Dr. Loren Cordain is a professor in the department of health and exercise science at Colorado State University.
He is one of the world’s leading experts on the paleolithic diet, which involves trying to mimic the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.
He has published several books, including The Paleo Diet, one of the books that brought this way of eating to the mainstream.
The Theory Behind The Paleolithic Diet
The paleolithic (or old stone age) era was a long time period in human evolutionary history, ranging from the time we learned to use stone tools about 2,6 million years and until about 10.000 BC.
Back then, we used to live as hunter-gatherers. Every food we ate was something we were able to find in nature.
The basic theory behind the paleo diet is that we are genetically adapted to eating the same foods as our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Since we adopted agriculture about 12.000 years ago, our genome hasn’t changed very much. We’re still very similar to our ancestors even though our environment has changed.
While we may have adapted somewhat since the advent of agriculture with enzymes to break down starch and dairy, it is clear that we have NOT had the time to adapt to the factory-made junk foods that dominate the western diet today.
Modern Hunter-Gatherers Are in Exceptional Health
What they all have in common is the absence of many modern diseases. Obesity, acne, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, even some cancers are unheard of in these populations.
Whenever these populations have adopted a western diet high in sugar, refined grains and vegetable oils, they rapidly start suffering from the same western diseases.
What this implies is that it is the western environment and the western diet particularly that is unnatural and harmful to our bodies, who adapted to eating foods that were available in nature.
The Paleo Diet is Probably The Optimal Human Diet
I personally believe the paleo diet to be just about as healthy as a diet can get.
It is based on eating real, unprocessed foods such as meats, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sometimes tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes.
The meal plan I advocate is 90% in accordance with this diet, although I also include high-fat dairy products like butter, cream and cheese and acknowledge the fact that lean and healthy people can probably eat healthier starches without issues.
But the paleo diet is something you can’t go wrong with.
Personally I believe that nutrition should be built around the diet that our bodies adapted to throughout evolution instead of the low-fat, grain-based dogma that was invented by man without any real science to back it up.
It is our birthright as humans to be fit and healthy. The low-fat diet denies us of that.