Potato industry leaders have found fault with a diet that seeks to replicate what cavemen ate.
"SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. potato industry has taken umbrage with a popular dietary fad, which is based on the premise that humans ate healthier during the Stone Age than following the advent of agriculture.
The Paleolithic diet — coined by Colorado State University emeritus professor Loren Cordain — promotes foods that would have been available to hunter-gatherers more than 10,000 years ago — such as grass-fed meat, wild game, nuts, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
In addition to processed foods and salt, the popular diet frowns upon some of the major commodities produced in the Northwest, including potatoes, cereals, dairy, sugar and legumes. Cordain reasons the foods weren’t present during the Paleolithic Period, and humans, therefore, haven’t adapted to eating them.
Cordain vows Paleo dieters achieve weight loss, reduced diabetes and diseases, increased energy, fewer allergies, better digestion and increased muscle. Critics counter that modern foods, developed over centuries of selective breeding, don’t resemble Paleolithic foods. They also note the diet’s conspicuous absence of Stone Age dietary staples — such as rats, mice, squirrels, stripped bark, insects and lizards — and question the wisdom of emulating an ancient people who typically died in their 30s.
The potato industry — still seeking to improve consumer perceptions affected by the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet craze — recently launched a campaign highlighting the importance of the spud’s protein, vitamin C, potassium and carbohydrates to athletic performance.
“I think a lot of people are really getting tired of all of these really restrictive diets and are more interested in learning how to eat properly in a way they can work into their lifestyle, based on the basic ideas of moderation and good diversity,” said John Toaspern, chief marketing officer with Potatoes USA."
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