Jeb Bush is 30 pounds lighter thanks to the Paleo diet, but he may find it difficult to maintain his thinner physique, a top nutrition expert tells Newsmax Health.
The low-carb, high-protein eating plan, which is heavy on meat, is one that can be hard to sustain, says Dr. Charles Platkin, a best-selling nutrition author and nationally syndicated columnist.
“There is nothing unhealthy about the diet, although I do question the emphasis on so much meat. And I do question its long-term sustainability,” said Dr. Platkin.
Bush reportedly has lost 30 pounds from his 6-foot-3 frame since starting the Paleo diet in December.
But in the heat of a presidential campaign, the strict eating regimen may become more difficult for him said Dr. Platkin, a professor at the Hunter College School of Urban Public Health and the CUNY School of Public Health in New York City.
“Losing weight is not the most difficult thing about being on a diet,” he said. “The most difficult aspect is what happens after you lose weight.
"If you cannot live on that diet for the rest of your life, no matter what kind it is – whether it’s low-carb diet, portion control, or Weight Watchers – you will end up gradually regaining the weight.”
The Paleo diet, popularized by Loren Cordain’s 2002 book The Paleo Diet, allows virtually unlimited amounts of free-range meat, seafood, and poultry. However, dairy products, legumes (including peanuts), grains, and processed foods are strictly prohibited. Large amounts of non-starchy vegetables and fruits are encouraged.
It is considered more restrictive than other popular low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins and South Beach eating plans, Dr. Platkin noted.
The Paleo diet is based on the notion that the bodies of modern humans are best adapted to the foods our ancestors of the Paleolithic era ate before the advent of agriculture.
“I’m not sure how sound that science is, since cavemen only lived 30-35 years,” said Dr. Platkin.
Since the lifespans of pre-agriculture foragers were so short, they may not have suffered from the so-called modern “diseases of affluence” such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer simply because they didn’t live long enough to develop them.
Other skeptics have noted that there is evidence that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers actually did eat grains and legumes.
In general, though, most aspects of the Paleo diet appear to be healthy, said Dr. Platkin.
“The emphasis on fresh vegetables is good, but I am concerned about meat as its primary protein source, as studies have been mixed about whether saturated fat causes heart disease, or whether there’s some other cause,” he said.
The Paleo diet also “seems like a lot of work,” said Dr. Platkin, noting the plan’s emphasis on locally sourced food and its emphasis on grass-fed meat.
That’s one reason Bush may find it difficult to continue eating “like a caveman.” Another is the pressure of staying on strict diet while in the midst of an intense campaign, being on the road for extended perioids, living out of hotel rooms.
“Stress plays a big role in how we eat, so the first time there’s a drop in the polls, or some other political crisis, it could throw everything off,” said Dr. Platkin.
“When people encounter a stumbling block, they tend to revert to their old eating habits.”
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.