THE orthodoxy of the Paleo diet has been challenged by the most unlikely of contenders: the humble oat.
Paleo dieters shun most grains and carbohydrates on the premise that our Palaeolithic ancestors did not eat them and were healthier for it, but a new archaeological discovery suggests oatmeal was actually part of ancient diets.
Analysis of a stone pestle by an Italian research team found it was dusted with the starch of wild oat plants, Men's Fitness reported.
The pestle was found in the Paglicci Cave in southern Italy, and dates back 32,600 years, making this finding the oldest known evidence that humans processed oats - tens of thousands of years before the development of agriculture, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Their finding suggests that the cave's inhabitants used the pestle to grind whole oats into a flour before cooking and eating the flour - a key technological breakthrough back then.
Lippi is hesitant to draw too many conclusions about exactly what the cave people did with the ground oats, but she tells NPR that "presumably they mixed the flour with water and cooked [it]" and that it means they "surely used grains".
It's not unprecedented, however-Huw Barton, a professor of bio-archaeology at Britain's University of Leicester, tells National Geographic that ancient peoples likely ate more grains than researchers previously thought.
Only time will tell if hard-core Paleo followers will accept these findings and put porridge back in their diets.
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