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Myth: Avoiding grains (i.e. the Paleo diet) is true to our ancestors

Edible pine tree bark

TRUTH:  Omitting grains is emphasized for those following the Paleo Diet because proponents claim that humans aren’t adapted to eating grains.  In short, these claims are completely unfounded and, in some cases, just plain false.  Here’s a look at the grain-related claims:

Claim #1: Humans aren’t meant to eat grains.

Claim #2: Humans have only been eating grains since the advent of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago.

Why these claims are false:

A lot of new research validates that early humans not only ate grains, but that grains were a staple in their diet.  Not exactly in the form that we know now – but as tree bark.  Tree bark, a plant food, is not a fruit or vegetable.  Edible bark has an indigestible outer layer, it can be dried and ground into flour to make breads, has some digestible starches, sugars, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  What does that sound like to you?  A grain, nutritionally similar to those we eat, just in a less cultivated form.

In addition, scientists can prove that eating bark dates back to 4 million years ago in Australopithecus, the genus that evolved into modern day humans.  They were extinct about 2 million years ago.  But I digress because this is a food website, not a history lesson – so, what’s the point?

BOTTOM LINE: The point is that the Paleo diet lacks a lot of evidence to support the claims it makes.  Tree bark is not the only grain consumed by our ancestors, scientific anylysis of teeth specimens also points to papyrus and other similar sources of complex carbohydrates.  Scientists conclude that this evidence clearly shows that our ancestors ate a lot more than we previously thought.  I re-conclude: Paleo is not the way to go.



  1. National Geographic: Human Ancestors Ate Bark – Food in Teeth Hints at Chimplike Origins
  2.   Science Daily: Early Human Diet Shows Surprises

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2 Comments to "Myth: Avoiding grains (i.e. the Paleo diet) is true to our ancestors"

  1. Jacki says:

    Great post!

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