Paleo Diet vs. Keto Diet: How Are They Different?
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Paleo Diet vs. Keto Diet: How Are They Different?

Written by Peter Maldonado on January 13, 2018


Paleo Diet vs Keto

If you promised yourself that you will lose weight and eat healthier this year, you have more than a few options for achieving your goals. Two of the most popular plans are the Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet. At first glance, these diets look deceptively similar. Both follow these key rules:

  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No refined sugar
  • Healthy fats only—nuts, seeds, animal fats, and coconut oil
  • Non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens recommended
  • Quality animal protein—grass-fed or organic—is encouraged for maximum nutritional benefit

A closer look at both diets—Paleo and Keto—reveals many differences you should be aware of before you commit your time, energy, and hopes to one plan.

Paleo Diet Highlights

The Goal

Although both the Paleo and Keto diets help you lose weight, the Paleo Diet is more of a lifestyle choice for those who choose to eat quality foods that promote digestive health. Weight loss becomes a natural by-product of eating a balanced diet of healthier foods.

Paleo Food Plan

The Paleo Diet is based on the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate over 10,000 years ago. They thrived on a varied, natural diet of nutritious, whole foods like meats, fish, eggs, fruits, leafy greens, regional veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Additionally, modern-day Paleo dieters can drink water, coffee, and tea.

By avoiding hard-to-digest foods like grains, legumes, and most dairy products, Paleo enthusiasts focus on eating gut-friendly foods which pave the way for essential nutrients to be fully absorbed by the body. They also avoid processed foods, toxins, sugars, artificial sweeteners, sodas, and diet, low-fat, and limit their intake of high-carb foods.

Calorie Counting for Paleo Diet?

Most people are not good at counting calories. In multiple studies, participants underestimated their calorie intake by up to 50%. The Paleo Diet recommends that you not count calories because the diet helps you focus on feeling naturally satisfied and satiated with healthier fats, more vegetables, and less starchy and sugary carbs.

Keto Diet Highlights

The Goal

The goal of the Keto (short for Ketogenic) Diet is weight loss and fat burning. This is achieved by forcing the body to burn fat more efficiently, a metabolic state called ketosis.

Normally when you need more energy, your body burns glucose which comes from the carbohydrates you eat. On the severely low-carb Keto Diet, your carb intake is roughly 5% of your diet, while your fat intake increases up to 75%. Without the glucose produced by higher-carb foods, your body goes directly to burning the fatty acids in your fat cells, resulting in faster weight loss than experienced on the Paleo Diet.

Keto Food Plan

The goal of the Keto Diet food plan is to maintain a metabolic state of ketosis. This takes careful monitoring of your food intake. Unlike the Paleo Diet, the Keto Diet does not focus on healthy foods versus unhealthy foods. The primary focus is on attaining and remaining in a state of ketosis—fat-burning.

Deciding on the best plan—Paleo or Keto—depends on your specific goals and the changes you are comfortable making to achieve them.

The Keto Diet prohibits these high-carb foods:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Starchy vegetables like pumpkin, squash, yams, carrots, and parsnips
  • High-sugar fruits like bananas, peaches, grapes, and pineapples
  • Paleo-approved sugars like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and dried fruits

Calorie Counting for Keto Diet?

Most people on ketogenic diets consume 5% or less of their calories from carbohydrates. In most cases, you won’t need to count calories on this diet.

Which Diet Best Suits You?

Both diets achieve results for individuals who follow the plan. Both diets result in health benefits ranging from weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improved cholesterol levels to stabilizing blood sugar levels, clearing brain fog, and improving focus.

Deciding on the best plan—Paleo or Keto—depends on your specific goals and the changes you are comfortable making to achieve them.

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