Tag Archives: Jonsson

Frustration

I just realized I started this blog six months ago with the idea that I’d “…share my investigation into whether the paleo diet and lifestyle are potentially therapeutic for people with diabetes.”

I’m frustrated that I haven’t made more progress.

Only a few clinical studies have looked at use of the paleo diet in diabetics.  And only type 2’s at that.  The Swedes (Steffan Lindeberg/Tommy Jonsson group) and Californians (Team Frassetto) own this field, at this point.

Loren Cordain is at Colorado State University.  Don’t they have a research department?

Are S. Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner still in academia?

Namesake of the Cabbage Soup Diet

I found an article from 1984 looking at return of diabetic Australian aborigines to their traditional lifestyle.  I’ll report here after I analyze it.

Dr. Jay Wortman has done work with aboriginal peoples of Canada.  They have lots of diabetes, like the Pima in my neck of the woods.  I’ll look for his results.

If the paleo diet is ever going to be more than a fad, we need clinical studies that support it.  Shoot, even the cabbage soup diet has glowing anecdotal reports from individuals, but it hasn’t stood the test of time.

Am I missing any clinical studies?

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I still expect a flurry of paleo diet studies to be published in the next 5-10 years, involving several types of human participants (diabetics, overweight and obese, heart patients, hypertensives, etc.).  Then again, maybe I’m wrong.

PPS: Instead of “paleo diet,” you may prefer Old Stone Age diet, Stone Age diet, caveman diet, hunter-gatherere diet, Paleolithic diet, or Ancestral diet

Paleo Diet and Diabetes: Improved Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Sweden's Flag

Compared to a standard diabetic diet, a Paleolithic diet improves cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetics, according to investigators at Lund University in Sweden.

Researchers compared the effects of a Paleo and a modern diabetic diet in 13 type 2 diabetic adults (10 men) with average hemoglobin A1c’s of 6.6% (under fairly good control, then).  Most were on diabetic pills; none were on insulin.  So this was a small, exploratory, pilot study.  Each of the diabetics followed both diets for three months.

How Did the Diets Differ?

Compared to the diabetic diet, the paleo diet was mainly lower in cereals and dairy products, higher in fruits and vegetables, meat, and eggs.  The paleo diet was lower in carbohydrates, glycemic load, and glycemic index.  Paleo vegetables were primarily leafy and cruciferous.  Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.  Root vegetables were allowed; up to 1 medium potato daily.  The paleo diet also featured lean meats (why lean?), fish, eggs, and nuts, while forbidding refined fats, sugars, and beans.  Up to one glass of wine daily was allowed.

See the actual report for details of the diabetic diet, which seems to me to be similar to the diabetic diet recommended by most U.S. dietitians.

What Did the Researchers Find?

Compared to the diabetic diet, the paleo diet yielded lower hemoglobin A1c’s (0.4% lower—absolute difference), lower trigylcerides, lower diastolic blood pressure, lower weight, lower body mass index, lower waist circumference, lower total energy (caloric) intake, and higher HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).  Glucose tolerance was the same for both diets.  Fasting blood sugars tended to decrease more on the Paleo diet, but did not reach statistical significance (p=0.08, which is very close to significant).

So What?

The greater improvement in multiple cardiovascular risk factors seen here suggests that the paleo diet has potential to reduce the higher cardiovascular disease rates we see in diabetics.  This is just a pilot study.  Larger studies—more participants—are needed for confirmation.  Ultimately, we need data on hard clinical endpoints such as heart attacks, strokes, and death.

These diabetics had their blood sugars under fairly good control at baseline.  I wouldn’t be surprised if diabetics under poor control—hemoglobin A1c of 9%, for example—would see even greater improvements in risk factors as well as glucose levels while eating paleo.

There are so few women in this study as to be almost meaningless.

Results of this study may or may not apply to non-Swedes.

I see a fair amount of overlap between this version of the paleo diet and Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution diet and the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Jönsson, T., Granfeldt, Y., Ahrén, B., Branell, U., Pålsson, G., Hansson, A., Söderström, M., & Lindeberg, S.  Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.  Cardiovascular Diabetology, 8 (2009)  doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-8-35