Fad diets are often too good to be true and the popular Paleo diet may be next on the list. Now, many die-hard followers of the Paleo diet believe it is really healthy, but new research has found it could be bad for your heart. The Paleo diet is known as the ‘Caveman Diet’ with the idea it more closely aligns with what our ancestors ate during the stone age. This means avoiding whole grains, dairy, legumes, and refined sugars instead opting for meat, eggs, nuts, veggies, and certain fruits.
How Can The Paleo Diet Threaten Heart Health?
Let’s turn to the study to answer this question. A research team out of Australia followed over 90 people, about half of which were on the Paleo diet. The other half followed a diet more in line with national dietary recommendations.
After about a year researchers compared blood work between the two groups. What they found was that the Paleo group had higher blood levels of a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide or TMAO as well as higher concentrations of a gut bacteria responsible for producing TMAO. TMAO a compound found in the gut that is associated with heart disease.
So, what might be causing this?
What I can tell you is that whole grains are important for a healthy gut. They contain compounds vital to your gut bugs (microbiome) such as resistant starch and fermentable fibers.
I’m often asked about grains and I know they can be a confusing part of your diet. So here are my recommendations:
- Choose Whole Grains – there are two types of grains: whole and reined. Choose healthy, whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, barley, and whole wheat.
- Don’t Judge A Food By Its Cover – Don’t worry about how a product ‘looks’. Instead, check the nutrition label for the word “whole” or “whole grain” listed as the first ingredient.
- Mix It Up – eat a variety of healthy grains because they have different nutritional content.
Now, by skipping refined grains and opting for whole grains instead you’ll feel fuller for longer (thanks fiber!) and cut out a whole lot of junk food. Both of these effects can help you lose weight also.
So – skip the trendy diets and eat the rainbow instead. Opt for a more balanced diet; it really is best for optimal health.