Paleo Diet Benefits: Is It Worth the Switch?

| 10/1/2013 12:31:00 PM

paleo dietThe latest research reveals some intriguing facts - dining on caveman cuisine can be a way to lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure, improve your blood sugar control, and help you feel fuller and less hungry despite consuming fewer calories. Recent studies out of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and Lund University in Sweden have uncovered these and more Paleo diet benefits.  This small but growing body of research certainly begs a question for each of us – is it worth it for me to switch to a Paleo type diet?

What Is the Paleo Diet?

Also referred to as the caveman, Stone Age, and hunter–gatherer diet, the Paleo diet consists of foods that are assumed to have been available to humans before agriculture was established. The focus is on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, while all grains and dairy are excluded. Paleolithic diets are assumed to have included wild animals and uncultivated plants. Lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, roots, eggs, and nuts were commonly consumed. But no grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils were available before humans began to cultivate plants (primarily cereal grains) and domesticate animals.

Study shows Paleo diet Reduces Weight and Waist Size While Improving Blood Sugar and Satiety

Paleo diet experts include Dr. Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD, of the University of Lund’s Department of Medicine. His interest in the evolutionary aspects of healthy eating prompted Dr. Lindeberg and his research group to publish the first randomized controlled trials of Paleo diets in humans. In one of their recent studies, the Lund University researchers found that, calorie-for-calorie, the Paleo diet improves satiety more than a Mediterranean-like diet.[1] In this study, 29 men with too much belly fat, heart disease, and either pre-diabetes or diabetes were assigned to either 12 weeks of a Paleolithic diet or a Mediterranean-like diet. The Paleolithic diet was based on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, root vegetables, eggs and nuts while the Mediterranean-like diet was based on whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, fruit and vegetables. The main differences between the diets were less grains and dairy and more fruit and nuts in the Paleo group. Both groups were allowed to eat as much as they wanted of the allowed foods.

After 12 weeks, the two groups lost a similar amount of weight (an average of 11 pounds in the Paleo group and eight pounds in the Mediterranean group). However, the Paleo group lost more inches around the waist and experienced greater improvements in blood sugar control. Those in the Paleo group also ended up consuming fewer calories per day, despite being allowed to eat as much as they wanted within the guidelines of the diet. They were just as satiated as the Mediterranean group, but since they consumed fewer calories per day, the researchers concluded that the Paleo diet improves satiety more per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet.

10/4/2013 10:40:10 PM

I am currently on the Paleo diet because I've read that it aids people who have immune system conditions. I've only been on it for a few weeks but I've noticed an improvement in pain, as well as weight loss. Eating Paleo is interesting for homesteaders because most of us are already interested in growing our own produce and possibly raising our own meat. Not that you have to with Paleo, but it might be more cost effective in some ways. Many homesteaders have a keen interest in where and how our food comes to our table. Paleo stresses many of the same principles.

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