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Why the Paleo Diet is Ranked Last on ‘Best Diets’ List

Fitness junkies may freak out after reading the U.S. News & World Report that the Paleo Diet is ranked last on their “Best Diets Overall” list for 2014. Each year, U.S. News & World Report asks experts to rank various nutrition plans in an effort to help consumers make informed decisions. This year the panel looked over 32 different popular diet fads.

Paleo Diet is ranked last on “Best Diets Overall” list for 2014

Example of a paleo diet meal.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

To be considered top-rated, a diet has to be relatively easy to follow, safe, effective for weight loss, protective against diabetes and heart disease, and nutritious.First made popular in the 1970s, the Paleo Diet suggests people to follow a diet similar to those who lived during the Paleolithic era, between 2.6 and 10,000 years ago. This means eating similar to hunters and gatherers – consuming only animal protein and produce, while avoiding sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy entirely.

“If the cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either,” U.S. News & World summarized.

The diet has gained a significant following in recent years, especially among the Cross Fit crowd per CNN News. In fact, the term “Paleo Diet” was the most searched diet term on Google in 2013.

While the Paleo Diet is ranked last on the “Best Diets” list this doesn’t necessarily mean Paleo is the worst diet. The U.S. News & World Report’s experts say the Paleo Diet is too restrictive for most people to follow long term, and it limited some essential nutrients. Another ding to the diet? The lack of research proving the Paleo Diet’s cardiovascular health and weight loss benefits.

The Paleo Diet was tied in last past with the Dukan diet, another high-protein, low-carbohydrate approach.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the DASH Diet Eating Plan was named the best overall diet for the fourth year in a row. It claims to be effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney shows, its website states.

About Chelsea Alves

  • inverse137

    There is no such thing as a diet that works. NONE.

    If you start a “diet” you will fail.

    Want to know why diets are so profitable? Because people are dumb.

    There is not a single fad diet that will work… repeat that to yourself.

    Want to lose weight? Eat healthy and excercise. THAT will succeed 100% of the time. And guess what? It will cost less than a “diet” or continuing what you are doing.

    • JRomeo

      Eating healthy and exercising…. hmmm that sounds like the DASH diet.

    • joe3945

      Is that the ‘inverse137′ diet?
      I will tell you that eating healthy and exercising will not lose you weight. I have been about 165 pounds my adult life. I have been running for years. Though you will be able to maintain your weight much better through exercise, you will probably not lose much weight.

      • Tony

        “I will tell you that eating healthy and exercising will not lose you weight.” What?

        Cut out all sugary drinks, don’t eat snacks before bed, and if that still isn’t working try eating less meat.

        • joe3945

          Tony, that is called a ‘diet’. You are restricting your calorie intake. I don’t ever have sugary drinks, and I don’t eat snacks before bed. I am not complaining, but I am not losing weight. ‘Eat less meat’ is the same as ‘eat less’

          • Tony

            Makes sense. Honestly, none of these diets do anything magic. I have a feeling that just by being more aware of what you’re eating you’ll eat less. It’s just a matter of eating less than you burn.

    • Robert Riversong

      “Eat healthy”

      That is a diet.

      • ssejhill

        Less of a diet and more of a lifestyle.

        • Robert Casper

          The diet is a part of the lifestyle.

        • Robert Riversong

          What you eat is your diet. Your lifestyle is everything else.

          • ssejhill

            In some discussions that is the case. But the article here uses the other definition of diet as a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

          • Robert Riversong

            I wasn’t commenting on the article, but on the comment of inverse137, who used the word “diet” in at least three different manners.

          • ssejhill

            hmmm … I re-read his comment. The only definition that I seemed to get out of his comment was as a weight loss-type diet. Oh well.

    • Robert Casper

      I think you are confused about the meaning of the word diet. Please, look up the definition of the word and then come back.

    • flashfast2000

      Wow! You’re totally off the rails. Weight loss diets do work, or I would not have lost 100 lbs using low fat, low carb and low calorie diets in intervals. The reason diets fail is because of lack of will power to stick with the diet. Even ‘Eating healthy and exercising’ is a diet that can fail if you lose the will power to continue.

      Weight loss begins and ends in the head: Will power.

    • Kathleen Marie

      Diets don’t work because they are temporary changes to lose weight. Lifestyle changes do work, because they are permanent changes to nutrition. Many people on the “paleo diet” just say “I’m paleo,” not “I’m on the paleo diet.” The premise behind paleo is it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. And yes, the lifestyle works, I lost nearly 30 pounds after the switch–30 lbs I didn’t even think I needed to lose, but what a pleasant surprise not to have the extra flab kicking around. Alongside that, I have never felt better in my life.
      The paleo diet is also not profitable to any corporation. There is no corporation trying to sell you anything (well there are a few cookbooks), the only companies that benefit are the ones that sell organic produce and grass-fed meat products, and they aren’t the paleo figureheads.

  • Zen Kitteh

    Simply put, nothing healthy is easy. Nothing easy is healthy. I’ve recently been reading a lot about this “Paleo Diet”. From the decades of nutrition research I have done, there probably is something to it. I will be investigating this myself personally. The reason it will never be “top rated” is it does require self control. Everywhere you look there are high carb/high sugar foods and drinks. It is very easy to get anywhere from 300-5000 grams of carbs a day if you have little to no self control. Such high amounts of carbs/sugars will lead to insane spikes in insulin and will eventually lead to diabetes and death. Why do you think people love energy drinks? They scarf down loads of carbs in the morning, get a high, then crash and burn before lunch. They dose up with high carb energy drinks which give then another high and crash around lunch time. They then load up on more carbs for lunch and crash an hour or so later (more energy drinks!) By dinner time they scarf down loads of fat and carbs which together is very bad. When you have too much blood sugar circulating and introduce fat, guess what? That fat will make you fat and you will still have a crash once insulin has evacuated the excess sugar from the blood. Ups and downs. I have been in ketosis in the past (less than 30 grams carbs a day) and my energy levels were amazing. Smooth as butter. The Paleo diet isn’t really about ketosis although mild ketosis plays a part. Seems in the Paleo diet you consume around 50-100 grams of carbs a day (from vegetables and fruits only!) if you want to lose weight. 100-150 to maintain weight. The values vary based on activity level of course.

  • Robert Riversong

    Paleo-archeology has demonstrated that, everywhere in the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to a grain-based diet resulted in stunted growth, more bone lesions indicating infections, considerably more dental carries (cavities), and shorter lifespans.

    But that doesn’t meant that the same hunter-gatherer diet will work for modern, indoor-dwelling, sedentary homo-obesus. However, it does mean that a grain-based carb-heavy diet is unhealthy, and a sugar-heavy diet is fatal.

    • Robert Casper

      There are too many variables to conclude that the health issues you mentioned of grain-consuming cultures are the result of a change in diet. Some very well may have been due to drastic alterations to daily physical activity, changes in social norms, or other lifestyle changes.

      Though I’m not in disagreement that today’s grain/sugar based diet is very unhealthy compared to a meat/vegetable based diet.

      • Robert Riversong

        No there are not. This finding is consistent across cultures and time periods, everywhere in the world when the shift from hunter-gatherer to agriculture occurred, and is even evident among modern hunter-gatherers.

  • Wenchypoo

    Here we go again–they tried this stunt last year, and what ended up being the most search diet? Yep–Paleo.