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Should You Eat Like a Cavewoman to Lose Weight?

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Weight Loss related image Photo: Getty Images

Some experts think that you should eat like a cavewoman because it's better for your health. According to Dr. Loren Cordain, professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State, “It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. “It’s a system of eating that we’ve already adapted to.”

There are other experts who don’t agree. They contend that surely the body can adapt to changes in nutrition. Dr. Marlene Zuk, professor of biology at the University of California-Riverside, said, “We don’t know exactly what early humans ate.

“But, their diet almost certainly included grains at least some of the time and they also ate many different foods depending on where they lived and what time period you’re talking about...the idea that humans haven’t had enough time since the advent of agriculture to evolve adaptations to new foods is false.”

Who’s right? In my opinion, both camps are right to some extent. The Cavewoman or Paleo Diet has been around forever but has gained significant attention over the last decade. Its high concentration of meat (as much as 65 percent of daily calories), fruit, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds are good for your diet.

At the same time, no one can argue that foods such as oatmeal, olive oil, avocados, green tea, brown rice, whole grains and beans are also good for your diet.

Whatever the diet, the same rule applies: you will gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn.

So, what’s a woman to do? I say eat a balanced diet, adjusted for your goals. Your body needs the macronutrients to function properly:

--proteins (20-35 percent of daily calories)
--fats (mainly unsaturated, 10-20 percent) and
--carbohydrates (50-60 percent)

In my opinion, there are elements of the Cavewoman diet that will work well for anyone. Eating protein (meats, seafood, nuts) with every meal is always good. Proteins keep you fuller for longer, helps you eat less and the body has to work harder to digest them. Proteins also help rebuild muscle tissues after a tough weight training workout. And the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are unquestioned.

Add a Comment6 Comments

Yes, I agree that it matters what you eat....its better to eat a 200 calorie green salad than a 200 calorie piece of candy....one is empty calories has a totally different effect on insulin spikes...I will check out the book...thanks!

March 29, 2011 - 12:44pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Mark Dilworth)

here is an interesting blog post regarding insulin, fat, and muscle. http://www.gnolls.org/1794/why-snacking-makes-you-weak-not-just-fat/

March 30, 2011 - 9:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Mark Dilworth)

you hit on insulin which is the key to is all. insulin will store glucose in the blood into fat cells after the muscle cells are full. all carbs turn to glucose in the blood. unfortunately, americans eat way more carbs than their muscle cells need.

another book to read that is a much quicker read is by the same author. "why we get fat and what to do about it" you may discover a competitive advantage or you may not agree. in the end, you will find it worth the time to read.

March 29, 2011 - 1:07pm

Thank you for your comment! If you consistently eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. That is the first law of thermodynamics as it relates to weight gain. There are many reasons why we eat too much: emotional, behavioral or otherwise.

What you eat matters and how much you eat matters as well.

As for whole grains, etc., some of these foods may not agree with a person's body for various reasons (gluten, etc.)....but, generally, these are healthy foods. You will always adjust your meal plan for your individual needs.

March 29, 2011 - 11:46am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Mark Dilworth)

Unfortunately, the multifaceted, multi hormone metabolism of the human body is much more complicated than just the 1st law of thermodynamics. Read the book Good Calories, Bad Calories. It is a tremendous read for someone in your field and will set yourself apart from your competition.

March 29, 2011 - 12:36pm
EmpowHER Guest

to the author:

"no one can argue that foods such as oatmeal, olive oil, avocados, green tea, brown rice, whole grains and beans are also good for your diet."

there are plenty of very smart scientist that make well supported arguments that whole grains, beans, brown rice, and oatmeal are not good for you.

and your calories in/calories out theory is antiquated.

March 29, 2011 - 9:45am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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