There are so many different diets and lifestyle changes available that it can be hard to decide which one is right for you and your specific dietary needs.
If you’re looking to live a healthier (or at least different) life, a diet change might be exactly what you need.
A diet doesn’t have to mean a diet. Starting one of these lifestyle changes doesn’t have to mean that you’re trying to lose weight. You might choose one in order to feel better, reduce any inflammation or bloating, or just for a change.
When it comes to paleo vs keto, two of the most popular options, what’s going to be the best choice for you?
We’re here to break it down. Keep reading to learn about the paleo diet, the keto diet, and how they differ.
What Can You Eat?
This is one of the most important factors for many people when it comes to choosing between a paleo diet and a keto diet.
Ketogenics is basically based around the idea that reducing your carbohydrate intake is going to send your body into a state called ketosis. With this in mind, a lot of your carbs are going to be replaced with other things.
Paleo diets focus on foods that hunter-gatherers could have found. You’re going to be avoiding processed foods.
Let’s break this down further
When you’re doing the keto diet you’re going to have to give up a lot of foods. A keto diet is a low-carb diet and you never notice how many of your favorite foods or dinner staples are carbs until you can’t have them anymore.
Fruits, vegetables, dairy, dairy alternatives, grains, and more all contain carbohydrates. A keto diet only allows between 5% and 10% of your daily calories to be made up of carbs.
Anyone who’s done a low-carb diet before is familiar with this and may not have a problem.
You’re also going to be eating 20% to 30% of your calories in protein and 60% to 80% of your calories in fat. That’s a lot of fat which may go against the instincts of some dieters.
This diet is strict so you need to adhere to it to reach that ketosis. It will be difficult for vegans and vegetarians who often rely on carbs.
The paleo diet is more flexible but also difficult when considering the average American diet.
You’re aiming for things that aren’t processed or are processed as little as possible. Think of things that you could get if you were a farmer or a rancher. You can’t get a meal box from Taco Bell or a bag of chips but you can have most vegetables, eggs, meats, and more things that you’d consider “natural”.
There are some surprising omissions such as legumes, grains, and dairy but you can have sweeteners that aren’t over-processed.
This diet is also going to be difficult (if not impossible) for vegetarians and vegans who require processed foods and beans for their protein.
How Do They Impact Exercise and Fitness?
Both of these diets are different from the standard American diet, and they may give you less energy from carbs and less protein depending on where you source it from. This can be problematic.
If you’re only looking to lose weight or reduce inflammation, this won’t be an issue for you.
Let’s talk about how each diet can impact your fitness goals.
Keto is, again, a low-carb diet. It’s also low in protein, though high enough that some people may be able to get enough protein to get through their day.
A lower protein diet may slow your muscle growth depending on where your starting point is, though over time it should stabilize.
Carbohydrates provide us with a lot of energy. While most foods will fuel us one way or another, being low-carb may impact your energy levels in the gym, especially if you’re used to a high-carb diet.
A paleo diet allows a lot of protein and carbs as long as they’re sourced “from the earth”. For people who are used to getting protein from shakes or bars, this is going to be a big change.
The paleo diet also has exercises that go along with it, though this is optional and you can keep your normal routine while being paleo.
Paleo relies on functional movements or things that our ancestors would have been able to do. These shouldn’t require the high carb and protein diets that many people who bodybuild or strength-train require.
How Do They Impact Weight?
Let’s face it, many people make dietary changes when they want to lose weight. With that in mind, how do these diets impact weight? Can you lose weight with more ease when you’re on a paleo or keto diet?
The keto diet is popular because of how it impacts weight loss. Ketosis is supposed to help the breakdown of fat in your body, meaning that you’ll be losing fat just by virtue of maintaining the diet.
Any error in following the diet will prevent the ketosis from doing its job.
It also produces helpful metabolic changes and helps with things like blood sugar and insulin resistance (which can be side-effects of being overweight).
Many people find success with keto for weight loss.
The paleo diet isn’t for weight loss. It’s more of a lifestyle change to live more “simply” and avoid some of the inflammation or bloating that comes from processed food. Even getting rid of that bloating and all of the extra sodium from processed foods can help give the appearance of weight loss.
That said, there are other benefits.
A paleo diet doesn’t allow for processed foods. This means that you won’t be snacking on high-calorie low-nutrition snacks. Instead, you’ll eat foods that are filling and healthy.
While not a “low carb” diet, it does reduce your carb intake by virtue or removing your favorite processed carbs. It can also decrease your overall calorie consumption due to you eating healthy, fibrous, and filling foods.
While the weight loss from paleo isn’t why most people do it, it is a potential outcome.
Paleo vs Keto: Which Is Right for You?
When deciding between paleo vs keto you need to consider which option is going to be more sustainable for your lifestyle.
Can you stick to a diet that only allows a small number of carbs? The high-fat content might help you, but this is challenging for some.
Can you maintain a diet with no more processed foods? Do your wallet and lifestyle support those restrictions?
Both diets are lifestyle changes that require commitment. Make sure that you pick the one that suits you best.
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