Paleo Diet

ZThe term Paleo diet stands for a diet that was prevalent in Paleolithic times, the Paleolithic period. Therefore, the Paleo diet is also referred to as the Stone Age diet.

Supporters of the Paleo diet are of the opinion that the diet at that time still has a positive effect on humans today due to evolution, since the genes of mankind have remained unchanged for millennia. The Paleo diet is based on the foods supposedly available in the Stone Age: meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.Other foods such as cereals, legumes, sugar or milk and dairy products, on the other hand, are completely dispensed with. Procedure of a Paleo diet

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to carrying out a paleo diet. The most important rule for all variants of the paleo diet is:

Everything that our ancestors could hunt, gather, pick and fish thousands of years ago is allowed.

Foods “allowed” in the Paleo diet:Vegetables, fruit (especially berries), nuts and seeds, meat, fish, poultry and eggsFor sweetening, honey and maple syrup are used.”Healthy” fats include ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia, walnut and sesame oil, palm oil as well as bacon, lard and coconut oil.Potatoes and rice are allowed restricted. However, they are rare and can only be consumed in small portions. Those who want to lose weight should do without it completely because of the carbohydrates they contain.

In the Paleo diet, ” forbidden” foods: Sugar, sugar substitutes and sweeteners, agave syrup, sweetsSoft drinks, alcohol, coffeeCereals and cereal products such as pastries, cakes, pasta, couscous and bulgur, especially white flour (in some versions of the Paleo diet, whole grains are allowed in moderation)Legumes (including peanuts and soy products)Milk and dairy products such as yogurts, cream, cottage cheese, cheeserefined vegetable oils and fatsAdditivesindustrially processed foods such as sausages and meat productsThe Paleo diet an overview of the scientific nutrition study situation

The effect of the paleo diet is discussed in connection with a positive influence on body weight, insulin metabolism, lipid metabolism and mortality. The Paleo diet aims to increase human mental and physical performance, improve well-being and prevent disease. Stone Age nutrition is also used in the treatment of various metabolic and autoimmune diseases (Stroehle et al. 2016). However, there are only a few long-term clinical studies in humans.

In a long-term study over two years, the relationship between a paleo diet and body weight was investigated. For this purpose, 70 overweight women (average age almost 60 years, BMI27.0 kg/m2) received either a paleo diet (30% protein, 40% fat, 30% carbohydrates) or a diet according to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendation (NNR) over 24 months. In both groups, fat mass decreased significantly after six months (- 6.5 and – 2.6 kg) and after 24 months (- 4.6 kg and – 2.9 kg). The loss of fat mass was particularly high under the Paleo diet after six months, but no longer significant after 24 months. The abdominal circumference also decreased in both groups, under the paleo diet particularly sharply after six months (-11.1 vs. – 5.8 cm). The concentration of triglycerides was significantly lower under the paleo diet at both six and 24 months compared to the control group (Mellberg et al.2014).

The extent to which a 12-week Paleo diet affects the metabolism of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus was investigated in a human study of 32 participants. In addition to the Paleo diet, the subjects received common recommendations for physical activity (Paleo group) or a sports session three times a week (Paleo Ex group). In the Paleo group, fat mass decreased by 5.7 kg, in the Paleo-Ex group by 6.7 kg. Insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR) improved by 45% in both groups. HbA1c decreased by 0.9% in the Paleo group and by 1.1% in the Paleo-Ex group. The concentration of leptin decreased by 62% in the paleo group and by 42% in the paleo-ex group. Among the male participants, lean body mass decreased by 2.6 kg in the Paleo group and by 1.2 kg in the Paleo Ex group. The differences between the intervention groups were significant. The authors conclude that a paleo diet can positively affect both fat mass and partners associated with insulin metabolism. The extra exercise can help maintain lean body mass and increase cardiovascular fitness (Otten et al. 2017).

The hypothesis was also investigated that a paleo diet can have a more favorable effect on body weight and lipid metabolism parameters than a diet according to the recommendations of the American Heart Association (Pastore et al. 2015). The study involved 20 people aged 4060 years with a diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. The subjects did not take cholesterol-lowering medications and were given a heart-healthy diet for four months before following a paleo diet for another four months. The latter led to significantly lower concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides. The concentration of HDL increased compared to the initial situation as well as to the traditional heart diet, regardless of changes in body weight. The paleo diet therefore seems to be suitable for the management of hyperlipidemia. Due to the small number of subjects, however, the significance of the study is severely limited. An improvement in glucose and lipid parameters by the paleo diet is also confirmed in other studies (Blomquist et al. 2017, Boers et al. 2014).

Long-term consequences of a paleo diet are difficult to assess. In one study, however, after carrying out a paleo diet (without the most important iodine suppliers table salt and dairy products), decreased concentrations of iodine in 24-hour urine were measured after two years. Therefore, the authors recommend iodine supplementation during a longer-term paleo diet (Manousou et al. 2018).

A meta-analysis investigating the association between the Paleo diet and metabolic syndrome found that the Paleo diet showed greater improvements in abdominal circumference, trigyl ceride concentration (both parameters significantly altered), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose than under other diets (Manheimer et al. 2015). However, this study is criticized in the methodology (Fenton and Fenton 2017).

Data from the longitudinal study REGARDS (REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke), in which 21,423 African-Americans and whites aged 45 years or older had their health status assessed every 6 months for at least 6 years, show that both adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet inversely linked to all-cause mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease.(Whalen et al. 2017). Conclusion and nutritional evaluation

The Paleo adherents’ assumption that the genetic makeup of humans is immutable is controversial. Critics also counter that there was no typical Stone Age diet, but that man ate what he found in his environment. Humans can therefore adapt to a large number of different diets, as long as the basic need for nutrients is covered (Henry 2016).

The daily high consumption of animal foods (meat, fish and eggs) must be viewed critically from a health and sustainability point of view. On the other hand, the complete renunciation of foods such as cereal products (suppliers of fiber and B vitamins), legumes (high-quality protein sources, fiber, B vitamins) and dairy products (important sources of calcium, iodine, riboflavin) can possibly lead to a nutrient deficiency in the long term.

Similar to low-carb diets, the implementation of the paleo diet requires a break with traditional eating habits, for example when bread, rolls or cereals are omitted in the morning and dairy products are avoided. This can make compliance difficult.