From cabbage soup to Atkins, fad diets have been around for decades. But according to new research, the fast track to weight loss is a diet that dates much, much further back.
Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have claimed that the Paleolithic, or caveman diet, is the best and quickest way for dieting women to shed those excess pounds.
Having recruited 70 seriously overweight women for their study, the researchers divided them into two groups. The first group was given the task of sticking to a paleolithic diet centred around berries, vegetables and lean meats, where cereals, beans, dairy products and pasta are strictly off limits.
The remainder took on a Scandinavian diet called Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, which revolves largely around wholegrain cereals, low-fat dairy, fruit, pulses, fish and vegetable oils.
In just six months, those on the caveman diet had lost an average of 6.3kg or fat, and boasted an 11cm reduction in their waistline. The levels of triglyceride, a fat found in the blood that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, also dropped by a significant amount.
In stark contrast, those on the Nordic diet lost just 2.6kg of fat, and slimmed their waist by just 5.8cm.
However, after tracking the obese participants over a two-year period, the differences narrowed considerably, suggesting that the paleolithic diet produced fast results, the benefits of which then slowed over a longer period of time.
Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George's Hospital, London, suggested that this could be down to a lack of protein in the caveman diet.
"This may be because the paleolithic diet is very low in protein, lacking in meat, eggs, cheese and milk," Ms Collins told the Daily Mail. One of the effects of that is to slow the body's metabolic rate. As the metabolic rate declines, at some point that will stop you losing weight."
Have you tried the paleolithic diet? Did it work for you? Leave your comments below...