What is the Epi-Paleo protocol    

This is a special ketodiet that helps with obesity, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s syndromes, depression – in other words, a host of pathologies that are affiliated with leptin. It even makes sense to use it for tumors. The food ration diet is based on an epipaleo-RX protocol, tweaked to exclude some foods by Jack Cruz, an American neurosurgeon. This is what our article is about.


  1. For which pathologies the protocol is recommended.
  2. General principles.
  3. Essentials of the protocol.
  4. What to eat with the Epi-Paleo protocol.
  5. What to exclude from the protocol.
  6. How to know if everything is right.
  7. Whether you can and should stick to Epi-Paleo for life.

For which pathologies the protocol is recommended

The goal of the diet is leptin and insulin resistance. If you see excess belly fat in your reflection in the mirror, this is a sign of leptin resistance. This is also confirmed by the constant feeling of hunger when you are already full, as well as the lack of weight loss results with physical activity: the weight increases even when you reduce calories to a minimum. Diagnose leptin resistance on the basis of complaints and blood tests, in which leptin is more than 10 ng/ml. However, according to the symptomatology, resistance can be safely diagnosed even against the background of normal leptin in the blood.

Cruz’s epi- paleo protocol is primarily for people with low leptin sensitivity. Prolonged leptin resistance provokes insulin resistance, so if you have both, the protocol is right for you. Epi-Paleo is also recommended as part of a complex therapy for correction:

Thyroid disorders (patients with poor sensitivity to leptin have a priori thyroid problems);
Eating disorders, which are almost always associated with impaired leptin function;
Adrenal gland malfunction.

Please note that the Cruz protocol is not suitable for people with impaired neural connections between the vagus nerve and the food tube due to vagotomy or gastric bypass. In addition, the protocol is not suitable for those who are forced to observe strict keto. In the summer, epi- paleo allows a lot of fruit, which can raise blood sugar and insulin.

General principles

Dr. Cruz’s protocol involves:

  1. Eating according to the season and adapted to local conditions. The basis of this version of the leptin diet is breakfast, which should be eaten no later than 20 minutes after waking up. It must be predominantly protein.
  2. Long fasts should be avoided.
  3. It is very important to consider circadian rhythms and go to bed before 11 p.m., or even better – earlier.
  4. Physical activity after 5 p.m. and cold procedures are discouraged.

Essentials of the protocol

In this case, the protocol becomes an instruction manual for lifestyle changes that will help the hormones get back on track. Restoration of sensitivity to leptin takes time and it is individual, depending on the strength of the metabolic disturbance and the patient’s ability to follow the recommendations. According to Kruse, it is about two months, but the first results are evident after one month.

What to eat with the Epi-Paleo protocol

Metabolism correlates the execution of the protocol. Patients with obesity or asthenia need different amounts of nutrients, as do those with inflammatory problems (altered C-reactive protein sensitivity) need a stricter diet. The key to Dr. Cruz’s protocol is the schedule. Meal and sleep times should not be compromised. That’s 50% of success. What needs to be done? It’s simple:

It is necessary to eliminate snacks and switch to three meals a day. With severe obesity – 4 times is acceptable, but you should aim for 3. You can eat twice a day, if hunger is not felt. Magnesium will help suppress hunger: any form will do, except oxide. Start with 400 mg.

Half an hour after awakening, it is necessary to eat a breakfast that contains at least 50 g of protein. The exact figure is individual and can reach up to 75 g depending on the intensity of hunger. But you should not eat less than 50 g, even if you do not want to, it is important. If at first you cannot eat so much protein, compensate for the missing grams with fat or carbohydrates. But if carbohydrates are involved, they should be consumed at breakfast as much as possible.

Why do you need so much protein? It sends a signal to the food tube incretins and activates the peptide tyrosine, which sends a signal to the hypothalamus that the patient is satiated with quality protein food and no more food is needed. The feeling of hunger is suppressed and there is no craving for carbohydrates, as neuropeptide Y gets to work.

The same signal helps minimize morning cortisol and creates conditions for the liver to spend the accumulated reserves when necessary, instead of storing them in reserve. As a result, one wants to eat less, and it all depends on the amount of protein the patient ate for breakfast.

It is customary to eat dinner no later than 4 hours before bedtime, which is the time it takes for leptin to reach the brain and inform it of the energy reserves in the body. At the same time, the growth hormone is released into the bloodstream, which triggers the burning of fat during sleep. Eat a minimum of carbohydrates for dinner, so that insulin does not rise and neuropeptide Y is not activated.

The correlation is direct: the more carbohydrates eaten, the higher the level of neuropeptide, which blocks the synthesis of leptin and its effect on the brain, liver and muscles through interleukins. In addition, carbohydrates activate insulin itself, which can suppress the ability of leptin to be transported to the brain.

Aerobic exercise should also be excluded. With minimal sensitivity to leptin, the liver uses glycogen stores in response not to physical effort, but to a simple lack of oxygen and temperature changes. In other words, leptin resistance blocks rational energy expenditure. In such a case, aerobic exercise sends an SOS signal to the mitochondria of the cells, and instead of forming a new cell energy station or recycling the old one in the process of mitophagy, the body turns on apoptosis and gets a new stem cell, shortening our life span.

Therefore, glycolytic exercise should be eliminated until the brain and muscles regain sensitivity to leptin. You can swim, walk, and have sex – that’s enough. The release of oxytocin in this case will accelerate the transformation of serotonin into melatonin and help you sleep better. For patients who are underweight according to the Cruz protocol, exercise is indicated and best of all, strength training. They minimize mitochondrial expenditure and stimulate growth hormone release.

What is eaten according to the epi- paleo protocol

Jack Cruise believes that you should eat to your heart’s content, not guided by calories. The norm is paleo portions: 20 percent of daily calories are carbohydrates, 65 percent are fat, and 15 percent are protein. Everyone adapts these numbers to his or her taste. For example, if you are pregnant or after surgery, in old age you need to watch out for proteins and keep them at 1.3-1.5 g per kg of weight. If you are actively engaged in sports, you can allow 2 g. For all others, the benchmark is at least 0.8.

The amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is correlated with the season: in winter, the protocol is ketogenic, that is, the amount of carbohydrates maximum is 50 g per day. In summer, it is up to 100 g. Protein and fats must be of high quality, so Dr. Cruz recommends adding meat and seafood-based broths, fermented vegetables and probiotics to your diet.


The protocol involves a year-round emphasis on seafood, especially oysters and fish. They nourish the brain and heal the intestines. Next in quality are meat and eggs, seeds and nuts. Monounsaturated oils (olive, avocado) are added to seafood, saturated oils (butter, animal fats) are added to meat and other foods.  Seafood is the mainstay of the diet, but if it is not available, you need to stick to a schedule and get protein from available quality sources. It is very important to exclude any poultry except duck.


They are good in winter. You can leave in your diet only animal fats that are present all year round: ghee, butter, lard, duck fat and animal fat. Lard and bacon will do. In spring and summer, vegetable oils are used: coconut oil and palm oil. Avocado olive and macadamia oil are acceptable. Especially important are saturated lipids when there is no seafood. That is, greens are combined with olive, for example.


For obesity, Dr. Cruz recommends no more than 25 grams of carbohydrates. If the excess weight does not exceed 15 kg, the emphasis is on protein. If underweight – more carbohydrates, up to 159 g of seasonal vegetables and fruits. Use any root vegetables, exclude tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants, peppers. Much attention is paid to algae on the epipaleo, especially if there is no sea protein. Fruits and berries must be seasonal and of course, in moderation (sugar!). If berries from the bush ran out according to the calendar, frozen – not necessary.

All carbohydrates add natural lipids: fresh vegetable salads – with olive or other vegetable oil, berries – with cream. Blueberries and strawberries contain toxins of nightshades, that is why they are not used, if a patient has been diagnosed with chronic inflammatory processes. It is easier to avoid them.

Why are carbohydrates scarce? They activate a neuropeptide and trigger a chain of signals that interfere with the normal transport of leptin to the hypothalamus, provoking feelings of hunger, a desire for rapid satiety. They also cause the release of insulin, which activates the cumulation of energy. In its presence, the mechanism for processing these stores in the liver does not function. And the night release of insulin (eating before going to bed) – does not allow to activate leptin, which should burn fat in sleep. That’s the extra pounds.

What to exclude from the protocol

There are not many undesirable foods. They are:

  • all grains and cereals, including gluten-containing ones;
  • dairy products, with the exception of goat’s milk;
  • nightshades, under the condition of chronic inflammation in the body or vitamin D deficiency: osteoarthritis,
  • osteoarthritis, osteochondrosis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune pathologies. Exclude additionally: blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, okra, which partially contain nightshade toxins;
  • all fruits out of season;
  • poultry meat, excluding duck meat;
  • legumes, including peanuts;
  • all foods containing saponins: chia, soybeans, yucca, garlic, asparagus;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • all sweeteners except stevia.

How to know if everything is right

The first results of following the protocol should be expected after one month. These are:

  • the patient becomes less tired;
  • cravings for sweets disappear;
  • hunger becomes manageable;
  • the person gets enough sleep and wakes up refreshed;
  • men lose weight; women lose a slim waistline.

If all this is there, the path is chosen correctly. After a couple of weeks, such leptin-resistant patients can be turned on to strength training up to three times a week. But remember, even small deviations from the protocol negate all efforts: an extra glass of wine or an out-of-season fruit can shift progress by a week or more. And without proper sleep times and a system in eating, leptin sensitivity doesn’t move at all.

Whether you can and should stick to Epi-Paleo for life

No. Only until the problem of leptin resistance is solved. If the stomach, unbearable feeling of hunger disappeared, the feeling of satiety returned after a meal, after a while you can include all the products removed from the diet one by one. It is important to assess the body’s reaction to them. Gradually you can come to the usual keto or paleo diet.

Recommended Articles