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scientific paleo: why i recommend the paleo diet (or similar) to most people with chronic conditions


Paleo Diet Scientific Studies

“Following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for just eight weeks can lead to rapid weight gain and health complications, a new mouse study has demonstrated. The study has prompted researchers to issue a warning about putting faith in so-called fad diets with little or no scientific evidence.  Mass media hype around these diets, particularly driven by celebrity chefs, celebrity weight-loss stories in the tabloid media and reality TV shows, are leading to more people trying fad diets backed by little evidence.

In people with pre-diabetes or diabetes, the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet could be particularly risky.  There is no scientific evidence that these diets work. In fact, if you put an inactive individual on this type of diet, the chances are that person will gain weight.” Excerpted from the article Paleo Diet is Dangerous, Increases Weight Gain, Diabetes Expert Warns in a February 2016 issue of ScienceDaily, taken from a study at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Medicine (Nutrition & Diabetes)

Could the Paleo Diet be a Lie?   Yahoo
What Paleo Diet Experts Think –  And Why They’re Wrong   The Guardian
Science Confirms that the Paleo Diet is Nonsense   Quartz
Tumor in Ancient Foot Bone Suggests Paleo Diet is Overrated   Popular Science
Why the Paleo Diet is Half-Baked   Scientific American
The Paleo Diet is a Load of Rubbish   MSN dot com
The Paleo Diet is a Load of Arse   Lifehacker Australia
Paleolithic Diet Doesn’t Weigh Up   ABC News
The Paleo Diet is Unhealthy, Uncivillized, and Untrue   Dr. John McDougal

I could’ve followed up the headlines above with hundreds of others, equally as disturbing to anyone thinking of trying the Paleo Diet, or even to some of those who think it’s is the greatest thing since sliced bread (scratch that) sliced grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free roast beef.  I’m the first to admit that there are people out there who don’t do so well with animal-based sources of protein. 

It was the brilliant ART AYERS who said (I am paraphrasing here) that it doesn’t really matter so much whether or not you are eating Paleo or Vegan, just as long as it isn’t processed and your MICROBIOME is up to the task of digesting and assimilating it.  Today I want to show you why the Paleo Diet (along with a slew of similar) has great evidence showing why it can be extremely helpful for suffering Americans.

I’ve written a number of articles on why the PALEO DIET is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make to deal with everything from OBESITY to CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY & DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, not to mention AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES.  And although it’s technically incorrect (probably why many true-blue hardcore Paleo-believers will castigate me for this post), I lump GAPS, SEAMAN’S, and even on some level — gulp — BRADY’S, along with any number of similar into this category.  

So, beyond providing you some links (HERE), I’m not going spend an inordinate amount of time rehashing why this type of eating works.  In a nutshell, diseases (even most of those you are being told are “genetic” as in LAST SATURDAY’S POST) are the result of INFLAMMATION.  Solve your inflammation and you’ll likely go a long way toward solving — or at least diminishing — your disease(s). What I want to show you today is the straight scoop on the Paleo Diet, giving you some of the science behind why it helps so many people achieve such amazing results with seemingly hopeless problems.

Let me start by saying that I’m not interested in the whole but-it’s-not-really-eating-like-our-ancestors-ate debate.  I bring this up because there are many who say that today’s “Paleo Diet” is not really the diet of ancient hunter / gatherers.  I’m not interested in debating exactly what or what not “cavemen” were eating who-knows-how-long ago.   Neither am I interested in this diet from an EVOLUTIONARY STANDPOINT.   And depending on your situation, I’m not necessarily crazy strict about what you can and can’t eat on this diet.

You want to eat some BEANS?  Just add them to your ELIMINATION DIET and see if they give you problems.  You want to do some Quinoa in a casserole?   Great; do the same and make sure it’s not a CROSS-REACTOR for you.  Some of you will be able to handle CERTAIN GRAINS without any issue., while for others, they will wreak havoc.  You want to do dairy?  Find someone who is selling natural whole milk from an animal (goat milk is less reactive than cow’s milk) that is being raised without ANTIBIOTICS or HORMONES.  There are lots of fantastic options and choices here in our neck of the Ozarks.

Some people want to be almost “religious” in the strictness to their paradigm.  That’s not me.  While you certainly need to be mega-ultra-strict while on your Elimination Diet, once you figure out what your body and brain can tolerate without causing inflammation, most of you (particularly those of you who are not in the throes of major illness) can relax just a bit.  In other words, don’t freak out if you see me eating a bowl of chili, with some cheese on top.  Enough of that, let’s take a look at the research (these are in no particular order) and a few of the experts touting it.

  • WHILE NOT EXACTLY “PALEO,” LOW CARB IS BACKED BY A VERITABLE MOUNTAIN OF RESEARCH:  Just recently I was asked to write A SHORT ARTICLE for the Diabetes Council, who included mine along with the articles from several heavy hitters in the LOW CARB field, including famed biochemist, Barry Sears of The Zone fame.  I was definitely the lightweight (probably more like the feather weight) in the group, who were largely proponents of Low Carb eating.  When it comes to Low Carb eating, there is a veritable treasure trove of research, some of it dating back to the 1950’s and prior.  While Low Carb is not technically “Paleo,” it doesn’t take much of a leap to get there (or at least thereabouts) from here.
  • MARK SISSON:  Mark has been rocking it for a long time as far as being a leader in the Paleo Lifestyle movement is concerned.  His site (Mark’s Daily Apple) is a tribute to a guy who is living out the science each and every day of his life.  Mark is sixty three and promotes living a lifestyle that will keep you not only fit and healthy, but LGN (looking good naked) at any age. Two years ago, Mark published A LIST of Paleo studies done since the mid-80’s.
  • ROBB WOLF:  Robb Wolf is a biochemist and researcher who parlayed his professional experience and athletic ability (he is an accomplished POWER LIFTER) into a career as an online coach and consulting guru.  Robb’s site is not only fantastic, but has a page dedicated to — you guessed it — PALEO RESEARCH.
  • LOREN CORDAIN:  Dr. Cordain is probably the foremost academic behind the Paleo movement, being not only a research scientist and professor, but having written over 100 scientific papers on the topic.  His website, The Paleo Diet dot com, has a page called SCIENCE & RESEARCH, but it’s only current through 2013.
  • KRIS GUNNARS:  Gunnars started his site (Authority Nutrition) just five short years ago, and built it into a juggernaut.  He bills his site as, “based on scientific evidence, and written by experts.  We are an unbiased and 100% independent website. We are not sponsored by any industry or company.  Every effort is made to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.”   A few years ago, Kris wrote a post called 5 STUDIES ON THE PALEO DIET, where he takes apart the human studies that had been done to date. Very cool, with lots of graphs for comparison.
  • AARON BLAISDELL:  Blaisedell runs the Evolution Institute, which touts itself as, “anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective“.  I’m not sure why a CRAZY CREATIONIST like myself would have to buy into the whole “evolution” thing for the Paleo Diet to work, but regardless, he has some good stuff on his site.  Dr. B says that his, “own research using an outbred rat model has shown that it is the degree of processing, and not macronutrient ratio (carb:protein:fat), that seems to be the significant factor in determining how healthy a diet is. A diet made from highly refined and purified ingredients was obesogenic and led to cognitive impairments.”  By the way, Blaisedell is a huge fan of the LCHF PSD (Low Carb High Fat Paleo-Style Diet) that could probably be characterized, at least in many cases, as “KETOGENIC“.  In his post on the science behind the Paleo Diet, he talks of using it to solve his EPP — a genetic condition (his post actually proves it’s an “EPIGENETIC CONDITION“) that among other things, makes people extremely sun-sensitive (HERE).
  • PALEO MOM:  Don’t let the title of Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s site fool you.  Her doctorate degree is in Medical Biophysics, and she cured herself of a host of chronic health issues, including MAJOR OBESITY, via the Paleo Diet.  In many ways, her “120 lb Journey to Paleo” reminds me of MY SISTER’S AMAZING STORY of using Paleo not only to lose 100 lbs in 7-8 months, but essentially “cure” 5 different autoimmune diseases in the process.  Although it rehashes some of what we have already seen, she provides a unique take on EVERY STUDY SHE REVIEWS.
  • CHRIS KRESSER:  Kresser is an acupuncturist who, like Jordan Reubens, got deathly sick and cured himself naturally. Only instead of HSO PROBIOTICS, Kresser used a version of the Paleo Diet.  His site has lots of good articles on Paleo / LCHF, with an emphasis on the scientific side of things.  HERE is a short video of Chris giving four scientific foundations for the Paleo Diet.
  • MAT LALONDE & CHRIS MASTERJOHN:  LaLonde is an organic chemist at Harvard, and Masterjohn has a Ph.D in nutrition and does post-doctoral research in the field as well as being a professor.   One of LaLonde’s numerous YouTube Videos can be found HERE, while Masterjohn has a slew of videos on YouTube that can be found on his website.  His go-to most nutritious food?  Interestingly enough, it’s the same food that made up the foundation of German physician, MAX GEARSON’S, famous cancer-curing recipe from the 1930’s — liver. Dr. Chris has some cool videos, including several on a topic I have been talking about for two decades now — the relationship (or non-relationship as the case may be) between DIETARY CHOLESTEROL, high cholesterol, and ill health.  But in my estimation, the most incredible talk I’ve seen him give has to be on the work of DR. WESTON PRICE, WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION, and things like ROOT CANALS.  Amazing stuff!
  • JOHNS HOPKINS:  Johns Hopkins’ Center For Innovative Medicine recently ran an article called Paleo Science.  The authors talked about a study that’s in the works looking at the effects of the Paleo Diet on GUT HEALTH, MICROBIOME, and IBS.  Look for it because this is the point at which the rubber meets the road, and why I believe Paleo stands out above other ways of eating (HERE).
  • OTHERS:  Here’s the thing folks, this list is not even close to being exhaustive (“THE WHOLE THIRTY” is essentially Paleo as well).  There is a growing body of scientists and researchers who are showing beyond the shadow of a doubt that the paradigm — the one that almost refuses to die as far as our medical community is concerned — the same one that was put forth and zealously promoted in the 1970’s & 1980’s — has not only proved itself horrendously unhealthy, it’s been shown to be a cold-blooded killer (HERE is one example).

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans struggling to cope with Chronic Conditions or CHRONIC PAIN, you owe it to yourself to at least take a look at the Paelo Diet or its numerous brethren, and see why they have the potential to be life-changing, not just in terms of weight, but in terms of health.  I have yet to see a person clean up their diet, get rid of the processed junk, stop drinking SODA, cut out the grains, and consume plenty of quality protein, and not see benefit.

In fact, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen who simply cut SUGAR and GRAIN out of their diets and responded with massive changes.  And if they clean things up a bit more, those results are typically better yet (HERE).  When I posed the question to a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE specialist / medical neurologist (he’s a GAPS guy), concerning whether there is anyone in the general public (not speaking about someone with some strange, rare, genetic disease) for whom the Paleo Diet might be dangerous,  THIS post was the result of his answer.


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