What is the difference between paleo and keto? Isn’t it the same thing?Let’s have a look at the major differences and the benefits and drawbacks of both these diets.
The Paleo Diet
Paleo has been very big the last few years. It is often called the Caveman diet.The Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense whole foods diet based on eating a variety of quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Basically it means that you only eat food that was in your grandma’s pantry. The only exception to that is that there is no grains, rice or potatoes. Stay away from any refined food or anything that comes in wrappers. You are allowed meat, vegetables, salads, eggs, etc.
What food are allowed on the Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet is actually pretty simple. There’s a huge variety of foods to choose from, including
- quality meats (grass-fed, pasture-raised, if possible)
- organ meat, offal and bone broth (aim for 5 times per week)
- fish and shellfish (wild is best – aim for at least 3 times per week)
- vegetables of all kinds, as much variety as possible and the whole rainbow, aim for 8-14 cups per day
- Green vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, arugula, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, watercress, mustard greens, etc.)
- Sea vegetables (excluding algae like chlorella and spirulina which are immune simulator)
- Edible Fungi, like mushrooms
- fruit of all kinds
- herbs and spices
- quality fats (pasture-raised/grass-fed animal fats, fatty fish, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
- probiotic/fermented foods (fermented vegetables or fruit, kumbucha, kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut milk yogurt, supplements)
The Paleo diet is a plant-based diet, with two thirds or more of your plate covered with plant foods and only one third with animal foods.Meat consumption is important because it provides vital nutrients not obtainable from plant sources.Sourcing the highest quality food you can is encouraged, meaning choosing grass-fed or pasture-raised meat, wild-caught seafood, and local organic fruits and vegetables when possible.
A Paleo diet excludes
- grains (like wheat, barley, rye, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat)
- legumes (legumes with edible pods like green beans are fine)
- dairy (especially pasteurized industrially-produced)
- refined and processed foods (including all preservatives)
Personal experience with Paleo
Rice is normally replaced by cauliflower rice, which is a nice change. Sweet potato is very big on the menu. We tried the paleo diet for a few months. The food was delicious. I found the calories a bit on the high side. For convenience, I bought prepared caveman meals. To stay without in calories for the day, I had to order the small meals for myself. Hubby was okay with the bigger meals. But the small meals left me still feeling hungry. During this time we actually gained weight. But we enjoyed the food and I am sure as far as health goes, we were pretty much on the right track with the food choices.
- Increased and more stable energy levels
- Improved sleep
- Clearer skin and healthier looking hair
- Mental clarity
- Improved mood and attitude
- Improvements in those suffering depression or anxieties
- Less or no bloating, decreased gas
- Sustained weight loss
- Muscle growth; increased fitness
- Lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
- Improved glucose tolerance; decreased insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity
- Improved lipid profiles
- Healthier gut flora
- Better absorption of nutrients from food
- Reduced allergies, the Paleo diet is anti-inflammatory, most people experience reduction of pain associated with
- Improvements in those with respiratory problems such as asthma
Drawbacks of the Paleo Diet
It can get expensive. You don’t eat any grains or dairy which can be good for health and energy. This diet can be difficult for vegetarians, especially since it excludes beans. Most athletes need between 3 to 6 grams of carbs per pound of their body weight, per day. This would be very hard to do with just fruits and vegetables.
The Keto diet
The keto diet differs from the paleo diet in many ways. The main difference is that you are encouraged to eat 70-75% fat, 20-25% meat and only about 5% carbs (from broccoli cauliflower, spinach, and other green leavy vegetables). You are not allowed to eat ANY complex carbs.
Any processed food is basically a no-no, because they are normally packed with sugar.
What can I eat
Fats & Oils meat and nuts. Supplement with fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.
Protein. Try to stick with organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat where possible.
Vegetables. Fresh or frozen doesn’t matter. Stick with above ground vegetables, leaning toward leafy/green veggies
Dairy. Most dairy is fine, but make sure to buy full-fat dairy products. Harder cheeses typically have fewer carbs. Stay away from processed cheese. Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds can be used in salads and desserts use fattier nuts macadamias and almonds.
Beverages. Stay simple and stick to water. You can flavor it if needed with lemon/lime juice.
Foods to avoid
Sugar. It’s typically found in soda, juice, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. Anything that’s processed and sweet contains sugar. Avoid sugar at all costs.
wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.
Starch. Avoid vegetables like potatoes and yams and other high-carb products like oats, muesli, etc.
Trans Fats. Margarine or any other spreadable replacement butter should be avoided as they contain hydrogenated fats which is extremely bad for us.
Fruit. Avoid any large fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) as they’re extremely high in sugar. Some berries can be consumed in moderation
Low-fat foods. Make sure you read the labels, because it is easy to get trapped by low-fat versions of your favorite foods.
Personal experience with Keto:
We’ve been on the Keto diet now for a few months. The main difference that we noticed compared to other diets is the fact that we are not hungry between meals. The main component of this diet is fat and fat is very filling. We both noticed the difference after a couple of weeks and it made it much easier to stick to this plan. Also, we love fat and meat, so it was pretty easy for us to adapt to this plan.
One thing to point out is that both these eating plans should not be considered a diet, but rather a lifestyle change. The benefits are evident in the long run, and cheating or eating the wrong food can undo all your hard work. Remember, one bit of the wrong food can kick you out of ketosis, and it will take a few days to get back into ketisis. The paleo diet are not as sensitive, but it is still a lifestyle choice. You are still going gluten and wheat free. And having gluten as a cheat-treat, will put you back at least a couple of weeks.
It is really good for over-all health. Research shows that it help for the following:
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Sugar Levels
Fatty Liver Disease
Even if you are not at risk from any of these conditions, the ketogenic diet can be helpful for you too. Some of the benefits that most people experience are:
Better brain function
A decrease in inflammation
An increase in energy
Improved body composition
Drawbacks of the keto diet
It requires and adaptation period of up to two weeks
It is a restrictive way of eating, having to avoid carbs, especially when going out with friends (think pizza, chips, etc)
Athletes might have a low energy rate that will impact performance.
Many people end up eating unhealthy fats
You might not get enough fiber, which could lead to constipation.
In the end, I think it is up to the individual. Both these lifestyle changes have great benefits. In the one you focus more on vegetables and on the other you limit vegetables. Both avoid preservatives, additives and other nasties that are added to most if not all packaged food. Both promote an eat-clean lifestyle. Both of these eating plans encourage you to eat healthy whole foods instead of processed foods. So it basically comes down to the individual and what they prefer. Personally I am happy with both these. I guess the main factor that was in favor of the keto lifestyle is the fact that fat is very filling and we do not feel hungry.
But the main thing to look at is to stay healthy. Choose the option that suits you best, but just make the change and take charge of your health.