L’apparition de « maladies de civilisations » et l’incertitude des réponses trouvées dans les données épidémiologiques en nutrition a conduit les chercheurs à essayer de trouver dans l’alimentation du passé des pistes pour une meilleur alimentation.
En 1985, l’article scientifique fondateur de ce qui sera l’alimentation paléo (paleo-diet) est publié par Eaton & Konner (un livre, Stone age diet était paru dix ans plus tôt, et on peut considérer dans une moindre mesure Weston Price comme l’initiateur de l’idée de se référer à l’abandon des alimentations traditionnelles comme explication des maladies de civilisation).
3 grandes familles de questions :
– Est-il possible, au sein de la diversité des régimes alimentaires des chasseurs-cueilleurs, d’identifier des constantes permettant de définir une alimentation des chasseurs-cueilleurs, et notamment des chasseurs-cueilleurs de la fin du pléistocène, qui sont les ancêtres des humains actuels ?
– Dans quelle mesure l’alimentation à laquelle nos ancêtres se sont adaptés contraint-elle aujourd’hui les humains du 21ème siècle ? Quelles sont les marges de manoeuvre ? Dans quelle mesure nous sommes-nous adaptés aux évolutions survenues depuis le néolithique, et aux nouvelles évolutions survenues depuis le début de l’ère industrielle ? Quelles sont ces évolutions, précisément ?
– Existe-t-il, au sein de l’offre alimentaire moderne, quelque chose qui ressemble aux aliments consommés au paléolithique, ou du moins existe-t-il des caractéristiques rapprochant ou éloignant les aliments modernes des aliments anciens ?
Histoire de l’idée d’une alimentation paléo bénéfique
Paleolithic nutrition, twenty-five years later
Konner & Eaton
Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 2010
A quarter century has passed since the first publication of the evolutionary discordance hypothesis, according to which depar-tures from the nutrition and activity patterns of our hunter-gath-erer ancestors have contributed greatly and in specifically definable ways to the endemic chronic diseases of modern civilization. Refinements of the model have changed it in some respects, but anthropological evidence continues to indicate that ancestral human diets prevalent during our evolution were characterized by much lower levels of refined carbohydrates and sodium, much higher levels of fiber and protein, and comparable levels of fat (primarily unsaturated fat) and cholesterol. Physical activity levels were also much higher than current levels, resulting in higher energy throughput. We said at the outset that such evidence could only suggest testable hypotheses and that recommendations must ultimately rest on more conventional epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory studies. Such studies have multiplied and have supported many aspects of our model, to the extent that in some respects, official recommendations today have targets closer to those prevalent among hunter-gatherers than did comparable recommendations 25 years ago. Furthermore, doubts have been raised about the necessity for very low levels of protein, fat, and cholesterol intake common in official recommendations. Most impressively, randomized controlled trials have begun to confirm the value of hunter-gatherer diets in some high-risk groups, even as compared with routinely recommended diets. Much more research needs to be done, but the past quarter century has proven the interest and heuristic value, if not yet the ultimate validity, of the model.
The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic
Cordain et al.
European journal of clinical nutrition, 2002
The high reliance upon animal-based foods would not have necessarily elicited unfavorable blood lipid profiles because of the hypolipidemic effects of high dietary protein (19–35% energy) and the relatively low level of dietary carbohydrate (22–40% energy). Although fat intake (28–58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in Western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower ω-6/ω-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD.
Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease
Cordain et al.
European journal of clinical nutrition, 2002
Literature comparisons showed tissue lipids of North American and African ruminants were similar to pasture-fed cattle, but dissimilar to grain-fed cattle. The lipid composition of wild ruminant tissues may serve as a model for dietary lipid recommendations in treating and preventing chronic disease.
Paleolithic nutrition, what did our ancestors eat
Miller et al, (200x ?)
Paleolithic nutrition revisited : a twelve-year retropective on its nature and implications
Eaton et al.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1997
The nutritional needs of today’s humans arose through a multimillion year evolutionary process during nearly all of which genetic change reflected the life circumstances of our ancestral species (Eaton & Konner, 1985). But, since the appearance of agriculture 10 000 y ago and especially since the Industrial Revolution, genetic adaptation has been unable to keep pace with cultural progress (Cohen, 1989;Tooby & Cosimides, 1990). Natural selection has produced only minor alterations during the past 10 000 y, so we remain nearly identical to our late Paleolithic ancestors (Tooby & Cosimides, 1990) and, accordingly, their nutritional pattern has continuing relevance. The preagricultural diet might be considered a possible paradigm or standard for contemporary human nutrition
Stone agers in the fast line : chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionnary perspective
Boyd Eaton et al.
The american journal of medicine, 1988
Paleolithic Nutrition, a consideration of it nature and current implications
Eaton & Konner
New England journal of medicine, 1985
The Stone age diet
Walter L. Voetglin, 1975
Cette publication est citée notamment par Katharine Milton pour contester l’importante consommation de produits animaux soulignée par la publication de Cordain, 2000. Effectivement, Lee trouve des chiffres inférieurs à ceux de Cordain, à partir, a priori, du même atlas ethnographique. Il est difficile de trancher entre les deux, même si Cordain a l’avantage d’avoir mené un travail statistique, mais même Lee souligne que l’on ne descend jamais sous les 20% d’aliments issus de la chasse.
What hunters do for a living, or how to make out on scarce resources
Richard B. Lee
In Man the hunter, Aldine Publishing Company, 1968
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
Weston A Price, 1939
Santé des populations paléolithiques
An abundance of developmental anomalies and abnormalities in Pleistocene people
The patterns and incidences of developmental abnormalities and anomalies through Pleistocene human evolution may provide insights into issues of survival, stress, consanguinity, and mortuary behavior among these foraging populations. A synthesis of these developmental variants through the Homo fossil record provides 75 cases from 66 individuals, an exceptional total given the small paleontological samples. These are primarily from the past 200,000 years, given better preservation through burial, but are known from up to 1.5 million years ago. One-third of them have moderately low probabilities (P < 0.05), yet 14% are very rare (P < 0.0001), and 19% have no known etiology. No single factor accounts for the extremely low cumulative probability of finding these abnormalities, but this raises questions concerning the natures of Pleistocene human populations.
Effets d’une alimentation paléo
Scientific evidence of diets for weight loss: Different macronutrient composition, intermittent fasting, and popular diets
To Restore Health, “Do we Have to Go Back to theFuture?”
The Impact of a 4-Day Paleolithic LifestyleChange on Human Metabolism – a Pilot Study.
Jens Freese et al.
Journal of evolution and health, 2016
Thirteen healthy adult volunteers were transferred to the DELUX National Park (Germany andLuxembourg) for four days and three nights, where Stone Age conditions where mimicked. Thirty-eight biochemical and bioelectrical parameters were measured from participants before and after this relocation.
[…]The rapid metabolic effects in our study display that a short but multifactorial lifestyle change in the scope of a simulated paleolythic environment led to an accelerated recovery of energy homeostasis in a short periodof 4 days. Anthropometric determinants such as body weight (-3,9%), body fat (-7,5%), body mass index (-3,8%) and visceral fat area (-14,4%) decreased significantly. These improvements were expected due to the relatively low caloric intake (1567 ckal per day) combined with a high quantum of physical activity (15 km hiking per day), partially under fasting conditions, contrasting the ever present inactivity in todays sedentary lifestyle. More unexpected we noted extravagant changes of parameters related to metaflammation. Outstandingly, fasting glucose (-18,2%), insulin (-50,1%) and HOMA (-57,8%) dropped highly significant. In contrast, CRP as the main indicator for LGI, raised to an average of 169.6 %. We suppose, that living in the wild stimulates the innate immune system as shown by Qing  and Park  via activation of proinflammatory pathways in order to anticipate evolutionary old danger signals such as bacteria, viruses, insects or predators.
Nutrition, diet, physical activity, smoking, and longevity: From primitive hunter-gatherer to present passive consumer—How far can we go?
Walker et al.
Nevertheless, for the few who, with determination, are eager to improve their lifestyles, there could be highly profitable lengthening of years of “healthy life expectancy” by eating less, eating more plant foods, being much more physically active, and restricting non-dietary risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption).