Though the diet mentioned in the Bible may have been thought as healthy, such diets are far from being balanced, a religious expert has said.
Many books have hailed the virtues of foods featured in the religious text.
But far from being "the land of milk and honey", a study by theologian Dr Nathan MacDonald has claimed that ancient Israel was more likely to offer its inhabitants a bland choice of flat breads and grains.
To reach the conclusion, the St Andrews University lecturer examined biblical texts and archaeological finds, including human remains, and came to the conclusion those living in the promised land did not have a balanced diet.
He said that there was a notable shortage of meat and vegetables, and also of vitamins and minerals, reports the Telegraph.
Dr MacDonald, an Old Testament expert, said: "Though many people have thought otherwise, the evidence is that the diet in biblical times was not very healthy.
"Except for times of famine and food shortage - which were relatively frequent - it provided the necessary calories, but was lacking in certain key vitamins and minerals.
"A number of books propound a biblical diet because it is thought to be a low-fat, high-fibre diet.
"True, many Israelites rarely ate meat, but vegetables and fruit also featured far less than they needed to. In reality, it was not a balanced diet."
The expert, however, claimed that his findings might prove unpopular among those for whom the Bible provides not only moral but also nutritional guidance.
"I imagine it probably will upset some people," he said.
"I suspect what might happen is that I will be regarded as some sort of terrible liberal," he added.
Dr MacDonald's book, What Did The Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet In Biblical Times, contains his findings and was published in the UK this month.