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In the battle of the keto vs paleo diet, which one reigns supreme? Many health experts continue to advocate that not all carbs are bad for you so who do you believe?

I think I have found the perfect balance for me. I like to switch between the two to get the best of both worlds. Let’s discuss this more so you can decide if you’d like to give this diet variation a go.

keto vs paleo

While searching for a healthy lifestyle that can help you to lose weight, you may have come across the keto diet and the paleo diet.

The two can help you to lose weight so which one is right for you? I’ll compare keto vs paleo so you can determine the difference between each and choose the one that’s most befitting of your current lifestyle or try a mashup like me. 

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is all about reviving our ancestors’ diets from back in the day by eating fresh, healthy, wholesome foods that have not been contaminated with additives and preservatives.

This trending diet, which actually started in 1970 by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meats. It excludes processed foods, dairy products, grains, sugar and salt, legumes, processed oils, alcohol, and coffee.

These exclusions make this diet really hard for me to do full-time, but I love a paleo day here or there when I am carb cycling!

The paleo diet is mainly about promoting a healthy, natural lifestyle as it rapidly improves the metabolic effects of the body as well as your body composition. People feel lighter and actually start to lose weight with this diet early on because it makes you feel full quicker so you tend to consume less food.

The Benefits of the Paleo diet:

• Burns off stored fat as your metabolism increases
• Stabilizes blood sugar
• Cleans impurities from skin and teeth
• Improves sleep patterns
• Helps you absorb nutrients from food since it’s all-natural

Daily calories are divided as follows:

  • 55% should come from seafood and lean meat – each taking an equal half
  • 15% each from fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds
  • There is no dairy, no salt or sugar, and almost no grains

One of the risks of a paleo diet is that it could lead to an insufficient vitamin D & calcium intake and a risk of toxins from a high fish consumption.

As with any new diet, your body will experience a few, harmless side effects which will be over usually within several days.

Similar to the keto flu.

Not sure what the keto diet is? Check out my beginner’s guide to the keto diet here. Want to try a guided keto journey for 28 days? Check this out!

What is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is very low in carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. The high-fat content of this diet forces your body to switch from using the carbs in your food for energy to burning your stores of excess fat in the body. The process of using fat for fuel is known as ketosis, which is where the name keto comes from.

The basics of the keto diet are to restrict your carb intake to about five percent of your daily calories with fats making up about 75 percent and the remainder coming from sources of protein. Some people restrict their carbs to less than 50 grams per day, mostly those in keto maintenance, while some go as low as 20 grams of carbs per day. These would be people following the diet for weight loss or other health reasons.

The best source of fats and proteins in this diet will come from whole foods. This diet does not rely on processed foods, which are often high in added sugars. You can snack while on the keto diet, provided the foods fall within your recommended allowances for your macronutrients. But you want to avoid processed foods as much as possible still, and just keep things clean.

It is best to eat a wide range of foods so that you still get plenty of nutrients from the meats and vegetables you consume.

The Main Differences Between The Keto vs Paleo Diets

As I mentioned before, the goal behind the keto diet is to reach a metabolic state known as ketosis where the body relies on fat as its energy source, instead of glucose, which comes directly from carbohydrates.

If glucose is readily available, the body will use that first because it’s easier and quicker to metabolize. However, glucose weighs the body down and when there is some left over, it quickly turns to fat, something we all dread.

When you’re on a keto diet, you’re ultimately diminishing the amount of glucose in your body to the bare minimum and teaching your body how to rely on ketones – what the body burns for fuel during ketosis.

On the paleo diet, there’s lots of glucose coming from your carbohydrates. So while your body will love all the natural, unprocessed foods you’re now consuming, there’s still the opportunity to store excess glucose as fat.

Let’s look at some other differences between the keto and paleo diets.

The Keto Diet

Keto diets are mainly low-carb, eliminating all starches and sugars, including fruit. Most of the carbs on a keto diet come from non-starchy vegetables with only some berries allowed as fruit.

Keto diets are high in healthy fats; in fact, it is the primary element of low carb as it supports ketosis or the metabolic process of burning fat for energy versus dietary carbs.

Keto diet fans think dairy is a great way to add fat to their diets. I too, love my dairy, but there are other great healthy fats out there to focus on, like avocados and olive oil.

The Paleo Diet

Paleo diets are not low-carb. It encourages eating foods with healthy fat and protein but doesn’t avoid potatoes, yams, agave, bananas, and other foods high in carbohydrates like the keto diet.

Paleo diets are not high in fat. While the paleo diet in its purest form may have been into foods high in fat, today’s ever-evolving paleo community alters its needs according to the times.

Paleo diet fans don’t eat dairy products in abundance, if at all. This is because dairy counts as processed food. If you can get raw milk, and its byproducts, then that may be fine.

Which is For You? Paleo vs Keto Diet

The Paleo and Keto diets are two of the most popular diet plans today.  But which one makes sense for you to try?  Let’s compare and contrast these two plans further so that you can choose the one that is best for you.

Both are Grain Free

Both Paleo and Keto diets are grain-free. That means that you will not eat wheat, barley, corn, quinoa, spelt, or any other grain.  This can make a huge difference in the way you eat.  

This can be the toughest part of making the transition to these plans especially if you tend to eat a lot of bread, pasta, and cereals. If you eat a lot of these foods, however, you probably want to stick out the transition.

Paleo is Legume Free, Keto is Low in Legumes

Legumes, the food group that contains beans, are also eliminated in the Paleo diet.  That means you’ll no longer eat beans, peanuts, peas, chickpeas, lentils and other legumes.  This is not always true for the keto diet.

With the keto plan, you’ll eliminate many legumes because of their high carbohydrate content.  However, you may continue to eat peanuts and peanut products as well as oils derived from legumes.

And you can eat legumes on days you plan accordingly. Remember, you can eat some carbs on the keto diet, so if the serving of beans fits your macros…you’re fine.

Dairy Differences

The Paleo diet strictly eliminates dairy products initially.  Some people do end up eating grass-fed dairy products that are fermented such as yogurt and kefir.  When it comes to keto, dairy is not off-limits. In fact, dairy can be a great source of fat and low-carbohydrate foods.

While someone on keto is not likely to drink milk, they may eat full-fat Greek yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, and sour cream.

Carbohydrate Contrasts

Paleo is naturally lower in carbohydrates, but you’ll still consume carbs in the form of fruits, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.  For most people following the Paleo plan doesn’t require counting carbohydrates.

The keto plan, on the other hand, is highly focused on being very low in carbohydrates.  That means you’ll avoid eating fruit other than berries. You’ll also strictly limit starchy vegetables and any foods that contain carbohydrates.  You’ll definitely count carbohydrates and try to keep them minimal.

The Fat Factor

One of the key things that set keto apart from other plans is fat. On the keto diet, you’ll focus on eating a large percentage of your calories from fat.  That fat can be animal fat or fats derived from fruits and vegetables.  

You’ll find that while the Paleo diet encourages eating some fats, it doesn’t focus on fat in the way that keto does.

The Paleo Keto Diet

Is there such a thing as a paleo keto diet?

For me, that simply means you’re eating a clean keto diet.

A paleo keto diet is free from processed foods, milk, grains, fruit except for berries and carbohydrates. Keep it clean, organic, and as grass-fed and pasture-raised as you can afford for the best effects on your health.

If you’re considering starting a paleo ketogenic diet, you will definitely start seeing positive results within the first 2-3 weeks.

Everything from the inside out will start feeling healthier and you will see your weight dropping without losing any of your muscle mass.

As someone who goes on and off keto, I try to stick to the paleo diet on my off days to keep things as natural and as healthy as possible. I’ll have some of my beloved sweet potatoes or some pineapples and mango on these days.

Check with your physician and/or nutrition expert before starting just to make sure you’re on the right track to becoming fitter, stronger, and healthier.

Remember that consistency is the key. So make sure to give your body time to adjust to this new routine and metabolic state. Once you get the hang of it, it will definitely become easier.