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Low-carb Paleo diet boosts weight loss: Curbs heart disease, cancer and diabetes

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The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around today, but the diet's creator, Dr. Loren Cordain, said the eating plan was intended to cure chronic disease and not to promote weight loss, the Herald Sun reported.

"The idea we had had little to do with weight control,” said Dr. Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet. “We were more interested in cardiovascular effects, cancer, acne and myopia. It is a lifelong way of eating to reduce the risk of chronic disease.”

Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University, said marketing the Paleo diet as a weight-loss tool was his book editor's idea, to make the diet appeal to a larger audience. Despite Loren's initial reluctance to push the Paleo diet as a weight-loss plan, recent studies show it beats almost every other diet for fueling weight loss.

A new report published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Paleo dieters lost more than twice as much weight as low-fat diets. A two-year study conducted by scientists at Cambridge University and Umeå University in Sweden tracked 70 overweight, post-menopausal women who either followed a low-fat diet or a lower-carb (and higher-fat) Paleo diet.

Paleo Dieters Lost Twice as Much Weight as Low-Fat Dieters

Study participants were measured for weight, cholesterol and blood sugars after six months on their respective diets, and again after two years. The results showed the Paleo dieters lost more than twice as much weight (14 pounds) as the low-fat dieters (5.7 pounds). In previous studies, the Paleo diet has routinely beaten low-fat diets at controlling cholesterol and diabetes.

The Paleo diet has a large celebrity following, including NBA superstars Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen, actors Jessica Biel, Kellan Lutz, and Megan Fox, and supermodel Adriana Lima. In addition to accelerating weight loss, proponents say the Paleo diet reduces blood pressure, and prevents cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's.

“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,” said Dr. Cordain, who also wrote The Paleo Answer.

The weight-loss and health benefits of the Paleo diet aren't surprising to nutritionist Dr. John Briffa, author of Escape the Diet Trap. "As the Paleo diet removes a lot of the foods that tend to cause spikes in insulin levels — particularly sugar and starchy carbohydrates — it aids fat loss," he said.

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