The Paleo and Keto diets have become very popular as modern-day dieting methods, now more and more people have grown obese and suffer from conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
With the rise of these illnesses, people are more concerned about their health than before, which brings us to why Paleo and Keto diets are considered the go-to weight management strategies.
Paleo and Keto diets follow different principles, and which of the two diets you should follow depends on your weight goals, your health, and your age. This blog will conduct a Paleo vs Keto comparison and will conclude which one of the two is better to decide on the ideal dieting strategy.
- Paleo diet
- Ketogenic diet
- Paleo vs Keto – similarities
- Keto vs Paleo – differences
- Which diet is more restrictive?
- Which diet is easier to stick to long term?
- Which diet has more side effects?
- Paleo diet vs Keto diet – which diet is healthier?
Paleo is the short-form of “Paleolithic”, like the Paleolithic era of human civilization. At the time agriculture wasn’t as scientific, humans didn’t have pesticides and there were no artificial ingredients in their diets. Paleolithic humans only ate organic food without preservatives or chemicals.
These diets included fresh fruits, eggs, lean meat, and some vegetables. Such a diet was incredibly healthy because it contained all the essential nutrients people need and none of the chemicals that you find in modern food.
The calories were also low since Paleolithic humans didn’t consume any complex sugars and, despite eating well, they didn’t gain excessive weight. The Paleolithic diet was incredibly nutritious and kept bodyweight well within healthy limits.
The modern-day Paleo diet is no different; at least in terms of the food intake. People on a Paleo diet shift from processed foods to non-GMO foods. On a Paleo diet, you eat seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat.
There is an emphasis on fresh foods because these are less likely to contain preservatives and, as a result, are much healthier. For this reason, many people prefer the Paleo diet over other diets because it ensures good health and helps you to lose weight.
There are also philosophical reasons for why people are shifting to the Paleo diet. The philosophical reasons stem from the “Evolutionary Discordance Hypothesis.”
The hypothesis states that humans haven’t evolved in the past 10,000 years and our bodies can’t digest a modern diet made of processed foods. The Evolutionary Discordance Hypothesis implies that people should only eat organic foods since our digestive system hasn’t evolved enough to digest processed food.
Therefore, it also implies that modern food manufacturing practices are unhealthy and should be discouraged. Based on these ideas, the Paleo diet becomes the only diet humans can consume and it advises us to move away from processed food.
So what can you eat on a Paleo diet? The answer is all fresh, non-manufactured food. This includes:
- Healthy Fats
Conversely, the foods you should avoid are:
- Artificial sugar
- Dairy products
- Processed foods
- Hydrogenated fats
All the foods you can’t eat on a Paleo diet include those which we grow through modern agriculture which uses pesticides or chemical fertilizers or produce with chemicals. Each of these foods is artificially produced and the body can’t digest it.
The foods you can eat, on the other hand, are the ones that the early humans could have found growing around them naturally.
The Ketogenic diet doesn’t have any philosophical inclinations or theory of evolution to support itself. Instead of focusing on evolutionary theories, it relies on how the body processes nutrients to help lose weight.
The human body requires three essential macronutrients to function; these are:
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the body to provide energy for biological functioning. Everything we do requires some amount of glucose, whether these are unconscious reflexes like breathing or conscious movement.
If you consume more carbohydrates than you need for everyday functioning, these are stored as fat tissues for later use if the body is low on glucose. If you have low glucose levels, the body burns the fat as a back-up to make up for the lack of energy.
While the body is storing extra carbohydrates as fat for back-up energy, it’s also storing the fats you eat for the same purpose. When it comes to providing back-up energy, the body first burns the extra carbohydrates and then it moves to burning the fat once the carbs run out.
The Ketogenic diet requires people to reduce the number of carbs they eat, to substitute them for fats, and then burn the fat instead. For as long as you have excess carbs, the fat will burn and you will never lose an appropriate amount of weight.
Once you cut down carbohydrate consumption, you lose carb-fat and only the other kind of fat is left to provide back-up energy. The Keto diet then requires you to cut down all this fat to help reduce overall fat content in the body.
The nutritional breakdown for Keto diets is as follows:
- 55%-60% Fats
- 30%-35% Proteins
- 5%-10% Carbohydrates
Paleo and Keto diets are very similar in terms of food intake. Even though each diet has completely separate reasons, you can still see the similarities.
The Paleo diet requires you to cut out carbohydrates from the diet by reducing the grain intakes and reducing sugar consumption. The Paleo diet plans, which include fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, contain a small amount of carbs and focus instead on the protein and fat intake.
The Ketogenic diet goes out of its way to increase fat intake and reduces carb intake as a rule. Secondly, both the Ketogenic and Paleo diets require people to cut out dairy products from their diets.
The only similarities between the two diets are the eating patterns and even those are accidental. The Paleo diet is much more ideological and wasn’t specifically designed for weight-loss; it just happened that the Paleo diet helps lose weight.
The Keto diet, on the other hand, was devised to speed up weight loss by harnessing bodily processes. There are no ideological or philosophical reasons behind the Keto diet but the Paleo diet forms part of a larger narrative about the artificiality of modern societies.
The Paleo diet restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, but the extent is less than Keto. The Keto diet specifies how many carbs you should consume to lose weight, while the Paleo diet doesn’t make any such rules to lose weight. People on the Paleo diet get their carbohydrate intake through fruits and vegetables; people on the Keto diet will avoid carbs to lose weight.
The success of the Keto diet relies on changing how the body processes nutrients. The Paleo diet doesn’t aim for any such goals. The Paleo diet makes digestion easy, but the Keto diet helps lose weight without any such concerns.
Finally, the Keto diet works explicitly to change the macronutrient intake and facilitates quick weight loss. The principles guiding the diet require people to monitor their calorie intake, take specific measurements of macronutrient consumption, and so on. Restricted macronutrient consumption allows people to lose weight through the Keto diet.
The Paleo diet doesn’t make any such macronutrient consumption restrictions. It just asks people to stop eating manufactured food. For many people, excessive weight gain comes from eating complex sugars found in processed foods. The difficulty in digestion automatically moves them back to the chain of oxidation; where the easier sugars break down first.
Once you replace complex sugars with simpler ones, almost all of the simpler sugars are broken down, or a small amount converts into fats.
Considering how a Paleo diet works, it really doesn’t offer any restriction on the sort of nutrients you can take in and it doesn’t restrict intake at all. Even though you won’t be allowed to have certain types of food, there’s no limit on how much food you should eat at all.
If your nutritionists get you onto the Paleo diet, they might ask you to reduce your calorie count but won’t restrict the foods you eat. You will eat certain foods to lose a lot of weight because of the transition to simpler sugars and low calorie foods like lean meats and vegetables.
Substituting to lower-calorie foods will initiate weight loss without restricting food intake and if you want to lose further weight, that’s when the restrictions kick in for a Paleo diet.
Compared to the Paleo diet, the Keto diet is far more restrictive because it actively controls food intake. It doesn’t matter what the source of nutrients is; you can’t eat any carbs and you must eat a lot of fatty foods to be successful.
The Keto diet gives quicker results compared to the Paleo diet and that’s because it’s much more restrictive than Paleo. Your diet specialists will have you avoid carbohydrates, which could involve eliminating all fruits and vegetables from the diet. Of the two, Keto is definitely the more restrictive option.
There are two problems associated with long-term dieting; you either run the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies or you have problems maintaining the strict routines.
The Keto diet has been designed to facilitate rapid short-term weight loss, while the Paleo diet doesn’t set any such goals. The Paleo diet, since it doesn’t help in the short-term, is easier to maintain over long periods.
Experts say that both the Paleo and Keto diets present health risks in the long run because they eliminate certain foods from the diet altogether. If either the Paleo or Keto diets are maintained for years, then you will very likely experience some health issues that will require you to stop.
The Keto diet will cause health problems much quicker than the Paleo diet because of its restrictions. As such, the Paleo diet is safer and easier to maintain in the long-term.
No diet is ever side-effect free and neither the Paleo nor the Keto Diet is different. To see which has more side-effects, we’ll need to see what these are:
Keto Diet Side Effects
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Confusion, anxiety and other cognitive effects
- Sweating and chills
- Kidney stones
- Higher risk of orthopedic problems
- High cholesterol
Paleo Diet Side Effects
- Low blood sugar
- Increased risk of flu
- Food Cravings
- Low Energy
- Bad Breath
As you can see, the Paleo diet has fewer side-effects than the Keto diet.
Dieting for weight loss is never healthy, but sometimes the risk of eating less is lower than that of being obese or overweight. Neither the Paleo nor the Keto diet is essentially healthy, but one of the two is less unhealthy than the other.
The Keto diet requires people to change their macronutrient intake drastically and cuts carbs entirely from eating regimens. In the long run, carb deficiencies pose significant health risks and can be fatal.
Additionally, burning fats in the body might help with weight loss, but it also produces toxic by-products that have to be flushed from the body. The Keto diet can stress the kidneys and the liver to induce renal failure in the long-run. Even in the short-run, drastic weight loss presents plenty of health risks.
The Paleo diet, on the other hand, doesn’t cut your nutritional intakes, doesn’t stop you from taking carbs, and doesn’t change your macronutrient intake in any way. It does present long-term health risks like nutrient deficiencies, but these are rarely fatal.
For these above-mentioned reasons, when it comes to a health comparison of Keto diets vs. Paleo diets, the Paleo diet is much healthier.
The Paleo diet is a much healthier diet compared to the Ketogenic diet. If you’re looking to lose weight fast, then you should try out the Keto diet rather than the Paleo diet because of the Ketogenic diet’s restrictions on food intake.
However, the answer isn’t definite; the choice really depends on what you or your doctor thinks is the best for your health.
In conclusion, in the debate over the benefits and effectiveness of Paleo vs. Keto diets, the Paleo diet comes out as safer. This safety comes at the cost of effectiveness and you should consult your nutritionist or doctor to decide which is best for you.