Paleo diet and keto diet: similarities, differences and which one is better to follow

The paleo diet and the ketogenic diet are some of the most popular, but which is the best to follow? Let’s find out all the main features of these two dietary patterns, the similarities, what the health benefits are and possible risks.

At first glance, both the paleo diet is there keto diet they look very similar – both promise quick and easy weight loss and incredible health benefits.

However, a closer look reveals some important differences, which you may need to consider before making a decision on what’s best for you and your lifestyle.

In fact, despite many similarities, the paleo and keto diets are not comparable in terms of nutritional value, flexibility, and potential side effects.

(Also read: The Mediterranean diet is the best diet of 2022)

Paleo diet: what is it?

The term “paleo diet” was first used in 2002 by Dr. Loren Cordain to describe a diet that reflects the eating habits and practices of people. hunter-gatherer peoples from the Paleolithic era.

For this reason, it is also referred to as the “Stone Age diet”, “Caveman diet” or “Primordial diet”.

Although we don’t know much about what our ancestors ate on a daily basis, it is assumed that their diet was largely based on lean meat, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

Foods such as refined grains, dairy products and oils were introduced much later and as such are not generally included on the paleo diet.

According to a study published in Total Environmental Sciencethis diet tends to be too low in carbohydrates (about 25% of total energy intake) and high in protein (about 30% of total energy intake), cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acids (about 15% of total energy intake). ).

Keto diet: what is it?

The keto diet has been shown to help prevent seizures, which is why it was first introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s.

Since people with seizures tend to respond well to fasting diets, doctors wanted to find a way to mimic the metabolic effect of fasting without depriving their patients of food.

This strategy was used successfully for nearly two decades, until the introduction of antiepileptic drugs.

When nutritionists noticed that the ketogenic diet can produce fast results from weightlossquickly became common.

Ketogenic diets are very high in fat and extremely low in carbohydrateswhich brings them closer to Atkins diet. The difference is that the latter allows them to be reintroduced gradually, whereas with a ketogenic diet the carbohydrate level is always very low.

The goal of this approach is to achieve a state of ketosisthat is, a metabolic condition in which the body transforms to burn fat stores rather than glucose.

Ketosis is characterized by low levels of insulin and high levels of ketones, which are compounds produced by the liver from fatty acids and used as fuel by muscles and other tissues.

Nutritionally, ketogenic diets are about 75% fat, about 15-20% protein, and 10% carbs. The amount of net carbohydrates in a single food should not exceed 25g.

To achieve this, ketogenic diets rely primarily on meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils and fatty foods, and certain vegetables (such as green leafy vegetables, onions, or low-fat tomatoes). carbohydrate content). Fruits, grains, legumes and root vegetables are not included.

Paleo diet and keto diet: similarities

The paleo and keto diets share many key principles. Both stress the importance of eating whole foods, while reducing the intake of highly processed foods, especially foods that contain high amounts of added sugar.

I also agree when it comes to avoiding different food groups. For example, both they eliminate grains and legumes; the reason? In the paleo diet, it is for the simple fact that grains and legumes were not present in the diet of our ancestors, while the keto diet excludes them due to their high carbohydrate content.

Paleo and keto diets promote high fat intake, ideally in the form of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, from sources such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and fish.

Similarly, they both discourage the consumption of trans fat and highly processed, due to their impact on cardiovascular health.


Paleo and keto diets can have a fairly comparable impact on our health and body composition.

A study published in Nutrients revealed that the ketogenic diet can lead to rapid weight loss and help reduce the risk of developing it Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancer. It may also have a beneficial effect on gut health and appetite control.

Likewise, several other studies have indicated that the paleo diet can significantly reduce body weight and waist circumference, while improving blood pressure, lipid profile, and systemic inflammation.

Additionally, other emerging evidence published on Psychiatric research suggest that both of these eating habits may have a positive effect on our mood and mental health, although more rigorous research is needed to confirm these findings.


One of the biggest differences between paleo and keto diets is that the latter completely changes our eating habits, while the paleo diet is seen more as a way of life.

Paleo dieters also favor the following activities: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, meditation and awareness.

Additionally, there are significant differences when it comes to food components. While keto explicitly restricts carbs, paleo allows them, as long as they come from integral sources.

Additionally, being ketogenic encourages you to eat plenty of dairy products, such as whole milk, butter, and natural yogurt, as opposed to paleo. Finally, eating soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and soy, is allowed on the keto diet, but you won’t find them on paleo because they belong to the legume category.

Risk for the health

Following a keto diet can have some benefits, especially for certain diseases, but it also comes with a degree of risk. Over the years, many questions have been raised about its safety and long-term effects.

For example, an article published by the Harvard Medical School suggests that the high fat content may help increase the risk of developing heart disease, liver problems and kidney stones, especially in people with certain genetic predispositions. Additionally, the low fiber content can cause digestive issues.

Many have reported that the keto diet causes temporary flu-like symptoms, leading to the coining of the now popular term “keto flu”.

Symptoms of this flu-like condition may include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, “brain fog”, gastrointestinal upset, decreased energy, fainting and changes in heart rate . If you have low blood pressure, this diet may not be a good choice.

Even following a paleo diet can carry some risks, as it excludes many food groups, leading to some micronutrient deficienciesespecially calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone health.

What is the best

Paleo and keto diets have pros and cons. If you do not have certain chronic conditions, deciding which one to follow may depend on other factors such as cost and flexibility. Moreover, for the keto diet, it is almost essential to be followed by a specialist because completely eliminating carbohydrates affects the metabolism and must be constantly monitored. Do-it-yourself is absolutely prohibited. (Also read: The ketogenic diet makes you lose weight but is dangerous. The warning from Harvard nutritionists)

The paleo diet offers more food choices, but it can also be quite expensive. At the same time, keto is much more restrictive and can be difficult to maintain over the long term.

Overall, the paleo diet may be a slightly safer, healthier, and more flexible choice. Although we always prefer diets that, in addition to making you lose weight, teach you how to eat healthier without completely eliminating essential macronutrients.

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