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Prehistoric diet for modern weight loss

Friday, 27 May 2016

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The Palaeolithic, or paleo, diet has been found to be more effective for weight loss than the Australian Dietary Guidelines, according to new research from Edith Cowan University.

The study by ECU’s School of Medical and Health Science involved 39 healthy women, with half eating a paleo diet while the rest were assigned the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) diet over a four-week period.

The paleo group lost an average of 2kg more over the period than the AGHE diet group.

Lead researcher Angela Genoni said the study also examined the impact on cardiovascular health and found no significant difference between the paleo and AGHE diets.

“While both groups lost weight over the period, the paleo group lost an average of 4.3 per cent of their body weight over the testing period, compared to 1.6 percent for the AGHE group,” she said.

“Despite the greater weight loss, we should be cautious about advocating a diet that cuts out entire food groups.

“Significantly, the paleo diet markedly reduces the calcium intake relative to the AGHE diet because it excludes all dairy products, which could have a negative impact on bone strength, particularly in older people.”

The study, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Effects and Dietary Composition of Ad-Libitum Paleolithic vs. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Diets: A 4-Week Randomised Trial, was recently published in the journal Nutrients.

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ECU's Associate Professor Amanda Devine, who also contributed to the research, said that more research was needed to fully understand the health implications of the paleo diet.

“There is much more to health than simply weight, so dietary patterns that exclude entire food groups are likely to impact overall health due to a reduction in food variety therefore further research is required in healthy subjects to assess the long term health impacts.”

Professor Devine said a further study was planned that would particularly focus on the impact of the paleo diet on gut health.

Long term paleo followers are encouraged to email Professor Devine if they are interested in participating in this research.

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