Sprinkled-on superfoods, the paleo diet,聽going vegan like Beyonc茅, juice cleanses聽鈥斅爐here are tons of different ways for you to get your nutrition on. While trying to eat healthier or 鈥渃leaner鈥 definitely comes from a good place, sometimes these fad diets can actually do more harm than good. One of the biggest diet trends at the moment is the Paleo Diet, which consists of foods that ancient humans were presumed to have eaten. You鈥檒l find a lot of meats, fish, fruits and veggies 鈥 but in the grand scheme of human existence, it may not really be as accurate as we thought.聽An聽anthropological study done by biology professor Stephen Le in his book, 100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why It Matters Today, (read about the book and Le鈥檚 research聽in this article) shows that fad diets might actually do more damage than good on an individual level.

Miso Ramen Asian noodles with egg, enoki and pak choi cabbage in

When Le first noticed that Asians moving to Western countries had an uptick in breast and prostate cancers, he started investigating. While as a collective whole, contemporary humans聽don鈥檛 really consume that many more calories than our prehistoric ancestors (win!), and despite the fact that we鈥檙e much more sedentary, we expel about the same amount of energy thanks to our evolved metabolisms. All of those things being equal, Le surmised that what鈥檚 really causing problems these days is that our environmental adaptations (technology, industry) have far outweighed our genetic ones. Simply put: The globalization of diets could be hurting us, as our genetics might not have evolved similarly.

Dr. Le鈥檃 biggest point is that what鈥檚 good for YOU聽might not be good for everyone.鈥淭rying to understand human nutrition and health without understanding evolution,鈥 he writes in his book, 鈥渋s like trying to eavesdrop on a snippet of conversation without knowing the context. It鈥︹塩an be very misleading.鈥澛燭he logic behind the Mediterranean Diet, for example, works for those who are of that descent; he points out those in the region have adapted over years and years of exposure to process olive oil differently than, say, someone of African descent.

So what鈥檚 a human to do? According to an interview with聽MacLeans,聽Dr. Le advises that for聽health and longevity, you should 鈥渆at like your great-great-great-great grandparent鈥 would鈥檝e eaten. Of course, no matter what healthy diet you ask, processed foods are generally a no-go (sorry, delicious Cheetos) since it鈥檚 likely your ancestor wouldn鈥檛 have eaten them.

caucasian woman eats salad

Another extremely interesting point Dr. Le makes is that we have an ideological fanaticism about聽vegetables being health food 鈥 but relative to other things like fruits and meats, veggies were a pretty聽recent introduction into our diets. Many vegetables contain natural toxins聽鈥 like the cyanide you鈥檒l find in lima beans聽鈥 and our ancestors would have had to combat those factors by cooking veggies before they could be safely eaten. Therefore, Le argues that those leafy greens might聽not deserve the pedestal we鈥檝e placed them on (blasphemy!) 鈥 though they鈥檙e by no means BAD for you.鈥淲e tend to look at vegetables as medicine,鈥 he says. 鈥淭here鈥檚 a veneer of science. But as long as we鈥檙e eating an adequately balanced diet, there鈥檚 no fear of non-nutrition.鈥

Adequately balanced diet is all it takes, huh? BRB, gonna go snack on a dark chocolate bar ;)

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(Photos via iStock)