In recent years, the Paleo diet has become increasingly popular for weight loss, with variations ranging from plant-based approaches to high fat low carb ketogenic plans. But for some individuals, including Sharon Osbourne's son Jack, it's a way to battle debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, reported the Independent on Friday.
"At its core, I look at MS as inflammation, so I try and eliminate foods that cause inflammation. Dairy, gluten, grains," explained Jack. He was diagnosed with the condition soon after his daughter Pearl was born.
Jack announced his decision to follow the Paleo diet when he visited Dr. Mehmet Oz's talk show recently. "Diet is a big thing," he said. "I juice a lot, I try and stick to a Paleo diet."
The decision to use the Paleo low carb diet to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis has support from Dr. Terry Wahls, author of "The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine." In an exclusive interview, Dr. Wahls told me how she uses the high fat low carb ketogenic diet combined with Paleo diet principles to treat herself and to help others with neurological conditions.
"There is considerable research showing that ketosis increases the nerve growth factors that are important to repairing damaged brain cells. Studies are underway of ketogenic diets for seizures, Parkinson's, ALS, and MS," Dr. Wahls told me.
Moreover, she cited "considerable research showing that ketosis starves cancers cells, particularly the brain cancers," Wahls told us. And the use of a high fat low carb ketogenic diet free of grains also can be used for treating and preventing conditions ranging from dementia to depression, said Dr. David Perlmutter in a Friday interview with WRVO News.
Dr. Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers," echoed Jack Osbourne's belief that inflammation is the root of many conditions. Moreover, he explained, by eliminating carbohydrates such as bread and cereal, you can battle that problem.
"Carbohydrate immediately induces [an] increase in inflammation and an increase in the production of chemicals that are called free radicals, which damage your protein, your fat, and even your DNA. So basically what we’re talking about here is preventing that very disease, Alzheimer’s, that people dread the most and for which there is no treatment," Dr. Perlmutter explained.
In his research, Dr. Perlmutter found that beyond Alzheimer's, inflammation is linked to multiple conditions as well as weight gain. As for the low-fat, grain-rich diet recommended by the USDA and American Heart Association? Steer clear, says this neurologist.
"Everybody’s [talking about] low fat, no fat, this and that, and that’s the worst thing for your body," warned Dr. Perlmutter. "Your brain is 60 percent fat; it’s built from the fats that you consume in your diet, and fat can reduce inflammation."
However, he's not preaching a diet of bacon and ham. "Not all fats are good for you. When we talk about increasing your consumption of fats, we’re talking about olive oil, nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef, wild fish, coconut oil; the good fats," he explained.
And not all protein is created equal either. While Dr. Wahls and Dr. Perlmutter emphasize the Paleo approach of unprocessed foods, he feels that other food plans such as the Atkins low carb diet and South Beach diet are less selective about their choices.
"Where we differ is [that] we’re really super selective in terms of the meat in animal products that we recommend. We really want people to focus on grass-fed choices," Dr. Perlmutter emphasized.
"Grain-fed beef is pro-inflammatory; that’s something we desperately want to avoid," he said. Instead, he and Dr. Wahls recommend grass-fed beef and wild fish rather than farm-raised seafood.
"That’s where we differ from Atkins and South Beach. We’re really very selective in the choices made in terms of these higher fat food products like eggs, beef, and poultry," stated Dr. Perlmutter.