SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - A growing number of scientists, medical doctors and nutritionists have argued that a Stone Age lifestyle could benefit human health and even cure chronic diseases.
The concept behind the Paleo or Primal diet movement is that our DNA, our genetics, have changed little since Paleolithic era or Stone Age. That means our bodies would work better and with greater efficiency if we ate, exercised and socialized like our prehistoric ancestors.
CBS 5 HealthWatch: Caveman Diet Trend Series
Two years ago, the 37-year-old Tara Grant suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, and weighed more than 250 pounds.
All that changed after Grant joined what scientists call the Paleo trend. Now she eats lean meats, fish, plants, eggs, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. She also exercises like a caveman, incorporating an intense, cross-fit routine that she does twice a week that lasts for just 20 minutes.
Grant's workouts don't involve machines or treadmills, but rather involve what Fitness Guru Chris Lalanne calls "Primal body movements." These exercises are basic pushing, pulling and squatting motions that work the body's major muscle groups.
"I have never felt this good in my life. I weigh less than I did in high school," Tara exclaimed.
University of California at San Francisco researchers are showing how a modern-day Paleo diet works just as well as statin drugs when it comes to dropping cholesterol levels.
CBS 5 medical reporter Dr. Kim Mulvihill was so intrigued by the UCSF research that she became a guinea pig for the scientists.
She was told that she could not lose any weight and was given a Paleo plan to follow.
Within 10 days, her cholesterol dropped dramatically, as did her blood pressure.
She then asked if she could lose weight, and modified the diet to eat less. Dr. Mulvihill then shed 30 pounds and two dress sizes.
Dr. Mulvihill said she never felt deprived and never felt healthier.
"Live Like a Caveman" is a 5-part series, beginning Monday October 10th, only on CBS 5 Eyewitness News.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.