Which Is Better, Paleo or Keto
Paleo and keto are both popular diets with specific health benefits. Learn about the pros and cons of each and which one may be right for you

Paleo and keto are both popular diets that many people follow for weight loss and other health benefits. But which diet is better for you depends on your goals, overall health, eating patterns, and whether you have existing medical conditions.

When deciding on the best diet for your lifestyle, it’s important to choose one that is realistic and sustainable. Since both paleo and keto restrict certain foods and can be hard to maintain, make sure that the diet is one you can actually follow. You can also consult a certified nutritionist to help you decide which will work for you in the long run.

What is the difference between paleo and keto?

Paleo diet

The paleo diet is based on foods that humans used to eat in the Paleolithic era, about 10,000 to 2.5 million years ago.

Paleo diets emphasize eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, and fish.

Keto diet

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Although there are several variations, the typical keto diet is based on a 2,000-calorie per day plan that is made up of 60% fat, 30% protein and 10% carbs.

Keto diets emphasize eating eggs, dairy, meat, fish (particularly fatty fish), butter, oils, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables and fruits.

What are the pros and cons of the paleo diet?

Pros

  • Improves heart health: Since the paleo diet restricts processed foods, it may help lower your risk of lifestyle disorders, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Weight loss: Studies have shown that following the paleo diet, which typically includes a wide variety of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, can make you lose weight quickly and reduce your body mass index.
  • Controls blood sugar levels: Due to less emphasis on dairy products and processed foods, the paleo diet can help control blood sugar levels and lower your risk of diabetes.

Cons

  • Red meat: The paleo diet encourages you to eat meat. However, eating more red meat is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Cutting down on dairy products puts you at a risk of deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D. Paleo diets also put you at risk of vitamin deficiencies of thiamine, folate, niacin, and riboflavin—all of which are found abundantly in whole grains. 
  • Expensive: Cutting down on processed foods means cutting down on canned and frozen foods. Since fresh, whole foods tend to be more expensive than pre-packaged goods, the paleo diet may not be right for you if you are on a tight budget. 

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What are the pros and cons of the keto diet?

Pros

  • Weight loss: One of the goals of the keto diet is to achieve ketosis—a state in which your body uses fats instead of carbs for energy. This may help with weight loss.
  • Seizure reduction: The keto diet was initially used to treat epilepsy and seizures. With its potential role in treating neurological conditions, the keto diet is being tested in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Cons

  • Restriction of macronutrients: The keto diet requires you to consume a specific amount of fats, protein, and carbs. Severely restricting carbs, especially, can be difficult to sustain. 
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Decreased intake of fruits and grains can make you more likely to develop low levels of vitamins B and C, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Cognitive problems: Glucose from carbohydrates helps your brain function properly. Not getting enough carbohydrates can make you irritable or unable to think clearly.
  • Not suitable for certain conditions: The keto diet is unsuitable for you if you have following conditions:

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Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Trending Diets: What Works and What Doesn’t? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/trending-diets/

Should We Eat Like Our Caveman Ancestors? https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/fad-diets/should-we-eat-like-our-caveman-ancestors

What is the Ketogenic Diet? https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/fad-diets/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet