Paleo vs Keto Diet. Since there’s no shortage of trendy diets nowadays, you need to know which one of them is more legitimate than others.
You see, on the surface, the keto and paleo diet may seem similar at first. But after reading this article, you’ll see they’re quite different.
Even if both diets are low carb plans that restrict you from eating some of your favorite foods — paleo and keto aren’t actually the same things.
In this article, you’ll discover the difference between keto and paleo — so you can choose which one of them suits you better.
What Is Paleo Diet?
Firstly, the Paleo Diet focuses on high-protein, low-carb, and rich-fiber foods.
The diet emphasizes meat, fruits, and vegetables — mainly the type of foods our ancestors used to consume more than 10.000 years ago during the Paleolithic era.
Also called the “hunter-gatherer” diet, the Paleo diet has a healthy rate of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids besides other essential nutrients.
By sticking to this diet, you get all the vitamins, carbohydrates, fat, and protein that your body needs.
What is Keto Diet?
As I said before, the Keto Diet is also a low carb diet.
So you know, the main goal of the Keto Diet is to put your body in ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a state where your body uses fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary energy source.
When your body reaches the ketosis state, fat starts to travel to the liver and begins making an acid called ketones. This acid enters your bloodstream and converts into energy.
How do you enter into ketosis?
Firstly, you need to eat 60 to 80% of your calories from fats. That’s why this diet is frequently associated with foods like bacon or ribs, even though your doctor suggests you eat healthier goods.
And when I say healthier goods, I mean avocados, nuts, eggs, and lean meats. Basically, the “good” type of fats!
Similarities between The Keto And Paleo Diets
The main common thing is both diets support you to consume many nutritious whole foods — excluding highly processed foods.
More than that, both Paleo and Keto Diets include a low carb intake and restrict you from the consumption of grains and legumes.
Both diets indicate meat for protein intake and recommend particular kinds of fats and vegetables.
Each diet includes:
- Unprocessed meat
- Healthful fats (olive oil, avocado oil, and nut oils)
- Non-starchy vegetables
Both diets exclude highly processed foods such as:
- Chips, crackers, or any other packaged snacks
- Brown sugar, corn syrup. or agave nectar
And . . .
Both diets also exclude healthful foods such as:
- whole grains (rice, wheat, quinoa, pasta, bread, and oats)
- legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, soy, and lentils)
The Paleo and Keto Diets promote lower carbohydrate intake than other traditional reduced-calorie, or low-fat weight loss plans that most people suggest.
Which Diet Is More Restrictive?
Well, lets’s take it one by one . . .
And start with the Paleo Diet.
Essentially, this diet restricts all grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, and salt.
So then, what’s left for you to eat?
Well, you can still consume grass-fed meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, and certain oils such as coconut, avocado, and olive oils.
As an example, a paleo-friendly meal may involve grilled chicken with steamed vegetables, avocado, and fruit.
But let’s dive in and discuss the Keto Diet . . .
So, if you by now think the Paleo Diet is rigid — I have bad news for you!
Because the Keto Diet is even more restrictive.
And that’s because only 10% of your daily calorie intake comes from carbs — which means you can only eat a small number of healthy foods that contain natural sugars.
As a general rule, if you want to stick to Keto Diet, you can eat between 20 and 30 grams of carbs per day — otherwise, you won’t maintain ketosis.
So you imagine, a quarter cup of oats has 29 grams of carbs and a banana has about 27 grams of carbs. A few bites of oatmeal and a small fruit make your daily carb intake.
So then, which diet is more flexible?
You’ve guessed it . . .
The Paleo Diet definitely gives you more flexibility.
When sticking to this diet, you can eat starchy vegetables and fruit, and also consume healthy fat-rich foods such as avocados.
What Is The Difference Between Keto And Paleo
Until now, you already understood that both diets exclude different foods.
The Keto Diet doesn’t allow you to eat high-sugar foods, while the Paleo Diet permits you to eat more fruits and some natural sweeteners.
Both diets also have distinctive rules for meats, vegetables, and dairy.
So, let’s dive in and discuss the main differences between Keto and Paleo Diets.
Paleo Vs Keto: Meat Restrictions
Usually, a paleo diet excludes processed meats like bacon, salami, ham — since these are a result of modern food processing procedures. If you want to break the rules a little bit, you can still eat minimally processed bacon without nitrates or preservatives.
The Keto Diet allows you to eat these types of processed meats, as long as they don’t have any sugar or other carbohydrates in them.
You see, eating carbs may get you out of ketosis.
So you know, some processed meats like sausage or bacon can contain sugar — so be sure you always read the label.
However, while many researchers indicate that processed meats can raise the risk of cancer — you may wish to concentrate on eating good quality meats instead of processed ones.
The Paleo diet focuses more on natural and grass-fed, unprocessed meat.
The Keto Diet supports you to eat any meat that doesn’t have added sugar or carbohydrates.
Paleo Vs Keto: Sweeteners And Sugar
Luckily, the Paleo Diet admits some natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. But you aren’t allowed to consume artificial sweeteners (sugar alcohol included) since they’re a result of modern technology.
However, the Keto Diet allows you to eat some artificial sweeteners — as long as they don’t have any sugar.
Ideally, you should consume sweeteners such as stevia and sucralose, which are sweeteners that don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar.
If you decide to stick to the Keto Diet — you aren’t allowed to consume honey, maple syrup, or other products containing natural sugar or fructose.
So, let’s summarize . . .
The Paleo Diet allows raw honey, maple syrup, date sugar, and coconut sugar.
While the Keto Diet doesn’t allow you to eat any sugars but permits you to eat some artificial sweeteners — such as stevia or sucralose.
Paleo Vs Keto: Starchy Vegetables
You see, some nutrient-rich vegetables have a high starch or carbohydrate content too.
If you’re on Keto Diet, you can’t consume these vegetables because they would disrupt your ketosis — and may cause you to consume more than your allowed total of carbohydrates.
However, if you’re on Paleo Diet, you can eat most of these starchy vegetables — but with moderation. You’re allowed to eat sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots in small portions — but your main priority should be low carb vegetables.
Paleo Vs Keto: Fruit
As you know, fruits have a large number of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants — which all are a healthful choice for you!
However, as you also know, fruits have some natural sugar too. Some have higher levels of sugar, while others have less carbohydrates.
So, if you decide to follow the Paleo Diet, I have good news for you!
You can eat all fruits — including fresh, dried, and frozen types of them.
But my suggestion for you is to focus more on lower sugar types of fruits — such as berries.
The Paleo Diet includes sweeter fruits like bananas, grapes, mangoes, and cherries — but I recommend you to eat them in lower amounts.
However, if you decide to follow the Keto Diet, you are more restricted from fruit consumption.
Since you want to keep your body in a state of ketosis — you should eat lower sugar fruits and in small quantities only.
The most common keto-friendly fruit for you to eat are berries, but you can also eat cranberries, peaches, or apples from time to time.
So, let’s summarize . . .
The Paleo Diet allows you to eat all fruits, but higher sugar ones in moderation.
The Keto Diet allows you to eat only lower sugar fruits.
Paleo Vs Keto: Dairy
If you decide to follow the Paleo Diet — you aren’t allowed to eat any dairy products.
Why is that?
Well, Paleolithic humans didn’t consume them, and that’s why you aren’t allowed too. The Paleo Diet restricts you from cheese, milk, cream, or other dairy products.
However, you can drink unsweetened nut milk, coconut milk, and related options that don’t have artificial sweeteners.
If you decide to follow the Keto Diet — you can’t consume any dairy products containing sugar. So no ice cream or chocolate milk for you!
However, you may consume dairy products that have artificial sweeteners, but in moderation.
So, let’s summarize . . .
The Paleo Diet excludes dairy products.
The Keto Diet allows dairy products without sugar.
Paleo vs Keto: Side Effects
If you follow the Paleo Diet, it’s common you feel a bit sluggish as your body gets used to the low carb diet.
But you don’t have to get scared . . .
Because your energy levels will come back to normal after just a couple of weeks.
More than that, the Paleo Diet has lots of protein and fiber but lacks calcium and vitamin D — since dairy products are restricted.
Over time, your bones and immune system may weaken — since you lack those two elements.
How can you compensate for this?
Well, eating lots of calcium-rich and paleo-friendly foods like broccoli and dark leafy greens could be an option.
If you decide to stick to the Keto Diet, you may experience Keto Flu symptoms in the first weeks — which can be pretty annoying . . .
The most common symptoms of Ketu Flu are:
- muscle cramping
But like the Paleo Diet, these side effects generally go away after just a couple of weeks.
You see, drinking plenty of water and getting full night’s rest can help.
Another downside of the Keto Diet is that after a few weeks, according to Andy Yurochenkho, you may have nutrient deficiencies. The lack of fiber is the main reason for keto fanatics, which may lead to constipation. But eating lower-carb veggies like broccoli and chia seeds may help.
So, speaking of side effects, both Keto and Paleo diets may give you unpleasant symptoms, but sticking to Paleo makes your life easier.
Paleo vs Keto For Weight Loss
Eating like cavemen won’t guarantee you’ll lose weight.
Even if the Paleo diet supports plenty of foods that are good for weight loss — you’ll still need to eat fewer calories to lose a few pounds. You see, if you’re binging on nuts and fruits, you’ll more likely gain weight on the Paleo Diet.
Even if ketosis isn’t the magic trick for weight loss, Konstantinos Spaniolas says that you may successfully lose weight on keto because you use to eat less.
It’s easier for you to stick to a lower caloric intake since you have reduced cravings.
So, in terms of weight loss, the Keto diet is better, but you’ll have to be careful — since you may gain weight when you come off ketosis.
Keto And Paleo Diet Food Lists
Below I’ll show you what foods you can eat whether you decide to follow the Keto or Paleo diet.
Keto Diet Foods
If you decide to stick to the Keto Diet, you’re allowed to eat the following:
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
- Shellfish (mussels, clams, oysters)
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Game meat
- Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, asparagus, olives, bell peppers, celery, squash mushrooms)
- Plain greek yogurt with no sugar or fruit
- Plain cottage cheese
- Eggs, especially egg yolks
- Healthful oils (olive oil, nut oils, and avocado oil)
- Nuts (macadamia nuts, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds)
- Seeds (chia seeds and flaxseed)
- Butter, ghee, or cream
- Coconut or cocoa butter
- Dark chocolate
- Nut butter (almond butter with no added sugar)
- Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
- Lemons and limes
- Bone broth
- Unsweetened tea and coffee
Paleo Diet Foods
If you decide to stick to the Paleo Diet, you’re allowed to eat the following:
- Game meat
- Vegetables (leafy greens, celery, asparagus, peppers, cruciferous vegetables)
- Moderate amounts of starchy vegetables (potatoes and root vegetables)
- Fruit (berries, tomatoes, citrus)
- Moderate amounts of higher sugar fruits (grapes, bananas)
- Nut Butter
- Cocoa Butter
- Dark Chocolate
- Coffee with no dairy cream or refined sugar
- Healthful oils (nut oils, olive oil, avocado oil)
- Honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar in small amounts
Paleo Diet Pros And Cons
The pros of following a Paleo diet are the following:
- The diet is rich in potassium.
- The fats are healthy.
- It has a high protein content.
- Eliminates processed foods.
The cons of sticking to a Paleo diet are:
- The food servings approved by the diet exceed the suggested daily allowances’ for those foods.
- By eliminating entire food groups, you may exclude some essential nutrients and vitamins from your diet.
- The diet is low in calcium and vitamin D.
- You aren’t allowed to consume whole grains, which leads to a decreased intake of fiber.
- The diet doesn’t allow the consumption of legumes.
- It’s not likely to adopt the same diet as people did in the Paleolithic era, mainly because animals and plants evolved since then.
Keto Diet Pros And Cons
The pros of following a Keto diet are the following:
- It provides a quick weight loss.
- Boosts your satiety.
- Can reduce the abdominal fat.
- Can improve athletic performances.
- You have access to many online resources and recipes
- May improve your health markers (blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels)
- Efficient management strategy for different seizure disorders
The cons of sticking to a Keto diet are:
- It’s hard to maintain because food choice is limited.
- You may experience side effects through the initial stages.
- It may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
- The healthiest version of it may be expensive.
- It’s contraindicated for certain people.
- May not be healthy if you’re pregnant, have risk factors for health disease, or other medical conditions.
As a conclusion, both Keto and Paleo diets have specific guidelines that may include or exclude particular types of foods.
Although the diets may have some similarities — they also have lots of differences. Both may have health benefits, since they eliminate processed foods, leading to effective weight loss.
Even if the Paleo and Keto diets may seem drastic, I can guarantee you that you’ll get used to them.
If you need some good resources to make your life easier on sticking to both of these diets and help you with recipes and other important information — you can try the following:
- Paleohacks Cookbook to help you with the Paleo diet.
- 28-DayKeto Challenge to guide you with the Keto diet.