To Paleo or To Keto… Which Will Win?

To Paleo or to Keto...which will win

Live Life Fuller with Unity by FairPrice

By Karina Heinrich
International Certified Integrative Nutritionist & Founder of The Karina Method

Paleo and keto diets are very popular and both promise to help you lose weight and improve your overall health. What are their similarities? What are their differences? Which is better for helping you reach your weight loss goal? Let’s dive into what these two very much in-the-news diets truly are about and discover which may be better for your overall health.

Breaking Down Keto:

Keto diets are very low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein (sorry pasta lovers!). It involves drastically reducing your carbs and replacing them with fats. With so few carbs, you put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes highly efficient at burning fat instead of carbs for energy.

The Keto Diet

  • Fat: 60–80%
  • Protein: 20–30%
  • Carbohydrates: 5–10%

Hello, Bacon!
Okay, so here are the top food examples you are allowed to eat on keto. (Make sure to put that bagel down while you read this list.)

  • Eggs: Whole eggs (Yup, eat the whole delicious egg)
  • Meat: Chicken, ham, red meat, sausage, turkey
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, tuna
  • Butter and cream: Enough said
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Unprocessed cheese: Mozzarella, cheddar, goat
  • Healthy oils: Extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
  • Avocados: Whole avocados
  • Low-carb veggies: Most all green veggies, tomatoes, peppers, etc

Adios, Carbs!
In short, nearly all carb sources are a big “no-no.”

  • Fruit: All fruit, except tiny portions of berries (blueberries, blackberries and strawberries)
  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereals and anything made from these products
  • Beans/legumes: Chickpeas, peas, kidney beans, lentils
  • Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Alcohol: Many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis due to high carb content
  • Sugary everything: Desserts (ice cream, cakes, cookies, candies), soda, fruit juices
Breaking Down Paleo:

The paleo or “caveman diet” identifies with eating foods that may have been available to early humans (paleolithic hunter-gatherers). Advocates conclude paleo supports the body’s natural biological function, improving optimal health and wellness, especially digestion. One of the main theories behind the paleo diet is that the processing of modern foods damages human health. Paleo is an eating lifestyle that focuses on whole foods and eliminates processed foods, grains and legumes. The eating plan also encompasses a lifestyle component that encourages exercise and overall health practices.

Hello, Whole Foods!   

  • Meat: Chicken, ham, red meat, turkey (no processed meats)
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, halibut, tilapia, bass, shrimp, scallops
  • Eggs: Whole eggs
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds]
  • Fruit: Apples, avocado, berries, mango, grapes, oranges, watermelon
  • Vegetables: Potatoes, squash, beets sweet potatoes, carrots (Not corn)
  • Unrefined fats and oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee/butter
  • Minimally processed sweeteners: Raw Stevia, maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar

Adios, Everything Else!

  • Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereals and anything made from these products.
  • Beans/legumes: Chickpeas, peas, kidney beans, lentils
  • Alcohol: No alcohol allowed
  • Sugary everything: Desserts (ice cream, cakes, cookies, candies), soda, fruit juices
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt
Keto & Paleo: Similarities

Surprisingly, keto and paleo diets share many similar characteristics.

Both Support Weight Loss
One of the main reasons the keto and paleo diets are so popular and frequently discussed is the promise of weight loss. Both are difficult to sustain in the long-term, however, they show lots of promise for short-term positive weight loss results.

Both Promote Whole Foods
Both keto and paleo diets are based on whole-food sources of vitamins and nutrients. They strongly discourage consumption of processed foods and encourage replacing these foods with whole foods that have undergone minimal processing such as nuts, meats, fish and fresh vegetables.

Both Say No To Sugar
Paleo diets are more flexible with this rule than keto diets, but they both generally stay away from sugars. The paleo diet allows unrefined sugars such as maple syrup and honey. These are high in carbs and are not allowed in keto diets.

Both Pass On Grains and Legumes
Grains and legumes are discouraged in both diets, but for different reasons. Keto diets eliminate grains and legumes because of their carbohydrate content and the risk of throwing your body out of ketosis. Paleo diet proponents eliminate them because grains can lead to inflammation and related health problems.

Both Say Yes To Healthy Fats
Both keto and paleo diets encourage the addition of olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds and fish into your daily meals. Keto diets support liberal amounts of fat added into the diet. Paleo diets recommend a moderate amount of fat added in for overall health.

Keto & Paleo: Oh So Different

Paleo Diets Love Whole Food Carbs
Paleo isn’t considered a low-carb diet like keto. But because grains, legumes and refined sugars aren’t allowed in paleo, in some ways it’s a limited carb diet. Paleo allows carbs from whole foods like vegetables, fruits and some unrefined sugars. The goal of keto is to keep your body in a state of ketosis therefore restricting all rich sources of carbs.

Ideological Message Differences
Paleo has an ideological message and keto has none. Paleo diet include and stres the importance of exercise and daily mindfulness. Paleo supporters believe that through exercise, meditation and yoga, stress is reduced and overall health and well-being is supported. The keto diet only requires that you stay within a set range of fat, protein and carbs.

Keto Loves Dairy
Paleo excludes soy and dairy with the exception of a little grass-fed butter. Keto allows and even encourages eating many dairy foods, such as butter, unsweetened full-fat yogurt and heavy cream.

Keto vs Paleo: Which is Best for You?

Both the keto or the paleo can be a great option for a short-term weight loss effort. When put side-by-side, the paleo diet wins when it comes to the healthier option. Paleo is easier and healthier to maintain long-term because it allows more food choices, provides more nutrients for your body on a daily basis and encourages a healthier lifestyle. Keto is difficult to maintain because of it’s lack of flexibility, the careful planning required to keep your body in ketosis and its high-fat recommendations may not be the better choice for most.

Both the keto and the paleo diets have the short-term potential to positively impact your health and weight loss efforts. But really, when it comes down to it, the food choices that make you feel healthy, energetic and contribute to overall wellness is the best choice. Not to choose favourites, but I for one will be skipping the heavy cream and opting to eat an extra bowl of berries!

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Did You Know?

Your gut loves consistency and is bound to act up when you go hungry. Adding probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kombucha or kraut to your diet helps counteract the occasional gut issues like constipation.