While following the Paleo Diet has helped improve the health of many, your individual results may vary and we cannot make any guarantees.
As a lifelong skeptic (I’m from Missouri) this is hard for me to believe. And now I’m telling my flabbergasted friends that I’m going for 100. The only supplements I take are omega-3 and vitamin D. Thank you for your great work.
Then I tried the diet out on my 10-year-old son. We decided to “eat like cavemen.” I noticed an immediate improvement in his concentration, his problem solving skills and his ability to deal with stressful situations. When he “falls off the wagon” at his grandmother’s house or with his dad, who thinks this diet philosophy is a crock of boloney, my son becomes cranky, difficult and indecisive. He makes mistakes on his homework and his test grades slip. This only confirms my agreement with the concept of the Paleo Diet.
One more story: I visited my 73-year-old father last year for 3 weeks (I live in Germany; he lives in Virginia). I said, “Sorry, dad. No more pizza for me.” He said, “Fine. You cook. I’ll eat.” Well. After 3 days he woke up and said “Gee whiz, I haven’t slept this well in years.” The next day, “Gee whiz, my sinuses are free.” The next day, “Gee whiz, there’s no pressure behind my eyes.” And on and on. By the end of my stay he was so revitalized that he decided to continue with the diet. Two months later he had a check-up and low and behold…
His “critical” sugar level was absolutely fine. His HDL/LDL ratio had swung from bad to great. His blood pressure had lowered so much that he was able to stop taking his medication.
A few months after that he called me and said that his gout had not acted up in weeks – no more medication necessary. The icing on the cake was his visit to the eye doctor, who was astounded that my father’s glaucoma had receded. Thank you, Dr. Cordain, for your research and hard work. You’ve improved and prolonged 3 lives. We are grateful.
For my own story, I trained and was boarded in General Surgery in the late ‘70s, and then spent a very satisfying twenty-plus year career as an emergency physician, a specialty in which I was also boarded. I worked in a big urban hospital emergency department, which included nine years of administration as Assistant Chief and then Chief. I loved the medical practice, but I was caring for others while neglecting myself. I was hypertensive (consistently BP of 144/88), overweight (body fat 34%, BMI 28.7), with abnormal cholesterol (180-190), and a resting pulse in the low 70s. My HDLs were low.
At age 55 I retired, moved to a tiny community in the Sierra Mountains with my family, and decided to pay attention to my own health, by actively studying human nutrition and weight loss strategies. I had had a two-decade history of yo-yoing weight, by what I call now the “starvation diet,” trying to eat less of the same calorie dense, high glycemic index processed salty stuff. I thought it was “healthy” food. But I have since learned otherwise; it was in fact endocrinologically poisonous. This starvation diet spells doom for millions of otherwise well intended Americans who know they need to lose weight, and are trying desperately to do so, but are trapped by their own unfortunate and unintended nutritional ignorance.
I read voluminously, including all the major diet books cover to cover – Atkins, South Beach, Weil, Ornish, Brant-Miller, Willets, McDougal, Pritikin, and others. I went back and reviewed the basic biochemistry of lipid, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. My wife invited me to join her at Weight Watchers, and I started counting all my “points.” I was counting points and losing weight, but ravenously hungry all the time… the starvation diet at work. I realized that counting points was not enough. I realized I could not be hungry all the time for the rest of my life. Two scientific nutritional concepts turned out to be cornerstones in my “cracking” the weight loss nut.
The first was the fundamental importance of glycemic index, and the effect this has on insulin and glucagon levels and resultant wild swings in blood sugar and hunger levels. The second was calorie density: the fact that we eat to satiety based on volume of food eaten, not number of calories. Since only vegetables, and some fruits, are low calorie-density foods, each meal must include a generous portion of these food categories.
But the real breakthrough happened when a fellow emergency physician, a colleague and friend, told me of a radio talk show he heard in which Dr. Eaton was interviewed. Knowing of my interest in nutrition, he strongly suggested I look into the Paleo approach to nutrition. Further, he said that Dr. Eaton recommended reading the book The Paleo Diet and the articles available online at Dr. Loren Cordain’s website. Reading your book, I quickly realized that all of the apparently disparate concepts I was learning about healthful nutrition fell neatly and logically into place under the overarching theory that the most healthful diet is the one we humans evolved eating. Suddenly calorie density and low glycemic index made sense, because those were the only foods available to us as we evolved. The dramatic diminution of mortality in the prospective, blinded fish oil study on post-myocardial infarction patients made sense once we realize the omega 3/6 ratio of our ancestors and the availability of animal-based omega-3 in the wild meat and seafood they ate. In fact, all kinds of apparently disparate nutritional learnings make sense when they are looked at in the light of the theory of evolutionary nutrition. That’s the learning I got directly from you, and I thank you for it.
For my own testimonial, I have gone from a body fat of 34% to 7%, a BMI of 28.7 to 20.6, an abnormal blood pressure of 144/88 to a consistent 104/62, and a high cholesterol of 190 to 132. My HDLs are up. My triglycerides are 35. My resting pulse is now in the high 40s. For the three years before I started eating “Paleo,” I had been taking 300 mg of Zantac for G.E.R.D. virtually every single night. In the past two years, I believe I have taken four doses total, and that was always in the context of dietary “indiscretion.” I had been experiencing about five years of D.J.D. inflammation in several of the P.I.P. joints of my fingers with resultant swelling. That has completely quieted down.
The three-way combination of eating hunter-gatherer food, getting my BMI down under 21, and exercising is incredibly healing and powerful medicine, and it beats hands-down the medications we give our patients, like anti-hypertensives, lipid-lowering agents, and hypoglycemic drugs. Those may provide some benefit for individuals who are unable to change their diet and weight, but they have no effect on the overall root cultural problems of diet, obesity, and sedentary life-style that is endemic in our Western society.
Thanks again for your powerful contribution to my understanding of human nutrition. I’d be happy to post an endorsement to your website. I’ll do the posting with my first name only for privacy purposes.
We are in our 50’s and our weight and BMI are within recommended ranges and have been stable for years. Initially, we lost between 10-16 lbs. Our doctors are amazed whenever we have our blood pressure, lipids and glucose checked. I only take a very low dose of an asthma control medication; otherwise we are on no other daily medications. We always feel great and have energy for skiing, biking, hiking – even if we don’t always work out. People are always telling us how much younger we look for our age.
I love to cook and create new recipes. At first it was a challenge, but it has become easier. It is fun to have friends over for a Paleo dinner and to share how good it feels to eat this way. My husband often tells me I should start a Paleo restaurant.
We have a routine every morning – packing our Paleo lunch and snacks. It has become very easy over time and if we have our Paleo food, we are less likely to end up eating something processed from the fast food restaurant or vending machine.
I have bought and given out about five Paleo books to friends and family over the years, wanting to share with them the greatest gift I know – health. A close friend recently went through radiation and chemotherapy for breast cancer. She was also diagnosed with osteoporosis and was not tolerating the medications used to treat it. Her oncologist suggested that she try the Paleo Diet. She knew this is how I have been eating, so she immediately called me for tips. She lost five pounds within a few weeks and looked great, just a couple months after finishing chemo.
I work for a HMO as an RN and a disease manager. Every day I am reminded how traditional, non-Paleo diets are contributing to most of our modern-day health problems and increasing health care costs. I hope that more and more health care organizations recognize the benefits of your research findings.
Many, many thanks for sharing your findings through your books, lectures and web site, and most of all for giving us – health.