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NBA players score with low carb gluten-free Paleo diet for energy and health

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The Paleo diet has come out of the cave, thanks to an increasing number of NBA players who have leaped on the Paleo bandwagon for the boost in speed, energy and health that it's provided. "I think guys are becoming more aware," Ray Allen told CBS Sports on Dec. 12.

After following a modified Paleo diet since June, Allen is a believer in the gluten-free high protein, low carb approach.

"When you start eating the salads and the proteins and fruits – in Whole Foods, I kill the fruit and vegetables section – you just feel so much fresher and cleaner," he added.

The Paleo diet emphasizes lean meats, wild-caught fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar or processed foods. It's easily modified for athletes who need more carbs during high energy workouts.

"That's absolutely what needs to be done," said Robb Wolf, a biochemist and author of "The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet" (click for details).

"When you start looking at any type of high-level athlete, they need a lot of carbs to be able to function optimally – potatoes, some sweet potatoes, some white rice," Wolf said. "That's spot on to make this thing work."

Also a Paleo believer: Luis Scola.

"At first I didn't really believe it, but I said, 'Why not? I'm going to try something,'" he said. "I started noticing my body changing and my energy changing," he revealed.

"My carbohydrate sources are fruit and vegetables," Scola said. "That's 90 percent or 80 percent of my carbohydrates." The rest of his diet comes from protein and fats, such as chicken and nuts.

Wolf is impressed with the way that the Paleo movement has spread into mainstream professional sports.

"When I first started tinkering with this in 1998, there were probably fewer than 1,000 people on the planet who had any idea what a Paleo diet was – and they were researchers, doctors and clinicians," he said.

Now, however, many of the people who know exactly what it is are professional athletes.

"I feel so much better that I'm never coming back," Scola said. "You can't go back. That's what I tell the guys that are trying it. ... If I eat the things that I used to eat before, that's when I start feeling really bad. So once you start doing it and you do it for a long time, you can't stop. Because if you go back, you feel it."

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