Research Continues: Is The Paleo Diet Effective For Weight Loss?

by Cave Munch

A recent study from Edith Cowan University has found the paleo diet to be more effective for weight loss than the Australian Dietary Guidelines (AGHE). The study included 39 healthy women, with half eating a paleo diet while the rest were assigned the AGHE diet over a four-week period.

As we know, the paleo diet is based mainly on foods presumed to be available to paleolithic humans, and generally includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, meat and organ meats, but excludes foods such as dairy products, processed foods, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils and alcohol.

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

"While both groups lost weight over the period, the paleo group lost an average of 4.3% of their body weight over the testing period, compared to 1.6% for the AGHE group” -Lead researcher Angela Genoni said.

However, she urged caution about advocating a diet that cuts out entire food groups, highlighting the marked reduction in calcium intake from the paleo diet relative to the AGHE diet, due to the exclusion of all dairy products. She said this could have a negative impact on bone strength, particularly in older people.

So how do we get our calcium on the Paleo Diet? 

In regards to calcium intake, Dr. Loren Cordain, Founder of the Paleo Movement states “By replacing hard cheeses, cereal grains, and processed foods with plenty of green vegetables and fruits, the body comes back into acid/base balance which brings us also back into calcium balance”. He is not involved in this research, but we wanted to give you another perspective. 

Associate Professor Amanda Devine, who also contributed to this research, said that more research was needed to fully understand the health implications of the paleo diet. Devine said a further study was planned that would particularly focus on the impact of the paleo diet on gut health which has been a big concern to paleo eaters. 

Photo: By The-villages-onli... (Clips) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons