The Diet Solution vs The Paleo Diet

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I originally purchased and started on the Diet Solution after a fair amount of research. In fact, I was so impressed with the results after 2 months that I actually became a marketing affiliate for the program, which basically means that I can direct people to Isabel’s company and receive a small commission if someone purchases her program. Not unlike the famous advertising line for Remington Razors – I was so impressed I bought the company” – only in this case I didn’t actually buy the company!

After about 2 months into the Diet Solution (aka DSP), I was running across a lot of research on the Paleo Diet, which is covered a little bit in the DSP as well. I did further research and purchased Rob Wolff’s book, as well as read Loren Cordain’s key reference text on the Paleo Diet. I’ve slowly moved a little further towards the strict Paleo solution, and thought I’d share my view of the two diets here, as I still strongly recommend the DSP program to friends, family, and total strangers.

High Level Thoughts

The Diet Solution shares a number of similarities with the Paleo Diet. In many cases Isabel restricts consumption of items that would be strictly outlawed on the Paleo diet, and she has frequent mentions in her plan to the Paleo plan with guidance that people may be stricter on eliminating specific food types depending on how they feel after consumption.

Isabel has you classify your metabolism based on some basic criteria into 1 of 3 types:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Mixed

I’ve found the guidance for the Protein metabolism type to be the most similar to the Paleo diet in terms of recommended foods, portions, and restriction of grain products. In fact, this is where my metabolism ended up mapping to, and is the variant of the program I have been following.

Percentage of Calorie Intake by Food Type

Protein Carbohydrate Fat
Paleo Diet 19-35% 22-40% 28-47%
Typical US Diet 15% 49% 34%
Diet Solution (DSP)– Protein Type 45% 35% 20%
DSP – Carb Type 20% 70% 10%
DSP – Mixed Type 40% 50% 10%

Data sources: DSP Program Guide, The Paleo Diet, Loren Cordain 2002

The chart above highlights the similarity with respect to protein and carbohydrates – in all 3 metabolism types she increases protein relative to the common diet in the US today. On her diet plan, however, she emphasizes an even higher protein level for 2 of the 3 types, and a dramatically lower fat level than Paleo.

Grains & Other Food Types

The DSP recognizes that grains and associated agricultural products are relatively new to our bodies, and that we have not genetically had time to adapt to them being a mainstay of our current diets. Like the Paleo Diet, the DSP also discusses the major problems inherent in blood glucose and insulin swings associated with high glycemic foods like grains.

While the Paleo Diet does not allow any grain or dairy products at all, the DSP program carves out a few exceptions:

  • Sprouted whole grain bread, which Isabel indicates changes the grains composition to make it much more beneficial as a nutrient source.
  • Corn is allowed [but in moderation]
  • Dairy is allowed [but raw unpasteurized, organic only]
  • Cheese and Yogurt are allowed [w/some caveats]
  • Legumes are allowed [w/some caveats]
  • Potatoes [w/some caveats]
  • Brown rice is allowed
  • Salt is allowed [natural sea salt only – not processed or manufactured]
  • Higher fat meats are allowed in moderation [bacon, etc] vs Paleo where they are on the restricted list

Isabel does discuss the stricter Paleo regimen, and indicates she uses it for some of her clients with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or struggle with ongoing weight management. You can also see influences of her research on that front in many of the restrictions she places on the allowed foods above.

Soy Products

While the Paleo diet lists Soy on its list of “don’t eat” foods, the DSP has an entire chapter discussing why Soy is so bad for you – and to avoid all form of Soy products. After reading the background and marketing campaigns on Soy products, and the biochemical reactions that occur in your body, I’d be shocked if you continued eating Soy [which you shouldn’t!].

Fats – Healthy and Unhealthy

I couldn’t find many differences across the DSP and Paleo diets with respect to fats, other than the differences in recommended ratios shown in the table above. Both programs have excellent explanations and supporting science behind which fats are bad for you, and which fats are good and must be consumed to maintain optimal health.

Calories

The Diet Solution Program has a little more discussion of calories, including the background and misconceptions that are rampant in the media. Isabel also provides information and some tools to help calculate a general target for your calorie intake each day, although she doesn’t advocate any strict calorie counting at each meal or snack.

Food Quality

Both plans contain excellent guidance on organic versus non-organic fruits and vegetables, risks of pesticides, and differences between organic free range meat versus the pen-raised meats commonly available. Again, I found both sources to be almost identical in terms of the information and recommendations for properly selecting the highest quality foods that minimize ingesting toxins.

Meal Planning

This is one topic that I thought was more prevalent in the Diet Solution Program. Specifically, the DSP is organized and optimized to be as easy to follow as possible, even when presenting the scientific justification for specific recommendations.

Furthermore, I found it easier to create each meal quickly, as well as snacks, based on the ability to pick from a selection of choices in each food category for each meal – so I could assemble a meal on the fly and know it was compliant with the diet.

The DSP also has a very rich set of tools both in written form as part of the books you receive, and also online at their members site. And while I’m not typically a forum guy, the user forums on the DSP web site are a valuable resource for many people to discuss elements of the diet and results they are seeing.

Support

Robb Wolf is one of the major proponents of the Paleo Diet [I’ve purchased and read his Paleo Solution Diet, and he was a student of Dr. Loren Cordain who is considered the leading expert on the Paleo diet – I’ve also read his seminal book titled “The Paleo Diet” published in 2002].

Both Isabel and Rob have very rich web sites that provide a ton of support for people implementing each particular diet type. Purchasing or signing up for their programs includes receiving ongoing emails with new recipes, research, and updates on elements of the diet. There are forums available on both sites to discuss the diet and submit questions to be answered.

I didn’t find any significant differences in the level of support provided across both programs – both are excellent and really help you change and maintain your lifestyle and feel like you have ongoing help on your journey.

Paleo Site: www.robbwolf.com

Bottom Line

The bottom line is both diets are HUGELY beneficial, and represent a lifestyle change that will improve your health, naturally help you lose weight and body fat, and dramatically reduce your chances of coming down with common “Western” diseases like heart disease and diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

I started on the Diet Solution Program, and found it very easy to implement. I’ve gradually moved more towards her stricter version of the diet as I’ve gotten more into the Paelo research. I think most people would find the DSP to be easier to implement as it feels more “accessible” in terms of the information presented, and is a little more lenient on some highly desirable foods like dairy and bread/rice.

Depending on your individual desires and health issues you may follow my path onto a more Paleo type lifestyle approach.