New Study Debunks Paleo Diet: Reveals Early Humans Ate Mostly Plants

Published 16 May 2024

Experts discover cavemen ate mostly vegan foods

A groundbreaking study has cast doubt on long-held beliefs about the diets of early humans, challenging popular notions associated with the Paleo diet. The research, conducted by a team of scientists using isotope techniques, suggests that our ancestors primarily consumed plant-based foods rather than relying heavily on meat.

The study analyzed human teeth and bones dating back tens of thousands of years. By studying the isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen in these teeth and bone samples, researchers were able to reconstruct the dietary habits of ancient humans with high accuracy.

Contrary to the prevailing image of early humans as being predominantly meat-eaters, the findings indicate that plant foods made up a significant portion of their diet. This revelation challenges the core tenets of the Paleo diet, which advocates for a return to the presumed eating habits of Paleolithic humans, emphasizing meat, fish, and limited processed foods while excluding grains, dairy, and legumes.

Zineb Moubtahij, the study’s lead author, said: “Our analysis showed that these hunter-gatherer groups, they included an important amount of plant matter, wild plants to their diet, which changed our understanding of the diet of pre-agricultural populations.”

Klervia Jaouen, a co-author of the study, noted that this was the first finding by isotope techniques that saw a “significant plant-based component in a Palaeolithic diet”.


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