While the Paleo diet has had many health benefits for people, there are some definite misconceptions currently in place in regards to how our ancient ancestors really ate. 

As an anthropology major I've taken a number of classes that have changed my mind on how I viewed early man. In one of my archaeology classes we watched a TED Talk performed by Christina Warinner, an anthropologist at the University of Oklahoma, which "debunked" the Paleo Diet. 

From the video, we found out that although the Paleo Diet is a perfectly fine diet to follow, it shouldn't be advertised as closely adhering to the diet of early humans. 

If you really want to eat "Paleo" here are some things that anthropologists want you to know about how Paleolithic humans actually ate. 

1. Humans have no physiological, anatomical, or genetic adaptation to meat consumption

While many people argue that humans have evolved to be carnivores and think that all cavemen ever did was sit around the fire roasting meat, the exact opposite is in fact true. In reality, humans' long digestive tract, generalized dentition, and our inability to produce our own Vitamin C are all markers that we actually have many adaptations to plant consumption, not meat consumption.

While meat was a vital part of the early human diet, it was not a daily food source. The only reason why it's been believed that ancient humans were big meat eaters is that bones are more likely to preserve than plants so we have more bone remains in the archaeological record. 

2. Paleolithic people ate an abundance of plants and legumes, not meat

Many people think of eating a lot of meat when on the Paleo Diet, but as mentioned previously, meat wasn't a staple item in early human diet. Though meat was very important to the survival of the human species, plants and legumes were more reliable dietary staples.

Based on analyzing plaque found on the teeth of early humans, it has been found that there was an abundance of plants in early human diet. Barley, tubers, and legumes are all common foods found in the dental plaque of early humans. 

3. The foods that we think of as “Paleo” are almost all domesticated foods that required farming

Though it has been found that ancient humans did eat plants, they didn't look like what you would see as Paleo approved veggies. Almost all of the fruits and vegetables that we eat today are domesticated versions of wild plant.

Take broccoli for example—broccoli is a healthy vegetable and is a part of the Paleo Diet… despite the fact that it didn’t even exist in the Paleolithic era and didn’t come to be until human selective cultivation after the Neolithic Revolution.  

Even animals have been domesticated to yield more meat and eggs than their wild ancestors. 

4. There was no one "Paleo Diet" 

There were many different Paleolithic diets across the globe, not just one diet to base the Paleo Diet on. Due to seasonal and regional variability Paleolithic diets had a wide range. 

 In reality, there was a wide range of diets during the Paleolithic era that ran the gambit from being more plant-based to being almost totally carnivorous. Areas of the world with no plants tended to eat more animals and vice versa, and the was true when it came to seasonality.

Globalization has allowed us to eat less seasonally, but trying to eat more seasonally is good for both your community and your health. 

5. Eating "whole foods" is one of the best parts of the Paleo Diet

If there's one thing that you should follow from the real Paleo Diet it's to eat more "whole foods," or foods that have not been processed or reconstituted. Processed reconstituted foods make us lose the balance within whole foods that aid in digestion. Fiber, for example, helps regulate the speed food travels through your system among other health boons. 

Without those checks we are able to eat much more calories without realizing it, like how someone can drink a 34 ounce soda without second thought but couldn't fathom eating 8.5 feet of sugar cane (which is the equivalent amount of sugar found in the soda).

While it's unrealistic and close to impossible to eat exactly like a caveman these days, there are small ways to eat as "Paleo" as you want.