With the popular Paleo Diet, you eat real food—plants and animals—like our hunter-gatherer ancestors did before the birth of man-made food products. No surprise that the Paleolithic era was one of the healthiest in human history, claim scientists Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D. in their book, Perfect Health Diet.
The tall stature and strong bones of Paleolithic skeletons indicate that Paleolithic humans were in remarkably good health. Paleolithic humans were tall and slender; cavities and signs of malnutrition or stress in bones were rare; muscle attachments were strong, and there was an absence of skeletal evidence of infections or malignancy.
The adoption of farming in the Neolithic radically changed the diet, and with it came a dramatic loss of health. Farmers needed crops that yielded many calorie-rich seeds from each seed planted, so the harvest could feed the farmer’s family for a year and supply seeds for sowing in the spring. This required a turn of the diet to grains and legumes—foods that, as we shall see, are toxic.
After the adoption of agriculture, stature lessened; smaller tendon attachments show that muscles weakened; bone and teeth pathologies, such as cavities and osteoporosis, became common; hypoplasias show that periods of malnutrition were common; and signs of infections and inflammation became common.
The drop in stature persisted throughout the agricultural era until modern times. Only in the twentieth century, with rising wealth and the elimination of many infectious diseases, did humans regain Paleolithic stature.
So Paleolithic diets were quite healthful—agricultural diets, not so much.
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