Research has proven that the Paleo diet is not all it’s hyped up to be. The diet—often praised by many super athletic celebs and the CrossFit community—is under fire after a University of Melbourne study went viral. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, the Paleo diet is a traditional low-carb and high-fat diet that emulates the cave-dwelling days when humans ate meat, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oils (basically if it grows out of the ground, or has a heartbeat, you can eat it).
The scientists, at the University of Melbourne, divided their subjects (overweight, prediabetic mice) into two groups: the first first group was placed on a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF), and the second was fed generic rodent cuisine.
By the end of the nine-week study, the LCHF group had gained weight, had poor glucose tolerance, and had high insulin levels.The rats actually gained 15 percent of their body weights.
The lead author, Professor Sof Andrikopoulos, called the weight gain “extreme.” The professor also went on to to say, in a press release, that the level of weight gain was so acute that it would increase blood pressure, anxiety, depression and may cause arthritis.
Since the article was published in the Nutrition and Diabetes journal, the media has been saying the Paleo diet makes people fat and sick.
But Wait, The Research Was Done on Mice. This Doesn’t Add Up.
Humans are not mice, and for this science experiment to be plausible, the research would need to be tested on adults. In addition, the study never mentioned the word “Paleo.” And, lastly, the LCHF diet, which was used during this study, wasn’t just high fat, it was extremely high fat—81 percent of the total calories came from fat—the bulk of which were saturated.
Loren Cordain, PhD, a professor at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet said, “The study totally lacks the criteria and objectivity by which most of the scientific, nutritional community uses to establish cause and effect between diet and disease.”
People who follow the Paleo diet—although it is a high-fat, low- carb diet—choose chicken and lean cuts of beef. They don’t sit down with a tub of lard, and they don’t lay sedentary inside a cage. Often these people are athletes who train hours a day and need the extra nutrients to remain healthy.
What’s the Takeaway?
The study, although very interesting, does nothing to prove that the Paleo diet is negatively impacting those who choose to live according to Paleo law. The study needs to be performed on adults and other variables, like exercise, should be added to make it more well-rounded and plausible diet.
So for all my Paleo-loving, CrossFitting friends, it is safe to say this study is bogus. Gnaw on.