keto vs paleo

Keto vs Paleo: Which Diet is Healthier?

Diet plans have always been a challenge when it comes to determining effectiveness, safety, and reliability.

It’s important to do your research and understand what each diet has to offer before pursuing it. This comparison between the Ketogenic Diet and Paleo Diet will be comparing two of the most prominent diet plans right now.

1. The Ketogenic Diet

a ketogenic dinner

The Ketogenic Diet or “Keto Diet” involves a low-carb plan that aims to produce ketones for energy. These ketones are produced in the liver and have a wide array of benefits.

In general, if a person consumes additional carbs, he/she will notice a rise in insulin and glucose. This helps in producing energy because the body can easily convert these molecules.

While insulin is created because it helps process glucose once it enters the bloodstream (similar to a transportation system). However, this also means the body only uses glucose as its energy source and leaves the fats alone. The Ketogenic Diet wants to reduce this process with the help of “ketosis” (i.e. lowering the number of carbs in your diet).

Ketosis is an organic occurrence in the human body and is activated once your food intake decreases. If ketosis is reached, the body begins to generate ketones (breakdown of fats from the liver). If done properly, the Ketogenic Diet is able to maintain this state of ketosis and starts to improve your chances of getting healthier, fitter, and slimmer.

The Ketogenic Diet is advantageous since it is able to help reduce acne, inflammation, insomnia, seizures, and many other health issues that can arise. It is a unique diet plan that is wonderful for those wanting to lose weight.

1) What Can You Eat on Keto?

  • Leafy Greens (Kale/Spinach)
  • Meats (Beef, Fish, Lamb, Poultry)
  • Nuts and Seeds (Walnuts, Macadamias, Sunflower Seeds)
  • High Fat Dairy (High Fat Cream, Hard Cheeses)
  • Sweeteners (Erythritol, Stevia, Monk Fruit)
  • Avocados
  • Berries (Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries)

a fork and spoon in sugar

2) What Can’t You Eat?

  • Sugar (Agave, Honey, Maple Syrup)
  • Grains (Corn, Cereal, Wheat)
  • Tubers (Potato, Yams)
  • Fruit (Apples, Oranges, Bananas)

2. Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet or “Caveman Diet” is one of the most popular diets on the planet.

In general, the entire premise of this diet is built around one question and that’s “what did cavemen eat?” This helps shape the diet plan, what you can eat, and what you can’t eat.

The Paleo Diet is reliant on your ancestors and their food choices.

For example, they were able to go out and eat fruits, meats, vegetables, nuts, and seafood. Immediately, this sets up a nutritional guideline that makes it easier to stay in line with natural food options. By doing this, you are able to reduce the body’s glycemic load, maximize nutrient consumption, create a reasonable ratio between saturated/unsaturated fats, and retain a balance between fat/protein/carbs.

The Paleo Diet is advantageous because it helps increase nutrient consumption (i.e. iron), promotes a healthier lifestyle, and aims to get rid of chemicals found in food sources. It is a diet plan most people can follow since it’s reliant on natural food sources and nothing else.

1) What Can You Eat on Paleo?

a plate of food based around the paleo diet plan

  • Grass Produced Meat
  • Seafood
  • Fruits (Apples, Bananas)
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Oils (Olive, Walnut, Coconut)

2) What Can’t You Eat?

  • Legumes (Peanuts)
  • Cereal Grains
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods
  • Potatoes
  • Refined Vegetable Oils
  • Salt

Interested in learning more about Paleo? Head here for our favorite Paleo guide.

Key Differences Between Low Carb and Ketogenic Diet

a homemade ketogenic diet meal

A Ketogenic Diet is reliant on a specific setup (high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbs) and that’s the structure you have to follow. For example, you could see a breakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.

In addition, the Ketogenic Diet promotes eating approximately 20-50 grams of carbs a day.

The emphasis isn’t on dropping carbs and calling it a day!

With the Ketogenic Diet, it’s the result that matters and that reaching “ketosis.” The reduced carbs help in getting to this stage so the body is able to find an alternative energy source (i.e. ketones).

On the other hand, a low carb diet doesn’t look at the other numbers and simply aims to reduce your carb intake. In most cases, this can be a number that’s less than 1/3 of your intake (i.e. > 33%). As you can see, the Ketogenic Diet states it’s important to remain in the 5% range for carb intake while a low carb diet is fine with 20%, 25%, and even 30%!

This is where the difference becomes apparent and why a Ketogenic Diet is more structured. It helps break things down and reach that desired state of ketosis as soon as possible.

What is the Low Carb Paleo Diet?

meat and veggie skewers make a great paleo friendly meal

A Low Carb Paleo Diet uses the core tenets of a “caveman diet” meaning all natural food sources are used. This relies on keeping the carbs low while still eating the “right” food sources.

This can include fish, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

This diet tends to target the carbs number as you look to restrict it as much as possible while remaining healthy. There are two options under this category.

With a “low carb” Paleo Diet, you are going to target 100 grams or less in carbs or you can go with a “very low carb” Paleo Diet and target 50 grams or less in carbs. However, once you do this, it is going to become closer to a Ketogenic Diet and that’s something to keep note of.

Why Go Paleo?

It is able to help control your blood sugar levels and ensure the body is kept in a state of homeostasis (balance). For those who are overweight, the body can start to put pressure on itself by increasing insulin levels and that’s a real negative.

By focusing on a low carb Paleo Diet, it’s possible to reduce your insulin levels and stay as healthy as possible in the long-run.

Is the Paleo Diet a Ketogenic Diet?

a steak dinner that could work for either the paleo or keto diets

This is an intriguing question as the comparison is made.

In general, no they are not the same thing because the Ketogenic Diet aims to keep the carbs intake below 5%. This is the only way you’re going to reach ketosis.

However, the Paleo Diet is more lenient and you are able to eat more carbs as long as the proteins and fats remain at the right levels.

The Paleo Diet is also heavily reliant on natural food sources and that’s not a concern with the Ketogenic Diet.

While both promote similar food items, there are differences along the way. For example, in the Paleo Diet, you’re not allowed to eat dairy but that’s not a problem with the Ketogenic Diet.

a lean low carb dinner

While the Ketogenic Diet states fruits are not a good option and the Paleo Diet doesn’t. These differences do add up and it’s important to understand what each one does before making a decision.

Final Thoughts

Please note, the most important aspect of any diet plan is your commitment to it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to go on the Ketogenic Diet plan or the Paleo Diet plan because it’s all going to come back to you. Are you willing to put in the hard work? Are you willing to commit to a proper meal plan? Are you ready to get rid of those processed foods?

These are the questions that are going to matter in the long-run.

If yes, both of these diets are unique, powerful, and successful in helping people get healthier!