Overweight women after menopause who eat a Paleolithic diet can maintain weight loss in the long term. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases also decreased, according to the study from Umeå University in Sweden.
Despite giving the women free reigns to an unlimited intake, their weight loss was stable after two years. More significant than weight loss, the women showed improvement in blood fat levels and signs of reduced inflammation.
The researcher spent two years following a group of 70 postmenopausal women with a body mass index exceeding 27, considered overweight. Half of the women held a diet according to Nordic Nutrition Recommendations while the other half followed a Paleolithic diet.
Neither group had any specific restrictions in the amount of food they were allowed to consume. The restrictions solely revolved around the composition of the diet. The follow ups took place after six months and again after two years.
Paleo vs. Nordic diet
The Paleolithic diet is characterized by a high intake of protein and unsaturated fats and has a low glycemic index. The diet consists mainly of vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, shellfish, seeds, nuts, oils and fruit. The biggest difference to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations is that the Paleolithic diet excludes cereals, milk, refined sugars and added salt.
The results show that both groups lost weight. The women who had kept to a Paleolithic diet on average dropped 9 kg (20 lbs), compared to the Nordic diet group who lost 6 kg (13 lbs).
The weight loss in both groups also contributed to reduced inflammation in both fat tissue and in the circulation.
The women who followed the Paleolithic diet had a significant reduction in unhealthy abdominal fat. Reduced levels of certain fatty acids and blood fats could be seen, which is of importance to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As well, the enzymes involved in fat storage were less active in the Paleolithic group.
The findings suggest that the Paleolithic diet with a high proportion of unsaturated fat is healthier for overweight postmenopausal women, even if the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations also had positive health effects.
Source: Umeå universitet.
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