Category Archives: Paleo Theory

Literature Review: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

Cavewomen didn’t have modern=make=up

From Iran and the journal Advances In Nutrition:

Abstract

There is some evidence supporting the beneficial effects of a Paleolithic Diet (PD) on cardiovascular disease risk factors. This diet advises consuming lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and avoiding intake of grains, dairy products, processed foods, and added sugar and salt. This study was performed to assess the effects of a PD on cardiovascular disease risk factors including anthropometric indexes, lipid profile, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers using data from randomized controlled trials. A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases up to August, 2018. A meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to estimate the pooled effect size. Meta-analysis of 8 eligible studies revealed that a PD significantly reduced body weight [weighted mean difference (WMD) = -2.17 kg; 95% CI: -3.48, -0.87 kg], waist circumference (WMD = -2.90 cm; 95% CI: -4.51, -1.28 cm), body mass index (in kg/m2) (WMD = -1.15; 95% CI: -1.68, -0.62), body fat percentage (WMD = -1.38%; 95% CI: -2.08%, -0.67%), systolic (WMD = -4.24 mm Hg; 95% CI: -7.11, -1.38 mm Hg) and diastolic (WMD = -2.95 mm Hg; 95% CI: -4.72, -1.18 mm Hg) blood pressure, and circulating concentrations of total cholesterol (WMD = -0.22 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.42, -0.03 mg/dL), TGs (WMD = -0.23 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.46, -0.01 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (WMD = -0.13 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.25, -0.01 mg/dL), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (WMD = -0.41 mg/L; 95% CI: -0.81, -0.008 mg/L) and also significantly increased HDL cholesterol (WMD = 0.05 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.005, 0.10 mg/dL). However, sensitivity analysis revealed that the overall effects of a PD on lipid profile, blood pressure, and circulating CRP concentrations were significantly influenced by removing some studies, hence the results must be interpreted with caution. Although the present meta-analysis revealed that a PD has favorable effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors, the evidence is not conclusive and more well-designed trials are still needed.

Source: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials – PubMed

An editorial expression of concern about the article:

The Editors have been alerted by a reader with concerns about this meta-analysis. Specifically, the reader noted discrepancies in reported effect sizes and time periods, as well as confidence intervals, none of which the reader was able to reproduce. The Editors have contacted the authors, who have addressed initial concerns. However, due to the extent of the material about which concerns have been raised, the Editors need additional time to re-review this article after corrections have been made.

In the interim, this expression of concern should be taken…

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Evidence for cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170,000 years ago

“Grok luv rhizome!”

From a recent article in Science:

Plant carbohydrates were undoubtedly consumed in antiquity, yet starchy geophytes were seldom preserved archaeologically. We report evidence for geophyte exploitation by early humans from at least 170,000 years ago. Charred rhizomes from Border Cave, South Africa, were identified to the genus Hypoxis L. by comparing the morphology and anatomy of ancient and modern rhizomes. Hypoxis angustifolia Lam., the likely taxon, proliferates in relatively well-watered areas of sub-Saharan Africa and in Yemen, Arabia. In those areas and possibly farther north during moist periods, Hypoxis rhizomes would have provided reliable and familiar carbohydrate sources for mobile groups.

Source: Cooked starchy rhizomes in Africa 170 thousand years ago. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Dr Georgia Ede: Six Reasons to Go Paleo for Mental Health

paleobetic diet

Prehistoric man would be awestruck seeing this John Deere combine harvesting wheat

From Dr Ede at Psychology Today:

If you are living with a mental health problem of any kind, there are many dietary strategies you can use to try to address the root causes of your symptoms, and the so-called paleo diet is an excellent place to start for just about everyone.

Dr Ede, what’s the evidence for your proposal?

I am not aware of any clinical studies testing the effects of a paleo-style diet on mental health, but in my nutrition consultation service, I have witnessed significant improvements, particularly in certain individuals with depression, anxiety, and ADHD; and I am not alone. Cutting-edge nutritional psychiatrists who recommend paleo style diets include Ann Childers MD in Oregon, Ignacio Cuaranta MD in Argentina, Emily Deans MD in Massachusetts and Kelly Brogan MD in New York.

Read the full article for her nutrition-based justifications.

Source: Six Reasons to Go Paleo for Mental Health | Psychology Today

Steve Parker, M, D.

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But I thought we originated in northeast Africa: Paleontologists trace origins of modern humans to southern Africa

Where am I?

I’m skeptical, and I’m not the only one.

Oct. 29 (UPI) — The earliest ancestors of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, emerged in southern Africa, according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature.

“It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200 thousand years ago,” lead researcher Vanessa Hayes, a professor of human genomics at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, said in a news release. “What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors.”

Hayes and her colleagues used mitochondrial DNA samples from indigenous Africans to trace the human family tree back to its roots. According to the genetic analysis, the earliest modern humans emerged in an area south of the Zambezi River, in what’s now Botswana.

Source: Paleontologists trace orgins of modern humans to Botswana – UPI.com

Steve Parker, M.D.

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A “New” Theory of Obesity From Kevin Hall

paleo diet, paleolithic diet, caveman diet

Not Kevin Hall

At Scientific American:

Nutrition researcher Kevin Hall strives to project a Zen-like state of equanimity. In his often contentious field, he says he is more bemused than frustrated by the tendency of other scientists to “cling to pet theories despite overwhelming evidence that they are mistaken.” Some of these experts, he tells me with a sly smile, “have a fascinating ability to rationalize away studies that don’t support their views.”

Among those views is the idea that particular nutrients such as fats, carbs or sugars are to blame for our alarming obesity pandemic. (Globally the prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016, according to the World Health Organization. The rise accompanies related health threats that include heart disease and diabetes.) But Hall, who works at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, where he runs the Integrative Physiology section, has run experiments that point fingers at a different culprit. His studies suggest that a dramatic shift in how we make the food we eat—pulling ingredients apart and then reconstituting them into things like frosted snack cakes and ready-to-eat meals from the supermarket freezer—bears the brunt of the blame. This “ultraprocessed” food, he and a growing number of other scientists think, disrupts gut-brain signals that normally tell us that we have had enough, and this failed signaling leads to overeating.

*  *  *

At the end of the 19th century, most Americans lived in rural areas, and nearly half made their living on farms, where fresh or only lightly processed food was the norm. Today most Americans live in cities and buy rather than grow their food, increasingly in ready-to-eat form. An estimated 58 percent of the calories we consume and nearly 90 percent of all added sugars come from industrial food formulations made up mostly or entirely of ingredients—whether nutrients, fiber or chemical additives—that are not found in a similar form and combination in nature. These are the ultraprocessed foods, and they range from junk food such as chips, sugary breakfast cereals, candy, soda and mass-manufactured pastries to what might seem like benign or even healthful products such as commercial breads, processed meats, flavored yogurts and energy bars.

Wasn’t David Kessler, M.D., saying the same things ten years ago?

Here’s another new theory from me: If you had to kill and butcher your own animals, you’d eat less.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Were Early Homo Carnivorous?: The feeding behavior of early Homo at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

From the Journal of Human Evolution:

Abstract

The regular consumption of large mammal carcasses, as evidenced by butchery marks on fossils recovered from Early Stone Age archaeological sites, roughly coincides with the appearance of Homo habilis. However, the significance of this niche expansion cannot be appreciated without an understanding of hominin feeding behavior and their ecological interactions with mammalian carnivores. The Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project (OGAP) has recovered a large and well-preserved fossil assemblage from the HWK EE site, which was deposited just prior to the first appearance of Acheulean technology at Olduvai Gorge and likely represents one of the last H. habilis sites at Olduvai. This taphonomic analysis of the larger mammal fossil assemblage excavated from HWK EE shows evidence of multiple occupations over a long period of time, suggesting the site offered resources that were attractive to hominins. There was a water source indicated by the presence of fish, crocodiles, and hippos, and there was possible tree cover in an otherwise open habitat. The site preserves several stratigraphic intervals with large fossil and artifact assemblages within two of these intervals. Feeding traces on bone surfaces suggest hominins at the site obtained substantial amounts of flesh and marrow, particularly from smaller size group 1-2 carcasses, and exploited a wide range of taxa, including megafauna. A strong carnivore signal suggests hominins scavenged much of their animal foods during the two main stratigraphic intervals. In the later interval, lower carnivore tooth mark and hammerstone percussion mark frequencies, in addition to high epiphyseal to shaft fragment ratios, suggest hominins and carnivores did not fully exploit bone marrow and grease, which may have been acquired from nutritionally-stressed animals that died during a dry period at Olduvai. The diversity of fauna that preserve evidence of butchery suggests that the HWK EE hominins were opportunistic in their acquisition of carcass foods.

Source: The carnivorous feeding behavior of early Homo at HWK EE, Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Gut microbiome response to a modern Paleolithic diet

From PloS One:

Abstract

The modern Paleolithic diet (MPD), featured by the consumption of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and lean meat, while excluding grains, dairy products, salt and refined sugar, has gained substantial public attention in recent years because of its potential multiple health benefits. However, to date little is known about the actual impact of this dietary pattern on the gut microbiome (GM) and its implications for human health. In the current scenario where Western diets, low in fiber while rich in industrialized and processed foods, are considered one of the leading causes of maladaptive GM changes along human evolution, likely contributing to the increasing incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases, we hypothesize that the MPD could modulate the Western GM towards a more “ancestral” configuration. In an attempt to shed light on this, here we profiled the GM structure of urban Italian subjects adhering to the MPD, and compared data with other urban Italians following a Mediterranean Diet (MD), as well as worldwide traditional hunter-gatherer populations from previous publications. Notwithstanding a strong geography effect on the GM structure, our results show an unexpectedly high degree of biodiversity in MPD subjects, which well approximates that of traditional populations. The GM of MPD individuals also shows some peculiarities, including a high relative abundance of bile-tolerant and fat-loving microorganisms. The consumption of plant-based foods-albeit with the exclusion of grains and pulses-along with the minimization of the intake of processed foods, both hallmarks of the MPD, could therefore contribute to partially rewild the GM but caution should be taken in adhering to this dietary pattern in the long term.

Source: Gut microbiome response to a modern Paleolithic diet in a Western lifestyle context. – PubMed – NCBI

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Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. – PubMed – NCBI

I’ve probably read and blogged here about most of the individual articles that comprise this meta-analysis.

Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.

Abstract

There is some evidence supporting the beneficial effects of a Paleolithic Diet (PD) on cardiovascular disease risk factors. This diet advises consuming lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and avoiding intake of grains, dairy products, processed foods, and added sugar and salt. This study was performed to assess the effects of a PD on cardiovascular disease risk factors including anthropometric indexes, lipid profile, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers using data from randomized controlled trials. A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases up to August, 2018. A meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to estimate the pooled effect size. Meta-analysis of 8 eligible studies revealed that a PD significantly reduced body weight [weighted mean difference (WMD) = -2.17 kg; 95% CI: -3.48, -0.87 kg], waist circumference (WMD = -2.90 cm; 95% CI: -4.51, -1.28 cm), body mass index (in kg/m2) (WMD = -1.15; 95% CI: -1.68, -0.62), body fat percentage (WMD = -1.38%; 95% CI: -2.08%, -0.67%), systolic (WMD = -4.24 mm Hg; 95% CI: -7.11, -1.38 mm Hg) and diastolic (WMD = -2.95 mm Hg; 95% CI: -4.72, -1.18 mm Hg) blood pressure, and circulating concentrations of total cholesterol (WMD = -0.22 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.42, -0.03 mg/dL), TGs (WMD = -0.23 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.46, -0.01 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (WMD = -0.13 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.25, -0.01 mg/dL), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (WMD = -0.41 mg/L; 95% CI: -0.81, -0.008 mg/L) and also significantly increased HDL cholesterol (WMD = 0.05 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.005, 0.10 mg/dL). However, sensitivity analysis revealed that the overall effects of a PD on lipid profile, blood pressure, and circulating CRP concentrations were significantly influenced by removing some studies, hence the results must be interpreted with caution. Although the present meta-analysis revealed that a PD has favorable effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors, the evidence is not conclusive and more well-designed trials are still needed.

Advances in Nutrition. 2019 Apr 30. pii: nmz007. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz007. [Epub ahead of print]. Authors are Ghaedi E., Mohammadi M, Mohammadi H, Ramezani-Jolfaie N, Malekzadeh J, Hosseinzadeh M, Salehi-Abargouei A.

Source: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. – PubMed – NCBI

For the  Multiple Sclerosis Community: Compare Low Saturated Fat and Modified Paleolithic Diets

Wahls or Low Saturated Fat? He needs the calories from fat.

“Abstract

The precise etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) is unknown but epidemiologic evidence suggests this immune-mediated, neurodegenerative condition is the result of a complex interaction between genes and lifetime environmental exposures. Diet choices are modifiable environmental factors that may influence MS disease activity. Two diets promoted for MS, low saturated fat Swank and modified Paleolithic Wahls Elimination (WahlsElim), are currently being investigated for their effect on MS-related fatigue and quality of life (NCT02914964). Dr. Swank theorized restriction of saturated fat would reduce vascular dysfunction in the central nervous system (CNS). Dr. Wahls initially theorized that detailed guidance to increase intake of specific foodstuffs would facilitate increased intake of nutrients key to neuronal health (Wahls™ diet). Dr. Wahls further theorized restriction of lectins would reduce intestinal permeability and CNS inflammation (WahlsElim version). The purpose of this paper is to review the published research of the low saturated fat (Swank) and the modified Paleolithic (Wahls™) diets and the rationale for the structure of the Swank diet and low lectin version of the Wahls™ diet (WahlsElim) being investigated in the clinical trial.”

Source: Review of Two Popular Eating Plans within the Multiple Sclerosis Community: Low Saturated Fat and Modified Paleolithic. – PubMed – NCBI

What Fruits And Vegetables Looked Like Before We Domesticated Them

paleo diet, paleo meal, recipe, stone age diet, paleo food, hunter-gatherer food

One of the paleo meals I took to the hospital to eat mid-shift

From Science Alert:

While GMOs may involve splicing genes from other organisms (such as bacteria) to give plants desired traits – like resistance to pests — selective breeding is a slower process whereby farmers select and grow crops with those traits over time.

From bananas to eggplant, here are some of the foods that looked totally different before humans first started growing them for food.

Source: Here’s What Fruits And Vegetables Looked Like Before We Domesticated Them