I usually say Atkins has the right idea but that primal eating is based on evolutionary science and is more natural/not diet-y. I'd like to be able to explain more so people get it. What do you guys say?
There has undeniably been some cross-pollination between low-carb/Paleo, perhaps due to both of them being on the fringes of what is considered mainstream.
However, depending on the individual Paleo is not necessarily low carb. I suggest that you emphasize that Paleo is not a prescriptive diet plan per se, but more of a holistic and flexible framework upon which the individual can superimpose their own needs/goals, ideally whilst taking into account the health of other animals/the planet.
Perhaps the best way of illustrating the divide between Paleo and Atkins is to emphasize the difference between fresh, real foods, and edible lowcarb! food-like substances. Start by creating a typical fantasy Atkins plan, full of processed soy meal bars and artifically sweetened low-carb shakes and contrast it to a vibrant, Paleo whole foods menu. Even if they don't agree with you nutrition-wise, they can't help but acknowledge that we at least have better food!
EDIT: Aaahhhtkins? Are you by any chance hobnobbing with the British aristocracy? Because if you are, a Paleo Wills and Kate might just be the thing that tips Paleo over into the mainstream. ;)
Alright, I'm going to indulge my nasty side for a minute. Why does anyone give a rat's ass if someone else thinks they're "doing Aaahhhtkins?" I don't spend my time explaining my eating habits to people I don't know well. My eating habits are no more their business than my toilet habits. And the people I do care about, with whom I've had actual, you know, conversations about food and nutrition and health, are my friends, which means they allow me to finish my sentences. I don't have to roll my eyes, sigh elaborately, and hand them a little card (!?! really?); I can actually talk with them. Answer questions, find out what their background and understanding is, engage in a dialogue. You know, converse like a human being, not like an insurance salesman trying to mow down a resistant customer.
And as far as the Atkins/LC "versus" Paleo business is concerned, I don't think this is a productive avenue of inquiry at all. The last thirty years have seen the catastrophic decline of day-to-day health and quality of life of Western-diet-eating people, and people from Atkins to Cordain to Kurt Harris to yes, even Jimmy Moore, were and are all engaged in the same battle: to find the path to health in our industrial world. Tribal identity wars aren't going to help us arrive at good solutions; biochemistry and the collected experience of individuals (which is data) will. And that includes the experiences of metabolically fit bodybuilders and athletes, AND the experiences of metabolically damaged fatsos and former fatsos like me.
So here's my heartfelt plea: PLEASE stop driving off important data points -- us low-carb fatsos -- with these divisive, chest-thumping, we-don't-want-no-damaged-people-round-here posts. If you want to understand human metabolism, and the damage wreaked by agro-industrial diets on the human body, then you're going to need to hear from us, whether you "like" us or not.
I like to say that Paleo is a lifestyle rather than a diet. It's not something to be ditched once the weight is lost or health is achieved. I also point out that Paleo is much more focused on grass-fed, healthy, pastured and cage-free animals, antibiotic free, nitrate free, etc. Atkins could give a rat's behind what type of food you are eating as long as it's low-carb.
People like to say Paleo is a big tent and we accommodate all types of diet gurus like Atkins to Cordain to De Vany to Wolf to PaNu and now the Jaminets and those who eat safe starches to up their carbs.
Let's say Paleo includes all these. But then why shouldn't Ornish and Fuhrman be Paleo as well? Ornish and Fuhrman are basically plant-based advocates who believe in whole foods. They also shun all processed foods, except that they're probably not as anti-gluten as the Paleo folk. People point out their fear of saturated fat and meats, but this stance dovetails with Cordain's and De Vany's, who are still suspicious of saturated fat and fatty meats.
Seriously, the Paleo tent is big but it is probably too fragmented to do anything as a group or movement. It's a loose coalition. I know that most Paleos and low carbers would differentiate themselves from Ornish and Fuhrman. But surprise, these guys could arguably fit inside the Paleo big tent.
I just say that unlike when I went on Atkins I plan on making Paleo (or any similar incarnation) a permanent lifestyle decision. When I was on Atkins I'd eat soy burgers because they were only 1 or 2 net carbs or nitrite laden hot dogs. Not everyone who is paleo is low carb, the version I'm doing just happens to be low carb.
Paleo does not equal low carb by default i just ate a huge sweet potato some berries some carrots plus 3 pastured eggs cooked in coconut ghee(coconut oil mixed with ghee) with goat cheese avocado and some tomato. Paleo is more about avoiding modern toxic foods-processed foods then carbs its about not consuming industrial seed/vegetable oils, excess pufa and excess sugar, antinutrients and generally crappy quality food.
Well, I did Atkins back in the mid 90s, and lost 60+ lbs. It does work. And it had the benefit of getting me off wheat and corn (turns out I'm allergic to corn, wheat, soy). I think if Dr. Atkins were still alive he'd be keeping up with the whole Omega 3 / Omega 6 discussion and it's good to see that his organization is moving in that direction.
I seem to need to stay very low-carb to lose weight, which I'm trying to do right now since I've let my weight creep up a little over the past 15 yrs. I can probably reintroduce some carbs once I get to my goal weight (lost 10 lbs, need to go another 10), and will use Paleo principles when I do.
So if someone said that to me, I'd mention the whole good fats/bad fats concept, and ask exactly what's wrong with eating a salad with a nice helping of grass-fed beef or salmon. I've had that discussion with my doctor, who doesn't quite get low-carb but does know I've lost weight and mostly kept it off.
I was tired of explaining each time, especially to jerks who wouldn't let the subject drop, so took a section out of the Paleo Wiki entry, laminated it, and carry in my wallet. If someone is nice then I verbally explain the lifestyle. If they're being a jackass then they get the card. So far it's worked :)
My answer to anyone who says "oh so basically you're on Atkins/low carb/South Beach etc" is this:
"All those diets are program diets. You follow a pre-established program. Problems with program diets are that they don't account for the fact that no two humans are identical and typically people gain the weight back once they get off the diet. Paleo is about thinking for yourself, doing the research on what you're choosing to put into your body, and listening to how your body responds it. Paleo differs from person to person depending on those individual's needs. Yes, there are themes like no grains and whole, unprocessed foods, but the diet is going to be different because everyone's metabolisms and allergies/sensitivities are different."
for me, the real theme of paleo is research, analyze, apply, evaluate. Thinking for yourself, something more people should do.
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