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Paleo diet's soaring mainstream popularity a boon for entrepreneurs

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The stunning mainstream popularity of the Paleo diet has given rise to a thriving cottage industry of cookbook authors, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs.

Michelle Tam, a former pharmacist, launched a Paleo blog called Nom Nom Paleo in 2010, and has since written a bestselling cookbook, "Nom Nom Paleo," released a cooking app for the iPad, and has an action figure modeled after herself.

Tam said the Paleo diet after seeing how the Caveman diet and CrossFit transformed her husband's physique and health.

Now, four years after she started her blog, her page views (and audience) have more than quadrupled. "The site was getting 20,000 hits a day back in January 2011," Tam told Publishers Weekly. “It’s now in the 80,000 to 90,000 range daily."

Paleo Protein Bars and Restaurants Launch

Similarly, recent Brown University graduates Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz launched Exo, a Brooklyn company that makes protein bars from crickets, in 2013, and the business is now booming.

While some people may balk at the idea of eating bugs, Exo's founders point out that crickets are high-protein, tasty, and extremely Paleo. “Crickets are about as Paleo as a food source can get,” Lewis told BusinessWeek.

Other Paleo-inspired business ventures that are thriving include Paleo restaurants such as Hu Kitchen in New York, which was founded in 2012 by former real estate developer Jordan Brown and his sister Jessica Karp. Brown said they were told by naysayers their business model would never work, but lo and behold, business is better than ever.

The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around today, and has a huge celebrity following, including Tim McGraw (who credits Paleo and CrossFit for his unbelievable 40-pound weight loss), Megan Fox, soccer star Tim Howard, Robin Wright, and "True Blood" star Joe Manganiello.

Low-Carb Paleo Shown Twice as Effective for Weight Loss

The Paleo diet emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, alcohol, and processed foods.

Research suggests the Paleo diet accelerates weight loss without calorie restriction, reduces blood pressure, and prevents cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's. TV star Jack Osbourne and singer Chad Vaccarino both use the low-carb Paleo diet to treat their multiple sclerosis.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates the Paleo diet is twice as effective as other diets for promoting weight loss and reducing belly fat. This isn't surprising to Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo movement and a professor at Colorado State University.

“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” Cordain told the HuffingtonPost.

The scientific research supporting the health benefits of the Paleo diet and the escalating profile the diet has experienced from high-profile celebrity endorsements will ensure that more Paleo books, diet apps, and business ventures will likely roll out in the coming months.

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