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Paleo Recipes: Hype Or Hero?

Sue Hopkins takes a closer look at paleo recipes as a viable diet option and finds out some startling facts.

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The so-called "Paleo Diet" or paleolithic diet is – believe it or not – based on what anthropologists believe that humans of the paleolithic period (that ended roughly ten thousand or so years ago if you aren't up on your ancient periods) ate. If modern diets don't work, why not turn to prehistoric food regimes?

Of course, what really matters is whether it works or not. After all, older architecture, art and even cars are generally regarded as much better looking than today's so a look into the distant past of food consumption could have benefits. In short, the paleo diet (gluten free) is a modern interpretation of paleolithic, hunter-gatherer eating habits.

So what foods are recommended in this modern/prehistoric approach?

In short, this dietary angle suggests that plenty of fish, roots, nuts, fungi, eggs, vegetables and meats are good for our general health whereas dairy products, oils, sugar, salt, grain-based foods and potatoes are off the menu. Permanently. Yes, permanently.

The brains – more or less - behind the modern paleo diet is Walter Voegtlin, whose 1975 book, "The stone age diet: based on in-depth studies of human ecology and the diet of man" effectively kickstarted the modern paleo obsession.

The interesting philosophy behind this way of thinking about diet, weight loss and a healthy lifestyle is that the physical evolution (of human beings) is quite slow whereas our contemporary 'fast food' lifestyle has emerged far more quickly than our physical bodies could adapt to.

As a result of our paleolithic physical body types which are not suited to a high sugar, low exercise lifestyle, we suffer all manner of negative physical side effects such as obesity, diabetes, increased cancer rates and generally poor health (despite our extending average lifespans).

However, the paleolithic diet remains a highly argued and controversial subject in the circles of professional dietitians and even anthropologists.

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