New book counters the cave man craze

  • Article by: STEVE LEBEAU , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2013 - 7:28 PM

For a growing number of people, the good old days go back — way back — to the Paleolithic era.

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edinawaterJul. 21, 13 8:58 PM

So let me see if I understand this. Some people figure that because our distant ancestors lived a certain way in the past it must be the healthiest lifestyle we could adopt. They come to this conclusion even though our distant ancestors had a life expectancy of 30-35 years--less than half of our life expectancy today.

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erikj3Jul. 21, 13 9:19 PM

I don't eat paleo because pasta, potatoes, and sandwiches are delicious (as is beer).

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happy2commntJul. 21, 13 9:54 PM

What a ridiculous article! At least do a LITTLE bit of research??? Paleo is much more than just eliminating unnecessary grains that are fattening us up, it is also about eliminating the amount process foods we eat. Read the labels of the products you are putting into your body...soda is ALL chemicals. This whole article touched on Paleo at the beginning and then went on a lecture about human evolution. Waste of time Mr. Lebeau, at least do a little homework next time.

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nyncompoopJul. 21, 1310:17 PM

The life expectancy of our ancestors had more to do with predators, injuries and infection than diet. Our bodies are best served by eating natural organic foods that have been grown and not modified by man for higher profits. Edinawater... get a clue!

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buzzard23Jul. 21, 1310:38 PM

Real food does not have a label. Products have labels. Our bodies need food, not products.

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mattstegJul. 21, 1311:07 PM

A couple of comments: When our ancestors were living half as long (and let's say predators, injuries, infection, disease were the reason) there was not all that much advantage to a diet that would provide for good health beyond 30-35 years). It's a bit tenuous to base too much dietary emphasis on the diet of a group that rarely lived as long as we do - regardless of what was killing them. I love minimally processed foods as much as anyone, but there's only so far that that explanation goes.

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optionJul. 22, 13 6:50 AM

I didn't read much of anything here that countered anything that I didn't already know. I avoid sugar, when I eat meat, I eat grass-fed beef or organic chicken or pork, and seafood. I exercise several times a week and do what works best for me after several years of hard work. I get plenty of sleep, I drink lots of liquids, and I do things to keep stress at manageable levels.

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rowa0025Jul. 22, 13 7:00 AM

For the author to question the scientific research involved in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and then not provide any actual research in her counterargument tells you all you need to know about how much research went into the article. I have yet to see a research based argument against the Paleo/Primal diet and lifestyle, but there is A LOT of research included in the Paleo books referenced and the Primal Blueprint. I have yet to meet anyone who tried it and hasn't seen dramatic results (including me).

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rowa0025Jul. 22, 13 7:03 AM

If you read the books, the authors address the life expectancy points made by some of the previous posts. I wouldn't do them justice by summarizing, so I highly recommend that you take some time to read the research.

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SammyBoyJul. 22, 13 8:15 AM

There are a couple of myths that need addressing. The most glaringly absurd one is the "people only lived 30 years" back in the Stone Age. Those are estimates of lifespan that use the same metric we use today: What is the average age a child born today could expect to live. In other words, infant and childhood mortality play a huge role in that number. So a better question is this: What is the average age of death for a human who survived childhood? Bone fragments, historical records, and modern observation have kept that number consistently above 55. Survive childhood, survive a long time (assuming no Black Death or AIDS epidemic). Another myth is that the ideal human diet is completely reliant on the genes within our own DNA. I hate to tell everyone this, but the gut is home to about of tenth of the DNA found in the human body, and none of it is human. Those bacteria are responsible for much of our nutrient absorption. And they quickly evolve depending on the food you eat. Some things, like the enzyme to break down lactose, are human DNA dependent, but focusing on that is mistaking a single tree for the entire forest. There is little to no support of the Paleo-lifestyle, unless it's expanded, as someone up above said, to removing processed foods. Well, that could also be called the pre-Industrial Revolution diet, the Roman diet, the frontier diet, the farmer's diet, or the hippie's diet. There is nothing particularly ancient or magical about it. Unless "processed" also means drying, salting, curing, heating, cooling, grinding, mixing, malting, fermenting, flavoring or any other number of processes that humans have used for thousands of years to extract maximum nutritional value from raw foods that don't yield to the digestive system or have short storage lives.

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