When you cut out legumes, grains and their derivative products and instead focus on nutrient-dense whole foods, such as wild seafood, meat, non-starchy vegetables and some fruit, you end up by default eating a lower amount of carbohydrate when compared to a grain-centric Standard American Diet. However, Paleo doesn’t have to be low-carb. If you're highly active, most credible proponents of the Paleo diet would suggest you consume carbohydrates commensurate to your activity levels.
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In fact, the health benefits of the paleo diet are unproven. "Our ancestors ate this way and didn't have many of the chronic diseases we do, but that doesn't mean the food they ate is the reason why; drawing that conclusion would be like saying we live three times longer than our Paleolithic ancestors because we eat fast food," says Christopher Ochner, MD, research associate at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals. Still, a handful of small studies have tried to determine if a paleo diet is a healthier diet. One small study published in the journal Diabetologia found that the diet improved blood sugar over 12 weeks compared to a Mediterranean one that allowed grains, low-fat dairy, and oils, but it's hard to say whether researchers would come to the same results in a larger study.
Excluding foods. The exclusion of entire categories of commonly eaten foods like whole grains and dairy requires frequent label reading in the supermarket and in restaurants. It may also increase the risk of deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, if these nutrients are not consistently eaten from the allowed foods or a vitamin supplement. For example, there are some nondairy calcium-rich foods that are absorbed well by the body such as collard and turnip greens or canned bone-in sardines and salmon, but you would have to eat five or more servings of these greens and fish bones daily to meet recommended calcium needs. (Note that some greens like spinach that are touted to be calcium-rich also contain oxalates and phytates that bind to calcium so very little is actually absorbed.) One small, short-term intervention study of healthy participants showed a 53% decrease from baseline in calcium intake after following a Paleo diet for three weeks.  Furthermore, the exclusion of whole grains can result in reduced consumption of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and thus may increase one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
This one was hard for us to grasp, so it deserves some explanation. If a Paleo pancake calls for nothing but Whole30-approved ingredients (eggs and bananas), the flapjack is still off-limits. The Whole30 wants you to change your habits and your emotional relationship with food. "Your brain doesn't know the difference between an almond flour brownie and your mom's recipe; it just knows you crave sugar. So if you keep eating those sweets during the 30 days, your habits aren't changing," Hartwig says. Don't shoot the messenger!
Oh sleep, it's one of my favorite things in the world, yet it has always been a real challenge for me. I have been on and off of sleep medication for seven years. For me, the hardest part is actually falling asleep. Well on Whole30 I fell asleep naturally. The first few days, I would be so exhausted by bedtime that I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and that continued the whole month. This was probably the most drastic and exciting change that I experienced on Whole30.
Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective by Staffan Lindeberg (MD at Lund University in Sweden) is the newest book promoting the paleo diet. It covers the link between diet and disease in the Western world (all major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, obesity, stroke and dementia) and towards a greater knowledge of what can be defined as the optimal human diet. Benefits and risks are detailed. The Amazon reviews are all 5 stars. Especially read Susan Schenck's detailed review. You can read a preview at Google Books
While the diet as a whole hasn't been well studied, the benefits of cutting packaged foods from your diet could be huge. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, three quarters of the average American's sodium intake (which is almost double what it should be!) comes from commercially prepared foods. And, one Public Health Nutrition study found that people who cook at least five times a week are 47% more likely to be alive 10 years later compared to those who rely more on processed foods.
As paleo guru Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
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)
But then again, when have you found a program that is ENTIRELY ONLINE AND MOSTLY FREE that changes your life? When you are in line at the checkout with your meat and chicken thighs and raw almonds, remember the money you are going to save by NOT joining another weight-loss program or hiring a life coach or drinking booze or going to the doctor for that blood pressure you really ought to monitor which is quite possibly linked to your diet. Dallas and Melissa, the authors, say that a craving usually lasts about ten seconds. Count and breathe through the french fries someone raved about at the office. Skip out for a tiny walk while everyone is hoarding that cake at work. Eat a little roast turkey and some oven-baked potatoes. Read more books with the newfound energies. If I--a bon vivant of the kitchen, believe me, hoarder of butter, lover of booze, cream, sugar--can give these things up for thirty days, anyone can.
However, placing certain food groups on your "do not eat" list does have the potential work against you. "When a person sees the foods as 'off limits,' and consuming them is somehow breaking a rule and therefore sees themselves as a 'bad person,' mental damage is what is going to ensue long term versus the 30-day health benefits that you will receive," Smith cautions.
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)
The theory is our bodies were designed, and still optimized, to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. Like your hunger-gatherer forefathers, on Paleo you get all the meat from wild animals and unlimited fruits and vegetables you can eat. But no starchy vegetables (like potatoes), no legumes (like lentils or beans), no wheat, and no grains (like quinoa or corn) because those plants were invented by human beings during the agricultural revolution after our Paleolithic ancestors left the planet. You get one cheat day where you can eat whatever you want (“Occasional cheating and digressions may be just what you need to help you stick to the diet.”) No oil because it puts omega 6 and omega 3 ratios out of whack which should never exceed 2:1, except olive oil if you must. Dairy is also prohibited. And meat must come from animals that weren’t fed grains (like corn) because grains lead to inflammation and increased fat.
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf, a research biochemist. Readers will understand digestion, how protein, carbohydrate and fat influence hormones, and how this plays into fat loss, health or disease. They'll understand the significance of dietary fats whether the concern is performance, health, longevity, or making your fanny look good in a bikini. The book goes into how lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress influence the hormone cortisol. It gets into basic blood work and what things people should ask their doctor to include to better assess inflammation and health. It also includes a detailed 30-day meal plan and a beginner exercise program. The exercise program is geared to the beginner or someone who is quite de-conditioned but the nutritional info would be helpful for anyone regardless of background. The author's website is Robb Wolf. He likes to pass out the information via weekly podcasts. Here's a video Introduction to the book. And here is an excerpt from the book: How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days). The many Amazon reviews all rave about the book. Published September 14, 2010.
^ Ramsden, C.; Faurot, K.; Carrera-Bastos, P.; Cordain, L.; De Lorgeril, M.; Sperling, L. (2009). "Dietary Fat Quality and Coronary Heart Disease Prevention: A Unified Theory Based on Evolutionary, Historical, Global, and Modern Perspectives". Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine. 11 (4): 289–301. doi:10.1007/s11936-009-0030-8. PMID 19627662.
Evolution of the Human Diet: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable by Peter S. Ungar. Diet is key to understanding the ecology and evolution of our distant ancestors and their kin, the early hominins. A study of the range of foods eaten by our progenitors underscores just how unhealthy many of our diets are today. This volume brings together authorities from disparate fields to offer new insights into the diets of our ancestors. Paleontologists, archaeologists, primatologists, nutritionists and other researchers all contribute pieces to the puzzle. The book has four sections: Reconstructed diets based on hominin fossils--tooth size, shape, structure, wear, and chemistry, mandibular biomechanics. Archaeological evidence of subsistence--stone tools and modified bones. Models of early hominin diets based on the diets of living primates--both human and non-human, paleoecology, and energetics. Nutritional analyses and their implications for evolutionary medicine.
I experienced some funky physical symptoms during the first 10 days or so, but this is pretty typical of a Whole30. I would feel great, and then the next day I would feel tired, achy, and bloated. Depending on what your diet was like before you started the Whole30, you’re bound to get hit by some sort of detoxing symptoms. If you’re doing this after eating a lot of sugar and processed food, your symptoms might be a bit more severe. However, the book assures you it’s normal, and it will even out. According to the authors, the bacteria in your gut are shifting and creating a new landscape. Your body is getting used to this new diet of protein and a ton of veggies with the absence of sugar. Things adjust and shift. For me, this meant a couple days of feeling off.
People who never had good social group experiences like it because, even if they are crazy, CF communities are always positive, supportive, and good-natured. CF brings people together and makes them compete every day in a society that shies away from competition. The challenge creates a heightened sense of self worth that develops into being an elitist..
It was only for 30-days, right? However, my wife and I had decided to take a 1-week vacation during this time, which made it harder to stick to the diet than I initially thought. I quickly learned that it’s not easy to maintain the Whole30 Program when you are eating out for every meal. She quickly became annoyed by my restaurant choices; Outback for steak and vegetables, Five Guy’s for burgers without a bun, Boston Market for roasted chicken.
Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason. The book shows you how easy it is to take any dish and Make it Paleo! Adapted from Chinese, French, Mexican and classic American meals, the over 200 recipes are each accompanied by good photos and notes to ensure you recreate each dish with ease. Most recipes are ones that can be found in an ordinary cookbook. Butter and vinegar are also used, which I do not consider paleo. Published October 20, 2011.
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A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..." In 2014, CrossFit, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association for publishing this study, alleging that the data were false and were "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit." The NSCA denies CrossFit, Inc.'s allegations but has issued an erratum acknowledging that the injury data were incorrect. In September 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of CrossFit Inc.'s claims that the injury data were found to be false, but not that the NSCA was commercially motivated or that the publishing of the study was defamatory as the NSCA no longer stood behind the study. In February 2017, CrossFit filed for sanctions against the NSCA after one of the NSCA's witnesses admitted to falsifying statements during deposition. In May 2017, the Court issued 17 issues sanctions against the NSCA, writing that the organization did have a commercial motive to falsify the data, had published the false data knowingly to disparage CrossFit, and had misled the public with their erratum. CrossFit was awarded $74,000 in legal fees and allowed to continue investigating the NSCA. If the neutral-party analysis of the NSCA servers turns up any further misconduct, CrossFit may file an amended complaint for further sanctioning and compensation for lost revenue.