Paleo diet plus exercise could boost heart health in people with diabetes

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Scientists from Umeå University in Sweden found that a Paleo diet plus exercise training could improve heart health in overweight people with type 2 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes commonly have the accumulation of triglycerides and changes in the left ventricle.

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood.

High triglycerides may contribute to the hardening of the arteries or the thickening of the artery walls (arteriosclerosis) — which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

Left ventricular problem is a strong predictor of negative heart outcomes.

These symptoms could be risk factors for the development of heart disease.

A few studies have examined the separate effects of diet and exercise training on heart function, but none have examined heart changes in response to a combined diet and exercise.

In the current study, researchers tested the effects of a Paleolithic diet, with and without additional exercise training, on heart fat, structure, and function.

They tested 22 overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes, who were assigned to either a Paleolithic diet and standard-care exercise recommendations or to a Paleolithic diet plus exercise training 3 hours per week for 12 weeks.

A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering.

A paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These foods include dairy products, legumes, and grains.

The researchers found that both groups showed strong and better metabolic changes.

The diet-plus-exercise group showed big decreases in triglycerides and their left ventricles showed positive changes. In the diet-only group, however, no such effects were found.

The team concluded that exercise training plus a Paleolithic diet could reduce triglycerides and improve the left ventricle in overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and was conducted by Julia Otten et al.

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