There are literally thousands of theories about what we should eat for a longer, healthier life. But you know what diet theories you never hear?

  • The Processed Food Diet.
  • The Sugary Drink Diet.
  • The Twinkie and Oreo Diet.

There is a lot we don’t know about nutrition, but there are some simple things we do know.

We know:

  • that diets rich in plants are good for us.
  • that manufactured foods are poison.

If you adhere to just those two concepts when you eat, you will generally eat healthy.

We also know that excessive inflammation is the precursor to disease. If you suffer from health issues, eating a low-inflammatory diet is especially important for you.It helps your immune system heal your body.

What constitutes a low-inflammatory diet?

Eating a diet of unprocessed foods that are low in added sugar and artificial, manufactured substances. A clean diet with a good balance of protein and vegetables is what we strive for with most of our patients. It speeds the healing process.

That is why I’m a fan of the Paleo Diet.

The overarching theme of the paleo diet advocates for fruits, vegetables and nuts, and abhors processed foods. Proponents of the Paleo believe we shouldn’t eat anything our distant ancestors couldn’t hunt or gather. No dairy, legumes, grains or starches. Meat raised as naturally as possible. And definitely no processed food.

Here are reasons to consider the Paleo diet:

  1. It’s all natural. All the processed chemicals we know for sure are toxic to our bodies are forbidden on the Paleo diet. No, manufactured chemicals, candy, donuts or sodas. Just making that change alone would significantly reduce disease and obesity in America.
  1. It all but eradicates refined sugar. Sugar that comes naturally from fruits is necessary for life. Too much sugar gets stored in our bodies as fat and helps promote disease. It may also be the most addictive substance on Earth. Reducing sugar means your body must burn fat for fuel, which keeps us at a healthy weight.
  1. It promotes fruits, vegetables and nuts. Vegetables particularly are packed with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Being so nutrient dense while light on calories, they fill us up without making us fat.
  1. It is naturally low on carbs. We need carbohydrates or complex sugars. They comprise fiber, for example, which helps with digestion. We don’t need as many carbs as most Americans consume and which get stored in our bodies as fat. Refined carbs have a high glycemic content and cause inflammation in our bodies. Refined carbs include sugars, white bread and rice.
  1. It eliminates dairy. Dairy isn’t all bad. It’s full of good things for our bodies, which is why we feed our babies milk. But our bodies were not designed to process milk after age 5 or 6, leading to a shockingly high incidence of lactose intolerance — estimated at two-thirds of human adults. And dairy – milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream – causes inflammation in our bodies.
  1. It promotes the right kind of meat consumption. Our ancient progenitors hunted and ate animals that lived in their natural habitat and ate the foods they were meant to eat. Today, in order to reduce farming costs, we feed grain to cattle and fowl, and we stuff them with antibiotics. The Paleo Diet recommends grass-fed cattle and ocean-raised fish.

Critics of the Paleo Diet have decried its dependence on meat for protein, its opposition to grains and legumes, and its extremism. Certainly if you’re in search of the perfect diet, you should consider these arguments.

Still, compared to what most Americans consume, the Paleo Diet is a vastly superior choice. We would see many fewer chronic conditions if large numbers of people were to adopt a diet like this.