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Low carb Paleo diet beats low-fat diet for weight loss and melting belly fat

Low-carb Paleo diet beats low-fat diet for weight loss, diabetes in Swedish study.
Low-carb Paleo diet beats low-fat diet for weight loss, diabetes in Swedish study.Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The low-carb Paleolithic diet is more effective for producing weight loss, melting belly fat, and controlling diabetes than a low-fat diet, according to research conducted by scientists at Umeå University in Sweden and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The two-year study tracked 70 overweight, post-menopausal women who were assigned either a low-fat diet or a low-carb (higher-fat) Paleo diet.

Paleo Dieters Lost Twice as Much Weight

Study participants were measured for weight, cholesterol and blood sugars after six months on their respective diets, and again after two years. The results showed the Paleo dieters lost significantly more weight (14 pounds) compared to the low-fat dieters (5.7 pounds).

What's more, the low-carb, high-fat Paleo dieters lost 4 inches from their waists after six months, compared to just 2 inches for the low-fat dieters. In previous studies, the Paleo diet has routinely beaten low fat diets at controlling cholesterol and diabetes.

The results are noteworthy because older women — especially those who are post-menopausal — have historically reported having a hard time losing weight, especially from their mid-sections, due to slower metabolisms and hormone disruptions.

Paleo Diet Curbs Pro-Inflammatory Blood Sugar Spikes

Researchers said Paleo dieters also reported feeling more satisfied and less hungry than low-fat dieters, which makes sense, since fat makes food taste better and boosts satiety.

The Paleo diet emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods. It's the most popular diet around today, and has a large celebrity following, including NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Ray Allen, supermodel Adriana Lima (pictured above), and actor Kellan Lutz.

Two excellent resources on the Paleo diet are The Paleo Solution (by Robb Wolf) and The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, who is his own best advertisement for the anti-aging benefits of the Paleo eating plan. [Editor's note: I have read both books and they are fantastic.]

The new Swedish study bolsters claims by leading obesity experts who insist low-carb diets like the Paleo and ketogenic diets fuel rapid weight loss, reverse type 2 diabetes, and prevent Alzheimer's, obesity, epilepsy and ADHD.

Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter told me the Paleo diet can curb today's alarming epidemics of degenerative disease, including dementia. "The fate of your brain is not in your genes; it's in the food you eat," said Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain.