Does Diet Have ANY Effect on Health?

A couple of dietitians did an massive literature review looking for evidence that diet has an effect on major health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Sounds interesting, and similar to my own obsessive review done between 1995 and 2005. Unknown if they examined the paleo diet. It bothers me that “hypertension” is misspelled in the abstract. For the researchers’ conclusions, you have to pay $27.95 USD.

“How did the paleo diet fare?”

Abstract from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Appropriate diet can prevent, manage, or reverse noncommunicable health conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Consequently, the public’s interest in diet and nutrition has fueled the multi-billion-dollar weight loss industry and elevated its standing on social media and the internet. Although many dietary approaches are popular, their universal effectiveness and risks across overall populations are not clear. The objective of this scoping review was to identify and characterize systematic reviews (SRs) examining diet or fasting (intermittent energy restriction [IER]) interventions among adults who are healthy or may have chronic disease. An in-depth literature search of six databases was conducted for SRs published between January 2010 and February 2020. A total of 22,385 SRs were retrieved, and 1,017 full-text articles were screened for eligibility. Of these, 92 SRs met inclusion criteria. Covered diets were organized into 12 categories: high/restricted carbohydrate (n = 30), Mediterranean, Nordic, and Tibetan (n = 19), restricted or modified fat (n = 17), various vegetarian diets (n = 16), glycemic index (n = 13), high protein (n = 12), IER (n = 11), meal replacements (n = 11), paleolithic (n = 8), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypretension (DASH; n = 6), Atkins, South Beach, and Zone (n = 5), and eight other brand diets (n = 4). Intermediate outcomes, such as body weight or composition and cardiometabolic, were commonly reported. Abundant evidence was found exploring dietary approaches in the general population. However, heterogeneity of diet definitions, focus on single macronutrients, and infrequent macronutrient subanalyses were observed. Based on this scoping review, the Evidence Analysis Center prioritized the need to collate evidence related to macronutrient modification, specifically restricted carbohydrate diets.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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