Paleo Diet Reduced Body Fat and Waist Circumference

Paleolithic populations weren’t plagued by overweight and obesity

An extremely small study of only seven healthy inactive experimental subjects (BMI 29.4. so almost obese, average age 32) found a drop in BMI to 27.7 but no change in the measured adipokines while following a paleo diet for eight weeks. The investigators write, “Adipokines are considered a class of biomarkers indicative of health and metabolic disease. They are secreted from adipose tissue and act in an autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine manner and have been implicated in the regulation of metabolic health and eating behaviors.”

Here’s a link to the full text article in International Journal of Exercise Science. The abstract:

The Paleolithic diet, characterized by an emphasis on hunter-gatherer type foods accompanied by an exclusion of grains, dairy products, and highly processed food items, is often promoted for weight loss and a reduction in cardiometabolic disease risk factors. Specific adipokines, such as adiponectin, omentin, nesfatin, and vaspin are reported to be dysregulated with obesity and may respond favorably to diet-induced fat loss. We aimed to evaluate the effects of an eight-week Paleolithic dietary intervention on circulating adiponectin, omentin, nesfatin, and vaspin in a cohort of physically inactive, but otherwise healthy adults.

Methods: Seven inactive adults participated in eight weeks of adherence to the Paleolithic Diet. Fasting blood samples, anthropometric, and body composition data were collected from each participant pre-and post-intervention. Serum adiponectin, omentin, nesfatin, and vaspin were measured. Results: After eight weeks of following the Paleolithic diet, there were reductions (p<0.05) in relative body fat (−4.4%), waist circumference (− 5.9 cm), and sum of skinfolds (−36.8 mm). No changes were observed in waist to hip ratio (WHR), or in adiponectin, omentin, and nesfatin (p>0.05), while serum vaspin levels for all participants were undetectable.

Conclusions: It is possible that although eight weeks resulted in modest body composition changes, short-term fat loss will not induce changes in adiponectin, omentin, and nesfatin in apparently healthy adults. Larger, long-term intervention studies that examine Paleolithic diet-induced changes across sex, body composition, and in populations with metabolic dysregulation are warranted.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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