Ever considered going Paleo?
Well, a recent University of Houston study demonstrated that it would be worth taking the leap and giving the caveman diet a try.
Researchers found that in little as eight weeks, eating Paleo could dramatically reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Paleo And Heart Disease
The study was conducted by University of Houston Laboratory of Integrative Physiology and observed a small group of 8 participants who were given a sample Paleo diet menu, a recipe guide, and some advice on how to incorporate the diet into their everyday lives (1).
They also had no restriction on the amount of food they ate, as long as they strictly avoided grains, dairy, processed foods, sugars legumes, and alcohol.
At the end of the study, every participant experienced a 35 per cent increase in levels of interlukin-10 (IL-10), a molecule that combats inflammation and plays a role in preventing atherosclerosis (2).
Participants also consumed around 22 per cent fewer calories and 44 per cent fewer grams of carbohydrates on the paleo diet than on their usual diet, which lead to significant weight loss in each participants.
As the first major study to show concrete benefits of the diet, the results made a pretty significant point, but more research is needed to confirm these benefits and evaluate the long-term effects of going Paleo.
However, it can be said that the Paleo diet encourages you to eat more fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fat, more vitamins and minerals, and much less saturated fat and sodium than the typical American diet (3).
Since it only evaluated a small population and did not include a control group, future research could fill in blanks to determine if the changes in inflammation biomarkers resulted from specific food choices, reduced calories, fewer carbohydrates or weight loss.
“Very few studies have examined the Paleo diet in seemingly healthy participants, despite the prevalence of this dietary practice in health and fitness enthusiasts,” said study author Chad Dolan.
“This study’s findings add to the possibility that short-term dietary changes from a traditional Western pattern of eating to foods promoted in the Paleo diet may improve health,” Dolan said. “At the very least, the diet does not have negative health implications in terms of the parameters we studied.”
“If our research continues to show that the Paleo diet produces detectable changes in healthy individuals, it will substantiate claims made by those supporting this diet for the past few decades and provide preliminary evidence for another therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease prevention.”