Is Paleo even Paleo? Chris Kresser doesn't care
Chris Kresser is quickly becoming one of my favourite bloggers on the subject of Paleo and health—probably because nom de plume is The Healthy Skeptic and I can certainly relate to a good skeptic. But that's a story for another day.
At the beginning of the year (yes, I'm a little behind) Chris wrote an article called Is Paleo even Paleo? And does it even matter? In this piece he cites points made by a "Professor Gumby" and Dr. Kurt Harris in a collaborative post they wrote. Here are a few crib notes:
- It's very difficult to say with certainty what paleo people ate or did
- Even modern hunter/gatherers have been somewhat affected by modern civilization (which means studying them isn't at all like studying paleolithic people)
- When a research subject is being researched, their behaviour changes
- Modern hunter/gatherers are mostly displaced from their preferred living/hunting grounds (meaning they are likely living and eating with "second best" options)
After discussing what isn't known about paleolithic life, Chris closes with what we do know about the Paleo lifestyle.
Despite not being able to know exactly how paleolithic people lived we do know—with science to back it up—the following:
- Modern diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer, autoimmunity, and heart disease didn't exist in paleo people (or were very rare)
- When foods like wheat flour, seed oils, and sugar are introduced to modern hunter/gatherers the occurrence of modern diseases increases
- When the aforementioned foods are removed from modern hunter/gatherers modern disease incidents decrease (or disappear altogether)
I'm going to borrow Chris' words to close out because they're perfect. "That's enough for me."