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This article discusses whether the Paleo or Keto diet is the most effective for weight loss.
It looks at the similarities of the diets, their differences, and the potential health benefits both offer.
At a glance, the Paleo and Keto diet appear to be very similar and to share the same benefits.
Both advocate eating whole foods and healthy fats, and neither allows grains, legumes, or added sugars. This type of eating results in a lower percentage of carbs than standard nutritional guidelines recommend.
Studies have shown that going low carb can result in short-term weight loss. This makes both diets popular with people who want to lose weight.
Along with weight loss, low carb eating offers other health benefits, which we will look at below.
Potential Health Benefits of the Diets
Low-carb diets restrict the consumption of processed foods that contain few nutrients and a lot of calories. According to a Harvard University Study, limiting the consumption of highly processed foods such as white flour, white sugar, cookies, cakes, and the like, and including nutritionally dense alternatives can add 12 years to your life.
Decreased carbohydrate intake helps to lower and control glucose levels, which in turn reduces the risk of Diabetes. Furthermore, studies have shown that low-fat diets can help people with Type 1 diabetics to stabilize their blood sugar quickly.
Elevated blood sugar and fluctuating glucose levels can lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Our bodies metabolize starchy carbs rapidly. This process releases a high level of sugar into the system. Inflammation occurs as a result, and this can increase the risk of cancer and atherosclerosis. A low carb diet can reduce inflammation.
For the same reason, going low carb can help manage Crohn’s disease.
Is the Paleo or Keto Diet a Good Choice for You?
Knowing the acceptable Paleo and Keto diet foods can help you to decide which, if either, will be the best choice for you.
The Paleo Diet, AKA the Caveman Diet, primarily comprises foods that are similar to those that humans ate during the Paleolithic era, over 10,000 years ago.
During this period, our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. Their diets were high in protein and fiber, and it included some fruits and vegetables.
Grains, dairy products, and processed foods were not available.
The Paleo Diet is based around the same foods, with the diet’s primary carbohydrate component coming from fruits and vegetables.
This way of eating supports the body’s natural biological functions and improves digestion and general health.
Examples of the foods eaten on the Paleo diet include lean meats and seafood, some fresh fruits, most starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs, and healthy fats and oils. Dairy foods, legumes, and grains are not allowed. Nor are processed foods, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, potatoes, or salt.
The focus of low-carb diets, including the Keto, are fats, protein, and carbohydrates. As with the Paleo diet, grains, rice, and other high-carbohydrate foods are limited.
The emphasis on high-fat foods puts the body in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is the metabolic state whereby the body uses calories from fat instead of carbs for energy. To reach this state, between 60% and 80% of caloric intake must come from fats. When eating this way, you will burn more body fat.
Allocated macronutrients on this type of diet comprise 60 to 80% fat, 20 to 30% protein, and 5 to 10% carbohydrates.
Permitted foods include saturated, monounsaturated, and naturally occurring polyunsaturated oils. Meat, moderate quantities of specific vegetables, nuts, and some full-fat dairy foods are allowed.
Fruit is typically high in natural sugars that convert to carbohydrates, so it can only be consumed in moderation. Foods that are high in carbs and those containing added sugars aren’t included either.
Food Similarities and Differences
The Paleo and Keto diet allow and veto some of the same foods. Similarities include that both diets advocate eating fresh foods instead of processed. Healthy fats are promoted, while grains and sugars are avoided.
Whichever diet you choose to follow, you will be eating more protein, fewer carbs, moderate quantities of vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive and coconut oils. Processed sugars aren’t allowed, but some natural sugars are.
There are, however, a few differences between the two eating plans.
For example, the Paleo Diet eliminates dairy products. The Keto diet does not, with butter, full-fat yogurt, cream, and many varieties of cheese being acceptable.
And, unlike the Paleo Diet, the Ketogenic eating plan permits some low-carb legumes, including Lima, fava, and black beans. The Keto diet also allows more healthy fats than the Paleo diet, with olive, avocado, and coconut oils, being prime examples.
Both diets veto grains, but for different reasons. The Paleo Diet excludes them because they weren’t eaten during the Palaeolithic era. The Keto Diet does not include them due to their high carbohydrate count.
Both eating plans eschew refined sugar, but the Paleo Diet allows more natural sugars. These include sugars contained in fresh fruits, honey, and maple syrup. The Keto Diet, on the other hand, limits most fruits due to their high sugar and carbohydrate content.
Which Diet is Best for Weight Loss?
Studies have indicated that both the Paleo and Keto Diet can result in short-term weight loss.
One two-year study that followed 70 obese women aged 60 plus who ate Paleo, reported them reducing their body fat by approximately 9% after six months on the diet, and 10.6% at the twelve-month point. The women did not lose any more weight by the 24-month mark, but their waist circumferences decreased, and their Triglyceride levels lowered.
Researchers who looked at the results of low-carbohydrate high-fat diets such as the Keto concluded that it could result in short-term weight loss.
The researchers think that in part, the reason the participants lost weight is that they were eating foods with a high fat content. This way of eating is often more filling, so they may have eaten less. Ketosis may also have played a part.
Further research is needed to determine the exact reason for the weight loss.
Paleo or Low Carb Eating Plan Summary
As you can see, when it comes to Paleo Vs Keto, there are several similarities, but also some distinct differences.
The diets offer some, but not all, of the same food options.
Each of the diets has pros and cons. Undertaking either for the short term should not cause any harm.
If you’d like more information, click this link to read an article on the pros and cons of the Paleo diet. Or click this link to read an article on the pros and cons of the Keto diet.