Both the paleo and keto diet focus on low carb foods but the two eating plans are distinctly different. The fact that both stick to low carbs and both use whole foods is about the only similarity, save a few. A ketogenic diet has the sole aim of helping your body reach a state known as ketosis.
The paleo diet approaches healthy eating from a balanced standpoint, taking you from a caloric deficit in most cases to a well-rounded eating plan. The PaleoHacks Cookbook collection supplies so many recipes that you’ll soon see how easy can be to combine the two diets.
Here we’ll be taking you through a look at the paleo vs. keto diet, pointing out the differences as well as the highlights of each.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state whereby the body uses calories from fat rather than from carbs to sustain its basic functions. As our bodies metabolize fat, ketones are released into our blood. Ketones are then used by cells for their basic function. By sustaining a diet which is high in fat with enough protein and few enough carbs, the ketone content of the blood will rise above 0.5mmol/L indicating that the body is now burning fat.
Benefits span increased metabolic performance, to an elevated mood, and better mental performance, but ketosis is not a state which can be sustained. Maintain it for too long and severe nutrient deficiencies can arise. Yet, maintaining ketosis itself can be quite tricky. Eat too many carbs or too much sugar and you’re off ketosis. Too few carbs and the same is true.
The Paleolithic Diet
Conversely, the paleo diet aims to adjust your body towards its optimal state by supplying all of the key minerals and nutrients it needs whilst balancing out protein, fats and limiting carbohydrates. There is no chance of eating incorrectly and being knocked off a plateau of sorts. Paleo produces a steady rate of growth through stages of better and better health.
Plant nutrients present in the paleo diet grant extensive relief from inflammation while fulfilling all the body’s needs. It is also a clean diet free from additives and processed toxins which is a great way to improve natural levels of resistance thus combating disease and aging.
Similarities Between Paleo and Keto
Here are the main dietary similarities between the paleo and keto diets despite their clear differences in approaching weight loss and health:
- Zero grains
- Zero legumes
- Zero refined sugar
- Low carb intake
- Focus on healthy fats
- Focus on leafy greens and non-starch vegetables
- Carbohydrate flexibility
The keto diet limits your daily carbohydrate intake to 20-30 grams. This is roughly equivalent to a quarter cup of oats or a banana considering both have between 27 and 29 grams of carbs. This means that you can only eat a small amount of fruit or a whole-grain meal once a day or you’ll be knocked straight out of ketosis. Skip your carbs and you’re off ketosis too. Paleo recommends that you fill roughly 10% of your diet with carbs. A paleo diet is far more flexible on carbs.
Measuring Your Meals
Reaching and maintaining ketosis is a precise process which requires you to measure out each serving of food. Eat a few too many carbs by having too many bananas or nuts and you’ll have to start all over again. There is no measuring or weighing of foods when following the paleo diet. It is far less rigid than keto. While you still have to watch what you’re eating, paleo becomes more of a lifestyle rather than a rigid diet which you have to follow. For even more info of nutrients and portioning, check out The PaleoHacks Cookbook.
Dairy and Diet
The keto diet restricts full-fat dairy products completely (in most cases) while dairy is allowed on the paleo in certain circumstances. Dairy is typically avoided in both diets despite being allowed as a paleo ingredient as most of us do not produce enough lactose, the active enzyme needed to digest the sugars found in milk. A range of side effects occur throughout the body due to undiagnosed lactose intolerance.
Studies estimate that 65% of the population has an impaired ability to diagnose lactose and therefore many symptoms are allowed to preside due to the continued use of dairy products.
Paleo vs. Keto Side Effects
Each diet comes with a period of adjustment. Reaching a caloric deficit and starting a low-carb paleo diet can leave one feeling lethargic for the first week or two. After this adjustment, all of your nutrients will be covered and your body adapted to its new diet leaving you with high mental and physical stamina than before.
The keto diet comes with what is known as ‘Keto flu.’ While also transient in nature, keto flu is a carbohydrate withdrawal which has been compared to that of more addictive substances such as cocaine. Moods swings, dizziness, nausea, a lack of an appetite and constant fatigue are just a few of the many symptoms which can take anything between days and weeks to clear.
You Don’t Need to Choose Between Paleo and Keto
If you want to reap the fat burning benefits but prefer to follow a paleo diet, then there is no reason that you can’t adjust your eating and habits accordingly. In order to enter ketosis while paleo or switch to a paleo eating plan while on a keto diet, simply do the following:
- Eliminate all dairy other than ghee (clarified butter) or grass-fed butter (pegans can use coconut butter instead)
- Keep track of your macronutrients and find out the range that you need to stay in using a keto calculator (stick to paleo foods)
- If you consume animal products, stick to pasture raised/grass fed only
- Always opt for natural sweeteners such as Stevia
Paleo – The Sustainable Diet
Keto is a means to an end and a great tool for sports and weight loss but for a long-term diet, paleo is the clear winner. Yet, there is nothing wrong with combining diets for rapid weight loss; just be sure to balance out any nutrient deficiencies accrued.
You’ll find all the nutritional and other information needed concerning all paleo foods and meals in The PaleoHacks Cookbook and its bonus books collection. There is no better way to determine exactly what you’re eating so that you can see the potential of adjusting your diet accordingly. For those maintaining ketosis and paleo, it is near-essential.