Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paleo Diet for Heart Patients With Diabetes and Prediabetes

More support for the Paleo Diet - for treating pre-diabetes and diabetes - this comes from a while ago (2007), but the author follows up with a more recent study (2009). This comes via the Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog.

Good results: Glucose control improved by 26% in the paleo group compared to 7% in the consensus group (the consensus/control group ate a Mediterranean-style diet, so this is a significant result in my opinion).

Paleo Diet for Heart Patients With Diabetes and Prediabetes

A Paleolithic diet lowered blood sugar levels better than a control diet in coronary heart disease patients with elevated blood sugars, according to Swedish researchers reporting in 2007.

By Steve Parker, M.D.

About half of patients with coronary heart disease have abnormal glucose (blood sugar) metabolism. Lindeberg and associates wondered if a Paleolithic diet (aka “Old Stone Age,” “caveman,” or ancestral human diet) would lead to improved blood sugar levels in heart patients, compared to healthy, Mediterranean-style, Western diet.


Investigators at the University of Lund found enrolled 38 male heart patients—average age 61—patients and randomized them to either a paleo diet or a “consensus” (Mediterranean-like) diet to be followed for 12 weeks. Average weight was 94 kg. Nine participants dropped out before completing the study, so results are based on 29 participants. All subjects had either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes (the majority) but none were taking medications to lower blood sugar. Baseline hemoglobin A1c’s were around 4.8%. Average fasting blood sugar was 125 mg/dl (6.9 mmol/l); average sugar two hours after 75 g of oral glucose was 160 mg/dl (8.9 mmol/l).

The paleo diet was based on lean meat, fish, fruits, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables (potatoes limited to two or fewer medium-sized per day), eggs, and nuts (no grains, rice, dairy products, salt, or refined fats and sugar).

The Mediterranean-like diet focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, fatty fish, oils and margarines rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid.

Both groups were allowed up to one glass of wine daily.

No effort was made to restrict total caloric intake with a goal of weight loss.


Absolute carbohydrate consumption was 43% lower in the paleo group (134 g versus 231 g), and 23% lower in terms of total calorie consumption (40% versus 52%). Glycemic load was 47% lower in the paleo group (65 versus 122), mostly reflecting lack of cereal grains.

The paleo group ate significantly more nuts, fruit, and vegetables. The Mediterranean group ate significantly more cereal grains, oil, margarine, and dairy products.

Glucose control improved by 26% in the paleo group compared to 7% in the consensus group. The improvement was statisically significant only in the paleo group. The researchers believe the improvement was independent of energy consumption, glycemic load, and dietary carb/protein/fat percentages.

High fruit consumption in the paleo group (493 g versus 252 g daily) didn’t seem to impair glucose tolerance.

Hemoglobin A1c’s did not change or differ significantly between the groups.

Neither group showed a change in insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR method).


The authors’ bottom line:

In conclusion, we found marked improvement of glucose tolerance in ischemic heart disease patients with increased blood glucose or diabetes after advice to follow a Palaeolithic [sic] diet compared with a healthy Western diet. The larger improvement of glucose tolerance in the Palaeolithic group was independent of energy intake and macronutrient composition, which suggests that avoiding Western foods is more important than counting calories, fat, carbohydrate or protein. The study adds to the notion that healthy diets based on whole-grain cereals and low-fat dairy products are only the second best choice in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

This was a small study; I consider it a promising pilot. Results apply to men only, and perhaps only to Swedish men. I have no reason to think they wouldn’t apply to women, too. Who knows about other ethnic groups?

There's more - go read the rest.

1 comment:

Kim @ Does P90X Work said...

Interesting post. Seeing as Diabetes is on the increase, and the world health organisation predict that 438 million people (7.8% of world adult population) will have it by 2030, there is obviously a lot to learn from a diet that is based on the eating habits, of a people who lived long before the diabetes epidemic.