What’s the Difference Between the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet, Anyway?

It’s hard not to become confused among all the trendy, cutting-edge diet lingo that’s circulating the internet right now. In the low-carb diet world, you’re likely to hear two words that might have you scratching your head: “keto” and “paleo.” There is much discussion about both the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet, but new dieters may struggle to figure out the finer points of each.

The truth is, the only striking similarity between keto and paleo is the near-total absence of carbohydrates. Aside from this, the two diets are worlds apart in terms of how they should be acted on.

The Paleo Diet Emphasizes Protein, Not Fat

On the ketogenic diet, one should be obtaining 60% to 80% of their calories through healthy fats. The paleo diet, on the other hand, requires dieters to consume far more protein than fat. This isn’t to say that keto omits protein entirely, as it is a protein-moderate diet, but the paleo diet allows for – and encourages – a greater intake of protein-based foods.

Consider this: The term “paleo” comes from “paleolithic,” a term referring to a specific era in human history wherein early humans didn’t have access to grains and dairy products. To sum it up briefly, this diet insists that the person eat what these “cavemen” would have consumed. This means placing a heavy emphasis on not only meats, but also vegetables and fruit.

The reasoning behind this approach is simple. It’s believed that early humans were stricken with far fewer health ailments and, therefore, their diet is a healthy one that modern humans should emulate.

Paleo is Less Restrictive

The paleo diet does not have the rigid ratios that are touted by the ketogenic diet (75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates). Instead, it focuses on entire food groups that one should and should not partake in. Meats, vegetables, fruits and eggs are encouraged whereas dairy and grains aren’t considered paleo-friendly. The fewer restrictions imposed by the paleo diet mean that dieters can have a more varied diet plan and menu options than those on the ketogenic diet.

The Two Diets Do Share Similarities, However

While these two key differences put the paleo diet and ketogenic diet pretty far apart, there is some common ground to be shared. The biggest similarity shared between them is the removal of processed, prepackaged and pre-frozen foods from one’s diet.

Prepackaged meals and processed foods are the enemy of paleo and keto. This is because they contain hidden sugars, preservatives and carbohydrates that can set back your dietary success – even if they’re labeled as “diet-friendly food.” Meals that you craft yourself from whole foods are infinitely healthier and give you the confidence in knowing exactly everything that’s gone into what you’re about to eat.

Both diets are also well-known for their benefits in a person’s weight-loss journey. Having the guidelines of one of these established diet practices can help a person to drop unwanted pounds faster and easier than they had ever thought possible. However, both diets also require the person to remain dedicated and to avoid any and all food items that could set back their progress.

Whichever diet you choose, you can expect the way that you think about food to change. On the paleo diet or the ketogenic diet, you will be faced with food decisions that you’ve never dealt with before. The decisions that you’ll make will forever change your relationship with not only food, but with your body.