Can emulating our cavemen ancestors prove to be the key to achieving weight loss in our modern age? A new study says yes, with research indicating that the Paleolithic diet is twice as effective for weight loss than other diets, reported the UK Telegraph on April 1.
The Swedish scientists who conducted the study discovered that women following a Paleo diet shed twice as many pounds in six months. In addition, they lost more inches around their waist.
The group who followed the caveman diet ate vegetables, fruit and lean meat. They avoided grains, refined sugars, salt and dairy. The other group consumed a Nordic diet that included grains, low-fat dairy, fish, fruit and beans.
What precisely does the Paleo diet include? Dr. Loren Cordain, a leading expert on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease, offers this list of foods to eat:
- Grass-produced meats
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
Dr. Cordain authored "The Paleo Diet Revised: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat" (click for details) and "The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young." He emphasizes that when it comes to the do's and don'ts of the Paleo lifestyle, avoiding processed foods is critical for health and weight loss success.
In addition, this list of food is on the "avoid" side of the scale for Paleo dieters, says Dr. Cordain:
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
When it comes to questions about the Paleo diet, the issue of why dairy is on the "avoid" list frequently arises. Dr. Cordain explains:
Drinking of cow’s milk or other species’ milk by children and adults is an unhealthy practice that increases the risk of many chronic diseases and adds no micronutrients to the diet that cannot be obtained from fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, seafoods and nuts. Humans have no nutritional requirement for cow’s milk.
However, variations of the Paleo diet have sprouted. Chris Kresser, a practitioner of integrative medicine, notes that "we can’t really know what our ancestors ate with 100% certainty, and there is undoubtedly a huge variation amongst different populations."
He cites these examples:
- The traditional Inuit and the Masai ate a diet high in fat (60-70% of calories for the Masai and up to 90% of calories for the Inuit).
- Traditional peoples like the Okinawans and Kitavans obtained a majority (60-70% or more) of their calories from carbohydrate.
Therefore,Chris has created what he calls a template for the Paleo plan, detailing it in his book "Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life" (click for details). Get more insights from Chris and other Paleo experts on how to use the caveman diet for weight loss and health by clicking here.