New study claims paleo diet causes diabetes and obesity, for people who are mice


Get ready for another absurd health warning in the media. Possibly the silliest one in years. A new study allegedly shows that the Paleo diet can cause obesity and diabetes – in just eight weeks!

This turned into a media frenzy:

The lead author, Associate Prof Sof Andrikopoulos, allegedly says this means people should avoid low-carb and high-fat Paleo diets, especially people who are overweight and sedentary. They might suffer “extreme weight gain”.

He goes on to say that there is “no scientific evidence” that low-carb high-fat diets work, meaning he’s not aware of at least 19 high quality studies (RCTs) in humans showing that low carb diets not only work, but that they work significantly better than other diets.

I mention that these studies on low carb are done in humans, because Andrikopoulos’ study is not. His study is done on mice. A species well known not to be adapted to a high-fat diet.

It is not news that mice can get fat by eating fat. It is also a well-known fact that humans instead tend to lose weight on a low-carb high-fat diet.

It’s been years since I’ve heard any researcher saying such clueless things in the media. The whole affair – especially Andrikopoulos’ statements – is so absurd it left me wondering if it was April 1.


In other news researchers are now claiming that people could die if they eat regular food from the grocery store. People can only eat plankton. They found this out by studying… you guessed it… whales.


The Paleo Diet Explained – Professor Loren Cordain
LCHF Paleo – Mark Sisson
Losing Weight and Reversing Diabetes – Maureen Brenner
The 2 big lies of type 2 diabetes – Dr. Jason Fung
Diet & Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar
The Perfect Treatment for Weight Loss and Diabetes – Dr. Jason Fung
How to Cure Type 2 Diabetes – Dr. Jay Wortman
My Big Fat Diet


Fixing Dad – A New Movie About Reversing Diabetes

Another Paleo Baby: Sick Only Once in Her Life – But Dietitian Freaks Out

“Today I’m Cured of Diabetes”


  1. Johan
    So, all of you/us who have (mistakenly?) believed we lost weight and/or diabetes by eating low-carb are wrong and m-m-m-mad...

    Just can't believe the world sometimes...

    You also die quickly by eating chocolate. It's scientifically proven - on dogs I admit, but hey, they're man's best friend.

  2. Patricia Tassinari
    The rodent diet is the same as a human? Or a Lion , is equal to the mouse ? Each species has a " paleo ," according to their food source ... If I give starches every day a lion he will get fat. This is nonsense . If it is to do a study like this without sense, it is easier to study the feeding of intestinal worms of guinea pig ... have more credibility ...
  3. Judith
    I wonder who's paying him??
  4. robert
    They should've consulted SpongeBob. Then they would've known that eating Plankton causes a belly ache!
  5. Paul TR
    We have discussed similar studies on Dietdoctor several times.
    1) mice are herbivores and have been on Earth since dinosaurs demise
    2) if you look at the supplementary material (Table 1) the authors list the diets composition. As the source of fat they used: cocoa butter - 400 g/kg; canola oil- 100 g/kg; clarified butter fat - 100 g/kg; casein as the protein source - if I ate this macronutrients composition for 8 weeks, I would not only get fat, pre diabetic, inflamed but also probably suicidal
    3) this would be precisely the fat diet composition I would use to get results described in the paper (see different results posted below)
    4) this "research" and publication had one thing in mind: to create newspaper headline: 'Low Carbohydrate Diets Make You Fat and Diabetic' - and Sof Andrikopoulos, President of the Australian Diabetic Society achieved just that.
    5) anyone who takes this study seriously (Professor or not) in the context of human physiology is a moron without any understanding of such.
    6) shame on you Sof Andrikopoulos (I will not call you Professor, because this would imply that you can reason - you proved that you can not) you are wasting tax payers money and contributing to human suffering
  6. Paul TR
    Send to:
    Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Oct;1852(10 Pt A):2056-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Jul 11.
    Adaptive changes in amino acid metabolism permit normal longevity in mice consuming a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.
    Douris N1, Melman T2, Pecherer JM1, Pissios P1, Flier JS1, Cantley LC3, Locasale JW4, Maratos-Flier E5.
    Author information

    Ingestion of very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets (KD) is associated with weight loss, lowering of glucose and insulin levels and improved systemic insulin sensitivity. However, the beneficial effects of long-term feeding have been the subject of debate. We therefore studied the effects of lifelong consumption of this diet in mice. Complete metabolic analyses were performed after 8 and 80weeks on the diet. In addition we performed a serum metabolomic analysis and examined hepatic gene expression. Lifelong consumption of KD had no effect on morbidity or mortality (KD vs. Chow, 676 vs. 630days) despite hepatic steatosis and inflammation in KD mice. The KD fed mice lost weight initially as previously reported (Kennnedy et al., 2007) and remained lighter and had less fat mass; KD consuming mice had higher levels of energy expenditure, improved glucose homeostasis and higher circulating levels of β-hydroxybutyrate and triglycerides than chow-fed controls. Hepatic expression of the critical metabolic regulators including fibroblast growth factor 21 were also higher in KD-fed mice while expression levels of lipogenic enzymes such as stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 was reduced. Metabolomic analysis revealed compensatory changes in amino acid metabolism, primarily involving down-regulation of catabolic processes, demonstrating that mice eating KD can shift amino acid metabolism to conserve amino acid levels. Long-term KD feeding caused profound and persistent metabolic changes, the majority of which are seen as health promoting, and had no adverse effects on survival in mice.

    Reply: #9
  7. Janknitz
    Here's another "scientific" mouse study from Andrikopoulus:

    Don't forget your bucket of cherry Coke with your burger! It will help you lose weight LOL!!!

  8. Bob Niland
    Most "high fat" rodent trial diets are junk (basically Crisco). This one is not as awful as many I've seen, but it's still overloaded with Omega 6 PUFA, and deficient in Omega 3. It's not surprising that it's obesogenic.
  9. murray
    Thanks, Paul. Most helpful.

    Andreas, the plankton joke is hilarious.

  10. Eddie Mitchell
    If I had £5 for every time I read about a mouse study, and how it could effect man, I would be able to send Bill Gates welfare parcels. Whenever possible animals eat what nature, God, evolution provided. Man is the only animal clever enough to make his own food, and then stupid enough to eat it. Eat what the provider provided us with, whole fresh food from the farm or the sea.

    This is not rocket science, when we meddle with nature, there is always a price to pay. We have seen what food made in a factory, more akin to a petro-chem plant has done. Hundreds of millions of people all around the world are paying a very heavy price.

  11. Luis Paulo Kruk
    The authors chose the worst animal specie to conduct the studies. The NZO mice in his hatural habitat feeds sugar on his diet reaching by 70 % of the ingest sugar cane based. Awesome is that go unnoticed by the reviewers of Nature.
  12. Maya
    "The carbohydrate content of the LCHFD was exclusively derived from simple sugar"... so, not the dark, leafy greens, not green beans, not brassicas, no cauliflower or broccoli or other fiber-rich vegetables people who care about their health eat... I don't know any KD or LCHF person who uses simple sugar for carbs. If Dr Sof Andrikopoulos and his research team wanted to show how simple sugars on an herbivore diet could make a mouse fat I guess they succeeded, but nobody with two brain cells to rub together would make an inference that the diet fed to NZO specimens is similar to the ones omnivorous LCHF or KD people eat.
  13. Ian
    All this in the same week as the CSIRO (also Australian) announces a wildly successful trial of a low carb diet with HUMANS!
  14. Stephen
    I can't see any point in making personal attacks on Andrikopoulous, or guessing what his motives may be, as unimpressed as we may be with the paper (on which he was the third author).

    But, as pointed out above, when you hear see such reports, remember, the devil is in the detail. Check the paper, and check the details, as some have already done.

    Someone has already checked the supplementary detail on what the LCHF diet consisted of. In addition to what others have noted, the LCHF diet had all its carbs from sugar (sucrose). 6% of the calories of the diet came from sugar. By weight the diet was about 11% sugar.

    The standard chow fed to the control group was roughly 50% carbohydrate (from wheat etc), and only about 2 % were sugars.

    Apart from the main protein being casein (I don't know how this simulates real world LCHF/paleo diets), methionine was also added, which might also be problematic.

    See here for example: (But note that Andrikopolous et al in Melbourne at least did not use relatively large amounts of PUFAs/soya bean oil as the fat source like Le Couteur at Univ. Sydney)

    Note also these were NZ Obese (NZO) mice. Earlier comments have mentioned this. Does this also have a bearing on interpreting the results? I understand that some strains of mice used in research have particular issues in metabolising large amounts of fat. And, as already has been noted, wild mice, unlike rats, tend to be herbivores.

  15. Chan
    Not only did they only use simple sugar for the carbs in the LCHF paleo group, but the LCHF "paleo" group had 6% carbs, all simple sugar... the other group only had 2% simple sugar, with the rest of carbs being starch...They also didn't keep the fat type ratios the same and only increased saturated fat. Shouldn't keeping ratios in both the fat and carbohydrate types have been something to consider? I wonder if having three times the amount of simple sugar may have increased cravings and addiction just a tad...
    I found this report very disturbing for a variety of reasons, First, the witch hunt of Pete Evens by a variety of media sources seems to be well planned and targeted to mock anyone who is "out of line "with the holy plate . Second, the bloke who wrote this study is not just well connected ,he is the boss of diabetes related organisations and is responsible for millions of dollars in government research funds. This guy is not stupid so it begs the question; why present such rubbish? Lastly, this report is from my own country, Australia ! Andreas you need to get down here before our overweight nation tips the Earths axis out of position.......
    Reply: #22
  17. Matt
    Ian, funny - I didn't see the CSIRO study positive to low carb diets anywhere in the news this week (here in Oz), but the negative mouse diet was everywhere - every channel, every paper. Someone must be tipping the press off - I see no other explanation. I don't think it was Tim Noakes or Pete Evens. I wonder who? Dietitions clutching for their reputations? Other self interested parties?
  18. Ephraim
    If Paleo Diet can Cause Diabetes and Obesity for people it then means that man is really at risk
  19. Eddie Mitchell
    Check this out. The Prof is out to lunch "sugar with a burger could be healthier"

    "Dr Andrikopoulos said if you have a fatty meal, it is probably worth having a fructose drink to make you feel full longer afterwards."

  20. Pierre
    This guy has a wheat face. I would not be surprised if he becomes himself diabetic.

  21. Maya
    I saw today a tweet dated August 2014 from Dr. Sof Andrikopoulos with a photo of his Dr. Tim Noakes-approved breakfast after finishing a 15K run.
    eggs, sausage, other good things to refuel a body on the plate.
  22. chris c
    "the bloke who wrote this study is not just well connected ,he is the boss of diabetes related organisations and is responsible for millions of dollars in government research funds. This guy is not stupid so it begs the question; why present such rubbish?"

    Asked and answered

  23. Luciana
    I love your sarcasm!
  24. Joya
    If you don't want to be a diabetic just eat like one....that simple...
  25. Marcella
    Genuinely funny. I needed a good laugh today!
  26. Patty
    The person making the comment about sugar is wrong and they do not even understand the fact that the carbs turn to sugar And that is the problem so if you take the sugar add the carbs then subtract the fiber you will have the true amount of sugar. I and my 91 year old Father have been on this diet for 4 months His doctor called to say his A1C was so good he wanted to cut his blood sugar meds in half, I also have seen mine go down , neither of us has gained weight, this diet gives me energy it's filling and satisfied me and both my father and I feel great!
  27. John Hale
    I wonder who is paying this expert to spout his anti lchf views? Major food or drug companies pehaps! I have been on lchf since November 24th. 2014. Have lost 25 kg. have had 3 monthly blood , kidney, liver function tests. My gp. simply says, I am not sure why but keep doing what you are doing. His medical conditioning has been of the Ancel Keys food triangle variety, and he is now starting to pick up on the value of lchf!
  28. keto
    Did I misread this details of the study, or did the LCHF diet rats have nearly twice the calorie content on their diet compared to normal chow!!! WTF!
  29. Mark
    Agree with others, your sarcasm is so funny. Gotta find me some kelp!!
    I've been saying it a lot lately, where is common sense these days? It seems we are losing it.
  30. Leroy

    When the DietDoctor published its article on the CSPI's "ruling" on Splenda (though titled as being trouble for Diet Pepsi), mouse testing - even though the Lab rats (bred for easily getting leukemia and with many of the test group pre-infected) were given very high amounts of Splenda - mice testing was never questioned.

    I take it that if the author doesn't like something like artificial sweeteners (although tested extensively as safe), that mice testing is fine... even if you have to stoop to using the CSPI.

    But if it is an attack on something that the author favours, then mice testing is horrible.

    At least that's how it seems.

    Reply: #31
  31. bill
    That's why you must read the studies and
    make up your own mind. They are all now
    available. Try as Dr E suggested.
  32. Jenni
    Did anyone actually read what they fed the mice on? The low carb diet card compinent was entirely sugar and the fat component much higher in saturated fats than the control, so the study is absolute rubbish.
  33. 2 comments removed
  34. delma weldon
    my dementia cleared after going off grains

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