Healthy Living

Following Paleo Diet May Increase Risk For Heart Disease, Study Claims

The people who are on the paleo diet are at risk of heart disease. Researchers found that the lack of whole grains in their daily meals could contribute to high amount of a blood biomarker linked to the disease. 

The new study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, analyzed the health of more than 90 people following either paleo diet or a traditional Australian diet. Researchers focused on the presence of the compound trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in the blood of participants. 

TMAO is produced in the gut and has long been linked to higher risk of having a heart disease. Researchers found high concentrations of bacteria that produce TMAO in people who followed the paleo diet. 

The study suggests that the increase potential occurs due to little to no amounts of whole grains in their diet. Previous studies showed that high consumption of whole grains could help reduce risks of cardiovascular disease.

Paleo diet focuses on meat, vegetables and nuts but low intake of fruit. This approach also restricts grains, legumes, dairy, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

"The paleo diet excludes all grains and we know that whole grains are a fantastic source of resistant starch and many other fermentable fibres that are vital to the health of your gut microbiome," Angela Genoni, lead researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia, said in a statement. "Because TMAO is produced in the gut, a lack of whole grains might change the populations of bacteria enough to enable higher production of this compound.”

Genoni added high consumption of red meat and saturated fats per day on paleo diet add to the increased risk of heart disease. Red meat also supports the production of TMAO. 

"Many paleo diet proponents claim the diet is beneficial to gut health, but this research suggests that when it comes to the production of TMAO in the gut, the paleo diet could be having an adverse impact in terms of heart health," the researcher said. 

Genoni’s team also found that populations of beneficial bacterial species was lower in people following the diet. The decrease was associated with their reduced carbohydrate intake that also contribute to other chronic diseases. 

Meat Paleo diet focuses on meat, vegetables and nuts but low intake of fruit. Pixabay