Finding a diet plan that makes sense for your needs takes time, especially when there are so many new eating trends to consider. However, two particular diets that have gained considerable followings seem to be more than just passing fads—the Paleo and ketogenic plans. As time goes on, they’re only growing in popularity. If you’re wondering about the difference between Paleo and keto, we’re here to set the record straight. The former looks to what our ancestors ate to gain insight into our nutritional needs, and the latter relies on bodily chemistry to torch calories. Here’s what you should know about Paleo versus keto.
Sometimes referred to as the neolithic diet, a Paleo diet revolves around the same foods that were available thousands of years ago. That’s why it’s sometimes described as “eating like a caveman.” Paleo eaters stick to foods like meat, fish, berries, tubers, and vegetables in an effort to get back to our ancestral roots. The idea is that our bodies are not evolved enough to properly digest processed food like dairy, grains, and refined sugar, which Paleo followers feel can negatively impact health.
There are quite a few benefits that come with eating a diet free of processed foods and rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods. For starters, you’re likely to curb hunger since you won’t be worried about calorie counting, and will likely be eating foods that keep you feeling energized and full. Your digestion will also likely benefit—eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables means you get more fiber, which tends to keep things running smoothly.
The primary rule of eating a Paleo diet is avoiding any and all foods that aren’t directly sourced from the earth or weren’t consumed by our cavemen ancestors. Here are a few more key Paleo principles:
We’ve got the answers to your most pressing paleo questions.
Both Paleo and ketogenic diets are growing in popularity and they do have some overlap, so it’s easy to see why some people assume they’re similar. But there are key differences to consider. A Paleo diet allows for more carbs than a keto diet, which is aimed at increasing your ketone levels by upping your daily fat intake and drastically reducing your carbs. Also, most Paleo diets don’t include dairy, while a ketogenic diet may allow certain dairy foods that are low in carbs and high in fat. Finally, it’s important to note that, though it encourages healthy eating, a keto diet doesn’t focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods like a Paleo diet.
Yes. Since most of the foods on a Paleo diet are naturally low-calorie and high in fiber and protein, you’re less likely to snack between meals and more likely to stay energized. Keeping your blood sugar stable boosts metabolism and helps you burn calories throughout the day. But as with any diet plan, weight loss depends on several factors, including eating healthy foods in healthy portions and exercising regularly.
One of the most common misconceptions about eating Paleo is that it’s a low-carb diet. Unlike keto, with Paleo, carbs are not highly restricted. But it’s important to stick to nutrient-rich, low-sugar carbs that follow Paleo guidelines. These include:
Give your pantry a paleo upgrade with these diet-approved essentials (and find more here).
Kickstart your diet and stock up on nine Paleo must-haves in one kit, including coconut oil, grass-fed beef bone broth, almond butter, coconut wraps, and more.
This zesty blend of nibbles includes green banana chips (which are cooked in coconut oil), cashews, and pecans, all seasoned with turmeric, garlic powder, and sea salt.
Yep, you can enjoy creamer on a Paleo diet! The secret is snagging a non-dairy alternative like this one made with coconut cream, almonds, and natural flavors.
This garlic-infused spread includes avocado oil, cage-free eggs, and rosemary for a Paleo-friendly boost of flavor.
Fuel your inner caveman with these wholesome, unprocessed recipes.
You’ll flip for these! They’re made with coconut flour, coconut oil, raw honey, eggs, and almond milk for the perfect syrup companion.
Enjoyed as a Paleo breakfast or satisfying lunch, this versatile recipe layers in sweet potatoes, onion, fresh herbs, and freshly grated nutmeg.
Load up on omegas with this succulent wild-caught salmon, which is marinated in mirin, coconut vinegar, raw honey, and coconut aminos and cooked on a cedar plank for a touch of smokiness.
Stir-fry recipes are a Paleo staple since they’re loaded with meat and veggies. We like this quick and easy dish made with grass-fed skirt steak, protein-rich bone broth, and hearty broccolini.
Craving a sweet and salty treat that’s also Paleo? Top a pecan, dates, and almond flour crust with a creamy filling of cashews, maple syrup, and bacon bits and a cashew butter caramel sauce.
A ketogenic diet aims to put your body into a fat-burning metabolic state known as ketosis, which involves reducing your daily carb intake to 50 grams or less. As your body burns fat instead of glucose, your liver releases compounds called ketones. The presence of ketones signifies that you’ve entered ketosis.
There are four general types of keto diet plans that are based on categories known as macronutrients or “macros”—fat, protein, and carbohydrates. These include:
Learn more about the history and science behind the the ketogenic diet here.
Whether or not the diet is healthy overall is sometimes debated. Yet keto devotees point to weight loss as the diet’s primary benefit, along with the following perks:
Ready to go keto? You’ll want to start by selecting the keto plan that works best for your needs. Be sure to speak with a doctor first before choosing a keto nutrition plan. Once you’ve locked in your macro breakdown, here are a few rules to keep in mind:
Let’s answer some common keto questions.
The term “keto flu” refers to a dip in energy level, dizziness, nausea, digestion issues, or muscle soreness that you might experience as your body adapts to ketosis. Symptoms typically subside in a couple days, but it’s important to keep hydrated and increase your intake of electrolytes in the first few days. If symptoms don’t subside or become severe, call your doctor immediately.
In order to reach a state of ketosis, you’ll need to keep close track of your macros and plan your meals accordingly. That’s where using a nutritional calculator comes in handy. It allows you to measure your macros accurately and ensure you don’t exceed your daily limit for each category.
Also known as “bulletproof coffee,” keto coffee combines freshly brewed coffee, MCT oil, and grass-fed, unsalted butter. It’s low in carbs, high in fat, and made with MCTs that the body can easily into ketones, and also said to help promote sustained energy, improve focus, and ward off hunger cravings. However, research backing these claims is still mixed.
Stock up on these keto staples (and find even more here).
A perfect player in pretty much any dish, our premium oil is made from 100 percent certified organic Koroneiki olives that are harvested and bottled on a single estate in western Crete.
This pure pantry essential comes from Southeast Asia where fresh coconuts are cold-pressed immediately after harvesting and never bleached, refined, or deodorized.
Every can is of this sustainably caught fresh albacore is packed without added oil, water, or salt for a fresh, clean flavor.
This warming, protein-packed broth also provides a dose of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Kickstart ketosis with these low-carb, high fat recipes.
The classic Hawaiian egg dish gets a keto makeover by topping cauliflower rice with hamburger, coconut oil and bone broth gravy, and a rich fried egg.
This killer carnitas recipes seasons pork with a flavorful rub of paprika, cumin, cayenne, and garlic powder and serves it up in a butter lettuce shell.
Tender, juicy, and oh-so-flavorful, these meaty chops are topped with mushrooms cooked in cream, butter, organic spices, savory chicken bone broth, and dry white wine.
Craving a comforting dish? Try this dairy-free spin on an old favorite, which combines spinach, coconut milk, and eggs to bake together in an ovenproof skillet.
These chocolate-peanut butter bites also include a handful of keto must-haves like MCT oil, erythritol sweetener, and raw coconut butter.
For more, check out our ultimate guide to the keto diet!
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