The Stone Age diet is based on the theory that modern human genes result from the way of life people lived for over a million years before the introduction of agriculture.
Consuming the diet of those times, they say, is good for humans.
Other names are the Paleolithic, or paleo diet, the prehistoric diet, the caveman diet, or the hunter-gatherer diet.
Unlike the raw food diet, food on the Paleo diet can be cooked.
People seeking to lose weight may find they achieve this goal without having to count calories, at least at the beginning. This is because they will probably consume fewer calories than they were before, just by avoiding processed and refined foods.
How farming affected our eating habits
The Paleo diet strips away much of the added and refined sugar in the average Western diet.
Farming began about 10,000 years ago, but humans have been around for over a million years. The Paleolithic era ended about 20,000 years ago, before the introduction of agriculture.
It takes about 1 million years for an animal’s genes to adapt its metabolism and physiology to changing lifestyles. This process of change is called “natural selection.”
This suggests that, genetically, we are nearly identical to humans who lived before the start of agriculture.
Paleo dieters maintain that 10,000 years is not long enough for natural selection to make the genetic changes needed for us to consume our relatively new farm-based diet.
Farming produces grains, legumes, and dairy product, but our genetic makeup is still that of the hunter-gatherer. In other words, our bodies are designed to consume wild plants, animals, and seafood.
We are even less genetically suited for modern processed foods, such as sugar, refined fat, and so on.
Meat and vegetables are encouraged in the Stone Age diet. Food may also be cooked if preferred.
Hunter-gatherer foods that are suitable for the paleo diet include:
Insects and larvae
Seafood, both fish and shellfish
Vegetables, including those root vegetables that can be eaten raw
Fruits, nuts, and seeds
Herbs and spices
Natural sugars, such as honey, maple sugar, and date sugar
According to paleo dieters, humans are not designed to eat:
Grains and flour
Legumes, including peanuts, beans, peas, cashews, tofu, soy milk, and soy flour
Root vegetables that cannot be eaten raw, such as potato, tapioca, parsnips, sweet potato, and yam
Foods that contain yeast
Juices, sodas, and coffee
Since the paleo diet was introduced, new versions have emerged that allow some “modern” foods that scientists have proven to be healthy, such as quality bacon from pasture-raised pigs.
Some suggestions for meals are:
Breakfast: bacon, eggs, and a piece of fruit
Lunch: a sandwich of meat and vegetables wrapped in a lettuce leaf
Dinner: fried chicken with vegetables
Snacks: raw vegetable sticks, nuts, or fruit
Authority Nutrition suggests that a little good quality red wine and an occasional piece of dark chocolate are “sensible indulgences.”