Modern Paleo Diet Something of a Myth

Tiger Nuts

Tiger Nuts

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Paleo diet lovers  believe that those adopting this life-style will make them feel more powerful and healthier, because they will be emulating the ways in which our ancient ancestor, Paleolithic man, would have eaten. This means that foods like nuts, berries and red meat are highly recommended, where grains, cereals, pulses etc. are definitely not on the menu, yet a brand new Oxford University study maintains that this idea is all wrong, and that in fact, 2.5 million years ago, the man  living at that time would have consumed lots of so-called tiger nuts, which in fact are edible grass bulbs.

These are indeed still eaten in parts of the world today, and are carbohydrate rich – so much so, that these things are widely used for grinding down and baking in many countries, as well as being sold in health food shops, being commonly found world-wide. Back then , as now, Tiger nuts provided a good source of easy to find nourishment, enabling hominids back then to survive for around one million years, successfully foraging for additional nourishment from fruits and invertebrates, like worms and grasshoppers, to supplement those nuts.

This research compared the diet of so-called Nutcracker Man – Paranthropus boisei – so dubbed due to having powerful jaws and large flat molar teeth and powerful jaws, with that of modern baboons in Kenya. They found that the apes consumed – living in environments akin to those occupied by Nutcracker man – lots of Tiger nuts, rich in starches, minerals, vitamins and the fatty acids that hominid brains would have needed. The debate now is whether or not enough nourishment could be found, in Paleo times from high-fibre foods alone.

Tiger nuts  -Cyperus esculentus – are also highly abrasive as raw food, evidenced by the wear and tear on both paleo teeth and those of modern baboons, so the evidence is strong for the supposed carb-free status of the ancient paleo diet being a myth perpetuated by overly keen modern dieticians.  Indeed, ancient hunter-gatherers from the area that is now Morocco had cavities and missing teeth, another new study has found. An ancient skeletons, about 15,000 years old, had teeth suggesting  a carbohydrate-rich diet full of acorns, according to a recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, proving that at least some ancient populations consumed lots of carbohydrates even before grain cultivation.

Found in a large cave known as Grotte des Pigeons, in northern Morocco the hunter-gatherer skeletal remains proved human occupation of the cave over many thousands of years, the people living in the front part and using the rear portion to bury their dead, the area in which a new patch of 14 burials was found, helping the team analyze a total of  52 sets of adult teeth, dated to around 14,500 years old. It seems their penchant for sweet acorns led to their suffering severe tooth decay, cavities and abscesses, with 90% missing incisors, perhaps ritualistically removed. These people ate snails and pine nuts as well as those carbohydrate-rich acorns, so the Paleo diet was NOT, apparently, completely carb-free after all, and the modern view of it appears to have been very much distorted to suit a dietary fashion.

Nutcracker Man

Nutcracker Man

Image via – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OH_5


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2 Comments

  1. Tony H Leather

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