– In modern times many people are struggling trying to find ways to reduce risk for obesity-related disorders. According to a new study conducted by Swedish researchers at the Umeå University, obesity can be drastically reduced with the Paleolithic diet.
But what exactly did Stone Age people eat and what kind of risk factors can be reduced?
To begin with it should be stated that our ancestors were often much healthier than many of us are today. Our Western lifestyle is the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and obesity are very common today.
According to researchers, our ancestors in the Paleolithic Era ate a diet based on vegetables, fruit, berries, lean meat, fish, seafood, nuts and eggs. Cereals, dairy products and legumes were not a significant part of the diet before the agricultural revolution, and neither were added sugar or salt. Furthermore, our ancestors were much more physically active compared to the average Western population.
Contemporary hunter-gatherers like the Kitava Islanders and the Greenlandic Inuit eat a diet similar to that of the Paleolithic Era and have a strikingly low frequency of cardiovascular events. Detailed studies of the metabolic effects of the Paleolithic diet, with and without exercise, are therefore warranted.
Julia Otten, at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University analyzed the results of a Paleolithic diet and discovered it has a powerful effect on reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as liver fat, fat in muscle and insulin sensitivity.
“A Paleolithic diet has strong effects on fat content in liver and muscle and on insulin sensitivity. Our present results indicate reduced metabolic flexibility in the fat content in liver and muscle tissue among patient with type 2 diabetes, which may improve through diet and exercise intervention,“ Otten writes in her science paper.
When eating a Paleolithic diet, all study participants decreased liver fat, improved weight, liver fat and triglycerides significantly more than a conventional low-fat diet.
The study also showed that exercise had no noticeable effect in addition to the changes in the risk factors linked to the Paleolithic diet.