Background/Objectives: The Paleolithic diet is receiving increased media attention in Australia as a viable low-carbohydrate diet, with strict removal of grains and dairy, and high fruit/vegetable and meat consumption. Our aim was to evaluate compliance, palatability and feasibility of the diet.
Subjects/Methods: 39 healthy women (age 47±13 yr, BMI 27±4 kg/m2) were randomised to an ad-libitum Paleolithic (n=22) or AGHE diet (n=17) for 4-wks. A food checklist was completed daily, with mean ‘extras’ (serves/d) calculated to assess compliance (>1.5 serves/day as non-compliant). A 12-item questionnaire was administered post intervention to assess palatability and feasibility.
Results: Mean extras consumption was 0.57+0.6 and 1.0+0.6 serves/d on Paleolithic and AGHE diets, respectively (P=0.03). There were trends towards higher reported tiredness (68%,41%), trouble sleeping (18%,0%) and food cravings (18%,0%) (all P=0.09), and significantly higher diarrhoea (23%, 0%, P=0.046); but no significant differences in irritability (9%,0%), hunger (36%, 24%), muscle cramps (14%,6%), headache (36%,6%) or nausea (9%,0%) (Paleolithic versus AGHE, respectively). The majority of participants viewed both dietary patterns as healthy/very healthy (76%,94%), reported high levels of satisfaction/fullness after most meals (81% for both) and found it easy to shop for appropriate foods (90%,94%), but grocery shopping was more expensive on the Paleolithic diet (69%,6%) and a higher proportion rated overall taste/palatability poorly (19%,0%).
Conclusions: Compliance was high but the potential side effects and increased cost indicate the Paleolithic dietary pattern may not be practical in clinical/public health settings. Further studies are required to test the efficacy and longer term health effects.
Funding Source: N/A