The Paleo and Ketogenic diets have gained significant popularity recently, lauded for their purported benefits such as weight loss, fat reduction, improved metabolism, and more.

Despite some overlapping similarities, Paleo and Keto each serve a unique purpose and can sometimes be combined into a Paleo-keto diet. To understand the difference and determine the best approach for you, let’s delve into the specifics of each.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet, often called the “caveman diet,” mirrors the dietary habits of pre-agricultural ancestors. It eliminates grains, dairy, legumes, processed and refined foods, and certain oils. The focus is on high-quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, eggs, and seafood. Paleo naturally results in lower carbohydrate intake, contributing to reduced inflammation, weight loss, and improved cardiovascular health.

Paleo emphasizes eating whole, healthy foods without needing calories or macro counting.

What is Keto?

The ketogenic diet aims to shift the body’s primary fuel source from glucose to ketones, produced when the body lacks sufficient carbohydrates for glucose production. Ketones are derived from breaking down stored fat, making them practical for weight and body fat loss. Beyond weight-related benefits, ketosis has been linked to balancing blood sugar levels, lowering blood pressure, improving mental clarity, and potentially protecting against conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Entering ketosis typically takes one to four weeks, where the body entirely relies on ketones for energy.

How Do Keto and Paleo Compare?

While both diets have differences, they share similarities and address health concerns differently.

  1. Measurement of Ketones:

   – Keto: It is essential to monitor ketone levels for success.

   – Paleo: Does not focus on measuring ketones.

  1. Food Quality Focus:

   – Paleo: Emphasizes quality with a preference for grass-fed and wild-caught products.

   – Keto: Values food quality but not a central tenet.

  1. Macronutrient Focus:

   – Keto: Strong emphasis on macronutrient ratios for ketosis.

   – Paleo: No restrictions on counting macronutrients.

  1. Fat Intake:

   – Paleo: Lower fat intake compared to keto.

   – Keto: Targets a high fat-to-carb ratio, often over 50%.

  1. Allowed Foods:

   – Paleo: Based on food categories, allows starchy vegetables.

   – Keto: Determines foods based on macronutrient ratios and avoids starchy vegetables.

  1. Sweeteners:

   – Paleo: Allows specific refined sugar alternatives.

   – Keto: Limits sweeteners due to carb content.

What Does a Paleo-keto Diet Look Like?

The Paleo-keto diet combines elements from both diets, creating a low-carb version of Paleo with an emphasis on Paleo-friendly fats. It involves avoiding high-carb fruits and vegetables, dairy (except grass-fed butter), and artificial sweeteners. Allowed foods include low-carb produce, quality Paleo-friendly fats, and selected sweeteners with no carbs.

Choosing the Right Diet for You:

  1. Sustainable Weight Loss:

   – Paleo or Paleo-keto: Sustainable long-term weight loss.

  1. Beating Sugar Cravings:

   – Keto or Paleo-keto: Eliminating all forms of sweets supports overcoming sugar cravings.

  1. Becoming a Healthier Eater:

   – Paleo: Allows a more varied intake of vegetables and fruits.

  1. Overcoming an Eating Disorder:

   – Paleo: Macro counting for keto may be obsessive for some.

  1. Busy Lifestyle:

   – Paleo: Simpler for busy individuals; counting macros can be complicated.

  1. Balancing Blood Sugar:

   – Keto or Paleo-keto: Effective for people with diabetes with controlled carbohydrate intake.

  1. Lowering Cholesterol:

   – Paleo, Keto, or Paleo-keto: All contribute to reduced inflammation and less processed foods.

  1. Boosting Brain Health:

   – Keto or Paleo-keto: Improved mental clarity and focus due to ketone fuel.

  1. Beating Autoimmunity:

   – Paleo: Higher vegetable and fruit intake for antioxidants.

  1. Beating Hormone Imbalances:

    – Depends on the specific imbalance: PCOS may respond well to keto, while thyroid disorders may benefit from the higher carb intake of Paleo.

While these guidelines provide a starting point, personalized advice from a healthcare professional is essential for making the most suitable dietary choice. Whether Paleo, keto, or a hybrid, these diets can contribute to weight reduction, inflammation reduction, and overall health improvement.