Is the Paleolithic diet key to preventing risk of cardiovascular disease?

Is the Palaeolithic diet vital to preventing risk of cardiovascular disease

A study from Umeå University, Sweden, has revealed that a Paleolithic diet can help manage weight loss in the long term, as well as reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

For two years, Caroline Blomquist, doctoral student at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University, followed a group of 70 postmenopausal women with a BMI over 27.

Half of the group were on the Paleolithic diet, while the other half were on a diet based on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, both of which had no specific restrictions on the quantity they were allowed to intake.

Significant improvements

Results from the study found that both groups lost weight, with Paleolithic diet participants dropping on average from 87 to 78 kilos, compared with a drop from 86 to 80 kilos in the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations diet.

One major difference between the two groups was that the women doing the Paleo diet had a significant reduction in unhealthy abdominal fat and evidence of reduced levels of certain types of fatty acids and blood fats, which is important to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Blomquist said: “The results are remarkable. Despite giving the women free reigns to an unlimited intake, the weight loss was stable for two years. A more significant fact than weight loss was the evident improvement in levels of fat in the blood, and signs of reduced inflammation.“

She concluded: “The study shows that the Paleolithic diet with a high proportion of unsaturated fats was healthier for this group of women, even if the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations also had positive health effects.”

What is a Paleolithic diet?

The Paleolithic diet is based on the food that might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, dating back to approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.

It usually includes the following:

• Lean meats;
• Fish;
• Fruits;
• Vegetables; and
• Nuts and seeds

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