Wednesday 14 June 2017

Metareview: the Palaeolithic diet improves metabolic syndrome

No cereals, milk or convenience foods – for many people, the Palaeolithic diet is a shock at first. Nevertheless, it is one of our strongest weapons in the fight against metabolic syndrome. That was revealed by a metareview in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Our present-day diet doesn’t suit us. Along with a lack of exercise, it is a major cause of metabolic syndrome: the combination of obesity, increased cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, high fasting blood sugar and high blood pressure. The review below shows which diet is suited to us.


The Palaeolithic diet is better than conventional advice

The researchers gathered data from four randomised clinical trials in which the Palaeolithic diet was compared to other diets. One hundred and fifty-nine people were selected, who had between one and five signs of metabolic syndrome. The four control groups followed conventional dietary advice, i.e. low fat and high fibre from cereals.


In terms of metabolic syndrome, the study revealed greater improvements from the Palaeolithic diet than from conventional dietary advice. The waist size reduced by several centimetres, triglyceride levels were lower, blood pressure reduced by a number of points, cholesterol levels were lower and the blood sugar levels improved.


More beneficial in the long term too

In the past, it has also been proven that, in the long term, the Palaeolithic diet is more beneficial to the health of postmenopausal women. In comparison to a Nordic Diet, the Palaeolithic diet resulted in a greater reduction in fat mass, abdominal fat and waist size. There was also a much more significant decrease in triglyceride levels in the blood.


The Palaeolithic diet mainly consists of lean meat and poultry, (fatty) fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, fruit, berries and seeds. It therefore contains fewer carbohydrates, more proteins and there is a better ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You can learn more about this in our courses Nutritional Dietetics, Nutritional Health Education and Evolutionary Health Education.

More information for the Dutch speaking


More information for the German speaking


More information for the Spanish speaking



  1. Eric W Manheimer, Esther J van Zuuren, Zbys Fedorowicz, Hanno Pijl, Palaeolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis, Am J Clin Nutr October 2015, vol. 102 no. 4 922-932.
  2. Mellberg C, Sandberg S, Ryberg M, et al. Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal  women: a 2-year randomized trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;68(3):350-7. Council, N., Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012 - Part 1 2013: Copenhagen.