Fecal analysis of Neanderthals indicate ancient cavemen followed a Paleo-style diet of mostly meat and some plants. The discovery came as no surprise to Paleo adherents, who took to social media to express their mock shock at the revelation.
Analysis of 50,000-year-old fossilized fecal samples suggest Neanderthals consumed predominantly meat, as evidenced by coprostanol ratios in their excrement, but they also consumed plants, as suggested by the presence of 5β-stigmastanol. The findings were published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
"Understanding the diet of past human species closely related to our own will help us gain perspective on our evolutionary constraints and adaptability," said Ainara Sistiaga, a geoarchaeologist at MIT, who was one of the researchers.
These findings confirm the conclusions set forth in the riveting documentary The Perfect Human Diet, which posits that ancient caveman ate a Paleo-style diet consisting mostly of large game meat and some plants.
CJ Hunt, executive producer of "The Perfect Human Diet," reached his conclusions after speaking with anthropologists who conducted isotopic and elemental bone analyses on early human fossils to identify exactly what they ate.
These analyses reveal ancient humans ate primarily animal foods, like large game meat — which is exactly what the latest fecal-sample findings confirm. "If we had stayed vegetarians, I wouldn't be speaking to you on this high level," integrative physician Dr. Lane Sebring said in "The Perfect Human Diet."
CJ told me we can solve the obesity crisis by embracing the original Paleo diet that helped humans evolve over millions of years. "Scientifically, a diet emphasizing whole cuts of meat, wild plants and nuts, and eliminating grains, dairy, beans and potatoes is the perfect human diet," said Hunt.
Paleo Diet Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis
Fitness expert and author Robb Wolf appears in "The Perfect Human Diet." Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, said the gluten-free Paleo eating plan prevents disease, in addition to fueling weight loss.
"The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic," said Robb.
The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around today, and has a large celebrity following, including Tim McGraw (who credits Paleo for his jaw-dropping 40-pound weight loss), Adriana Lima, Megan Fox, Jessica Biel, Robin Wright and Kellan Lutz.
Research suggests a low-carb Paleo diet enhances weight loss, reduces blood pressure, and prevents cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's. TV star Jack Osbourne (the son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne) credits the Paleo diet for his 70-pound weight loss and for treating his multiple sclerosis.
Paleo Proven Twice as Effective for Weight Loss
A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates the Paleo diet is twice as effective as other diets for promoting weight loss and reducing belly fat.
“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” said Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Movement.
"Evolution by natural selection is the most powerful idea in all of medicine and biology, said Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet Cookbook. "Our nutritional requirements are shaped by our evolution."
While the notion that caveman lived only to age 30 is popular, experts say Paleolithic people routinely enjoyed healthy, 70-year lifespans, as long as they survived childbirth, early infancy and didn't die from an animal attack or infection.
The myth that cavemen only lived two or three decades came from averaging their "typical" lifespan with the numerous premature deaths of Paleolithic women during childbirth; the routine early demise of children during infancy from infection; and deaths from animal attacks during hunting.