Friday, April 20, 2012

Difference between Atkins and Primal

Often, the differences between different low carb eating styles are nuanced and it can be confusing to decide which one to follow.  We don't really follow one particular diet in our house, though we are committed to whole-food based gluten-free eating, and we don't go out of our way to consume low fat food.

Since we consume a fair amount of dairy, it certainly isn't Paleo, though I love to read Paleo sites and often use Paleo recipes.  The differences between Paleo and Primal diets are more subtle.  Atkins, even though it's also low carb, stands out on its own.

Here is a story from Mark Sisson's site that succinctly describes the difference between Atkins and Primal diets:
With Atkins, you don’t fundamentally change your eating habits; you substitute low-carb products for what you normally eat.  Low-carb bread, low-carb ice cream, low-carb snack bars etc, all loaded with fake factory ingredients and sugar alcohols. Over time, you drift back to the real crap and end up back at the beginning.
With Primal, you learn to eat real food and you learn to like real food. You learn why the crap food is crap and you lose your taste for it. You make a real fundamental change and you understand why.
Read the full article here.

That last sentence is telling.  Those of us who have gone over to low carb eating feel this is a change we've made for life.  Now that we understand why it is better for health, there is no reason to ever go back to eating grains and sugars.  We've lost our addiction to them, and care too much about our health to want to eat them any more.   But more importantly, I see this as a conscious shift away from manufactured and processed food, towards ingredients in their original form.

This is why it makes no sense to me when nutritional "authorities" claim that low carb diets are difficult to maintain in the long term, as the Heart and Stroke Foundation claims in its 2004 position paper, which happens to be the only reference on its site to low carb.  Speaking of which, I think it's high time that this organization starts recognizing the mounting compelling research from many respected researchers and scientists who aren't afraid to stand up against Big Food.  After all, Heart & Stroke claims to be committed to the advancement of research in order to eliminate heart disease and stroke.  Or are they more committed to the interests of their corporate sponsors, which include Boston Pizza and Pfizer?

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