Given that so much science indicates that meat, via multiple different mechanisms, increases the level of inflammation in the body -- and the fact that inflammation plays a significant role in most chronic disease, studies like this one make an important contribution to our understanding of what is going on. It is worth noting that although most of those embracing the current paleo craze shun beans, the two dietary factors that all the blue zones (the longest lived healthiest populations in the world) have in common is:
- They eat a low-protein diet with very little food of animal origin and
- They all consume legumes (beans, peas lentils).
I believe gluten explains why so many people believe that Paleo (which is mostly if not entirely gluten free in the way most people interpret it) is helping them to feel better in spite of overwhelming science suggesting that eating more meat and less beans adversely impacts health outcomes over the long term and probably shortens lifespan. In addition many authors have pointed out that popular beliefs about what stone age humans ate falls short of common sense -- there was obviously enormous variability in the amount of plant-food vs animal food eaten in various regions -- with only perhaps humans living in extremely cold environments eating anything close to the proportions suggested by most Paleo authors. There was great variability by region as to what was eaten, and the archeological record suggests that very few of our Paleolithic ancestors regularly even had the option of eating the large amounts of animal protein that are being encouraged by current paleo devotees.
Now a new video by Dr. Michael Greger explains some interesting research that sheds additional light on this subject. He points out the fallacy of assuming we are most adapted to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate, since the Paleolithic Period accounts for only about 10 % of hominid evolution -- with the other 90% of our DNA having evolved during the Miocene Era. Scientists agree that hominid diets in the Miocene were overwhelmingly plant based in all regions that our hominid ancestors inhabited. Watch Dr. Greger's new video on the Miocene route -- or read the short transcript just below the video on that same page.