The Paleo Diet is different in its approach than the “average” low carb diet. Like others it is higher in protein, but it is premised firstly on a historical basis: because for millions of years our ancestors ate substantially less carbohydrates (i.e., less grains, refined sugars, starch, bread, processed carbs, etc.) than in the modern, western diet. In fact, they ate virtually none of the above foods.
Recent scientific research has indicated that our ancestors ate even more of a low carb diet than previously thought. While different cultural groups ate different animal/plant food ratios, the research has shown that before the agricultural revolution the average human caloric distribution was about two thirds animal foods, and only about one third of our caloric intake was being derived from plant foods. Mass agriculture brought with it a boatload of nutritionally related diseases that were unknown to hunter-gatherers. New foods continue to wreak havoc in our Stone Age bodies and these foods fundamentally vary from the healthful foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.
So, the basic concept behind the Paleo Diet will always be that the foods that best promote health and optimum functioning are the foods that we evolved to eat. More and more research is showing that we evolved to eat low carb … in a Paleolithic sort of way! Humans evolved over 2.5 million years as hunter-gatherers, and it is only very recently that we have been eating grains, dairy, sugar, vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other modern foods. Because evolution moves so very slowly, the standard American diet (and even so-called “healthy” diets) wreaks havoc with our Paleolithic constitutions.