Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paleo Pffft... Real Warriors Eat Potatoes (and Other Starches)

Dr. John McDougal joins the long list of food critics, ethnologists and plant-based doctors who think the Paleo Diet phenomenon is completely misguided.  He appeared on the Plant Based Dietician's show to talk about the diet that we know warrior civilizations actually ate.  It turns out, counter to what the paleolithic purveyors claim, we don't really know a lot about what actual paleolithic ancestors ate -- in part because their diets would have had to vary by region. However we do know a
image courtesy of PlantBasedGuerilla 
lot about the diets of civilizations that have survived. And real warriors definitely eat potatoes, rice, corn and other starches.

All large populations of trim, healthy people, throughout verifiable human history, have obtained the bulk of their calories from starch. Examples of once-thriving people include Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians eating sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice; Incas in South America eating potatoes; Mayans and Aztecs in Central America eating corn; and Egyptians in the Middle East eating wheat.  (excerpt from McDougal's paper on Paleo)

McDougal does a thorough job skewing some of the claims of Paleo, because he thinks it perpetuates the low-carb craze that has been shown time and again to be unhealthy.  I do agree with him, but I also think there's a lot to like about Paleo.  If Paleo to you means eating less packaged foods, sugar and overly processed foodlike substances, that's fantastic.  My hope is to get away from labels like vegan, low-card, paelo and focus on what we (and science) can all agree on.  Eating more whole plant foods should not be a diet, it should be a lifestyle for healthy civilizations.

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