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By Jordan Fallis
(including interviews with Arthur De Vany, Mat Lalonde and Jennifer McLagan)
03/28/11

Michael MacGregor says he’ll never eat bread again. Or cereal. Or pasta. In fact, he says it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever eat dairy again either. Actually, it’s much easier to list the types of foods he will eat – meat, fish, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables. That’s it. Nothing else.

MacGregor is not traditionally a picky eater. But two years ago he started following the paleolithic, or paleo, diet, which focuses on eating only natural foods available to humans between 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.

MacGregor says within one week, his skin cleared up, the quality of his sleep improved, and he had an abundance of energy throughout the day. Then over the next four weeks, his body naturally shed unwanted body fat and packed on five pounds of muscle.

“I was finally eating the right foods and properly absorbing all the nutrients I needed,” he says. “Now everything I eat powers and fuels my body efficiently.”

The Whitby, Ont. native says he believes the paleo diet is truly the ultimate way of eating. And he’s not alone.

Followers of the diet are scattered across North America, eating anything a caveman would have hunted down or gathered. Although the diet is very restrictive, they say it’s not like other fad diets and short-term weight loss strategies. Rather, it’s a complete lifestyle change, eating the foods humans are meant to eat.

This stone-age way-of-eating excludes all foods introduced over the last 10,000 years after the agricultural revolution, including grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

Proponents of the diet argue human evolution hasn’t been able to keep up with the rapid shift in the modern man’s diet – 10,000 years is a very small slice of the entire evolutionary pie – and this has led to obesity and numerous related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Paleo fitness and nutrition experts say obesity rates would be significantly reduced if more Canadians abandoned their modern-day diet and adopted a paleo-like regimen. They explain 61 per cent of Canadians are at an unhealthy weight because they are eating the wrong foods, not necessarily eating too much of it.

They say by returning to the paleo diet, Canadians can achieve great health and a perfect physique because it is the ideal diet for human fitness and well-being.

But the federal government and other experts beg to differ. They say the diet is an impractical way of dealing with the obesity epidemic.

The Government, High-Carbohydrate Diets, and Obesity
Arthur De Vany, the “grandfather of the paleo diet” and author of The New Evolution Diet, says people are starting to realize the traditional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is unhealthy.

“We look around and see people getting fatter all the time,” the 73-year-old says. “They’re trying to limit their fat and eating a lot of carbohydrates, but it’s just not working.”

According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey released by Statistics Canada last year, 25 per cent of Canadians are clinically obese. Twenty years ago, 16 per cent of Canadians were labelled obese.

De Vany says the Canadian government has actually contributed to the rise in obesity by providing flawed food guidelines over the years.

“Food guidelines are blatantly driven by commercial interests,” he says. “Now they have red faces because the science is falling apart and obesity is exploding.”

Arthur De Vany, the 73-year-old author of The New Evolution Diet. That's right, 73! De Vany has been researching and following the paleolithic diet for 30 years.

Ottawa-born Mat Lalonde, an organic chemist at Harvard University with an intense scientific interest in paleo nutrition, agrees and says food guidelines in Canada aren’t based on reliable science.

“They’re based on government shenanigans, lobbying, and companies that don’t want to lose money,” he says.

De Vany says the human body has evolved and thrived for millions of years by eating lots of animal fat and protein, and small amounts of carbohydrates.

Yet for the past 60 years, the Canada Food Guide has told Canadians to follow a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates.

De Vany says it’s in the government’s best interest to promote a high-carbohydrate diet since Canada produces and exports large amounts of grains.

David Thomas, a spokesperson for Health Canada, says the organization stands by the Canada Food Guide as an efficient tool that helps Canadians make healthy food choices.

“It translates the science of nutrition and health into a practical pattern of eating,” he says. “The guide consolidates, in one easy-to-use source, the best available evidence for Canadians relating to health, nutrient needs and the food supply.”

Fat: The Misunderstood Ingredient
Jennifer McLagan, a Toronto-based food expert and writer, doesn’t buy it. She says the Canada Food Guide is “skewed” by telling people to lower their fat intake and fill up on carbohydrates.

“Canadians are told this all the time because there’s a huge amount of money tied up in low-fat, no-fat foods,” she says. “Then they think they’re eating the right way when they’re really not.”

In her award-winning book Fat, McLagan argues Canadians have robbed themselves of good health by drastically reducing their intake of animal fats over the past 30 years and filling up on carbohydrates.

“Everybody’s so brainwashed that fat is bad, yet fat is essential for good health” she says. “It’s a myth that’s hard to break.”

But McLagan says this myth needs to be broken as it has contributed to the rise in obesity.

“It’s only been in the last little bit that we’ve feared animal fat,” she says. “And we’re not healthier.”

Lalonde agrees and says the common belief that “fat makes you fat” is wrong.

Both Lalonde and McLagan explain that the anti-fat movement gained momentum in the 1950s. After influential American scientist Ancel Keys conducted a worldwide study that linked saturated fat intake to coronary heart disease, governments “jumped on board” and started regulating the amount of fat in food products.

“But it was totally incorrect,” McLagan says. “Everyone believes it now, including the medical community.”

Lalonde says Keys blamed the rise in heart disease on increases in saturated fat intake, even though his findings showed a parallel increase in sugar intake as well.

According to McLagan, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently gathered all studies that have tried to link saturated animal fat to heart disease. After looking over all of the data, no direct link could be found.

The Importance of Meat
McLagan says Canadians today should be more nervous about eating grains than meat.

“Humans are designed to eat meat,” she says. “We can even survive eating meat exclusively.”

Canadian Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson lived on a full-meat diet for nine years in the late 1800s while living in an Inuit community. He only ate meat, fish and fat.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

When he returned home, medical authorities were amazed by the quality of his health. He agreed to take part in a study that would later be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, proving an all-meat diet was entirely healthy for humans.

Paleo experts also point to Kitava, a non-westernized population that dodged the agricultural revolution and still follows the hunter-gatherer lifestyle today. Surveys show these modern people, who still eat like cavemen, are free from obesity and all the modern diseases plaguing Canadians.

Lalonde says if all Canadians shifted to a meat-heavy, paleo-like diet, obesity would be nonexistent within three generations.

“This particular lifestyle is very useful because you are removing each and every one of the factors that can lead to obesity,” he says. “It really works.”

De Vany says it’s “impossible” for someone who follows the diet to become obese.

Tina Moffat, an associate professor who teaches the anthropology of food and nutrition at McMaster University in Hamilton, disagrees and says the paleo diet is not a feasible solution to obesity.

“Different diets work for different people,” she says. “Saying one diet is going to work for all of us is not effective, nor can all of us stick to a diet like that.”

Moffat insists humans have evolved and don’t need to eat like cavemen to be healthy. She says there are many healthy people who follow vegetarian, grain-based diets and can digest milk efficiently.

“We’ve a very adaptable species,” she says. “One of our hallmarks is that we can eat many different types of diets and flourish.”

The Diet That Heals
Lynda Frassetto, a doctor at the University of California who recently conducted a paleo diet experiment, says the health benefits of a pre-agricultural diet are “simply amazing.”

Frassetto and her team took healthy sedentary subjects and put them on a strict diet of lean meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Everything else was strictly forbidden, she says.

“In about 10 days, everybody improved on this diet,” she says. “If you follow this diet, you will be better off.”

Frassetto says in only 10 days, the average drop in cholesterol level was almost 30 points. She says most cholesterol lowering drugs can take up to six months to produce such results.

She says obese patients would most benefit from this diet, and the next step is to test it on them.

But she stresses this is not like other short-term diets.

“This is more of a diet that you can literally live healthy on forever,” she says. “You can always eat this way because it’s actually really good for you.”

De Vany says he hopes to see more people spread the message he started 30 years ago.

“The research is finally starting to come out,” he says. “People need to realize we’re just hunter-gatherers in pinstripe suits.”

Lalonde says he knows the information is out there, it just needs to be “brought to light.”

“I see it happening from the ground up,” he says. “It’s going to be a long process.”

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the obesity rate in Canada is expected to increase by another five per cent over the next 10 years.

McLagan says the battle starts with people having all the facts.

“People have no idea anymore, they’re all so totally confused,” she says. “We just need to get more information out there so they can make good decisions about their health.”

MacGregor says although knowledge is power, he knows it’s very hard for people to follow through with the diet.

“Ideally, I think it’s the diet for everyone,” he says. “In practice, it’s not the diet for everyone.”

But he says if you are motivated enough, you can do it.

– 30 –

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Food scientist Apollinaire Tsopmo says he remembers studying in Cameroon, his home country in Africa, like it was yesterday.

While his friends dedicated their time to family and friends, he devoted himself to science.

Tsopmo says he slaved away in a lab day after day, working towards his master’s degree. Motivated and inspired by his “passionate mentor,” he developed an intense love for research.

Today, Tsopmo is an assistant professor at Carleton University, teaching food science and nutrition to students in the department of chemistry.

He says 15 years ago, he would have never imagined it.

But the 42-year-old says living in Canada is a dream come true.

“Canadians are so nice, it’s such a great place to live,” he says. “I was surprised. I didn’t expect people to be so friendly.”

After completing his PhD in Sweden in 2002, he received funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and moved to Saskatoon as a visiting fellow.

After working for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for three years, he relocated to the University of Manitoba, where he worked as a research fellow at the Institute of Child Health.

Tsopmo says this is where he developed an extreme interest in nutrition, free radicals and antioxidants.

Tsopmo explains that even though oxygen is essential for life, it is highly reactive and too much of it can lead to the formation of free radicals in the body. Excess free radicals in the body can lead to cell damage, but antioxidants from food, such as fruits and vegetables, can combat this process.

Besides fruits and vegetables, Tsopmo discovered mother’s breast milk also contains antioxidants that can be incredibly valuable for premature infants.

“Because their lungs are not developed, premature infants require extra oxygen,” he says. “There ends up being much oxygen not being used by the infant’s body, and free radicals can form.”

Tsopmo says complications of premature birth, such as lung and intestinal disease, are caused by this “oxidation” of free radicals.

“But studies have shown that premature infants being fed breast milk in place of formula milk have lower incidence of those diseases,” he says. “Essentially, breast milk helps prevent the side effects of oxygen supplementation.”

In 2008, Tsopmo moved from Winnipeg to Ottawa with his wife and two kids, determined to identify the beneficial, antioxidant properties of breast milk.

Now a permanent resident of Canada, Tsopmo says he still faces many challenges as a food scientist.

“There’s an ongoing pressure to get results,” he says. “[Food scientists] need to find the molecule they are looking for, and there’s a chance we may not find it.”

“And if you don’t find anything, there’s a chance you won’t get research grants to continue the research.”

Tsopmo says grants typically come from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, but the food industry may fund more practical research.

In order for the food industry to “jump on board,” food scientists need to “think outside the box” and find solutions to the food industry’s problems, he says.

“When molecules are identified and found to be unhelpful, there might be a way to collaborate with the food industry and remove them from food,” he says. “But if they are useful, there may be a way to increase the content of them to make food healthier.”

Tsopmo says formula milk on the market tries its best to “mimic” breast milk. Since there will never be enough breast milk to feed the entire infant population, the food industry will always be striving to find beneficial molecules within it, he says.

“If you can identify the molecule, then you can add it to the formula milk in the same way that they add omega-3 fatty acids, which were not originally present in formula milk,” he says.

Tsopmo says although he loves working in the lab, he wants to move on and pursue this “industry route” to see if his research can make a real-world difference.

“I love being a scientist,” he says. “But in the end, you want to see your research have a beneficial effect on people.”

Tsopmo says at this point, he has a patent for one of the “antioxidant peptides” in breast milk that might be able to neutralize excess oxygen in the infant’s body. He hopes to gain support from the food industry soon, he says.

“We’ve been talking to several companies to see if there’s something we can do,” he says. “There’s still more research to be done, but hopefully they’ll provide money for the next step of research.”

Until then, Tsopmo will appreciate the things he’s already been granted.

“But you know, I have a beautiful family in this great country,” he says. “There isn’t much more I can ask for, really.”

By Jordan Fallis

U.S. food scientists say green tea may play a role in preventing obesity, as their research suggests the beverage contains a compound that slows down weight gain.

After feeding two groups of obese mice a high-fat diet, researchers at Penn State University found the group that was also fed Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – a compound commonly found in green tea – gained weight much slower than the control group. The online journal Obesity published their findings Tuesday.

Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science in the department of agricultural sciences and principal investigator of the study, says the results suggest green tea may help people maintain a healthy weight.

“If you supplement with EGCG or green tea,” he says. “You gain weight more slowly.

Lambert fed both groups a high-fat diet for nine weeks – each receiving 60 per cent of its calories from fat. At the end of this initial period, the two groups had the same average body weight.

But for the next six weeks, Lambert maintained the high-fat diets for both groups, but fed EGCG to one of them. At the end of this phase, the EGCG group gained weight 44 per cent more slowly and weighed about five per cent lighter than the control group.

Lambert says the mice received the same amount of food and could eat whenever they wanted.

“There’s no difference in the amount of food the mice are eating,” he says. “The mice are essentially eating a milkshake, except one group is eating a milkshake with green tea.”

Lambert says EGCG doesn’t suppress appetite, but works in two other ways.

“First, it reduces the ability to absorb fat,” he says. “Second, it enhances the ability to use fat.”

Researchers not only observed a reduction in weight gain in the mice fed the green tea supplement, but also found 30 per cent more eliminated fat in their stool.

According to the study’s findings, EGCG supressed pancreatic lipase – the main enzymes released by the pancreas to digest fat – by 50 per cent over the six weeks. This reduced fat absorption and storage in the mice.

Lambert says in order to see these benefits themselves, people would need to drink 10 cups of green tea each day. But he assures people they can still control their weight with less, as other studies show drinking just three cups each day can have remarkable benefits.
“Human data shows that tea drinkers who only consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared to non-consumers.”

Lambert says green tea isn’t just beneficial for overweight or obese individuals. He says other studies show lean mice gaining less weight after green tea is added to their high-fat diet.

But Lambert says researching into mice that are already overweight is ideal, since most humans don’t make positive dietary changes until they notice they’ve gained weight.

“Most people hit middle age and notice a paunch,” he says. “Then you decide to eat less, exercise and add green tea supplements.”

Lambert collaborated with his colleague Mary Kennett, professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, and graduate students Kimberly Grove and Sudathip Sae-tan to complete the study.

The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded the research.

DiabeTEXTs

By Jordan Fallis

A third-year health sciences student at McMaster University is helping diabetes sufferers in First Nation communities better manage the disease, and he’s doing it through text messages.

Last September, Michael Mak started a school placement at K-Net, an initiative that develops information technology resources for a small tribal council in northwestern Ontario. During his time there, he developed DiabeTEXTs, a system that allows health care workers to send educational diabetes information to the cellphones of their First Nation patients.

Mak, who specializes in the global health stream of McMaster’s health sciences program, says by using the DiabeTEXTs software, health care workers in each First Nation community can easily send mass text messages to all of their patients.

“You can see it as immediate radio broadcast, but through texting,” the 20-year-old says. “The best thing is that the patients can also text back questions for quick replies.”

Since Internet infrastructure is weak in many northern First Nation communities, cellphones are a more reliable means of communication.

Mak says text messages focus on educating patients, particularly about the necessary lifestyle habits that improve type II diabetes.

“For example, reminding them to engage in a particular amount of exercise,” he says. “Or about the amount of meat they have to eat each day.”

Brian Beaton, the project coordinator at K-Net who watched over Mak, says he respects Mak’s “go-getter” attitude towards the project and his decision to stay in Canada.

“Most of his classmates went someplace else in the world for their placement,” he says.  “But Michael took a stance and said we need to take care of our own backyard first.”

And the decision paid off. In November, Mak became the first McMaster student to win the Agfa HealthCare Innovation Challenge, which asked students to come up with an innovative idea for the delivery of health care.

Mak says his idea has been set up in five First Nation communities already, and he hopes to expand the program to other First Nation regions.

“I think this starts the growth of something very important,” he says. “And that’s mobile health.”

By Jordan Fallis

A group of researchers at Memorial University have identified the nine most important characteristics of effective teaching, after asking thousands of students to complete an open-ended online survey.

Organized by Memorial’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) in the winter term of 2008, the survey asked 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students to point out effective teaching behaviours in professors, both on-campus and at a distance.

The final report, called Students’ Perception of Effective Teaching in Higher Education, found nine consistent characteristics across both modes of course delivery.

Albert Johnson, a senior instructional designer with DELT, says they didn’t want to provide students with defined characteristics.

“We started from scratch,” he says. “We wanted the student voice to tell us what they actually thought were the characteristics of effective university instruction.”

The nine most important characteristics for on-campus students, in order of prevalence, included respectful, knowledgeable, approachable, engaging, communicative, organized, responsive, professional and humorous.

Online students identified the same characteristics in the survey, but in a different order: respectful, responsive, knowledgeable, approachable, communicative, organized, engaging, professional and humorous.

Johnson says the biggest challenge was trying to get the students to complete the written online survey. After receiving 330 student responses, DELT isolated 69 adjectives that described instructor behaviours. From there, the nine prominent themes emerged.

Johnson says the response he has received from some of Memorial’s faculty is that students are asking a lot from them, but he disagrees.

“They just want to have a positive experience,” he says. “As one female student put it, ‘I just want my instructors to be kind.’ And that’s not asking a lot.”

The report shows that “respectful” was identified 341 times, more than any other characteristic.

Johnson says the survey also found that students are very conscious and concerned about the quality of instruction they are receiving in the classroom.

“They didn’t talk about course content without talking about the instructor’s ability to present that content,” he says. “They want their instructors to be not only up-to-date on the content, but also the pedagogical methods that they use to teach it.”

Johnson says he hopes professors will consider the study’s results and figure out where their behaviour needs improvement.

“You can’t legislate these characteristics,” he says. “But what we want to do is start a dialogue with faculty and have them thinking about this.”

Professors can now have students turn their cellphones into a classroom response system.

by Jordan Fallis

cellphone_distraction_448

Professors typically see laptops, cellphones and other mobile devices as an unavoidable distraction in the classroom. But they can now have students turn these devices into interactive teaching tools using a classroom response system developed by two University of Waterloo graduates.

Mohsen Shahini and Mike Silagadze, co-founders of the company Top Hat Monocle, launched the online platform, called monocleCAT, this past fall. About 4,500 students at five Ontario universities – Brock, Guelph, Western, Waterloo and Toronto – are currently using the tool in 25 different courses.

The technology is similar in concept to the “clicker” response systems used at some universities. However, instead of having to purchase the clickers, students answer multiple-choice questions using their own personal devices such as a Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, laptop or cellphone.

The system also allows students to download files and participate in open-ended questions and other interactive exercises. There’s no cost to the instructor, but students do have to pay a $20 fee per semester to use the service.

Mr. Shahini, who came up with the initial idea, says his aim has been to make the learning experience more engaging. “As a teaching assistant, I was always wondering why the students were not really participating and seemed just kind of bored.”

The two co-founders started the company in Mr. Silagadze’s living room in March 2009. The business has since expanded and moved into the Accelerator Centre on the University of Waterloo campus.

Elliot Currie, an associate professor in the department of business at the University of Guelph, says he’s found the tool very helpful for his students. “They’re not just listening and seeing, but actually doing something,” he says.

Dr. Currie explains that he often completes the first part of a question on the projector, and then asks the students to complete the second part on their devices. MonocleCAT then processes and graphs the class results so that the instructor immediately knows if the students understood the material. “If only 53 percent of them got it right,” he says, “we’ll go over it again.”

Dr. Currie says he sees monocleCAT as an effective way to teach this generation of students. “Let’s use the way they know how to communicate,” he says. “Facilitating them to participate in a manner that they’re comfortable with can only make [learning] better for everybody.”

Read the published article at the University Affairs magazine website.

What is the current state of physical fitness in Canada?

According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey released by Statistics Canada last year, 61 per cent of Canadians are either overweight or obese. Statistics Canada says this number has been steadily rising over the past two decades.

Twenty years ago, 16 per cent of Canadians were labelled obese. Today, 25 per cent of Canadians are clinically obese. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the obesity rate in Canada is expected to increase by another five per cent over the next 10 years. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea and some forms of cancer.

 

What are the basic elements of the paleolithic diet?

The paleolithic diet (also known as the caveman or stone-age diet) focuses on eating natural foods that were available to humans during the paleolithic era (approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago). Followers of the diet eat anything a caveman would have been able to hunt down or gather – meat, fish, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables – and exclude all other food products introduced over the last 10,000 years after the agricultural revolution – grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar and processed oils. Although it is very restrictive, followers say it is not like other fad diets and short-term weight loss strategies. Rather, it is a complete lifestyle change, eating the foods humans are meant to eat.

 

Where did things go wrong? Has abandoning the paleolithic way of eating led to obesity in Canada?

At the onset of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, humans established civilizations and abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. As a result, a variety of unfamiliar, non-paleolithic foods were introduced into the human diet, such as wheat, corn and rice. Over time, people started ingesting smaller amounts of food from the paleolithic era, and larger amounts of unnatural, modern-day foods. Then, throughout the Industrial Revolution, food processing techniques and large scale food development emerged, and production of refined cereals, sugars and vegetable oils became widespread.

For millions of years, these foods were alien to paleolithic ancestors, as they ate nothing but meat, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Since this shift in the human diet happened so quickly – 10,000 years is a very small slice of the entire evolutionary pie – proponents of the paleolithic diet argue that human evolution hasn’t been able to keep up, and this has led to obesity and numerous other modern-day diseases. Essentially, paleolithic experts say modern humans are genetically similar to their paleolithic ancestors, and should be eating similar foods.

 

Why do people follow the paleolithic diet? What are the benefits of following the diet? Will reverting back to this old way of eating reduce obesity rates?

Paleolithic experts point to evolutionary evidence that shows the human body has evolved and thrived for millions of years by eating large amounts of animal fat and protein, and small amounts of carbohydrates. But today, paleolithic nutritionists say the majority of humans eat the opposite of the paleolithic diet, avoiding fat and animal meat and filling up on unhealthy carbohydrates. Even the recently revised Canada Food Guide suggests a diet low in animal protein and fat, and high in carbohydrates. Many Canadians follow these guidelines, hoping to lose excess weight, but actually gain weight instead.

According to Loren Cordain, the author of The Paleo Diet, 70 per cent of the calories consumed by people in North America come from dairy products, cereals, refined vegetable oils and alcohol. Many paleolithic experts argue that excessively eating these industrial-era foods is causing the current obesity epidemic in Western populations.

Paleolithic experts say by returning to the paleolithic diet, Canadians can achieve great health and a perfect physique because it is the ideal diet for human health and well-being. They say if every single person in Canada followed the diet, obesity would be nonexistent. These experts often point to Kitava, a non-westernized population that dodged the agricultural revolution and still follows the hunter-gatherer lifestyle today. Surveys show these modern people, who still eat like cavemen, are free from obesity and all the modern diseases plaguing Canadians.

 

When and how did the paleolithic diet movement begin?

In 1975, Dr. Walter Voegtlin published a book that argued eating a diet full of fats and protein, along with small amounts of carbohydrates, would improve a person’s health. This sparked the beginning of a grassroots movement advocating the return of the paleolithic diet. Today, medical doctors and nutritionists publish books, journals, blogs and websites to support the cause worldwide.

 

Who is against the paleolithic diet and what do they have to say?

Critics of the paleolithic diet often challenge its underlying evolutionary theory. They also point to evidence that humans from the paleolithic era ate small amounts of grains and starchy foods.

Tina Moffat, an associate professor of anthropology at McMaster University, opposes the paleolithic diet for many reasons. Moffat, who teaches the anthropology of food and nutrition, says she sees many flaws in the diet’s core argument that humans are genetically the same as 10,000 years ago.