It’s important to focus on the health benefits of certain foods rather than obsessing over whether a food meets orthodox definitions of the paleo diet. I previously discussed this line of thinking in my post Replacing Paleo. Now it’s time for an example.
Consider the possibility of a hypothetical genetically engineered superfood called the longevity berry. Let’s even go beyond this and call it the “longevity cookie” to make it more non-paleo to illustrate the point of this post. Imagine clinical trials of this medical food are conducted by an organization not connected to the manufacturer. Now imagine the results of multiple studies show that this food rejuvenates healthy cells while simultaneously destroying cancer stem cells and extends the lifespan of humans by a significant amount. Such a food would be at the top of a must-have list of foods to eat for better health, even though it wouldn’t be paleo.
This is the exciting world of functional foods, where foods are modified to enhance their nutrient value. Paleo can be a useful rule of thumb, or at least it used to be, but it doesn’t need to be a religion. A better option is to analyze the biological effects of individual foods (including newly developed functional foods) for their benefits to health and longevity.