Debunking Meat-Heavy Diets in 200 Words
They have names like the Carnivore Diet, the Caveman Diet, the Savage Diet, the Primal Diet, the Sapien Diet, and the Look-at-Me-Daddy-I’m-a-Big-Muscly-Boy-Now-Daddy-Because-I-Eat-All-My-Meats-Are-You-Proud-of-Me-Daddy? Diet.
Okay, so maybe I made that last one up.
But do any of these carbohydrate-restricting, meat-intensive diets, which are intended to mimic the diets of our pre-Agricultural Revolution ancestors, actually have anything to offer humanity?
- constipation (thanks to the low fiber);
- increased LDL (bad) cholesterol, putting you at risk for heart disease;
- and with processed meat in particular (like bacon) comes the risk of high blood pressure, kidney problems, and some types of cancer
(source: Cleveland Clinic)
Risky Diets Based on Sloppy Science
While the peddlers of meat-heavy diets may genuinely believe they are following in the dietary footsteps of our Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer predecessors, there are three main problems with that assumption:
- Diets varied greatly by region during the Paleolithic era. In some regions, like Scandinavia, early humans ate lots of fish and meat. In other regions, they didn’t.
- The archaeological record favors meat consumption. Bones last a lot longer than rinds, cores, and other leftover bits of fruits and vegetables.
- Male-dominated academia has historically favored studying the hunters, not the gatherers. To quote anthropologist Dr. Jeanne E. Arnold: “People ate probably more non-meat foods than meat foods in every era in human history.” (source: KCET.org)