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Paleolithic Diet - Things That You Should Know (II)

Ian Chan, HK BioTek Nutritionist

Ian Chan, HK BioTek Nutritionist

Scientific Evidence Shows You the Benefits on Metabolic Syndromes

While people are still talking about the potential advantages and disadvantages of following a Paleo diet, one study was conducted and has been published since 2015, in determining the impacts of Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome.

In that systematic review of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers evaluated whether a Paleo diet reduces the risk in getting metabolic syndrome by monitoring the changes on five main risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar which, are often considered as the causes in leading to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Significant improvements have been found in waist circumference, blood pressure and triglyceride level:

Summary: The Pros-and-Cons List for Paleolithic Diet

The Pros

  1. Identical improvements in regulating waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides level. Overconsumption of processed and/or high GI foods and cereals will overload the metabolic machinery with carbohydrates, yielding hyperglycemia and other metabolic anomalies, and inadequate carbohydrate and fat intakes may induce chronic inflammations as well. However, the principle of Paleolithic nutrition may contribute positive effects on health as this diet is exclusively comprising non-processed foods, and therefore the risks of getting metabolic syndrome can be eliminated.

  2. Alternative diet for people who with Celiac disease (CD) or gluten allergy. Grains including wheat, rye, barley, as well as spelt are also prohibited in the Paleo diet. This diet is completely gluten-free! In addition to reduce risks in getting metabolic syndromes, this primal diet could be an alternative dietary pattern for those CD and gluten sufferers.

  3. Guaranteed vitamins and minerals intake. This diet focuses on the quality of nutrients, those paleo-approved foods are commonly contained multiple vitamins and minerals. Looking into the types and amounts of micronutrients in a Paleo meal, you may find out the reason why some people would consider this diet healthy as the intakes of vitamins and minerals are guaranteed.

The Cons

  1. Expensive cost for Paleo foods. Since the diet has narrowed down the individual's food options plus increased demands on high quality foodstuffs, food cost will probably be a problem or concern in long term.

  2. Potential cause of Calcium deficiency. In that systematic review study, researchers have mentioned about the low-salt, high-protein, and alkalizing properties of the Paleo diet may contribute to a healthy calcium balance. However, the Paleolithic diet itself has also restricted some of the most common calcium food sources such as cow's milk, tofu, soy milk and etc. Calcium deficiency may be resulted due to inadequate leafy greens, seeds, and nuts intakes.

  3. Unlike vegetarian diet, the Paleo is indeed not recognised as an accredited alternative diet. Excessive energy intake may potentially be happened as the result of limited estimation on energy consumption. “Any diet excluding whole food groups should raise suspicious. The idea of cutting out grain-based foods and legumes is not backed by science and eating more meat than is needed by the body certainly has risks, according to the World Health Organisation.” Claire Hewat said – the chief executive of the Dietitian Association of Australia.

Source: Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015.

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