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)
Jan Engvald has studied food and health thoroughly in the literature. In Unexpected facts on... food he shows that today's health advice (more or less unchanged for more than 30 years) is a direct cause to the increase in national diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, allergy, eye diseases, etc. His findings are low-carb and high-fat, close to paleo, though he allows high fat dairy.
Lutein/Zeaxanthin and Macular Health is an article discussing antioxidents and protection against the oxidizing ultraviolet radiation of the sun. The best dietary sources of antioxidants in general, and carotenoids specifically, are fruits and vegetables and the more brightly colored, the better. Lutein and zeaxanthin are yellow pigments found in high concentrations in yellow fruits and vegetables as well as in dark green, leafy vegetables. In particular, spinach, kale and collard greens contain high levels of these two carotenoids.
Update: So I just finished my first whole30 round and I have to say that I'm super excited by the results. When I hopped on the scale today, I noticed that I had lost 26.6 pounds. I then measured myself and noted that I lost a total of 31.5 inches (-5" from chest, -2" from right arm, -3.5" from left arm, -8" from waist, -5" from hips, -4" from right thigh, and -4" from left thigh). I am really excited by my results!
By the end of my first Whole30, I had an entire document full of recipes I still wanted to try, which motivated me to keep going. Yes, you can stay compliant by eating steamed chicken and lettuce every day, but why would you do that to yourself? "Find foods that are easy to make and that you enjoy eating," Cohn says. "If you eat foods that you don’t like just to follow the diet, you are not going to continue to eat those foods once you are done with the 30 days." Pro tip: Google the Whole30 version of your favorite meal, there's probably a recipe out there for it. (Unless that meal is cake.) This really helped reignite my love for cooking and encouraged me to continue preparing my own meals, instead of relying on Seamless delivery.
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.
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.
When it comes to humans, we’re all just victims of our own biochemistry. Our brains are controlled and ruled by chemicals - from what we eat; to how and when we sleep; even to who we choose as a life partner. Biochemistry - or ‘biological chemistry’ - is concerned with all of the biochemical reactions which take place within our bodies and brains. This means that the simple act of eating a meal is actually composed of thousands of tiny...
For many years Arthur De Vany Ph.D. has been writing a book called Evolutionary Fitness on "What Evolution Teaches Us About How to Live and Stay Healthy." The diet he follows fits into my core diet definition. He may have been the first one to use the paleo diet to maximize fitness. His current site is Art's Blog on Fitness, Health, Aging, Nutrition and Exercise [archive.org].
Many foretold the demise of the CrossFit Games in 2011 when the Open replaced Sectionals. The changes to the Games season today, like the move from Sectionals to the Open in the past, accommodate a sport in ascension, not decline. The changes steward resources in a responsible way to ensure that the annual quest to find The Fittest on Earth is not a flash-in-the-pan, but an enduring tradition anchored in the global CrossFit affiliate community. The 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, will be the greatest worldwide test of broad, general, and inclusive fitness yet.
With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.
I often get caught up in focusing on numbers and scales, so I decided not to officially weigh myself before or after Whole30. But I can attest that everything about my body just felt better. I know saying something like "I lost eleven pounds" would sound much more convincing, but I could see that my stomach was slimmer, as was my face (which is awkwardly the first place I gain weight).
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!
This list is going to be a little longer than the last. You cut out all sugar (both real and all substitutes whether natural or artificial, like honey, maple syrup, Splenda, etc.). No grains, legumes (including all forms of soy), dairy, or alcohol. You’re also told to avoid additives like MSG and carrageenan, although that should happen naturally if you’re sticking to whole foods.
A 2015 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that 76 people who followed the Paleo diet for 60 days (as well as those who followed vegan, Mediterranean and DASH plans for the same length of time) lost an average of 9 pounds and showed improvement in their blood pressure levels. The effects were greatest and most sustained among people who also attended regular diet support group meetings.
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 that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the paleo diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.
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A few days ago I was delighted to learn that Dr. Oz was going to again feature The Paleo Diet on his nationally syndicated television show along with one of my co-authors, Nell Stephenson, of The Paleo Diet Cookbook. I tuned into the Dr. Oz show and was happy about most of what I saw except for Chris Kresser, expounding upon the health virtues of a food group, beans and legumes, that definitely are not Paleo. Please read the following...
A strict paleo diet does not allow dairy products because hunter-gatherers did not milk cows. Some paleo dieters say dairy is OK, especially if it is grass-fed because grass-fed butter, for example, has more omega-3s. Fermented dairy products are also OK for some paleo eaters because they have a lower content of lactose and casein, the two concerns paleo dieters have with dairy.
The Whole30 book is the perfect thing to read while you’re visiting your in-laws or don’t feel like telling Aunt Sue for the 100th time what you do for a living. It’s helpful, it’s clear, and it will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 recipes? Hartwig's latest Whole30 Cookbook may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are baller.
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!)
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?
Don’t pour all the curry sauce over the chicken; once the mixture has come into contact with the raw meat, you have to throw it out. Instead, place your chicken in a shallow bowl, and pour a little of the sauce over the chicken. Brush or rub it evenly over the meat, then flip and repeat on the other side. Save the extra sauce to drizzle over the top of this dish before serving, or use it to top tomorrow night’s chicken, shrimp, or vegetables.
Upsides: Has cured my chronic acid reflux completely. Completely changed my thyroid function and numbers for the better, have reduced medication dosage. Complexion better than in years. Lost a lot of weight and inches. Has helped to control cravings for many things. Has restored a more stable mental health balance and huge increase in energy levels. Dropping the weight has helped fitness levels immensely. AND if you can afford to buy Nutpods Creamers, these will allow you to drink coffee/tea within reason. This was the biggest bonus ever.
The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur De Vany. Art is the grandfather of the "Paleo Lifestyle" movement. The plan is built on three principles: (1) eat three meals a day made up of nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins; (2) skip meals occasionally to promote a low fasting blood insulin level; and (3) exercise less, not more, in shorter, high-intensity bursts. Note that the book is anti-fat. All oils are to be avoided, though canola is considered okay for higher temperatures. Egg yolks are to be skipped now and then. Published December 21, 2010.
Dr. Uffe Ravnskov reviews the ongoing statins debate by comparing his recent publication, “LDL-C does not cause cardiovascular disease,” and the pro-statin claims of the editors of Circulation and the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration. He (along with Drs. Zoë Harcombe and Malcolm Kendrick) notes critical errors and obfuscation in the CTT’s recent Lancet meta-analysis and observes that the published data on coronary mortality, serious adverse events, and statin side effects is misrepresented, not statistically significant, or not provided for further analysis.