Diet and Nutrition

Paleo vs. Keto Diets: Which Is Best for Me?

Written by Dr. Vasantha K S and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 
Image: Paleo vs. Keto Diets: Which Is Best for Me?

If you are someone who is health-conscious, you must be aware how popular paleo and keto diets are. Although they are confusingly similar, they are not the same. Let us first go through a brief introduction to the ideologies of each of these diets before getting into the details.

Paleo diet is short for paleolithic diet which denotes eating 'natural' food in tune with what our stone-age hunter-gatherer caveman ancestors would have eaten. Since modern age diseases stem from us eating too much processed, man-made food with too much salt and preservatives, these are the very things that are to be avoided on a paleo diet.

Keto diet is short for ketogenic diet. It was a diet initially created to prevent seizures in those with epilepsy. There were reduced incidences of seizures when patients with epilepsy went on fasting periods. This prompted more research into why that happened. And the answer was found to be the body going into a state of ketosis (the result of burning fat for fuel) when there was reduced availability of carbohydrates. So, here the focus is on eating a low-carb high-fat diet which teaches the body to burn fat instead of glucose. It is now used more as a weight loss tool.

What You Can/not Eat in a Paleo Diet

It is a diet where you exclude food items that are difficult to digest by the body. It involves removing cereals, legumes, grains, beans, soy, dairy, refined oil, refined sugar, excessive salt and processed foods from the diet.

Foods you can eat include fruits, vegetables, egg, meat, seafood, tubers, fats, nuts, roots, shoots, and seeds.

This diet is said to comfort those with gut issues, inflammation, autoimmune diseases and weight issues.

What You Can/not Eat in a Keto Diet

The typical keto diet advocates strictly watching the ratios of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) in every meal. The recommended ratio is 70-80 % of fats, 20-25 % of protein and 5-10 % of carbohydrates. Some high-carb foods that are allowed in a paleo diet but a strict no in keto diet are starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, yams, squash), high-carb fruits (banana, pineapple, grapes), natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup) and dried fruits (raisins, dates).

But unlike paleo, keto is not hard on dairy. In fact, it is seen as a good way to get the fats in.

Pros and cons of a paleo diet

  1. In this diet, you do not need to keep track of the percentage of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates you consume. The downside of this is you may overindulge on fruits and other naturally carb-rich sources.
  2. It is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle change as you eliminate certain unhealthy food types.
  3. It is not the best solution for weight loss unless you restrict the amount of carbs that go in.
  4. Weight loss, if any, is more gradual.
  5. The focus is more on consuming nutrient-rich food and elimination of processed foods.

Pros and cons of a keto diet

  1. It is a very restrictive diet. In fact, it is difficult to include it into an already busy schedule.
  2. It provides the most dramatic results if weight loss is the desired target.
  3. You can check if you are on track by measuring the ketone levels at regular intervals.
  4. If you relied heavily on carbs before, this diet will be a drastic change in terms that you will now have to restrict the carbs to just 5 % of your diet.
  5. Since this diet is low on carbs, the body starts using up the stored fats for energy and this increases the ketone levels in the body. This state is known as ketosis. Ketosis benefits the body by lowering blood pressure, promoting weight loss, normalizing blood sugar, improving epilepsy, correcting cholesterol levels, and increasing mental clarity.

Since paleo diet does not restrict carbohydrate intake, the emphasis is not on keeping track of ratios. So, there have been instances of people indulging in high-carb paleo-desserts which beats the purpose of a diet. Carbs are not essentially bad, but too much of it can derange your metabolism.

Hence, even with paleo, there is a need to restrict the amount of carbs if you really want to achieve maximum benefits. Thus, a combination of keto (tracking macronutrients and keeping carbs to a minimum) and paleo (eating nutrient-dense natural, healthy foods) would be an ideal balance and key to good health.

For more information consult a paleo diet specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/nutritionist/paleo-diet

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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Related Questions & Answers


Kindly comment on my paleo diet reports.
Query: Hi doctor, I have been following paleo diet for the past 20 days. I have attached my reports here for your reference. Kindly review my report and let me know your feedback.  Read Full »
Dr. Hariharan V
Diabetologist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. I think you have started paleo diet 13 days before you have taken the blood test. It should be taken a day before you start paleo. Anyway, the only way to compare the health benefits of paleo is by taking a repeat test by the end of this month and comparing with this repo...  Read Full »
 
Please tell me about the vegetarian paleo diet.
Query: Hi doctor, I am a 40 year old female, and I weigh 88 kg and my height is 160 cm. I am a vegetarian but I eat eggs. I am planning to start paleo diet to reduce my weight and before starting the diet, I got a blood test done. I am attaching my reports. Please suggest a vegetarian diet chart. What ty...  Read Full »
Dr. Shakti Mishra
Nutritionist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. I went through your reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity), and according to it, you can go on a paleo diet. Which is good for your weight maintenance. But remember a vegetarian diet lacks some essential protein, which can only be supplied by non-vegetar...  Read Full »
 
Is there any medication or laxatives to cure constipation?
Query: Hello doctor, I am suffering from constipation. Stool is so hard and has got stuck in the colon. I am on keto diet. So, fiber intake is low which may be the reason. Is there any medication or laxatives that I can take?  Read Full »
Dr. Anshul Varshney
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. You seem to be suffering from constipation, and you should increase fibers in the diet. I would advise you the following: To get a thyroid function test done as hypothyroidism might be the cause of constipation that you are having. To take laxative like Lactulose in the ...  Read Full »
 

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