In recent years, the mortality rate for all major heart diseases (coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease) has significantly declined. Yet, despite the advancements made by medical science, Heart disease continues to hold the highest mortality rate of any other disease. This being so, nutrition continues to play a significant role in facilitating improved health.
In regards to men's health, the foregoing conditions are often compounded by a condition termed, metabolic syndrome. This condition refers to a group of risk factors that often occur together, and increase a persons risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke or type II diabetes. The two most prevalent risk factors for metabolic syndrome include, elevated intra-abdominal fat and insulin resistance (a potent contributor in the development of type II diabetes). For this reason, the goal is to identify strategies that assist in reducing intra-abdominal fat and insulin resistance. A task currently being undertaken by the University of Lund, Sweden.
Professor Tommy Jonsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, and his team of researchers, have recently concluded, that marked improvements in insulin resistance and reductions in intra-abdominal fat, in individuals diagnosed with ischemic heart disease, can be achieved by following a paleolithic diet compared to a mediterranean diet. The paleolithic diet based on lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs and nuts, was shown to significantly reduce plasma insulin levels, triglycerides, total cholesterol and intra-abdominal fat. Moreover, during the 12 week study, researchers found that indivduals following a paleolithic diet demonstrated a 31 percent decrease in leptin levels compared to an 18 percent decrease demonstrated in the mediterranean diet group. The reason leptin features as an important point, is the fact that leptin is regarded as our satiety hormone, it helps us to regulate when we are full. Hence, a paleolithic diet was found to be more satiating per calorie than a mediterranean diet, an aspect vital to any diet intended to facilitate weight loss in obese patients and thereby mitigate the effects of associated diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes.
The concept of elevated protein was also addressed in the aformentioned study, given individual concern regarding increasing protein consumption. Nevertheless, total protein intake, measured in grams per day, was not shown to differ between the two diets. However, due to a reduction in total energy intake in those consuming a paleolithic diet, the energy percentage from dietary protein exceeded Australian recommendations for people with type II diabetes. This being so, Professor Jonsson and his team suggest that the debatable disadvantage for long term kidney function (associated with type II diabetes) should be weighed against the benefits of a more stabilised post-prandial (post-meal, after eating) blood glucose level.
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