July 23, 2019
If you are not living the life of a hunter-gatherer, you probably shouldn’t be eating that way, results of a study have found.
Indeed, more than twice the amount of a key biomarker linked closely to heart disease has been found in the blood of people who adhere to the Paleo Diet.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia have just completed the world’s first major study examining the impact of the Paleo Diet on gut bacteria.
The controversial Paleo (or “caveman”) Diet advocates eating meat, vegetables, nuts and limited fruit, therefore excluding grains, legumes, dairy, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.
ECU researchers compared 44 people who adhered to the diet with 47 who were following a traditional Australian diet.
They measured the amount of trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) in the participants’ blood. High levels of TMAO, an organic compound produced in the gut, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease—including heart attack, stroke, and death in patients who otherwise appear to be healthy, according to pioneering research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic in 2015.
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That equates to one in every four deaths.
Lead researcher Dr. Angela Genoni from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences said: “Those who promote the Paleo Diet often cite it as beneficial for your gut health, but this research suggests there were adverse differences in those who followed the dietary pattern.”
“The Paleo Diet excludes all grains and we know that whole grains are a fantastic source of resistant starch, and many other fermentable fibers [that] are vital to the health of your gut microbiome,” Dr Genoni said.
“Because TMAO is produced in the gut, a lack of whole grains might change the populations of bacteria enough to enable higher production of this compound.
“Additionally, the Paleo Diet includes greater servings per day of red meat, which provides the precursor compounds to produce TMAO.”
Dr. Genoni presented the findings of her research at the 2018 Nutrition Society of Australia Conference in Canberra last November.
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