Keto vs. Paleo Diet: Learn the Difference and Benefits and Which One is Right For You

Both diets do overlap on many types of food but they both have limited choices for carbs

Keto-Friendly Foods

Weight loss is one of the most coveted goals for many people these days. Trendy diets have come and gone and there’s hardly any shortage of new diets to try out there. The internet has become a great source of information as well as misinformation which makes getting into a weight loss program on your own a bit tricky. Keto and Paleo diet are all the rage these days with their followers raving about their results. Knowing the differences between Keto vs Paleo diet can help you figure out which way to go. Choosing the diet that fits your lifestyle is essential to be able to stick to the right way of eating and produce your desired results. 

The Ketogenic Diet

The main goal of the keto diet is for the body to produce ketones. For one to completely understand the role of ketones in weight loss, it is necessary to get to know the physiological nature of the human body and how it uses food for its energy source. 

Glucose and fat are what the body uses as fuel to perform its functions. However, glucose is the body’s first preference for burning fuel. Eating high carb foods produces glucose through the process of digestion that converts carbohydrates into sugar. Cutting down on the consumption of carbohydrates in your daily diet will cause your metabolism to shift away from using glucose as a source of energy As soon as you eliminate carbs in your diet, your body starts to tap into stored body fat as a source of fuel. Increasing healthy-fat intake allows the body to adapt a flexible metabolism by burning fat for energy in place of sugar from carbohydrates. 

The State of Ketosis

The state of ketosis will vary with time in individuals, Rest assured, everyone will go through this metabolic shift if they so choose to achieve this by restricting carb intake so the body can produce ketones. Consuming carbohydrates triggers the release of insulin which in turn prevents the body from releasing fat and producing ketones. To keep insulin from being released, carbohydrate intake must be reduced or at the most eliminated so the body gets deprived of glucose. When the body is starved of carbohydrates, the liver starts to go through a process of converting fats into ketones.

The Keto Diet Basics

Having a balanced calorie intake while on keto is important to ensure that your body meets its dietary nutritional needs and achieve weight loss at the same time. Each calorie you consume is made up of three macronutrients namely carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The keto diet requires a high-fat diet with moderate consumption of proteins and low carbohydrate consumption according to the following ratios :

  • 60 – 80 % FAT CALORIES
  • 15 – 35 % PROTEIN CALORIES

It is quite easy to calculate your macronutrients with numerous online sources available for the best macro calculator to suit your needs. To give you a better look into this process, a male individual that weighs 200 pounds with 17% body fat typically has a basal metabolic rate of 2000 calories. To be able to maintain that current weight and maintain lean body mass – the appropriate ratio of macronutrients for this person to consume daily would be 28 grams of carbs, 144grams of proteins, and 180 grams of fat.  

The Benefits of Keto

The coveted results of keto go beyond the weighing scale and the tape measure. Research and studies have evidence to show that a keto diet can effectively regulate blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetics. It is also proven to lower health markers in cardiovascular-related diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol. It also reduces inflammation in the body that causes other health issues. The keto diet has long been used as an alternative treatment therapy for children with epilepsy. Studies on the keto diet have also noted improved focus and mental clarity with the potential to enhance memory, and promote longevity.

The Paleo Diet

The Paleo way of eating is based on food that early man ate during the Paleolithic era. The Paleo diet typically will include lean meats and fish, veggies, nuts, and fruits. These were basically what hunter-gatherers sources from their surroundings for daily sustenance. The diet does not have any type of food that has more or less undergone modern methods of agriculture farming and processing such as grains, dairy, and legumes. There are no processed foods in the diet just whole, real healthy foods. 

Why Go Paleo?

The goal of the Paleo diet is to revert to a caveman’s way of eating. It is believed that the human body is not capable of processing modern foods. This can be evidenced by the increasing number of health issues man has acquired over the years such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Allowing our bodies to go back to the Paleolithic diet of early man may see us through a healthier future generation. Technological advancements in farming and agriculture have seen the rise of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) with genetic engineering at the helm, providing mass production of grains, veggies, and fruits. The use of pesticides has been a cause of concern for many health organizations. 

The Keto diet and Paleo diet have still not been extensively studied to this day, However, there research studies that do suggest the potential benefits of these diets. Studies done on the Paleo diet have marked improved glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetics as well as regulated blood pressure due to the diet’s restriction of refined carbohydrates and sugar. 

Keto vs. Paleo Diet: What Can you Eat?

Some may frown on the fact that keto requires a significant amount of fat consumption daily. But this high-fat diet should mostly come from healthy sources of fat and protein and restricted intake of carbohydrates. The Paleo diet is quite similar to the keto diet. There is a huge overlap to the type of foods you can eat for both diets. 

  • Meats ( grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, and other poultry )
  • Fatty fish and other seafood
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Non – starchy veggies

The Common Ground

1. No to Processed Food

The Keto and Paleo diets both encourage and promote the consumption of high-quality whole food sources. Whole food means this has not undergone any form of processing and has no additives. Fresh food items are the best choices to include in your daily meals.

2. Grains and Legumes

In the Paleo way of eating, grains and legumes were not ready for use or consumption in Paleolithic times. Although these are plant-based foods, they are found to contain anti-nutrients produced by the plants as to its defense mechanism. Phytic acid is one of these harmful anti-nutrients as it can render fat, protein, and starch harder to digest in the gut. The keto diet, on the other hand, restricts the consumption of grains and legumes because of its high carbohydrate content that prevents the liver from producing ketones and hinders the body from burning stored fat.

3. Skipping Sugar

Sugar is highly discouraged in both diets — but yet again for different reasons. The keto diet eliminates the consumption of sugar mainly because it triggers the spike of insulin that affects the body’s fuel-burning process of stored fat. The Paleo diet does allow some sugar but only if it comes from natural sources such as maple syrup, stevia, and honey. 

4. Good Fats

Healthy fats are the key nutrients of both Paleo and keto way of eating. These will include whole food sources of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil nuts, and fatty fish that are filled with healthy omega -3 fatty acids. Both diets promote the inclusion of healthy high-fat foods to supplement the body’s dependence on fuel with the deprivation of carbs. 

5. Weight Loss

Losing weight is a desired and evident consequence of going on the Keto and Paleo diet. Although not much has been studied on their long term effect of keeping the scales down, it surely has evident short term results and benefits.

What’s the Difference? 

Philosophies and Principles

The keto diet mainly depends on a science-based approach to a metabolic shift in the body. Its aim is for the body to consume high amounts of fat for fuel with very little to no carbohydrates. The Paleo diet, on the other hand, applies a more holistic principle and lifestyle change to one’s way of eating. Although both diets have an overlap of similarities, they are applied with a difference in belief. 

Carb Consumption

The Paleo diet still allows carbohydrates, but only if they come from whole foods and not from processed carbs sources. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. The keto diet restricts itself to a very low percentage of daily carb intake and restricts carbs entirely, even if they come from natural food sources. 


Keto dieters are not allowed to eat any type of sugar, whether they come from natural food sources. Unlike Keto, Paleo allows natural sugary foods like honey and stevia. 


Paleo diet strictly does not allow for dairy consumption as this was not part of their diet in the Paleolithic period. The Keto diet encourages some dairy such as heavy cream, greek yogurt, and cheese as long as they are high in fat and low in carb content. 

Keto vs Paleo: Which Diet Is Right For You?

Different people have different health goals and hence why it is best to choose the diet that suits your specific goals. Both diets do overlap on many types of food, but they both have limited choices for carbs, and you end up with a low carb diet with either which one of them you choose to follow.

Diabetics and endurance athletes have a preference for the Keto diet because of carb restriction and insulin resistance, as well as the benefits of fat adaptation for unlimited fat stores as a source of energy. Cross fit trainers find Paleo more adaptable in high-intensity training due to its allowable carbs that can be used for that extra energy boost. Those with blood pressure issues find the Paleo diet more beneficial as a diet high in fat may not sit well with cholesterol levels. 

The only winning choice will be the one that suits your needs and the one that you can easily stick with. Your desired results should be something you can benefit from in your life rather than just a quick fix

Keto vs Paleo Differences

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