Paleo Diet: The New Low-Carb Diet?

There is a popular trend with respect to eating, focusing on how our ancestors ate.

Although the books have been entering the market over the last 8-10 years, the anthropological data has been there for anyone interested. Is it just another twist on the low carbohydrate bandwagon? Current research validates that lowering carbohydrate intake may be the most effective way to lose weight…but is it the best way to lose body fat? And does the weight loss last? And what are the long-term effects? We will reveal that to you in the future.


For the moment, let’s look at the lifestyle of our ancestors. We know that agriculture has been around for about 12,000 years. So it is probably accurate to say we have only been eating grains and legumes for about the same number of years, if not less. Therefore, if modern humans have been around for roughly 2 million years, the amount of time spent consuming many of the forms of starch we eat today is rather small in comparison. Did early humans worry about their portions, count carbohydrate grams or think about whether something was “fattening or not”? No, they had more important issues to focus on.


As for current eating patterns, overly processed foods have been around for less than 100 years. Processed grains are not new and in fact were necessary in order to keep them from spoiling or “going bad.” Had we not developed agriculture perhaps we would never have developed processed or milled grains. But then again, if agriculture had never been established, life would be very different today. Perhaps we would still be hunter/gatherers. This is a topic beyond the scope of this article though. Let’s look at the positive and negative of the Cave Person Lifestyle

  1. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were physically capable and likely in very good condition in order to survive the many hardships that they would experience.
  2. They were probably able to sustain periods where little food was available.
  3. It was low in salt, sugar, chemicals and trans fats.
  4. Their diet was organic.
  5. They were active.

  1. They didn’t live to a ripe old age (although this may be a topic for debate).
  2. They learned how to store fat after feasting.
  3. They may have been forced to eat things many of us would consider un-palatable.
  4. They were at the mercy of their environment and weather more than today.
  5. Food spoiled.
  6. We are just learning about the impact food had on the pleasure centers of the brain (on a positive note, there was unlikely any food addictions).

Should we examine how our early ancestors ate? Yes, but we need to look at the whole picture. Perhaps the best way to eat for weight loss, health, vitality and disease prevention in the long run includes many of the habits and choices of our ancestors. But to ignore some of the current options, choices and trends would limit us in many ways. Stay tuned for our next installment where we infuse Paleolithic eating with Neolithic eating for a healthy, tasty and optimal compromise!


The staff at Total Health Concepts



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