Washington : A new study has revealed that the “Paleolithic diet, or caveman diet,” a weight-loss craze in which people follow the diet of plants and animals eaten by human’s ancestors during the Stone Age, had no fix routine and might have been changing significantly over time and space. The study by researchers at Georgia State University and Kent State University, examines anatomical, paleoenvironmental and chemical evidence, as well as the feeding behavior of living animals. While early hominids were not great hunters, and their dentition was not great for exploiting many specific categories of plant food, they were most likely dietary “jacks-of-all-trades.” The review paper covers earliest hominid evolution, from about 6 to 1.6 million years ago. This touches on the beginning of the Paleolithic era, which spans from 2.6 million to roughly 10,000 years ago, but Sayers suggests that the conclusions hold in force for later human evolution as well. The researchers offer several points that need to be considered by people wishing to emulate the diets of our ancestors including: it’s very difficult to characterize the Paleo diet. Advocates suggested certain types of foods and a percentage of energy that should come from protein, fats and carbohydrates.

These recommendations are based largely on estimations from a limited number of modern human hunter-gatherers, but the diet of early humans was almost certainly much broader. Ancestors lived in a wide range of environments, which affected the types of food available. The variables important to feeding decisions would have differed greatly from place to place and over time, and thus greatly differing “optimal diets” would have been predicted, as suggested by modern evolutionary ecology. This was clearly observed today. Hunter-gatherers in a northern climate might have an almost exclusively animal-based diet, while hunter-gatherers near the equator might rely heavily on plant-based resources. Even the “same food” wouldn’t be the same today as it was in the olden days. Early humans had shorter life spans, so it’s difficult to say if their diet was “healthier.” And ancestors were focused on survival, not necessarily eating a balanced diet. The study is published in The Quarterly Review of Biology.