I attended a seminar last week comparing paleo and plant based diets. Visiting international speaker and Canadian dietitian Brenda Davis, author of more than 8 books on nutrition presented the latest research by nutritional anthropologists on the Paleo Diet, including some surprising findings.
“Paleo” advocates place a huge emphasis on eating meat, and the “Modern Paleo” diet is different to the “True Paleo” diet as eaten by our hunter gatherer ancestors.
Key findings presented were as follows:
The “True Paleo” diet is much higher in key vitamins – Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamins A, C, E and minerals – iron, zinc, calcium, sodium than the “Modern Paleo” diet.
The “True Paleo” diet has about half the amount of fat than the “Modern Paleo” diet.’
The “True Paleo” diet has about 6-12% saturated fat vs the “Modern Paleo” diet which has about 19% saturated fat.
The “True Paleo” diet has about 3 times more fibre than the “Modern Paleo” diet.
WHY THE DIFFERENCES?
Because the meat and vegetables consumed today bear little resemblance to those eaten by pre-agricultural population.
Wild Meat vs Domestic
Lower in fat
Lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids
Free of hormones, antibiotics, and in paleolithic times of environmental contaminants.
Wild vs Domestic Plants
Cultivated vegetables and fruits have been bred for palatability, transportability, and digestibility. Wild plants deliver over triple the fibre of commercial plants.
Nutritional Negatives of the “Modern Paleo” diet
Meat centred – high fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and chemical contaminants.
Excludes legumes and grains – rich sources of macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals and fibre.
During the Paleolithic period the human population grew from an estimated one half million people to about 6 million people. Today there are 7.5 billion people on the planet. We would need a planet the size of Jupiter if we were all hunter-gatherers.