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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.
Our bodies need much more protein than the average person consumes. In fact, protein accounts for only 15 percent of the average person’s daily calories, while 19 to 35 percent of the average hunter-gatherer diet was comprised of protein. This was due to the high consumption of meat, seafood, and other animal products prevalent in contemporary approaches to Paleo eating.
Our hefty cousins, the apes, spend half their waking hours gnawing on raw sustenance, about six hours per day. In contrast, we spend only one hour. “So in a sense, cooking opens up this space for other activities,” says Pollan. “It’s very hard to have culture, it’s very hard to have science, it’s very hard to have all the things we count as important parts of civilization if you’re spending half of all your waking hours chewing.” Cooked food: It gave us civilization.
The paleo diet is hot. Those who follow it are attempting, they say, to mimic our ancient ancestors—minus the animal-skin fashions and the total lack of technology, of course. The adherents eschew what they believe comes from modern agriculture (wheat, dairy, legumes, for instance) and rely instead on meals full of meat, nuts, and vegetables—foods they claim are closer to what hunter-gatherers ate.
The biggest downside of this diet is how restrictive it is. A month is a pretty long stretch to make it without taking bite of quinoa, popping a chickpea, or sneaking a sip of wine (especially if you’re a busy, social person), and the protocol does not allow for even the smallest of slip-ups. From the manual: “One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1.” (Yikes!)
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.
After the Internet fitness community began talking about an Ohio State University study that described relatively high injury rates among CrossFitters, the Russes mobilized. They had Glassman's father, Jeffrey Glassman (now "chief scientist" at CrossFit), write a comprehensive rebuttal to the study for the CrossFit website. Berger called each and every research subject who had been reported as injured, to conclude that none actually were hurt, and then added an entire stammering Q&A with one of the paper's authors, kinesiology professor Steven Devor. Here's the kicker: The actual subject of the study was the great improvements in fitness the researchers found in CrossFit athletes. Aside from a handful of sentences, it was all positive.
"Loren Cordain's extensive research demonstrates how modern westernized diets drastically depart from the original diet humans consumed for millions of years. In The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, Dr. Cordain shows how diets high in grains, dairy, vegetable oils, salt, and refined sugars are at odds with our genetic legacy and then shares his uncomplicated strategy for losing weight and getting healthy."
For immediate weight loss, Paleo is a great and healthy solution. But after carefully reading and considering, I’m unconvinced that Paleo is optimal for long-term health. I think, in fact, it might lead to heart disease and other ills associated with heavy meat consumption. Although many of Cordain’s theories fall apart long-term, I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend the book. You should read critically and decide for yourself.
The NY Times had a blog article on Good News on Saturated Fat which is reporting on Gary Taubes's interpretation of the new report in The New England Journal of Medicine on a two-year diet experiment in Israel. A followup is the post The Fat Fight Goes On where Gary rebuts the arguments against the study. And here's a good interview with Taubes (and includes a good summary): Gary Taubes on Cold Fusion, Good Nutrition and What Makes Bad (and Good) Science.
CrossFit is promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport, incorporating elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. It is practiced by members of over 13,000 affiliated gyms, roughly half of which are located in the United States, and by individuals who complete daily workouts (otherwise known as "WODs" or "workouts of the day"). CrossFit has been criticized for allegedly causing people to suffer from unnecessary injuries and exertional rhabdomyolysis.