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Paleo Diet versus Mediterranean Diet

Posted Jun 09 2011 12:00am

A 2010 study (via Whole Health Source ) compared a Paleo diet with a Mediterranean diet. For twelve weeks, twenty-nine volunteers could eat as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted. Half ate Paleo (“lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, root vegetables, eggs, and nuts”), half Mediterranean (“whole grains, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruit, fish, and oils and margarines”).

The main result was that the Paleo food was “more satiating per calorie”. The Paleo eaters ate less but no more often than Mediterranean eaters. The paper does not report weight loss. (See an earlier report of the same experiment for that.)

I suspect the Paleo diet was less familiar than the Mediterranean diet (of course I can’t be sure from the descriptions). My theory of weight control says familiarity matters: less-familiar food pushes your set point lower than familiar food because its smell-calorie associations are weaker. The smells of less-familiar food is less associated with calories than the smells of more familiar food. With a lower set point, you will need less food to feel full.

Thanks to Steve Hansen.

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