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Keto Diet vs. Paleo Diet: Which Diet is Healthiest for You- Thomas DeLauer… The idea behind the Paleolithic diet is to replicate the ways that our ancestors ate; ancestors could only hunt and gather – had little access to grains and no access to processed foods. The ketogenic diet is designed to completely alter your internal state, a state in which your body burns fat. The Keto diet was originally developed for disease management and to this day is being used for conditions such as epilepsy.
So, a paleo diet, just like a keto diet, focuses on getting fat and protein as a primary source of energy. However, the big difference is paleo doesn’t avoid carbs. While both diets came about for different reasons, they are both used (mainstream-ly) as effective tools for weight loss.
Similarities – Health Benefits
In addition to noticeable weight loss effects, collective studies from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Internal Medicine, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and the New England Journal of Medicine have found that both Paleo and Keto diets are effective at reducing triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels (1,2,3,4)
Despite providing similar health benefits, they do have some key differences.
Carbs, Fats and Glucose- The main difference is that a Keto diet is truly low carb, whereas a Paleo diet is not necessarily low carb – paleo relies on glucose and keto relies on ketones
A keto diet requires you to adhere to a strict macronutrient ratio (75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carb) The paleo diet still utilizes glucose for much of its energy so carbs are still a big part of the diet. In order to be in ketosis and utilize ketones, your body needs to be starved of glucose, which results in the body burning fatty acids that produce ketones; an alternative source of energy to glucose. Ketosis is a state that you have to achieve, paleo is about avoiding certain food groups. So a paleo diet is a little more forgiving as having too much of one macro or another won’t kick you out of a metabolic state, unlike keto.
The Paleo diet removes foods that are hard for the body to break down and can wreak havoc on gut health — dairy products are one of them. Keto dieters often eat dairy products because they’re high in fats while also being low in carbohydrates.
Artificial Sweeteners/Food Quality:
The Paleo diet cuts out most processed food, especially ones with artificial sweeteners and additives – focuses strongly on choosing whole foods that are nutrient-dense, high-quality, and free from toxins. However, on the Keto diet the only requirements are that your food is low-carb/high fat. This means diet soda is technically Keto approved and so are other artificially sweetened low-carb junk foods – Although a healthy Keto diet should also include high quality food, it isn’t the emphasis. Summed as short as possible – No processed foods vs no carbs (5)
Paleo and CrossFit:
Carbs are staples for CrossFit and athletes, but they are somewhat restricted in the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet also eliminates grains and legumes (both key carb sources for athletes), as well as dairy, salt, and vegetable oils. Carbs that are allowed on the paleo diet (no grains, for example) are too low on the glycemic index to replace glycogen mid- and post-run as quickly as endurance athletes typically need. You’re not low enough on carbs to be producing ketones so you’re not using fat as a main source of energy, and not high enough on carbs to be receiving enough energy from them (6)
1) Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2) A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women. – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from
3) A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in h… – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from
4) A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity — NEJM. (n.d.). Retrieved from
5) Paleo vs Keto Diet: What’s the difference? – Open Sky Fitness. (n.d.). Retrieved from
6) The Secret Truth About the Paleo Diet | ACTIVE. (n.d.). Retrieved from