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PALEOLITHIC DIET

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The Paleolithic diet[A] (or Paleolithic nutrition), also popularly known as the paleo diet (var.: paleodiet), caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a dietary regimen which seeks to mimic the diet of wild plants and animals that humans[B] habitually consumed during the Paleolithic, a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. Based upon commonly available modern foods, the Paleolithic diet consists mainly of lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

First popularized in the mid 1970s by a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin, this nutritional concept has been expounded and adapted by a number of authors and researchers in several books and academic journals. Building upon the principles of evolutionary medicine,[9] it is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.

This dietary approach is a controversial topic amongst nutritionists and anthropologists. Advocates argue that modern human populations subsisting on traditional diets similar to those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are largely free of diseases of affluence, and that such diets produce beneficial health outcomes in controlled medical studies. Supporters point to several potentially therapeutic nutritional characteristics of preagricultural diets. Critics of this nutritional approach have taken issue with its underlying evolutionary logic, and have disputed certain dietary prescriptions on the grounds that they pose health risks and may not reflect the features of ancient Paleolithic diets. It has also been argued that such diets are not a realistic alternative for everyone, and that meat-based diets are not environmentally sustainable.

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