Mediterranean versus Paleo Diet

Mediterranean versus Paleo Diet

A staple of nutritional advice is to avoid sugar and refined grain products, due to the risk of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dysbiosis and a host of other health risks. The emergence of the Atkin’s Diet (AD) and the Paleo Diet (PD) that eliminates all grain products, including whole grains has been problematic since little evidence exists to support that whole grains are in fact as harmful as refined grains.

Meta Analysis of nutritional studies has shown that the Mediterranean Diet (MD) is slightly superior to the Paleo Diet (PD) when measuring hard outcomes such as biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative balance(1) and all-cause and cause specific mortality in adults(2). Most important is a recent study that showed that only refined grains and not whole grains harm the intestinal microbiome and that whole grains in the diet reduce systemic low-grade inflammation and support effective weight loss(3).

This is important information since research must inform lifestyle medicine practice and while I have long supported the health benefits of the Paleo Diet, this new information suggests that a modified Mediterranean Diet (mMD) may be beneficial to everyone without a food intolerance to the whole grains introduced. Wheat, however, continues to remain a highly antigenic source of whole grain and so preferred in the mMD is a whole grain complement derived from whole grain oats, quinoa, chia, rye, spelt and non GMO ancient grains.

Dr. Randy Knipping BSc MD CCFP FAARFM
Board Certified Physician, Aerospace & Family Medicine, Regenerative & Functional Medicine

1 Paleolithic and Mediterranean Diet Pattern Scores Are Inversely Associated with Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Balance in Adults. 2016
2 Paleolithic and Mediterranean Diet Pattern Scores Are Inversely Associated with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in Adults 2017
3 Whole grain-rich diet reduces body weight and systemic low-grade inflammation without inducing major changes of the gut microbiome: a randomised cross-over trial. 2017


Dr. Randy Knipping, Deerfields

Dr. Knipping has over 25 years of experience in clinical practice ranging from aerospace, emergency, forensic, occupational, preventive and integrative medicine.