Cordain admits that meat leads to plaque and increases cholesterol where plants wouldn’t. And science establishes that plaque and cholesterol lead to heart attacks and strokes. But Cordain argues that plaque alone is insufficient to cause harm. Rather, it is plaque combined with inflammation that causes heart attacks and strokes. So avoid acid, salt, legumes, wheat, starchy vegetables, dairy, oil, fatty meats, and grains because they cause inflammation. But if both science and Cordain agree that plaque is a necessary part of the heart-disease equation—and that meat causes plaque—why should we follow Paleo rather than just forgo meat?
Research into the weight loss effects of the paleolithic diet has generally been of poor quality. One trial of obese postmenopausal women found improvements in weight and fat loss after six months, but the benefits had ceased by 24 months; side effects among participants included "weakness, diarrhea, and headaches". Any weight loss caused by the diet was merely the result of calorie restriction, rather than a special feature of the diet itself.
If you were to eat an unlimited amount of red meat (which the paleo diet technically allows), you may see your heart health suffer. While experts applaud the omission of packaged and processed foods like cake, cookies, chips, and candy — which are well known to be bad for your ticker — they’re not crazy about the fact that paleo doesn’t allow you to eat whole grains, legumes, and most dairy. Whole grains in particular have been linked with better cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (13) These are all comorbidities of heart disease. (14)
For example, although white potatoes were recorded as being available during the Paleolithic era, they are usually avoided on the Paleo diet because of their high glycemic index. Processed foods are also technically off limits due to an emphasis on fresh foods, but some Paleo diets allow frozen fruits and vegetables because the freezing process preserves most nutrients.
To deal with this major food rut and disinterest in cooking, I bought my lunch every single day from Dig Inn and begged my boyfriend to take me out to dinner at a restaurant with Whole30–compliant options. As someone who typically brings lunch to work and cooks dinner on weeknights, I knew I was spending way over my normal budget, but I couldn't help myself. It was for my sanity.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the benefits of following a Paleo diet versus a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association in 24 participants with diabetes. After two weeks, researchers found that the Paleo diet led to greater improvements in blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity than the conventional diabetes diet. (4)
Paleo eating requires a lot of planning, prep time, and mental resolve. For instance, eating out on the diet isn't as simple as ordering chicken and a salad. Think: In what oil was the chicken cooked? Did any of the salad toppings come processed, canned, or packaged? "As with every elimination diet, it's just not doable long term," Dr. Ochner says. While weight loss is far from the sole purpose of eating paleo, going on and off of the diet can lead to big weight swings. Any yo-yo diet starts in weight loss from both muscle and fat, and usually ends with weight gain of all fat, which contributes to a slower metabolism and increased insulin resistance.
Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan has recipes for food that you can eat every day, along with easy tips to make sure it takes as little time as possible to prepare. All recipes are made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol. Calorie-dense ingredients like dried fruit and nuts show up as flavoring, instead of primary ingredients. It will also show you how to how to mix and match basic ingredients with spices and seasonings that take your taste buds on a world tour. With 115+ original recipes and variations. The author is a popular blogger at The Clothes Make The Girl. All Amazon reviews are positive. Published December 12, 2011.
Bought this probably about a year ago or so... Finally decide to try it. WOW!!! It's been 18 days and I've lost over 16 pounds, and I've been eating all I want, and am never going hungry, so I have no cravings for anything, fresh home-made Italian bread or even my all-time favorite corn-type snacks, especially popcorn. Tried some hi carb, processed foods after the first week... felt like crap and lost my desire to eat them. I assume I will plateau one of these days and will have to start exercising, but right now I have a sedentary lifestyle with my job and additional personal activities.
So what does the science say about the paleo diet? Some research suggests that the health claims hold truth. A review analyzed four randomized, controlled trials with 159 participants, and researchers found that the paleo diet led to more short-term improvements in some risk factors for chronic disease (including waist circumference and fasting blood sugar) compared with other control diets. (4)
You may lose weight on the Paleo Diet. If you build a “calorie deficit” into your Paleo plan – eating fewer calories than your daily recommended max or burning off extra by exercising – you should shed some pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you. A 2015 review in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Liver Diseases concluded that a Paleo-esque diet “might be an acceptable antidote to the unhealthy Western diet, but only unequivocal results from randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses will support this hypothesis.” On that, we’re still waiting. In the meantime, here’s what has been found about the diet and others like it:
Additionally, “while the paleo diet has plenty of protein and fiber, it is sorely lacking in calcium and vitamin D, mainly because of the omission of dairy products,” Roger Adams, Ph.D., founder of Eat Right Fitness, previously explained to Men's Health. Over time, this could weaken your bones and immune system, which makes it important to eat plenty of calcium-rich (and paleo-friendly) foods like broccoli and dark leafy greens.
Since 2009, Melissa Hartwig’s critically-acclaimed Whole30 program has quietly led hundreds of thousands of people to effortless weight loss and better health—along with stunning improvements in sleep quality, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. The program accomplishes all of this by specifically targeting people’s habits and emotional relationships with food. The Whole30 is designed to help break unhealthy patterns of behavior, stop stress-related comfort eating, and reduce cravings, particularly for sugar and carbohydrates. Many Whole30 participants have described achieving “food freedom”—in just thirty days.
While founders Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig are adamant in their book and on their website that “you’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written,” the Whole30 is not for the lazy or noncommittal. Without careful planning, a strong support system and dogged dedication, a business lunch, flight delay or date night can throw you off and send you back to the start. By nature, diets that eliminate entire food groups are tough to follow. On the other hand, it’s only 30 days.
So you can imagine that their stance on cheating in the program is very stringent. If you cheat, you’re supposed to start again at day one with no exceptions. As an intense perfectionist in life, this scared me more than any other rule or dietary restriction. And to be fair, I think that any dietary change is hard. Maybe it’s not like quitting heroin, but it’s also not like a spa massage. Did I mention that I also don’t like when people tell me what to do? As a really small child, I stabbed myself in the eye with a fork because my mom told me not to. Yeah … tough love isn’t my love language. Life is complicated.
For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough. Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.
Another member of the WODprep team, Sunny tries to balance out an unhealthy social media addiction (mainly IG & YT) during the day by reading self-improvement books in the morning and biographies of the world's most successful before bed. Advocates CrossFit® memberships for three major reasons: 1) They're expensive, which always pushes me over the edge when I'm on the fence about going to class. 2) Surrounds yourself with high achievers (in one discipline or another) 3) It's easy if you can just show up: the programming is done for you, a coach's feedback is available to you, and there's a built-in support group.