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Hype or Reality: Should Patients with Metabolic Syndrome-related NAFLD be on the Hunter-Gatherer (Paleo) Diet to Decrease Morbidity?

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Giovanni Tarantino1,2, Vincenzo Citro3, Carmine Finelli4

1) Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University, Medical School of Naples, Naples;
2) Centro Ricerche Oncologiche di Mercogliano, Istituto Nazionale Per Lo Studio E La Cura Dei Tumori Fondazione Giovanni Pascale, IRCCS, Mercogliano (Av);
3) Department of Internal Medicine, Umberto I Hospital, Nocera Inferiore, Salerno;
4) Center of Obesity and Eating Disorders, Stella Maris Mediterraneum Foundation, C/da S. Lucia, Chiaromonte, Potenza, Italy



The current Western diet figures centrally in the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the emerging major health problem nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, all of them negatively impacting on life expectancy. This type of diet is represented by a high calorie uptake, high glycemic load, high fat and meat intake, as well as increased consumption of fructose. On the contrary, a simplified way of eating healthily by excluding highly-processed foods, is presumed to be the Paleolithic diet (a diet based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, meat, organ meats) which improves insulin resistance, ameliorates dyslipidemia, reduces hypertension and may reduce the risk of age-related diseases. The diet is the foundation of the treatment of obesity- and type 2 diabetes-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and a diet similar to those of pre-agricultural societies may be an effective option. To lend sufficient credence to this type of diet, well-designed studies are needed.

Key words: NAFLD – Paleo diet – metabolic syndrome – obesity.