What is the Difference Between the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet?
Both the ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet are eating plans that exclude modern, processed foods. More and more people are recognizing the benefits of eating whole foods, avoiding sugar, and cutting back on carbs. But these two diets have their own unique set of rules — and there are some key differences between them. Here’s what you need to know about both diets so you can figure out which one might be best for you.
What is the Paleo diet?
Paleo is short for “caveman” diet, and it’s based on the idea that our modern health problems come from ditching the diet that our bodies were built to eat.
The diet has two main premises: One is that humans are genetically programmed to eat what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, which includes meat and plants. The other is that grains and legumes, which are common in modern diets, aren’t good for us.
Paleo dieters are also big fans of fish and other seafood. The diet has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s, when it was first introduced by gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin. It’s now become mainstream, as evidenced by the Paleo diet questionnaire on the “Wall Street Journal” website.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that shares some similarities with the Paleo diet, but it’s actually very different.
The keto diet is based on the idea that we should be limiting the carbs in our diet, not eating grains or legumes, and eating more fat. The focus on fat is what sets the ketogenic diet apart from other low-carb diets like the Paleo diet, Atkins, or one that’s based on the glycemic index.
When you remove the grains and legumes from these other diets and increase the amount of fat you’re eating, you end up in a state of ketosis, where your body is burning fat for fuel.
How are These Diets Different?
- The Paleo diet is high in protein and low in carbs, while the Keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs.
- The Paleo diet is dairy-free, while the Keto diet encourages you to eat butter and other sources of fat.
- The Paleo diet emphasizes eating whole foods, while the Keto diet encourages you to use keto-friendly processed products like nut butters, low-carb protein bars, or packaged snack foods.
- The Paleo diet is based on eating what our bodies evolved to eat. The Keto diet is based on eating what our bodies were like before agriculture.
- The Paleo diet acknowledges that some people are sensitive to certain foods and can benefit from avoiding gluten, legumes, dairy, and other foods. The Keto diet doesn’t take any of those sensitivities into account.
Why try a Keto or Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet and the Keto diet both focus mainly on eating whole foods and less on counting calories. They’re both good for people who are health-conscious, want to lose weight, or are athletes.
The Paleo diet is a good choice if you have food sensitivities or food allergies, or if you want to eat a diet that’s environmentally sustainable. The Keto diet is a good choice if you’re interested in weight loss, have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, or are an athlete.
Who should not try a Keto or Paleo diet?
- If you have any food sensitivities, allergies, or gastrointestinal issues, the Paleo diet may not be the best choice for you.
- If you have diabetes, the Keto diet may not be the best choice for you.
- If you have an eating disorder or are recovering from an eating disorder, the Paleo or Keto diet is not a good choice.
- If you have kidney disease, you should consult with a doctor before trying either the Paleo or Keto diet.
- If you have a history of disordered eating or orthorexia, the Paleo or Keto diet is not a good choice. The Paleo diet is especially problematic for people with an eating disorder.
How to determine which diet is right for you?
If you’re trying to decide between the Paleo diet and the Keto diet, start by examining your health and fitness goals. Once you determine your goals and considerations, you can ask yourself which diet works best for you given your lifestyle, health considerations, and personality.
If your goal is to lose weight, both diets can help you, but you’ll likely lose weight faster on the Keto diet. If your goal is to gain muscle mass, the Paleo diet is probably better for you. If you want to improve your health, either diet will help you.
These diets are both excellent for overall health, but they’ll probably produce different results for different people. The Paleo diet is better for those with certain health issues, those who care about the environment, and those who have food allergies or sensitivities.
The Keto diet is better for those trying to lose weight quickly, those who are athletes, or those who want to improve their metabolic health. If you’re considering trying one of these diets, make sure you understand the rules and have a good idea of what you’re getting into. Don’t just jump into a new diet because you’ve heard it’s a good idea. You have to take the time to research, learn, and understand the diet before you can commit to the lifestyle changes it requires.