Is the Paleo Diet Right for You?

Paleolithic Diet Health Food

It depends on several factors.

Consuming foods that were only available to cavemen and women, popularly known as the Paleo diet, has received a great deal of media coverage.  Many experts have written  that the modern diet – consisting of trans fats, refined carbs and easy-access sugar – “is to blame for everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to depression to infertility,” not to mention the obesity epidemic.

Typically, this very popular diet features seasonal fruits, nuts, meats and seeds, while dairy sugar and starch are avoided. On the question of whether grains and vegetables should be included in this diet, Paleo diet advocates have differing opinions. Some feel that these two groups contain “anti-nutrients” which can block the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

As with the early humans, opinions about the Paleo diet are evolving. According to an article in “Men’s Fitness,” magazine the interest in the Paleo diet began with the premise that our bodies have not evolved as quickly as food has changed (e.g. cultivated crops such as wheat and processed food).  While some Paleo fans still believe this, another group of Paleo advocates disagree and note that there is evidence that different populations have evolved in a manner that allows them to benefit nutritionally from these “modern” foods.

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The fans and foes of this approach to eating agree on one thing: The Paleo diet is not for everyone. Nurse practitioner and founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers , Terri DeNeui, who has personally been an advocate of this diet for many years, explained why it might not be effective for everyone.

The Challenges of the Paleo Diet

Embarking on any managed diet should be done with caution and only after consulting with an expert like Terri or her team of healthcare providers. Here’s why.

“In my own case, when I started on the Paleo diet, I found it was very easy to consume excess calories,” she said. “Even though I was eating all of these healthy foods, I found myself overeating and adding too many calories.

“The claims that this diet can reduce the incidences of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while accurate, can be overshadowed by the problem of excess weight caused by overeating.”

Other Diets

“Everyone’s body is different,” Terri noted, “This means that not everyone is a candidate for the Paleo diet. It depends on so many factors, including one’s genetic makeup.

“There are dozens of effective diets to consider. Some of these include: the ‘blood type’ diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Atkins diet and of course the Paleo. After consulting with hundreds of patients, I have come to the conclusion that, with regard to an effective diet, one size does not fit all.

“I don’t really like the term ‘diet’ when I am discussing this type of life
style change,” she said. “The word ‘diet’ connotes a temporary change, rather than a long-term, permanent change. If someone has decided to make this type of lifestyle change, it requires more than just watching what and how much they eat. It also includes some regular body movement and exercise.

Getting Started

Terri suggested a starting point for someone wanting to get control of their weight.

“One of the best ways of understanding which type of lifestyle change is effective is to go through a thorough detox process,” she noted. “A detox program will reveal food sensitivities as one is eliminating and then slowly reintroducing certain foods. Food sensitivities, such as an allergy to gluten, can cause a condition known as ‘leaky gut’ and this must be taken into consideration with the patient’s new diet.

“With our patients, we begin with a very thorough discussion and talk about their food history, what’s going on with their bodies and how they have responded to different foods in the past.  It’s like a ‘CSI’ episode,” she laughed.

“The psychological factors which are affecting the patient must also be addressed. If there is an underlying psychological or emotional issue around food and it is not being addressed, no diet will work.

“After the patient’s history is explored, we conduct a thorough blood test to determine such factors as sensitivities to wheat and gluten. We also check the gut health with regards to the level of  healthy microbes, or bacteria and prescribe specific probiotics when necessary. Of course, we always analyze hormone levels to ensure they are balanced.

“Finally, we can use a cutting-edge DNA test,” she said. “There is no more accurate measurement than this. It helps us determine what specific types of foods the patient responds best to.”

Here is the EVEXIAS Life Program, a step-by-step approach the EVEXIAS Medical Centers use for helping patients achieve long-term lifestyle changes:

  • A comprehensive patient interview is conducted to determine if any physiological or psychological conditions might compromise long-term weight control.
  • A thorough detox program is implemented, which helps eliminate toxin buildup from unhealthy eating and determines food sensitivities. Often this 10 day detox will jumpstart weight loss to the tune of 5 or more pounds!
  • A blood test is taken to uncover any hormone imbalance, pre-existing conditions, leaky gut, wheat sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, and other factors which might impact the success of the lifestyle change.
  • A DNA test to genetically ascertain which foods will preclude a successful, long-term lifestyle change is another option.

Setting a Reasonable Goal for Weight Loss?

Mobile technology can help with this type of lifestyle change.

“I recommend that our patients use an app on their mobile device to help them keep a log of foods consumed and physical activities completed. In many cases, we underestimate the number of calories we consume. There are many great apps out there and the commonality among them all is they will allow a person to set a goal of losing no more than two pounds per week. The reason for this is simple: anything greater than two pounds per week will not be permanent weight loss,” she concluded.

If you’re ready to change your life and get control of your weight, let our trained medical professionals help you succeed. Contact us to speak with a wellness expert.