The Paleo Diet and Diabetes

Paleo Diet proponents and advocates have long been claiming that this revolutionary “Caveman” diet provides a number of health benefits. One such benefit is the treatment and prevention of diabetes. While a lot of experts have frowned upon these claims and have even gone so far as to say that such a highly restrictive diet is not good for you, there have been recent studies on the Paleo Diet and diabetes that gave positive evidence on the benefits of this food plan.

 As you already know, the Paleo Diet restricts intake of grains, potatoes, legumes, dairy and foods that are derived from them. Also not included in the Paleo Diet is the intake of refined and processed foods. Researchers have already shown that the foods that are prohibited in the Paleo Diet are those that have high Glycemic Indices (GI). When you eat foods with a high GI, your body tends to break down carbohydrates faster causing a spike of blood glucose levels in the blood stream. For diabetics and those with insulin resistance, this can cause symptoms and other co-morbidities to develop and/or worsen.

 Although a lot of criticism has been leveled upon the Paleo Diet for diabetics because of its very high meat intake, a study published in the Cardiovascular Diabetology showed that the key to reducing the risks of diabetes and its co-morbidities lies in the reduction or even total elimination of carbohydrates with a high GI.

 In the study, Dr. T. Jonsson and his fellow researchers did a randomized study on a group of diabetes patients. One group is made to eat a conventional diabetes diet while the other group is placed on the Paleo Diet for three months. The Paleo Diet that the participants were made to eat consisted of very little dairy and cereal grains, but a lot of lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

After three months, the patients are advised to switch diets. Their goal is to evaluate the effects of these diets upon blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors based upon five factors, namely HbA1c (blood sugar level indicator), the weight indicator BMI, HDL or good cholesterol levels, diastolic blood pressure, and waist circumference. The results that they obtained proved to be a surprise for critics of this diet plan.

 Those on the Paleo Diet showed a -0.4 percent reduction in their HbA1c. Their diastolic blood pressure also decreased by 4 mmHg. Their blood levels of triglycerides (a marker for risk of heart disease) also showed a marked decrease while HDL cholesterol values showed a significant increase. Although there is no restriction in calories, the Paleo participants lost 3 kg from their weight.

This was also reflected in their BMI, which showed a loss of 1 kg/m2. The best part of this weight reduction is that most of the weight loss occurred in the region of abdomen. A big waist circumference is indicative of heart disease risk. So, with a reduction in abdominal fat, the Paleo participants also reduced their risk for heart disease and strokes.

 If you are a diabetic, consult with your doctor about trying out the Paleo Diet today! This diet plan may prove to be the solution to all your health problems.

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