What's a Paleo Diet?
A way of eating that truly goes back to basics, Paleolithic (Paleo) diets are all about eating like our ancestors did. While you may not be inclined to chase down a wild beast in a forest, Paleo fans aim to eat as naturally as possible, opting for grass-fed meats, an abundance of fruit and veg and other wholesome foods like nuts and seeds.
The basic concept with the Paleo diet is, if it's naturally produced on land, air or sea without any other interfering factor then its good to go!
What's a Keto Diet?
The Ketogenic (Keto) diet is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat diet which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which, in place of sugar and carbohydrates, becomes the main energy source for the body.
The Keto diet was originally designed as a medical solution for epilepsy treatment, however it has recently become popular around the world as a weight loss diet due to incredibly successful results for many.
Both diets emphasise natural, whole foods.
Neither Paleo nor Keto diets restrict dietary fat.
Paleo and Ketogenic diets both feature lots of protein from animal foods.
Followers of both diets restrict foods such as processed vegetable oils, grains, legumes and other refined carbs/sugars.
Paleo diets are not always low in carbohydrate, they often feature high-sugar fruits and starchy carbs. In contrast, sufficient carb restriction to enter nutritional ketosis is the main focus of Ketogenic diets and is key to allow the body to obtain a true state of ketosis
To expand on the previous point, the overall macronutrient profile is very important for Ketogenic diets. For instance, carbohydrate should be no greater than 5-10% (maximum) of total energy intake. Paleo is more concerned about whether food could be naturally eaten in the Paleolithic era.
Dairy products such as cheese, cream and yogurt are perfectly fine for Ketogenic diets and positively encouraged. However, traditional Paleo shuns dairy foods.
“Ketogenic diets are clinically proven for weight loss when participants stick with the diet.
Additionally, Ketogenic weight loss interventions consistently find that participants experience better appetite regulation and improved satiety levels" (1).
This is one of the most significant advantages of a Keto diets. Struggling to lose weight while simultaneously fighting hunger is one of the hardest things about weight loss.
On the negative side, the Ketogenic diet is notoriously difficult to start and obtaining true Ketois often means a week or two of struggling to adjust to the changes required. For many people, entirely giving up on all sources of starchy carbohydrates is unimaginable, and some find it difficult to restrict carbohydrate to such low levels. The key here is patience!
Similar to any diet, a well-implemented paleo diet can lead to weight loss when followed correctly.
“Probably the best study is a systematic review from 2015 that analyzed four randomized, controlled trials with a total of 159 participants. The results of this study demonstrated that participants following a paleolithic diet reduced their weight circumference. Additionally, over a short-term duration of 2 - 28 weeks, participants experienced statistically significant weight loss” (2).
Paleo vs Keto - Which is better for weight loss?
This, I’m afraid, is one of those burning questions that has no simple answer! Ketogenic diets are incredibly popular and research shows them to be incredibly effective for weight loss. However, for some, the struggle of reaching a pure and true state of Ketosis can be difficult, very taxing and, dependent on your reliability of carbohydrates as a main energy source over a long period of time, you may find it tough to adjust.
The Paleo diet has been a popular choice for many and really defines the concept of ‘clean eating’ (as much as I disagree with that term) and really takes your nutrition to a very raw and simplified place. Small tweaks are therefore easier to track allowing for better results and management over time.
My opinion is, regardless of whether you follow a Keto, Paleo or any other diet, if it isn’t manageable and you aren’t enjoying your diet or getting what you need from it, it wont ever work well for you. Losing weight and eating well should be an enjoyable, manageable and stress free process. Remembering this is vital to ensure your success. Experiment and see what gives you and your body the best feedback.
Written by Oliver Clarke
Ollie is a an Ex-Head Chef, Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and owner of Type One Fitness. He is a huge foodie and brings some exciting ideas, healthy recipes and the latest research on health and wellness. www.typeonefitness.co.uk