Why you should channel your inner "caveman"

Q: You write a lot about the Paleo Diet, but isn't it the same thing as the Atkins Diet, just with a different name?

GR: Dr. Robert Atkins is best remembered for setting the health industry on its ear with his revolutionary "Atkins Diet."

And when he introduced his new eating philosophy -- when he fought back against the anti-fat mainstream and declared that carbs were the real health enemy -- Dr. Atkins understood that a protein-rich diet that avoided health-destroying added sugars could help the people he treated lose weight, improve their heart health, control their blood sugar, and even sharpen their brains.

I regularly "prescribe" a low-carbohydrate diet to my patients, and hardly a day goes by that I don't see the dramatic results of a patient heeding my advice... cutting out the bread... and slashing the "white carbs."

But it's not just the weight loss that's making the difference. Adopting a low-carb way of living has another huge side benefit... and it's one that I believe even Dr. Atkins didn't anticipate.

Going low carb can reveal your undiagnosed gluten sensitivity -- and can effectively eliminate a huge variety of troubling symptoms.

When people stopped eating wheat, barley, and rye, they suddenly felt better than they had in years!

And that's an incredible legacy for Dr. Atkins, whose pioneering work laid the foundations for the sea change.

But there was a next logical step to take in low-carb eating, and that's The Paleo Diet.

Paleo, sometimes called the "Caveman Diet," is based on the way our prehistoric ancestors ate. Like Atkins, the diet is naturally low in both carbs and gluten, but it consists mostly of delicious FRESH foods including meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and healthy oils.

You won't find any "snack bars" or frozen meals that are truly Paleo. Early man had no access to microwaves!

Atkins also allows some dairy, though Paleo suggests you should avoid it, since cavemen never milked cows, either.

Atkins also restricts nuts and seeds -- at the beginning -- but those are definitely snacks that our hunter-gatherer predecessors would've had access to!

I also find Paleo just easier to follow. There are no phases to keep track of... no complicated rules to follow... and no counting of carbs. Just lots of delicious, fresh food that will keep you feeling satisfied!

Send your health questions to me at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com. Every week I choose one from my inbox to answer!