Let’s face it, it’s way past your New Year’s resolution results-time and you’re still trying to stay healthy and hopefully lose weight- but it has not been an easy road…
Like most of us out there, you may have resorted to looking up on the internet to find some new-to-you diet options to check out. Most likely two major food diets popped up- Keto and Paleo, each with strong benefits but each very different.
These two diets have become so popular because they are both low carb diets which is a very hot trend in weight loss. Many foods we love, can be now substituted for low carb versions which for some, can make both diets good possibilities.
The question you may be trying to answer now is, “Which diet is better for me?”
Let’s discuss each one first and then you can decide.
The Keto Diet
Before we discuss the science behind the keto diet, if you want to see if this is a viable option for your lifestyle, you could check out some recipes in a ketogenic diet book to see if those foods that you’d be eating on this diet seem like foods that you would be OK eating. One of the most important pieces in this equation to keep in mind is the amount of fat that you would need to consume for this diet to work, so most of the recipes contain a lot of FULL FAT dairies like cheese, butter, and cream. Another very important thing to realize is that when on the keto diet, almost no carbohydrates are eaten as well as a moderate amount of protein
Why only a small percentage of carbohydrates? That’s where the science part comes in…
The keto diet forces our bodies to burn fats for energy instead of our bodies converting glucose from carbohydrates for energy. When glucose is not available (because remember, this diet is a low carb diet), the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. When the ketone bodies replace glucose as an energy source in the blood, the result is a state called ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that is produced in the body when the levels of ketones in the blood or urine are elevated due to the lack of carbohydrates in the diet. The Keto diet aims to achieve ketosis by monitoring the percentage of macronutrients taken in through diet. Examples of dietary macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. This diet aims to achieve high fat, adequate-protein, and low carbohydrate levels of food ingested daily and there are ways to test whether or not you are eating the right amount of macros for you to achieve ketosis. Once ketosis is achieved, fat begins to break down metabolically in the body which leads to weight loss. This is why it is so popular among people trying to lose weight.
Most of us have learned to diet differently where protein is eaten as the majority macronutrient, followed by carbs, and then fat. As you have read, the keto diet is a very different diet and should be approached carefully with a full understanding of the long term and short term benefits as well as possible injuries.
Foods allowed in this diet include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, berries, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, avocados, butter, cheese oil.
What then is the Paleo diet?
The Paleo Diet
If you have ever heard people talk about the “caveman diet”, they are referring to the Paleo diet or Paleolithic diet named for the era in which the caveman was roaming the Earth…
The principle behind the Paleo diet is that foods eaten by early humans were healthier which helped them to live optimally because they ate foods that were free from preservatives and trans fats. This diet focuses on consuming high quality, whole foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Those who are proponents of this diet believe that modern food processing, and food production technologies have damaged what food originally intended to be, thereby damaging our health as well. Under this premise, if you eat similar foods to those that the early Paleolithic food-hunters were known to eat such as fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, seeds, and nuts, your body’s natural biological functions will improve, and digestion will be easier. The strict Paleo diet does not allow the consumption of dairy, processed artificial sugars, grains, or legumes.
Similarities and Differences between Keto and Paleo Diets
Although they have their unique differences, these two diets share some similar characteristics:
a. Both diets are opponents of processed sugar and processed foods in general. However, the Paleo diet is less strict because it allows unrefined sugar like honey and maple syrup in low quantities whereas the keto diet does not allow any sugar from any sources whatsoever.
b. Both diets when adhered to in their strictest ways, do not allow legumes or grains.
c. Both have been successful for weight loss but the Paleo diet becomes less involved with the ratio of how much you’re eating and from what source as long as it’s real and whole.
d. Both diets allow fats for consumption.
e. The Paleo diet permits naturally occurring whole carb foods like fruits and vegetables and unrefined sweeteners in no specific quantities while the keto diet restricts all carbs.
f. Their principles:
-The Paleo diet focuses heavily on lifestyle choices, not just the food being eaten. It encourages participants to perform mindful activities to accompany their diet. For example, this diet emphasizes yoga and meditation as well as short intense workouts. It also focuses on the foods that are permissible more so than the quantity of foods eaten.
-The Keto diet in contrast, emphasizes the dietary aspects more so than the lifestyle component. There is no exercise encouragement involved with the keto diet although anyone may exercise to their strength or desire. The main key to the keto diet is the macronutrient distribution to push the body into ketosis.
g. Keto diet permits dairy and some soy foods as opposed to The paleo diet which doesn’t allow any soy foods and limits dairy consumption.
Which Should You Choose?
After reading this blog, your heart may begin to favor one diet over the other. The best thing to do is to try the one that seems like it would work for you. Both diets are viable choices for weight loss. Paleo becomes a low carb diet simply because grains are avoided which in turn may promote weight loss, and the keto diet uses fats to metabolize instead of carbs which can be liberating and very satisfying. Choosing one that works for you, that will make you feel good can only happen if you try it, so maybe today is the day you start something new. The ultimate goal is to feel good about yourself and your body and to be as healthy and happy as you can while doing just that.