NUTRITION&FOOD Published August16, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Paleo Diet Can't Ignore Carbs

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A professor is standing up against Paleo diet, suggesting even Paleolithic ancestors might have eaten carbohydrates too.

The Paleo diet is based on the idea that our early human ancestors were eating berries, nuts, vegetables and meat. With the onset of farming with tools from flint and bones, humans developed new types of food that human metabolism had not easily adapted to. This then led to health problems such as malabsorption, obesity, and metabolic syndromes.  

The Paleo diet also implies that the quick development of the brain, which started less than a million years before, was fueled by protein.

However, Professor Mark Thomas of the University College London refutes the idea by saying the ancestors must have consumed carbohydrates to encourage such rapid brain growth.

The development of the brain happened once the ancestors discovered cooking through fire and the body, particularly the pancreas and saliva, started producing enzymes that could digest starch from carbohydrates that were derived from plants. Although these carbohydrate-rich plants were not the absolute meals, they were complementary to the diet needed by humans who lived during the middle and late Pleistocene Period.

These humans too might have been consuming carbohydrates abundantly to achieve the high brain growth rate.

He also argued that because there's not enough information on the diet of early humans, it's difficult to accurately describe a Paleolithic diet, much more a healthy diet. He somehow agrees that a diet based on a person's metabolism is a great idea.

Since the introduction of the Paleo diet in the 1960s, it has met a fair share of criticisms. Ferris Jabr of Scientific American contends that the diet is only "half baked." Although the Paleo diet is right in eliminating junk food, it also ignores the biological differences between early and modern humans.

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