Does the Paleo Diet Make Sense Only in Light of Evolution?

The Paleo diet (or Primal if you prefer) is based on the premise that we humans are genetically adapted to the diet of our ancestors. There is a heavy reliance on the explanation that Darwinian Evolution is at the root of this – that we have EVOLVED to eat this way. Now I consider myself an intelligent person. For what it’s worth, while far from being the universal designation of intelligence, I do have a couple of degrees from great universities. I like to examine facts and evidence and use logic in making decisions. But guess what? While I acknowledge adaptations and the like, I am not a believer in Darwinian Evolution and I am not alone. There are many other people like me. The point of this post is NOT to debate evolution or change anyone’s mind (please, let’s not go there). But I would like to explore why it is that I am a devotee of a diet and lifestyle that appears so rooted in something I do not embrace.

Instead of relying so heavily upon human evolutionary theory, the Paleo diet makes sense for other reasons. I believe the argument “cavemen did this so you should too” is illogical. Sure, I like the fun, iconic caveman as much as the next person. There’s no reason we can’t have fun with this, right? But I believe as Matt LaLonde, a biochemist with a Ph.D from Harvard and a strong interest in Paleo nutrition, stated in episode #68 of Robb Wolf‘s podcast, that looking at what our ancestors ate is instructional at best. It can point us in the right direction but does not rise to the level of a convincing argument.

In fact, LaLonde said, Continue reading