How has the human diet changed over the past millennia? What’s so great about the Paleolithic diet (the default hominin diet)? What should you eat to enhance your protection against diet-related disease?
If you’re a regular reader of Darwinian-Medicine.com, you probably know the answers to these questions. However, if you’re not, then chances are you don’t…
What the science says
I frequently come across people – both in real life and on the internet – that don’t really get what the whole Paleo/evolutionary nutrition thing is all about. They don’t understand what makes some diets healthier than others, what separates the original human diet from other diets, and why it’s a good idea to restrict your intake of grains, milk, and processed foods.
These people have never taken the time to dig into the scientific research on evolutionary nutrition. The little knowledge they possess about ancestral diets and evolutionary health promotion they have typically picked up from fitness blogs, YouTube videos, and newspaper articles. This is problematic, because much of the information that these sources deliver is biased, fragmented, and incomplete.
Online, you’ll find some people who love ancestral diets such as the Paleo diet, and others who hate them. Typically, the people who hate these diets focus on just one or two things about the diets that they don’t like. For example, they may focus all of their attention on antinutrients, claiming that there is inadequate evidence to suggest that antinutrients found in cereal grains are harmful to human health. Based on this assessment, they then proceed to say that the idea that it’s unhealthy to eat a lot of cereal grains is bullocks.
This approach to nutrition is extremely fallacious. As I pointed out in a previous article here on the blog, it’s important to see the forest for the trees. We shouldn’t spend all our time staring at just one or two trees. We must remember that the trees we’re looking at are just a small part of a larger forest.
There isn’t just one or two things about the human diet that have changed over the past millenia, but rather, its composition has been completely altered. This is important to acknowledge, because it implies that simply focusing on one or a couple of nutrients or nutritional characteristics won’t get us very far. We need to look at the big picture of things.
Over the years I’ve written numerous articles about nutrition and health, many of which include lengthy answers to one or more of the questions posed in the beginning. I realise that a lot of people may find many of these articles to be too long and complex. For that reason, I’ve now created an infographic that summarizes how the human diet has changed over the past 10.000 years. This infographic was born out of the scientific literature.
I hope you find it useful! Please share it with your friends and family.