Paleo Diet vs Keto: What to Know - Genius Gourmet Inc
Paleo Diet vs Keto: What to Know

Paleo Diet vs Keto: What to Know

January 03, 2022

A 2017-2018 study found that obesity was prevalent in approximately 42.4% of adults in the United States. As a result, research into paleo vs keto for weight loss has become more popular than ever. 

Many people make the faulty assumption that they can interchange the details of keto versus paleo. However, each diet has its own set of rules and benefits. Continue reading to understand the difference between the paleo diet vs keto, and set yourself up for success.

What Is the Paleo Diet?

Modern-day diets are filled with heavily processed foods and complex farming methods. For this reason, some nutritionists believe they are incompatible with the human body. 

The paleo diet refers to the Paleolithic era, which occurred over 10,000 years ago. During this period, technology was limited and the world hadn't yet experienced the industrial revolution. This means that food was much simpler.

This earned the diet the name nickname of the 'caveman diet.' Since humans in the Paleolithic era were hunter-gatherers, the diet consists only of foods available at the time. 

Paleo Diet Structure

Since the paleo diet aims to remove any food items created via modern processing and farming, it's easier to determine which foods are 'acceptable' to consume. Below is a generalized list of some of the most common 'off-limit' foods:

  • Dairy products
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Sugar and sugar-free sweeteners

These foods wouldn't exist without modern-day processing, meaning our ancestors wouldn't have access to them. Instead, you should focus on consuming foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, and nuts. 

What Is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet, also called the ketogenic diet, is less focused on what our ancestors consumed. Instead, the goal of this high-fat diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis through the foods you consume. 

Your body primarily burns sugar for energy, which it gets through consuming carbohydrates. Ketosis is a metabolic process that happens when a person significantly limits their intake of carbohydrates.

Instead of burning carbs, it starts burning fat. As your body burns fat, it starts producing ketones, which it uses as an energy source. To start this process, a person needs to adjust their diet so that it consists of 60 to 80% fat. 

Keto Diet Structure

Since the keto diet incorporates percentages, it is sometimes confusing for those new to the diet. While certain foods are limited or excluded, such as carbs, grains, and legumes, it's easier to follow if you focus on your daily intake percentages, such as those below:

  • Fat: 70-80%
  • Protein: 20-25%
  • Carbohydrates: 5-10%

Since it's very difficult and unhealthy to eliminate carbs completely, you still need to factor them into your daily allowances. The diet recommends consuming no more than 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day to remain in ketosis.

Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet: Similarities

Since both diets are lower in carbs by their nature, it can be confusing to separate one from the other. To compare the paleo diet vs keto diet, we should start by understanding how they're similar. 

Both Used for Weight Loss

The two diets initially became widely popular due to their potential to aid in weight loss efforts. While little is known about the long-term implications of paleo vs keto for weight loss, they are both very effective in the short term.

Part of the success of short-term weight loss is credited to the high consumption of fat. When people consume high amounts of fat, they tend to experience a decrease in their appetite. This leads to lower calorie intake. 

Emphasis on Whole Foods

When comparing the paleo vs keto diet, you'll likely notice that both emphasize whole foods. Whole foods are those that receive minimal processing and are consumed as close to their natural state as possible.

Both diets discourage followers from consuming foods that are highly processed. This includes processed fats and oils. 

Emphasis on Healthy Fats

Those new to either diet make the incorrect assumption that all fats are the same. However, when comparing keto versus paleo, both recommend consuming only healthy fats.

This can be a difficult detail to navigate, because not all fats are inherently healthy or unhealthy. Some examples of foods containing healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, and fatty fish.

Elimination of Sugar

The most popular forms of sugar, such as white, brown, and powdered, are heavily processed. The same can be said for sugar alternatives, such as artificial sweeteners.

For this reason and others, the intake of sugar is strongly discouraged in both diets. However, both diets have their unique rules on sugar intake. 

Elimination of Grains and Legumes

Grains and legumes have different effects on the paleo diet vs the keto diet. The effect is negative for both, and the consumption of these foods can prevent them from being effective.  

For the paleo diet, these foods weren't available to early humans. For the keto diet, grains and legumes have a high carbohydrate content and can take you out of ketosis.

Paleo vs Keto Diet: Differences

While the paleo vs keto diets are similar in many ways, understanding their differences is essential for success with either one. In either case, it's not enough to limit your carbs and eat only whole foods.

Paleo Emphasizes Lifestyle Choices

To fully embrace the paleo diet and enjoy maximum benefits, you need to understand that it's not just a diet. Consuming the right foods is important, but so is maintaining a certain lifestyle.

Exercise plays an important role in the paleo diet. Many proponents of the diet recommend high-intensity, short-interval workouts in your exercise routine. It's believed this reduces stress and strain associated with extended periods of exercise. 

Paleo Is Less Carb-Restrictive

Unlike a ketogenic diet menu, a paleo menu can include more carbs, since it's not specifically a low-carb diet. Paleo allows dieters to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and natural sweeteners into their meals. 

For this reason, a paleo diet could be relatively high in carbohydrates, even if they're not eating grains and legumes. The key is consuming whole foods, not restricting carbohydrates. 

Keto Emphasizes Macronutrients

Part of understanding 'what is the keto diet,' is understanding its emphasis on macronutrients. Unlike paleo, keto isn't about your lifestyle, but how much you consume of each of the different types of foods. 

This makes having the right keto snacks available, so you can stay within your daily limits. Adding exercise is beneficial, especially for weight loss, but it's not as important as with paleo. 

Keto Is Less Dairy-Restrictive

Since cavemen wouldn't have access to many dairy products, such as heavy cream and butter, it's heavily restricted in the paleo diet. However, these types of dairy are high in fat, which makes them perfect for a ketogenic diet menu.

You can even enjoy creamy keto bars without worrying about the dairy content, which is something you can't do while on a paleo diet. 

Benefits of the Paleo Diet vs Keto

Understanding the benefits and detriments of the paleo diet vs keto is important. It can help you understand what your unique needs are and which diet helps you meet those needs. 

Paleo Diet Pros

One of the biggest benefits of the paleo vs keto diet is that you're eating fewer processed foods. Heavily processed foods are difficult for the body to break down and contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. 

Eating whole foods contributes to good overall health, including heart health. This diet helps regulate your blood sugar and balance your cholesterol. 

If you've been weighing paleo vs keto for inflammation, paleo is a great choice. It helps identify foods that trigger inflammation, thereby allowing you to eliminate them from your diet. 

Paleo Diet Cons

Committing to a paleo lifestyle isn't without its sacrifices. Whole foods often come with a higher price tag. So it can be less-than-friendly toward your budget. 

You also run the risk of limiting your access to essential nutrients. Certain restricted foods offer important health benefits, such as the health and energy associated with grains and dairy.

The paleo diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, and meats. This can make it challenging for vegetarians and athletes. Vegetarians often rely on beans, and athletes need a high-carb diet for energy. 

Keto Diet Pros

Like the paleo diet, a ketogenic diet menu helps promote weight loss, especially in the short term. Plus, it tends to be a more satisfying option when compared with other diets, since it allows the consumption of high-fat foods.

When many people think of low-fat diets, they think of bland food and boring recipes. The nature of keto allows you to get more creative with some of your favorite foods. 

When comparing paleo vs keto for diabetes, keto is a strong contender. The low-carb diet helps diabetics manage their blood sugar levels and can lower the risk of experiencing a diabetic coma from high blood pressure.

Keto Diet Cons

One of the detriments of a keto versus paleo diet is that it's hard to sustain in the long term. Some people struggle with such intense dietary restrictions that it ends up being a short-term diet. However, it helps to have the right snacks, such as our keto chips.

It's important to pay attention to your nutritional needs on the ketogenic diet as well. Missing out on nutrients from carbs and overloading yourself with bad fats can harm your health. 

Building a Paleo Diet Menu

The key to building a paleo diet is creating balance. Keep your meal plans simple to start with. Good examples include boiled eggs and a banana for breakfast, and a salad with mixed greens, veggies, and salmon for lunch. 

If you're concerned about sustainability, consider taking a modified approach to the diet. A strict paleo diet can be difficult, especially as you learn what kind of foods are compatible. You can take it slow and figure out what works best for you. 

Once you get comfortable with the types of food you can consume, you can get more creative. One of our favorite recipes is a taco bowl made with seasoned ground turkey, salsa, and guacamole.

Building a Ketogenic Diet Menu

Creating a ketogenic diet menu involves a little more work than a paleo diet menu. We recommend starting the process by focusing on what foods are keto-approved. 

Start with simple recipes that are easy to adjust. By getting used to the right ingredients, you can adjust any recipes so that they fit within your macronutrients for the day. You may be surprised to find you're not eating enough once you do the math.

It's important to keep in mind that you may need to adjust your macros until you find the right ratio. Some people can consume 30 to 40 grams per day, while others only enter ketosis with a strict 20 grams per day. 

Keto Versus Paleo: Which Is Better?

Whether you're comparing paleo vs keto for inflammation, diabetes, weight loss, or just a healthier lifestyle, finding the right diet is subjective. What works well for one person may not fit the needs or lifestyle of another. 

Take the time to consider what you want from your new diet. Then, compare the pros and cons to decide what you can and can't live with. Setting these goals in advance can help set you up for success down the road. 

Plus, preparing in advance can also help prepare you for any side effects. These include the keto flu while adjusting to ketosis, and cravings while adjusting to the low-carb lifestyle. 

Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet: Do Your Research

When deciding between the paleo diet vs keto diet, it's important to do your research. It's difficult for two people to compare keto versus paleo, especially since they likely have very different needs. It's a very personal decision.

Make your ketogenic diet menu more enjoyable by shopping our range of keto-friendly snacks

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