Could the Paleo dietâoften touted by CrossFitters and super fit celebs like Jessica Biel and Megan Foxâbe really bad for your health? Thatâs the buzz this week surrounding new research published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.
For the study, scientists at the University of Melbourne divided their subjectsâoverweight, prediabietic miceâinto two groups: One group was put on a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, while the other was fed standard rodent fare.
At the end of nineÂ weeks, the LCHF group had gained more weight, developed poorer glucose tolerance, and higher insulin levels. In fact, the mice in that group actually gained 15% of their body weight. âThatâs extreme weight gain,â lead author Professor Sof Andrikopoulos said in a press release. “This level of weight gain will increase blood pressure and increase your risk of anxiety and depression and may cause bone issues and arthritis.â
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Andrikopoulos went on to liken the rodentsâ LCHF diet to caveman-style eatingâand ever since, the media has been spinning dire warnings about the Paleo diet making people fat and sick.
But letâs back up for a minute. First of all, the study was done on mice and we, of course, are not mice. Secondly, the study text doesn’t mention the word âPaleoâ at all. And third, the LCHF diet in the study was not just high-fat but very high-fatâ81% of total calories came from fat, more than half of which was saturated.
Granted, Paleo is a type of low-carb, higher-fat diet. But people who follow it donât necessarily load up on lard. Human beings who eat in the spirit of our cave-dwelling ancestors can choose chicken and lean cuts of beef over bacon and pork belly. A more accurate depiction of Paleo is a nutritional regimen centered around pasture-raised meat, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oils.