Paleo Diet is a Myth, Says New Study

Our ancestors ate grains, not meat, says new research out of Italy.


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According to a recent story published in New Scientist, the belief that our ancestors ate a paleo diet—which emphasizes cutting grains and dairy while eating an increased amount of meat—is wrong. Instead, Marta Mariotti Lippi and her colleagues at the University of Florence found traces of oats on an ancient grinding tool in Southern Italy dating 32,000 years ago, which is approximately 20,000 years before farming was developed. Based on this discovery, researchers deduced that Paleolithic people turned oats into flour and then applied heat to create a flatbread. Lippi says this isn’t the only instance of evidence pointing to ancient people eating starch. “In Central Italy they ate starch from cattail,” Litti said. “ In the Middle East, starch from wild wheat. In Russia and Moravia, they were eating starch, but we do not know which plants they processed.” Furthermore, New Scientist cited the expertise of archaeologist Matt Pope from the University College London, who stated, “There is a relationship there to be explored between diet, experimentation with processing plant food, and cultural sophistication.” Paleo diets revolve around protein; modern-day humans can obtain 17 grams of plant protein per 100 grams of oats.