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Paleo diet For Atherosclerosis / Heart disease

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Paleo diet For Atherosclerosis / Heart disease

Many nutritionists and medical experts have conflicting views on the popular Paleo diet for heart disease.

Some medical experts agree with the hypothesis behind the diet and believe that consuming foods our ancestors ate thousands of years ago allows the body to function at optimum levels and is good for overall heart health.

Supporters of the Paleo diet believe that wheat and sugars are the cause behind heart disease rather than saturated fats. They argue that consuming a low carb diet reduces one’s cholesterol profile. Therefore, the Paleo diet is beneficial for heart disease.

However, many experts disagree with the Paleo diet. Many doctors and researchers argue that the diet encourages the consumption of meat. This may elevate a person’s cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recent studies also show that the Paleo diet could have negative effects on people with heart disease. 

Opinion in favor of following the Paleo diet to treat and prevent heart disease:

Healthcare professionals who support the paleo diet for heart disease believe it can treat or reverse this condition. This is because the Paleo diet reduces inflammation in the body.  The Paleo diet also reduces some people’s blood pressure and lipid profiles.

Dr. Loren Cordain, the founder of the Paleo diet believes a high lipid profile is not the only cause behind heart disease. He writes, “Chronic low-level inflammation…causes a clot to form in the arteries that supply the heart, resulting in a heart attack.” The paleo diet works to reduce inflammation in the body, and this reduces a person’s risk of a heart attack.

Furthermore, Dr. Cordain believes that most saturated fats in our diet come from processed meats. However, fatty meats pose no threat to a person following a Paleo diet.

Studies also show that following the Paleo diet decreases the cardiovascular risk factors for heart disease. In 2009, a study titled “Metabolic and Physiologic Improvements From Consuming a Paleolithic, Hunter-Gatherer Type Diet” indicated that people who followed the Paleo diet had improved lipid profiles and blood pressure.

Supporters of the diet also believe that high levels of unsaturated fats do not cause heart disease. William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the book Wheat Belly, argues that wheat and sugars rather than saturated fats increase the levels of cholesterol in the body.

Thus, the diet’s supporters propose that the Paleo diet is beneficial for heart disease. This is because it is low carb diet that can reduce one’s cholesterol profile by eliminating whole grains.

Opinion against following the Paleo diet to treat and prevent heart disease:

Many experts disagree with the idea that the Paleo diet can treat or prevent heart disease. First, the diet’s opponents argue that the diet’s main source of protein is meat. Frequent meat consumption may elevate a person’s cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Although some studies suggest that the Paleo diet lowers cholesterol levels, the 2014 study, “Unrestricted Paleolithic Diet is Associated with Unfavorable Changes to Blood Lipids in Healthy Subjects” showed that people who followed the Paleo diet had increased levels of LDL or bad cholesterol that can block the arteries and lead to heart disease.

Opponents of the Paleo diet believe it poses a risk on heart health because it disrupts the gut’s microbiome, leading to a rise in heart disease markers in the body.

A recent study lead by Dr. Angela Genoni at Edith Cowan University in Australia showed that the elimination of whole grains proposed by the Paleo diet disrupts the balance of a person’s gut bacteria.

As a result, gut bacteria start producing trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) and releasing it in the blood. The increased production of TMAO increases fatty deposits in the arteries and disrupts cholesterol function, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Opponents of the diet believe that the Paleo diet may be beneficial for overall health because it encourages healthy eating habits, such as eating organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed meats, high sugar foods, and refined carbohydrates.

Published July 2020

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