Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived by this low-glycemic diet, and people ranging from Jessica Biel to your CrossFit-frequenting coworker use it to stay fit. And after a new study came out, some researchers are arguing that it’s the best diet for menopause. What is it?
It’s the Paleolithic, or Paleo, diet. Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden split 70 overweight, postmenopausal women into two groups, one of which followed the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (which allow vegetable oils, dairy, pulses, and whole grains) while the other followed the Paleo diet (which focuses on lean animal proteins, produce, and saturated fats and omits dairy, legumes, and grains). Although both groups of women lost weight over the two-year study period, the Paleo group dropped an average of nine kilos (about 19.8 pounds) while the other group lost just six kilos (or about 13.2 pounds). What’s more, the women who stuck to a diet rich in Paleo-approved foods lost a significant amount of unhealthy belly fat as well as reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Despite giving the women free reigns to an unlimited intake, the weight loss was stable after two years. A more significant fact than weight loss was the evident improvement in levels of fat in the blood, and signs of reduced inflammation,” Caroline Blomquist, a doctoral student at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University explained to Science Daily.
Contrary to these remarkable new findings, previous studies have shown that this dietary lifestyle may not be as healthy as it’s touted. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes found that a caveman-era-esque diet doubled fat mass, increased insulin levels, and worsened glucose intolerance in mice.
Bottom line is before you begin a diet—especially one that excludes certain food groups—don’t forget to consult your doctor. And if you’re looking to tweak your diet as you age, stick to stockpiling these 25 Best Foods for Menopause.