What’s The Difference Between Paleo and Keto?

In General, Nutrition, Primal Lifestyle by Mikki Reilly

Paleo and Keto are two buzz words associated with rapid fat loss and healthier lifestyles. Both diets have overlapping foods and benefits, but what are the differences? Let’s take a look at these questions, so that you can decide which diet (or maybe combination of the two?) works best for your lifestyle.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet was born through the observation of hunter-gatherer tribes; communities that did not suffer from the modern degenerative diseases that plague us today. Without modern medicine these tribes suffered from higher rates of infectious disease, injury and childbirth complications, but they rarely experienced heart disease, obesity, or type 2 diabetes.

The Paleo diet is primarily anti-inflammatory; it is naturally low in carbohydrates, high in omega-3s and low in omega-6s which makes it very effective for reducing inflammation. This diet consists of grass-fed meats, wild seafood and shellfish, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds.

What is Keto?

The Keto diet was originally used to prevent and reduce seizures in epileptic patients. It was born out of the need for epilepsy treatment in the early 1900’s, when there were no medications available.

Since its discovery, research has found the Keto diet to be extremely effective for fat loss, for endurance performance, and as a therapy for medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.

Ketosis evolved as a way to help early humans survive during times of famine. It is the state your body enters into when glucose is not readily available for energy, so your body burns fatty acids instead, which produce ketones, an alternative energy source.

To learn more about “going keto” check out our recent blog post, Are You Ready To “Go Keto”?

Similarities between Paleo and Keto
  • An emphasis on healthy fats
    • Lean animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds
  • High quality protein
    • Grass fed meat, wild seafood/shellfish
  • Plenty of non-starchy veggies and leafy greens
  • No grains
  • No legumes
  • No refined sugar
Key Differences
  • The Keto diet focuses on burning fat instead of carbs
  • The Keto diet measures fat, protein, and carb percentages
    • You should aim to get around 70% of your energy from fat, less than 25% from protein and less than 5% from carbs.
  • The Keto diet requires you to test for ketones
    • This can be done with urine ketone testing strips
  • Paleo is not necessarily low carb, high fat
    • Hunter-gatherer tribes have varying carb, protein and fat percentages and still lead perfectly healthy lives
  • Paleo is more accessible, while a Keto diet may be too restrictive for some people
You don’t have to choose between one or the other…

It’s possible to go in and out of ketosis while following a Paleo diet, all you need to do is track your macros! By following the Keto macronutrient ratios, you can achieve a low carb, high fat version of the Paleo diet that is highly effective for fat loss. Or you can add back in some Paleo-friendly carbs and toggle back into a less restrictive Paleo diet, while enjoying the health benefits.

To learn more about the nutritional programs we offer at Fitness Transform, request a free consultation today!