BOSTON — Postmenopausal women with obesity who adhered to a Paleolithic-type diet for 2 years saw a changes in specific fatty acid levels linked to improved insulin resistance vs. women on a standard low-fat diet, according to study findings presented here.
“We found that fatty acids associated with insulin resistance are more decreased in the Paleolithic-type diet compared to the control diet ... improving a person’s metabolic profile,” Caroline Blomquist, a PhD student in the department of public health and clinical medicine at Umea University in Umea, Sweden, told Endocrine Today. “Hopefully this will decrease the risk for insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in the future.”
Blomquist and colleagues analyzed data from 70 postmenopausal women with obesity (mean BMI 32.6 kg/m2) randomly assigned to either an ad libitum Paleolithic-type diet (consuming 30% of total energy in protein, 30% in carbohydrates and 40% in fats with high unsaturated fatty acid content), or a low-fat control diet that called for consuming 15% of total energy in protein, 55% in carbohydrates and 30% fat for 24 months. Participants kept 4-day food diaries; researchers measured food intake and physical activity, fatty acid composition, lipid levels and insulin resistance at baseline, 6 and 24 months. Both groups also participated in 12 group sessions led by a dietician over the course of the study.
Women in both diet groups lost similar amounts of body weight and sagittal abdominal diameter at 24 months (P < .01 for both). However, women assigned the Paleolithic-type diet reported a 19% reduction in saturated fatty acid intake; a 47% increase in monosaturated fatty acids and a 71% increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids (P < .001 for all). Women assigned to the control diet reported no significant changes in fatty acid intake. Researchers found a correlation between reported fatty acid energy percentage intake and fatty acid composition of cholesterol esters for saturated fatty acids (P = .003) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (P < .001). At 2 years, women assigned the Paleolithic-type diet experienced a decrease in fatty acids associated with insulin resistance, including 14:0, 16:1, 18:3n-6 and 20:3n-6 (P = .001; P = .001; P = .014; and P = .0001 for difference between groups).
“If you look at the enzyme activities, you can see they’re more decreased in the Paleolithic-type diet, and these enzymes are related to insulin resistance, and that improves metabolic status even more,” Blomquist told Endocrine Today. “I would like to see how this diet will work on people with type 2 diabetes.” – by Regina Schaffer
Blomquist C, et al. SUN-575. Presented at: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting; April 1-4, 2016; Boston.
Disclosure: Blomquist reports no relevant financial disclosures.