Is the Paleo Diet Best for Metabolic Syndrome?

I found a recent study involving the paleo diet at Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. I’m not paying for access to the full-text article until my book sales pick up. Access typically requires $30 USD.

Reference: Effect of Paleolithic-based low-carbohydrate vs. moderate-carbohydrate diets with portion-control and calorie-counting on CTRP6, asprosin and metabolic markers in adults with metabolic syndrome: A randomized clinical trial

Doesn’t that sound fascinating?

I’ve never even heard of CTRP6 and asprosin.

I miss the Oxford comma in the article title. You, too?

Click for a definition of metabolic syndrome.

The Iranian study at hand divided 80 folks into four different diet groups, to follow the prescribe diet for 10 weeks.


The Paleolithic low-carb diet “is defined as a diet consisting of 25-30% of energy from carbohydrate, 30% of energy from protein and 40-45% of energy from fat and encourages consumption of fruits, vegetables and lean meat.” There were two paleo diets: one involved calorie counting, the other portion control. All study subjects had metabolic syndrome.

This this is a mess already. And the experimental groups are tiny (20 subjects each). All diets were carbohydrate-restricted.

Results: A total of 69 participants aged 42.95 (9.27) with metabolic syndrome completed the trial. At the end of current 10-week dietary intervention trial, significant reduction in weight, waist circumference, body fat, visceral fat and waist-hip ratio (WHR) was observed in all four intervention arms (P < 0.001). Also, the observed differences among groups did not reach statistical significance (P > 0.05). Moreover, we found significant reduction in CTRP6 and leptin in all intervention groups (P < 0.001). Reduction of Asprosin level was also marginally significant between intervention groups (P < 0.05). All four intervention groups were found to improve cardiometabolic markers such as FBS [fasting blood sugar], TG [triglycerides], total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to baseline. However, despite clinically significant difference, the within- and between-group changes were not statistically significant at the end of trial.

Conclusions: The current RCT [randomized controlled trial] in Iranian adults with metabolic syndrome revealed that both moderate and Paleolithic-based low carbohydrate diets with both delivery approaches have comparable beneficial effects in terms of body weight and composition, cardiometabolic factors and metabolism-related adipokines and hepatokines.

Abstract doesn’t mention calories provided (or recommended) the the four experimental diets! C’mon, man! In general, metabolic syndrome numbers improve short-term with sufficient caloric restriction regardless of the composition of the diet. E.g., eating nothing but water for five days will improve the metabolic syndrome numbers. But that’s no way to live.

I don’t know what to make of this study. But the eight researchers will undoubtedly put this article on their CVs.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Here’s a low-carb paleo diet:

One response to “Is the Paleo Diet Best for Metabolic Syndrome?

  1. Pingback: Is the Paleo Diet Best for Metabolic Syndrome? – Diabetic Daily

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