A RETURN TO THE STONE AGE?
Two researchers from the School of Medicine and the Department of Anthropology, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia have arrived at some interesting results from a study of human dietary habits. Published in the January 31, 1985 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, "Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of its Nature and Current Implications" compares the diets and nutrient intake of pre-agricultural humans to modern humans. Our existing diets, they suggest, may very well contribute to cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
It would be no simple undertaking for modern humans to realistically consume a Paleolithic diet. Stone age humans ate wild game, a much less fatty meat than our marbled cuts available today, and ate meat in much larger amounts than is recommended for a healthy diet. According to the authors, "Wild game contains over five times more polyunsaturated fat per gram than is found in domestic livestock."
Although they ate little in the way of grains and no dairy products at all, our ancient ancestors were able to obtain plenty of calcium, fiber, and vitamin C from the large quantities of meat and vegetables they consumed. Whether subsistence was based predominantly on meat or on vegetable foods, the Paleolithic diet had less total fat, more essential fatty acids, and a much higher ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats than ours does.
Medical researchers are working on using the Paleolithic diet as a standard for developing new diets – those which would prevent diseases almost non-existent in ancient times. If we improve our diets by substituting fish and poultry for high-fat meats, as we have learned, the value of the Paleolithic diet will be just that much more meaningful.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. X, No. 2, Spring 1985, page 3.