If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for a new, improved, healthier way of eating. I am always checking out one diet or another, and two diets that I have found that I like are the Paleo diet (Paleolithic diet) and the Keto diet (Ketogenic diet). Both of these diets have amazing benefits including the ability to lose a lot of weight (which is the benefit that I am most excited about).
In this article, I will give you information about both diets and I will give you some pros and cons about each one. I will also give you a comparison of the two diets. You can use the quick comparison chart below to read some highlights of the key benefits of each diet. You can also check out our Beginners Guide to the Ketogenic Diet.
Quick Comparison Chart
|Can You Eat Carbs?||Can You Eat Fat?||Primary Goal|
|Paleo Diet||Yes||Yes||Disease Prevention|
|Keto Diet||No||Yes||Weight Loss|
What is the Paleo Diet?
This diet gets its name from the idea of eating like a caveman in the Paleolithic Era. Our cavemen ancestors didn’t have access to sugary foods or processed foods, nor did they have the opportunity to be a couch potato and binge on Netflix. They were very active hunters, gatherers, and scavengers, and they lived off of the land. Their diets consisted of fresh, wild caught animals, fish, berries, and plants. It was a very healthy way of eating.
What is the Reasoning Behind the Paleo Diet?
According to the Paleo diet, modern food and lack of movement contribute to obesity and disease (this is very true). Known as the discordance hypothesis, the human body is believed to be genetically incompatible with modern-day foods. The aim of the diet is to return to a very basic, healthy way of eating like people did in the Paleolithic Era before farming practices came into existence. Before you grab some spears and head out to the nearest lake, keep in mind that the diet isn’t suggesting that you hunt your dinner everyday. It is just suggesting that you make better choices in the grocery store.
What Do You Eat on the Paleo Diet?
I can sum up the food in a Paleo diet simply. It only includes foods that cavemen would have been able to hunt and/or gather. This includes lean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seed, and berries. The simplicity of eating choices makes it easy to figure out what to eat, because that basically cuts out most of the food that we have in modern times. The hard part (hard for me, anyway) is actually not eating any of it.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Keto diet is one in which the goal is to get a person’s body into a state of “ketosis” so that they are burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. In this ideal state, people can ideally lose weight fairly quickly. Although this diet hasn’t been extensively studied, recent research has shown that the diet is relatively successful for most people.
How Does a Person Enter Ketosis?
The idea behind the diet is to rid the body of glucose, which, if not used, gets turned into fat and stored by the body. Glucose also causes the body to release insulin which blocks the body from burning fat. When a person stops eating carbs, there is no glucose which means there is no insulin. The liver then begins making ketones which causes the body to use fat for fuel. The body is considered to be in ketosis at this point.
What Do You Eat on the Ketogenic Diet?
Basically, you eat foods that have little to no carbohydrates. The diet only allows a miniscule amount of carbs, usually only 20-30 grams per day. Let me put that small amount into perspective. One average sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs.
Keto vs Paleo: A Comparison of the Two Diets
There are many similarities in the two diets and most of them are health-based similarities. Both diets are fairly new (in popularity) when compared to many of the diets on the market. Both diets also lack in having extensive research done on them although they generally show promising results from people who have participated in them.
One important similarity with both diets is that they help reduce the risks of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. One way this is achieved is by limiting the intake of trans fats. Trans fats lowers good cholesterol levels and increases bad cholesterol levels. It also leads to clogged arteries which causes heart disease and strokes. The Paleolithic diet is a great choice if you have concerns with heart disease or high cholesterol levels because the diet generally cuts out a lot of bad, processed foods. This means that you aren’t eating artificial trans fat that is found in these foods. The Ketogenic diet also helps reduce the risks of heart disease because of the rapid weight loss that can occur with the diet and the reduction in fat that the body stores.
The diets are also similar in the fact that they cut out sugary foods. Foods that are high in sugar are the leading cause of type 2 diabetes. I believe that both diets are great for diabetics, but the Ketogenics diet is especially helpful.
Both diets can also be considered similar in the fact that they are very restrictive. They both cut out many different types of foods and food groups. These diets can be hard to stick with, especially for people who lack self-discipline. The Paleo diet can be especially hard since you must forego all modern foods, including vegetables.
Although the diets have similarities, they have a lot more differences. One of the biggest differences is the foods that can be eaten on the diets. The Ketogenic diet allows a lot more choices than the Paleo diet. If I were on the Ketogenic diet, I could basically eat anything without carbs. Of course, I wouldn’t eat a bunch of foods that are high in fat, but they aren’t restricted.
The Paleo diet restricts anything that is farmed or processed. Although the dieter is technically allowed to eat carbs on the Paleo diet, chances are they won’t eat much because there are not many carb-rich foods that are not grown.
Another difference in the diets is the consequences of a slip-up. On the Paleo diet, a slip-up is no big deal. I would feel a little bit guilty, but my diet wouldn’t be ruined. This is because the Paleo diet is more about a way of life than about the chemical processes that happen inside the body. If I fall off the wagon, I can just jump up and get right back into it.
On the other hand, the Ketogenic diet can actually be derailed by slip-ups. Since getting to a state of ketosis depends on a lack of carbohydrates in the body, a slip-up can knock the body right out of ketosis. This means that the fat-burning stops and insulin starts. Getting the body into a state of ketosis in the first place can take days. Depending on how big the slip up is, it can actually hinder results for several days as the dieter struggles to get back into ketosis.
One more difference in the two diets is the length of time a person can be on them. Although there is no definitive research on any specific length of time to be on either diet, it is believed that a person can be on the Paleo diet longer than the Ketogenic diet because it doesn’t cut out any food groups or any specific number of calories. The Ketogenic diet is different because scientists and doctors believe that it is unhealthy for the body to go without carbohydrates for long periods of time or to stay in ketosis for long periods of time of you have a history of certain health conditions such as diabetes or kidney stones.
Which Diet is Better?
Out of these two diets, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. It really boils down to a person’s health goals. Below are a few examples of health goals and which diet would be better for them.
|I want to lose weight fast||Ketogenic|
|I want to eat cleaner.||Paleo|
|I want to cut the risk of heart disease.||Paleo|
|I want a short-term diet with fast results.||Ketogenic|
|I don’t want to be too restricted.||Ketogenic|
|I would like to have “cheat” days or “reward” days.||Paleo|
When comparing the two diets, I remember that they will both help me lose weight and improve my health. A great first step assessing my goals and how long and restrictive I want my diet to be. As with any diet, I would also consult with a medical professional that can help to decide what is best. Both diets can produce great results so I would generally recommend which ever one is more comfortable for you.