New research has found that people who follow the paleolithic, or paleo, diet have high levels of a blood biomarker tied to heart disease. Picture: SXC.HU
New research has found that people who follow the paleolithic, or paleo, diet have high levels of a blood biomarker tied to heart disease. 

The finding has raised red flags about this diet which, the researchers suggest, is not balanced enough to ensure good health.

Now, research conducted by a team from Australia points to more evidence suggesting that people who follow paleo diets may be placing their heart health at risk.

The investigators are from four research institutions in Australia: the School of Medical and Health Sciences and the School of Science, both at Edith Cowan University, in Joondalup; the School of Molecular and Life Sciences, at Curtin University, in Bentley; PathWest Laboratory Medicine, in Nedlands; and CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, in Adelaide. 

The researchers' findings appear in the European Journal of Nutrition.

According  to Mayo Clinic, paleo diet 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 humans started farming. These foods include dairy products, legumes and grains.

Other names for a paleo diet include paleolithic diet, stone age diet, hunter-gatherer diet and caveman diet.

However, Loren Cordain, PhD, who wrote the book on the paleo diet, claims that by eating like our prehistoric ancestors, we’ll be leaner and less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.

What to eat:
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meats, especially grass-fed animals or wild game
  • Fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
  • Oils from fruits and nuts, such as olive oil or walnut oil

Avoid these foods and ingredients:
  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup: Soft drinks, fruit juices, table sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream and many others.
  • Grains: Includes breads and pastas, wheat, spelt, rye, barley, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and many more.
  • Dairy: Avoid most dairy, especially low-fat (some versions of paleo do include full-fat dairy like butter and cheese).