feature: paleo vs keto (what's the difference and which is best for you)

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Looking for a new lifestyle? Considering Paleo vs Keto? 

Maybe you’re interested in low carb but feel that Atkins is so 1980s. (It’s not. Atkins is a viable low-carb contended.)

You’ve heard of the Paleo diet – 2 people in your office are doing it. You’ve heard of the Keto diet – 2 people in your spin class are doing it. All of them think it’s the BEST THING EVER. But which one is?

What is the Paleo Diet?

Some people will tell you that the paleo diet is all about eating like a caveman. They’re not wrong, but they’re missing the heart of the movement.

Paleo is about eating like there wasn’t an agricultural revolution.

Paleo subscribes to the belief that humans were healthier back when we were hunting and gathering. When humans had to eat nothing but real food. And wine, I’m sure there was wine.. right?

The first agricultural revolution took place between 10,000 BC and 2000 BC.

Wine Notes: They might have had wine before agriculture, but definitely not on the scale I consume it.

What is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet doesn’t give a shit about the past. It’s about your body and what it’s doing right now.

For most people (read: all people who aren’t in ketosis) your body uses carbs as energy. If your body is severely short on the amount of carbs it needs, it goes into ketosis. Ketosis is when your body uses fat (stored or consumed) as energy instead of carbs.

Therefore, the keto diet is when you eat very limited carbs so your body will use fat for energy.

Real Talk: The keto diet is so low-carb that it makes people on paleo and Atkins look like carb devouring monsters.

How are Paleo vs Keto Different?

Paleo and Keto get lumped into the low-carb diet segment so people think they’re the same.

The truth is they’re not. Paleo is a lifestyle based on pre-agricultural revolution food. Keto is a diet based on how your body handles different types of macronutrients.

They have some similarities – no grains, avoid processed sugar, eat meat, birds, fish, seafood, eggs, and nuts – but they have a lot more differences.

Paleo is usually considered a low carb diet, but is it? Not really.

People doing paleo end up eating fewer carbs because you cut out a huge carb-heavy food group (bye-bye grains). But people on paleo can still end up eating a lot of carbs (by low-carb standards) because they aren’t limiting carb heavy fruits and vegetables.

Keto is only focused on carbs. Most people on a keto diet will eat fewer than 20g of carbs a day, net. That’s not very many carbs and it’s why fruit, sweet potatoes and a host of other paleo-approved foods are keto no-nos.

But! But! Don’t we need carbs?

I guess, but not in anywhere near the amount that is eaten by most people. Also, as keto demonstrates, if you drastically limit your carb intake your body will use fat instead. So need? No. Can we completely avoid carbs? Also, no. Can we use carbs? Sure.

The Rules

The foods you can eat on paleo and keto are similar. So it comes down to following the rules.

While neither diet is particularly easy, paleo is easier. Keto requires you to track your carbs. If you don’t, you’ll probably go over your carb limit and even small overages can put you out of ketosis and totally fuck your diet.

Paleo requires no tracking or counting. You eat it, or you don’t and it won’t have an effect on what you can eat later.

Can I do Paleo and Keto together?

You can try whatever you want. Is it possible to do paleo and keto together? Of course, why wouldn’t it be?

Is it recommended? Maybe? It really depends on you. Paleo and Keto together are going to be very restricted, making it very difficult and therefore decreasing the likelihood of success.

Paleo + Keto approved foods:

  • Meat & Birds: Try to avoid grain-fed.
  • Fish & Seafood: Wild is.
  • Eggs: Try something other than chicken.
  • Veggies: Carb-restricted. You’ll have to be wary of high-carb vegetables to stay under 20 carbs a day, net.
  • Nuts: in moderation.
  • Good Oils: olive, avocado & coconut

It’s a short list. Plus, you also have to stay under your keto limit for daily carbs.

Reality Check: If you want to try a keto+paleo diet, go for it. But be prepared with a plan to increase your likelihood of success because it’s a hard road to walk.

Keto or Paleo for Weight Loss

There are two reasons people decide to change what they’re eating. Because they feel like shit all the time and are looking for a prescription-less method of treatment. Or, and more common, they want to lose weight.

Society is obsessed with losing weight. Even people who genuinely don’t need to lose weight want to lose 5 pounds.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), more than 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder.

Should you do Paleo or Keto to lose weight?

Either can work. But maybe it’s time to change your goal. Weight isn’t everything.

The Washington Post covered the idea of changing goals (even if you’re overweight). It’s a worthwhile read.

Reader’s Digest Best Health offers 4 questions you should ask yourself to find out if you really should be trying to lose weight.

Finally, webMD has a great piece to help you decide you really need to lose weight.

Paleo vs Keto: Can You Eat This?

Eggs Benedict

Overall – neither Paleo nor Keto can eat eggs benedict. As individual pieces though? Both paleo and keto can each poached eggs. Keto peeps can also enjoy hollandaise sauce.

Honestly, I don’t even like English muffins. But poached eggs? Hollandaise sauce? Get in my mouth. I like mine with steak, sweet potatoes, kale salad, or absolutely anything. You can’t go wrong.

Try this Paleo and Keto friendly recipe from Paleo Leap for Eggs Benedict with Avocado Sauce.

Mutton Curry (aka Lamb Curry)

Overall – both paleo and keto people can enjoy homecooked curry. However, it’s unlikely that either can have restaurant curry. For keto people, restaurant curry will have additives that make the carb count too high. For paleo people, restaurant curry will probably have dairy.

Try this Keto friendly recipe from Ditch the Carbs for Lamb Curry with Spinach. Or this Paleo-friendly recipe from Eat Drink Paleo for Lamb and Coconut Curry.

Steak & Asparagus

Overall – this is Paleo and Keto friendly. Enjoy it

Wanna make it yourself? Try this recipe from Tastaholics for Steak and Garlic Asparagus.

Paleo? Keto? Paleo+Keto? None?

CLICK FOR: paleo vs keto showdown

The best diet is one you stick with.

People quit diets because they don’t fit their lifestyle. They’re too hard. They’re _(insert your reason)_. If you don’t stick with it, it’s not going to work.

Have you done paleo or keto? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Ready for more? Check out this Guide to Animal Proteins next.

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CLICK FOR: 13+ diets compared (choose the one that's right for you)


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