Which diet should you choose?
Are you confused as to what keto is or what paleo means? With all the media hype these days it starts to get complicated as to exactly what is what and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you ask what is keto or what is paleo?
But more importantly you want to know which one is the best for you.
Hopefully this article will explain the differences, and which might be best suited to your needs.
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Back to the beginning
The concept of Paleo is that we should revert back to the days of our ancestors and only eat fresh natural foods that are uncontaminated with any preservatives or other types of additives.
The idea of the Paleo diet was actually conceived back in the 1970’s and the included foods were meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits. All processed foods such as grains, dairy, sugar, unhealthy oils, coffee and alcohol were excluded. You can read what health line have to say here.
The belief is that it promotes a totally healthy and natural lifestyle uncontaminated by modern foods. Because you aren’t putting any “junk” food into your body it is only to be expected that your body responds accordingly, and you begin to feel better and to lose weight in some instances.
It was also found that people generally felt fuller eating this was so consequently consumed less food.
Paleo diet benefits:
- Better sleep patterns
- Nutrient absorption is improved
- Helps with allergies
- Lose weight
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Improves skin and teeth
Daily calorie ratio for Paleo:
- 55% should come from fish and/or lean meat – approximately half of each
- 15% come from either fruits, vegetables, or a combination of seeds and nuts
- No dairy is allowed nor sugar or salt and very little in the way of grains
One of the possible downsides of a paleo diet is a lack of calcium, vitamin D shortage and possible toxicity from eating all that fish. Click here to read what CSIRO has to say about Paleo
Now what is a keto diet?
A keto diet which is also referred to as a low carb or ketogenic diet promotes reducing your carb intake, (in many cases to less than 20g per day), whilst increasing your healthy fat intake and ensuring you have sufficient protein.
By doing this you will force your body into ketosis which is a metabolic state where your body utilizes fat for its energy source rather than the glucose it currently uses which is drawn from carbohydrates.
When glucose is readily available the body will draw on that first, simply because its quicker and easier to metabolize. There are several downsides to this process and it is beyond the scope of this article to cover them here but basically excess glucose (e.g. when you eat a lot of carbohydrates) gets converted and stored as fat.
Since our objective is to get rid of fat we need to change this process which is why we are exploring “what is keto” and how will it help?
There are a number of other critical factors that are impacted by the concentration of glucose in your blood which needs to be maintained at a constant level and this is controlled by the insulin hormone.
When this fails to adequately do the job (as is the case with diabetics) then the body starts to run into problems functioning properly.
The good news for diabetics is that when you are on a keto diet you are reducing the glucose in your body to next to nothing and forcing your body into a metabolic state called ketosis where it relies on the production and burning of ketones for fuel instead.
In case you are starting to panic about all these new-fangled words and processes you will have going on with keto in a word -DON’T they are quite normal.
Ketones are an amazing source of energy especially for the brain and other major organs. You will start to experience a whole new lease of life once your body becomes keto adapted.
Upsides of being on keto:
- Weight loss without losing muscle mass
- Improves cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels
- Beneficial for diabetics with reduced insulin levels
- Increased energy & more alert
- Reduces inflammation and joint pain
- Used to control seizures for people suffering with epilepsy
When you change to any new diet regime its only natural that your body will need a period of adjustment. For some this may come and go without even being noticed. Whilst others may suffer a few discomforts. But don’t stress they don’t last long and soon you will be feeling on top of the world with all your new-found energy.
The most common side effects, which have come to be known as the “keto flu” because of their similarity to actual flu are usually identified as headaches, nausea, feeling tired or digestive discomfort.
Now let’s compare Paleo and Keto:
Paleo diets do not have a focus on low-carb. They do promote eating foods with fats and proteins but don’t necessarily avoid sweet potatoes, carrots etc. which are high in carbohydrates. On the other hand, Keto diets are predominantly low carb, and focus on eliminating sugars and starches and most fruits apart from berries.
In fact, keto is a definite learning curve in relation to discovering just what carbs are hidden in what vegetables.
You will find that Paleo diets aren’t high in fat compared to the keto diet plans. Whilst back in the early days there might well have been a high concentration of fat in Paleo foods the modern evolved paleo community have adjusted according to the current times.
Whereas the Ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats which are the backbone of its regime, and carbs are virtually non-existent or at least very minimal with an added amount of protein to round it all up.
One of the huge benefits perceived by avid keto followers is the ability to enjoy dairy (of course in moderation and can be omitted for those who aren’t fans). Unfortunately, Paleo fans don’t have the same luxury and whilst a minimum may be allowed for most the non-dairy rule applies.
Only you can decide which of these particular diet appeals to you and will best suit your lifestyle.
Having tried both myself for what its worth my two cents worth is that whilst I enjoyed the foods on Paleo I personally found it very restrictive. I didn’t notice any particular health improvements and certainly didn’t lose any weight.
In regard to the ketogenic diet, I started this 9 months ago and started losing weight within the first week. I am never going back to any other way of eating. I have lost 16kgs so far and still going, no more osteo-arthritis and inflamed joints and boundless energy (yay go me). Now who in their right mind would want to change that?
Sorry if that sounds a little biased but I like to deal in facts and those are my facts, but not every individual is the same so always keep that in mind when making your decisions.
Note also that I very rarely cheated and was meticulous about following the guidelines and monitoring macros.
Always check with your doctor before starting any new regime to ensure that it is right for you and that you are on the right track. You are wished every success with whichever plan you decide on.