Articles, Blog

Debunking the paleo diet | Christina Warinner | TEDxOU

November 17, 2019

Translator: Kelly Burt
Reviewer: Laura Díaz Aguirre Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m an archaeological scientist and I study the health
and dietary histories of ancient peoples using bone biochemistry and ancient DNA. I’m here because I want
to talk to you about the Paleo Diet. It’s one of America’s fastest growing
diet fads. The main idea behind it is that the key
to longevity and optimal health is to abandon
our modern agricultural diets, which make us ill, and move far back in time
to our Palaeolithic ancestors, more than 10,000 years ago,
and eat like them. Now, I’m really interested in this idea because it purports to put
archaeology in action, to take information we know about the past and use it in the present
to help us today. Now, this idea was really started
in the 1970s with this book, “The Stone Age Diet.” It’s diversified since then
into several variants, including the Paleo Diet,
the Primal Blueprint, the New Evolution Diet, and Neanderthin, and most of the language of these diets
makes references to anthropology, nutrition science,
and evolutionary medicine. The diet does seem
primarily targeted at men, so if you look at advertisements
and descriptions, they have virile, cavemen-like images, things like “live primal,”
lots of red meat. And basically, the idea behind it
can be broken down into four parts. One is that our agricultural diets today
make us chronically ill, that they are out of sync
with our biology. And two, that we need
to abandon these agricultural diets that started
during the agricultural period, and move back in time to the Palaeolithic and eat more like our ancestors
over 10,000 years ago. Third, that we know
what these diets were like, and what they were like was they had a lot
of meat, they were mainly meat based. That was supplemented with vegetables
and fruits and some nuts and oils, but it definitely did not contain
grains or legumes or dairy. And fourth, that if we
emulate this ancient diet, it will improve our health
and make us live longer. So what I want to talk to you about today
is that this version of the Paleo Diet that’s promoted in popular books,
on TV, on self-help websites and in the overwhelming majority of press
has no basis in archaeological reality. So, thank you! (Laughter) No, I’m not going to end there;
I will explain. So what I want to do
as an archaeologist is go through this, do a bit of myth-busting of some of these
foundational archaeological concepts upon which it’s based, and then I want to talk to you
about what we really do know from the archaeological record and from scientific studies
about what Palaeolithic people did eat. So, myth one is that humans
are evolved to eat meat and that Palaeolithic peoples
consumed large quantities of meat. Humans have no known
anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations
to meat consumption. Quite the opposite, we have
many adaptations to plant consumption. Take, for example, vitamin C. Carnivores can make their own vitamin C,
because vitamin C is found in plants. If you don’t eat plants,
you need to make it yourself. We can’t make it, we have
to consume it from plants. We have a longer digestive tract
than carnivores. That’s because our food
needs to stay in our bodies longer, so we have more time
to digest plant matter. We need more surface area,
we need more microbes. We have generalist dentition, so we have big molars that are there
to shred fibrous plant tissue. We do not have carnassials, which are the specialised teeth
that carnivores have to shred meat, and we do actually have
some genetic mutations in some populations that are adaptive to animal consumption,
but it’s to milk, not meat, and these arose in certain populations
during agricultural periods primarily in Europe and Africa. I call this “The Meat Myth.” The idea behind it
is that we should eat all this red meat, but that’s just really not true. The meats on this plate of meat here are from fattened cattle,
these are domestic animals. Anything a Palaeolithic
person would have eaten would have probably been very lean,
probably small, and they wouldn’t really
have eaten that much meat. Of course there’s also
bone marrow and organs, these would have been very important. We see evidence of harvesting
of bone marrow in faunal assembles where you see characteristic
cutting open of the bones, like you see here, for marrow extraction. Now sure, people did eat meat, and especially in the Arctic and areas with long periods
where plants were not available, they would have eaten a lot of meat. But people that lived
in more temperate or tropical regions would have had a very large
plant portion of their diet. So where does this Meat Myth come from? There’s really two places, and one is the inherent bias
in the archaeological record. Bone is 80% mineral by weight,
it’s going to preserve better and longer over thousands of years
than delicate plant remains. But the other issue comes
from some early bone biochemistry studies that were performed
on Neanderthals and early people. This bone biochemistry study is based on something called
nitrogen stable isotope analysis. It’s complicated, but I’m going
to try and break it down. The basic idea is that you are
what you eat, and so we – there’s nitrogen-15 and nitrogen-14,
heavy and light versions of nitrogen – and we consume this nitrogen in our food. But there’s one important difference, and that is, with each step
that you go up the trophic hierarchy, the amount of the heavier
isotope increases. So if you measure
the amount of heavy isotope in the bone, you can infer where that individual
was on a food chain. This is an example
of a generalized isotopic model. I’ve plotted where plants generally fall,
and above them are the herbivores, and then above them, the carnivores. But one of the problems is that not all
ecosystems conform to this model. There’s a lot of regional variability,
so if you don’t understand the region, you can come to erroneous conclusions.
I’ll give you some examples: we can take East Africa;
if we measure animals and ancient humans, in East Africa, we see
some very strange patterns. First of all, how can a human
be higher than a lion? Lions only eat other animals. And then,
how is this herbivore above a lion? Well, it turns out
that the food that you eat is not is not the only contributor
to these isotopic values. and that aridity can also have an impact. So what we’re likely seeing here
is differences in water access. So let’s move out of the savannah
and move into the tropical areas. Let’s look at the ancient Maya;
again we see something anomalous. We see the ancient Maya
lining up with jaguars. Now, we know the ancient Maya
had a diet heavily reliant on corn. So what’s happening here? We don’t exactly know,
but we think this may have to do with the way they performed agriculture
and how they fertilised their crops. Now let’s go to the Pleistocene. We see some
really interesting patterns here too. We see reindeer plotting very low,
in the range of plants. We see wolves plotting normally
where you would see herbivores, and we see mammoths
spanning all three levels, at once plants, herbivores and carnivores. So what we think is happening here is that in very cold climates,
animals eat unusual things. and in this case
what we think is happening is these mammoths
are eating lichens and bark and that’s giving them
very strange values. So if we now go to humans, ancient humans,
Palaeolithic humans, and Neanderthals, we see that they plot in the same
isotopic space as wolves and hyenas. Now that’s true, but as I’ve shown,
if you don’t have good control over the regional isotopic ecology,
you can come to an erroneous conclusion, and I think it’s premature to say this is very strong evidence
of meat consumption, given how very little we really know
about the Palaeolithic ecosystems. So, myth two is that Palaeolithic peoples
did not eat whole grains or legumes. Now, we have stone tool evidence
from at least 30,000 years ago – that’s 20,000 years
before the invention of agriculture – of people using stone tools that look like mortars and pestles
to grind up seeds and grain. More recently
we’ve been developing techniques where we can actually measure
this thing called “dental calculus.” It’s very interesting:
it’s fossilized dental plaque. We can go in the individual mouths
of people, pull out that plaque and recover microfossils
of plants and other remains. My team is working on developing
methods to extract DNA and proteins, and other research groups
are focussing on these microfossils like starch grains, pollen and phytoliths. Now, we’re still in early days here, but even with the limited
research we have, we can say that there is an abundance
of plant remains inside the dental calculus
of Paleolithic peoples. And these things include
grains, including barley. We’re finding barley inside
Neanderthal teeth, or inside the plaque. We also have legumes and tubers. So, myth three is that Paleo Diet foods,
in the fad diet, are what our Palaeolithic ancestors ate. That’s just not true. Every single food that’s pictured
in these advertisements are all domesticated foods,
products of farming, of agriculture. They’re from the Neolithic transition. Let’s give an example – bananas. Bananas are the ultimate farmer’s food. They can’t reproduce in the wild anymore. We’ve bred out their ability
to make seeds. So every banana you’ve ever eaten is a genetic clone of every other banana,
grown from cuttings. They’re definitely a farmer’s food. If you were to eat a wild banana,
it is so full of seeds that I bet many people in this room
wouldn’t even recognize it as edible. Let’s take salads, that seems
like a really great Paleo Diet food. Except that we’ve radically changed
the ingredients to suit our needs. So, wild lettuces contain
a great deal of latex, which is indigestible
and irritates our gastrointestinal system. It’s bitter, the leaves are tough. We’ve domesticated them
to be softer, to produce bigger leaves, to remove the latex and the bitterness, remove the spines that grow on the leaves and stems of wild varieties,
make them tastier for us. The tomato that’s shown here lacks the tomatine and solanine toxins
that are present in its wild relatives, which are all members
of the poisonous nightshade family. If we look at oil, it’s true that olive
oil is the only natural vegetable oil that can be harvested
without synthetic chemicals. Except, it still requires at least
rudimentary presses to remove it, something that no Palaeolithic person
would have ever built. This is a farmer’s food. This is a model diet I found on a website. It looks like a delicious
and nutritious breakfast, but a Palaeolithic person
wouldn’t have had access to it. First of all, the blueberries
are from New England, the avocados, from Mexico,
and the eggs, from China. (Laughter) This would have
never appeared on any Palaeolithic plate. And last, we have this problem of size. Domestic blueberries
are twice the size of wild blueberries. We’ve already talked
about bananas; you look at avocados. A wild avocado has maybe
a couple millimetres of fruit on it, and the same goes for wild olives. And of course chickens, chickens
are prolific producers. They lay eggs almost every single day. They’re predictable, large and abundant. If you’re trying to collect
wild eggs, they don’t lay year round, and they’re not as easy to find,
they’re typically small. But maybe you’re not convinced, so I’m going to give
just a couple more examples. This, you may all recognise as broccoli. Broccoli did not even exist
in the Palaeolithic period. What you see on the left
is wild broccoli – looks quite different. Now, wild broccoli is also:
wild cabbage, wild cauliflower, wild kale, wild kohlrabi and wild Brussels sprouts,
they’re all the same species. The only difference is they’re
different cultivars. We’ve selectively bred the same species to produce the kind of food
that we like best. These are human inventions. Broccoli, I think, is an interesting
example because it’s this weird thing. What even is broccoli? It’s such a strange looking vegetable. (Laughter) In case you don’t know, it’s flowers,
the flower of the plant. We’ve changed this wild plant into something that produces
so many dense flowers. It produces this odd,
stalk-like thing, but it is flowers. If you don’t believe me,
buy some broccoli at your grocery store, put it in a vase, like I did
on the right, and it will bloom. It makes a lovely, lovely bouquet. (Laughter) So let’s talk about carrots next. You all recognise the carrots
on the right, but wild carrot is what’s on the left. It contains falcarindiol and other
things that are natural pesticides. They’re bitter in flavour
and they taste really bad, and we’ve bred them out
and we’ve also expanded them made them much bigger, much sweeter,
and much more full of vitamins, because that’s what we want. Many of you may not know this, but almonds and apricots are extremely closely related
species of prune. The main difference is that
we’ve bred out the cyanide in almonds, so that we can eat the seed, and we have selected for bigger,
thicker fruits in apricots, because that’s what we want
to eat from that particular species. They’re very closely related and,
like carrots and broccoli, they are essentially human inventions. So let’s talk about some real Paleo diets. First of all, I need to clarify
that there is no one Paleo diet. There are many, many Paleo diets. People, when they spread out
across the world, colonised the continents, they ate local foods, and of course
they were extremely variable. So when we speak about Palaeolithic diets, it’s very important
to speak of them in the plural. Let’s take a closer look
at one in particular; we’re going to go 7,000 years
back in time to Oaxaca, Mexico, and right now you’re looking at the view
outside of the Guilá Naquitz rock shelter, one of the earliest sites in Mexico. This is a photograph
that I took in December, and people would have
been living here at this time, and what you are essentially
seeing right now is dinner. And this is a far cry from anything
that you would find on the Paleo Diet and anything you would find
in your modern supermarket. But, there was plenty of food here
for people to eat on a seasonal basis. So, September was high time
at Guilá Naquitz. This is when a lot of people
would have come in and occupied these rock shelters, and they would have eaten
the local resources. And if you notice,
this includes a lot of fruit, legumes, agaves,
that’s what we make tequila from today. Various nuts and beans and squashes
and wild game, predominantly rabbits. But by the time April came around, there was very little
edible food in this region so they would have moved on to other
places where food was more abundant. So if we take a step back and say, “Well, what can we really learn about the Palaeolithic diets
around the world?” There are some general
observations we can make. One is that they are regionally variable. People in the Arctic have
and will eat something different than people in the tropics. They have different resources. So people who live in places
with no plants tend to eat more animals, and people who live in places
where there are plants tend to eat more plants. They’re going to be seasonally variable, because plants seed and fruit
at different times, herds migrate and fish
spawn on a seasonal cycle. As these things happen, people have to move
from resource patch to resource patch, which means that there is periodic high
mobility, sometimes over long distances. Once again, it depends on the region. Food packets were generally small; if you go around collecting wild broccoli, you’ll have to collect an awful lot of it to be the equivalent
of its domesticated variety. The foods that you would have collected would have been
generally tough, woody and fibrous. You would eat meat, but you would
also eat the marrow and the organs of the animals you collect,
and they’d generally be very lean. Finally, the plants you’d eat would still contain a lot of toxins
at various levels, and phytochemicals, some of which
actually have very good health benefits. But it’s almost impossible
for us now to eat this sort of diet. Three billion people cannot eat
like foragers on this planet, we are too big. So, can we take lessons
from these Palaeolithic diets that we still can apply
to our lives today? And the answer is, ‘yes.’ I think there’s three main
lessons we can learn: First, there’s no one correct diet,
but diversity is the key. So, depending on where you live, you can eat very different things,
but you need diversity. We lack the ability to synthesise
many nutrients that we require for life, nutrients and vitamins, and we are required
to get them from our foods. Eating a diet that’s rich in species,
has high species diversity is very important. Now unfortunately in American diets today, the trend is going
in the opposite direction. If you go and you take a processed food
off a grocery store’s shelf, it doesn’t matter if it’s cake
batter, mayonnaise or coffee creamer, increasingly there is only three species
in almost everything we eat. We have corn, soy and wheat. That’s opposite direction
we need to be going. Second, we evolved to eat fresh foods,
in season, when they are ripe. That’s when they have their highest
nutritional content. But, of course, we have to also talk
about food storage and preservatives, because in large urban societies, you can’t always eat
everything fresh; food spoils. Some foods preserve naturally well;
these include things like seeds and nuts, and that’s why traditionally they’ve been
so important to agricultural populations. But we can preserve them in other ways,
through salting, through sugar, vinegar. We can pickle them, we can smoke them, we can dry them, we can add
artificial preservatives. What I find very interesting about this
is that these all work in the same way. They work by inhibiting bacterial growth. But we have to keep in mind that our gastrointestinal systems
are also full of bacteria, good bacteria that do
many good things for you: they digest your food,
regulate your immune system, promote mucosal function. If you eat foods full of preservatives, how does that affect your microbiome,
your good bacteria within you? And the answer is, ‘We really don’t know.’ And it’s something
we’re only starting to investigate. And third, we evolved to eat
whole foods in their complete package, with their fibre
and their roughage and everything. It turns out this is really important, that your foods are not just the sum
of the calories and the vitamins. But even the parts you can’t digest
are very important. The fibre that you eat regulates the speed at which
the food travels through your gut. It modulates metabolism,
it slows down the release of sugars, it has all sorts of functions, it feeds
the good bacteria that live in your gut. And increasingly we’re seeing
that low fibre diets are associated with microbial communities that cause things
like obesity and diabetes. What’s unfortunate also in the globalised
system of processed foods is that we’re losing these connections,
we’re losing the whole food, and we’re eating reconstituted,
concentrated foods, and we don’t get the benefits
of having, for example, the fibre and pectin in the fruit juice
because it’s been filtered out. We’re losing all of this balance. And, as an example
of how this thing gets so out of balance, we can eat so many more calories, so much more food in a very small package
without realising it, and that short-circuits our abilities to know when we’re full
and when we’ve had enough. So I have a question,
and my question is, I was wondering, Does anyone here know, if you take
a soda, let’s say a 34 ounce soda, which is increasingly becoming the normal
size, like this one, and you drink it – imagine that you’re back
in the Palaeolithic period, and you want to consume
the equivalent amount of sugar. How much sugar cane,
if you stumbled upon a sugar cane field, how much would you have to eat, how many feet of sugar cane
do you think you’d have to eat? I brought some sugar cane. How many feet of sugar cane do you think
you’d have to consume to reach that level? Any ideas? One… how many sticks do you
think you’d have to eat? They’re pretty big. Not quite 40 feet. You’d have to eat 8.5 feet of sugar cane
to reach that level. That’s an awful lot of sugar. There is no physical way
that a Palaeolithic person could have possibly eaten that much
sugar cane, even if they really wanted to, and now you can consume
it in about 20 minutes. So, by decoupling the whole food
from the nutrients inside of it, we trick our bodies
and we can override the mechanisms that we’ve evolved to signal
fullness and satiation. These are the three main lessons I think
we can learn from real Palaeolithic diets: there’s no one correct diet,
but dietary diversity is key, that we need to eat
fresh foods when possible and that we need to eat whole foods. So, anthropology and evolutionary medicine
have a lot to teach us about ourselves and new technologies
are opening up new windows into the past. But we still have a lot to learn from our Palaeolithic
and our Neolithic ancestors. Thank you. (Applause)


  • Reply HackYourHealth May 9, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Isn't this a strawman argument? I never heard of a Paleo diet where they said people didn't eat plants… I have always understood Paleo to be the elimination of highly processed foods, sugar, artificial additives and colours, etc….And not to say just eat meat

  • Reply MR. poo head May 12, 2019 at 8:20 am

    She states that our bodies are more designed to eat plants than meat as we can't create our own Vitamin C, but we have to eat meat and meat products to get B12… Ruminants like cows and sheep make their own B12, we do not.

  • Reply M TK May 15, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    average lifespan of a paleolithic human 27 years. Yeah lets do what they did because they lived so long and were so healthy….duh

  • Reply CarnivoreMedia May 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    She is a Vegan shill.

  • Reply Diabolus_Musica May 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Cavemen ate Fruit Roll-Ups. Oh wait no they didn't.

  • Reply Marcelo Pairoa May 21, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    She isn’t incorrect in most things she says.

    She is only incorrect in assuming what is in the head of educated “paleo dieters”.

    None of us are under the illusion that we are eating like cavemen.

    All we want to do is eat LESS like Westerners and AS CLOSE as possible to our evolutionary roots.

    If many of us could eat like cavemen, we would. We just can’t, exactly because of what she is saying. But what she doesn’t know is that we are aware of that. So we just do our best to move in the appropriate direction.

    Her recommendations at the end are pretty much exactly what we try to do in the big picture.

    She isn’t debunking the main overarching principles of the paleo diet at all. She is promoting them. She is simply debunking what she thinks we think the paleo diet is supposed to mean, which is “we are eating the exact perfect foods that our ancestors ate to a T free from any influences of farming”. Uh. no.

  • Reply Kiran Govind May 22, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Vitamin c is found in organ meats

  • Reply Brian Woodrow May 23, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    As soon as you said our digestive system resembles a herbivores with four stomachs instead of a carnivore, you lost me.

  • Reply TheJocmonger May 27, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    What she says about plants being our only source of Vitamin C isn't true. Liver and Kidney both contain Vitamin C

  • Reply Barbara Stine June 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

    I'd like a follow up video on suggestions for modern day meals 🙂

  • Reply Yellow Dye June 8, 2019 at 3:13 am

    What about the pre historic drawing ? They all seem to praise hunting

  • Reply jaquen1977 June 11, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Interestingly enough she just made an argument for the Carnivore diet believers. Most of the vegetables and fruits she mentioned is poisonous and largely inedible in their natural state. Which is a core argument for that all animal product diet they adhere to.

  • Reply Carl Jørgen Fossum June 11, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    The strange thing about all of this (what-to-eat business), is that we actually have to have some experts tell us what to eat and why.

  • Reply Yanuario Arias June 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    the main takeaway from this is that humans think they have the answers to problems they don't understand. vitamin c is not need on a 0 carb diet. meats were the only food for millions of years but they will tell you plants are what you supposed to eat. plants make poison to keep you from eating them, yes even those good veggies make them look up anti nutrients. if you eat only meats and there fats you don't need to eat anything ells at all. salts and spices are great for flavoring. meat means all forms of animals, fish, foul and there innards bones skin.

  • Reply TenLettersRap June 17, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    not really a debunk if you watch terry wahls…

  • Reply coby PORSCHIFER June 18, 2019 at 2:26 am


  • Reply Gabriel Moreno June 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    This video is pointless; of course we can't eat what we used to just because we do not have them anymore but we can eat as close as possible.

  • Reply Gabriel Moreno June 18, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Is she advocating for Monsanto?

  • Reply JEFF JACK June 22, 2019 at 2:23 am

    Guess our teeth weren't meant to eat meat now…lol Humans are meant to eat meat but no where near the amount we eat now. Our ancestors mainly ate fish and birds but red meat was only consumed every so often when humans made a kill or sacrificed an animal for a feast. We dont need teeth that grab hold and kill animals because we have thumbs, We only need teeth to chew meat…….

  • Reply ed low June 23, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Raw fish contains vitamin C (which is how Eskimos get it). And wild bananas are surprisingly sweet.

  • Reply Eva Adan June 27, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    This is no dunking paleo diet, this actually reinforce the paleolithic diet idea!! I don't understand the tittle!! Come on! This is a good explanation actually about what paleo diet should be! And about avoiding grains and legumes? Does she gives a good explanation about why we should eat bread and other processed grains? How much present where grains and legumes in the past? and How? This woman should be an advocate of paleo diet (A good well done paleo diet)

  • Reply bgregg55 July 1, 2019 at 5:26 am

    She's an excellent presenter.

  • Reply Mason Hauser July 7, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    This lady has a nice pair of legs. She is hot!

  • Reply harry viking July 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    This lady is twisting it all and is far off reality!! Its not all that archeologists has found! Get lost woman!! How much plants and fruits possible to exist on during 100.000 years of Ice age!!
    May be around the equator might there have been more to eat, but meat/fish/eggs/birds has always been the main meal. The rest was what we could call survival foods!! The human digestive system is not good at using plants well! All animals living of plants has very different systems!!

  • Reply Dominik Nuhanović July 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Did she really just say that because of out teeth evolving differently from predators teeth, we didn't eat meat? That's maybe because we used a spear to kill an animal and knifes to cut the meat and a lion or a wolf would use teeth.I think someone paid her off to say these things, someone who finished Harvard should be smarter than this…

  • Reply Dominik Nuhanović July 11, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Also human intestines are made for dissolving plant foods is wrong

  • Reply xnebiax July 12, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Really well researched talk.

  • Reply The Gorn July 15, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Meat baby. Meat!! My erections are rock hard and frequent after cutting out sugars and consuming massive amounts of home made beef jerky and biltong

  • Reply Kaeben July 16, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    I don't think anyone is under the illusion that the "Paleo diet" is the ACTUAL food Paleolithic man ate…

  • Reply Polak Busna July 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Our digestive tract is closer to a carnivore then a herbivore.Meat contains Vitamin C

  • Reply Shane July 17, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    How come no one mentions BUGS. Those were a huge source of food back then, and I guess almost no Paleo-dieter eats those these days.

  • Reply Eric K July 18, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Yeah, the paleo diet is gimmicky. But if we had a mass transformation from the SAD to paleo, our healthcare costs would plummet. So in other words, your entire premise is nonsense.

  • Reply Maximum Effort July 20, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Listen just eat what your ancestors ate about 500 years ago. One diet does not fit all it is gonna be based in your genetics.

  • Reply Isabel Antunes July 22, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Gostei imenso desta palestra !

  • Reply Matt93312 July 23, 2019 at 2:39 am

    All your science is bunk because these herbivorous molars chew the fire out of rare steak.

  • Reply Amjed Abdeljelil July 24, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Great presentation,
    Based on the research of Dr Antoine Bechamp is theory of " pleomorphism "
    Bacteria adapt to the Chemical changes.
    That's means when you eat food full
    with preservatives and Chemicals like we do today, the Bacteria in our Microbiome is going to adapt to this chemical change and that's how we are getting sick!!!
    The infectious diseases and even some of the chronic ones are caused by our scientific advancement..
    Science could save life or ended, seeing that we became the sickest species on earth i think science is going to cause the death of us…
    "Ignorance is bliss"
    The more i know, the more depressed i get..
    Thank you..

  • Reply Mello.B33 July 25, 2019 at 5:36 am

    One of the worst TED Talks ever, full of pseudoscience. One of her first sentences was "a fad diet" which should give you an indication of her bias. All of her arguments againt meat have been debunked many times already. Essentially nothing she says when it comes to diet is supported by scientific evidence. Her understanding of nitrogen isotope ratios is also flawed, because she is blinded by her ignorance and lack on knowledge in this area. She doesn't understand that some herbivores also have meat and large amounts of bugs in their diet.

  • Reply Shawn Treelife July 26, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Amazing talk and well worth watching twice! Delivered in such an eloquent and interesting way.

  • Reply maddhatter1219 July 29, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Clearly I'm watching a different video than others who love her talk. She spent the first half straw manning about the paleo diet then tells people to eat paleo….lean meats, fresh vegetables in season….etc..etc.. the very definition of paleo.

    Mayo clinic paleo

    A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering.

    Paleo is not just a red meat diet…not even keto is…contrary to many beliefs. Paleo focuses on food type keto focuses on being in ketosis. But I digress

    I liked a few of the notes but her argument collapses under it's own weight.

  • Reply Steve Bell July 30, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Sticking with the diet that helped me lose 45 pounds even while drinking craft beer or wine and my homemade wheat bread every day, the one and only Mediterranean Diet. Dentition calculus is a great proof that we should eat agricultural products and I know that I lost weight eating good quality products in abundance.

  • Reply ddskimmer July 31, 2019 at 1:47 am


  • Reply Sausage N Bellenz August 2, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Eat like a hero and die young.

  • Reply Sausage N Bellenz August 2, 2019 at 5:10 pm


  • Reply Sausage N Bellenz August 2, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Very interesting lecture

  • Reply Look Away August 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Bravo Edmond bravo

  • Reply lukas walding August 6, 2019 at 9:07 pm


  • Reply Gregory King August 9, 2019 at 11:09 am

    The only thing more unhealthy than “junk” food is constantly worrying about what you eat.

  • Reply Wildon rodrigues August 10, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    I loved!

  • Reply Nancy M August 17, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Eggs from China – really? What the heck kind of eggs are you eating?

  • Reply martin Funkquist August 21, 2019 at 11:39 am

    "The paleo diet is another fad diet… then recommends pretty much the same diet as paleo people do, eat whole foods". Great talk though

  • Reply John VW August 23, 2019 at 4:01 am

    Gee, all those old cave paintings of animals, and humans with spears and arrows..

  • Reply owelic August 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    lol old fake information keto is key 😉

  • Reply owelic August 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    meat also preserves well salt/smoke…

  • Reply Space Ghost August 24, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Her FIRST THREE POINTS ARE WRONG. Stopped watching after that.

  • Reply C August 25, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Big Agriculture is scared. No matter how much they try to push the narrative that paleo is a fad diet, people are educating themselves on foods and the food industry. It's not a fad diet it's a way of life.

  • Reply Jacquie Nelson Walburn August 28, 2019 at 3:31 am

    A real , well planned paleo diet contains 100-200 gms of carbs! It is NOT a high protein diet. Does make good case for how our plants have been changed

  • Reply Simply Human August 29, 2019 at 3:09 am

    Dr Miki Ben Dor would beg to differ. You neglected our own physiology/stomach acid/colon as proof.

  • Reply MovementExplore August 30, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    23K Soy Boys liked this video

  • Reply dou40006 August 31, 2019 at 3:47 am

    Excellent talk

  • Reply Marlon Diaz September 3, 2019 at 3:26 am

    Very educational but I don't see the point on saying "debunking a diet" no one (or at least people with common sense) is saying that we should eat like a Neanderthal, there's simply actual evidence stating that carbs and sugars are killing us.

  • Reply Larry Putra September 5, 2019 at 12:22 am

    she taste like cheese

  • Reply Will.J September 5, 2019 at 1:44 am

    "Take for example vitamin c"

    Goes on to say nothing about human vitamin c requirements.

    Classicaly misinformed

  • Reply Michah VanAlstine September 5, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Idk where she got the idea that paleo focuses on red meat (that can still be filled w hormones). Paleo focuses on eliminating grains and refined foods. Its pretty obvious that meat was a treat back then, as they hunted or gathered berries seeds etc., Paleo is not a fad because it doesnt push a product like a low carb Atkins diet or a Dr. Axe keto diet. Theres a difference between a fad diet and an alternative approach to a modern American diet. Lol

  • Reply Matthew Rogowski September 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    It's a plain fact that the "majority" of paleolithic societies did not consume much or any grains or beans. Grain amd bean are hard as rocks and most of these societies didn't know you could grind these seeds up into a powder or boil it in water long enough to make it editble. They got most of their carbs from fruits, carby veggies, and tubers. This is not a statement as to if it is healthy or not, just a fact.

  • Reply Mark Ainsworth September 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    She has no idea what she's talking about

  • Reply Will Clayton September 7, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Whole food, oil free, vegan is the way to LIVE.

  • Reply Monica Caroline September 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Paleo diet worked for me, I lost 5kg ( what I needed) and didn’t put on weight afterwards! It is working to maintain my weight and I feel much better health wise. My skin and my hair look great!

  • Reply Jeroen van Zaanen September 9, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    vitamine c is not only in plants it is also in liver and raw milk

  • Reply punkrrrock September 11, 2019 at 2:45 am

    Debunking the majority of Debunking paleo

    On vitamin C; Meat prevents scurvy because it bypasses the need for vitamin C. Vitamin C is required to form collagen in the body… Vitamin C’s role in collagen formation is to transfer a hydroxyl group to the amino acids lysine and proline. Meat, however, already contains appreciable quantities of hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline, [thus] bypassing some of the requirement for vitamin C. In other words, your vitamin C requirement is dependent upon how much meat you do not eat

    Carnassials are for biting, killing, and removing skeletal meat. Tools solved this problem thousands of years ago

    Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope; dismiss it if you like but humans chart at or above normal carnivore levels in every era

    If ancient humans sprouted, ground, and ferment grain.. They did it in an absence of meat (as in they would always choose meat over grain or veg). Notice how modern humans eat GMO non sprouted non fermented grain. Most times industrially processed grain.

    The healthiest tribes had no dental plaque. Dental plaque is evidence of a non-ideal diet

    All ancient veggies and fruits that have been modified by humans are a major flaw in unrefined paleo diet recommendations

    All the nutrients you require are plentiful in nose to tail animal product consumption

    Don't eat processed food.

    Plain and simple fiber is not good or necessary for you in anyway.

  • Reply Piotr Pokrywka September 11, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Two things: if you don't eat carbs You wouldn't need so much vitamin C, and eating raw meat will be enough.
    Second: no-fiber carnivore diet is one of the easiest ways to improve diabetes and obesity.
    Telling people that diversity in diet is a key — is misleading, at best.

  • Reply Paul Willow September 14, 2019 at 9:01 am

    If that's the best the opposed side has to paleo, I know I'm on the right track! Thanks for a woeful job putting up a counter argument it's very reassuring for my chosen path.

  • Reply IL MOSTRO September 15, 2019 at 1:22 am

    If anything the paleo diet is absolutely better and healthier because it eliminates all corn syrup and chemical filled processed foods that have little to no nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals. The standard American diet is killing us, just look at the obesity epidemic.

  • Reply James samson September 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

    So instead of Paleo more like “Unprocessed diet”

  • Reply 22darius22 September 24, 2019 at 4:42 am

    What is her point exactly? Arguing that modern fruits and vegetables would not have been available supports the argument that paleo humans did not eat much meat? Is she arguing that the paleo diet was mostly grain, in a time period that is by definition pre-agriculture?

  • Reply Jason Luckett September 27, 2019 at 11:18 am

    vitamin C can be gotten from raw meat and organ meats, from animals…

  • Reply Jessica Orellanes Petrillo October 1, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Great talk… avoid the comments of keto, paleo, vegan, veggie groupies. It's simple: eat real food better if local!

  • Reply Professor Rook October 2, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    "Humans have no known anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption."
    This is so obviously false it's laughable. We have cuspid teeth, canines, for tearing food. Specifically they're used for tearing bites out of meat. Our digestive system does a great job handling meat; vegetables are primarily processed through gut flora while meat is broken down by the stomach acids. There are two meat-eating adaptations, there are plenty more. She cites our inability to produce vitamin C, the way carnivores do, and our omnivorous teeth (which she says are plant-eating teeth) as evidence of adaptations for eating plants. Her best evidence only proves that we aren't carnivores because we are omnivores that are adapted to consume both plant matter and meat, but she skews her conclusions away from eating meat due to her own bias.

    She brings up stone tools thought to have been used to grind up "seeds and grain." Yeah. The paleo diet recommends the consumption of nuts and seeds, which have changed very little from 30,000 years ago. The paleo diet does not recommend the consumption of starchy grains and starchy beans, which have been genetically manipulated through breeding by human farmers to provide more starch, since it is a more bioavailable energy source. The legumes and grains that humans ate 30,000 years ago are not the legumes and grains that humans eat today, and those food sources were not available in massive quantities to people 30,000 years ago because they weren't farming them.

    She proves the point when she talks about the breeding and genetic manipulation of bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, carrots, apricots, almonds, and broccoli when compared to their wild varieties. However, aside from the sugar content of modern bananas, modern varieties of non-starchy vegetables give us the closest paleolithic nutritional profile that modern humans can reach.

    She makes an inane point about the source regions of blueberries, avocados, and eggs. Of course modern foods are grown all over the world and shipped to grocery stores for consumption, and that was not the case in paleolithic times. That does not mean that paleolithic people did not consume foods with the same nutritional profiles that were available nearby where they lived. She's essentially making the argument that modern subscribers to the paleo diet should only eat foods from farms grown locally (or, worse, that people subscribing to a paleo diet concept should go be hunter-gatherers in their local countryside) to make a good "paleo diet." This concept of hers is silly on multiple levels, even though eating locally-sourced foods is a great thing to do.

    She basically makes the philosophical point behind paleo when she talks about corn, soy, and wheat being the three main ingredients behind many modern foods, and how eating fresh, in-season foods is very good for us. Paleo recommends eating a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables, nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, and meats to supply the body with the nutrition it needs while cutting out the things we don't need. I suspect she thinks the "hook" of paleo marketing, which is "eat all the meat you want!", is the core of the diet, when it really isn't.

  • Reply Robbie Retro October 4, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Debunking bugger all.
    Ancestral diets are fairly easily determined and hunting weapons are quite common.
    We have a timeline of evolutionary development to humans, and meat is the key element.
    As a carnivore you don't need vitamin 'C'.
    We don't have the ability to digest cellulose and about 80% of any vegetation eaten is passed straight out as waste.
    Meat is highly nutritious, plants aren't.
    Plants are toxic, meat isn't.
    Her talk is bollocks…

  • Reply Red Smith October 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    3:41 ," we have a longer digestive tract" ? , Human intestin in meters : … It measures approximately 8 meters in length , cow intestine in meteres : The small intestine has an average length of 40 m , dog ( carnivore ) intestine in meters : For digestion and absorption of nutrients in the ingesta. Notes and Importance: The average length of the small intestine is 4.0 meters , so the dog wich is carnivore have 4 meters humans 8 meters and cows ( vegetarian ) 40 meters … 7:14 because of lack of meat mayans has serious health problems besides low IQ .

  • Reply Gin Rummy October 8, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    1- Confucius once said; true wisdom is knowing what you don't know. So beware of YouTubers pretending they know it all!
    2- The foundation of a good criticism is to show evidences about aspects you don't agree with but also to state the aspect you agree with.
    3- If you only recognize what you don't agree with and can't find anything else I think there's a problem with your critics.

    Peace & Love.

  • Reply Steven Cianfarano October 9, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    “We’ve been eating grains for 30,000 years!”

    Yeah, bish, and we have been evolving without them for millions before that… it’s a flash in the pan, humans are evolved to eat grains

  • Reply KariahLuke MacChan October 16, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Excellent talk, notes taken. Thanks Christina

  • Reply R1234 G5678 October 22, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Bananas are not paleo/keto, they are high in good carbs and sugar !

  • Reply Eugene Lee October 27, 2019 at 4:55 am

    swerving from gist

  • Reply Ken Christensen October 28, 2019 at 4:31 am

    I don't eat Paleo. The word Paleo to the masses means exactly what she said. If you are on a Paleo diet your definition is different but the first things your Google search will give you is exactly the story as she described it

  • Reply David Peterson October 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Science kids.

  • Reply geo1134 November 4, 2019 at 3:30 am

    Good to know! It's back to twinkies cheetos and coke for me

  • Reply Ying Yang November 6, 2019 at 2:18 am

    What is there to debunk?

    In the forests of Europe, for most of the year there was nothing to eat other than mostly meat……maybe some nuts, the odd berry in summer

    A very low carb, meat based diet

  • Reply Venus Zambrana November 7, 2019 at 1:47 am

    her: and like carrots and broccoli, they’re essentially human
    me: 😮
    her: inventions

  • Reply Art Konstantino November 7, 2019 at 5:05 am

    The Ruminant animals process all the plants and grasses and we eat them. Humans eat the processors or ruminants. Humans eat fish. Many fish eat other fish and we get those benefits as well. I am not a vicious strong lion or tiger. I take the scavenger approach. I am like the hyenas and turkey vultures. I pay the services that pay the men and women that grow, slaughter and process all my food. I thank them for their dedication to people like me😔.

  • Reply Rosa Parker November 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I would have loved to hear her speak about how ancient populations made (pseudo)grains more nutritional and easier to digest by soaking/sprouting/fermenting them. This happened with quinoa, for example.

  • Reply Jen Dine November 7, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    She is saying eat regional and seasonal and it sounds like a clean paleo diet to me.

  • Reply The 401K November 8, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Kill and eat animals. Always.

  • Reply Eliott Padilla November 11, 2019 at 12:57 am

    So you took away, meat, fruit, veggies, what are we supposed to eat.? everything now is processed or have GMOs.

  • Reply Andrea Ratkovic November 11, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    If this talk angers you it’s because you’re acting emotionally instead of rationally. Do some self-evaluation. In addition, why stop at paleo eating? Why not apply ALL aspects of Paleolithic living?🤔. How about ditching all of the toxic cleaners you use, the automobiles you drive, the plastics you use, the homes (think toxic building materials) you live in, the toxic-material clothes you wear etc?😉

  • Reply Lysander Dusseljee November 14, 2019 at 7:19 am

    I disagree with the "fresh foods" advice. I'd need to see some evidence for that. It really depends on the preservation method. I don't see how preservation in and of itself could be harmful, but rather the additives like salt or sugar. Once you have an established gut colony then prebiotics, as opposed to probiotics, should be enough.

  • Reply anna pal November 14, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Debunking the paleo diet, debunking the vegan diet, debunking the keto diet, our ancestor ate this and that, we are herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, insane-vores….whatever….sooo much focus on diets and not on the fact that whatever food you eat comes pre-loaded with a tone of harmful, unnatural chemicals…..try going organic before becoming crazy on what diet you follow…..

  • Reply Piere B November 15, 2019 at 6:49 am

    3:15–3:25? Is she not sayin that it is a myth that we have no known adaptations to meat?

  • Reply Ja M November 16, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    I smell an ideological vegan….

  • Reply Richard Beaumont November 17, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I get the sense that she comes at this with the attitude of an expert specialist disapproving of so called bro-science while in fact acknowledging that the paleo-bros got it pretty right.

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