Should we be eating like cavemen? Most everyone agrees that Americans eat too much processed food. The evidence is in our expanding waistlines and the growing ranks of type-2 diabetes sufferers. So does the secret to less obesity and better health really lie in eating like our caveman ancestors, who evolved to be hunter-gatherers?
Here’s a look at what some readers had to say:
I have been paleo for about 3 1/2 years and have never felt better. My stomach issues have improved, I sleep better and my skin is clearer. It is so liberating to not feel like you are dieting. When following paleo, I don’t count calories, think about portion sizes and eat until I am satisfied. It takes away the good and bad diet mentality and allows you to listen to what your body needs.
Teresa, North Carolina
Paleo may not get everything right, but the standard nutritional guidelines are so much worse. Lots of carbohydrates, very low fat—it’s a disaster that willfully denies mountains of evidence about the impact of sugar and carbs on insulin and fat storage. Not to mention the millions of poor people who try to follow the guidelines and are hopelessly overweight and primed for type-2 diabetes.
Walter P., Menlo Park, Calif.
It is unrealistic for today’s society to take menu cues from its Paleolithic predecessors. From my experience as a former paleo enthusiast, to entirely cut out certain groups of foods that have been deemed “undesirable,” only to replace them with exceedingly large amounts of other foods, creates an unhealthy balance that unfairly confuses our body’s natural metabolism process and is simply extreme (not to mention costly).
Alexandra Booze, Washington, D.C.
I think the paleo movement has been helpful in terms of drawing attention to the need to satiate ourselves less with blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates and more with proteins, fats, fiber and micronutrients available in high-quality meats and vegetables, but it goes too far in forbidding grains and legumes since those also can be healthy sources of plant proteins and micronutrients.
Sarah Marshall, Tallahassee, Fla.
Paleo cuts out all man-made processed and fake foods. Extensive studies have been done to prove the harm that legumes and grains have on our bodies. It is difficult to understand that what we have been taught our entire lives is untrue and to understand that our food groups are chosen by who can pay the most and not by what is actually nutritionally good for us.
Heather, Ontario, Canada
Paleo is nonsense with a history of failure. The body runs best on whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Eating fat to lose fat is quite simply ridiculous. The idea isn’t new and not revolutionary. Atkins tried it 40 years ago—it didn’t work then and won’t work now.
I made the switch to paleo to reduce inflammation in my body, and it has been incredibly effective. At 30 years old with two autoimmune diseases, I want to remain active for many years. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my energy, and I have less pain and less inflammation than I previously did. Eating paleo combined with activity has helped me much more than a standard American diet.
Katey Price, Naples, Fla.
Eating “paleo” is about eating NUTRIENT DENSE foods. It is NOT about eating lots of meat!! Why is a diet focused on eating the most nutrient-dense foods (i.e. the healthiest) so controversial?
Currently, Americans eat WAYYY too much sugar and processed foods. Eating paleo steers you more in the directions of eating real, unprocessed, unaltered food. Who wouldn’t benefit from changing their eating habits in this way?
Nicole, Los Angeles
It can be too difficult to get a good range of nutrients when you eliminate whole food groups. If our Paleolithic ancestors were indeed healthier than we are, I suspect a lot of it had to do with the level of exercise they engaged in.
K. Mathews, Pennsylvania