Get over it, we've been eating bread for years

Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.

One of the core principles of the Paleo diet was shaken to its low-carb core this week, with the discovery that our Paleolithic predecessors did the unthinkable - they ate bread.

Bread has long been part of our staple diet as human beings, and the preparation and consumption of bread products predate the emergence of agriculture by 4,000 years. We learnt this week that the origins of bread date 14,000 years ago where flour was made from wild wheat and barley. This wholegrain bread eaten by the Jordanians 14,000 years ago would have also been accompanied by other foraged plant food, such as nuts, fruits and cereal grains.

As well as being bad for you for a whole host of reasons, the modern “Paleo” diet has now been proven to be historically inaccurate. Another reason to get off the diet bandwagon and embrace wholegrain carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet.

Ever since its conception we have known the Paleo diet is flawed. But just like Paleo Pete did with his marketing switch from previously recommending ‘5 small meals per day” to ‘intermittent fasting’, perhaps the big names behind this nonsensical and unhealthy approach to food will change their angle to now include bread and grains in their diet. After all, bread was part of the hunter gatherers diet.

The Paleo diet is based on the principle that we should be eating foods based on our ancestors because our gene pool has changed very little over all this time. However, its first flaw is that many of the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate do not even exist today. 

Its second flaw: food processing and agricultural development - which the diet condemns - started to take place thousands of years ago. 

Carbs aren’t to blame for the obesity epidemic we are witnessing today, as many low carb diets and celebrity ‘experts’ proclaim. What people consider westernised foods or foods making us ‘fat’ have in essence been around for a very long time. Carbs are the very foods that actually help control our waistlines.

So next time you think to cut out the carbs when you see the weight go up on the scales (it’s just water!), think again. Not only is this detrimental to your waistline but also to your health.  These are the very foods we should be putting back on the plate because when they are eaten in their wholegrain form – oats, barley, quinoa – they will actually reduce your chance of developing disease such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. After all, it’s only a matter of time until we see it on the plates of the Paleo enthusiasts and re-introduced into other forms of ‘low carb’ diets.

About Dr Nick Fuller

Dr Nick Fuller is the founder of Interval Weight Loss and is a leading obesity expert at the University of Sydney with a Ph.D. in Obesity Treatment. Dr Fuller is also the author of three best-selling books and his work been published in top ranked journals in the medical field, including JAMA, Lancet and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.