Palaeolithic or the caveman diet is also called the Stone Age diet, and hunter–gatherer diet. The basic premise of this diet is inclusion and consumption of foods that have been assumed to have been available to humans before agriculture was established.
The Palaeolithic period existed nearly 2.5 million years ago. This was the age when humans first started to use stone tools. The period ended with the advent of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago.
The foods that are thought to have been available during this period included wild-animal source foods and uncultivated-plant source foods. These included:-
There was no use of agriculture produce like:-
These agents were included in foods after humans began to cultivate and grow crops and started domesticating animals.
Studies have shown that as humans evolved the metabolic rates remained the same for larger body sizes compared to earlier apes. To compensate for this change in body size the gut in humans shrank as the brains became larger.
Unlike plant foods consumed by the great apes, the energy dense flesh foods consumed by the cavemen did not need long guts anymore. Thus with evolution the human gut shortened. Larger brains meant more hunting and foraging.
The caveman diet has been studied in its efficacy to prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome. There are several advocates of this diet who believe that humans are adapted to a Palaeolithic diet and not to the current civilized diet.
This diet is believed to prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease that have been associated with advent western influence in diet and lifestyle.
Advocates of this diet believe that this diet is not only a weight loss diet but can optimize health. Studies have shown that it may benefit patients with:-
The Caveman diet however lacks in calcium, which must be supplemented to prevent bone mineral loss.