4

Paleo diet study wins a Centennial teen $2,000

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Devon Smith got her family to eat like cavemen and won $2,000 for it. The Centennial teen, 17, scored the dough via the Young Epidemiology Scholars program for high-schoolers, through which she conducted a study on the health benefits of the Paleo diet.

The diet is based on the notion that the human body is best suited to digest the same diet as our ancestors did, long before processed foods and even before organized cultivation of grains and other crops. It consists primarily of meat, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies.

While the diet doesn't require consumption of raw meat, eating it is a popular component in some isolated circles. It has also gained popularity with endurance athletes. One of its main proponents is Colorado State University Professor Loren Cordain, who wrote The Paleo Diet.

Smith's research, which revealed "overall improved health with decreased weight and normalizing blood levels," earned her recognition as a regional finalist and a shot at up to $50,000 at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

A typical day on the diet, she says, includes cooking "lots of meat" to carry the family throughout the day. Breakfast might be supplemented with eggs and such accompaniments as salsa or guacamole. Lunch is typically a salad with corn tortillas, meat and cheese. Dinner is similar, with the addition of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Smith is quick to distinguish the diet from the high-protein Atkins diet, which prohibits even the carbs contained in fruits and veggies.

While Smith failed to advance to the finals, which concluded Monday, she recommends the competition -- not to mention the diet. She and her family continue to adhere to it, she says, though not militantly. After all, she notes, they have "cheat days," when they indulge in ice cream or gluten-free cookies.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.