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Dr. Perlmutter prescribes the Paleo diet to boost brain health and weight loss

Prepare to roast your meat as you emulate the caveman's diet.
Prepare to roast your meat as you emulate the caveman's diet.
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What if you knew a way to dramatically reduce your risk of conditions ranging from dementia to depression while whittling your waistline? It requires no magical pills or hours of complex exercises. Instead, it's all based on a diet. That's precisely what Dr. David Perlmutter says you can achieve with the Paleo diet, according to his Jan. 31 interview with U.S. News and World Report.

A neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition, Dr. Perlmutter contends that gluten in the form of grains causes degenerative brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. He also believes that grains are linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, epilepsy, anxiety, migraines and depression. He's documented his evidence and his Paleo-style low carb dietary prescription in the best-selling "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers" (click for details).

For those who contend that grains are essential for health, Dr. Perlmutter disagrees, telling U.S. News that no evidence exists for that argument

"The idea that people are nutritionally deprived because they don't eat grain has no scientific basis," he asserted.

And he blames gluten as the cause of obesity. It's one reason that so many people battle their weight, he contends, because gluten is in so many products that most of us consume daily, from bread to pizza to cookies.

So where does the Paleo come in? Dr. Perlmutter approves of this low carb diet approach because it eliminates grains on the theory that humans aren't made to handle those foods. When we do consume foods containing gluten, your blood sugar soars, resulting in inflammation and resulting harm to the brain while causing cravings that lead to obesity.

He's so strongly against grains that he advises eating only grass-fed beef, which is higher in fatty acid.

For those concerned about weight loss, Dr. Perlmutter also believes that reversing the typical American diet, which is high in carbohydrates, can solve that problem.

Take the standard breakfast of orange juice and whole-grain cereal. Think it's a healthy diet breakfast? Wrong, says Dr. Perlmutter.

"By 10 a.m. you're breaking open the vending machine at work because your blood sugar has plummeted," he says.

In contrast, a breakfast on the Paleo diet or "Grain Brain" plan avoids those blood sugar spikes and those results in natural weight loss because you eat less. A sample: Half an avocado drizzled with olive oil and two poached eggs topped with salsa.

How strict is he? Completely. For example, Chaz Bono has credited a Paleo-style diet for helping him lose 85 pounds, telling Extra TV recently that he will eat cake only on his birthday.

"I have cut out 99% of grains from my diet," said Chaz.

But Dr. Perlmutter disagrees with the concept of an occasional cheat, saying that even that slice of cake can have adverse consequences.

"Halfway measures work halfway," he says. "Even small amounts of cheating can have large inflammation results."