The Primal Diet Review– Does It Work?

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Cavewoman: Dinner ready.
Caveman: What havin’?
Cavewoman: Caught water animals, gathered berries and fungus.
Caveman: Water animal again? (grumbles and storms out of cave.)
Cavewoman: (shrugs) More for me.

cavecouple_primal+diet[There have always been consequences to criticizing the chef...just ask our ancestors!]

After reading about the Paleo diet I wondered if our pre-agricultural ancestors ever bored of their food options, and this is what I imagined common dinner conversation was like during the paleolithic era after reading about another, the Primal diet.

Keep reading to find out of the Primal Diet actually helps weight loss.

Primal Diet Basics

The primal diet is an eating program based on the book “The Primal Blueprint,” written by Mark Sisson. The primal diet promotes eating only foods that were available to our ancestors prior to the neolithic era. The basic premise behind the primal diet is that a ‘hunter and gatherer’ diet has nourished humans for much of their evolution, during most of which humans were not overweight and suffering from a myriad of health problems.

Right off the bat, there’s a serious problem with this logic, considering the body composition in the neolithic area was much more likely a result of HOW MUCH food they had available and living a very active (see: hunting, surviving) lifestyle and not food selection.

But I digress…

Primal Diet Foods

One of the most important aspects to any diet program are the foods promoted for consumption, and the primal diet promotes mostly whole foods that have not be processed. Foods that primal dieters may consume include proteins like pork, poultry, bison, beef, wild game, fish and shellfish. Vegetables are pretty much allowed in unlimited portions, particularly if they have been grown organically. Fruits are allowed in the primal diet, but only a moderate consumption is recommended and only for those fruits with the best nutritional value like berries.

raw+meat_the+primal+diet[The primal diet promise: very few carbs and plenty of protein will work for weight loss...this time!]

Other proteins allowed by the primal diet includes eggs (obviously they weren’t concerned about cholesterol!) and most nuts like almonds, cashews and pecans, but peanuts are prohibited because they aren’t “tree nuts” as prescribed by the primal diet. Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin may be consumed as well, but not if they have been roasted in any oil other than those found within the seed.

Prohibited Foods

The primal diet does not allow consumption of any vegetable oils, grains, beans, sugars or processed foods of any kind. These foods have all come after the paleolithic age, when humans began experimenting with agriculture and animal husbandry.

Primal dieters argue that while grains and legumes may have nutritional value, they also contribute to other health problems like autoimmune diseases. Carbs are not completely forbidden, but on a primal diet should be reduced greatly and only derived from fruits and vegetables.

What’s Good About the Primal Diet

The primal diet is good because it encourages a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with vitamins and nutrients and water. Decreasing how many carbohydrates you consume is a good idea for anyone trying to lose weight, as is getting carbs from healthier food sources. A diet consisting of lean proteins and vegetables is a good start to any weight loss plan.

Concerned about carbs? No-carb recipes found here!

Another aspect of the primal diet that’s good is the focus on free range and organic products. It is a good idea to eat organic whenever it’s possible, but especially with meat products. Industrial agriculture has lead to an increased amount of hormones, antibiotics and chemicals in meat, which could also be responsible for the health problems that primal diet proponents warn about.

What’s Bad About the Primal Diet

Although the Primal Diet does not overtly advocate eating raw meat to aid weight loss, it is mentioned as an optional part of the diet. Because there is only anecdotal evidence that eating a raw meat diet is beneficial, or that it aids with weight loss, we advise against it. Many illnesses can be contracted by eating undercooked or raw meat, so if you’re considering this as part of your primal diet follow the instructions suggested by Mark Sisson here.

primal-blueprint_the+primal+diet[The primal diet promises "boundless energy" with minimal carb intake...do you buy it?]

The other problem I have with the primal diet is that there is not a heavy focus on using regular exercise for weight loss. This is most odd when you consider that a great portion of our paleolithic ancestors’ healthfulness comes from the fact that most days were spent hunting and gathering supplies for survival. Mark Sisson does recommend increased physical activity and even a few paleo-inspired exercises, but maintains that most weight loss occurs due to diet.

Primal Diet for Weight Loss?

The primal diet will work for weight loss, if you are under your calorie consumption for the day, just like with any diet. But restricting your diet to more boring, more expensive foods could wreak havoc on the rest of the life, setting you up for the yo-yo effect.

By decreasing your intake of carbohydrates and focusing more on lean proteins and vegetables, you will very likely create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss. However without regular exercise your weight loss will be a very long process with mediocre results.

It’s not a bad idea to eat more organic foods or to reduce the amount of carbs you consume. However if you cannot afford organic foods then a diet filled with pork and beef probably isn’t a good idea as these meats often have the most chemicals in them.

If you’re struggling with weight loss you can take a few pointers from the primal diet, however adopting the primal diet for everyday use is not recommended as we already have plenty of low-carb diets out there.

If the idea of another low carb diet makes you want to stop eating altogether, read our review of Eat Stop Eat and turn that fast into a healthy way to shed a few pounds!

39 Comments

  1. Jason says:

    Hey guys,

    Interesting post and breakdown of the primal diet.

    Must admit, there are many good points of the primal diet, I just find one thing quite odd and that’s especially important to those trying to lose weight WITHOUT a bunch of hassle.

    What’s the “odd” thing?

    Simple. I find it hard to believe that our “ancestors” walked around with a list of “this food is ok”, but “this food is not”. That would be about as ridiculous as believing that they walked around as most present day dieters do, counting calories. Obsessing. And feeling guilty because… O my… I accidentally ate a peanut and that’s not a “real tree nut”.

    Or oops, I ate an apple and it should have been a blueberry.

    My point is simple…

    Without harsh food restrictions a diet fails to be a diet! In other words… it can’t be packaged as a “product”. You can’t make money off of it.

    Now. I’m not saying that the primal diet is not effective. I believe beyond shadow of any doubt that it is and can dramatically improve your health. After all, eliminating the toxins and chemicals and other refined junk from your diet is proven (I am first hand evidence) to have dramatic impacts on your health. And yes, your weight. It’s just that where “restriction” is involved it almost always backfires. Restriction is dieting. So if you have to walk around avoiding this and avoiding that you end up “head-spinning” and miserable. Which is why diets just don’t last.

    Who am I to say this? Well, I’m certainly not a PHD or anything like that. I just have “real life” experience and have seen first hand what happens when you teach a person “how” to eat instead of just teaching the “what not to eat”.

    I’ve come to realize that it’s not the avoidance of certain foods that give the results. It’s simply learning how to eat foods in the correct combinations. This is not dieting. The is being a master of your diet. HUGE DIFFERENCE my friends.

    Anyway. Great post here guys!

    -Jason

    P.S. I also do not recommend stuffing your face with raw meat on a weekly basis.

  2. stephanie says:

    If you read the Primal Blueprint, then you would find that there is in fact a great deal said about physical excercise. His premise is simply that it is not necessary to overwork your body with stressful cardio workouts, but rather stay active and have fun doing so on a regular basis. Nor is it based on the premise of eating raw meat. Perhaps you should actually read the book before commenting with nonsense remarks.

  3. Michael says:

    Hi Stephanie- thanks for posting. We’re aware that the primal diet is not based on eating raw meat but it is a factor in the book, and honestly I find that to be just about as ridiculous as every other fad diet out there. And Jason’s comment also made an excellent point about how our ancestors likely didn’t have a good food, bad food list.

    I agree that its totally not necessary to overwork your body with endless cardio and weight training, but as soon as you get into the good food vs. bad food debate is when things start to go off the rails in my book. Our bodies typically function on a caloric need for the day opposed to specific “fat burning” foods or hypey stuff like that. And for most people, until you get your portions and calorie intake under control, restricting specific foods is just going to lead to the Yo-Yo effect.

  4. Michael says:

    jason- I don’t think you specifically need to have food restrictions to be dieting, but instead to be restricting your calories to a point based specifically on your age, height, and gender. Typically people that see significant health improvements with restrictive diets like the primal diet see those improvement because for the first time they are eating at a caloric level that is more suitable for their body, and not always living in the”fed” state of perpetual digestion.

    personally I dont believe there is in any specific order or combination or foods you need to eat, as long as your caloric intake matches your body’s output. I enjoy eating “healthy”, meaning fruits and vegetables, but I also enjoy a beautiful burger with cheese and bacon and onion rings from time to time. Its the freedom to live your life and eat what you want that is the key to long term weight management…. but the secret, is that you just can’t eat as much as you want. ;) There’s always a balance.

  5. Vanman says:

    I really don’t think you’ve read the book in its entirety. I have the Kindle version of the book and searched for ‘raw’ and then read each reference–there are no calls to eat reaw meat, none, zip. Plus, there are whole sections to do with exercise. As the poster above said, the focus is on exercise in moderation. And nowhere does he say don’t eat apples and the like. The main focus is to not eat grains and beans because they werent eaten until Paleolithic times when we discovered how to cook them and keep them from poisoning us. Yes, raw grains and beans are unhealthy for you unless they’re cooked. Moreover, the constant intake of sugars thru these have created some of our modern diseases. Read the book.

    As for exercise on the Primal Blueprint, I just skied 3 hours at Whistler, yesterday skate skied for 2 hours and no problems. After your body gets used to burning fat for energy, instead of copious amounts of carbs, you DO have a ton of energy. Honestly, I didn’t believe it until I experienced it. I eat around 130g of carbs a day, all from veggies and fruits. The typical person eats around 300g or more. That’s way too much.

    Read the book and prepare to have your notions of nutrition challenged. Or stay with your conventional wisdom of eating whole wheat sugar and stay fat and keeping diet publishers and corn and soy farmers in business.

  6. Vanman says:

    I meant weren’t eaten until NEOlithic times.

  7. Vanman says:

    You’re the ‘authority on fat loss’ and you have the Slimband as an advertiser? And ads that say veggies that’ll make your stomach flat?!

    This is the type of mentality that’s made people fat, kept them fat, and will keep them fat.

  8. Jason says:

    Hey Michael,

    Thanks for the follow-up here my friend.

    Once again, think people can learn a lot from reading posts like this and getting feedback from all the viewers. Everybody has good points here and I think that it’s the “open” discussion from “different angles” that proves to be really useful for people.

    The only thing I would add is in your comment where you said…

    —————
    “I dont believe there is in any specific order or combination or foods you need to eat, as long as your caloric intake matches your body’s output.”
    —————

    I think that the statement holds more true for a diet that is completely void of refined calories and other processed junk. I think it would be hard to argue with the point that eating 1200 calories of whole, pure, organic food is the same as eating 1200 calories of heavily processed fast food.

    My point is simple… All calories are NOT created equal. I just think that dieters run into major problems when they just start lumping all calories into the same bin. When you do that I just don’t believe that the old dieting notion of “calories in should be less than calories out and you’ll lose weight” holds true . From what I’ve seen, if you eat a diet of heavily processed food then even if calories in equal calories out you’re still eventually going to end up with abnormal fat!

    This, in my opinion, is a major downfall of most diets. And quite frankly, one of the biggest hurdles stopping people from losing weight.

    I think the primal diet has nailed it on the idea of eat “whole natural” foods. In the long run it’s the key to staying lean. So kudos to them.

    Anyway, great tips guys,

    -Jason

    Thanks Michael

  9. Kevin says:

    I think it would be beneficial if you read the book before making your claims. Regular exercise is mentioned throughout the book and eating raw meat daily is not a recommendation. You’ve trashed the authors book and made light of his suggestions without doing your homework. Perhaps the tabloids are looking for someone with your journalistic tendencies.

  10. terryw says:

    What a complete prat, you haven’t even read the book. How to lose all credibility with one dumb-ass article. Pillock.

  11. Michael says:

    The primal diet is pretty clear with what it preaches. And basing a diet on our “ancestors” and marketing stories like that, i’m sorry, in this aspect I think its total nonsense. Our ancestors also never had antibiotics or clean water, or any choice of what to eat. Mark Sisson also is just a glorified athlete with an undergraduate degree in Biology. He has no advanced degrees in physiology as it related to nutrition or exercise science. He’s just a guy with an opinion and a good title for a book. If the diet works for you, that’s great. But the underlying reason is that you are creating a caloric deficit by eating less, and moving more. I do appreciate you visiting the site though, and feel free to use the contact form if you want to chat more about this Terry.

  12. stephanie says:

    The book does not say to eat raw meat. The reason there are limits to our diet, as opposed to the caveman diet is that we have choices. The caveman did not walk around with a list, of course not. They were limited in the selection. The list WE have to walk around with is based on those limits.

  13. Michael says:

    Hi stephanie, we have updated the post above to include excerpts from the author who claims that eating raw meat is best, just to back up our article.
    That’s where we received our information from.

  14. lrc says:

    This isn’t really a great summary of the primal diet, and it borders on a hatchet job. I recommend anyone reading here to read up on it elsewhere.

    The post on raw meat you link to is not a “recommendation” of the diet, it’s merely the author’s blog post on a type of food that’s considered weird in America, but is found more frequently in other cultures. I think you’ll find there are very few people eating primal who ever eat raw meat unless it’s sushi once in a while.

    He also talks extensively about exercise, and other important lifestyle factors that can affect health and weight, like sleep, stress management and play.

    Either you guys are lazy researchers or you’re purposely misrepresenting – either way I won’t be coming here for advice any more.

  15. Michael says:

    Kevin, I understand your concern, in my “journalistic tendencies” as you’ve seem to become quite attached to the information in the Primal Diet. But when it all comes out in the wash, there are many people that do not follow this diet and they are thin, healthy, happy, and live very long lives. So that fact alone makes the Primal Diet, and for that matter, most other diets…. irrelevant.

    I am living in Barcelona at the moment, and this city is filled with nothing but carbs. Croissants, pastries, ham and cheese baguettes, fried tapas, and enough wine to drown California. Not to mention that nobody eats breakfast and everyone eats dinner late (after 9pm).

    Now add that to the fact that there are maybe 1/20th of the gyms and exercise facilities that are found in most American cities and the temptation in Barcelona violates almost every diet ever conceived. Yet, if you walk around the city the only overweight people you see are from North America.

    My point about the primal diet (and any restrictive diet) is that none of them work for the general population. Because food is enjoyment. Food is fun. And food and eating/drinking is one of the greatest pleasures of the human condition. And to pretend that forgoing these pleasures is the only way to lose weight is not only myopic, its delusional. We cannot create diets that ignore reality and humanity at its core. Weddings. Birthdays. Holidays. Anniversaries etc….. good luck following a restrictive diet during any of these occasions that never stop coming.

    Again, its all about balance. Losing weight = burning more calories than you consume. It doesn’t even have to be everyday, just more days under your caloric limit than over and you’re a weight loss winner.

    No matter if its pastries and jamon y queso sandwiches, or lean chicken breast with broccoli. All I know, is that I am within my healthy BMI range, have been for several years, and if I want some gelato and a chocolate pastry I can truly indulge in it without letting people like Mark Sisson try to make me feel guilty about it.

    But for the record, I do appreciate people like you that are passionate enough to defend what you believe in and hold me accountable to what you think is right. I will look into this review and the Primal Diet more and see if there are things I can add or change to make our review more relevant and accurate. thanks for your input.

  16. Michael says:

    I love working out on little carbs, once you are mentally ready for it, its a completely freeing experience. A number of times I’ve had full workouts on the 20th hour of a fast and I felt amazing. Totally energized (just be sure to stay hydrated). But for things like skiing and more cardiovascular activities that’s pretty cool you get all of our energy from fruit and veggies.

    I’m gonna try this on my next long bike ride.

  17. Michael says:

    I agree. The slimband is a total disaster. And the funny part, is that because the slim band actually works, it just proves that eating less is the answer to lose weight. Its sadly funny.

    But that ad was from google adsense, they show a number of ads that is relevant to our content and unfortunately I can’t control (at least I dont think so) which ads are shown. I mean cut us some slack Vanman, we gotta keep the lights on somehow. ;)

  18. Michael says:

    Hi “Irc”,

    Please read my reply to Kevin above, who also had a problem with our review.

    I will certainly look further into this raw meat fiasco and update the post accordingly, but my views on the primal diet stay the same. I understand people get quite attached to whatever diet they tend to agree with, but as with anything, just because something makes sense to you, doesn’t mean its accurate. I mean, Atkins years ago used to make sense to me. And socks with sandles used to make sense to me as a kid. haha. As we grow we learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t make it the be all end all.

    …just like our Primal Diet review apparently, lol, thanks for your feedback. This post will be updated within the next month if when we scrutinize our findings further we find any inconsistencies (the raw meat point will be the first we look into).

    thanks for caring enough to comment.

    Mike

  19. Jason says:

    I’m not sure you really understand how and why primal works.
    First off, Gluten is not a natural human food, and the grains we eat now have been modified in other ways by companies like Monsanto.
    Secondly… Primal is not really restrictive, I eat as much as I want every day… and not lean meat, I eat the fattiest cuts I can buy, and bacon and eggs with the yolks… sometimes a dozen in one day.
    I eat green veggies and tons of wild berrie type fruit… the higher the fibre count the more it offsets the carbs in the veggie or fruit.
    I eat dark chocolate fairly often as well. Now, here is my point… Since getting on this fat, protein and fibre way of life with aprox 100 grams of carb a day, a month ago, I’ve lost 16 lbs with no increase in exercize and I love the foods I eat.
    As far as raw foods, Mark’s plan goes by the simple logic that if a human can not eat something naturally in its raw form, we should leave it alone. We are equipped to eat raw meat, we have the teeth for it, we cook our meat and some of our veggies in our house but we dont eat anything that a human could not process raw and we feel 1000 times better for it.

  20. Jason says:

    I should add… I had my good and bad cholesteral checked before I started the plan and again a few days ago… hdl is dramatically up and ldl is much lower…

  21. AlexMiller says:

    Hi Jason,

    Our bodies are metabolically flexible and we adapt to our surroundings. All you need to do is look to different countries to see that the primal diet isn’t the ultimate answer. If you lost 16lbs, I’m not surprised that your health markers are up, losing excess fat is always a very very health thing. But it’s likely not just because of how you got there. That’s like saying because I drove my car someplace without crashing and had a good time there that if I took a bus I wouldn’t have a good time. Assigning all belief to one specific diet mantra is always a recipe for disaster. Check out the book health food junkies. It’s not about the primal diet, but I think you’ll really enjoy it. It was very eye opening for me.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and maybe we’ll share a steak some day. ;)

  22. Jason says:

    I have two friends who have been on primal for over 5 years and they make a point of getting their HDL and LDL checked at least once a year. Living low carb with over 50% of your dietary energy coming from animal fat and healthy plant fats like olive oil and coconut oil will keep you lean and maintain your good and bad cholesterol at optimum levels. People have been fed a ton of baloney about how their bodies work.

  23. Michael says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the ton of baloney that people have been fed about weight loss. But another fact, is that not everyone likes, or can afford olive oil
    and coconut oil. One of the healthiest thing is always to be lean. But if that’s with having the occasional chocolate cake, ice cream, or big family feast… its important to know enough about weight loss to be able to always keep within a 5lb range and not feel guilty about it or have it take over your life.

    If the only way you can stay lean is to stick with a very limited food choice, personally, I think that’s miserable. It works for some people, but is many cases it just isn’t reasonable living. But certainly cheers to you and your friends. If the primal diet/lifestyle is what keeps you lean and also keeps you happy and living a full and social life… all the power to you. ;)

  24. Marcus says:

    Hey guys, I just started the primal blueprint. I am a paramedic with a badly injured lower back. I have an L5 herniation, 2 bulging discs and a myriad of other lower back problems. I have had major issues with inflammation in lower back for 9 months. It has been awful. When I read the book, all the medical stuff made perfect sense. I completely cut out all the things the primal blueprint stated. It has only been 3 days and my energy is much more sustained and my back does not hurt as much as before. I firmly believe that grains, breads, rice etc have kept the inflammation going in my back. I have had 6 epidurals, PT, accupuncture, and NSAIDS. Nothing helped and I thought I was eating healthy. I am now a firm believer in this plan and can’t wait to see where I’m at in 30 days.

  25. Helen says:

    Hi there, with respect I don’t know why Michael, and others, feel the need to discredit Mark’s book quite so much. If you read the book in entirety and continued to stay up-to-date with Mark’s posts you would see that he does advocate occasionally having anything to eat that you want… guilt-free… end-of-story. And it is not a simple matter of calories in and calories out, because calories are not all equal. If you had read the book you would know that it’s refined carbs that lead to the heightened hormonal response in the body causing storage of all calories as fat, they also drive up LDL cholesterol and contribute to a host of other problems that conventional wisdom mistakenly attributes to eating any amounts of fats of certain kinds that are actually essential. And grains are not the “healthful” food that conventional wisdom say they are. If you have a look at Gary Taubes’ books (recommended by Mark) he explains all of this clear as day, including… people don’t get fat because they eat too much. It’s because they eat the wrong kinds of foods that due to low blood glucose make them physically feel they are starving and then they start eating even more of the wrong foods… i.e. refined carbs, and the vicious cycle results. And our early ancestors, prior to the big mistake of agriculture of 10,000 years ago, did not have a list of good or bad foods because they ate what they could hunt and gather, obviously finding out what was poisonous in the process, and there were no fast-food joints or sugar-laden goods on offer that they had to use their “will-power” to avoid. And do you really think they stopped to strip all the fat off the steak? I’m a paleo advocate, and do follow a lot of the principles because instinctively it makes good sense… and as soon as I start on the bread again, I feel lethargic and put on weight, even with exercise. Everyone has their own experience, but we need to promote ways to get weight off people because the health system simply can’t continue to deal with the problems of modern-day “nutrition” choices and too many people live miserable lives because their health is so bad. And finally, I have studied nutrition, physiology and exercise at university level.

  26. Michael says:

    Hi Helen, I do agree with the latter part of your comment regarding finding a way to get the weight off people. But simply promoting “eating healthy” isn’t the answer, because if it were, then the problem would be solved already. In the past decade, more gyms, fitness clubs ,and diets clubs and diet books, and websites have opened up in north america than ever before. I’m sure you can agree with this. The amount of diet info. in the media and businesses around it is staggering. But if you’ll notice, the obesity rate has INCREASED. Obviously something is wrong here. And its not because people are eating bags of chips. Its because the message is so far lost that people are too confused to take any action.

    Im not a doctor, I’m not a dietician, and I do not claim to be. I have however done my homework and sat down for many times throughout the years with people that have devoted their lives to the weight loss problem, and human biology, thats why I find it so surprising to hear you side with Gary Taubes, who is a journalist. Nothing more, than a good journalist. If anything, I think his book has made things worse.

    Because the fact of the matter, is that a calorie IS a calorie. Its simply a unit of measurement. So saying that a calorie isn’t a calorie is like saying an inch is not an inch, because one inch is by air and another by foot. Its just a measurement. And losing weight comes down to the calorie equation. Calories IN vs. Calories Out. From the very day that this message sunk into my (very very stubborn) head, I have been the exact same weight (within 5-10lbs) for the past 4 years and I dont really ever think about calories anymore. But I do know when I am overdoing it. And if I find I’ve gained 5lbs, and i dont like it, then I just lower my calories for a couple weeks, maybe exercise a little more and magically… it comes off. Weight loss is not a secret.

    The only reason everyone treats weight loss like a secret is because of people like Gary Taubes and diets like The Primal Diet.

    And remember, we are not talking about health here, we are talking about weight loss. And weight loss and maintenance is simply calories in vs. calories out. We all must stop confusing eating for health and eating for welght loss, because many times, the healthiest thing many of us can do, is lose weight.

    And treating people like children and telling them not to eat this, or not to eat that isn’t the message. The message is self-control, not self-sacrifice. If you want a donut, have one (dont have 6). If you want a soda, great, enjoy it, love it. Just dont have the 2litre bottle everyday.

    And finally, getting to your ancestors argument, our ancestors were lean and thin NOT because what they ate, its because they didn’t have a lot of food so it was HOW MUCH they ate that kept them thin and lean. When you are a hunter and gatherer, you are moving and using your body all day long and not eating a lot because you dont have food. I just spent the last 3 months in Italy and Spain, and honestly, I think I had a gelato every single day. And if I were to listen to Gary Taubes and Mr. Primal Diet, I wound feel terrible about these decisions. But because I followed the calorie equation I knew that having that gelato meant I needed to move more that day to compensate or eat less, and I never over 3 months and aaaaaamazing meals and desserts went more than 5 lbs above my normally lean bodyweight.

    And just to be clear Helen, I do appreciate your comment and your time, and I apologize if I sound a little heated, its just that I see so many people that are overweight and so confused and so desperate for help that sometimes it gets to me that everytime these people look for an answer all they find is another failed path when the real answer…. as promoted by scientists and real doctors for years and years, is…. EAT LESS. MOVE MORE.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and visit the site, and by the end of the year we will have an AMAZING new site with sooo many delicious recipes and amazing workout ideas that I hope you’ll keep coming back and sharing your voice with us.

    have a wonderful day!

    Michael

  27. MRestrepo says:

    “When your body breaks down the protein you eat, several types of acids are triggered. Your body neutralizes these acids with citrate and carbonate from the bone. Simply put, this means calcium loss increases as protein consumption increases. The Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes suggests, although it is still considered to be controversial, that as you double the amount of protein in your diet, the amount of calcium lost through your urine increases by 50%. This not only increases the loss of bone calcium but also increases the risk of kidney stones by as much as 250%.”

    ???? Any comments?

  28. Helen says:

    In answer to MRestrepo…. hopefully this might put your mind at rest. There are plenty more.

    Amount and type of protein influences bone health Heaney, R.P. et al
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 87, No. 5, 1567S-1570S, May 2008

    “Loss of bone mass often accompanies weight loss induced by calorie restriction (37-39). Self-reported weight cycling has also been found to be detrimental to bone mass (38). During weight loss, a higher protein diet (≈108 g/d) has been found to preserve bone mineral better than a lower protein diet (≈70 g/d) in overweight men and women, even after adjusting for the greater fat loss produced by the higher protein diet (40).

    “Exercise may offset the adverse effects of energy restriction on bone (42), though the research examining the effects of exercise on bone mass during weight loss is mixed (38, 43). One study found that moderate weight loss, even when accompanied by an increase in physical activity, resulted in greater loss of bone mass than among a group of control women who gained weight (39).

    “Despite a widely held belief that high-protein diets (especially diets high in animal protein) result in bone resorption and increased urinary calcium, higher protein diets are actually associated with greater bone mass and fewer fractures when calcium intake is adequate. Perhaps more concern should be focused on increasing the intake of alkalinizing fruits and vegetables rather than reducing protein sources. The issue for public health professionals is whether recommended protein intakes should be increased, given the prevalence of osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Currently, little or no attention is paid to ensuring adequate protein intake for elderly fracture patients. In the hospital setting, there should be nutrition protocols in place for hip-fracture patients that include higher protein and calcium intakes. Moreover, health professionals may need to be reeducated about the important role of protein in bone health.”

    Effect of Dietary Protein on Bone Loss in Elderly Men and Women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study†
    Hannan, M.T., et al: DOI: 10.1359/jbmr.2000.15.12.2504

    “A number of studies (4, 39–41) reported that a doubling of protein intake increases urinary calcium loss by 50%. Parfitt also noted that the acid load from dietary protein is partially buffered by skeletal bone loss, accounting for a portion of age-related bone loss.(42) Allen reported that urinary calcium loss is correlated directly with dietary intake of protein and that high calcium diets do not prevent the negative calcium balance and bone loss induced by a diet high in protein,(43) although it is unclear what levels of protein intake would be considered high for this population. The influence of dietary protein metabolically may be not as great in the elderly as one would assume, based on estimated intake, because additional age-related changes in renal function and intestinal absorption influence calcium imbalance.(44) Although these studies examined short-term calcium loss, several cross-sectional studies of forearm BMD and protein intake reported no association between dietary protein and BMD.(14,45)

    “Our findings are in agreement with two papers reporting better bone health in women with greater protein intakes. Freudenheim et al.(46) showed that high protein intake protected against low radius BMD in older women. Munger et al. found an increased risk of hip fracture in elderly women consuming the lowest amounts of protein in the Iowa Women’s Health Study.(47) Further, the Munger study reported that higher intakes of animal sources of dietary protein were associated with a 70% reduction in hip fracture, even after controlling for major confounding variables.”

  29. Susan says:

    I was on this before without realizing it. I had Candida and My nutritionist put me on this very things. I was allowed to have meat (cooked), berries, nuts (brazil nuts) pumpkin seed, Lemons, limes, green apples, vegetables. No white potatoes, no sugar, no bread or anything with gluten (flour) which meant very little carbs. I went from 191 down to 127 from April till July of that year and was eating way more food than I ever did in my life. I would eat berries in heavy cream, and put butter on my steak! Weight melted off me! I kept on it for like a year or so then could eat bread again and started gaining weight back then quit smoking and that was that. I do feel if I went back on this the weight would drop off it’s just very hard to stay on. Oh and Never, Ever eat raw meat. I also took plenty of suppliments too so keep that in mind. Avocado’s were allowed and were one of the very good fats. Obviously Pork was limited because it takes longer to digest and fish was limited due to the amounts of mercury in it. Now Milk wasn’t allowed either along with anything with caffiene. I drank decaffinated green tea with ginger in it. So speaking from experience this does work but you absolutely must stay on it! I quit cause everyone acted like I was a nut and got sick of me not having anything available to eat when to their houses. I would bring my own food to a barbacue!

  30. Knifegill says:

    The author of the above review is not informed about the Primal Blueprint in any way.
    Animal fats are the primary source of caloric intake in this diet. It is not a lean meat diet. Your body will starve without sufficient caloric intake, and in the Primal way of eating, this comes from healthy, grass-fed ruminant animal fat. I personally avoid pork because it is not even remotely kosher, and the usual go-to is free-range grass-fed beef. However, in the kick-start stage, many do eat a lot of bacon. I eat grass-fed bone marrow and render fat to use for cooking. I also eat a lot of liver and coconut oil, avocadoes, wild salmon, mackerel and mountains of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables as well as whole zucchini and coconuts. We aim for high omega-3 intake as opposed to the omega 6 overload the standard american diet provides. Without having read the book, I’m surprised you had the brass to review it. Please read Primal Blueprint on your own instead of believing this misguided review. I’ve lost 30 pounds, can climb trees freehand and do thirty pushups straight for the first time in my life. I can also haul 80 pounds of water up a quarter-mile hill and back down without stopping to catch my breath, and then proceed to do sets of dips and curls with said bottles. I don’t even care that I can see my abs now, I just love being strong and fast and not being hungry. Get off the bread and on with life!

  31. Michael says:

    thanks for sharing this Helen!

  32. Michael says:

    Aaron, we’ve read the book. And also followed up the future writings of the author, as some diet authors can by inconsistent in their sound bites over time.

    What you are missing is that, its not that the diet doesnt work per-se, of course it works, because its very restrictive, so will produce a caloric deficit, but like most diets, it doesnt allow for reality, for everyone living. Most people dont eat, and can’t eat, free-range, grass-fed beef, neither can they afford all of the luxuries of your food selection.

    And as your last few sentences were almost laughable, though its great you are a very strong primate (climbing trees and hauling 80lbs things up a 1/4 mile hill), its clear that you are not among the norm of people just trying to lose weight and live healthier.

    Diets like the Primal Diet put most people into an anxious state because like most mainstream diets, they limit the kinds of food you can eat. And for pepole like yourself that are able to, financially, mentally, and physically, take this diet to the extreme thats great for you… but for most this is simply a recipe for yo-yo dieting and social misery.

    I appreciate you leaving a comment and joining our community, but I think its best to realize that just because a diet works for you, doesnt necessarily mean its the best course for everyone. A diet that works for everyone, has to be a diet that everyone can adapt to, food selection and all.

  33. Amy Sterling says:

    I have just started to eat the Primal diet, after being dairy-free since last October. I started to realize bread and pasta was causing a negative effect in addition to long time issues with dairy. My reason for eating this way is food sensitivities and dairy allergy. I have to say that I don’t think people listen to their body. For me, eating protein and vegetables is tasty and does not cause the negative reactions processed foods containing dairy for sure cause, and that I were getting more common from “regular bread” with no dairy or additives. I just plain can’t eat a lot of processed foods now, especially after being dairy free for a long time. I accidentally ate about a teaspoon of cheese last week and became pretty ill. I wish people would think about all the food additives and how extremely unhealthy processed food is. Every time I’ve suggested reducing dairy or at least eating less-processed dairy, minus a lot of extra sugar, sweeteners, etc., the heavier the person, the more they insist they have no problem with dairy, can eat all they want, want to eat “healthy” yogurt (with how much high fructose corn syrup? I don’t even know!) and besides would rather DIE than give up their ice cream (or if they’re honest – “Cheesy Puffs” or “Hot Cheetos” etc). This may not be the only processed type of food that to me – causes a lot of problems. But the Primal diet has a lot going for it in that it also addresses the chemicals, extreme processing, “byproducts” and whatever else is in modern commercial foods, especially snacks, restaurant meals, fast food etc. At least it tells people to eat protein and vegetables prepared simply. They tell ya to load up on fat too. Minus sugar and other unhealthy stuff – I don’t think it’s that bad. Sorry! I think it’s about a lot more than calories. And every time I see people getting angry or resentful when food is discussed no matter what perspective, I think about dairy addiction, which I believe is a real problem and cause of a lot of overweight, because it also causes overeating in general, not just overeating of dairy.

  34. Katrina says:

    I was a disciple of the calories in calories out doctrine too, and it seemed to work for me; until I turned 45. Then I found out that a calorie out doesn’t equal a calorie in! I was at the point of eating about 800 calories a day of mostly low fat protien and working out about 500 calories worth and not losing weight. What’s up with that? Well, now I have started eating primal and am eating about 1200 calories a day and not working out at all (except a little golf and walking) and have lost 8 pounds in a week. It’s not easy because I don’t really like vegetables and I was (am) addicted to sugar and processed foods. I know that if I cave and eat them I will gain weight again so I am working really hard to stay primal.
    Michael, I think we have all been drinking the food pyramid and modern medicine’s kool aid for a long time. We need to realize that there might possibly be something behind their recommendations that aren’t in our best interest. As a science educator, I think we really need to see more hard research (not funded by agriculture or drug companies) on how or bodies in relation to food and exercise.
    What Mark Sisson and Gary Taubes (and other primal writers) say seems to make a lot of sense as far as how my body reacts to sugar and grains. You say that just because a diet works well for you it might not be the best course for everyone, however, for many years and with most nutritionists and doctors the “fewer calories in, more calories out” has been the only message for those who needed to lose weight. Perhaps we need to rethink what really is healthful for our body and what really is poison to it. Imagine what we are doing to our children by allowing them to ever even begin to eat processed foods. Just because it’s out there and available and part of the “social structure” doesn’t make it right. That’s like saying we should all drink alcohol, smoke, or take drugs.
    Living primal isn’t easy or popular. My family and friends think I’m nuts! But they can see that I am losing weight, that I am finally recovering from a long illness that modern medicine hasn’t been able to diagnose or cure, but for which I was perscribed loads of medicine for symptoms, and that I have more energy and vigor. Being popular or having it easy isn’t nearly as important to me as being healthy and fit and living a long and active life.

  35. Michael says:

    Hi Katrina,

    I see what you mean, and I appreciate your perspective on the topic. The conflict I see with your comment is how you said you were addicted to sugar and processed foods, and yet somehow say that were you able to still stay within your 800 calories per day allowance on mosly low fat protein. And this is one of the main problems with weight loss, anybody can give an anecdotal story that might sound scientifically impossible, but since it is simply their word and their story there is no ability to dispute their experience. Because in my experience, if anyone were to eat only 800 calories per day and burn away 500 calories through exercise I would say it is impossible for them to not lose weight under normal conditions (meaning they are free from disease and other serious disorder).

    And I have never endorsed people filling their meals with processed foods and sugar but we have to stop treating our diets within an ideological vacuum that sometimes just doesnt make sense in reality. For some people, eating with the Primal Diet ideology in mind is doable and easy to fit into their lifestyle. But this is not the case for most people. So we have to first allow those that are looking to lose weight the leniency to slowly work their ways from their current eating habits into something more healthy and sustainable, and stop creating villains out of dieters that just want to have a small bowl of ice cream with their kids or a chocolate bar every now and then. We have to treat dieters more like humans, and less like robots.

    I also agree with you that in most cases doing what is right is not always popular and more people do need the courage to step forward and do what others cannot. But if that righteous step in another direction starts creating fiction with your family and friends, it may be time to reassess if what you are doing is worth it and then move forward (or backward) from there.

    If you dont mind me making a suggestion, I recommend you pick up the book entitled Health Food Junkies. I just read it a few months ago and it really opened my eyes to some unhealthy- healthy habits that I have carried with me for a long time and was totally obliviously to it. I think you’ll find it as fascinating as I did.

    thanks again for commenting, and please come back around the beginning of December to see our brand new site. Its going to be amazing!

    best regards,

    Mike

  36. Helen says:

    Hi Mike, since you love anecdotal evidence so much, here’s my input… I eat bacon and poached/fried eggs for breakfast most mornings, or have an omelette with three eggs and cheese and bacon. Or maybe I’ll have some steak and spinach/kale and eggs… BTW I save the bacon fat for frying other foods in… I have an active job and I don’t need to eat again until lunchtime and that was unheard of when I was eating grains/processed food…. I also have cream in my coffee. I eat lots of salads and veges and some fruit… and guess what… I maintain my weight at around 60kg and am 5’7″. In fact when I started eating like this I lost body fat and feel more energetic and don’t eat as much as I used to because I don’t get voraciously hungry all the time like I used to. Having said that I do not restrict how much I eat, and yes I do occasionally have chocolate or icecream, but I don’t have a health issue that I am trying to address so I am happy to do that… and I eat this way because I feel better and I have studied and read the scientific evidence that, right now, shows me it is the ideal way for Homo sapiens sapiens to eat.

    A calorie is a calorie, but the effect different substrates have on body physiology is what counts……

    Re Mike’s reply to Katrina… do you really think that people who seriously need to lose weight are able to just have “a small bowl of icecream” or a “chocolate bar every now and then”? Would you say to an alcoholic that it’s ok for them to have a drink “every now and then” because it’s just too mean to expect them to give it up completely? Let’s get real. The addiction needs to be broken by abstaining for a long enough period of time to do so. For those seriously obese people, or the one’s who pay lip service to wanting to lose weight, they may need psychological help to conquer their addiction to high GI food and abstain completely until they have their weight under control. Like an alcoholic the solution might be that they have to avoid the addictive substance ongoing, but this is unlikely if they can learn to control consumption. If you don’t have a weight problem and just want to be healthy then I don’t think there is anything wrong with something high GI every now and again, but people need to be be CONSCIOUS about what they are putting into their bodies. And another point… Mark Sisson does not say you can’t ever eat anything not considered strictly Primal.

    If trying to lose weight, one needs to change/eliminate unhelpful habits so that they don’t keep eating the food that creates weight gain through fat storage. I don’t get why you can’t understand or don’t want to understand the science, because it is out there. It’s basic physiology. Insulin causes body fat storage. Ingestion of grains, sugar, HFCS and most processed foods cause acute high insulin release from the pancreas, therefore excessive body fat storage. Continuous ingestion of these foods with each meal causes chronically high levels of insulin in the blood causing people to continually store most of their calories as body fat and then feel hungrier as a consequence. Fat people eat more because they are fat. This could also eventually lead to insulin resistance, especially in the very overweight or obese, compounding the whole problem. These foods also cause a host of other problems from contributing to high LDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver, dementia, inflammatory conditions, allergic conditions, and hey, diabetes! Seriously have a look at the science that is out there. If people don’t want to lose weight they just won’t, even when they “say” they do. Believe me, I come across ‘em every day. So it makes me quite hopping mad that you dismiss the whole ancestral health/primal eating thing as unworkable and say it’s turning the issue of weight loss into a secret when there are people out there who could benefit. It’s really not that complicated or a secret… far easier to be able to eat as much as you want of a very large range of foods and still lose weight, gain lean mass, and feel markedly better, than have to calorie-count everything and then be miserable because you are hungry all the time and can’t work out why you can’t lose body fat. People can adapt to it if they really want to because that is how we ate as humans evolved. Humans cannot spend their lives being hungry… it just doesn’t work!

    If “eat less, move more” was the definitive solution to body fat loss, why do we have an overweight/obesity epidemic? Humans once believed such things as the earth was created on October 23, 4004BC (now de-bunked), that the earth was flat (also de-bunked), and that the earth was the centre of the universe around which even the sun revolved (I think we now know that’s not true). Isn’t it time conventional wisdoms about nutrition, health and weight loss were kicked out of bed and replaced by new recommendations supported by information and science that proves them plain misleading? Just because not everyone has the self discipline to give up high blood glucose-producing foods, does not mean the way of eating itself is not relevant, does not work and should not be wisely promoted.

    Kindest regards,
    Helen

  37. Kristie says:

    2nd week on the primal diet. Read the book, reviewed the recipes and have already lost almost 8lbs. I have more energy than ever. My family have all commented that my mood and attitude have changed for the positive. I am completely off prcessed/refined sugar… I literally went through withdrawals the first week. My skin is changing/clearing up.

    Reading your review it seems like to me you have not truly read the book. I have not seen anywhere in anything from Mark that says I should eat raw meat. And regarding exercise I’d say this covers it http://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-fitness-plan-so-easy-a-caveman-did-it/

    It’s working for me. My doctor is happy, my glucose and cholesterol are the best they’ve been and that’s only after 2 weeks I can’t wait to see how things look after a month.

    I know these comments and review is pretty old but this was one of the first hits when I googled. I wanted to give a first hand account from someone truly on this diet and not just someone reviewing it from the outside looking in. I’m 37, I’ve done and tried everything and nothing has ever clicked for me like this.

  38. Natasha says:

    That’s great to hear Kristie, congrats! I used a wide variety of sources for the Primal Diet review and while I agree there are suggested exercise plans we just felt that it wasn’t a large enough emphasis on regular exercise. Thank you for pointing to that link. Please let us know how you’re doing after a month on the diet, and we’d happy to talk to you about the ins & outs of this diet!

  39. weight control diets says:

    Great article of primal diet.Thanks for the great info about the topic of reducing weight. One thing I love about the topic is that about consuming more on fruits and vegetables. I believe that eating healthy with the right kind of food will give you the right shape you want to have.

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