For several years, the paleo diet was all the rage. Beloved by proponents of CrossFit and bodybuilders, the paleo diet surpassed the title of “fad diet” and became a way of life for millions. In more recent years, the ketogenic diet has become the trendy diet of choice.
Both the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet have their benefits, but they are unique in some very important ways as well. Keep reading to learn more about the paleo diet and the ketogenic diet including their differences, their similarities, and the science behind them.
Exploring the History of These Diets
Often referred to as the “caveman diet,” the paleo diet is based on the idea that humans are still evolved to follow the same diet our paleolithic ancestors would have followed. The idea is that modern foods like processed sugars and refined carbohydrates actually damage the human body because we aren’t adapted to digesting these foods. By mimicking the diet of our paleolithic ancestors, we can improve the body’s natural biological function and support major processes like digestion and immunity.
The ketogenic diet is based on the principle of ketosis which is a natural metabolic state in which the body becomes adapted to burning fat instead of glucose for fuel. This diet was originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy in children, but its fat-burning benefits have expanded its popularity greatly. The idea is to significantly decrease carbohydrate intake and, in doing so, force the body to switch from burning glucose to burning stored fats for fuel.
What Are the Benefits of the Paleo Diet?
Many people mistakenly believe that the paleo diet is all about eating bacon and red meat. While you certainly can eat these foods, you still need to follow a balanced eating plan. If you stick to the diet, you’ll experience a number of health benefits.
Here are some of the top benefits of the paleo diet:
- Balanced blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity
- Lean muscle mass, particularly with weight training and high protein intake
- Reduced risk for food allergies and intolerances (particularly wheat and gluten)
- Helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, reduces hunger
- Reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
- Relief from insomnia and improved quality of sleep
Though the paleo diet has a great many benefits, it is not the only diet out there that offers results. Keep reading to learn the benefits of the keto diet.
What Are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is founded on ketosis, a natural state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. In order to achieve ketosis, you must get 70% to 80% of your daily calories from fat, 20% to 30% from protein, and no more than 5% from carbohydrates.
- Here are some of the top benefits of the keto diet:
- Healthy weight loss, particularly from stored fat
- Improved skin health and relief from acne and skin conditions
- Increased cognitive function, protection from neurodegenerative disease.
- Reduced cravings for sugary and high-carb foods
- Improved cholesterol levels and boosted heart health
- Increased energy levels, even without caffeine
- Reduced appetite and improved satiety with meals
- Lowered blood sugar and improvements in insulin sensitivity
As you can see, both the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet offer excellent benefits. Keep reading to learn some tips for choosing the diet that is right for you.
Tips for Choosing the Best Diet for You
Now that you know the benefits of the keto diet and the paleo diet, you may be wondering which one is the right choice for you. Here are some things to consider to help you make your choice:
- Both diets have an emphasis on whole foods – you want to nourish your body with real foods instead of damaging it with processed sugars and refined carbohydrates.
- The paleo diet restricts your consumption of grains, beans, legumes, and dairy products while placing a higher emphasis on lean protein and healthy fats.
- The keto diet seriously restrictions your consumption of carbohydrates, placing the emphasis on fat and moderate amounts of protein.
- Both the keto and paleo diets eliminate grains and legumes as well as added sugar.
- The paleo diet emphasizes healthy eating habits but doesn’t restrict calories or macros – the keto diet requires you to track your macros, though counting calories is optional.
- Know that both the paleo diet and keto diet can support healthy weight loss when you follow them correctly, but the keto diet is best for fat loss.
In the end, it really comes down to your goals and finding the best diet to meet them. One of the main differences between the paleo and keto diets is their foundation. The paleo diet is based on ideology – the idea that humans were adapted to follow a grain-free, dairy-free diet of whole foods. The ketogenic diet is based on macronutrients – tracking your intake to maximize fat intake and minimize carb intake for the best results.
When it comes to choosing a diet, you want to select the one that you can stick to. The paleo diet is fairly restrictive, especially when it comes to grains and dairy products. The keto diet allows for dairy consumption but severely limits the intake of grains and other carbs. If you want to enjoy a wide variety of foods in moderation, the ketogenic diet might be the better option because you can eat just about anything as long as it fits your macros. The paleo diet is more restrictive in the types of foods you can enjoy, though you may not have to be as diligent with tracking.
Both the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet are backed by scientific evidence and they are both shown to produce amazing results. In the end, it is your right to decide which diet you want to follow. Just make sure you choose a diet that you can stick to and one that supports your goals. Good luck!