You may notice my name on this site is Paleogirl. To the dismay of any dinosaur lovers in the class, it is not because I am an avid paleontologist. Rather, it is because I have decided to follow a Paleolithic diet, otherwise known as the Caveman diet. The main principle behind this diet is that out hunter-gatherer ancestors prospered on the foods that were available to them during the Paleolithic Era (Stone Age), thus that these foods are what mankind is meant to eat. It means staying away from processed foods, wheat, and grains that our ancestors did not have available to them, and eating the meats, vegetables, fruits, and oils that they did have available. The result is a diet very low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat, especially saturated fat.
I am a very concrete person, so to speak. In that I mean that if I need hard evidence and results to get me to believe anything. One may also say I am fairly skeptical about most things that fall under the category of “common beliefs”. Thus, I only decided to follow the diet after having seen the incredible results my family experienced not only in their weight and heart health, but also in their overall personalities and demeanors. Health is a particularly salient issue at home, as my family has always had problems with health, whether it is weight difficulties (my dad and brother), high cholesterol (my mother), or a compromised immune system (myself). However, when my family replaced their low fat diets with low carbohydrate diets this year, the results were astounding. My brother’s weight dropped from 208lbs in May, to 183lbs by August, and 168lbs by November. My father began in January with a weight of 240lbs. By April it had dropped to 215lbs and by September he was at 195lbs. My mother, who had been on Lipitor for years to combat high cholesterol stopped taking the medicine, against her doctor’s advice, and began this diet. Her cholesterol numbers improved far beyond what they had ever been on the drugs. The conclusion: the low carbohydrate high protein diet works.
The results my family experienced are not an anomaly; as an example, in 2008 a meta-analysis of randomized controlled experiments comparing low fat diets to low carbohydrate diets produced results that confirmed this. There was greater weight loss and HDL, and lower triglycerides, and blood pressure reported in the low carbohydrate diets. On top of that, the attrition rate for the low carbohydrate diet was substantially lower. The conclusion from all of these experiments was that, “low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets are more effective at 6 months…[than] low-fat diets in reducing weight and cardiovascular disease risk” (PubMed). This is very interesting information, and is growing in popularity. There are other people in this class also on the Paleo diet and they feel great, so it is definitely worth a look.
I have been sort of “half way” on the diet since mid summer, but I can hardly say I have been. I have just been a little more conscious of the bad things I’m eating. This Christmas, however, I decided to commit fully. I have had a compromised immune system since my junior year in high school, getting a respiratory illness at least once every month since then. If I make it until the 25th of January without getting sick, it will be the first month in two years that I haven’t been sick. Since the only real variables in my life that have changed in the past month are my diet and fitness, it would follow that this change in health would have something to do with it. Since I started in December, I have felt healthier, happier, and more full of energy. I hope for it to continue!
Below is a picture of the refrigerator at my house (my apologies for the fact that it is sideways, I’m on a new computer and I’m not very technology savvy!), but note the absence of all things carbs!
Here is the citation for the experiment I mentioned for anyone interested:
Hession, M., et al. (2009) “Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities”. Obesity Reviews: 10(1); 36–50. Web.