It seems like everyone from celebrities to that one-guy-you-knew-in-middle-school are losing weight and getting healthy using the paleo diet. The paleo diet is widely touted for its health benefits, but researchers say dieters—especially those with type 2 diabetes—should be wary of the hype.
According to a press release issued by the University of Melbourne, Dr. Sof Andrikopoulos, a professor and researcher from the university, believes that the current research on the paleo diet is neither extensive nor conclusive enough to warrant the widespread belief of its health benefits.
Dr. Andrikopoulos, who is also the President of the Australian Diabetes Society, believes a paleo diet could be especially harmful to those who deal with type 2 diabetes.
The paleo diet only includes foods that researchers believe were eaten by early humans. The diet consists of mostly meat, fish, vegetables and fruit and denies the dieter dairy products, grains and processed foods.
The website of Dr. Loren Cordian, PhD, the proclaimed founder of the paleo diet movement is full of success stories that promise health and vitality. One story featured on the website claims a woman lost 38 pounds in four weeks and cured her diabetes using the paleo diet’s secrets.
Dr. Andrikopoulos is concerned that claims without any evidence will mislead people.
“There have been only two trials worldwide of people with type 2 diabetes on what looks to be a paleo diet,” Dr. Andrikopoulos said in the press release. “Both studies had fewer than 20 participants, one had no control diet, and at 12 weeks or less, neither study lasted long enough for us to draw solid conclusions about the impact on weight or glycemic control.”
Dr. Andrikopoulos believes that the paleo diet practice of cutting out whole grains and dairy could be harmful, because it reduces important sources of fiber and calcium. In place of the paleo diet, Dr. Andrikopoulos said people with diabetes benefit most from regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet, believed by many to be the world’s healthiest diet, consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil.
“The internet is full of testimonials from people saying a particular diet worked for them because they cut calories and lost weight, but people with diabetes in particular need to approach those claims with caution and seek advice from their healthcare professional,” Dr. Andrikopoulos said.
Rather than trusting the paleo hype, Dr. Andrikopoulos suggested people with type 2 diabetes contact their doctor for diet advice.
These findings were published in the September edition of Medical Journal of Australia.