Paleo or Keto, you might be wondering which is the best diet for losing weight while staying healthy. In fact, both diets advocate eating vegetables, healthy fats, meat, and fish, and both ban legumes, seed oils, refined sugar, and processed foods.
What is the difference between a Paleo and a Keto diet?
What is a Paleo Diet?
The Paleo (or Paleolithic) diet is based on one principle: eat like your ancestors. That doesn't mean eating like your great-grandparents, but more like cavemen, you know, the so-called “hunter-gatherers”. These early humans evolved to eat the following foods: meat, fish, animal fat, wild berries, tubers, etc. Followers of the Paleo diet believe that consuming these evolutionary foods promotes optimal health. These foods are the staple foods of the Paleo Diet, sometimes referred to as the Caveman Diet. In fact, it's a pre-agricultural approach to food - no grains, no beans, nothing grown. Some Paleo weight loss success stories!
As part of a paleo diet, your food choices include:
- Meat, fish, eggs raised on pasture or grass
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (as many as you want, especially leafy vegetables)
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados (and avocado oil), butter, ghee, and palm oil
- Starchy roots and tubers (sweet potato, cassava, etc.)
- Naturally occurring sugars like honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar
In paleo, the foods to avoid are:
- Industrial vegetable oils like soybean oil, safflower oil, and canola oil
- Dairy products
- Refined sugar
- Cereals (including wholegrains)
- All that is processed
What is a ketogenic diet?
Like the paleo diet, the ketogenic diet excludes sugar, grains, legumes, and industrial seed oils. Unlike the paleo diet, the goal of the ketogenic diet is to promote ketosis, a unique metabolic state. When you follow a very low carbohydrate and high fat diet like the ketogenic diet, your blood sugar and insulin levels stay low. This tells your body that carbohydrates are scarce, so you need to burn fat and make ketones. Ketones are special molecules made in your liver that can easily be converted into energy. This energy powers all cells in your body, including your brain cells. Once you've adjusted to fat (after four to six weeks of a ketogenic diet) you start to burn your fat stores instead of using your glucose stores to fuel your body. This can lead to fat loss, reduced "cravings", reduced inflammation, and more stable energy.
So, what do you eat?
On the ketogenic diet, you eat around 60% fat (high in fat), 30% protein (moderate protein), and 10% carbohydrate (low in carbs) of your total calories.
You can vary the amounts of fat and protein a little bit, but the carbs should stay below 10% to be able to enter the ketosis zone.
The main benefit of ketosis is metabolic. Less carbohydrates, less blood sugar, more insulin, more fat burned, more weight lost. It's simple.
In addition to the metabolic benefit, the state of ketosis also affects the hormones responsible for weight loss. For example, a ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Less ghrelin, less desire to snack.
Paleo or keto, what's the best diet for weight loss?
It is true that paleo and ketogenic diets are very convincing since they both promote natural and whole foods. Losing weight, however, requires more than just eliminating modern processed foods. Sometimes you must restart your metabolism.
While the paleo diet is proven to help with weight loss, there is much more evidence to support the Ketogenic diet. We hope this article has helped you understand why, between paleo and keto, keto is the best diet for weight loss.