Cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is reduced with the Paleo diet in obese postmenopausal women. Lead author Caroline Blomquist explained, “Eating a Paleolithic-type diet without calorie restriction significantly improved the fatty acid profile associated with insulin sensitivity, and it reduced abdominal adiposity and body weight in obese postmenopausal women. A Paleolithic-type diet, high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, may have long-term beneficial effects on obesity-related disorders, including reduced risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
The researchers conducted a 24-month intervention on 70 obese postmenopausal women. The participants were divided into two groups: paleo diet group or control group. The Paleo diet is based on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats and oils. The diet does not include dairy, cereal, refined fats, or sugar.
After the 24 months, those women in the Paleo diet group had a decrease in their intake of saturated fats by 19 percent, monounsaturated fat intake increased 47 percent, and polyunsaturated fat intake increased 71 percent. The women in the control group did not have any changes in their fat intake.
Blomquist added, “Obesity-related disorders have reached pandemic proportions with significant economic burden on a global scale. It is of vital interest to find effective methods to improve metabolic balance.”
Paleo diet and its benefit for heart health
The Paleo diet mimics the eating style of our cavemen ancestors. This means there is no processed or refined foods, so essentially it is based on the foods which hunters and gatherers would have eaten. The main premise is based on the fact that our ancestors did not suffer from cardiovascular conditions due to positive effects of their diet on heart health. On the other hand, the Paleo diet is open to interpretation, so it’s all about which version you choose.
For example, if your version of the Paleo diet is heavy on the red meat or meat high in saturated fat, then clearly the impact on your heart will be negative. But if you choose lean meat, more fish, and larger portions of vegetables, then the Paleo diet can be beneficial for your heart. It’s all about finding the right balance to ensure you are not getting more of one thing than the other.
Another argument in support of the Paleo diet is that it is about eating clean. This means you are excluding any modified, pesticide-laden, or processed foods from your diet. Such dietary choice has always been recognized as beneficial.
In addition, foods like fruits, vegetables, oils, and nuts can offer a pack of nutrients that have been shown to combat inflammation. You will also feel fuller for longer because of your intake of fats and protein, so you may lose some weight as well. This is beneficial because being overweight has been linked to many health risks such as hypertension and diabetes.
There are pros and cons (and do’s and don’ts) associated with the Paleo diet, so you should speak to your doctor before embarking on a new eating style. Together, you will work out an optimal meal plan that will benefit you most.