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Dietitian who slammed Paleo diet now praises its weight-loss and health benefits

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A registered dietitian who once slammed the Paleo diet as a fad has changed her tune and now sing its praises for promoting optimal health and weight loss.

"My name is Heather. I'm a dietitian," nutritionist Heather Neal wrote on Yahoo. "You might remember me from a post I wrote bashing the Paleo diet and my ode to it dying a miserable death."

Neal said she was initially skeptical of claims the Paleo diet can prevent — and even reverse — diabetes, heart disease, chronic indigestion, brain fog and joint pain.

After trying the Paleo diet, Neal remarked how much better she felt on the eating plan, which emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods.

Paleo diet experts and enthusiasts claim following this primal-based diet can prevent or help treat ailments like digestive disease, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. It can help with less profound (but important) issues as well, like poor skin quality, lack of energy, and improved sleep."

The Paleo diet, which is the most popular diet around today, has been embraced by medical experts, athletes, and everyday people seeking weight loss and improved health. It boasts a large celebrity following, including NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Ray Allen, actor Kellan Lutz, singer Tim McGraw, and supermodel Adriana Lima (pictured above).

Even Dr. Mehmet Oz, previously a proponent of vegetarian and low-fat diets, has praised the Paleo diet's capacity to speed weight loss and prevent diabetes and heart disease. And neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, said the Paleo diet can prevent Alzheimer's, dementia, and ADHD.

Former elite triathlete Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, is his own best advertisement for the anti-aging benefits of the Paleo diet. At 60, Sisson has the rippling physique of a fit guy decades younger. He says the Paleo/Primal diet has made him fitter, stronger, and healthier in every way.

"The arthritis that I had in my fingers, that I thought was just a normal artifact of being in my forties, went away," Sisson told NBC News. "Lingering sinus issues that I had during hay-fever season — they went away. I stopped getting colds and flus almost entirely."

Sisson said getting weak and sick as we age isn't an inevitable part of life if we simply watch what we put into our mouths. "At 60, I feel incredibly healthy and fit, perhaps more than ever before," he wrote on his blog, Mark's Daily Apple. "We can all stay this way, provided we eat well, exercise, and play as much as possible."

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