Singer Chad Vaccarino of the duo A Great Big World is treating his multiple sclerosis with a low carb, ketogenic-style Paleo diet, saying the gluten-free eating plan has reversed most of his symptoms.
Vaccarino began following the low-carb Paleo diet after seeing a TEDTalk by Dr. Terry Wahls (see video), a physician who dramatically improved her progressive MS with the Paleo diet.
Dr. Wahls, who was diagnosed with MS in 2000, developed her own personalized Paleo plan, and has effectively been managing her multiple sclerosis for the past seven years. She detailed her remarkable story in her bestseller, The Wahls Protocol.
Vaccarino is grateful for the relief he has found after following the Wahl's Protocol Paleo plan. “[My MS symptoms] went away completely,” Chad told ABC News. “It was all the diet.
"I’m sharing my story today in the hopes that it might inspire you the way Dr. Wahls' story inspired me. I don't know if it will work for everyone, but it did for me and I'm grateful."
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic degenerative disease of the nervous system. Sufferers often experience a loss of vision in the early stages, numbness in their extremities, and tingling.
Chad said he suffered from all these symptoms before finding relief with a ketogenic-style Paleo diet, which emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, low-starch vegetables and fruits, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, alcohol and processed foods.
Vaccarino, 28, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, when he was a senior at New York University. He said he decided to go public with his illness to bring more awareness to the disease. “It’s just a big thing to put out there into the universe, into the world,” said Vaccarino. “It’s one step at a time. This is just the start of the conversation.”
Jack Osbourne Uses Paleo Diet to Manage MS
Like Vaccarino, TV star Jack Osbourne is treating his MS with the Paleo diet. Jack was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis just two weeks after his daughter Pearl was born in 2012. Osbourne said the Paleo diet effectively manages his multiple sclerosis because it reduces inflammation — a major driver of chronic disease as well as weight gain.
"I look at MS as inflammation, so I try and eliminate foods that cause inflammation, like dairy, gluten and grains," Osbourne said.
Jack, 28, also credited the Paleo diet for his stunning 70-pound weight loss. The 5-foot-10 Jack, who has struggled with weight his entire life, slimmed down from 260 pounds to 190 pounds following the gluten-free eating plan. He said the Paleo diet helps him stay thin without experiencing chronic hunger and pro-inflammatory blood sugar spikes.
Osbourne's and Vaccarino's success treating their MS with the Paleo diet is not surprising at all to Dr. Wahls, a professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
Dr. Wahls said her MS improved dramatically, without drugs, after she switched to The Wahls Protocol Paleo plan. “The results stunned my physician, my family, and me: within a year, I was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour," she said.
The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around, and has a large celebrity following, including Tim McGraw (who credits it for his jaw-dropping 40-lb weight loss) and Megan Fox.
Research suggests the Paleo diet accelerates weight loss, reduces blood pressure, prevents and manages cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's. A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates the Paleo diet is twice as effective as other diets for promoting weight loss and reducing belly fat.
While press reports tend to focus on the Paleo diet's efficacy at fueling weight loss, the diet's founder, Dr. Loren Cordain, said the plan's major health benefit lies in its capacity to prevent and cure chronic disease.
“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” said Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet Cookbook.