SARASOTA, Fla. -- If you are trying to lose a few pounds and get a health benefit, then you may want to give up carbs and packaged foods, according to the Paleo diet.
Little has changed in our genetic make-up since the caveman. But diets once rich in fresh meats, fruits, nuts and berries have turned to boxes of processed foods, carbs and sugars.
“I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to be healthy. I used to be like two hundred pounds. Now I'm down to about 145, 150.” Kori Hostetler's been on the Paleo diet two years, and says weight's not all she's lost. “I suffer from depression, for about two years, and I was on anti-depressants, and I'm not on them anymore.”
The Paleolithic diet -- based on the premise of if the caveman didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t -- advocates ditching certain foods. “Eliminating gluten, grains, corn, rice, beans…that was pretty easy for me. The hardest thing is sweets. I'm a big sweet eater.”
People should be cautious about any extreme diet, says Dr. Louis Cohen of Lerner Cohen Healthcare. “It is rather restrictive; no pasta, no processed foods.”
Dairy is also limited, he says, but foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables, included in the diet, are healthy in moderation. “You have to be cautious regarding caloric content in a lot of these foods.”
Registered dietician Bonni London says the Paleo diet may benefit people trying to get rid of some dangerous carbs in their diet. “The Paleo diet is a high protein diet, so you are going to be eating a lot of meat and fish.”
She says consider the source. “So you need to look where this meat and fish is coming from. Bacon, ground beef, even steaks are okay, as long as it's grass fed, hormone free, and antibiotic free.”
But what does Hostetler have to do without? “Pancakes, you know, like flour, cookies, pasta, corn, rice, beans…anything that's going to bloat your stomach.”
Just because you're on the Paleo diet doesn’t mean you have to go treat free. “You can have dark chocolate, you can even have things like kale chips and power snacks.”
She's not worried about vitamin D or calcium deficiency. “I get that with like almond milk, coconut milk, you can take supplements, I take vitamins.”
But there's no big secret to weight loss, says Dr. Cohen. “Well, you'll lose weight no matter what diet you do if everything in moderation.”