Why are some scientists content to ridicule the paleo diet without actually studying it?

Asked on June 04, 2013
Created June 04, 2013 at 7:23 PM

It's one thing for Marlene Zuk to rail against straw men, to ignore peer-reviewed academic literature in favor of random Internet comments, and to demean people who believe that the ancestral diet is a good starting point for improving their health. Most of us can see this for the hatchet job that it is. Many of us are in agreement with the critiques by Sisson, Jaminet, and others, who have exposed her gross misrepresentation of the paleo diet and its practitioners. Quality information is out there for the critical-thinking reader.

Unfortunately, it's quite a different thing to see a tacit approval of her narrative in an elite scientific journal. But the review 'Evolving beyond stone age fantasies' in the journal Science gives just that.


It simply repeats Zuk's arguments with no effort to critique them, and no acknowledgement of the critiques in the paleo community. A few quotes:

"Wearing webbed FiveFinger running shoes, eating only meat, and donating blood regularly (to mimic ancestral iron levels), these paleo devotees drastically change their lives to be more like our prehistoric ancestors."

"works hard to convey a simple idea???longing for the days before tool use is not only unnecessary but silly."

"And the most essential component of the fantasy: no Paleolithic man deviates from this routine."

"She highlights the growing evidence that the behavior of paleo humans, whether it is diet or matrimony practices, was not uniform."

"Paleofantasy reinforces the theme that evolution continues, even for humans."

"Zuk also does well to remind us that evolution has no specific end goals"

"Zuk keeps readers entertained by poking fun at her paleo opponents"

"Targeting the popularized Paleolithic man is really just a strategy for Zuk's larger goal of celebrating evolution"

" she dispels the idea that living like our ancestors provides some kind of advantage"

I say there's not enough vomit in the world to properly respond to this review. What do you think? How does this stuff make it into a top journal?

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