Although the popular the Paleolithic diet, more commonly known as "Paleo," has been shown to lose weight more effectively than a typical "balanced diet,"a new study has found it leads to a lower intake of some key micronutrients.

A recent Australian study published in the journal “Nutrients” has demonstrated that women who followed a Paleo diet, which discourages the consumption of grains, potatoes, legumes, and corn while encouraging lean meat and most fruits and vegetables, led to a 4.3 percent weight loss and a 3.8 percent loss in the circumference of their waist in four weeks.

Women who were given the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Diet, which is relatively balanced, only lost 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The Paleo weight loss has been associated with a “reduction in energy intake,” particularly the carbohydrates, and an increase in protein. By contrast, the women on the balanced diet ate a higher amount of carbohydrates and less saturated fat.

"The reduction in body weight and fat mass found in this study cannot be attributed to the reduction in energy intake alone," the study said. "This supports previous findings that lower carbohydrate diets are associated with greater losses of fat mass over a short term period."

This is to be expected, according to what nutrition experts have been trying to demonstrate for about 20 years now.

However, for the women who were on the Paleo diet, several micronutrients were also reduced due to the dietary restrictions. Iodine, sodium, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, and iron, were observed in lower percentages. Nevertheless, certain nutrients were significantly higher for the Paleo group, such as vitamins A, C, and E, plus beta-carotene.

"It would therefore be suggested that future, longer term interventions using ad libitum Paleolithic diets should focus on increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts and place limits on animal protein and fat for the individual to maximize potential health benefits," the study explained.

Maybe it’s time to jump on the Paleo diet train after all, with some more fruits and nuts, of course. Have you had success using the Paleo diet?

Source: Nutrients / Photo Credit: The Paleo Diet