Many people over the past few years have come in with questions on both the Paleo diet and Keto diet. Often, they are trying to lose weight, get off some medications, or reduce the effects of a chronic illness. There are some similarities between the diets, but also a few key differences.
What is the Paleo diet?
Paleo has been called the “Caveman Diet” or “Hunter-gatherer Diet” as it is based off what our ancestors would have had available to them to stay alive. It is a whole food (I like the term Real Food from God) plan that eliminates legumes, processed dairy, processed foods (think box/bag/God didn’t make it), and no grains. Benefits to this type of eating is a reduction in inflammation, improved energy production, improved workouts, and blood sugar stabilization. The most important element of this diet is blood sugar stabilization. When blood sugar is off, it’s catalyst for many other issues going on with chronic illness.
What is the Keto diet?
The Keto diet is predicated on high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. The percentages are usually 85% fats, 10% protein, and 5% or less of carbs. This plan also has you eat a whole food diet, but with the high fat content, you are trying to put your body into ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body can’t find carbs to burn for energy and starts using fat as fuel. It burns ketones, especially beta-hydroxy-buterate, for energy. It helps lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improves energy levels, and can be used for Neuro-degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
What is the main difference between the two diets?
Paleo eliminates specific food groups while Keto has you eliminate carbs almost entirely.
2. Vegetables: Paleo is a yes, keto is once again a carb limit (often covered in a fat/oil)
3. Both are no grains as they will spike blood sugar levels
4. Dairy: Paleo says only grass fed, I would also use this as a keto rule
5. Alcohol: Strict Paleo says no (some red wine brands are allowed), Keto is liquor only and no wine
In the end it really comes down to what you can fit easily into your lifestyle. Both have benefits with eating real whole foods that God made. If you are good at calculating percentages for the keto diet or good at using Apps that help track your percentages, then Keto might be right for you. If you feel you need more meat and carbs in your diet, go with Paleo. Just remember the carbs must be from real food, no breads/pastas/liquids.
One thing to consider is to get lab work done before you start and every quarter to see how your levels are doing. If you have a genetic issue that causes your cholesterol to be sky high, then I would stay away from Keto as it may make this worse. Tracking specific numbers related to cholesterol, particle size of your cholesterol, fasting insulin, Hemoglobin A1C, and inflammation markers like CRP, would be a great way to see how you are doing.
Remember, eating real food is key, no matter what diet you decide to do, nothing replaces this.