Selecting the right diet plan for your body is the most effective way to get on a healthy life path. Research has long shown that when you combine regular physical exercise with a nourishing diet, your body will shed extra pounds and keep them off, helping you maintain your healthy body weight. However, if you're having trouble losing any extra weight despite eating well and exercising, it might be time to try a different type of healthy eating plan.
Two of the most popular diets today are the keto and paleo diets. But what are the differences between the two, and which is better for you? When it comes to paleo vs keto, the answer isn't always so clear.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the keto vs paleo diet debate.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is all about getting healthy fats, minimal carbs, and a bit of protein.
This leaves many people wondering, "Is a low carb diet healthy?" People with extensive experience on the keto diet can answer that with a resounding yes.
When the body needs fuel, it tends to look at carbs as the main source. By lowering your carb intake, however, the body will turn to fat and protein instead. This process is called ketosis, and when true ketosis is achieved your body will turn fat stored in the liver into ketones, which in turn give you energy.
Not only does the keto diet help you lose weight this way, but it reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease. A successful keto diet means consuming about 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbs. These numbers may vary slightly.
What Is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet is something straight out of, well, the Paleolithic era, as you may have guessed.
The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet, and for good reason. Going paleo means only eating food that cavemen might have eaten. That means nothing made through modern farming and food processing methods.
That means excluding all legumes, grains, and dairy as well. If a caveman couldn't hunt or gather it, you can't eat it on the paleo diet.
People on the paleo diet tend to eat a lot of nuts, grass-fed meat, and vegetables. They're encouraged to eat healthy fats from things like butter and olive oil. In this way, paleo is similar to keto but with a few different restrictions.
Paleo Vs Keto: Which Is Best?
There are a lot of similarities between the paleo and keto diets, especially in the foods allowed. People on the keto and paleo diet can both enjoy:
- Unprocessed, grass-fed meat
- Nuts & seeds
- Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nut fat)
- Certain vegetables low in starch
Both diets also exclude similar foods, including:
- Processed food
- Fast food
- Chips, crackers, snack foods
- White & brown sugar, agave nectar
- Wheat, whole grains
- Pasta, bread, oats
- Beans & legumes
- Peanuts, peas, lentils
Considering this, both diets offer a lot of the same benefits. However, some people will find one easier than the other. It all depends on what you're willing to exclude from your diet, and what you're not.
What's the Difference?
While there are a lot of similarly excluded and included foods in both diets, there are also a lot of exclusive differences.
The keto diet, for example, doesn't allow high sugar food. This includes fruit, which the paleo diet allows. You can even have some natural sweeteners on the paleo diet, such as unprocessed honey, where these are not allowed on keto.
Those doing a strict paleo diet have to avoid processed meat entirely in favor of grass-fed meat. That means no salami, ham, and everyone's favorite, bacon. This can be a bit of an issue for some, however slightly modified Paleo diets can be a little less strict, allowing foods such as these provided they come from pastured raised, grass-fed sources.
On the keto diet, you can eat any of these meats as long as they don't have carbs or sugar in them. Always read the package before buying, as some bacon does include sugar.
When it comes to sweeteners, paleo practitioners can use raw honey, coconut sugar, and maple syrup to name a few. Keto practitioners can't use any sweeteners except for low-carb options such as stevia and monk fruit.
The paleo diet lets you eat most vegetables in moderation. You can eat beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and more as long as you don't go too crazy. Low carb vegetables are still recommended most of the time.
On keto, however, you must strictly avoid starchy vegetables. These include parsnips, sweet potatoes, green peas, carrots, and corn to name a few. Non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, cabbage, cucumber, onions, and mushrooms are all available to you, though.
One of the hardest rules to follow with the paleo diet is dairy restriction. You cannot have any dairy on a strict paleo diet. Modified paleo diets do encourage the consumption of grass-fed, organic butter. On the keto diet, however, you can have sugar-free dairy products, especially those with high fat and protein.
It's important to consider all these restrictions when picking the diet for you. One thing is certain though: You might have to cut some beloved foods from your diet (goodbye, bread)!
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits of both diets are similar.
Both keto and paleo allow for sustainable weight loss. They also put you on a generally healthier path, reducing your chances of diabetes and heart failure among other things. You're definitely not going to get obese on these diets compared to the standard American diet, which is a major plus.
Keto tends to reduce food cravings thanks to the focus on high fat. Paleo will get you more healthy in general thanks to cutting processed foods. Considering this, either is a good choice whether you're looking to lose weight or just get healthier.
What Is the Best Diet for Me?
When it comes to paleo vs keto, the best diet for you depends on a lot of factors.
Explore the list of restrictions and make sure it's something you're willing to stick to. Allergies may come into play, as well as your general health. If you're really unsure, visit a nutritionist or doctor and get their opinion as to which diet you should try.
The keto and paleo diets can do you a lot of good, but only if done properly and safely. Always research thoroughly before committing to any diet.