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Paleo Diet Vs Ketogenic Diet: 4 Main Differences


What’s the difference?

Are both these diets good for me?

Which one is better?

Admit it, these are probably just a few of the questions you asked yourself when you encountered these two diets for the first time.

Well, voilà!

Today I am here to shed light on your confusion revolving around the Paleo diet vs Ketogenic diet topic and make it just a little easier for you to decide which out of the two is better for you!

What Are The Ketogenic Principles?

Paleo Vs Ketogenic DietKeto diet is a low carb diet which targets to bring your body into ketosis.

When we consume a lot of carbs, our body uses it as a primary energy, therefore fats are not needed and therefore getting stored in your body (‘for a rainy day’).

By lowering the intake of carbs, your body initiates a state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process your body has to go through to survive when the food intake is low.

During this stage, the body produces ketones, that are a result of the breakdown of fats in the liver. The main goal of the diet is to initiate the ketosis in your body.

However, we do not do that through starvation of calories but through starvation of carbohydrates.

What Are The Main Differences With The Paleo Diet?

Both of the diets aim to make us healthier and more energetic.

However, there are certain differences that make these two diets completely different:

1. View on the Weight Loss

Paleo vs Ketogenic dietThe paleo diet main principle is to eat foods that our bodies were designed to eat. The weight loss is not a primary goal but is a nice benefit that you reach following the paleo diet principles. Read more about the Paleo Diet Principles over here.

On the other hand, the ketogenic diet can be considered as a fat loss diet.

The ketogenic diet uses your body fat as an energy that leads to the significant weight loss. Following the keto diet will allow you to decrease insulin level (the fat storing hormone) which makes your body to burn stored fat.

2. Intermittent Fasting

The original paleo diet principles do not incorporate intermittent fasting. And the reason for that is that the paleo diet is not designed specifically for the weight loss.

However, you would find some paleo diet modifications that incorporate the intermittent fasting idea.

The keto diet uses the intermittent fasting for the best weight loss results. The whole point of the intermittent fasting is to increase the amount of food we consume at one sitting.

This is also a great method for people who overeat. People who use macros tend to forget to include snacks that they have throughout the day and then wondering why they do not lose weight at all, or not that fast.

3. Fruits limitations

Paleo Vs Ketogenic DietThere is no limitation on fruit intake within the paleo diet principles.

As mentioned the paleo diet is not a low carb diet and its principles are based on what our ancestors used to eat thousands of years ago. And fruits were widely available.

The keto diet considers as a low carb diet and most of the fruits contain fructose, that is carbohydrates. It is recommended generally to avoid fruits on the ketogenic diet. However low carb fruits (like berries) are allowed in small quantities.

4. Amount of fat intake

The Paleo diet principles do not concentrate on macros with respect to protein, fat and carbs intake. Following the paleo diet is simple as you just need to avoid foods that are on the paleo ‘red’ list (find the list over here).

On the other hand, the keto diet focuses on the macros in order to put your body in ketosis.

And in order to do that your daily carb consumption should be decreased to a minimum and your fat consumption should be increased to maximum.

As a rule of thumb, the macronutrient ratio should stay within the following ratios:

  • 60-75%% of calories from fat
  • 15-30%% of calories from protein
  • 5-10%% of calories from carbs (1).

Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet food list generally includes lean meat, fish, seafood, non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, roots, shoots, tubers and plant-based oils.

By exclusion, the Paleo diet suggests you should avoid the intake of grains, sugar, legumes and dairy products (find the full list over here).

The benefits of eating Paleo are:

  • Paleo Vs Ketogenic DietEating clean- This means that the food you consume is free from any additives, preservatives, and chemicals that may normally be found in processed foods.
  • More iron intake – Eating more red meat is equivalent to taking in more iron.
  • Weight loss – Due to the limited food choices.
  • Feeling fuller- Due to the high intake of proteins and fats a feeling of satiety is reported for persons on this diet in between meals.
  • Has anti-inflammatory benefits – Found in seeds, vegetables, oils, plant nutrients, in fruits and nuts.

Though the advantages of the Paleo diet all looks good, there are a few setbacks linked to it such as:

  • The maintenance of such a diet may get expensive.
  • The exclusion of beans may make it more difficult for vegetarians to take part in it.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of The Ketogenic Diet

This diet which calls for consuming a high amount of healthy fats, a moderate amount of proteins and very limited amount of carbs is broken down to about 75, 20 and 5 percent of your daily calories respectively.

Meat and seafood, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats and oils, nuts and seeds, full-fat dairy products are OK to eat.

Whole grains, processed food, starchy vegetables, legumes, sugar, and alcohol are advised to be avoided.

After a few days of following this diet, your body enters ketosis which, as described above, is simply your body starting to use fat for energy.

The benefits of eating Keto are (2):

  • Paleo vs Ketogenic dietWeight loss – Maybee substantial and happen quickly. Research shows that persons following a Keto diet achieved better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor than those following a restricted energy diet with less than 30 percent energy coming from fat.
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 Diabetes – The process of burning fat in Ketosis controls the releases of hormones like insulin which plays a role in the development of diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease – The diet can reduce the risk of heart disease markers including high cholesterol.
  • Fights against diseases of the brain and neurological disorders- Researched revealed that over the past century Ketogenic diets have also been used for treating and reversing neurological disorders and cognitive impairments including Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s symptoms.

The benefits definitely look good but there are a few drawbacks to this diet as well, such as:

  • This diet changes your metabolism, you are transitioning from a sugar burner to a fat burner which will result in significant changes in your body.
  • You will experience symptoms such as bad breath, headaches, fatigue or lack of energy, muscle weakness or pain, poor sleep, nausea, constipation or upset stomach, brain fog, moodiness and no libido. These symptoms are all referred to as the Keto flu because of its flu-like symptoms. It normally lasts 2-3 weeks but symptoms go away as your body adjusts to being in Ketosis.

So Which Diet To Choose

After all, it is your choice whether to go with the Paleo or Keto Diet.

If your primary goal is weight loss, then Keto diet might be the better option.

However, if you are lactose intolerant, then it will be harder for you to go with the Keto diet, as you will have to add more fat out of other foods rather than full-fat diary that is usually used on the Keto diet.

And if you are a coffee person, then you could also try the Bulletproof diet as one of the Keto diet modifications (read more about the Bulletproof diet over here).

If your goal is to feel healthier and more energetic, then Paleo diet will be a great suit for you.

And if you have a second thought of losing weight, following the Paleo diet principles will help you with that goal as well (read more about the Paleo and weight loss over here).

So which diet will you choose?

paleo diet for beginners


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Great post Anna!
I’ve done both and I can say that I found Keto very hard to keep strict but give me amazing energy and mental performance.
I now follow more of a Paleo diet but not strict.I found that paleo doesn’t give me super human energy, it much more enjoyable to eat and I find it to be more social.


Thank you for such an insightful article. Have been hearing about paleo diet and keto diet, today I finally learn a lot more about them. I’m a strong advocate for clean diet too! We are what we eat…

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