New study finds The Paleo Diet healthier than Mediterranean, DASH, and plant-based diets – press releaseNew study finds The Paleo Diet healthier than Mediterranean, DASH, and plant-based diets – press release
First-ever large-scale meta-analysis of diet and chronic disease shows The Paleo Diet improves key markers of inflammation, blood lipids, and glycemic control
April 3, 2023
Sponsored by The Paleo Diet
BOULDER, CO – April 3, 2023 – A groundbreaking new research paper has discovered that The Paleo Diet is the healthiest way of eating among 11 of the most popular diets. The study found that The Paleo Diet is the most effective way of eating to simultaneously reduce inflammation, improve blood lipid profiles, and control blood sugar. The peer-reviewed study published in a respected nutrition journal ranks The Paleo Diet over Mediterranean, DASH, and plant-based diets for improving markers of these health conditions. For a full review, more data, and related graphics, visit Groundbreaking Research Finds The Paleo Diet® Most Effective at Improving Markers of Chronic Illness.
The peer-reviewed study, published in Nutrients in December 2022, is important because it was a large-scale meta-analysis, often considered the gold standard for generating scientific consensus, and because it shows how much the scientific body of evidence supporting The Paleo Diet has grown over the past 20 years. These science-backed results contradict popular online diet rankings and common recommendations by dietitians, warranting a reevaluation of The Paleo Diet and its place in the practice of healthy nutrition.
The study, Dietary Patterns and Non-Communicable Disease Biomarkers: A Network Meta-Analysis and Nutritional Geometry Approach by S. Liang et. al., considered 4,008 previously published studies to compare the health impacts of many of the most popular diets, including:
The Paleo Diet
Dietary guidelines diet (diets based on a variety of current government recommendations)
Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (e.g., ketogenic diet)
A typical Western diet
The study drew two important conclusions:
The Paleo Diet performed best at improving the markers of chronic disease. Merging all the scores, The Paleo Diet was the healthiest diet with an overall SUCRA score of 67%, DASH at 62%, and Mediterranean at 57%. The Western diet ranked worst at 36%. SUCRA is a statistical scoring mechanism widely used by researchers to compare the relative effectiveness of treatments.
The study shows that specific food choices are the most important factor for improving health. Focusing on macronutrients alone, like following a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet, is not nearly as effective at improving health.
A focus on specific foods is the common theme of the three topped-ranked diets in this study—The Paleo Diet, the DASH diet, and the Mediterranean diet. These three diets were shown to be healthiest, revealing that healthy nutrition is about choosing the right foods—natural, human-friendly foods that are less processed—and not focusing on their fat or carbohydrate content.
Summary of Overall Results
The Paleo Diet
Table 1: This summary shows the SUCRA percentage scores for each diet. For additional context, visit thepaleodiet.com or see the study for the full data set.
Other important findings:
Plant-based diets and diets based on current government guidelines (e.g., USDA MyPlate guidelines) are much less healthy than higher-ranked diets in the study. Government guidelines scored at 48.5% while plant-based diets scored at 49.3%.
The Paleo Diet is strongly anti-inflammatory, earning the highest SUCRA score of 87% for reducing inflammation markers compared with DASH (71%) and Mediterranean (58.1%). The Mediterranean diet recommends several foods associated with inflammation.
While The Paleo Diet was ranked the healthiest diet overall, it was not the best ranked for all the specific biomarkers. The Mediterranean diet topped the list for improving lipid profiles like good and bad cholesterol while The Paleo Diet ranked just below a low-carb/high-fat diet (like the ketogenic diet) for glycemic control.
This new research joins seven other previously published meta-analysis studies and more than 500 peer-reviewed studies in supporting the health claims of The Paleo Diet.
For a full review of this important meta-analysis and its findings, more data, related graphics, and for a downloadable summary, please visit Groundbreaking Research Finds The Paleo Diet® Most Effective at Improving Markers of Chronic Illness.
ABOUT THE PALEO DIET
The Paleo Diet® is the strong and healthy diet. Founded by Dr. Loren Cordain 20 years ago after a decade of peer-reviewed research, The Paleo Diet has become the most influential way of eating, sparking over 750 published research papers and accelerating related nutrition movements like low-carb, gluten-free, ketogenic, autoimmune, anti-inflammatory, and organic/non-GMO. The Paleo Diet redefined what healthy eating means and today reaches over 30 million health-conscious shoppers each year. By practicing The Paleo Diet within Dr. Cordain’s flexible, science-based framework, our audience improves health, feels vibrant, and enhances performance at work and play. Learn more, see free healthy nutrition resources, and explore our food certification and brand licensing programs at thepaleodiet.com. The Paleo Diet® is a registered trademark of The Paleo Diet, LLC.
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