Both the keto diet and the paleo diet are all the rage right now, with many people choosing one or the other in an effort to change their eating habits, get healthier, and be better able to enjoy their lives. For many people, however, it can be difficult or even confusing to understand the differences between the two and how to manipulate their eating habits in order to achieve their goals. If you’re thinking about a drastic lifestyle change, consider how going paleo compares to going keto–and how those dietary changes can impact your life.
Both the keto diet and the Paleo Diet@ focus on reducing carbohydrate consumption. While the paleo diet aims at eating primarily the foods that would have been found in an earlier, caveman-era period of the human diet, the keto diet restricts carbs in an effort to send the body into ketosis, a state in which the body burns ketones for fuel. Ketones are derived from our fat stores. The carb restriction in both diets often leads to quick weight loss, especially early after making a dietary change. This carb restriction, however, often causes Keto and Paleo to be lumped into the same category–which can in turn be highly confusing for dieters. Both diets also restrict sugar and legumes and encourage dieters to consume diets high in animal protein and healthy fats.
In order to choose the diet that’s right for you, it’s important to understand the key differences between keto and paleo.
Difference #1: Keto Relies Heavily on Macronutrient Balance
The keto diet works by keeping your body in that state of ketosis: the state at which, instead of burning carbohydrates for energy, the body swaps over and begins burning stored fat, instead. In order to maintain ketosis, it’s necessary to eat a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and extremely low in carbohydrates. The Paleo Diet, on the other hand, allows you to balance your macronutrients according to your personal needs.
Difference #2: The Paleo Diet Focuses on Removing Foods that are Hard to Digest
One of the key attributes of the paleo diet is its restriction of items like processed foods, dairy, and sugar, all of which can be difficult for the body to digest. Swapping to a paleo-based diet can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and lead to increased gut health. The keto diet, on the other hand, allows–and in some cases even encourages–full-fat dairy consumption.
Difference #3: The Paleo Diet Encourages Whole, Healthy Foods
The focus of the paleo diet is on eating whole, healthy foods that are good for your body and will give you the fuel you need to accomplish your daily tasks. The keto diet, on the other hand, primarily focuses on keeping your body in ketosis.
Difference #4: The Keto Diet is Unforgiving
Everyone ends up having a cheat day or a slip-up every now and then. That barbecue sauce turned out to have sugar in it that you weren’t anticipating; you didn’t know your soup had barley; you ended up eating a slice of birthday cake that wasn’t appropriate for your diet. On the keto diet, that means you’ll instantly fall out of ketosis and start over on your dietary approach. The paleo diet, on the other hand, doesn’t rely on a state that takes days or even weeks to achieve in order to meet your goal.
Which One is Right for You?
To learn more about the ketogenic diet and why we feel it is not a healthy diet for the long term, check out this thorough article by Dr. Loren Cordain.
For most people, the Paleo Diet is a great choice for improving overall health and sticking with a health-centered diet that will help reduce inflammation and make weight loss easier. The paleo diet doesn’t require regular counting and calculations; instead, it sets you up for success by providing you with a list of the foods that you should be avoiding and a list of the foods that can help you meet your dietary goals. The paleo diet also focuses heavily on removing highly processed foods that are difficult to digest, while many people who adhere to a keto diet choose to dodge some of the restrictions by consuming artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy dietary additions that can actually make it harder to lose weight.
The keto diet was originally intended to help manage a range of medical conditions, including epilepsy. The high-percentage weight loss is a side effect that many people enjoy, but it wasn’t its original intent. The paleo diet, on the other hand, takes people back to the diet that they were originally intended to eat, and brings a number of health benefits with it. By understanding the paleo diet more fully, you’ll discover that it can be a highly effective way to meet your dietary goals. Most importantly, it is the diet you were intended to eat for a lifetime of optimum health.