this diet.

In Australia, where it is still possible to meet the Bushmen - representatives of the indigenous people of the continent, whose anthropological appearance and lifestyle formed 4 years ago and are still partially preserved, the paleo diet has become very popular among the urban population.

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That is why scientists from the University of Melbourne decided to conduct an experiment: they continued to feed one group of laboratory mice as usual, and transferred the other to a paleo diet. Since only meat, fish and plants can actually be eaten in this way, the researchers developed food for their animals with mathematical precision. Like the food of ancient man, instead of the usual daily intake of fat in the proportion of 3% of the food eaten, this food contained 60% fat, and the amount of carbohydrates was reduced to 20%.

At the same time, all experimental rodents at the University of Melbourne had the opportunity to actively run in a spinning wheel 4 hours a day. After 8 weeks of testing, nothing has changed in the group of rodents that received the usual food. In paleo-diet mice, weight gain was observed and insulin levels in the blood increased. The body weight of such animals increased by 15%, and the fat content in body weight became twice as much: from 2% to 4%.

In other words, if an adult healthy person were to eat on this paleosheme, then in the same 8 weeks his weight gain would be equivalent to 15 kg. And such an extreme increase in the body is fraught with the appearance of health problems. Scientists at the University of Melbourne noted in their report that paleo-diet is not suitable for a modern person with his inactive lifestyle.

In order to consume the calculated amount of fats and carbohydrates without further changes in the body, a person must tirelessly move about 11 hours a day. Most likely, people of the Paleolithic era, forced to constantly hunt down prey and look for edible plants, led just such a way of life.

Tooth loss and worm infestations

In 2015, the British Dietetic Association called the Paleolithic diet the worst among all available nutrition systems. Experts had good reason for this. Over the course of 5 years, they have been collecting and analyzing facts relating to a number of positive and negative changes in the bodies of people who ate according to the rules of this diet.

One of them states that only meat of wild animals that has not undergone special processing should be consumed. Indeed, all currently produced chicken, beef, pork and other livestock products undergo a certain chemical treatment, due to which the meat becomes not only safe from the point of view of sanitation, but also its fibers soften.

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That is why the use of dishes prepared from the meat of wild animals, is associated with difficulties in chewing. To a modern person, they seem so harsh that they often have problems with their teeth. In this regard, historians pay attention to reconstructed faces of residents of the Paleolithic era, compiled from the skulls found. All of them had square jaws and large teeth, which, as scientists suggest, nevertheless had already ground by 25 years of age. In the course of evolution, grace has occurred in humans, that is, a decrease in the jaw mass, and this device in modern homo sapiense has long been unable to chew on such tough foods.

Therefore, the constant use of meat of wild animals leads to rapid grinding and breaking of teeth, as well as to the maxillofacial muscles, which has a negative aesthetic effect.

Another paleo diet rule indicates how to cook this meat, and fish too. It is best if the extracted food is cooked over an open fire.

However, this, most often insufficient heat treatment of products that have not passed standard sanitary control (wild meat and self-caught fish) is fraught with the risk of developing various diseases.

Helminthiasis, ascariasis, giardiasis, brucellosis - this is just a small list of diseases that the British Dietetic Association mentions in connection with the popularization of the paleo diet. It is difficult to call such food healthy.

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