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Is Keto or Paleo Right for You?


What is a keto diet?

Even though keto began as a standard treatment for pediatric epilepsy patients in the 1920’s, it is more widely known now as an alternative to the standard, everyday diet. A ketogenic diet consists of high-fat, low-carbohydrate meals with moderate protein consumption. To adjust to low levels of carbohydrates in the blood stream, the body begins to break down stored fats stimulating weight loss. For this reason, keto is commonly used to treat patients with obesity. This can also be effective for patients diagnosed with celiac disease since it centers on a low-gluten meal plan.


Keto has four subcategories: the standard keto diet (SKD), the cyclical keto diet (CKD), the target keto diet (TKD), and the high-protein keto diet. The standard diet is characterized by a low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet, as mentioned earlier. A common intake ratio is 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. CKD, as the name suggests, involves alternating between high and low carb consumption. It is common to eat low amounts of carbs 4-6 days a week and high levels of carbs for the remaining 1-3 days. The high-protein keto diet and TKD follows similar guidelines to the standard diet with small changes. TKD allows for carb intake during workout times, while the high-protein diet places more emphasis on protein intake with a ratio of 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.


Some foods that are commonly avoided include high-sugar content products, grains,
starches, fruits, beans, root vegetables, highly processed foods, and unhealthy fats. The
majority of meals prepared under the keto diet should incorporate the following: meats, fatty fish, eggs, unprocessed cheese, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, and low-carb vegetables.


What is a paleo diet?

The paleo diet gets its name from paleolithic in reference to the Stone Age. A major reason for this is due to the central tenant of its practice: eating meals like the hunters and gathers of that era. A typical paleo diet is whole-food based, meaning that all food should be whole and unprocessed. Like keto, paleo requires cutting out high-content sugar products and grains. It is also important to avoid dairy products, artificial sweeteners, legumes, vegetable oils, and trans-fat.

Paleo can be customized and does not require a strict ratio intake, like keto does. Some diet plans may opt for low-carbs consisting of mainly proteins, while others may follow a high-carb intake based in plants. While considering that all consumed products must be unprocessed, allowable foods include: meats, fish and seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, tubers, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and oils, and salt and spices.

Differences between Keto and Paleo

Keto and paleo are both great alternatives to the standard diet with each offering health and lifestyle benefits. While keto supports a high-fat and low-carb diet, paleo centers on meal plans based in whole and unprocessed foods. Although both diets avoid grains, beans, and sugars, there are distinct restrictions that each diet exclusively follow that the other does not. While paleo integrates high sugar fruits and starchy vegetables, keto offers dairy options.


Provided below are types of food that are included and excluded from each diet.

 

Type of Food

Paleo

Keto

Eggs

Yes

Yes

High sugar fruit (banana, orange, peach, grape, apple, pear)

Yes

No

Low sugar fruit (berries, coconut, melon, tomato)

Yes

Yes

Dried beans, peas, lentils

No

No

Grains (corn, rice, oats, barley, wheat, millet, quinoa, wild rice)

No

No

Sugars (cane, beet, high fructose corn syrup, honey)

No

No

Natural oils (avocado, olive, coconut)

Yes

Yes

Nuts and seeds

Yes

Yes

Meat, poultry, fish

Yes

Yes

Full-fat dairy (cheese, butter, Greek yogurt, cream)

No

Yes

Starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, yam, carrot, beet, turnip, parsnip, winter squash)

Yes

No

Non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, cauliflower, radish, mushroom, broccoli, celery, onion, kale, okra, green beans, pepper, collards, spinach, snow peas)

Yes

Yes

 

 

Resources

Healthline (Paleo):

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-the-paleo-diet

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#what-it-is

 

Virtahealth:

https://www.virtahealth.com/blog/paleo-vs-keto-whats-the-difference

Author
Leo Treyzon MD

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