Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis

Nutr J. 2019 Jul 23;18(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12937-019-0457-z.


Background: The Paleolithic diet has been studied in the scope of prevention and control of chronic noncommunicable diseases (CNCD). The objective of this study was to analyze the influence of the Paleolithic diet on the prevention and control of CNCD in humans, specifically on anthropometric markers, through a systematic review with meta-analysis.

Methods: What is the effect of the Paleolithic diet on anthropometric parameters (weight, body mass index and waist circumference) compared to other control diets based on recommendations in adults? We included only randomized studies with humans that used the Paleolithic Diet in the prevention and control of CNCD published in Portuguese, English or Spanish. The search period was until March 2019, in the LILACS, PubMed, Scielo, Science Direct, Medline, Web of Science and Scopus databases. The abstracts were evaluated by two researchers. We found 1224 articles, of which 24 were selected and 11 were included in the meta-analysis. The effect of dietary use on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference was evaluated.

Results: The summary of the effect showed a loss of - 3.52 kg in the mean weight (CI 95%: - 5.26; - 1.79; p < 0,001; I2 = 24%) of people who adopted the Paleolithic diet compared to diets based on recommendations. The analysis showed a positive association of adopting the Paleolithic diet in relation to weight loss. The effect was significant on weight, body mass index and waist circumference.

Conclusion: The Paleolithic diet may assist in controlling weight and waist circumference and in the management of chronic diseases. However, more randomized clinical studies with larger populations and duration are necessary to prove health benefits.

Trial registration: CRD42015027849 .

Keywords: Anthropometry; Meta-analysis; Obesity; Paleolithic diet; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet, Paleolithic*
  • Humans
  • Waist Circumference


  • Biomarkers