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The paleo diet is a hugely popular way of eating and living. It’s the main way of eating for nearly all CrossFit people. I only see this diet getting more popular although it’s pretty confusing.
I don’t fully understand the diet so I will not really talk about the specifics. The rules behind it are tough to understand. As I understand, the diet tries to mimic a caveman style diet.
Since cavemen didn’t really bake or anything like that (at least that we don’t know of), the paleo diet does not condone grains and other foods similar to those cooking styles. Again please consult an expert about this way of eating. (There are actually many similarities between living vegan and living pale.)
However… what if it were based on all the wrong assumptions?
It’s long been assumed that one reason our obesity rates are skyrocketing is we simply don’t burn enough calories during the day like our ancestors did as they would constantly move and hunt.
A study of the Hadza tribe who lives in northern Tanzania has shown that their daily energy expenditure is not more than an American or Eastern European.
What Are The Hadza Doing?
According to Wikipedia, there are only about 1,000 Hadza people and of them, 300 to 400 are traditional hunter gathers. They literally live the same way their ancestors have for thousands of years. I think that’s incredible alone.
Herman Pontzer of Hunter College in New York led a study to discover if the hunter gathers were burning considerably more calories. It turned out they were not, which gives credibility to the idea that our obesity epidemic has nothing to do with activity levels and only consuming too many calories.
I don’t really think this can be the case. Here’s what I think the study didn’t take into account.
Larger Bodies Burn More Calories Naturally
First off, if you’re overweight or obese, your body will consume more calories daily to keep it all alive and able to move. So if you’re thin, you won’t burn as many because there is less energy needed to keep the body going.
From reading the study, they never mentioned this. So while most modern day people don’t really move at all, they will still naturally burn more calories than a Hudza because they are considerably larger.
That is one big difference which was not covered.
What About Sitting Being A Death Blow To Our Bodies
In the past year, there have been numerous studies on how horrific sitting is for our bodies. As a culture, we simply sit entirely too much and it’s killing our bodies.
The Hadza consistently are moving and it’s clearly making them healthier. I feel that this study didn’t look into the movement side of things because clearly, if they are moving that much they have to be burning more calories.
If they are burning more calories and still only burning the same amount we do daily, you would think they either eat more to sustain themselves of they would wither away completely.
If their extra calories burnt make no difference to their body sizes considering they are using the same amount as we are… then why would our extra calories we eat make us fat if we are using the same amount?
Doesn’t seem to make sense does it?
It’s not in balance. I think there is some information they are not telling us.
Could The Basis Of The Paleo Diet Be In Question?
No I don’t think this has any implications for trying to live like a caveman. I think there are some obvious flaws in this study.
However, I do think it’s incredibly interesting to discover more about the Hadza people while we still can… and if they will let us learn more about them.
It’s amazing that there is a culture living the hunter gather lifestyle. Many amazing things can be learned from them. I wish I could interview them and see what really is happening in their culture.
Get the facts yourself and make up your mind. That’s the best you can do.
Here is the full study: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0040503