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Paleo low carb diet earns praise from physicians, celebrities and athletes

Get the scoop on why Tim McGraw is a Paleo proponent.
Get the scoop on why Tim McGraw is a Paleo proponent.
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

News to make a Neanderthal's day: Paleo low carb diets are earning praise from a diverse group that ranges from physicians to celebrities such as Jessica Biel to athletes like Kobe Bryant. In particular, they say they appreciate the caveman diet's combination of weight loss results and health benefits, reported the Wichita Eagle on Monday.

In an era where genetically modified foods and products high in sugar and trans fat overflow grocery stores, Jeff Davis, a family physician in Wichita, recommends the Paleo diet precisely because of its emphasis on unprocessed food.

“A lot of what we eat is Frankenfood,” noted Davis. Such manufactured products are "made in a plant" rather than coming from a plant or an animal.

His comment reflects that of Dr. William Davis, who recently appeared on Dr. Mehmet Oz's talk show. Both Dr. Oz and Dr. Davis warn about "Frankenwheat," which they say is linked to problems ranging from obesity to diabetes.

But following the Paleo diet involves more than eliminating processed foods and wheat. The diet eliminates all grains, as well as dairy and legumes. What do you eat? Meat, fish, seasonal fruits and vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds.

And that emphasis on protein now has scientific backing in the form of a new study. The Paleo low carb diet emphasizes focusing on the quality of food, such as grass-fed beef, rather than the quantity of calories. Professor David Raubenheimer of the University of Sydney just completed research showing that such high protein diets, rather than calorie counting, work best for weight loss, reported the Winchester Daily Monitor on Monday.

The study showed that when dieters don't consume enough protein, they eat too many carbohydrates and too much fat to compensate. In contrast, getting enough protein suppresses the appetite.

"We can use this information to help manage and prevent obesity, through ensuring that the diets we eat have a sufficient level of protein to satisfy our appetite," said Professor Raubenheimer. And this Paleo-style approach also has attracted many celebrities.

Tim McGraw, for example, lost 40 pounds with the Paleo diet. He also banned the booze and immersed himself in CrossFit, noting ""When your wife tells you it's gone too far, that's a big wake-up call."

In the athletic arena, the entire Los Angeles Lakers team has gone Paleo. Gary Vitti turned to a doctor known for prescribing Paleo-style low carb diet principles.

Dr. Cate Shanahan, based in Napa, advocates low-carbohydrate, low-sugar and healthy fats, making it highly similar to a traditional Paleo diet. The Los Angeles Lakers eat organic meat (no grain-fed animal food sources allowed) and bypass fast food burgers.

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