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New Research Shows Paleo Diet Might Be All a Crock

New Research Shows Paleo Diet Might Be All a Crock

According to a new study, cavemen likely didn’t eat anything like their paleo-pushing descendants

The paleo diet is often hailed as the more “natural” way of eating, as our forefathers did, back in the days of wooly mammoths and fighting for our survival. But new research determines that the “caveman diet” might be a sham: researchers at the Kent State University and Georgia State University state that humans in the Paleolithic Age likely did not follow any specialized diet. Of course, they weren’t eating Twinkies, but diets were based on region and what they could find.

Based on evidence that's been gathered over many decades, there's very little support for the idea that any early hominids had very specialized diets or that there were specific food categories that seemed particularly important, with only a few possible exceptions," said Dr. Ken Sayers, a postdoctoral researcher at the Language Research Center of Georgia State in the study.

Hunter-gatherers were more likely to eat an animal-based diet, while those in warmer climates near the equator probably relied more on plants. Plus, the plants, seeds, and nuts we do eat today have evolved since they filled the bellies of our ancestors thousands of years ago.

The paleo diet has come under scrutiny for these supposedly false claims, and even came in last in the US News & World Report’s “Best Diets of 2014” list.


Eating Lots of Whole Grains Might Help You Live Longer

The paleo diet might be all the rage, but staying away from carbs might not be the best idea in the long run. New research shows that eating whole grains can help you live a long, healthy life.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that a diet rich in whole grains can decrease your risk of death by up to 15 percent. The study found that eating more whole grains is linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and lower mortality in general. And that's completely independent from other factors like age, weight, and exercise.

Harvard researchers analyzed data from more than 74,000 women and 43,000 men over a 25-year period. In the study, participants recorded their diets in surveys given every two to four years. People who ate at least 28 grams of whole grains every day were five percent less likely to die during the 25-year period, and nine percent less likely to die of heart disease. However, whole grains didn't change the mortality rate from cancer.

Researchers isolated the part of the grain that helps your health the most: the bran, which is the skin that covers the kernel of a whole grain. (Think of the golden part on the outside of a popcorn kernel.) Eating more bran decreased participants' risk of dying by a whopping 20 percent.

Overall, the scientists recommend swapping refined grains (like white bread) with whole grains for better health. "I think it's quite conclusive that if you eat whole grains, you almost always benefit," senior researcher Dr. Qi Sun told LiveScience.


What Are Nightshades?

Members of the family Solanaceae, common nightshades include white (but not sweet) potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers, both the eye-watering chilies and the sweeter bell peppers. The list of edible nightshade plants also includes any spices made from peppers, like paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper (although black pepper is a different plant).

The list of edible nightshades is fairly short, but the list of poisonous ones is quite extensive. Most nightshades are toxic to humans, with the best-known being belladonna, or “deadly nightshade,” traditionally valued for its use as a poison (in the play Macbeth, for example, belladonna poisoning features as a plot point).

The association with such toxic family members makes some people very concerned about all nightshades – they worry that if deadly nightshade is such a terrifying poison, then even the apparently harmless tomato must be up to no good. Farmers and gardeners in some traditional cultures seemed to agree: they were dubious about the food value of these plants, and mostly grew them as ornaments in the belief that they were unhealthy to eat.

Guilt by association and the accumulated wisdom of traditional gardeners makes for a plausible theory, but fortunately there’s just no evidence that nightshades are dangerous in any way for most healthy people. On the other hand, they might be a bad idea for people whose guts and immune systems are already compromised, especially anyone with an autoimmune disease.


The Mediterranean Diet Might Actually Slow Aging

We&rsquove been touting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for a while&mdashit&rsquos great for weight loss, boosts heart health, and can even improve your memory. Now, new research shows that loading your plate with fish, veggies, and whole grains might be as close as you'll ever get to the fountain of youth, too.

For the study, presented at a conference in Brussels by the NU-AGE project, almost 1,300 older adults from five European countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the U.K.) ate a customizable Mediterranean diet for one year. Overall, researchers discovered that their Mediterranean-style eats decreased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker associated with aging, among participants. Not only that, but it also lowered the rate of bone loss for those with osteoporosis.

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So save money on your wrinkle creams and start eating like you're on vacation in Greece, instead. Try substituting butter and margarine for extra-virgin olive oil, which is lower in saturated and trans fats. Or, work more herbs into your seasonings, rather than loading up your dishes with salt. If possible, cut back on red meats, and replace those burgers with more meals of poultry and fish. And load up on vegetables! The more color on your plate, the better. Or, whip up these tasty recipes next time you're considering takeout. (Want smoother skin and fewer wrinkles? Try The Bone Broth Diet.)

Pretty simple, beyond delish, and packed with health bennies. Can this magic diet also grant wishes?


Plant-Based Diet May Heal the World, New Research Shows

A new study recently published in Climate Policy adds to ever-increasing evidence that transitioning to a plant-based diet could help the world meet climate targets by 2030. Additional data from research firm DuPont Nutrition and Health indicates that consumers are indeed experimenting more and more with plant-based alternatives, with 65 percent of global consumers making a “seismic shift” to a plant-based way of life.

The Climate Policy study suggests that transitioning to alternative sources of protein would 𠇍rastically help” in meeting climate targets, reports NDTV. The researchers suggest focusing the transition on foods linked to higher greenhouse gas emissions, including beef, cow’s milk, and pork. 

The study suggests that a transition away from animal protein has the potential to feed an additional 350 million people in the U.S. alone.

Promising data shows that not only have nearly two-thirds of global consumers begun such a transition, but 52 percent of U.S. consumers are moving towards a more plant-based diet. According to research conducted by DuPont Nutrition and Health, close to 60 percent of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed indicated their dietary change was permanent.

“Our research reveals that for most consumers, this has moved beyond experimentation into a permanent change brought on by health, lifestyle, and social factors,” DuPont marketing leader Greg Paul tells VegNews.


Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study

Background: The main goal of this randomized controlled single-blinded pilot study was to study whether, independent of weight loss, a Palaeolithic-type diet alters characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Next we searched for outcome variables that might become favourably influenced by a Paleolithic-type diet and may provide new insights in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the metabolic syndrome. In addition, more information on feasibility and designing an innovative dietary research program on the basis of a Palaeolithic-type diet was obtained.

Methods: Thirty-four subjects, with at least two characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, were randomized to a two weeks Palaeolithic-type diet (n = 18) or an isoenergetic healthy reference diet, based on the guidelines of the Dutch Health Council (n = 14). Thirty-two subjects completed the study. Measures were taken to keep bodyweight stable. As primary outcomes oral glucose tolerance and characteristics of the metabolic syndrome (abdominal circumference, blood pressure, glucose, lipids) were measured. Secondary outcomes were intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol. Data were collected at baseline and after the intervention.

Results: Subjects were 53.5 (SD9.7) year old men (n = 9) and women (n = 25) with mean BMI of 31.8 (SD5.7) kg/m2. The Palaeolithic-type diet resulted in lower systolic blood pressure (-9.1 mmHg P = 0.015), diastolic blood pressure (-5.2 mmHg P = 0.038), total cholesterol (-0.52 mmol/l P = 0.037), triglycerides (-0.89 mmol/l P = 0.001) and higher HDL-cholesterol (+0.15 mmol/l P = 0.013), compared to reference. The number of characteristics of the metabolic syndrome decreased with 1.07 (P = 0.010) upon the Palaeolithic-type diet, compared to reference. Despite efforts to keep bodyweight stable, it decreased in the Palaeolithic group compared to reference (-1.32 kg P = 0.012). However, favourable effects remained after post-hoc adjustments for this unintended weight loss. No changes were observed for intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol.

Conclusions: We conclude that consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet for two weeks improved several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a healthy reference diet in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.


The Best Diet Is.

The claim: From Mediterranean and Paleo to low carb and low fat, diet proponents often make the bold claim that their way of eating is the best for your overall health. But according to a new analysis published in the Annual Reviews of Public Health, no one diet can claim supremacy.

The research: Prevention advisor David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, reviewed hundreds of studies on diets including low carb, low fat, Mediterranean, vegetarian, vegan, low glycemic, and Paleo, and their relation to obesity and chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. He found that no one diet resulted in significantly better health overall (some diets do help with specific conditions more than others for example new research shows that a Mediterranean diet can significantly lower the risk of diabetes). However, he reports that the diets associated with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease had three essential commonalities: They limited processed foods, they were rich in plant-based foods, and any animal products in the diet were themselves the product of plants (meaning they came from animals that ate a plant-based diet).

The meaning: To quote Michael Pollan, as Katz does in his paper, &ldquoEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.&rdquo Just because people who follow one diet are incredibly healthy doesn't mean people who subscribe to a different way of eating can't be. "Seventh Day Adventists on a vegan diet do great, but so do Okinawans eating a traditional Asian diet. And people on a Mediterranean diet can be just as healthy, too," says Katz. The diets that were evaluated all have their unique directives and their merits (even Paleo, done properly, is a mostly plant-based diet), but it&rsquos not what separates them from one another that makes them healthy&mdashit&rsquos the principles that they share that&rsquos most important.

The bottom line: Shut out all the noise about the latest and greatest diet fads. As long as you limit processed picks and fill your plate with plant-based foods, it&rsquos hard to get too far off the healthful track. &ldquoThe way to eat for optimal human health is well established, and it&rsquos eating real food, mostly plants,&rdquo says Katz. &ldquoThe diets in the analysis are all variations on that theme. The best variation isn&rsquot clear, but the beauty of that is that you can choose what you like best. It puts you in the position of being able to love the food that loves you back.&rdquo


Daily Movement and Exercise

Movement and exercise are key components to The Paleo Diet Lifestyle®. Our Paleo ancestors moved every day, yet we often spend most of our days seated in front of a computer. There are many ways to get movement and exercise that will help you with optimal health, digestion, and sleep.

Tips for Maximizing Your Exercise Routine

Everyone knows exercise is good for us, but when physical activity isn’t built into our daily lives as it was our hunter-gatherer ancestors we need to know modern exercise to get the most out of how to get the most out of workouts. Follow these tips to improve your fitness and health!

The Exercise Habits of Hunter-Gatherers

Learn about the history of exercise in our hunter-gatherer ancestors and how to mimic their activities today for optimal health.

Nell’s Corner: Why bone broth is nature's best recovery drink

Instead of turning to expensive, supplementary products to replenish lost nutrients after exercise, try nature's recovery drink: bone broth.

How exercise and diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

The medical community traditionally states type 2 diabetes is a life-long condition, but new research shows it may be reversible with the right combination of diet and exercise.

Paleolithic Aging: Exercise for Brain, Biceps, and Longevity

Evidence is quietly accumulating that our brains and immune systems need exercise as much as our muscles. Find out the facts about Paleolithic aging.

Run with the Hunt: How Do Your Workouts Compare?

Learn more about The Paleo Diet® & working out. Visit our website to learn about The Paleo Diet & it's health benefits. Browse our Paleo recipes online!

How the Standard American Diet Hampers Athletic Performance

Dr. Loren Cordain and Shelley Schlender compare the standard American diet to The Paleo Diet and how each can impact athletic performance.

Is Fasted Training the Fastest Route to a Lean Body?

If you start the day with fasted training and carry on with Paleo diet eating all day long, you’ll be much more likely to achieve your weight loss goals.

Fueling to Perform…with Food

Learn how the paleo diet can help you perform at your best. The Paleo Diet® is your source for paleo diet plans, paleo diet guides & paleo news.

Restorative Yoga Sequence to Help You Sleep Better

A healthy life goes beyond a healthy diet. The Paleo Diet team recommends restorative yoga sequences which help with digestion and improve quality of sleep.

How To Include Meditation In The Paleo Lifestyle

In addition to what you eat, meditation can also be a valuable component of a balanced and healthy Paleo lifestyle. In this article we get you started!

Health and Wellness in a Paleo Lifestyle

The Paleo Diet is not just a diet — it's a lifestyle based on principles of health and wellness. Learn more about nutrition, meditation, and wellness in today's post from The Paleo Diet!

Meditation's Positive Change to Your Brain

If you haven't already considered making meditation a part of your daily Paleo diet routine, I suggest you do so. Meditation has clear health benefits.


Eating a Plant-Based Diet Reduces Your Risk of Heart Failure by 42%, Research Shows

A new study shows that consuming a plant-based diet may help reduce the risk of deadly heart failure. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York found that people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are 42 percent less likely to develop heart failure than those who consume other types of diets.

The researchers examined the eating habits of 15,569 participants in Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), a nationwide observational study. The participants were classified as consuming one of five different types of diet: convenience (including red meats, pastas, fried and fast foods), plant-based (including vegetables, fruits, beans, fish), sweets (including desserts, breads, candy), Southern (including eggs, fried foods, organ meats, processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks), and alcohol/salads (including salad dressings, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, butter, wine).

While the researchers found that participants who fell into the plant-based diet category had a demonstrably lower risk of heart failure, there were no associations found for the other four dietary patterns.

�ting a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don&apost already have it,” said study first author Dr. Kyla Lara, from Mount Sinai Hospital.


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