Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet – Introduction
A large and growing percentage of the world’s population is overweight or even obese. As a result, a lot of people are currently exercising and dieting for weight loss. Almost any type of workout can help you lose weight, including cardio and strength training, but the main key to successful weight loss is diet.
Losing weight means eating less to create a calorie deficit. Faced with this calorie shortfall, your body has no choice but to start burning fat for fuel. It’s simple math.
While you could just skip a meal or two per day, cut down on treats and snacks, or eat smaller meals to create the necessary calorie deficit, most people prefer to follow a more structured diet, and that’s where things usually start to go wrong.
Most diets are too strict for long-term use. They ban the foods you love and leave you feeling hungry and deprived. It’s no wonder that about 95% of dieters fail to reach their target weight or regain the weight they’ve lost soon after their diet ends.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at two very popular diets – paleo and keto – to see which one is best. We’re also going to discuss an alternative approach to weight loss, which may be more effective than both of these well-known eating plans.
Ketogenic Diet 101
Keto is short for ketogenic. The keto diet is a very low carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. In fact, most keto dieters keep their carb intake to 50 grams or less per day.
Eating so few carbs puts your body into a state called nutritional ketosis, which is where this diet gets its name. With no carbs for energy, your body has to use more fat. However, your brain and muscles cannot use pure fat for fuel, so your body converts some fat into a more useable source of energy – ketones. Your body then uses these ketone bodies for energy in place of carbs.
While keto isn’t as old as paleo, it’s been around for over a century. The ketogenic diet was first developed by doctors as a treatment for children suffering from epilepsy. It was then discovered that eating fewer carbs was also helpful for weight loss. The keto diet was popularized in the 1960s by cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins as the Atkins diet and is one of the most well-known weight-loss diets around.
To keep their carb intake so low, keto dieters avoid foods like bread, rice, cereals, pasta, and potatoes. They also avoid high-sugar fruits like bananas and apples. A lot of high-carb processed foods are also off the menu, such as candy and baked goods.
As well as putting you into nutritional ketosis, which enhances fat burning, cutting carbs from your diet should also lead to a calorie deficit, leading to weight loss.
The Paleolithic diet is often described as the oldest diet in the world. That’s because it’s supposed to replicate how early humans ate 10,000 years ago, in the Paleolithic or old stone age era. During this time, humans were hunter-gathers and had yet to settle in permanent communities. As such, they only ate foods that they could hunt or scavenge.
As the Paleolithic era ended and we entered the Neolithic or new stone age, people started living in settlements and turned to agriculture for their food. This caused a significant change in the foods the former hunter-gathers ate, with grains soon becoming a staple.
Fans of the paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, believe that new stone age foods are less healthy and led to the dietary changes that are responsible for the weight gain and poor nutritional health that are so common today.
Paleo is a moderate protein, a moderate to a high fat, low-carb diet. It’s based on those natural healthy foods you should find in the wild, assuming that you are a proficient hunter-gatherer.
The paleo diet focuses on:
- Unprocessed foods
- Grass-fed meat (ideally)
- Wild-caught fish (if you can)
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh fruits
- Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, lard, ghee/butter
- Natural sweeteners including raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, raw stevia
Foods NOT allowed on paleo include:
- Processed foods
- Junk food
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Refined sugars
While paleo isn’t strictly a weight loss diet, it can still help you lose weight. Going paleo invariably means giving up many of the foods responsible for weight gain, especially refined sugars, and processed foods. With these foods all but banned, you will not consume as many calories and should create the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet – Similarities & Differences
Are keto and paleo the same? To determine which of these diets are better, let’s take a look at their similarities and main differences.
Where keto is a very low carb diet, paleo is usually a selective carb diet. You can eat carbs on paleo, but only in the form of starchy vegetables and fruits; no grains are allowed. In contrast, consuming more than 50 grams of carbs on keto would kick you out of ketosis, derailing your diet.
Both paleo and keto ban grains, legumes, and refined sugars. Keto because they would cause you to exit ketosis, and paleo because these foods were introduced during Neolithic times.
Both diets allow moderate amounts of protein. However, on paleo, that protein should come from natural sources, such as unrefined beef, fish, and eggs. In contrast, on keto, you can eat processed meat products such as salami and other deli meats and can also use whey protein.
Paleolithic cavemen didn’t have access to these sorts of foods, so they are not allowed on paleo. However, some paleo dieters will use things like hemp protein, beef protein, and collagen protein, as they are made with minimal processing.
Fats are a cornerstone of both the ketogenic and paleolithic diets. In fact, they are eaten in abundance and provide a valuable source of energy. Without adequate dietary fat, your body would not produce enough ketones on keto, and most paleo protein sources are also high in fat.
Processed foods are not allowed on paleo. If you can’t imagine picking it off a tree, digging it out of the ground, or catching and killing it, the food in question is not paleo-friendly.
In contrast, most keto diets are less restrictive and providing that a food is low enough in carbs, you can probably eat it, even if it’s processed. From this perspective, paleo has the potential to be a cleaner, more natural, and healthier diet.
Keto has some very strict macro guidelines. Typically, the keto diet focuses on getting 60-90% of your calories from fat, 10-30% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. In contrast, paleo is more about the choice of foods than following specific macros.
While you can eat clean on keto, you don’t have to. It’s acceptable to eat foods that contain artificial additives on keto, including artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. The paleo diet does not allow any artificial foods or ingredients. Food should be consumed in its natural state, and things like preservatives, artificial flavors, and chemical sweeteners are not permitted.
Paleolithic cavemen were very active, and most paleo diets recommend a mixture of strength training and cardio to replicate the physical demands of hunting and gathering. As such, paleo is as much a healthy lifestyle choice as it is a diet. Like the diet, workouts should be natural and are often done barefooted and outdoors, rather than in a gym.
While exercise is beneficial on keto, it’s not usually part of this diet. In contrast, exercise is usually an accepted part of the paleo diet.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Paleo and Keto
Paleo and keto share some significant similarities and major differences, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
Keto vs Paleo Weight loss
Paleo and keto can both lead to weight loss. Cutting carbs (keto) and eliminating processed foods (paleo) will create a calorie deficit, leading to increased fat burning. Keto often leads to rapid initial weight loss, but this is mostly water. A low-carb Paleo diet would have the same effect. Both diets can help you reach your weight loss goal.
Staying in a state of ketosis is not always easy. Eating even slightly more than 50 grams of carbs per day will disrupt ketosis and could set you back several days or even weeks as it takes time to run down your carb stores and get back into ketosis.
Paleo is more forgiving, and you won’t derail your diet if you have a cheat meal now and then. As such, paleo is arguably more sustainable than keto for most dieters; it’s a little more flexible and easier to live with.
In terms of macros, both diets are nutritionally similar, but paleo places emphasis on whole foods, while keto allows you to eat some processed foods and artificial additives. Also, you can eat more fruit and vegetables on paleo, making it potentially the healthier of the two.
However, both diets involve eating a lot of fat, which may be an issue for some people, even when those fats should mainly come from natural sources.
Unwanted side effects
Cutting carbs for keto can come as a big shock, as your body is primed to use carbohydrates for energy. A lot of people experience something called “keto flu” when they start the ketogenic diet, which can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. While not contagious, the keto flu is undoubtedly unpleasant and could be enough to turn you off of keto and make you quit.
Because you can still eat carbs on paleo, you should not experience any such unwanted side effects.
Many ketogenic dieters find exercise hard work on keto. Not eating carbs means your body won’t have access to its preferred energy source, which may affect exercise performance.
Because paleo tends to allow more carbs, it’s generally better for people who like to work out. In fact, exercise is often recommended as part of the paleo diet.
Paleo vs Keto Diet – And the winner is…
Is paleo better than keto or vice versa?
The truth is that the keto and paleo diets share so many characteristics that it’s hard to choose between them!
Both diets can help you lose weight and work through similar mechanisms. So long as your chosen diet puts you into a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat and lose weight.
Paleo has the potential to be a healthier and more forgiving diet because it allows you to eat carbs, albeit in the form of fruit and vegetables, rather than grains. However, keto may be easier to follow because you can eat a wider range of foods, including some processed foods. You can also enjoy diet products, such as soda and sugar-free candy.
Ultimately, the best diet is the one you can stick to, not for a week or a month, but for as long as it takes you to reach your target weight and for as long as you want to maintain it. After all, going back to eating normally will probably lead to weight regain, especially if you used to eat too much or unhealthily.
And that’s the rub with ALL diets – they only work for as long as you can stick to them. As soon as you go back to your old ways, weight gain is almost unavoidable.
Thankfully, there is an alternative – The Hashi Mashi Plan to lose weight without suffering up to 20 pounds in 3 months.
Carb Cycling vs. Keto Diet vs. Paleo Diet
Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet – Final Thoughts
Despite their apparent differences, all diets work the same way; they reduce your calorie intake, which forces your body to burn fat for fuel. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the Zone, Intermittent Fasting, Paleo, Keto, Clean Eating, or the Cabbage Soup Diet.
Unfortunately, huge dietary changes, like giving up carbs or only eating food your ancestors could hunt and gather, are rarely sustainable. It’s only a matter of time before your hunger and cravings erode your willpower, and you go back to your old bad habits, regaining the weight you have lost.
That’s why weight loss and your subsequent weight management need to be long term projects; those short-term fixes DO NOT WORK! Remember, only 5% of dieters are successful. This is not the fault of the dieter, but the diet they follow. Your diet is letting you down!
If you’re sick and tired of losing weight only to regain it soon after, it’s time to try a different approach.
Check out The Hashi Mashi Plan, a simple 5 step system to lose weight without misery, and most importantly, to keep it off!
Related Weight Loss Articles:
- What Is Carb Cycling: How To Guide + Meal Planner
- The Vertical Diet by Stan Efferding – What You Need to Know
- The Obesity Code Summary Can Spark Your Weight Loss
- The 4 Hour Body Summary – Uncommon Fat Loss by Tim Ferriss
- The Best Exercise Equipment to Lose Weight at Home in 2021
- Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight After 30, 40, or 50?
- 7 Deadlift Fat Loss Results You Need to Know
- Walking for Weight Loss Plan – Advantages, Benefits + How-To
- How To Lose 75 Pounds in Six Months – Just Ditch These 3 Habits!
- 10 Best Weight Bench Exercises At Home + Workout
- 37 Remarkable Benefits of Deadlifts to Unleash Your Fitness Fast
- 5 Best Rick Ross Weight Loss Diet Tips You Need to Know
- Weight Lifting for Weight Loss: Strength Training to Lose Weight
- 27 Sensational Ways How Deadlifts Change Your Body