'Caveman Diet' growing followers, including NFL

Wed, Mar 24

There are plenty of guys in the NFL who are roughly 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds. But it was the fact that John Welbourn had 8 percent body fat that made the New England Patriots' locker room take notice.

John Welbourn
AP Photo/Steven SenneFormer NFL player John Welbourn loves the 'Caveman Diet'.

"When I was in New England [during the '08 preseason] a bunch of the guys saw the way I ate and asked a lot of questions. So I ended up writing out some diet stuff for them," Welbourn said. "They were pretty interested."

As they should be.

Welbourn, a 10-year NFL veteran, had just introduced them to the Paleo Diet, more popularly referred to as the "Caveman Diet." But don't let the catchy name fool you -- there's plenty of science behind it.

Loren Cordain has been studying evolutionary nutrition for two decades. He is a professor at Colorado State University and the author of two books on the subject. The idea is that for 99.6 percent of our evolutionary history (2.6 million to 10,000 years ago) we ate virtually the same things and therefore our genome is perfectly adapted to those foods: lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

"We've uncovered the diet that humanity evolved with [during the Paleolithic era]," Cordain said. "And that's why it does work because it's consistent with our genes."

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