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Diet debate: Grain-free Paleo low carb diet versus traditional weight loss plans

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The Paleo diet topped the list of the most-searched-for weight loss plans in 2013, and the caveman plan continues to go strong in 2014. But not everyone is a Paleo proponent. On her March 7 talk show, Bethenny Frankel staged a debate between a Paleo diet expert and a traditional weight loss advocate.

Felicia Stoler, a registered dietitian, argued against the grain-free, dairy-free low carb Paleo diet. She explained to Bethenny that for most people, dairy and grains contribute to good health. In addition, Stoler believes that to function properly, we need sufficient carbohydrates, which she feels the low carb Paleo diet lacks.

Author of "Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great," Stoler pointed to the recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report health experts, in which the Paleo diet was last. (Read about those weight loss rankings by clicking here.)

She's concerned that when Paleo dieters eliminate food groups such as grains and dairy, they're denying themselves adequate nutrition. Instead, Stoler recommends going for variety, including whole grains, dairy, lean meat, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats.

However, Paleo expert Dr. Kellyann Petrucci told Bethenny that she feels Stoler is inaccurate about the amount of carbohydrates needed for health. Petrucci is the co-author of "Living Paleo for Dummies" (click for details) and author of the "Paleo Cookbook for Dummies."

In the debate, Petrucci drew applause from the audience when she noted that many individuals experience problems digesting dairy and foods containing gluten. Moreover, she added, the gluten-free low carb Paleo diet involves natural, whole foods that result in easy, safe weight loss while eliminating foods that humans have problems digesting.

Therefore, says Petrucci, the Paleo diet supports our genetic makeup for health and well-being. Want to try it? She recommends focusing on these food groups to boost weight loss and health:

  • Meat, fish, poultry and eggs
  • Low-starch and low-sugar vegetables and fruits
  • Healthy fats such as almonds and coconut oil
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