Scientific American bags on the Paleo diet primarily because Paleolithic diets varied so much from region to region. For example, the diet of the Arctic Paleolithic hunter/gatherer was very different from that of the Central American hunter/gatherer. Reasonable argument. Another criticism has to do with evolutionary changes that have taken place in humans over the last 10,000 years, particularly with regards to the PH levels in our intestines.
I have no doubt that the modern concept of eating pure Paleo has holes on it. I do like the fact that it moves people away from eating processed foods and battles the myths of saturated fats as being unhealthy. For most people, eating a more Paleo based diet is only going to benefit them. However, I disagree entirely with the premise of the strict no dairy interpretations of the Paleo diet. I just don’t buy it. As a hunter, I have killed numerous deer that were carrying milk. In a Paleo setting where humans hunted constantly, especially Megafauna such as Mammoths, are you telling me that Paleolithics did not consume milk when they split open the guts of animals and discovered it? Milk would be the “most bang for your buck” as far as fat, nutrients and calories, especially when eating lean game meats. In fact, If I were hunting for pure survival, I’d likely target animals with young offspring in the hopes of acquiring milk. While the milk of wild game may be not something that a Paleolithic hunter would consume daily, I’d sure think that any reasonable hunter/gatherer consumed dairy products any chance they got. Was it enough consumption for humans to develop lactose tolerance? I am not sure. But, I am confident that consumption was frequent enough for me to justify drinking milk to any contemporary Paleo snob, especially one who does not consume game meats. Most any contemporary “Paleo” diet is going to have flaws and inconsistencies, but, in the end, it is difficult to criticize any diet founded on the principles of eating quality meat, vegetables and forage.