Atkins, South Beach, Dukan—now “The Paleo Diet”

For all the meat lovers of the world

Once again, Dr. John McDougall (as he has been doing for years) does a thorough job of reporting on topics affecting our health. In his June newsletter (See link below), he reported on The Paleo Diet. Sometimes known as the “caveman” diet, it features lots of meat and not many carbohydrates. It works like the Atkins Diet in helping people lose weight, but (also like Atkins) is not a practical solution relative to the pursuit of vibrant health. In Dr. McDougall’s article, The Paleo Diet Is Uncivilized (And Unhealthy and Untrue), he leads off:

John McDougall, MD

Low-carbohydrate (low-carb) diets are fueling the destruction of human health and our planet Earth. “Low-carbohydrate” means a diet high in animal foods and low in plant foods. Only plants synthesize carbohydrates (sugars).

The body parts of animals, including red meat, poultry, seafood, and fish, and eggs, contain no carbohydrates. Animal secretions (like mammalian milk) contain sugars synthesized by plants (the cow eats the grass that made the sugar). The original Atkins Diet is the ultimate in low-carb eating. This diet works by starving the human body of carbohydrates in order to induce a state of illness (ketosis), which can result in weight loss. People become too sick to eat too much.

The Paleo Diet (also referred to as the Paleolithic Diet, the Paleodiet, the Caveman Diet, the Stone Age Diet, and the Hunter-Gatherer Diet) is the most recent and popular approach to weight loss, improved health, and longevity, and is accomplished by eating large amounts of animal-derived foods (which are no-carbohydrate, and high-protein and/or high-fat foods). The Paleo Diet consists mainly of meat, poultry, shellfish, fish, and eggs; non-starchy orange, green, and yellow vegetables; and fruits and nuts. This approach forbids starches, including all grains, legumes, and potatoes. To its credit it also excludes dairy products and refined sugars. Salt and processed oils (with the exception of olive oil) are also excluded.

(For Dr. McDougall’s complete article, see link below)

Looking for clarity over confusion, read the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. — Bill Clinton did, and it probably saved his life.

Keeping it simple. Back in 2002, when I first began researching this topic, I read about 100 books during the first year—in my search for the truth. Ultimately, I found the credibility that I was seeking when I discovered the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the collective works of the five pioneering medical doctors (including John McDougall) that are featured in our book.

For a plethora of reasons, the whole foods, plant-based diet simply made total sense to me. And when I discovered that Dr. Esselstyn had successfully used it to reverse heart disease in 100% of his original 17 terminal heart patients at the Cleveland Clinic, I decided that his recommended diet-style was good enough for me.

The debate continues. As you may know, those five doctors in our book don’t agree on everything. They disagree on a few things like vitamin supplements, starch vs. nutrient-density, juicing, fish oil, omega 3, etc. But they all agree on Dr. Campbell’s premise upon which we built our 4Leaf Program:

“The closer we get to consuming a whole foods, plant-based diet, the better off we will be.”

Meat and Unsustainability. A few days ago, a friend told me that he and I (both in our late sixties) were born 50 years too early. He added that someday there will be genetic solutions to ALL of our health problems—meaning that we could continue to eat whatever we wanted. And like the Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, Dukan and all the other meat-eating regimens out there, my friend was not aware of one major issue with our continued consumption of meat—GROSS UNSUSTAINABILITY. It is inevitable that our love affair with meat and dairy will end in the not-too-distant future.

Phillip Wollen—argues in Australia for taking meat off the menu.

My new friend in Australia (Philip Wollen) described it this way. “If everyone in the world ate the western diet (meat and dairy) we’d need to two planet Earths to feed everyone. We only have one—and she is dying.” (See link below to his video)

The Bottom Line. Confusion over clarity will continue to reign for the foreseeable future, but the fact of the matter is that the simple solution to so many of this world’s problems can be boiled down to two words: Whole Plants. 

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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