Popular Science

Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t all eat paleo

Ötzi is a good reminder that there's no one ancient, natural diet for us to return to.
hunter gatherer bow arrow

"Sorry, I'm not doing carbs right now."


We have a strange nostalgia for our hunter-gatherer days. Despite the fact that many of our ancestors died grim deaths at the hands of animal teeth and simple infections, we seem to cling to the idea that humans were somehow healthier and just, well, better when living off the land. It’s for this reason that many turn to diets based on what either ancestral humans or modern-day hunter-gatherers would eat.

looked at what Ötzi, the famous iceman), there’s one more problem with this kind of analysis: there was no one paleo diet. Nor is there a single kind of diet that modern hunter-gatherers all rely on. (Note: though it's called the "paleolithic diet," the evolutionary rationale for such eating plans often lumps in folks from all manner of relatively ancient times; Ötzi was from the chalcolithic, or copper age, for example, but falls under the ancient hunter-gatherer umbrella.)

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