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Debunking the paleo diet Christina Warinner TEDxOU

Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here. I'm an archaeological scientist and I study the healthand dietary histories of ancient peoples using bone biochemistry and ancient DNA. I'm here because I wantto talk to you about the Paleo Diet. It's one of America's fastest growingdiet fads. The main idea behind it is that the keyto longevity and optimal health is to abandonour modern agricultural diets,

which make us ill, and move far back in timeto our Palaeolithic ancestors, more than 10,000 years ago,and eat like them. Now, I'm really interested in this idea because it purports to putarchaeology in action, to take information we know about the past and use it in the presentto help us today. Now, this idea was really startedin the 1970s

with this book, quot;The Stone Age Diet.quot; It's diversified since theninto several variants, including the Paleo Diet,the Primal Blueprint, the New Evolution Diet, and Neanderthin, and most of the language of these dietsmakes references to anthropology, nutrition science,and evolutionary medicine. The diet does seemprimarily targeted at men, so if you look at advertisementsand descriptions,

they have virile, cavemenlike images, things like quot;live primal,quot;lots of red meat. And basically, the idea behind itcan be broken down into four parts. One is that our agricultural diets todaymake us chronically ill, that they are out of syncwith our biology. And two, that we needto abandon these agricultural diets that startedduring the agricultural period, and move back in time to the Palaeolithic

and eat more like our ancestorsover 10,000 years ago. Third, that we knowwhat these diets were like, and what they were like was they had a lotof meat, they were mainly meat based. That was supplemented with vegetablesand fruits and some nuts and oils, but it definitely did not containgrains or legumes or dairy. And fourth, that if weemulate this ancient diet, it will improve our healthand make us live longer. So what I want to talk to you about todayis that this version of the Paleo Diet

that's promoted in popular books,on TV, on selfhelp websites and in the overwhelming majority of presshas no basis in archaeological reality. So, thank you! (Laughter) No, I'm not going to end there;I will explain. So what I want to doas an archaeologist is go through this, do a bit of mythbusting of some of thesefoundational archaeological concepts

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