Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Jeremy Akers

Janet Gloeckner

Melissa Rittenhouse


Consuming a diet similar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors has been shown to confer numerous health benefits. Our purpose was to compare metabolic, physiological, and psychological improvements of participants consuming a full-scale Paleolithic-type diet (PD) or a modified Paleolithic-type diet (MPD). Twenty participants (WT 74.9+3.3kg; BMI 26+1kg/m2) aged 43+3 yrs were enrolled in a two-group, clinical 5-week dietary intervention study comparing a PD to a MPD. All participants were instructed to maintain current activity levels and turn in weekly diet compliance records. Both groups were instructed to consume only items that are included in a traditional Paleolithic-type diet (i.e. lean meats, f/v, eggs, nuts, and fish); however MPD participants were allowed to include three ‘unrestricted meals’ and two ‘unrestricted snacks’. Outcome measures included insulin sensitivity, body composition and weight, blood pressure, and lipid profiles. Five-week data showed a significant within group decline in WT (-3.3+0.4kg), BMI (- 1.2+0.2kg/m2), FFM (-0.9+0.3kg), Fat Mass (-2.2+0.3kg), and % Body Fat (-1.6+0.4%) over time, all p<0.05. Clinically, all biochemical and blood pressure measures improved, however there were no significant between group differences. Both groups had 70% retention. Following both a full-scale or modified Paleolithic-type diet for 5-weeks resulted in significant reductions in body weight, fat mass, and percent body fat and may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure, and improving insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles. The present research suggests that following a modified Paleolithic-type diet can have similar physiological benefits as the more restrictive full-scale Paleolithic-type diet. More research needs to be conducted to examine the extent of these benefits.



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