My dad just blood results back earlier this week and was basically told by his doctor that he has metabolic syndrome. Blood glucose was high (pre-diabetic levels), triglycerides were high (in the 210's), total cholesterol was high, as was LDL. He has the pretty typical male fat distribution, mostly all in the belly. Could probably lose at least a good 20 pounds. He eats pretty SAD to a tee. Would going classic paleo be the best idea? How low carb should he go? Anything specifically he should or shouldn't do?
That was me three years ago. Low-carb Paleo helped me drop 40 pounds and reverse all the markers of metabolic syndrome. In fact, my lipid panel, blood pressure, and blood sugar are all the best they've ever been measured. No drug can do that.
Give your dad all the support you can and help keep him motivated. Teach him to associate SAD foods with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Do it now before irreversible disease sets in.
Have him read Mark's Daily Apple for the Friday success stories because they are so inspiring, proof that the SAD body can be turned around. For example:
It would sound like a good idea to me, and I wouldn't think he needs to go particularly low-carb. Specifically I'd suggest he should take the time to try paleo and adopt an approach he's comfortable with and able to stick to, and that he shouldn't stress at all about the minor details.
Especially since he is pre-diabetic, he should shoot for around 50 grams carbs a day at first (easy by sticking to veggies for the carb source), for a week or so, to get the body adapted to fat-burning and jump start weight loss. He could benefit from a few days of VLC (20-30gr) though I wouldn't recommend that long-term. Then he can gradually increase carbs until about 100 gr and see how he feels.
This is just general guidance, however, he doesn't really need to stress about mathematically precise macronutrient ratios.The focus should be on eliminating sugar (ALL sugar! that includes honey/maple syrup/agave etc), grains, alcohol (no cheating), legumes & starches (he can add 'safe' starches such as squashes, parsnips, even sweet potatoes later when he gets leaner, and adjust to tolerance) and eating unprocessed foods. Since he has high LDL he should really focus on avoiding too much PUFA - vegetable oils in particular - only virgin expeller-pressed Olive oil is fine, and don't cook with it. I'd also recommend eating coconut oil, since MCFAs are particularly beneficial for the metabolism.
For someone who hasn't decided to do this on their own, I think you want to get their buy-in by making it easy on them and hope they'll stick with it long enough to start feeling better and seeing results.
So if it were my dad, I'd avoid inducing low-carb flu! That said, I like the idea of lowering carbs initially. I'd skip the whole number of grams thing tho ... I'd suggest limiting safe starches to 1/2 to 1 c or so per meal (more if he's very active). And I'd also make sure the meals had some good bulk to them (lots of non-starchy veggies) and some healthy fats to support satiety.
I'd encourage him to try and stay off SAD foods for a good while (at least 2-3 weeks) to give the diet a fair try. Then after that, feel him out. If he's enthused, great! If not, then perhaps you can encourage him to do the Tim Ferris version of paleo ... 6 days avoiding wheat, sugar, and veggie oils, and 1 day to have a beer with the guys or pizza watching the game (or whatever).