A Fresh Guide On Paleo vs Keto: Which Reigns Supreme?

Last Updated: January 14, 2022

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Modern times definitely took a different approach to being healthy. Since there has been so much invested in the culinary field, everyone is now called to look for alternatives to equalize the growing unhealthy habits of the 21st-century individuals.

Working out is one thing, but partnering up with a diet that complies with your bodily needs is another. However, finding the best diet is easier said than done because there are so many types of diet varying from nutrient intake to the reduction of intake of other types of food. 

Choosing one is a risky decision because it could greatly affect your body. As always make sure that you speak with your healthcare practitioner before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.

There are many reasons why we subscribe to a strict diet plan. Some want to lose weight, while others want to improve their overall health. Regardless, thorough science-backed research or a good consultation from a registered dietitian is still a must.

In recent years, there has been a growing number of diet plans being recognized by many. However, there are two diets that have grown exceptionally popular: Paleo diet and Keto diet.

Yet since both are equally known through the media and a lot of influential personalities promote them, you may be wondering how they differ from each other.

A Little About The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet or the “caveman diet,” is based on the Paleolithic times. It is basically patterned from the diet of our human ancestors who used to hunt and gather for their meals. Since the past is the inspiration, it only means that this diet promotes eating food that was only available to early humans; thus, avoiding unhealthy preservatives and other processed foods.

Celebrities like Jessica Biel and Blake Lively are said to be following the high in protein and fiber diet. The palate is centered on meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Even though this promotes reducing the amount of unhealthy food, there are still foods that are widely considered healthy, like whole grains, that are not allowed in the diet.

The foods that must be avoided in this diet are legumes like beans and tofu, grains, dairy, refined sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners, any processed foods, and alcoholic beverages.

Though it may seem like you’re sacrificing a lot, the brownie point is you get to eat without having to count calories or the proper percentages of your foods. You can eat as much until you’re completely satisfied.

What About The Keto Diet?

keto diet

Celebrities like Tim Tebow and Vanessa Hudgens are reportedly employing the Keto Diet in their lifestyle. This means that they are following a low-carb, high-fat diet plan that tricks the body into a state of ketosis, a metabolic process in the body in which your body burns fat for energy instead of the usual carbohydrates.

There are different types of Keto diet, varying from the fat, protein, and carbohydrates intake. However, the Standard Keto Diet (SKD) is the well-known and most patronized type. SKD promotes a diet that is composed of a minimum of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrates.

For the Ketogenic menu, common fish like salmon, meat, and poultry like pork and bacon, eggs, nuts, non-starchy vegetables like greens and tomatoes, fats and oils like butter, and high-fat dairy like cream cheese are allowed.

On the other hand, most fruits like apples and bananas (except avocado), grains like bread and pasta, legumes, sugary foods, alcoholic and sweetened beverages, sweetened sauces and condiments, and some oils like canola, are foods to be avoided.

What Are The Similarities Between Paleo and Keto diets?

  • Whole Foods

Both Paleo and Keto diet plans are heavily relying on whole-food sources for nutrients and for the benefits to be maximized. Whole foods are foods that have minimal to no artificial processing, hence, it is deemed to be healthier than the other available foods.

Both diets are excluding the highly processed foods in your palate by replacing more fresh foods like vegetables, fish, and nuts. However, some vegetables are to be strictly avoided in the Keto diet.

Sugary foods and artificial sweeteners are also to be avoided in both palates. This entails that changing your diet to either can imply that you’re leaning more to a healthier option.

  • Grains and Legumes

Keto and Paleo are avoiding grains and legumes (like beans) in their diets. For the latter, though not all legumes are eliminated, most of it is because of its carbohydrate content. It is already a known fact that grains and legumes contribute a significant amount of carbohydrates when taken.

On the other hand, Paleo eliminates grains and legumes because they contain antinutrients. Also, it is pretty obvious that these weren’t likely part of the diet of early humans because it’s not widely present during their time.

To give more depth, antinutrients can be found in some plant-based foods and it is known to be an interference with your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients and minerals. This possibly could cause digestive distress if you were to intake large amounts of this.

  • Added Sugar

Added sugars and artificial sweeteners are a big no-no for both the Paleo and Keto diet. These sugary foods are most likely heavily processed which is something that both Paleo and Keto are trying to avoid.

However, for Paleo people, honey and maple syrup are the exceptions to this rule. While on the other hand, Keto is against any of these sweeteners because of its high carbohydrate content.

  • Healthy Fats

The Paleolithic and Ketogenic diet both promote the intake of unrefined, healthy fats for the achievement of optimal health of the dieter. Since both have the common goal of achieving a healthy body, the Paleo and Keto diets are highly recommending moderate-to-liberal amounts of limited refined oils.

Fats that are heavily processed are strongly discouraged by the two diet plans because it could be really detrimental to health when consumed on a regular basis. But of course, poultry and other sources of fat are highly encouraged.

Keto emphasizes fat because it is basically the main ideology of the diet. Paleo, on the other hand, encourages the intake of fat to support the overall health of the dieter.

The notion that the Keto and Paleo diet are suitable for weight loss is probably one of the reasons as to why these two diets got the spotlight. However, there is very limited science-backed evidence that supports the long-term effectiveness of these diets.

Some have theorized that the high intake of fat in the Keto diet is the primary cause of the weight loss. High intake of fat, more often than not, leads to a decrease in appetite for most individuals, thus fewer calories will be consumed.

paleo vs keto
Paleo vs Keto: The Differences

What Are The Differences Between The Paleo And Keto Diets?

  • Cornerstone

Paleo and Keto could be similar in so many ways, but their core ideology (or lack thereof) is what makes them entirely different from each other. Paleo focuses more on its ideology of eating like a Paleolithic ancestor, while Keto focuses more on the macronutrients in general.

The paleolithic diet also emphasizes lifestyle choices that are oftentimes not discussed or overlooked by many. Paleo dieters are encouraged to incorporate short, intense periods of exercise to match with the physical activity done by the Paleolithic age ancestors. Yoga and meditation are also encouraged to maximize the effectiveness of the Paleo diet.

Moreover, the food menu of the Paleo diet is more flexible and you are permitted to eat as much as you can as long as all foods are part of the list that you’re allowed to eat.

The ketogenic diet is focused more on tricking your body’s metabolic process. There are no associated lifestyles or activities. It is no doubt that it really promotes choosing healthy food choices, however, its main cornerstone is macronutrient intake.

  • Whole-Food Carbs

Paleo is looser when it comes to eating carbohydrates because its core ideology isn’t necessarily centered on a low-carb diet like Keto. Keto is focused on macronutrient distribution, unlike Paleo. Thus, you can literally eat anything as long as it is within the allowable foods.

Though some types of foods like grains, sugary food, and legumes aren’t allowed in the Paleolithic diet, the carb sources are still not eliminated because you can still intake fruits, vegetables, and unrefined sweeteners.

In contrast, the Keto diet eliminates all rich sources of carbs and that includes some vegetables, most fruits, grains, sweeteners, and most but not all legumes.

  • Dairy and Soy Foods

Intaking dairy foods are encouraged by Keto, including high-fat dairy, butter, and full-fat yogurts. While ice cream or milk isn’t exactly encouraged by Keto because of its low fat-to-carb ratio. Keto diet also allows soy foods like tofu, soybeans, and tempeh as long as it falls within the specified macronutrient your diet allotted.

On the other hand, soy and almost all dairy are restrictions in the Paleo diet. If you’re looking for a dairy in your Paleo diet, grass-fed butter is an exception to the list. Soy foods are also not allowed because technically they’re legumes, which is a prohibited food in the Paleo palate.

Paleo vs Keto: Which Is The Better Diet?

Spoiler alert: There is no better one between the two diets when you’re going to look at the benefits only

There are a lot of factors that could affect the general opinion about which is better and one of them is your bodily needs and your overall health status.

However, if you were to really look at the general perspective, paleo is a healthier option for most people because of its flexibility with its food choices. The wide array of options also gives way for variety in nutrients your body needs. Moreover, it makes the diet easier to maintain because you don’t necessarily have to extremely minimize your palate.

On the other hand, the Keto diet is not exactly for everyone. Though this could be really helpful for some who see this as a treatment method for some health conditions, it doesn’t necessarily mean it could cater to all individuals.

Moreover, a lot of studies suggest that eating too much-saturated fat on a high-fat diet may increase the risk of heart disease. Hence, the Keto diet should really be well-thought-of first before trying it out. Always speak with your health praticioner first before making any drastic changes to your routine.

It is also undoubtedly challenging to maintain the Keto diet because of the restrictions in the diet and also your active compliance with the Keto foods is needed to achieve ketosis. It’s also definitely hard to adapt because of the limited options in your food choices.


Varying reasons could be your driving force to pursue either of the diet plans. However, not all results are guaranteed—most especially weight loss. Though it could promise to help you lose weight in the short-term, there could be underlying effects in the long-term that Science hasn’t still backed up yet.

According to dietician Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, you could only be losing weight because you’re restricting a good amount of food that you usually intake.

Regardless, Gans said that Paleo could be the healthier option if you don’t have any health conditions that require more of Keto’s benefits. This is not only because you have more options, it is also because your calories are not coming from full fat.

In the end, though, your choice still depends on what your body needs. Focus more on what you can eat, rather than what you cannot. After all, you should get back to just enjoying your food and your lifestyle you’ll subscribe to.

If you’re looking for other ways to improve on your diet check out the post I did on the most popular cookbooks used by people in fitness as well as those just looking to live healthy.


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