If you’re thinking about switching up your diet and are looking to eat more whole foods while eliminating refined sugar, you’re likely debating between the Keto vs Paleo plans.
Both plans have seen their popularity rise in recent years, and there are both similarities and differences between the two.
Both keto and Paleo shun processed foods because of the hidden sugars found in bread, crackers and other packaged foods, both are low carb and are both designed to generate changes that benefit the body.
While both have good aspects – ditching processed foods is one of the best ways to improve health, erase hidden sugars from your diet and help you better understand the impact what you consume has on how you feel – the keto diet changes the way your hormones function, helping turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
Paleo, on the other hand, focuses on food in its most natural form, and is often called the caveman diet because it includes foods that were found during the Paleolithic era – or on recipes using those foods – to create a diet that some experts believe the human digestive system is more accustomed to, so it is better able to take in available nutrients.
Keto: The 411
SO what is the keto diet? The keto diet is significantly low-carb, and switches the body from burning glucose to burning fat, a process called ketosis that occurs when carb intake is low enough for the necessary glucose to be used up, forcing the body to burn ketones as an alternative source of energy to power the body’s functions.
A 2004 study found that the keto diet helped obese patients drop weight, and the secret is in the hormonal changes that happen when hunger hormones don’t have to react to a steady stream of sugar, which triggers an insulin response. 1
Insulin helps encourage fat cells and the liver to store glucose for energy when sugar is consumed. If insulin is forced to respond to too much sugar on a regular basis, it becomes less responsive and excess sugar isn’t stored for energy, but is instead stored as fat.
The keto diet limits carbs so not only are there no new fat stores, but those that do exist are melted away throughout the day while the body is in ketosis.
Because there is more focus on fat and protein, ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is quieted, and leptin, which signals satiety, is more responsive, generally keeping the appetite at bay.
How the Keto Diet Breaks Down:
On keto, the macronutrients dieters take in are broken down like so:
- Fat: 60 to 80 percent (fat fills you up, especially so the fat from avocado, nuts, oils and nut butters)
- Protein: 20 to 30 percent (protein such as meats and cheese also fills you up, so hunger pangs that lead to bad food choices are less likely to happen)
- Carbohydrates: 10 to 20 percent (because carbs, even the carbs from vegetables, are turned to glucose, they are limited, so there is more fat burn and less of a likelihood that your body will slip out of ketosis). Check out these Keto Friendly Vegetables.
While certain foods are off-limits – even Tom Brady’s infamous avocado ice cream fails to make the cut because it contains dates, one of the fruits with the highest sugar content – the satiety that comes with keto, along with the fun of experimenting with keto-friendly recipes to break up any monotony (and then there’s that weight loss) makes those foods hard to miss.
Paleo: The 411
Paleo is also a low-carb diet that focuses primarily on meat, nuts and berries.
It erases certain foods from consumption including dairy products, grains, and processed foods, so sugar intake in significantly reduced.
Legumes such as beans and black-eyed peas are eliminated on Paleo not because of carb content, but because they were not part of the caveman diet, and they contain certain compounds called antinutrients, which can cause digestive woes and can prevent certain nutrients from being absorbed properly.
Some of the carbohydrates that are restricted on the keto diet such as sweet potatoes are okay as part of the Paleo plan, because our caveman ancestors would have had access to similar vegetables, but anything with refined or added sugar is restricted.
The focus is on grass-fed meats, fats such as avocado and coconut oils, veggies and fruit. As with keto, however, berries are considered the best source of nutrients due to the lower sugar content.
Paleo also eliminates dairy, although butter and cream are allowed for those who can’t live without them.
Cheese, which is included in the keto diet, is off-limits on Paleo, and substitutions made with nuts are used instead.
Keto VS Paleo- The Comparision
There are restrictions and freedoms in both the keto and Paleo diet plans.
Paleo is similar to keto, because despite the items that are excluded you can still have items such as “bread”. Making Paleo bread from almond flour (also an option on keto) is a great way to get your bread fix safely, without the refined flour that turns to glucose when digested.
Paleo, however, is designed like a trip back in time, and encourages you to take several short daily workouts to keep cortisol levels at bay. These are the fight-or-flight hormones that trigger the release of glucose for energy. Practicing this along with a mindfulness is more about what Paleo is about which isn’t really part of the keto plan.
Still, both of these plans change the way you perceive food, and both focus on whole, natural foods rather than the processed food. Which is largely responsible for the growing girth of the average American. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 80 percent of American adults more than 20 are overweight, while almost 40 percent in the same age bracket are classified as obese. 2)
While both diets are likely to help you lose weight, the keto diet’s impact on hormones, which forces the body into fat-burning mode, is a better diet for weight loss, according to Men’s Health, which compared the two plans. 3 And of course is our choice for best weight loss plan, and best lifestyle change!