The Paleo diet is barbaric, tribal and trendy. But why?
Researchers at Tribal Connections parsed the web to see why the caveman phenomenon is so sexy:
After examining the data collected from the different forums, it was obvious that there were certain trends among Paleo advocates and the reasons as to why the public would adopt a lifestyle of living like a caveman.
The most popular response that people gave for following the Paleo diet was because of athletic or fitness related endeavors. 78% of those who responded that they were following the Paleo diet because of these reasons were males between 18-39 years old. The second most popular reason that people gave for joining the Paleo movement was disease related. Either they were suffering from a certain disease that required a restrictive diet, or they had a fear of succumbing to one of the many diet related illnesses that a Standard American Diet has been shown to foster.
Within this category, the gender distribution was not as skewed towards men, but although a number of women expressed concerns for maladies such as gluten and dairy intolerance, the majority remained male.
Other reasons for abiding by the Paleo diet that were encountered during this study included aspirations for general weight loss, seeing others succeed and wanting to attain the same results, and even pregnancy. A full list of the reasons given for following the diet and how the data for this paper was coded can be found in the appendix.
The way that the diet was discussed among participants in the forums yielded some intriguing results. As mentioned in the Data and Methods section, I was looking for discussion outside the realm of strictly diet. What I found was a discussion of a multitude of topics being discussed in depth that were not to be found in the dietetic literature. 12 users commented on the importance of minimizing exposure to blue light waves (coming from TV, computer, or cell phones) after the sun set, which one claimed “affects melatonin secretion” (Mark’s Daily Apple).
At least one post from each different site stressed the consequences of succumbing to the perils of modern technology. There were a variety of different discussions about what kinds of exercises were being practiced among those that mentioned fitness as the primary reason for living like a caveman. 15 people were resolute in their effort to wear only minimalist shoes to mimic the bare footedness of our ancestors. One thread discussed how “our mechanics are not adapted to the supportive shoes of the modern age” and the only way to develop proper ankle stability and leg strength is to “go barefoot” to “avoid atrophy of leg and ankle muscles” (1). Read More