Paleo Diet vs a “Heart Healthy” Diet For Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease
Is the Paleo diet more effective at combating and preventing heart disease than a diet that is labelled as “heart healthy”?
You would be forgiven for being confused when a body such as the American Heart Association recommends a diet that consists of foods lacking in healthy nutrients, for example whole grains and vegetable oil, and goes on to severely restrict the consumption of food rich in healthy nutrients such as red meat, animal fat and good cholesterol.
Furthermore, according to the FDA diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease which is contrary to the views of Prof Tim Noakes & what is recommended by the Paleo diet.
Interestingly, since the USDA issued its dietary guidelines in 1980, the American population managed to reduce its fat consumption by around 15%…
…however during the the years since 1980 obesity has skyrocketed in the US – so if eating saturated fat is good for you, this means that the USDA, FDA & AHA have got it all wrong?
If the low-fat, high-carb & restricted cholesterol diet recommended by the above bodies are the best for us, questions need to asked as to why the current levels of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes continue to rise at an alarming rate.
3 Authority Votes In Support Of a Paleolithic Diet To Prevent Heart Disease
Contrary to the diets recommended by the FDA & AHA above, the authority views below submit strong arguments for people to follow a Paleo styled diet to promote good heart health and prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) disease.
1. In 2013 Robert Pastore of the Eastern Michigan University conducted a study (Master’s Thesis) to determine the effect of how a “heart-healthy” diet versus a Paleolithic diet impacts on hyperlipidemia (high lipid levels & clogging of arteries) in adults.
It is was concluded in the dissertation that “Paleolithic nutrition can optimize serum lipids in adults with hyperlipidemia who have
been on a heart-healthy diet based on the current recommendations by the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy) or the American Heart Association (AHA).”
This thesis, which can be read here, was conducted on 10 male and 10 female subjects between the ages of 40 to 62 years who were selected on the basis of being diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia (high levels of blood cholesterol).
During the study the subjects…
- did not taking any medication to lower their cholesterol
- followed a calorie controlled diet for 4 months, based on either the dietary principles of the Academy or the AHA
- then followed a Paleolithic diet for 4 months
The data gleaned from this revealed the following;
- the mean total cholesterol (P<.001),
- the LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein, ie the “bad cholesterol”, (P <.001),
- and triglycerides (P<.001) were all significantly lowered
- and HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein, ie the “good cholesterol”) was significantly elevated following four months of a Paleolithic diet relative to the “heart-healthy” Academy/AHA diet.
The conclusion from this study is therefore, that following a Paleolithic diet can significantly lower the bad cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, and increase your good HDL cholesterol which all goes towards promoting good heart health.
At the conclusion of his dissertation he recommends The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Loren Cordain, PhD and Nell Stephenson for anyone wanting to benefit from the Paleo way of eating.
2. Chris Kresser, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner who is a staunch Paleo supporter especially when it comes to heart health.
According to his experience the Paleo eating plan includes all of the necessary micro-nutrients, which ensures optimal nutrient absorption, as well as providing an appropriate amount of healthy fats whilst eliminating the unhealthy vegetable oils, Omega-6 and any form of processed food or meat.
Contrary to this the American Heart Association recommends a diet full of nutrient-challenged foods such as whole grains and vegetable oil (which are inflammatory and one of the causes of heart disease) and strangely goes on to restrict the intake of nutrient-rich food such as red meat, good cholesterol as well as healthy (animal) fat.
3. Professor Tim Noakes [MBChB, MD and DSc (Med)] contends that the “old school theory” of blood cholesterol and a high fat diet being the cause of cardiovascular disease could be proven to be one of the greatest errors in the history of medicine.
He goes on to say that “It is time to admit that the theory has failed. We need to adopt an open mind if we are ever to discover the real cause [or causes] of the current global epidemic of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease, all of which are likely caused by the same factors“.
He is a huge supporter of the low-carb, high fat diet which he says is not only “heart-healthy” but could also prevent (or reverse) diseases such as type2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) as well as obesity.
Eating a diet high in carbohydrates is not only addictive, he says, but also dangerous as it causes progressive weight gain, insulin issues and could end up in full blown diabetes, obesity and cause heart disease.
Professor Tim Noakes’ new cookbook, Real Meal Revolution, will show you why carbohydrates are addictive, the possible cause of health issues such as diabetes, obesity & heart disease and how fat could be the body’s preferred (and healthier) source of fuel.
Paleo Friendly Foods To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Monounsaturated fats which have are known to reduce LDL & triglycerides and increase HDL – all good for reducing cholesterol.
- Nuts – data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) studies have shown that people who regularly consume nuts (not peanuts as these are actually legumes and not Paleo friendly) have a reduced BMI (body mass index), smaller waists well as lower blood pressure which all contribute to improved heart health.
- Soluble fiber – also apparent in the NHANES study above was that subjects who were exposed to a soluble fiber in their diets reduced their risk of suffering from heart disease by 15%.
- Polyphenol rich foods, including foods such as blackcurrants, blueberries, artichoke heads, filtered coffee, cherries, strawberries, blackberries etc., have high concentrations of flavonoids which contribute to reducing cardiovascular disease by improving vascular function and reducing inflammation.
Whilst there’s some controversy over what diet is best at keeping cardiovascular disease (CVD) at bay, there is increasing support (backed up by actual studies as above) for heart health to be promoted, or heart disease to be prevented, by following a Paleo styled diet.
To ensure you get all these possible health benefits you would be well advised to download this comprehensive Paleo guide that will show you exactly how to eat the way mother nature intended so that you can enjoy improved health & natural weight loss…
Lastly, eating a Paleo diet could provide you with many health benefits, not least of all good heart health, as well as help you lose weight.