Heart healthy paleo
The diet types that score off the charts on almost all fronts are rare. More likely, we see one macronutrient pathway, like fat, that is strong and another, like carbohydrate clearance, that appears a bit weaker. Paleo Plus is the perfect example. Paleo Plus genotypes will usually do a good job handling a diet that is higher in healthy fats, but struggle to keep blood sugar under control when they eat lots of carbohydrates and sugar. But don’t let the name fool you, the Paleo Plus diet isn’t your run of the mill Paleo diet.
Beans are a healthy part of this Paleo diet. Sure, throw a grass fed steak in the mix every so often, but just because these cavemen and cavewomen can handle healthy fats in their diet does not mean they ate nothing but meat. Beans are an important source of plant based fiber Paleo Plus dieters can use to feed the good critters living in the gut. However, this diet is not without its traditional Paleo rules – refined grains and dairy can both be placed squarely on the avoid list for this group.
What is the scientific basis for this diet? In the peer reviewed PREDICT-1 Trial, researchers at King’s College London and Harvard, among others, found that a full 50% of the post meal blood sugar response is attributable to genetics. PREDICT-1 was published in the prestigious Journal, Nature Medicine.
Further, and as we document on our science page, DNA diets have been shown to far outperform ketogenic diets for weight loss, adherence over time, and in reducing total cholesterol and even blood sugar.
The Paleo diet in its original form popularized on the internet is largely lacking in scientific support. The Gene Food Paleo Plus diet uses some of the good principles of traditional Paleo, such as eschewing refined grains, most dairy, and sugar, and adds to it greater amounts of low glycemic fiber and plant proteins. In formulating the diet, we honed closer to the upper limits of United States dietary guidelines than most Paleo diets, keeping a macronutrient ratio of 42.5% fat, 42.5% carbohydrate, and 15% protein, a good chunk of which is derived from plant proteins.
We can justify adding roughly 7.5% of dietary fat to the Paleo Plus diet by referencing studies such as the peer reviewed Retterstol study from 2018. In Retterstol, when subjects were placed on a low carbohydrate, high fat diet (with a much greater percentage of calories coming from fat than the Paleo Plus diet) LDL-C rose between 5-107% in the subjects, with an average 44% increase. This teaches us that there is genetic variability in how people respond to a diet higher in fat.
Most closely related diet: Modified Paleo
Primary difference with Modified Paleo: Modified Paleo genotypes are more likely to be able to get by with some dairy in their diets. Not to say that all of them will thrive on dairy products, however, Modified Paleo isn’t lactose intolerant, whereas Paleo Plus is.
Biggest challenge: Paleo plus isn’t a keto diet. While carbohydrates should be curtailed, Paleo Plus dieters still want to ensure they are getting adequate fiber to feed the good guys in their gut.
Red meat friendly? Yes, in moderation. Paleo plus dieters can deal with the fat, but saturated fat isn’t the whole equation when it comes to animal protein. Paleo Plus dieters eating more protein still have to be mindful of creatinine, IGF-1 and uric acid.
Keto friendly: Yes, but test LDL-P and heart health metrics.
Carnivore diet friendly? Nope.
Does this diet type handle fermented foods? As long as it’s not fermented dairy, all the other fermented foods are on the menu for Paleo Plus.
What about pancakes and refined grains: As we see with diet types like California Keto, Paleo Plus is better suited to a diet that is lower in carbohydrates, especially refined grains, so unfortunately pancakes are off the menu. This diet can easily be grain free, however, the addition of non-cereal grains, like quinoa, may work well for some Paleo Plus.
Go to breakfast: Poached eggs over black bean hash with a side of steamed greens.