The articles above illustrate something I try to get clients to understand every day. While they are busy concerning themselves with how many calories they consume and trying to burn as many as possible, something I tell them not to do, they ignore the fact that what they choose to eat is actually changing their operating system. The reason I recommend a paleo diet is that the paleo diet actually repairs this operating system. It's not only the software our systems have run on forever, it's the software our systems are optimized for.
When you choose to follow the diet for a couple of days and then go off the rails and eat something you shouldn't, you undo a significant amount of the progress you made because you begin to re-feed the bacteria you have been trying to do away with for the last couple of days. Think of it as sending supplies to the enemies you are at war with, why would you do that? Obviously if you are further along on the diet and have re-established your operating system you have a lot more leeway than someone who has been on the diet for a little while.
One of the hardest things to do is to get someone to change their diet. I can't tell you how many clients who I've told to eliminate grains, legumes, and dairy who tell me they have done just that only to find out they are eating greek yogurt and granola for breakfast. Granola has grain in the first 4 letters and who doesn't understand yogurt is dairy? It's not that they are stupid people, it's that in a metabolically deranged individual they will always look for workarounds, it's what their body tells them to do. Given the multiple body systems, and non-body systems in the instance of gut bugs, involved in driving them towards what they eventually end up eating, stupid isn't the proper term. I prefer the term hardwired for failure, and until they fix this issue that's what they'll continue to be. While they may be able to lose a little weight here and there and maintain it for a few months, they will always go back to the status quo because they never fix the problem. Eating the way a standard American eats changes the operating system, changes appetite, and drives people to make poor food choices. It is also one of the primary drivers of the obesity and heart disease epidemics.