Paleo vs. Keto: Differences and What They Have in Common
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Paleo vs. Keto: Differences and What They Have in Common

Dr. Josh Axe — Food is Medicine
Jan 18, 2019

p>Both Paleo and keto are overall low-carb, low-sugar diets that tend to be nutrient-dense, but there are important differences.

Health magazine called 2018 the year of “high-fat fads, meat-only meals, and Bible-inspired eating.” What are two of the most popular diets that contributed to this reputation? The ketogenic diet and the “Carnivore diet” (aka the Paleo diet).

Given the fact that millions of people are now proponents for these two low-carb diets, let’s talk about Paleo vs keto: which of these massively popular eating plans is best, and is it possible to do both Paleo and keto at the same time?

What Is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is essentially a way of eating that seeks to ditch modern convenience/processed foods in favor of natural, nutrient-dense foods that were eaten by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. What we call the “Paleo diet” today first originated in 1975 when gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin wrote about the benefits of eating like our paleolithic ancestors in his book The Stone Age Diet. Dr. Loren Cordain, who is most often credited with founding the modern Paleo movement, went on to make the diet famous when he wrote The Paleo Diet in 2002.

The Paleo diet continues to be one of the most popular eating plans year and year, with a huge community of people standing behind the Paleo lifestyle.

What foods are included in the Paleo diet?

  • Grass-fed beef and other meats, like lamb, venison, etc.
  • Seafood
  • Poultry (ideally pastured-raised)
  • Fresh fruits
  • All types of fresh, non-starchy vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, butternut squash, beets, etc.
  • Eggs (ideally organic and cage-free)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unrefined oils, such as olive, coconut, flaxseed, walnut and avocado oil
  • Natural sweeteners, including raw honey, maple syrup, in some cases coconut sugar, molasses and raw stevia

And here are the foods/food groups that are avoided while following a Paleo diet:

  • All cereal grains (even whole grains) and products made with grain flours
  • Legumes (including beans and peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Processed/junk food
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • In some cases, white potatoes (depending on the person)

Is Paleo low-carb? Generally, yes — especially compared to “typical Western diets.” Because the Paleo diet eliminates many processed foods made with added sugar, grains and dairy, this means that a lot of high-carb foods are off the table. However, the Paleo diet isn’t as low carb as the keto diet because it still includes fruit, starchy vegetables like potatoes and beets, and in moderation, natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

What types of benefits does the Paleo diet offer? The Paleo diet has been associated with a number of health perks, including:

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