What is the Difference Between Paleo Diet and a Ketogenic Diet?

I have been asked this question multiple times…what is the difference between the Paleo and Keto diet?  Personally, I follow the Keto diet.  Well about 80% of the time.  They are both very similar in that they are both low carb, somewhat.  Let’s break down the difference between the two diets.

The Paleo diet is more of a lifestyle choice that focuses on eating quality foods that support digestive health. It is based on eliminating grains and legumes due to their phytic acid content.  Most dairy products are also off limits on the Paleo diet because they contain lactose, which is hard for most people to digest (although some people do include ghee or grass-fed butter).  The dictionary describes the Paleo diet as such: “a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.”  By removing the most difficult foods to digest, the Paleo diet can be therapeutic for gut health, autoimmune conditions, blood sugar balance, and weight loss.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low, during famine or fasting.  We don’t do this through starvation of calories, rather just a starvation of carbohydrates.   During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.  The Keto diet is based on drastically reducing carbohydrates which forces the body to burn ketones for energy.  The main source of fuel for the body is glucose.  Basically, EVERYTHING is a carb (with the exception of meat, fat (and eggs)) and ALL carbs break down into glucose.  Insulin is then produced to metabolize the glucose.  IF we starve the body of carbs (glucose) it has no other choice but to burn fat for energy.

Both diets are touted as being much healthier for the body without having to count fat or calories.  Both diets have similar allowable foods such as meat and fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs and good fats.  Both diets avoid grains and legumes (for different reasons) and both diets avoid processed foods (this is always a good thing).  There are many differences between the diets though such as; Paleo allows fruit  and root vegetables where on the Keto diet, they both have far too many carbs.  The Paleo diet isn’t as low carb as the Keto diet which means you will not enter ketosis (fat burning).  The Keto diet doesn’t restrict dairy where the Paleo diet does (for digestive reasons).

How can these diets be unhealthy? You are basically not eating junk and empty calorie foods.  Many health professionals say that we NEED lots of carbs as this is our main source of fuel but there really are no hard evidence-based research that can dispute the health benefits of both diets.

So which diet best suits you?  Probably both.  I do not eat gluten in my diet for the most part, not because I cannot digest it, but because I feel it is not healthy for you.  So, for me, following either diet would work however I choose to follow the Keto diet as I am not a fan of fruit and am always seeking weight loss.  The choice is yours but either diet will help you achieve weight loss and better health and isn’t better health what all of us want?

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