The keto and paleo diets have increased in popularity in recent years. Both share similarities, but there are some key differences between them, and these differences may determine which diet is better for you.
This article is going to discuss both diets in detail, and their similarities and differences, so you can make an informed decision on which one would suit you best.
The Keto Diet
The ketogenic (keto) diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein diet that is aimed at weight loss.
When someone consumes a regular diet, the body will use carbohydrates for energy. However, if someone doesn’t consume enough of these carbs, the body will begin to use fat for energy, as well as some protein stores.
Once a person has been following the keto diet for some time, their body will go into ‘ketosis’ mode. This is when the liver begins to take stored fat, turns it into ketones, and these ketones are then used for energy.
This results in fast weight loss, as the fats consumed by the body are being used up as energy.
On a keto diet, one should consume around 70 to 80% fat, 20-25% protein, and only 5 to 10% carbohydrates.
The keto diet is also known for being very restrictive as it involves cutting out many foods. The small amount of carbs that are allowed on this diet, cannot come from grains or legumes.
Instead, they must come from foods such as leafy greens, or a small amount of fruits such as berries.
The Paleolithic (paleo) diet focuses on foods that humans would eat during the Stone Age. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘caveman diet’.
The aim is to cut out all processed modern processed foods, and focus on those that humans in the Stone Age would have been able to hunt for and eat.
Therefore, this diet cuts out any highly processed foods, as well as dairy, grains, and legumes.
It encourages people to eat high amounts of animal protein, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, butter, and nut oils.
Similarities Between The Two Diets
Both diets encourage the exclusion of highly processed foods, but they do also exclude some foods that many would consider healthy, such as grains and legumes.
They encourage people to get their protein from animal-based sources and encourage healthy fats and certain vegetables in their diet.
Both diets also exclude highly processed foods, such as packaged snacks, and foods that contain white or brown sugar, as well as corn syrup and agave nectar.
They both also recommend a lower carbohydrate intake than many other traditional diets, and although the National Institute of Health, and the American Heart Association recommend people consume whole grains as part of their diet, the keto and paleo do not allow them.
Differences Between Them
While there are some similarities with these diets, there are also several differences between them.
While the paleo diet excludes all kinds of processed meat, the keto diet allows them, as long as they don’t contain sugar or carbohydrates.
This includes certain kinds of bacon and sausage that is sometimes highly processed.
When it comes to sugar and sweeteners, the keto diet is very restrictive. It does not allow any honey, maple syrup, or any items that contain natural sugar or fructose.
However, the paleo diet does allow some natural sweeteners, such as honey, coconut sugar, stevia, and sucralose.
The keto diet is also more restrictive than the paleo diet when it comes to certain starchy vegetables. While many of these are nutrient dense and healthy, they can be high in carbohydrates, interfering with the body’s ability to enter ketosis.
Therefore, they are not allowed on the keto diet.
The paleo diet, however, allows these starchy veggies in moderation. These include sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets (see also ‘15 Awesome Paleo Beets Recipes For Paleo Lovers‘).
While the keto diet allows dairy consumption as long as it is high in fat and low in sugar, the paleo diet does not allow it as humans in the Stone Ages did not consume dairy.
Therefore, this diet excludes all kinds of cheese, cream, milk, and other dairy products.
Which Diet Is Right For You?
Both diets can be healthy if done in the correct way, and have proven to be effective diets to adopt if your goal is weight loss.
However, the paleo diet is less restrictive, and gives you slightly more freedom and flexibility when it comes to your food choices.
The keto diet, on the other hand, is highly restrictive and requires you to count and track your macronutrients each day in order for your body to go into ketosis mode.
Therefore, for those who would struggle with something too restrictive, the paleo diet would be best.
To conclude, both diets can be effective weight loss diets in the short term, but more research needs to be done for long-term effects.
The keto diet is highly restrictive, so those who would struggle with this may be better off starting with the paleo diet.