When celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Jessica Biel start touting their latest miracle weight loss discovery, obviously we all pay attention. The latest diet they—and others—have been evangelizing? Paleolithic Diet, nicknamed the Paleo Diet.
The diet’s philosophy centers around how our ancestors ate—and ancestors in this case means those living 10,000 years ago. The diet is focused on avoiding refined foods, trans fat, dairy, and sugar, and instead encourages eating lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocados. The diet has been touted as helping to improve blood lipids, weight loss , and reduced pain from autoimmunity. Some even believe it staves off degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and infertility.
You’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, pass the beef,” but a new study purports that the diet is actually bad for you. Really bad for you. Medical journal Cell Metabolism followed more than 6,000 adults above the age of 50 for 18 years. Some people were on an animal-protein rich diet like Paleo or Atkins and some were not. Those on an animal-protein heavy diet didn’t do so well, and were 74 percent more likely to die earlier than those who were eating a low-protein diet.
“We provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet, particularly if the proteins are derived from animals, is nearly as bad as smoking,” Dr. Valter D. Longo, the lead author of the study said.
One word comes to mind—yikes! The findings do suggest that it isn’t the lack of refined foods that’s the problem, per se, but rather eating too much meat. It’s not so terrible to follow the diet’s general precepts, but instead of reaching for red meat at every meal, opt for fresh veggies and fish.