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Study Shows Benefits of Paleo Diet

It’s not surprising news (at least to me).

Medical researchers released the results of a study on Wednesday that demonstrated just how beneficial a return to eating foods more traditional to the human diet can be.

They took a group of non-obese, sedentary(!) volunteers and fed them a paleolithic diet for 10 days.

Just 10 days!

And they got amazing and significant results.

Their conclusion?

Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.

The paleolithic diet is a traditional foods diet, but adherants avoid grains (even if sprouted, soaked, or fermented) and dairy (unless it’s raw or cultured, and even then it’s only eaten in moderation).

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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18 Responses to Study Shows Benefits of Paleo Diet
  1. Rod Newbound
    February 13, 2009 | 3:33 pm

    Interesting finding Kristen, but a 10 day study is hardly proof that a paleo diet is any better than an equally healthy non-paleo diet.

    I think a good deal of the problems related to diet fall into the category of over-consumption and consuming too many processed (aka prepared for consumption by the masses) foods.

    I’ve been making my own whole wheat crust pizza for about 4 years, and everyone who eats it tells me it’s the best they’ve ever had. BTW, a study at the University of Maryland showed that the antioxidant level doubles in whole wheat pizza if it is left to rise for an extra day, and increased by 82% with higher baking temperatures. In the summertime, I cook mine on a cast iron griddle on the barbecue grill with a few wood chips for smokey flavor.

    Thanks,
    Rod

    Rod Newbound

  2. KristenM
    February 13, 2009 | 3:40 pm

    Yeah, I don’t think a paleo diet is for everyone. I’m more concerned about people returning to eating Real Food — and that’s something that most paleo dieters do.

    What I liked about the study was that it was so short. It showed that even in a relatively short amount of time, a person’s body can start returning to a more balanced, healthful state simply by changing the diet for the better. That’s encouraging news!

    Now, do share your your pizza dough recipe!! I use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions and am not terribly impressed.

    Cheers,
    KristenM

  3. Shannon
    February 13, 2009 | 4:03 pm

    Yeah, pizza is good stuff. I posted a flax crust recipe today and recently tried the cauliflower pizza crust with good results. I find paleo to be ideal for me and especially low carb. I also see that my boys feel better when they’re off of grains.

  4. KristenM
    February 13, 2009 | 4:17 pm

    Ah, that flax crust recipe looks pretty good. I’m curious about how it turned out, though. Didn’t it taste like crackers? Or was it very crispy?

    Cauliflower pizza crust? Do tell!

    (I’m new the world of no grains. In fact, I just ordered a 50lb bag of wheat from my co-op this morning.)

  5. Laura N.
    February 13, 2009 | 6:56 pm

    Well, when you can’t have cheese, tomatoes, or gluten, it kinda kills the whole pizza idea. ;-) I miss pizza very much, but I find that cheese and chocolate call my name more often, and I can’t have either.

    We went on the GAPS diet (grain-free gut-healing diet) last fall and have seen incredible improvements in our family’s health. Some of our allergies have disappeared, and we look forward to being able to eat many more things in the future. Maybe even cheese! Anyway, I’m recommending this diet to everyone I know. It’s wonderful to live without daily tummy pain!

    Laura N.

  6. Christiana
    February 14, 2009 | 1:44 pm

    Going grain and dairy free is really tough. I agree with Laura– chocolate is one thing I really miss. I also sometimes crave things I very rarely ate before… like trader joe’s cereal, and toast with jelly. Pizza is for sure a tough one, but eating a grain/dairy free diet has really helped me, so I think it’s worth it.

    For me there really is no trick… I just have to think mind over matter, and just take it one day at a time. Another thing I think about is that it’s not like these foods are disappearing off the face of the earth. I remind myself that this diet is what is working for me right now, and hopefully I will be able to add more food to my diet in the future. For some reason that really helps!

    Best,
    Christiana

    Christiana

  7. Erica
    February 14, 2009 | 9:25 pm

    I love the idea of a paleo inspired diet, but I do not have the discipline for it, haha!

    We do a cauliflower pizza crust a lot, although it is full of cheese so not very paleo friendly! I have a recipe on my blog.

    We also do a meatza, which is a hamburger crust. That is always a huge hit with my husband, haha!

    I think overall, getting back to real foods is what is most important, your absolutley correct. We do grains in moderation, and try to always soak them. We also just recently got some coconut flour and that has been fun playing with.

    Erica

  8. KristenM
    February 14, 2009 | 9:33 pm

    Erica — It sounds like you and I are in the same place in our attitude towards this. I’d love to get a recipe for a meatza, and I’m going to your blog ASAP to check out the cauliflower crust. Both sound fascinating and tasty!

    Christiana — See, that’s where my hesitation comes in. I don’t notice ANY adverse effects from eating properly prepared grains, so I don’t know what I’ll gain from all the sacrifice involved in giving them up. We do our best to eat them in moderation. We maybe have them once every other day in a small way.

    Laura N. — No chocolate? Why not? Couldn’t you eat dark chocolate? (That’s my favorite anyway.)

  9. Laura N.
    February 15, 2009 | 11:17 am

    No chocolate on the GAPS / SCD diet. :-( Apparently, it interferes with healing the gut. But the diet is temporary: 2 years or so. When I think that I’m well healed, I will try chocolate again in small. Dark chocolate! But I don’t plan to eat much grain again. Maybe some sprouted buckwheat or soaked rice occasionally. I still have Celiac disease to reckon with.

    Laura N.

  10. Anna
    February 17, 2009 | 8:15 pm

    “If you don

  11. Anna
    February 17, 2009 | 11:12 pm

    And that “paleo” diet in the study, IMO, is barely what could be called paleo. It’s about as faithful to a paleo diet as the “Mediterranean Diet” ( as touted and described by US nutrition and diet authorities) is faithful to the way people really eat in the Mediterranean region. In other words, NOT really!

  12. Janet W
    February 20, 2009 | 10:47 am

    I have been thinking about Paleo eating for several years (since I read Neanderthin) but have just recently started eating almost that way (I still eat organic grass fed raw cheese and organic butter). I didn’t give up pizza! I brown ground beef, mushrooms, onions in my cast iron frying pan, add Eden’s organic pasta/pizza sauce (no sugars of any kiind) and some green pepper, cover all of it with cheese and eat it on a plate with a fork. Pizza crust has tasted cardboard-y and starch-y for a long time (even the thin crust kind). I love this, all the taste of pizza, no grains.

  13. Lisa
    January 28, 2010 | 3:22 pm

    I find paleo to be a lot of common sense – sadly a lot of which we have lost these last few (thousand) years when it comes to food…and what else not ;o)
    .-= Lisa┬┤s last blog post …Paleo Recipe of The Week =-.

  14. James
    November 27, 2010 | 2:43 am

    One of the things I really miss in the Paleo Diet is dairy products not to mention the chocolate. But one bit every now and then will do great harm?

  15. Vanessa Hill
    November 30, 2012 | 7:38 pm

    Im on the SCD/ GAPS diet due to dysbiosis; an overgrowth of a nasty bug im tryig to eradicate without antibitoics. I don’t think I can give up chocolate entirely, so I eat it sparingly and when I do I eat dark choc or use a little cocoa powder in a smoothie etc. meatsa sounds good! I have a good recipe for coconut/almond flour biscuits that might be good as a pizza crust. I just bought a Mark Sisson cookbook so I’m anxious to try it out, too. I feel great on Paleo – more energy, clear mind and more serenity. Can’t go back to the old way of eating.

  16. JIm
    January 1, 2013 | 10:00 pm

    I must admit I was surprised by that study. I had always looked at the paleo diet as a quack fad diet. However, one thing everyone agrees on is the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables, not a lot of processed sugar, and LEAN meat, if you must eat a large quantity of meat. Could it be that those individuals studied lived on potato chips, glazed donuts, coffee with 6 tsps of sugar, bacon, sausage, and pizza normally? Therefore, anything would have been an improvement.

    Low carb diets and a lot of red meat have been shown in study after study to be a bad idea. Just google ‘low carb death’. And not to get religious on us, but Jesus fed the 5000 with fish AND bread.

  17. Meggin D
    April 17, 2013 | 11:42 pm

    Ha ha! healthy sedentary humans… is that possible?!? :) I’m paleo curious, and I do love the recipes for the fact that they’re refined sugar free .

  18. Lisa Packard
    April 24, 2013 | 5:06 am

    I do follow the Paleo lifestyle, and must say by day 2 I started seeing benefits. Within 4 weeks, There was a huge difference in how I felt and looked. I have struggled with dental/gum issues for quite some time. When I was 4 weeks in to my new lifestyle, I had a dental check-up and they wanted to know what happened to improve my gums…..only thing I changed was my eating. Also, Paleo doesn’t mean low carb, it means that your carbs don’t come from grains. I get plenty of natural carbs in fruit and veggies. In addition, we do not only eat red meats, I eat plenty of wild caught fish, lean chicken, and pork. I know longer crave sweets or grains of any kind. If you are considering go Paleo….Give yourself 10 days and see what happens! Best of Luck!

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.