Re: Paleo diets (Journal, June 13).
Let’s see. The highlights of the Paleolithic age were: no home, no light, no heat, no transportation, no cold storage, no medical care, massive infant mortality, a life expectancy of 30 years, no longitudinal studies of dietary efficacy and no records of anything.
The benefits of civilization came after farming and the taming of grains in the service of stable communities. Humans are omnivores and a wide range of foods provides the nutrients, minerals and energy for successful lives, the more so when consumed in moderation.
There is a huge range of viable dietary practice from vegans and macrobiotic rice-eaters to blubber-based diets of Arctic communities.
In between, all new diets are poorly controlled experiments, clearly based (since there are so many of them) on biased thinking. In truth, Paleolithic meat was likely teeming with parasites and had to be eaten steaming from the animal or rotten; and Stone Age milk was so lethal that the Hebrews created a set of laws for managing it.
While it is fine for adults such as Ms. (Molly) Dunham to sign up for the Paleo diet, it is not clear that their children should become guinea pigs. For them, these are the years when the future of the brain is laid down and we know for certain that the Paleolithics left no evidence of high-powered thinking.
John Sisson, Newcastle