The Paleo Diet has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Paleo dieters follow a nutritional plan based on the eating habits of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period—between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago—consisting of lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
The diet prohibits any kind of food that was unavailable to Stone Age hunter-gatherers, including dairy rich in calcium, grains full of fiber, and vitamins and legumes packed with protein.
Researchers are unsure of the exact diet of our ancestors. Early humans and other hominin predecessors lived in a variety of different environments, and it’s possible their diets varied by region, they say.The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published of quartet of papers, which analyzed the specific chemical signature of molecules in order to determine the different diets of ancient hominid species by examining their fossilized teeth.
They discovered our ancestors began to move away from the traditional ape diet of fruit and leaves about 2.5 million years ago, which is much earlier than researchers previously thought. Most nutritionists agree that the Paleo diet has the right idea about cutting back processed foods, but there’s no evidence we’re better off eating like our ancestors—or that the Paleo diet closely resembles those habits.
Still on the fence about this popular diet? Check out The Paleo Diet: Should You Try It?