The Nation



Stone Age diet versus modern vegetarianism

Re: "Chefs not well versed in healthy eating", Letters, December 25, and "Claiming cholesterol is harmless is dangerous nonsense", Letters, December 26.

I've been following the cholesterol debate between Thomas Turk and Eric Bahrt, and it seems that Turk puts a lot of faith in the Paleo Diet. But aside from the fact that it's debatable what cavemen ate, with an average life span of 25 years, do we really want to turn to them for an example of how to live a long and healthy life?

Even if some cavemen lived to old age, too many died young for us to know what effect their diet - whatever it was - had on their risk of developing degenerative diseases.

Much more recently (2013) it was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters. That study involved tens of thousands of people.

So what do we believe: a recent study in a major medical journal, or speculation about what cavemen (who generally died young) ate thousands of years ago?

Steve Gordon

San Francisco, California

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