The core principles of the diet are flawed, says anthropologist. For a start, stone age people ate gluten

Image: Is the Paleo diet all wrong?

Momo /  CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: kudumomo

Steak and salad, a Paleo diet classic

By now you'll know that the Paleo diet is having a moment – Uma Thurman, Matthew McConaughey and at least one person in your office is following it. The term even made it into the Oxford dictionary last year; high praise indeed.


For the uninitiated, the general idea behind the much-hyped diet is to eat like hunter-gatherers would have 10,000 or so years ago. It categorises food into three groups: foods to eat liberally, foods to eat in moderation and foods to avoid. In short, say goodbye to dairy, grains, pulses, sweeteners and processed foods.


A leading anthropologist has now said the core principles behind the diet are flawed and that people living in the Paleolithic era wouldn’t have eaten the Paleo diet as we know it.


According to Ken Sayers, a human evolution expert from Georgia State University, stone age people would have eaten whatever they could get their hands on and were a lot more opportunistic than the Paleo diet would have you believe – yes, that includes eating some of those banned foods.


He says that diets would have varied greatly from location to location, with people opting for any foods that would give them the highest amount of energy with the minimum amount of effort (hello grains and gluten).


Sayers wrote in The Conversation: “Hominids didn’t spread first across Africa, and then the entire globe, by utilising just one foraging strategy or sticking to a precise mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.


“We did it by being ever so flexible, both socially and ecologically.”


Looks like you might be able to have some bread and butter after all, Uma.