This 1-Month Project is Testing the Paleo Diet against Other Popular Diets

January 1, 2014

11:00 am

Starting today, San Francisco startup Lift is kicking off a one-month trial of 10 popular diets, including paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian.

The Quantified Diet Project is looking for 1 million people to participate. To start, you simply sign up here, pick your diet, or have one randomly assigned to you (for the sake of science):

  • “Paleo: eat like a caveman, mostly veggies, meats, nuts. Advised by Paleohacks and Nerd Fitness.
  • Slow-Carb: lean meat, beans, and veggies; abstain from white foods like sugar, pasta, bread, cheese. Based on Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Body.
  • Vegetarian: vegetables, but no meat. Cheese and eggs are optional. Advised by No Meat Athlete
  • Whole foods: eat only recognizable foods and avoid processed ones. Advised by Summer Tomato.
  • Gluten-free: no wheat, rye, barley or wheat-based foods.
  • No sweets: a simple diet change that affects your insulin swings.
  • DASH: USDA’s current recomendation.
  • Calorie counting: the old standard.
  • Sleep more: the science says this should work. Advised by: Swan Sleep Solutions.
  • Mindful eating: learn mindfulness to recognize when you’re full. Advised by ZenHabits and the Center for Mindful Eating.”

For the next four weeks, participants will get coaching in what Lift calls the “largest randomized trial of popular diet.” Each diet will come with a plan, like this 28-day paleo diet plan. Participants will fill out surveys, use Lift’s habit-tracking app to see how they’re doing, and be eligible to win prizes.

With advice from researchers at UC Berkeley and Stanford, Lift is hoping to learn more about which diets are easiest to stick to, how they influence weight and mood, and tips for staying on track, explains cofounder Tony Stubblebine. (He was randomly assigned Slow-Carb.)

“Let’s challenge the diet industry’s fuzzy claims about what diets actually work. You’ll get healthier, plus you’ll help pioneer a new way to do science research on a large scale that hasn’t been possible before.”


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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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