What's the Difference between Keto and Paleo?
What is Paleo?
The Paleo diet is focused on stabilizing blood sugar levels, increasing and maintaining gut health and eating all natural, preservative and sugar free quality foods.
The goal is to increase overall health, energy levels and transition the body to fat as a source of energy, which in turn leads to weight loss.
The word Paleo comes from Paleolithic which refers to a period in time roughly 2.5 million years ago. It’s not meant to be taken literally but essentially means that the focus of this diet is to stick to foods that our bodies digest and use well according to evolution. This means no dairy, no legumes, no grains and no artificial ingredients.
Paleo was actually made popular in the CrossFit and fitness world as athletes saw an increase in performance and overall health. It started to build momentum in 2009 and 2010. Since then many food companies have built entire offerings and products to cater to this style of eating.
Some will even go as far to say that the Paleo movement is responsible for the adding fuel to the movement that has led to more healthier food products in the groceries and online today.
Benefits of Paleo include a decrease in inflammation, more energy, weight loss, lean muscle, increased sleep quality, increased gut health, sustained blood sugar levels, healing of the body, cognitive improvements and an overall improvement in health.
What is Keto?
Keto is a diet that utilizes fat as your main source of nutrition with the goal of losing weight.
The name comes from Ketosis, which is a process that forces your body to burn fat as energy in the form of ketones. When your body does not have carbohydrates to convert to sugar, it turns to Ketosis to create ketones that then get burned as energy.
Keto has become popular in more recent years, really gaining momentum in 2018 and continuing to the present day.
Benefits of Keto are increased sleep quality, low appetite, weight loss, increased energy levels, increased cognitive abilities, consistent blood sugar levels and potentially increased organ health if the fat intake is of higher quality.
What is the difference between Keto and Paleo?
The most obvious differences between Keto and Paleo derive from the goals and methods.
Keto is not as concerned with the source of nutrition as much as the macronutrient. In this case fat is the most important factor and there are no limiting factors as to where you get your fat from. Keto believes in a very low amount of Carbohydrate intake to push your body into Ketosis.
Paleo is more concerned with the quality of your food and restricts certain food groups such as dairy, grains and sugar. Paleo defines it’s standards by inflammation of the gut and body, glycemic levels (sugar) and artificial ingredients. There is a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat built into Paleo, as this system believes in the combination of the right macronutrients for effective health and weight loss.
On Keto It is completely possible to eat food that is not healthy and enter into a state of Ketosis and still lose weight, as well as see other benefits from Keto.
While the Paleo diet also helps it’s practitioners lose weight, it isn’t a diet that is possible to practice or embody without a commitment to higher quality food and the restriction of certain food groups.
So to boil it down to a quick example - Keto focuses on doing whatever it takes to enter and stay in Ketosis by consuming fat and Paleo focuses more on where the Fat comes from and how it interacts overall with the rest of your nutrition.
Is Keto or Paleo Better?
Choosing Keto or Paleo as a better option depends entirely on your goals.
When it comes to the long term effects of being in Ketosis, there are some risks. Consuming a large amount of fat, especially if the quality is on the lower end - can lead to a number of conditions that revolve around fat build up in the body such as heart conditions.
Other negative long term effects revolve around nutritional deficiencies that come from a lack of a nutritionally diverse diet. Supplementation is key here, similar to with a vegan or vegetarian diet.
The only negative long term effects of the Paleo diet is giving up certain food groups that can have strong cultural and even family ties. Imagine trying to be an Italian American without Pasta!
If you’re not opposed to cutting out Carbohydrates and your main goal is to lose weight - Keto may work great for you.
If you’re more focused on overall health and a long term lifestyle change - then Paleo may be a better choice. In the short term Paleo has also been proven to remedy certain health issues and conditions.
When we talk about whether Keto or Paleo is better - one thing that should be mentioned is both Diets have strong restrictions but Keto only works while you’re in Ketosis, which means it’s easy to screw up and have to start over. Paleo can handle some cheat meals here and there and still maintain overall health and weight loss.
Because of that - we feel Paleo is a better option overall. You can lose weight and increase your overall health and if you want to go out with friends for a meal - it’s not going to ruin your hard work.
Who is Keto better for?
1. People who want to lose weight and are ok with only eating fat.
2. People who have limited time for grocery shopping, research and relearning how to cook and prepare meals.
3. People who are more independent and do not have to worry about nutrition for families. Serving up a plate of Fat for your kids may not go well.
Who is Paleo better for?
1. People whose goal is to improve their overall health.
2. People who have health conditions that they want to resolve.
3. Athletes that want to see an increase in performance.
4. People who have experienced food allergies from dairy, grains, legumes, artificial ingredients, sugar and low quality meats.
Paleo and Keto Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it possible to be Keto and Paleo?
Yes, it is completely possible to eat only fats while on the Keto diet that are Paleo. For example this could be grass fed ghee, a butter substitute. Or organic coconut milk. Even Macadamia butter. Any source of fat that is Paleo could be used to enter Ketosis and then your fat would be higher quality and technically Paleo. Remember Paleo focuses on the quality of the food.
2. How long does it take to enter Ketosis?
Entering ketosis can take between 2 to 4 days depending on how low you are willing to cut your carbs. The lower your cut, the stronger the side effects may be but the sooner you will enter into Ketosis.
3. What is the hardest part about Paleo?
The most challenging part of the Paleo diet is coming off of sugar. Most people do not realize that they have been eating some form of sugar, daily, for their entire lives. People have said that coming off of sugar can be comparable or worse than coming off some very serious drugs. But hey, if it wasn’t a challenge - it wouldn’t be worth it. The transition usually takes two weeks.
4. Is Keto unhealthy?
Keto can be unhealthy if you eat low quality fats. Some people are not concerned with overall health as much as losing weight and they will see success with losing weight with a Keto diet thanks to Ketosis.
5. Is it possible to eat out at restaurants while Paleo?
Yes, you can eat Paleo food from restaurants. You’ll just have to be ok with asking questions you might not otherwise ask. For example: What oils do you cook with in this meal? If it’s vegetable oil or canola oil, it’s not Paleo. If you go to Sushi, you can forget the rolls and you better stick to Sashimi. So yes, you can absolutely eat out and be Paleo but you just have to put a little thought into it until you’re used to it and then it’s easy.