It should be noted that U.S. News & World Report just released its annual ranking of diets, and Whole30 ranked dead last. Why? Essentially, the expert panel of over 20 registered dietitians, academics, and medical doctors found the program unsustainable and potentially unhealthy, since, among other issues, it restricts certain food groups and is high in sodium and cholesterol. But, Whole30's co-creator Melissa Hartwig stands behind the program, telling Cosmopolitan.com that its animal protein recommendations are in line with government recommendations, and that there are no nutrients in temporarily restricted foods, like grains and legumes, that you can't find in fruits and vegetables.
In December 2005, The New York Times ran a story about the budding CrossFit craze. The reporter interviewed some of the original CrossFitters and chronicled their fitness accomplishments, which were considerable. But the part of the article that grabbed the most attention was the opening anecdote: A first-time CrossFitter named Brian Anderson had experienced a true mess-you-up moment--he had ended up in the emergency room after his baptismal WOD. Repeated kettlebell swings had torn up his lower back to the point that he could barely stand. In intensive care, he was told he had rhabdomyolysis, a condition wherein muscle tissue breaks down to the point that it starts poisoning the kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis is rare as a result of athletics; ultramarathoners sometimes get it, but ER doctors are much more accustomed to finding it in cases of crushed limbs or massive third-degree burns. Anderson didn't need dialysis, but he spent six days on an IV drip in intensive care, followed by two months of physical therapy for his back.
All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. (Again, we’re talking about the ones that fall somewhere on the healthy spectrum, not unhealthy fad diets like, ahem, the Grapefruit Diet.)
According to Adrienne Rose Johnson, the idea that the primitive diet was superior to current dietary habits dates back to the 1890s with such writers as Dr. Emmet Densmore and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Densmore proclaimed that "bread is the staff of death," while Kellogg supported a diet of starchy and grain-based foods. The idea of a Paleolithic diet can be traced to a 1975 book by gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin,:41 which in 1985 was further developed by Stanley Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner, and popularized by Loren Cordain in his 2002 book The Paleo Diet. The terms caveman diet and stone-age diet are also used, as is Paleo Diet, trademarked by Cordain.
The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons. While this isn't really a paleo book, it does point out issues with the foods we aren't eating. The books claims the excessive processed sugar consumed is responsible for "mood swings, depression, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, PMS, impulsivity ... [and] unpredictable temper." She says her research shows indulging in sugar highs should be treated much more seriously, akin to heroin or alcohol dependency, because sugar causes spikes in the neurotransmitters serotonin and beta-dopamine just like those drugs.
So, with my sister-in-law as my Whole30 guide, I successfully followed the program for the entire month of November. The beginning was really bumpy for me — I am truly an emotional eater and I am absolutely addicted to sugar. But once it was done, it was clear to me that the benefits outweighed the challenges. I now have a whole new understanding and respect for my body and a newfound control over the food I put in my mouth. Full disclosure that the Whole30 diet affects everyone differently, but here are the seven biggest changes I saw in myself after 30 days:
The CrossFit Games are the world’s premier test to find the Fittest on Earth™. They are world-renowned as a grueling test for the toughest athletes and a thrilling experience for spectators. Since its inception in 2007, the CrossFit Games have become “one of the fastest growing sports in America,” according to Forbes. The Games season is broken up into three stages. The first stage is the Open, the largest participatory sporting competition in the world. After the Open, top athletes from each of the 18 worldwide regions qualify for the second stage of competition—Regionals. Following Regionals, the top 40 men, 40 women and 40 teams move on to the final stage of competition: the CrossFit Games. The Games present the playing field where the fittest athletes are given a chance to distinguish themselves through consistently exceptional performances across broad time and modal domains. At the end of the competition, the Fittest on Earth are crowned™. To learn more, visit Games.CrossFit.com or Facebook.com/CrossFitGames.
Interestingly, all of these seemingly unrelated diseases share a common cause: damage to the intestinal lining which allows large, undigested food particles to make their way into the body. This is called “leaky gut and the autoimmune response”. Here is a 7-part video series by Prof. Loren Cordain describing the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. And please watch this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD as she describes how she reversed her Multiple Sclerosis with a paleo diet. If you have an autoimmune disease you might consider trying the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet. If you do, please tell us about your experience.
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
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan gives a guided tour of 20th century food science, a history of "nutritionism" in America and a look at the marriage of government and the food industry. Then the book presents a commonsense shopping-and-eating guide, which like the paleo diet focuses on shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. He also now has a much shorter Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.
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.
Several examples of recent and relatively speedy human evolution underscore that our anatomy and genetics have not been set in stone since the stone age. Within a span of 7,000 years, for instance, people adapted to eating dairy by developing lactose tolerance. Usually, the gene encoding an enzyme named lactase—which breaks down lactose sugars in milk—shuts down after infancy; when dairy became prevalent, many people evolved a mutation that kept the gene turned on throughout life. Likewise, the genetic mutation responsible for blue eyes likely arose between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. And in regions where malaria is common, natural selection has modified people's immune systems and red blood cells in ways that help them resist the mosquito-borne disease; some of these genetic mutations appeared within the last 10,000 or even 5,000 years. The organisms with which we share our bodies have evolved even faster, particularly the billions of bacteria living in our intestines. Our gut bacteria interact with our food in many ways, helping us break down tough plant fibers, but also competing for calories. We do not have direct evidence of which bacterial species thrived in Paleolithic intestines, but we can be sure that their microbial communities do not exactly match our own.
I don’t like keeping track of how much I’ve eaten or obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient I’ve had. Not only do I hate counting calories, but I know that calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal – 400 calories of Doritos do NOT have the same effect on your body as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein.
The Open, introduced in 2011 and so called because participation is open to anyone, is held over five weeks in February–March; a new workout is released on each Thursday night (Pacific Time) and competitors complete the workout and submit their scores online by Monday evening, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate. Since 2013, Open workout announcements have been broadcast live, and featured two or more past CrossFit Games athletes competing head-to-head immediately following the workout description. Beginning with the 2019 Games, the top athlete from each country and the top 20 overall Open finishers qualify directly to the Games.
Grass-fed beef is often highlighted on the diet, which is promoted to contain more omega-3 fats than conventional beef (due to being fed grass instead of grain). It does contain small amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor to EPA and DHA. However, only a small proportion of ALA can be converted in the body to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). The amount of omega-3 is also highly variable depending on the exact feeding regimen and differences in fat metabolism among cattle breeds.  In general, the amount of omega-3 in grass-fed beef is much lower than that in oily marine fish.  Cooked salmon contains 1000-2000 mg of EPA/DHA per 3-ounce portion, whereas 3 ounces of grass-fed beef contains about 20-200 mg of ALA.
As a result, his company's revenue (set to double this year, to $100 million) is fueled almost completely by CrossFit's rampant proliferation. Meanwhile, a burgeoning ecosystem of other businesses has risen up to cater to these squatting, thrusting fiefdoms. There are multiple apparel companies; food and beverage companies (serious CrossFitters are often serious about the Paleo Diet); businesses that cater specifically to box owners, with iPad apps that track workouts and manage membership rolls; business consultants who show box owners how to increase their revenue. A Web design firm specializes in CrossFit box sites. There are even two print magazines, The Box and WOD Talk.
This is Hartwig's No. 1 tip when it comes to success on the Whole30. No more grabbing a slice of pizza on the way home from work. "Before day one, you should have your first week of meals planned, grocery shopping done, pantry stocked, and you should have some Whole30-compliant emergency food stashed away," Hartwig says. Here's a Whole30-approved grocery list to get you started.
The Dietitian's Guide to Eating Bugs by Daniel Calder is a comprehensive guide to the nutritional content of insects. He believes insect breeding and consumption are important elements sustainable living, particularly when it comes to complementing foraged plant material with meat products. Numerous insects contain nutrients similar to those found in more conventional livestock, except the feed to conversion ratio is much higher and they're much cheaper to breed. You can find the book at scribd. Also available in e-book format for $35.
The evolutionary discordance is incomplete, since it is based mainly on the genetic understanding of the human diet and a unique model of human ancestral diets, without taking into account the flexibility and variability of the human dietary behaviors over time. Studies of a variety of populations around the world show that humans can live healthily with a wide variety of diets, and that in fact, humans have evolved to be flexible eaters. Lactose tolerance is an example of how some humans have adapted to the introduction of dairy into their diet. While the introduction of grains, dairy, and legumes during the Neolithic revolution may have had some adverse effects on modern humans, if humans had not been nutritionally adaptable, these technological developments would have been dropped.
Like other fad diets, the Paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence, however, that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the Paleo diet can lead to an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
It's that time of year again, when all of your friends and family members are making resolutions to be healthier in 2019. Expect to see lots of the following on Instagram in the next month: #DryJanuary, #NewYearNewYou, #Whole30. And for anyone looking to try the latter, I applaud you — and I encourage you to do it. I decided to give the much-buzzed-about Whole30 diet a try last November.
As you might expect from the previous paragraph, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables naturally leads to higher fiber intake. Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what you’ve probably heard, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more fiber than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more fiber than refined grains!
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)
And now we know that microbes, such as those in our gut, play a key role in our health, as well. The microbes we eat in foods like pickles may not take up a permanent home in our innards; rather, they seem to be more akin to transient visitors, says Pollan. Still, “fermented foods provide a lot of compounds that gut microbes like,” and he says he makes sure to eat some fermented vegetables every day.
Glassman began refining his approach. He favored gymnastic and powerlifting moves he knew from growing up, and functional calisthenics (squatting, pull-ups) that forced the body to use large muscle groups together, like in real life. He liked the idea of throwing exercises at clients seemingly randomly, believing it resembled the way early humans had to overcome daily physical obstacles. To goose participants' natural competitiveness, he mandated that the workouts be for time, or for as many rounds or reps as possible in a set time period, so that no one slacked off.
They say that low-fat weight-loss diets have proved in clinical trials and real life to be dismal failures, and that on top of it all, the percentage of fat in the American diet has been decreasing for two decades. Our cholesterol levels have been declining, and we have been smoking less, and yet the incidence of heart disease has not declined as would be expected. ”That is very disconcerting,” Willett says. ”It suggests that something else bad is happening.”
Experts in nutrition science have long said that fad dieting isn't a good long-term strategy for maintaining a healthy weight. Dieting can have serious long-term consequences for your heart and your overall health: a 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study found that the more yo-yo dieting a person does, the more likely they are to suffer deadly heart attacks, strokes, and other fatal conditions.
A number of randomized clinical trials have compared the paleo diet to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the Diabetes Diet. Overall, these trials suggest that a paleo diet may provide some benefits when compared with diets of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. These benefits may include:
While no independent research has been conducted on the Whole30 diet specifically, diets like this one that eliminate entire food groups are bound to make you drop weight, experts say. That was the case for 96 percent of 1,600 Whole30 participants, according to a survey by the company. Most Whole30 dieters lost between 6 and 15 pounds, the survey found. But experts worry that restrictive diets with no room for error can set followers up for failure and prompt them to put the pounds back on – and then some – once the diet is over.
Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food. The most important reason to keep reading?
Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean, and Feel Fabulous With the Diet You Were Born to Eat by Nell Stephenson. Paleoista is not only a how-to book, it is also a glimpse into the life of a woman who gives advice on how to eat this way, and lives the life, day in and day out. The author's websites: NellStephenson.com Nutrition & Fitness and Paleoista.com. To be published May 1, 2012.
It's especially hard saying no to drinks or a trip to the ice cream parlor when friends are involved. Rather than hole up like a hermit for the month, try taking food out of the social equation. Ask friends to go for a hike, see a movie, or meet at a café and sip black coffee or tea. Your loved ones have the power to seriously set you off course when it comes to dropping pounds—here's how you can stay on track.