Did the Paleo Diet Originally Include Bread?

Some news outlets are reporting that a recent study proves the real Paleo diet included bread. But that might be bad journalism. Let's examine.

A recent study of the plaque on the teeth of ancient central European skeletons says so, as NBC News reports in an article boldly titled “The Real Paleo Diet Might Have Included Bread.”

Some of the European skeletons from 8000 – 9000 years ago consumed wheat, barley and millet, according to the study.

“We infer that ‘exotic’ Neolithic domesticated plants were introduced to southern Europe independently almost half a millennium earlier than previously thought, through networks that enabled exchanges between inland Mesolithic foragers and early farming groups found along the Aegean coast of Turkey,” wrote the researchers.

Let me start by pointing out that the Paleolithic period ended 11000 years ago, so those skeletons are technically Neolithic. So the Neolithic diet might have included bread. But the Paleo diet didn’t.

*sigh* Stop it with the clickbait, NBC.

But even so, it is important to remember that grains 8000 years ago and grains today are *very* different.

Today’s commercial wheat, for example, has been bred and modified to an unrecognizable point. It’s gluten content has skyrocketed along with the yields. But all that led to is higher rates of gluten intolerance, Celiac’s disease, and weight gain.

Additionally, modern wheat is modified to withstand a toxic herbicide called Beyond. But don’t worry, it’s not genetically modified. Instead, the wheat undergoes “chemical mutagenesis”: a process that uses a highly toxic chemical – sodium azide – as well as gamma and x-ray radiation to produce a Beyond-resistant variety of wheat.

Yeah, not really what our ancestors had when they started cultivating wheat 8000 years ago.

Another point I want to make is this idea that if bread was eaten so long ago, it must be okay to eat today is deeply flawed.

Sure, for thousands of years, bread has been a staple in almost every cuisine, and it seems that humans never had any issues from it.

But bread itself has changed dramatically in the 20th century. Traditionally, bread was made using a slow-rise sourdough method which included live bacteria and yeast working together to create this healthy and filling staple.

Today’s bread is a sad joke compared to that.

Aside from the fact that it’s made with the modified wheat, it also uses modified fast-rising yeast and no sourdough. The bran and other parts of the wheat are milled away, stripping the bread of any nutrition (which is then added back through a synthetic “fortification” process that is, sadly, not sufficient). The bread is then topped off with a good deal of preservatives for long-lasting shelf life.

Comparing today’s bread to Neolithic bread is like comparing apples to oranges. Claiming that the Paleo diet included any form of bread is even dumber 🙂


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