I was recently asked my opinion about the popular Paleo-style diet trend and the spin-off plans, Whole 30 and The Next 56 Days. These plans are reported to be anti-inflammatory and they focus on whole foods to include meats, vegetables, fruits, and fats. They strictly limit or eliminate grains, dairy, beans, legumes, and refined sugars. In my opinion, these types of plans have some strong positive and negative aspects. My comments are included below:
Concerning the Whole 30 plan, and the Next 56 Days, they are very similar to Paleo. I believe most people will see improvements to their health following any of these plans because they eliminate processed foods, as well refined sugars and starches. Also, because grains are eliminated, fruit and vegetable consumption increases drastically. Therefore, most people who follow these plans are overall eating healthier, especially if they were previously eating processed and fast foods. Strict adherence long term is difficult, however, whenever food groups are eliminated and some people report constipation without the fiber found in whole grains, beans and legumes.
It is also important to encourage anyone following these plans to invest in grass-fed meats and wild-fish as conventionally and farm-raised animal proteins can be very inflammatory, especially in the quantities consumed on these plans. That can be a budget pincher for many people as grass-fed meats are significantly more expensive.
Keep in mind that no single eating plan works for all people. That is why I recommend taking the LEAP MRT food sensitivity test to see which foods are truly best for you. The LEAP MRT is a blood test that measures inflammatory markers that your body produces in response to 150 foods and 30 common chemicals and additives. Many of my LEAP patients test inflammatory to foods recommended on the Paleo-style plans, yet they tolerate grains and legumes with no problem. Therefore, the best option in choosing a plan to follow is to have the LEAP MRT and with those results in hand; build your diet on the healthiest foods which are truly anti-inflammatory for you. Long-term adherences, as well as results, are much better.
If taking the MRT is not viable for you, however, I believe the Mediterranean eating plan has proven to be the healthiest overall. This plan includes the best quality foods from every food group and it is low in saturated fats and high in fiber. Foods on the Mediterranean plan will include choices from all food-groups such as vegetables, fruits, chicken, fish, quinoa, oats, lentils, yogurt, nuts, olive oil and lesser amounts of red meat. It is more balanced, affordable, and heart-healthy than the Paleo-style plans.
I hope this offers some clarity on popular diet trends. Remember, you can always give us a call if you need individualized help in putting them into practice or you are interested in learning more about the LEAP MRT. When it comes to a lifestyle of eating, there is nothing wrong with trying the trends; but it is always better to live by the true.