Washington, June 12 (ANI): A new book on the evolution of eating habits among prehistoric people has said that an "all natural diet" is not possible today, as besides attaining our nutritional requirements, we need to find the best way to get them.
Kristen Gremillion, associate professor of anthropology at Ohio State University, said that while there is much we can learn from what our ancestors ate, many of our more modern foods and diets were developed for very good reasons.
Gremillion is author of the new book 'Ancestral Appetites: Food in Prehistory', which explores how humans have adjusted the food they eat and the way they prepare it in response to new knowledge and new environments.
"Humans are omnivores and we can eat a wide range of things," Gremillion said.
"Rather than try to base a healthy diet on what we think people used to eat thousands of years ago, it would probably make more sense to look at our nutritional requirements today and find the best way to meet them," Gremillion explained.
One issue that Gremillion has with many new diet fads is the claim that they are somehow more "natural" because they focus on a time before modern culture spoiled our eating habits.
One popular diet today is the so-called "paleo" or "paleolithic" diet, sometimes also called the caveman diet. This diet is based on what people ate before the introduction of agriculture.
There is an emphasis on lean meats and fruits and vegetables, and avoiding processed foods and grains of all kinds.
And while the paleo diet does have a scientific basis, Gremillion said the raw food diet does not. This diet emphasizes getting most calories from uncooked, unprocessed foods.
"There is not really anything to be gained by eating only raw foods. We have been cooking food for hundreds of thousands of years," she said.
While cooking does remove some nutrients from foods, it also breaks down the compounds in foods to make some nutrients easier for our bodies to extract.
In addition, it is much easier on our teeth and jaws than tearing and crushing hard and fibrous foods.
Gremillion said that in everything related to eating - from what foods we eat, to how we grow it, to how we prepare it - there is no one natural way. (ANI)