Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Paleolithic Diet & Type 2 Diabetes

The “Paleolithic Diet” has piqued my curiosity lately, both when discussed in this recent New York Times article about modern "cavemen" in NYC, and when mentioned in Dr. Robert Lustig’s lecture as a cure for type 2 diabetes. While the NYT article slightly repulsed me with the (over) emphasis on raw meat, the idea of going back to our ancestral diet is intuitively appealing to me.

This “Paleo” diet, also known as the “Old Stone Age” diet, is very high in fiber as it is based on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and nuts. A recent study compared the Paleolithic diet with the standard diabetic diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Though the sample size is small (N=13), it’s a start. They found that after a 3-month period, patients on the Paleolithic diet had lower levels of HbA1c (a marker of long term blood sugar levels – the lower the better), lower triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, lower BMI, and a decreased waist circumference.

We need to do more studies like this. Diet and lifestyle changes will help people be independent from the health care system and avoid expensive medications, hospitalizations, and surgeries.

I can’t help wondering what the Paleo diet would do to telomerase activity...


  1. I think the Paleo diet has a simplicity that is attractive in a minimalist way, and possesses many other traits that are worth embracing (e.g., imposed fasting, lack of processed food), but I have one major concern: I wonder if this is something that could ever be reproduced on a scale sufficient to feed humanity. Issues of population growth/overcrowding aside, on a simple production scale, how could we ever raise enough animals to support this kind of diet given the size of our communities? And what would be the impact of the Paleo diet on child-rearing? Have any pregnant women tried this diet?

  2. If you take away the meat, fish, and eggs, it's gotta be pretty sustainable, right? And wouldn't taking out those things make it more healthy anyway? There can't be too much fiber in the lean meat part of the diet, is there?

    Totally agree that diet and lifestyle changes would drastically improve the state of the healthcare system in this country.

  3. Hi Christina,

    Came to your blog from Stephan's.

    I am T2 diabetic for the last 11 years on metformin. For the past 20 months, I am on a low carb diet (<=40g every day).

    I am not on any medication now and my blood lipid, a1c and CRP are all normal. Just wanted to register my comment. Certainly, Low carb is the way to go, atleast for Diabetics.

    Thanks, Venkat

  4. Thanks, Venkat! It's great to hear from you and I'm so glad to hear you are able to control your diabetes through diet changes.

    I would love to learn more about how you made that lifestyle change and what kinds of meals you are now eating...