Keto vs. Paleo: Which diet is better?
- Healthline defines the paleo diet as “the caveman diet,” based on foods eaten by early humans. In comparison, the keto diet focuses on eating macronutrients, such as protein and fat, to induce ketosis.
- According to the CDC, between 2015 and 2018, 17% of adults older than 20 were on a special diet, with more women (19%) than men (15.1%).
- A study from the Journal of Nutrition found that paleo and Mediterranean diets reduced all-cause mortality, lowered oxidative stress, and decreased mortality from heart disease and cancer.
- Experts from Everyday Heath warn that because keto and paleo diets cut out entire food groups, there is a risk of developing nutrient deficiencies in both diets.
Anytime someone takes their diet seriously and becomes mindful of what they consume, they will become healthier, but that does not mean all diets are the same. And between paleo and ketogenic, Paleo is generally a better choice.
Paleo is a diet and lifestyle philosophy that promotes eliminating processed foods and consuming the foods our pre-industrial revolution ancestors ate. Its root philosophy is to consume food that our bodies evolved to eat and adapted to over tens of thousands of years. On the other hand, keto has no lifestyle component and is based on getting your body into a ketogenic, or fat-burning, state (rather than fueling on sugar glucose). It focuses on consuming some macronutrients, such as fat and proteins, over others, such as carbohydrates and starches. It mandates that the adherent cut out whole food groups from consumption and has no requirement for exercise.
Paleo is easier to adhere to as it allows many more choices of foods and many nutrient-rich foods. It adapts easily to a healthy diet that can be achieved through consuming readily available whole foods.
Keto is hard to be consistent with as it is highly restrictive. If a ketogenic state is not reached, then consuming so many fats (especially saturated fats) can lead to cardiovascular and other issues. Keto requires strict planning and adherence, and many people following it do not get enough nutrients in their diet.
Unless a person has a specific disease treatable by a ketogenic diet, they are likely to find more benefits and stick with their diet long-term by following the paleo lifestyle (which also involves exercise, mindfulness, and meditation).
The ketogenic and paleo diets continue to defeat other wellness trends vying for the top. Both share similarities, such as focusing on fat, protein, and carbohydrate consumption. They also can help achieve weight loss results. However, individuals can't go wrong with keto if given a choice.
Going on a keto diet is a surefire way to lose weight faster, as it limits an individual's overall intake—unlike paleo. And the best part is that this weight loss doesn't require other major lifestyle changes.
As paleo mimics the lifestyle of hunter-gatherers, its followers need daily movement and exercise. This may be difficult to achieve, especially as the physical activity levels of Americans dwindled over two centuries.
Further, making keto great is that it's less challenging to implement. For instance, individuals can still enjoy processed food such as cheese. This also makes it healthier than paleo since it doesn't lead to vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Keto diets may also be safer than most high-sugar paleo diets that include fruits, honey, and starchy vegetables. Such diets are high in carbs, making it hard for most to curb their carb addiction. They may also result in hyperinsulinemia—a condition related to serious diseases like infertility, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders.
In addition to all of the above, keto offers many benefits, including improving cholesterol levels, helping with blood sugar control, and lowering blood pressure. It's also the recommended diet for individuals suffering from seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. But before starting keto, it's always best to consult a physician. That way, individuals can enjoy the benefits of a balanced lifestyle without worrying about possible risks.