A recent study which looked at the benefits of eating like a “cavewoman” when compared with a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet determined the cavewoman diet was best. But when comparing two things in a pool of many, you can’t determine one is the best of all unless you are willing to analyze the whole pool. You can, however, say one is better than the other.
According to the study, the paleo diet, centered mostly around vegetables and meat, is better for weight loss than a diet rich in whole grains and low in fat. This is no surprise, as the fat fallacy that took over in the 1980s and beyond did little for our collective waistlines and did a lot in flooding the market with crappy food.
For this particular study, scientists tracked 70 women as they dieted for two years—half of them eating a paleo diet and half of them eating foods based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. Likely similar to the USDA’s food guidelines, the Scandinavian diet is mostly rich in whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruit, beans, and fish.
In the first six months, the women on the paleo diet lost twice as much body fat as those on the more traditional weight loss plan. They also saw their waistlines shrink and triglycerides decrease more.
Six months after the start of the study, women on the paleo diet had lost an average of 13.6 pounds and 4.3 inches on their waist. Comparatively, the women on the Scandinavian diet lost about 2.3 inches on their waist and 5.7 pounds.
“A paleolithic diet has greater beneficial effects than a Nordic diet regarding fat mass, abdominal obesity and triglyceride levels in obese postmenopausal women,” wrote the researchers, according to the Daily Mail.
The study abstract concluded:
“A PD has greater beneficial effects vs an NNR diet regarding fat mass, abdominal obesity and triglyceride levels in obese postmenopausal women; effects not sustained for anthropometric measurements at 24 months. Adherence to protein intake was poor in the PD group. The long-term consequences of these changes remain to be studied.”
However, the researchers noted that although the paleo diet sped weight loss in the first months, that weight loss slowed dramatically as time went on and metabolism adjusted to the new eating regimen.
While some sources covering this study would have you think it determined the “paleo diet is best”, they are making an oversimplification of the research. The study did find that the paleo diet outperformed the Scandinavian diet in the first six months in postmenopausal women, where weight loss and triglyceride levels are concerned. This is a far different statement, though could provide some women with the incentive to go cavewoman for a while.