Tag Archives: Paleo diet

Goodbye Paleo – Hello Keto?

Paleo vs ketoSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Ever since the first paleo diet cookbook was published more than 15 years ago, the paleo diet has remained popular among a small segment of the population. Although some suspect the diet has a disproportionate cultural influence, those that follow this stone age style diet are quite passionate about its benefits. The basic premise of the paleo diet is to consume only foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten. Proponents hold that early humans led a healthy existence for a million years or more and propose that modern humans can also thrive on caveman-era foods to promote wellbeing, increase energy and support an optimal weight.

The paleo diet may be an acceptable antidote to the unhealthy western diet, but some find it restrictive, time consuming and difficult to follow long-term. The diet includes plenty of protein and fiber, so one should feel satiated and full without consuming excess calories. This pre-agricultural revolution diet includes grass fed animal meats, fats and organs; seafood and shellfish; tree nuts, seeds and wild rice; fruits or wild berries; vegetable roots, leaves and stems; honey; a variety of mushrooms; birds and eggs; insects; water and likely herbal teas. The diet excludes whole food groups including dairy, legumes and cultivated grains; as well as sugar and salt. As our hunter-gatherer ancestors were always on the move, at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly is recommended along with the paleo diet.

Highly touted for weight reduction, the keto diet ranked second for “Best Fast Weight Loss” in the U.S. News and World Report annual “Best Diet” rankings. The goal of the keto diet is rapid weight loss, satiety, fewer cravings, and better mood, along with increased energy and focus. Studies suggest there are some advantages for short-term weight loss as well as beneficial health outcomes. Essentially a very low-carbohydrate, adequate protein, high-fat eating plan, the idea to is to fill up on healthy fats, while slashing carbohydrate consumption to safely enter a metabolic state of ketosis. When in ketosis, the body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances known as ketones, an alternate energy source. Other than glucose derived from carbohydrates, ketones from fat are the only fuel the brain can utilize.

Contrary to the paleo diet, the keto diet is high-fat, not high-protein. The diet would typically average 75 percent of calories from fats, 20 percent from protein and only 5 percent from carbs. For an average 2,000 calorie daily diet, this means fewer than 25 grams of carbohydrates and a limit of 100 grams of protein per day. Highly restrictive, the keto diet eschews most fruits, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, beans, bread and flour products, sugar and most grains. You can eat all the pasture-raised eggs you can consume and small amounts of unprocessed, grass-fed meats and wild caught fish. The balance of the diet consists of high amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and butter, high-fat dairy, and small amounts of nuts, berries and vegetables grown above ground.

Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet can successfully reduce body weight and body mass index without any significant side effects. The keto diet is not new in neurological medicine, as its therapeutic benefits notably reduce hard-to-control seizures in children. As both diets are extremely restrictive and difficult to adhere to over the long-term, it would appear neither diet would constitute a life-long healthy eating plan. And while the popularity of the paleo diet has waned and interest in the ketogenic diet has soared, perhaps following the consumer friendly Mediterranean diet pyramid guidelines would not only support overall wellness but would allow a calorie conscious person to enjoy most foods. Ranked “Best Diet Overall” on the U.S. News scorecard, the diet includes limited amounts of red meat, seafood of all kinds, a large variety of fresh produce, whole grains, healthy fats like nuts and olives, as well as a daily glass or two of red wine. I know which dietary plan I’m choosing!

3 Reasons Paleo Is Dead and The Ketogenic Diet Is The Future of Weight Loss Fads in 2018. https://www.dietvsdisease.org/3-reasons-paleo-is-dead-and-the-ketogenic-diet-is-the-future-of-weight-loss-fads-in-2018/
7 Tips to Get Into Ketosis. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-tips-to-get-into-ketosis
As the Keto Diet Gains Popularity, Scientists Explain What We Do and Don’t Know. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2018/08/411526/ketogenic-diet-gains-popularity-scientists-research-what-we-do-and-dont-know
Why is the keto diet good for you? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319196.php
10 Signs and Symptoms That You’re in Ketosis. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-signs-and-symptoms-of-ketosis
What is Paleo Diet? https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/paleo-diet
What is Mediterranean Diet? https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mediterranean-diet

Could the Paleo Diet Be The Key To Long Term Health?

Paleo2JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

One benefit of eating the Paleo way is a rebalanced body chemistry.  A balanced body chemistry generally results in a reduction in body fat, lowered cholesterol, tryglyceride and blood sugar levels, and reduced risk of developing chronic and debilitating diseases.  The more modern paleo diet, in combination with regular exercise, is meant to be a lifestyle not a quick fix weight loss plan, although weight loss is often a benefit.  The theory behind the paleo lifestyle is this:

  • When we eat foods that are consistent with our genetic ancestry, we can avoid many of the diseases associated with our modern diets. 
  • That by eliminating sugars, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates, we can effectively eliminate underlying causes of modern disease such as diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and high cholesterol. 
  • This way of eating results in stable blood sugar, reduced inflammation, a reduction in stored body fat, improved sleep patterns and better overall health. 

Emory University research suggests that our Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) ancestors ate a balanced diet of 35% fats, 35% carbohydrates and 30% protein.  For two million years or more, this diet consisted of whole foods that could be hunted, gathered, fished or foraged.  Proponents of the paleo diet believe it’s the healthiest way to eat because it nutritionally supports our genetics and keeps us lean, strong and energetic.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of refined grains, processed foods, unhealthy fats and added sugars.  Most grains, including whole grains, corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets are now genetically modified and came into existence in the mid 90’s.  Some estimates show that 75% of processed foods now contain GMO ingredients that are certainly not part of our genetic ancestry. 

A strict Paleo diet consists solely of whole foods such as fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, lean meats (preferably from free-range grass fed animals and free-roaming chickens), wild caught seafood, nuts and seeds, eggs, healthy fats such as avocado, nut oils and coconut, and raw honey.  This requires avoidance of foods that did not exist at the time of our ancestors including dairy, grains, processed food, sugars, legumes, starches and alcohol.  Evidence suggests good reasons to give up dietary refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods.  The constant consumption of these foods desensitizes the body’s insulin response, leading to insulin resistance.  Studies suggest that lower levels of refined carbohydrates and higher levels of protein lead to weight loss and improved metabolic responses, improved insulin sensitivity, improved blood lipids and lowered blood pressure. 

The Paleo diet is based on the study, “The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups,” conducted by Loren Cordain, PhD of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University, which concluded the following:

  • Using contemporary foods currently available in food stores, it is entirely possible to emulate the essential characteristics of a nutritious, balanced hunter-gatherer diet that mimics the food groups and types of food available during the Paleolithic Age.
  • Despite the elimination of two major food groups (grains and dairy), the trace nutrient density remains exceptionally high. 
  • The macronutrient content of the Paleo diet (38% protein, 39% fat and 23% carbohydrate) varies considerably from current western values.
  • Contemporary diets based on Paleolithic food groups maintains both trace and macronutrients qualities that are known to reduce the risk of a variety of chronic diseases.  Although the contemporary Paleo diet provides no dietary vitamin D, hunter-gatherers would have obtained vitamin D from sunlight exposure. 
  • Other characteristics of the Paleo diet, including a high intake of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals along with low salt intake. further reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. 
  • As a result of a mismatch between the contemporary diet and our genetically determined physiology, many diseases of civilization have emerged.

Critics of the Paleo diet say it’s too restrictive, which makes it difficult to follow long term.  There’s no question that changing your dietary and lifestyle habits takes real commitment.   Whether or not you want to follow a strict Paleo diet or a more modified one that might include dairy and legumes, there are some good points you can take from it:

  • The consumption of whole foods, as close to nature as possible, supports overall health. 
  • The elimination of the same forbidden foods that the Harvard Medical School recommends for the avoidance of heart disease, including sugar, processed foods, fast foods, refined and processed grains and carbohydrates.
  • The Paleo diet is low in sodium and high in potassium, which supports vascular health and lowered blood pressure. 
  • Reduction of added refined sugars, which contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease. 
  • The replacement of refined carbohydrates with more high nutrient dense vegetables and fruits provides necessary calcium and nutrients, while eliminating spikes in blood glucose levels.  Elimination of refined grains aids in the reduction of abdominal fat, which contributes to fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • The addition of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and the consumption healthy saturated fats supports heart, brain and immune health. 
  • There’s no calorie counting.  Just consume real whole foods that keep you satiated, reduce hunger pangs and break the addictive sugar craving cycle. 

Products that support the Paleo lifestyle include: 

PaleoMeal® by Designs for Health  PaleoMeal® is a great-tasting, nutrient-rich powdered meal supplement designed to help promote an optimal intake of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in support of overall wellness.  This minimally processed product is available in either plant-derived or whey-derived protein formulas.   Available in a variety of natural flavors.
PaleoGreens™ Organic Powder by Designs for Health –  PaleoGreens is a great tasting, unflavored greens food made with organic ingredients with the principles of wholesome Paleolithic nutrition in mind.  It contains cleansing, regenerative and alkalinizing grass juices, algae, enzymes, and prebiotics, combined with high ORAC value vegetables, fruits and berries.  Also available in Mint and Lemon/Lime flavored formulas.
PaleoCleanse™  –  PaleoCleanse contains quality macronutrients to fuel detoxification pathways.  This product contains a full array of multivitamins and minerals for detoxification enzyme support, all the nutrients needed to support and balance phase I and II metabolic pathways, and high levels of antioxidant support for safe detoxification.

PaleoBar™ –  Available in a variety of flavors, PaleoBars are a micronutrient dense, health promoting snack/meal supplement that can be very beneficial in the implementation of a successful low-carbohydrate eating plan.  Available in dairy free and whey protein formulas. 


The Paleo Diet – So Easy Even a Caveman Can Do It

cavemanBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

The Paleo diet is based on the principle that we should be eating the same foods as our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors.  During the Paleolithic era, our forebearers ate a combination of grass-fed animal meats (including fat and organs), seafood and shellfish, eggs, tree nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables (likely as leaves, roots and stems), honey, mushrooms, birds and insects.  We drank water, perhaps some kinds of herbal tea and possibly coconut water.  We did not eat salt, sugar, legumes, dairy nor any cultivated grains.  The basic premise behind the Paleo diet is that our bodies are genetically and evolutionarily designed to thrive on caveman-era foods, and that if you can’t forage for it, hunt for it or gather it, humans are not designed to consume it.  Theory holds that on this diet humans led a healthy existence for a million years or more. 

Although this diet is currently gaining in worldwide popularity, “The Stone Age Diet,” authored by Walter Veogtlin was originally self-published in 1975.  Many proponents of the diet insist that this way of eating has improved their health, increased their energy, and helped them lose and then maintain their optimal weight.  Critics hold that the diet is too strict and that elimination of whole groups of foods such as grains and dairy is not necessarily healthy.  Advocates claim lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as improved sleep, higher immune function and a general feeling of wellbeing.  Proponents claim that although the diet seems initially restrictive it actually opens the door to a wide selection of healthier food choices.

The Paleo diet is purported to have the following benefits:

  • Healthy cells –  Cells require fats for growth and maintenance.  The Paleo diet suggests a balance of fats in healthy amounts.
  • Healthy brain – One of the sources of protein and fat suggested by the Paleo diet comes from cold water fish especially wild-caught salmon, which is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids that support brain, eye and heart health. 
  • Builds muscles  –  The diet relies heavily on protein that is used for building muscle mass, supporting improved metabolism. 
  • Gut health – Sugar, processed foods and unhealthy fats all cause inflammation in the intestinal tract which can contribute to leaky gut syndrome.  Elimination of these foods allows complete digestion and absorption of foods.
  • Provides vitamins and minerals – A variety of colorful vegetables is a basic part of the diet, which recommends you eat a large amount of them. 
  • Limits fructose – The diet recommends eliminating some fruits that are high in fructose such as bananas, and limiting fruit consumption to 2-3 pieces daily. 
  • Allergy reduction – The diet suggests minimizing or eliminating foods known to be allergens for some people such as dairy, peanuts and grains.  This diet is naturally gluten and casein free. 
  • Reduced inflammation – Many of the foods on the Paleo diet are considered anti-inflammatory and focuses on foods containing omega 3’s.  Pasture raised animal protein has a higher ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s, leading to a better balance of fatty acids. 
  • Weight loss – The Paleo diet is low carb by design.  Simply reducing processed foods limits carbohydrates which fuels weight loss.  A low carb diet is associated with improvements in some coronary heart disease factors. 
  • Increased insulin sensitivity – Constant feeding of processed and sugary foods desensitizes the body’s response to insulin.  When insulin is not used effectively, glucose is not properly absorbed by the cells which can lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.  A healthy diet low in sugar and fat along with maintaining a healthy weight can help reverse insulin resistance.
  • Reduced risk of disease –  The Paleo diet focuses on eating whole foods and avoiding foods that are known to be harmful to health such as processed foods, fast foods, and foods high in sugar, corn syrup and unhealthy fats. 

“The diet may put you in sync with your genetic requirements and thus boost your health if its theory is correct,” says Jack Challem in the Nutrition Reporter article “Paleolithic Nutrition: Your Future is Your Dietary Past.”  Eating a modern diet, on the other hand, makes you more susceptible to cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many other modern-day diseases, says Challem, also the author of “Stop Prediabetes Now” and “The Inflammation Syndrome.”

From a historical perspective, agriculture was introduced about 10,000 years ago.  Around 1900 with the Industrial Age came refined sugar and grains.  That means, from a genetic perspective, 100,000 generations survived as hunter-gathers, 500 generations utilized agriculture, 10 generations have followed the Industrial Age and only a few generations have been exposed to highly processed and fast foods.  Elimination of foods known to increase the risk for many of our current health conditions is of great benefit.  The American Heart Association recommends eliminating processed and fast foods that have little nutritional value and are high in unhealthy fats, added sugars, and sodium.  A modified version of the Paleo diet, with less restriction on low fat dairy, legumes and whole grains, may be just the answer to increased health and wellness. 

Products by Designs for Health that support the Paleo Diet:

PaleoGreens Powder –  PaleoGreens is a great tasting, unflavored greens food made with organic ingredients with the principles of wholesome Paleolithic nutrition in mind.  It contains cleansing, regenerative and alkalinizing grass juices, algae, enzymes, and prebiotics, combined with high ORAC value vegetables, fruits and berries.

PaleoCleanse  –  PaleoCleanse contains quality macronutrients to fuel detoxification pathways, a full multivitamin/mineral for detoxification enzyme support, all the nutrients needed to support and balance phase I and II metabolic pathways, and high levels of antioxidant support for safe detoxification.

PaleoBar –  Available in a variety of flavors, PaleoBars are a micronutrient dense, health promoting snack/meal supplement that can be very beneficial in the implementation of a successful low-carbohydrate eating plan.