If you haven’t seen the new TED talk featuring anthropologist Christina Warinner where she “debunks” the Paleo diet, it’s worth watching.

I think the “debunking” rhetoric here is somewhat oversold and that the introduction to the talk in particular attacks a number of straw men. Many in the Paleo community have long recognized that it would be impossible, and perhaps not very enjoyable, to eat an authentically paleo diet. There was no one paleo diet in history, just as there are variants of modern approaches to diet and fitness that come under the umbrella of paleo or ancestral health.

To me, it’s never been about re-enactment, but asking how evolution and anthropology can better inform approaches to diet, health, and lifestyle in the modern world. For some, “paleo” is just shorthand for this kind of thinking and experimentation. For others, I suppose it’s a catchy label used to package and sell stuff.

All of that said, the takeaway from Christina Warinner’s talk is eminently sensible, and the journey she takes to get there is interesting as well. In the end, the more anthropologists, nutritionists, doctors, etc, that get involved in asking how evolution and anthropology can better inform approaches to diet, health, and lifestyle in the modern world, the better. So no need to get your panties in a bunch, just watch and enjoy!