Paleo Diet May Reduce Insulin Resistance

Researchers find the diet reduces the fatty acids that can lead to insulin resistance in 70 study participants.



A recent study has found that a paleo diet may lower insulin resistance. According to a Healio report, the Boston-based study found that obese, postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes who followed a paleo diet experienced a reduction in fatty acids that can lead to insulin resistance.

For the study, the 70 study participants were split at random into two diet groups. Those in the paleo group followed a diet consisting of food that was 30 percent protein, 30 percent carbs, and 40 percent healthy fat. The second group followed a low-fat diet of food that was 15 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 30 percent unrestricted fat. The women were put on the same regime of physical activity.

Both groups saw the same amount of weight loss. Over the two years of the study, though, those on the paleo diet also saw a 19 percent decrease in levels of fatty acids, which are commonly found in elevated levels in people with insulin resistance. Fatty acid buildup has been associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body uses the insulin it produces less efficiently.

Eating “paleo” has become a new diet trend, one reminiscent of the early hunter and gatherer lifestyle. This diet mainly includes meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables, while opting out of processed food, dairy, and grains.

It should be noted that those on the paleo diet did experience a 47 percent increase in monosaturated fatty acids and a 71 percent increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Paleo is an old-is-new diet, and there has been little research done on the long-term health impact of eating this way.

This study has limitations, and the findings should be viewed as preliminary. One problem is that the report doesn’t mention changes in blood sugar levels for the participants. Also, it seems strange that those on on the paleo diet were only allowed to eat healthy fats, while those on the low-fat diet were allowed to eat any type of fat; this seems to create an apples to oranges comparison of the two diets. Finally, it would be good to see follow-up trials that include a broader demographic of study participants. Still, it seems likely that a diet that replaces some non-complex carbs with lean protein will lead to better blood sugar control in many cases.

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Courtney Major currently attends Emerson College where she majors in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a minor in Marketing Communications.