The rates of obesity continue to rise.
A decade later came the Paleolithic (“Paleo”) diet. Similar to the Atkins philosophy, Paleo stresses higher amounts of protein and healthy fats, with limited complex carbohydrates. The difference is that no processed food is allowed, strictly removing refined sugars and chemicals.
The theory is this:
Our ancestors ate diets rich in protein and healthy fats with some complex carbohydrates mixed in. The pace of human genetic change in the industrial world has increased one hundred times faster in the last one hundred fifty years than it did in the previous six million; our bodies haven’t adapted which is why we get sick.
By returning to a species-appropriate diet, we can prevent and reverse inflammatory disease–which is responsible for the majority of disease-related illness and death in the U.S. Along with the foods of the diet are increases in physical activity and sleep and stress reduction–a more holistic approach.
Still, we Americans love our carbohydrates: bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, and other processed foods. Not to mention fast food.
The problem with most of these is that many contain ingredients other than what is needed for a whole food, like preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and loads of added sugar and salt.
Over half of our daily calories come from wheat, sugar, and processed foods. The sacrifice is healthy proteins and fats.
Your body needs protein to build and maintain muscle and create healthy blood cells. It needs fats for brain function, cell communication, and nutrient absorption. Carbohydrates, when not burned as fuel, are stored as fat. Sugar makes you fat, not cholesterol.
And cancer literally lives on sugar.
The focus in the current study (back to that) was weight loss and risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
So here are the results: after twelve months, the group of subjects in the low-carbohydrate group had lost more weight in the form of fat mass and had achieved more balanced cholesterol levels than those in the low-fat diet group.
“The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.”
The key is not only the volumes of nutrients but their sources; coconut and olive oils–while they may have higher fat content per se than vegetable oil (corn, canola, soy)–are nutritious fats that feed your cells and don’t tax them. Lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and tempeh are all sources of good proteins.
Looks like we may have to cut down on the carbohydrates and stock up on the proteins and nutritious fats after all, if we want long-term weight loss: the new conventional wisdom?