Paleo diet makes fat cells lazy (and if you're trying to lose weight, that's exactly what you want)
In the version of the paleo diet studied by the Swedish food scientist Caroline Blomquist for two years, there industrially produced foods, added sugars, grains and dairy were absent, but vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds were present. Although the subjects were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, the paleo diet made them slimmer and healthier - and changed the way their fat cells functioned.
In her PhD research, Blomquist divided 70 somewhat heavy postmenopausal women into 2 groups.
One group followed a diet for 2 years that was compiled according to the guiding lights of the Scandinavian authorities. Proteins yielded 15 percent of the energy, fats 25 percent, carbohydrates the remaining 60 percent.
The other group switched to a paleo diet. Protein supplied 30 percent of the energy, fats 30 percent and carbohydrates the remaining 40 percent.
A simple scheme that clarifies the difference between the two diet types can be found here.
Although the women were allowed as much as they wanted, both groups lost belly fat. Fat loss was equally great in both groups.
The paleo diet, however, had a stronger positive effect on cardiovascular health than the control diet. The figure above shows that the paleo diet reduced the concentration of triglycerides in the blood significantly.
The paleo diet also changed the way the fat cells functioned. The paleo diet induced the fat cells to produce fewer enzymes such as CD36, FAS and DGAT by the paleo diet.
The control diet did not have that effect.
In fat cells CD36, FAS and DGAT play a key role in the absorption of fatty acids from the bloodstream, their conversion into triglycerids and their storage in droplets respectively. The effects of the paleo diet on the production of these enzymes suggest that the paleo diet stimulates the body to burn fats instead of accumulating them in fat tissue. And that would imply that paleo diet makes the loss of body fat easier.
Both the paleo diet and diet of the control group reduced the biosynthesis of inflammatory factors.
"In conclusion, the study shows that the Paleolithic diet with a high proportion of unsaturated fats was healthier for this group of women, even if the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations also had positive health effects", Blomquist said in a press release. [medfak.umu.se, 2018-01-18]
Blomquist C. Metabolic consequences of a Paleolithic diet in obese postmenopausal women. Thesis Umea University, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, 2017.
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