Paleo diet linked to indigestion
The paleo diet is linked to diarrhoea, sleeping problems and tiredness, according to new research.
Despite encouraging consumption of fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs and nuts, paleo was contrary to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating as it excludes grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods, said Edith Cowan University researchers in a new study.
The study compared the diet to the AGHE, in terms of compliance, palatability and feasibility.
Paleo mimics a caveman style diet, based on foods that were eaten by humans during the Paleolithic era.
The diet has been spruiked by high-profile figures such as celebrity chef Pete Evans, who sparked controversy last year with his paleo recipe book for babies, which health and government authorities said could lead to babies dying.
The AGHE advises people to eat from the five main food groups of vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meat and dairy, while limiting saturated fat, salt, sugars and alcohol.
The four week study involved 39 healthy women aged between 34-60 with an average BMI of 27, with 22 on the paleo diet and 17 following the AGHE.
Angela Genoni from Edith Cowan’s School of Medical and Health Sciences said that cutting out grains contributed to increased tiredness and headaches, and respondents reported more diarrhoea when following the paleo guidelines.
This was due to the diet impacting gut bacteria, which changes bugs living in the bowels.
“Fibre acts as a prebiotic, they are food for the bacteria and a lot of food for them means they can flourish. It’s more beneficial to eat fibre than a probiotic,” she said.
The new findings follow Ms Genoni’s first study on the paleo diet from May, which found that while the diet caused weight loss, it had no benefits for cholesterol, blood glucose and also decreased calcium levels.
Her research will now focus on the long term impact of the paleo diet on gut health.
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