Unless you’ve been kept out of the loop lately, you’ll know that paleo diets and ketogenic diets are hugely popular in the world of health and fitness at the moment. In fact, it seems as if you can’t read an article, or watch an online video without seeing and ad featuring some celebrity or personal trainer, trying to convince you to try a keto diet or the paleo diet. There is some confusion regarding these two diets, as some people seem to be under the illusion that they’re virtually identical. In reality, they’re like chalk and cheese. Both of these eating plans can offer you a number of fantastic benefits if you follow them correctly, but it is important to know the differences in a bid to find out which one may be better-suited for you. Here’s a look at everything you need to know regarding paleo diets vs ketogenic diets.
What is the paleo diet?
The paleo diet is one of the oldest diet plans in existence. No, really. It is, because of the fact that it dates back millions of years, way back to the Paleolithic era. During this era, our caveman ancestors roamed the earth. They didn’t have convenience stores, or takeout, or any of the processed junk that we have now. Back then, your typical caveman would only consume foods which had been found, foraged, or killed. Remember, this was way, way, way before farming and agriculture. Their typical diet consisted of animals, berries, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. Today, the paleo diet is a healthy eating regime designed to emulate that way of eating. The idea is that you only consume non-processed foods. This diet isn’t so much a way of losing weight, as it is about promoting digestive health, avoiding food allergies, and giving your body the fuel and energy that it needs to function. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to head out into the wilderness with a fur loincloth and a spear to go and hunt your meat, nor does it mean that you should tuck into a raw steak. What it does mean however, is that you only eat the same types of foods that cavemen would have eaten way back in the day, though you are allowed to get a little more creative with herbs and seasonings etc. With paleo, you eliminate whole grains and processed ingredients because, evolutionarily speaking, you have only eaten these types of foods for around 10,000 years. Many food allergies and intolerances do involve processed foods and whole grains, or they happen to be related to farming and agriculture. The theory is that our digestive systems have not yet fully evolved to be able to cope with these types of foods, whereas they have when it comes to the foods you consume on the paleo diet.
What is keto?
Keto, or the ‘ketogenic diet’ is actually very different when it comes to paleo. Whereas paleo is more about making dietary choices to promote digestive health and well-being, keto is about manipulating the macronutrients in order to lose weight and meet specific fitness requirements. The idea of this diet is to induce ketosis through the restriction of carbohydrates. We know we’re talking about paleo and keto here, but many people actually confuse keto diets with the Atkins diet. This because they are both low carb diets. That however, is where the similarities end. Atkins is low carb, moderate fat, high protein. Keto however, is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. When you restrict carbohydrates, your body has nothing to use for energy. For the first 1 – 3 days your body will panic and think it is starving, but won’t know what to do. Eventually, ketones will be secreted via the liver, forcing your body into a state of ketosis. When you enter ketosis, your body is able to now use stored body fat for energy, just as nature intended. This turns you into a fat-burning machine and also helps to preserve lean muscle. On keto, your macros should look something like:
- 5 – 10% Carbohydrates
- 20 – 30% Proteins
- 60 – 80% fats
This is not an excuse to eat heaps of unhealthy fats. The majority of these fats should come in the form of healthy and natural fats like those found in avocados, whole eggs, oily fish, seeds, coconut oil, and so on.
What are the similarities?
As you can see, these two diet plans are very different. Keto is about low carbs and high fats, whereas paleo is about cutting out refined wholegrains and processed foods linked to digestive issues. Despite this however, they both do emphasize whole foods, they both eliminate sugar and grains, and they both place an emphasis on healthy fats.