Paleo Vs. Keto Diet: How Do They Compare?

keto vs paleo

People who want to lose weight try to look for diet types and two of these include paleo and keto diets.

But, which of these two diets can promote better weight loss effects?

In this article, you will learn the differences and similarities between paleo and keto, and what are the things you should consider before deciding which of these should be followed.

What Are The Difference Between Paleo And Keto Diets?


Paleo Diet Overview

The Paleolithic diet, also known as “the caveman diet”, was popular during the paleolithic era. This diet is based on consuming foods that promote optimal health.

In the Paleolithic era, people only consumed foods that were available to them.

These do not include whole grains and dairy as people back then believed that these foods can damage health.

Aside from this, legumes and grains were not present in early human diets.

The Paleo diet emphasizes whole foods as these can reduce inflammation, improve athletic workouts, increase energy levels, promote weight loss, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Aside from this, the Paleo diet also includes following wellness practices and exercise.

For most, the caveman diet or stone-age diet means consuming fats that are good for the heart.

Ketogenic Diet Overview

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that focuses on low carbohydrate intake and moderate protein consumption.

Generally, the goal of keto dieters is to achieve ketosis. This is a state where the body uses stored fat as a source of energy.

As we all know, the body uses the carbohydrate we eat as an energy source.

But when we have low carbs, the calories are being used instead for us to carry out normal body functions.

Generally, the keto diet was designed for patients with epilepsy.

Today, this diet can also support patients with diabetes, cancer, psychiatric disorders, autism, and Alzheimer’s Disease. This diet looks like this:

  • Fat – 65% to 90%
  • Protein – 10% to 30%
  • Carbohydrate – less than 5%

Those who are following a keto diet are encouraged to calculate their protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake to maintain ketosis.

Some of the foods keto dieters can consume are keto-friendly veggies, small groups of fruits, and berries.

Key Differences Between Keto and Paleo Diets

Keto and Paleolithic diets have a lot of differences – from uses to food choices. In this section, these differences will be elaborated on.

Those who follow a keto diet aim to reach ketosis.

This diet type is longer than other diet types as it may take up to three weeks to achieve this metabolic state and maintain ketosis.

The ketogenic diet includes the following framework:

  • Management of epilepsy
  • Controlling blood sugars
  • Improving neurological disorders
  • Limiting carbohydrates, less than 25 grams of net carbs or less than 50 grams of total carbs per day
  • High-fat diet, such as the consumption of high-fat dairy foods
  • Focuses on macros
  • Not sustainable as the Paleolithic diet
  • Calories come from fat

Those who support the Paleo diet reject modern-day foods. Instead, they consume foods that can be gathered from hunting.

The Paleo diet encourages the following framework:

  • Following outside diets such as exercise and mindfulness
  • No limits on macronutrients like animal protein, carbs, and fat
  • Allows whole-food sources of carbs, provided that they fall into permitted food categories
  • Only grass-fed dairy is allowed
  • Focus on ideology
  • More sustainable and easier to follow than the Ketogenic diet
  • Calories come from protein

Understand that choosing which diet type should be used will depend on the health goals and resources of the individual. 

Similarities of Paleo and Keto Diets

Although there are differences between keto and Paleo diets, there are also some similarities that should be tackled.

Both these diet types support the consumption of whole foods rather than processed ones. Following this will help those keto dieters achieve ketosis while Paleo dieters support overall health.

In this section, we will discuss the similarities of these diets in terms of their health benefits.

1) Weight-loss support

Both of these diet types can help manage weight.

In a study from Sweden, it was reported that obese patients following a Paleo diet were able to reduce their weight by around 9% within 6 months.

This goes the same for those following a ketogenic diet.

In a study from Italy, a low-carb diet can also reduce weight.

This is because dieters experience a decrease in appetite and overall calorie intake.

2) Improved glucose tolerance

Both of these diet types restrict the consumption of refined sugar.

Thus, these two help regulate blood sugar levels. Patients with diabetes can also benefit from these diets.

Additionally, both of these diets can prevent insulin resistance. This condition is a factor for diabetes.

In a study from the USA, although both diets can help in managing diabetes, the Paleo diet is more effective in controlling blood sugar than the ketogenic diet.

3) Cardiovascular support

High blood pressure is one of the factors for heart problems and many people believe that both of these diets can regulate proper blood pressure.

In a study from Sweden, it was reported that these diets can improve systolic blood pressure.

In this study, followers of the Paleo and keto diets were able to improve their cardiovascular health within three weeks.

Aside from these, they were also able to reduce their weight and body mass index (BMI).

In a study from the Netherlands, patients with metabolic syndrome were able to reduce both their blood pressure and lipid levels.

A metabolic syndrome is a condition that increases the risk of heart disease.

Food Groups Allowed and Not Allowed in Paleo Diet and Keto Diet

So, what are the food groups that Paleo and keto followers should follow and avoid?

In this section, we will discuss the food options that are compatible and not compatible with these diet types.

1) Whole foods

Both the Paleo and keto diets emphasize the consumption of whole foods as sources of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

These are unprocessed foods or have undergone minimal processing that excludes unhealthy fats, oils, and artificial sweeteners.

If you wish to replace processed foods, you can go for veggies, meat, fish, and nuts.

2) Grains and legumes

Both the Paleo and ketogenic diets discourage the consumption of grains and legumes because these foods may contain antinutrients.

Antinutrients are compounds that can be found in some plant-based foods.

Some of these antinutrients are lectins and phthalates, and they work by interfering with your body’s ability to absorb minerals and nutrients.

Although grains and legumes are nutrient-rich foods, people who want to achieve ketosis should avoid them in the meantime.

3) Added sugars

simple sugars

Followers of these diets avoid the use of added sugars.

The paleo and keto diets share the message of avoiding processed foods and added sugars are one of these.

However, those Paleo supporters are more flexible when it comes to these natural sweeteners like honey, coconut sugar, and maple syrup are allowed on this diet.

Maple syrup contains around 67 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving. With this data, maple syrup should be avoided at all costs by keto supporters.

4) Healthy fats

The goal of both diet types is to achieve optimal health. Thus, the use of unrefined healthy fats should be avoided.

Instead, fats such as avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and fish are advised. Aside from supporting both diet types, these fats can also support heart health.

When you choose your fats, make sure to avoid saturated fat.

Consumption of saturated fat should be avoided even if you are following a high-fat meal plan.

5) Fruits

When it comes to fruits, Paleo supporters can enjoy most of these. However, keto dieters should limit these foods.

Keto dieters are encouraged to consume carbs that are allowed in the daily carb intake.

6) Veggies

Paleo supporters can enjoy most veggies but not the keto supporters.

Starchy vegetables should be avoided if you are on a keto diet, and remember, not all veggies with low carbohydrate content are suitable because they may contain too many sugar levels.

7) Meat and poultry

Meat and poultry are all allowed for keto dieters.

However, for Paleo supporters, only those that are grass-fed are allowed.

Additionally, Paleo supporters should only consume moderate protein from these grass-fed food sources.

8) Dairy

If you are on a strict Paleo, you should avoid dairy products. However, some Paleo supporters still consider grass-fed dairy products.

On the other hand, keto supporters allow the use of many dairy foods, as long as their carbohydrate content is low.

9) Fish and seafood

Both fatty fish and seafood are allowed in these diet types.

These are high-fat foods that provide many health benefits keto and Paleo supporters would surely appreciate.

10) Oils

When it comes to oils, there are also some limitations.

Those Paleo supporters can only consume olive oil, coconut oil, some seed oils, and nut oils.

On the other hand, all healthy oils, especially avocado oil, are allowed for keto supporters.

11) Highly processed foods

Most processed foods are not allowed for the Paleo diet and keto diet.

There are no exceptions or rules when it comes to these foods as they do not improve overall health.

Things to Consider Before Deciding Your Diet Type

It is indeed true that it is hard to choose from a Paleo versus keto diet. So, if you cannot decide yet, you might want to consider the following tips:

  • Learn the goal of your diet. Ask yourself why you want to go on a diet. Is this because of your weight or other health conditions?
  • How long can you follow a strict diet plan?
  • Is the diet type you choose compatible with your lifestyle?

It is also highly advised to seek help from healthcare providers, such as doctors, nutritionists, or dietitians.

They can help you find the best diet type that fits your goals and preferences.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, both Paleo versus keto diet types can provide many health benefits.

However, the former focuses more on a healthy lifestyle while the latter focuses on consuming low-carb foods. 

If you choose the keto meal plan, you should also be eating foods that are high in fat.

When following any of these diets, it is still advised to monitor daily calories, fat, carbs, and protein intake to achieve faster and better results.

To determine the proper diet type for you, it is highly advised to seek help from medical providers as they can provide proper lifestyle and diet planning for your health needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is healthier, Paleo or keto?

We cannot determine which of these two are better as they provide different benefits to the dieters. However, they also promote similar benefits such as weight management, glucose regulation, and cardiovascular support.

Which is more restrictive, Paleo or keto?

Keto is more restrictive than Paleo. The former requires you to stay on a limited amount of protein, fat, and carbs. On the other hand, Paleo supporters may enjoy many foods as long as taken in moderation.

Can Paleo put you on ketosis?

No, Paleo does not put you on ketosis. This diet type aims to improve overall health and wellness and this includes proper weight management. Fat is the cornerstone of ketosis and only those who follow a strict keto diet can achieve this metabolic state.