Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen said the gluten-free Paleo diet has curbed his longtime sugar and carb addictions.
Allen, 38, said he didn't realize that his previous high-sugar, high-carb diet was making him sick.
"My mentality was that I'm burning so much [calories], I need the sugar and I need carbs," the NBA superstar told CBS. "But toward the end of last year, I remember being on anti-inflammatories and my body always felt like I was hopped up on drugs just to decrease the inflammation."
Allen switched to the Paleo diet over the summer, and promptly lost 10 pounds in three weeks. "I cut everything out, and within three weeks I lost 10 pounds," said Ray. "I stuck with it all summer long and learned to eat even cleaner."
Weight loss was not a goal for the lanky 6-foot-5 Ray, who now weighs 197 pounds, but he feels a lot better after cutting back on gluten and refined carbs.
The Paleo diet is not necessarily a low-carb diet but has been touted for producing dramatic weight loss. The Paleo eating plan emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, fats (including healthy saturated fats), vegetables and fruits, and excludes sugar, gluten, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods.
Interestingly, Ray does not eat pork or red meat (which Paleos love), citing cancer concerns. Allen's dad is in remission from colon cancer, so he's wary of consuming pork or cow meat.
Allen, who gave up pizza for a whole year, began incorporating more unrefined carbs into his diet once the 2013-2014 NBA season started, but still eats fewer carbs than he used to, and has never felt better.
"I think [professional athletes] are becoming more aware [of the importance of a healthy diet]," said Allen. "When you start eating the salads and the proteins and fruits, you just feel so much fresher and cleaner."