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.
Paleo diets are based on a simple premise – if the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. So long to refined sugar, dairy, legumes and grains (this is pre-agricultural revolution), and hello to meat, fish, poultry, fruits and veggies. The idea is that by eliminating modern-era foods like highly-processed carbs and dairy, you can avoid or control “diseases of civilization” like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and likely lose weight too. What you eat and how much depend on your goals or the specific program you’re on, if you choose to follow one. The high-protein diet is ranked poorly among U.S. News experts, who consider it too restrictive to be healthy or sustainable.
As University of California-Davis food chemist Bruce German told Pollan in an interview, “You could not survive on wheat flour. But you can survive on bread.” Microbes start to digest the grains, breaking them down in ways that free up more of the healthful parts. If bread is compared to another method of cooking flour—basically making it into porridge—”bread is dramatically more nutritious,” says Pollan.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD. A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly "wheat belly" bulges, and reverse myriad health problems, like minor rashes and high blood sugar. The author contends that every single human will experience health improvement by giving up modern wheat. The book provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle. Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat. The author's blog. Published August 30, 2011.
Cancer: Disease of Civilization? An anthropological and historical study by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. This classic shows what happens before and after tribes were "civilized." Covers day-to-day experience of Eskimo life. Published in 1960. Used copies are available at a steep price. To read it get it on inter-library loan. Another of his many books My Life with the Eskimo (New Edition) is available.
It may be difficult to healthfully adopt this program as The Paleo Way does incorporate a fair amount of animal protein. We do not have designated Vegan or Vegetarian options, but if you're open to creativity and able to consciously swap out certain ingredients that you wish to avoid, such as the animal proteins, then you may very well be able to pick up some new recipes and enjoy the Program.
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.
Gabbi Berkow, MA, RD, CDN, CPT, is a Paleo advocate. She maintains the whole, unprocessed foods the diet recommends are low in calories, are high in nutrients, provide the fuel the body needs, and are the kinds of foods humans have evolved to easily digest. However, she doesn't agree with the blanket recommendations that everyone needs to eliminate dairy, grains (in particular, those containing gluten), and legumes, unless they have a medical condition that warrants it (eg, celiac disease or dairy allergy). In addition, Berkow says, "Dairy in particular is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, so cutting out dairy can make it harder to get enough of these nutrients."
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).
Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat—the paleo diet is all about eating foods straight from the Earth just as our ancestors did. Those ancestors didn't have livestock or crops to call their own, so Cordain advises to go with grass-fed and organic varieties whenever possible to limit exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals that didn't exist back then. Research from Emory University suggests that Paleolithic people obtained about 35% of their calories from fats, 35% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein.
LOREN CORDAIN, Ph.D., is one of the top global researchers in the area of evolutionary medicine. Generally acknowledged as the world's leading expert on the Paleolithic diet, he is a professor in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain and his research have been featured on Dateline NBC and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. He is the author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, among other books, and makes regular media and speaking appearances worldwide.
We strongly advise that you seek the professional advice of a health practitioner before you make any changes to your current diet and lifestyle and we do not suggest that you discontinue taking any medication you might have been advised to take. There are many long-standing myths and misconceptions surrounding cholesterol that we cover over the course of this program. That said, there are numerous peer reviewed papers showing a beneficial impact on all health-related markers, including cardiovascular and lipid profiles through the adoption of a dietary similar to what we advocate in The Paleo Way program.
Similarly to the above, we do not have designated Pescetarian options, however, in virtually all instances you would most definitely be able to swap the proteins out for your favourites from the sea. Bare in mind seafood typically cooks much faster than red meat or poultry, so it would require some extra consideration and perhaps cooking your seafood on lower heats and/or for shorter period of time (perhaps towards the end of cooking). There are already many seafood recipes within the program, and paired with your creativity (trust yourself!) you could absolutely pick up some amazing new recipes as well as benefit from the Program.