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Steer clear of popular Paleo Diet, Ministry of Health recommends

The Paleo Diet might be popular amongst celebrities, but the Ministry of Health doesn't recommend you try it. 

Paleo Diet. Source: istock.com

The ministry has today released its clinical guidance for healthcare practitioners and those who give advice for weight management. 

Part of the guidelines include a "Popular Diets Review".

In this year's review the ministry offers advice and recommendations on several diets, including the Mediterranean Diet, very Low-Carb diet, the Paleo diet, Detox dieting and fasting. 

The ministry guidelines describe the Paleo diet as: "An eating pattern claimed to be based on the diet of our 'hunter-gatherer' ancestors from the Palaeolithic period (around 2.5 million to 10,000 years BC).

"It consists of vegetables, some fruit, nuts, naturally occurring fats and oils, meat, eggs and seafood. It excludes dairy products, grains, legumes and processed foods, including processed oils, sugar and salt."

It lists some pros and cons for the diet, including the fact it does include many healthy, less processed foods. However it excludes entire food groups that are important for healthy eating, including grains and dairy products and encourages eating large amounts of meat. 

The overall advice is that it's not recommended. 

One diet that does get the tick from the ministry is the popular Mediterranean diet. 

The diet focuses on eating plant based foods such as fruit, veges, whole grains and healthy fats such as olive oil. 

"A Mediterranean diet is effective for weight loss when a person follows it for 12 or more months. The diet is consistent with the Ministry of Health's Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults.

"Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improves glycaemic (blood sugar) control in people with type 2 diabetes."

The guidelines can be found here.