There is strong evidence that humans pre 12,000 BCE did not live beyond 40 years of age. why is there such a strong assumption that their diet was good if this is the case? We are omnivores who evolved to survive on a wide range of available foodstuffs from roots to plants to meat to seafood. From my point of view I eat carefully and in moderation, avoiding processed food and empty calories.
I do this in order to out live my ancestors whose lives were very short compared to ours. as we live longer we need to consider the consequences of any diet on digestive systems that are way beyond their evolutionary sell by date!
asked bySteve_Flatt (13)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on May 08, 2013
at 10:31 AM
You're right, we are omnivores who evolved (thank you for not using designed here) to survive on a wide range of available foodstuffs. But the key word there is survived, not thrive. Just because we can eat certain things and they won't outright kill us, it doesn't mean that they are optimal for us.
As for the average age, any mathematician or statistician will be able to tell you it's a meaningless number once you remove culling from old age by sabre tooth tigers and childbirth deaths. A sprained ankle meant a quick death at the jaws of a predator. Today, a sprained ankle means a visit to the urgent care facility and wearing a boot for a week or two, with nearly zero chance of death.
What you need to understand about Paleo is that its an elimination diet. We eliminate foods which we know are harmful to us. These are all grains, all legumes, all industrial seed oils, artificial colors, preservatives, all manufactured foods, which are designed to provide very little micronutrients and lots of empty calories, extremely addictive, provide fake bright colors, fake smells, hyperpalatability with no satiation, an insane shelf life, and huge profits for their manufacturers.
Many of us avoid CAFO meats, because we understand that if you have an animal confined to a very small cage, wallowing knee deep in its own feces that its meat is unsuitable for human consumption. Many of us are aware of things like meat glue, and how certain meats were "tenderized" by being slapped with a grid of fine needles, which in some cases insert artificial flavors, produced by a growing industry off the NJ turnpike.
Many of us understand that "Fresh flavor" on a carton of orange juice isn't the same as actual fresh orange juice, and that the contents of that juice may have been stored for months if not years in large cisterns, and extra orange flavor had been added to it through chemical extraction from actual oranges. So we know to read the label and realize that "natural flavor" can also mean beaver anal glad extract when it comes to vanilla, strawberry, or raspberry extract. We are very much aware of the games marketing people play, the games those who write nutritional labels play, and how their goals are not our well being, but their wallets.
Many of us are aware of the dangers of GMOs, which thankfully are mostly limited to grains currently, and how lobbyists attempt to influence politicians so that they pass insane laws, like they just tried in the EU, just two days ago, to make all but certain seeds illegal, thus attempting to doom heritage varieties of seeds, in search of monopoly, so that only a handful of companies get to control the entire food supply for a whole continent, and with things like the UN's Codex Alimentus or however that abomination is spelled this will be coming to the entire planet.
This is not a historical re-enactment. It doesn't matter whether a caveman would have eaten it or not, it's whether or not he was adapted to eat it, without harm to his health. In fact if you were to let a caveman loose in a supermarket, he'd probably devour every crap-in-a-box product, showing us how dangerous these food-like-products really are. This is about removing toxins and harmful substances from our plates.
on May 09, 2013
at 07:15 PM
I'll throw in my two cents worth. The last thing I'm looking for is a way to increase longevity. A good life does not equate to a long life. Long lives these days are usually characterized by institutional care in non-stimulating/depressive conditions, social isolation, a variety of debilitating chronic and acute conditions and the deterioration of the essential physical and mental systems.
Geriatric medicine is better than ever but often the best medical advancements merely enable people in terrible shape to remain in terrible shape for a longer time. This is progress of a type, but in many cases I just don't see the point. Yeah, I know. Death panels.
Just my point of view. I hope all of you live for as long as you want. In my case, that's not why I'm in the game.
on May 08, 2013
at 01:52 PM
I've been a bit nervous about the short lifespan as well since I've started eating paleo. So far, so good. I've managed to avoid death during childbirth, measles, mumps, rubella, scarlet fever, polio, diptheria, tetnus, small pox, tuberculosis, consumption (whatever that was), Bubonic Plague, leprosy, cholera, ameobic dysintary. Oh, and the flu. The flu killed my grandfather a little less than a hundred years ago, along with 10s of millions of other people world wide.
Now that I've avoided the diseases that killed off a lot of young people, which pulls down the average age, I can concentrate on the stuff that's killing people today, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes related issues. I'll eat like a caveman and wash my hands and get plenty of fluids and bedrest and get my immunizations like a modern man. I think I've got my bases covered.
on May 08, 2013
at 12:27 PM
Paleolithic man also had much better bone structure, cro magnons from 40k years ago had significantly bigger brains than we did today (we're talking 10-20%) and their causes of death were very different. Paleo man tended to die from wounds/starvation/infant mortality not CHD/cancer/diabetes/Alzheimer's.
If you're already eating roots, plants, meat and seafood while avoiding processed stuff then you're already pretty much paleo.
on May 08, 2013
at 10:07 AM
Steve, it would be great if someone actually wrote a book about all this...
But sarcasm aside, the paleo diet is about eating meat, vegetables and fruit; instead of eating modern refined processed packaged foods. It attempts to remove common problem foods (grains, legumes, diary) in effort to heal the gut, reduce inflammation, auto-immune conditions for the purpose of providing better health through the digestion and subsequent absorption of the nutrients consumed. Consumption is then specifically focused on foods high in nutrition, and low in toxins. Thus someone generally fills their plate with fresh meats, fish, non-starchy vegetables, starchy-vegetables and fruits. This combination results in better overall dietary energy balance, lower overeating, better micronutrient provision, hormonal balance, nourishment and satisfaction. It also allows for endless recipe combinations, mirrors gourmet cooking, is cost effect in relation to nutritional content, and provides better support for local farmers and produce suppliers.
on May 08, 2013
at 12:34 PM
You break a bone today - you're still okay.
You break a bone a two thousand years ago - you're (probably) still okay.
You break a bone a few dozen-thousand years ago - you're (probably) going to die.
on May 08, 2013
at 10:05 AM
12.000 years ago people had to face issues that have been solved today, such as infectious illness, wars, more risk at daily activities such as hunting... and the list may go on.
We have exceled at solving some of this acute issues and specially with infectious diseases but we struggle a lot still with chronic health problems due to how we live today, that's where paleo should be aiding.
My take is that solving the acute problems of the paleolithic era plus mantaining which should be the optimal nutrition patterns may lead to the ultimate health, and I guess this is the thinking of most of we PaleoHackers (if we are here that shall be!).
For more detailed science on all this you could have a read at the PHD Book by the Jaminets, also Kruse's book Epi-Paleo and many of his blog posts give his point of view on these things, and many others like TruthinessInc suggested, using the search bar here and in Google should provide a lot of data.
on May 14, 2013
at 02:46 AM
Those skeletons found in the paleolithic era had the bone structure and density of 40 year olds, that is where we get the estimates of age. These people most likely lived long lives as we do but maintained their skeleton (of a 40 year old) into old age.
on May 14, 2013
at 02:35 AM
"There is strong evidence that humans pre 12,000 BCE did not live beyond 40 years of age. why is there such a strong assumption that their diet was good if this is the case?"
You have confused a correlate (estimated lifespan) with a cause (paleo diet), but such is not necessarily the case. The correct way to determine paleo diet efficacy in the modern world is to switch a representative sample of modern people to the paleo diet and to track the objective markers of their health vs a control group.
AFAIK, paleo eaters are doing better on health, in general, on most markers. Ultimately, it is up to you, the individual, to determine if you prefer the cost/benefit of one diet over another and to dine accordingly. Bon appetit.