The actual Paleo diet has been around for a long time as it is based on early man eating patterns. However, it wasn’t popularized as a health-conscious diet effort until modern times. The original ideas of eating like our cavemen ancestors can be traced back to Walter Voegtlin’s publication of “The Stone Age Diet,” but were really popularized by Loren Cordain as a notable author of several very popular Paleo diet books. Even today, there are many people that are constantly aiming to shoot down the efficacy of the Paleo diet as a whole. Many of these same critics are the ones that vilify fats as being strictly unhealthy. However, these critics are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up their arguments with the abundance of positive evidence supporting studies and research papers that are quickly accumulating.
In this article, we will go over some of the science behind the diet itself and how it can positively impact weight loss goals.
Scientific Evidence Regarding The Paleo Diet:
The Paleo Diet Is More Satiating Per Calorie Than A Mediterranean-like Diet
Those that participated in this diet were already significantly overweight. Subjects either had a severe glucose intolerance or were classified as diabetics. Along with this, each participant had a confirmed diagnosis of heart disease. The purpose was to confirm whether or not the Paleo or Mediterranean-like diet would provide any noticeable benefits to those that needed an immediate change in dietary patterns1.
In this specific diet, the Paleo group was told to stick to consuming high-quality protein in the form of meat, eggs, fish, and nuts. At the same time, they could consume suitable vegetables, fruit, and root vegetables as well.
The subjects sticking to the Mediterranean diet were told to stick to consuming whole grains, fish, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat specific dairy.
Each group reported extremely high satiation from their respective study diets. However, the Paleo group was found to achieve a much greater satiation from their diet due to being able to consume fewer daily calories and utilizing much smaller meals to achieve the same level of fullness as the Mediterranean diet. Specifically, the Paleo dieters only needed 1,400 calories to achieve fullness. Whereas, those that consumed the Mediterranean diet needed a much higher 1,800 calories to achieve the same level. Thus, per calorie, the Paleo diet was found to be much more satiating.
Marked Improvement In Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolism
This happens to be one of the most prolific studies that showcase the true potential of the Paleo diet. In this specific diet, 10 different middle-aged and overweight Australian aborigines were told to focus on eating like hunter and gatherers for 7 seeks. They were told to stick to eating only what they were able to hunt where they lived. The diet that they had adapted to was a diet full of grains, sugar, and processed foods.
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The diet they had throughout the study consisted of various animal food. Throughout the study, they kept their protein intake to around 50 to 80 percent. Whereas, the fat intake ranged from 13 to 40 percent. Their carbohydrate intake ranged from 5 to 33 percent. As a result, 64 percent of their total caloric intake was from animal food.
When the study was concluded after 7 weeks, each subject had averaged 8 kilograms of weight loss. In addition, fasting plasma insulin concentration decreased and the insulin response to glucose increased significantly. So much so that the fasting glucose levels went from diabetic to non-diabetic. At the same time, the fall in triglyceride concentration caused a significant improvement in fasting plasma triglycerides.
Thus, it can be concluded that the metabolic abnormalities of those that suffered from diabetes were either completely normalized or at worst, significantly improved2.
Paleolithic Nutrition Improves Plasma Lipid Concentrations Better Than Traditional Heart Healthy Dietary Recommendations
This is a very big study that has led to the dramatic perceived viability of the Paleo diet. Because the dietary recommendations are supposed to be the absolute highest standard when it comes to those looking to maintain optimal heart health, it is a big thing to produce significantly better results than the official American Heart Association’s own diet.
In this specific study, the subjects were those that suffered from extremely high cholesterol levels. These subjects were told to spend a total of 4 months on the standardized AHA recommended diet. Then, they were told to spend the next 4 months on the Paleo diet. On the AHA diet, the subjects primarily consumed a diet full of whole grains, significantly low levels of saturated fat content, virtually no salt, and a limit of 300 mg of cholesterol every day. Along with this, they were encouraged to consume fatty fish 2 times per week.
Results Of The AHA Diet:
Throughout this portion, subjects were unable to hit any of the desired targets as it related to blood lipid profiles. None of the desired blood lipid profile targets were reached while subjects followed AHA’s diet.
Throughout the Paleo portion, each subject was told to focus on getting high-quality lean protein from animal sources. Along with this, the diet consisted of different vegetables, nuts, and eggs. The subjects were forbidden to consume grains, dairy, and legumes.
Results Of The Paleo Diet:
At the conclusion of the 4 weeks, each blood lipid target improved from total cholesterol, total triglycerides, and bad cholesterol. Along with this, good cholesterol increased. The participants also ended up losing more weight while consuming fewer calories per day without instruction.
As you can see, the research is only getting stronger as it relates to the viability of the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet has proven to not only be viable but to provide optimal nutritional content for many different groups of people. It not only has research backing its heart health claims as discussed above, but there is significant evidence that it is one of the most effective weight loss diets available. Because of the research backing it, you should feel completely safe and confident while on the Paleo diet as it has proven time and time again to be a viable option compared to even the Platinum standard diet for heart health designed by the American Heart Association.
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