Paleo vs Keto

When you’re exploring healthy eating alternatives and stepping outside of the regular three meals a day and the balancing of food groups, calories etc, then you have probably come across the Paleo diet and the Keto diet.

Both have gained popularity for a variety of reasons. However the two terms can get confused, even though they are very different, so let’s sort out which is which and what would best suit your purposes.

The Paleo diet refers to a framework for eating. There are no specific foods to eat, just a leaning towards natural, nutrient-dense foods rather than processed foods.

Paleo follows the principles of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, with its name loosely based on the palaeolithic era and foods that have the longest history of human consumption.

Foods to include on a Paleo diet are:
Unrefined oils
Natural sweeteners

Foods to be avoided on the Paleo diet are:
All cereal grains and products made with grain flours
Refined sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
Refined vegetable oils
Processed food
White potatoes, in some instances

There is no exact ratio of how the key ingredients are put together. However it is generally regarded as a low-carb way of eating because it eliminates most processed foods made with added sugar, grains and dairy. However it still retains starchy vegetables and natural sweeteners so that effects the carbohydrate ratio.The Keto diet (or Ketogenic diet), on the other hand, is high fat, low carb and moderate in protein.

The main aim is to convert your body from a predominantly carbohydrate-burning machine to a fat burning machine. A general macronutrient ratio recommended on a keto diet is around 70-80% of calories from fat, 15-20% from protein, and less than 5% from carbs.

Benefits that are associated with a Paleo diet include:
Reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors
Reduced insulin resistance and better blood sugar management
Reduced inflammation
Reduction in autoimmune symptoms
Improved weight and blood pressure

The Keto diet has been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s by placing the body into a metabolic state called nutritional ketosis. In this state the body creates compounds called ketones and burns fat – from your body as well as from your diet.

To reach ketosis and to maintain it you need to radically reduce your carbohydrate intake and focus on healthy fats, some protein and low-carb vegetables.

Foods to include on a Keto diet:
Full-fat dairy products
Non-starchy vegetables
Nuts and seeds
Unrefined oils, such as olive, coconut, flaxseed, walnut and avocado oil

Foods to avoid while following the Keto diet:
All sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
All cereal grains and products made with grain flours
Fruit except perhaps 1/4 cup of berries
Sweetened, low-fat dairy
Starchy vegetables

Benefits that are associated with a Ketogenic diet include:
Weight loss
Reduction in inflammation – joints, brain and heart
Protection against Type 2 diabetes
Resistence against neurological diseases – Alzheimers / dementia
Protection of the brain against cognitive decline and degeneration

Paleo and Keto – the Similarities
Both diets focus on nutrient-dense food and eliminate the traps of a sugary processed food related “Western diet”. Generally speaking they are both low in carbohydrate and low in sugar which is better for blood sugar, weight management and has many other associated health benefits.

Both have anti-inflammatory effects. The Paleo diet is particularly effective with autoimmune conditions because of the removal of allergens such as dairy and gluten. The Ketones produced during Ketosis in the Keto diet have anti-inflammatory properties and protect against diseases such as Alzeimers, diabetes and even cancer.

Perhaps something about each of these diets appeal to you so in answer to your next question, yes you can combine them. The reason being that there is a cross-over between them where on both, generally speaking, you eat meat, fish, vegetables, healthy fats/oils, nuts and seeds.

A combination Paleo/Keto diet would look something like this:
Oils including coconut, olive, palm, avocado, hemp and flax oil
Grass-fed meat and pasture raised poultry
Pastured eggs
All types of wild-caught fish
All types of nuts/nut butters and seeds
All non starchy vegetables

To combine Paleo and keto, you essentially need to:
* Keep carbohydrate intake to 20–30 net grams per day.
* Avoid all types of added sugar, all grains, all dairy products, all legumes/beans, all fruit), and processed foods.
* Get 75 percent or more of your daily calories from fat, which means monitoring your protein intake and keeping it “moderate.”

Both the Paleo and Keto diets are healthy diets, each having many associated health benefits. Paleo may be more sustainable long term as Keto can be quite restrictive, but, as with any diet choice, it is all down to individual preference and compatibility.

Dr Axe,
Mike Geary’s Nutrition Watchdog Ezine

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