Paleo Diet Improves Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms

The Paleolithic or caveman diet is based on consuming berries, nuts, lean grass-fed meats and fish. Proponents of the diet claim that human genes evolved over thousands of years to optimize metabolism from eating these natural foods. Industrialization changed the human diet suddenly to include the consumption of grains and calorie-dense, high fat, processed foods. Food choices also increased dramatically, which promoted overeating and overconsumption of unhealthy foods. Researchers from Bahrain and the Netherlands showed that the Paleolithic (caveman) diet improved symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that include abdominal fat deposition, abnormal blood fats, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Their study was a meta-analysis that combined the results of four well-controlled studies involving 159 people. People consuming the Paleolithic diet showed decreases in waist circumference, blood fats and blood sugar compared to people consuming a normal diet. Critics of the Paleolithic diet point out that the diets of ancient humans varied greatly from one place to another, so that it is unlikely that metabolically linked genes adapted uniformly. (American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 102: 922-932, 2015)

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