The Paleolithic (or caveman) diet was first introduced to modern society in the mid-1970s. The Atkins diet shares some of the “paleo” principles, as does the ultra-low-carb approach. Unfortunately, those diets can be so restrictive that they’re unsustainable. It’s common for a dieter to rebound to an even heavier weight than he started with after an onerous induction phase. In response, athlete, author, and wellness expert Mark Sisson has created a “kinder, gentler” program with the Primal Blueprint that allows for some dairy, alcohol, and even chocolate, but the prevailing wisdom behind it is that the human gut has not evolved enough to benefit from much of the standard American diet.
“Grains have been part of the human diet only for 10,000 years, and our current reliance on them is deleterious. When you eat them—along with processed foods and sugars—you turn on genetic switches that control hormone secretion and in turn signal your body to increase inflammation, stockpile fat, and rely mostly on glycogen for fuel,” Sisson says. “You can become a muscle-building, fat-burning beast just like our ancestors by teaching your body to burn stored fat instead of sugar.” How do you do that? “Start by getting rid of the grains,” he says.
The Primal Blueprint–based diet encourages eating as much as you want of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, and vegetables. There are no recommended eating intervals, portions, macronutrient ratios, or caloric intakes.