Paleo vs Keto Diet

Paleo vs Keto Diet: How to Choose Which Is Best for You

8 min read


31 Jul 2020

Quite a number of people vow and commit themselves to stick to an eating plan in an attempt to lose weight without much physical strain. Although there are several diets out there that are difficult to keep track of, two trendy ones are keto and paleo diet.

Paleo and keto diets are two of the most popular diets for weight loss. On the surface, both diets look pretty similar. However, there are significant differences between the two diets.

A clear understanding of the similarities and differences between both diets will help you make an informed decision about which of the two is best for your weight loss goal.

What is the Paleo diet?

Paleo or ancestral diet refers to foods eaten during the early cavemen years. The dietary plan focuses on the meal the early men ate during the Palaeolithic era. Hence, the name paleo diet.

As should be expected, since there were no pizza or burgers during those times, it was mainly vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, and fish.

One of the primary theories and ideas behind the paleo diet is an attempt to eliminate modern food processing and production techniques that are often damaging to human health.

As a result, it usually means avoiding processed foods, high-fat foods, foods high in sugar, dairy products, legumes, and grain.

To better understand what a paleo diet looks like, try to imagine what your stone-age ancestor would be served in their version of a restaurant. Little wonder why scientists have discovered that the last meal of the 5,300-year-old mummy Otzi was paleo-friendly.

For all good reasons, many people, especially paleo diet lovers, believe that modern-day food, particularly highly processed foods, is not the best for the human body.

Hence, by consuming these targeted foods, you can improve your immune system, balance your blood sugar, improve digestive health, and, ultimately, lose weight.

What is the Paleo diet?

What is the Ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet, unlike the paleo diet, eliminates carbohydrates from meals to achieve weight loss.

Although this low carb diet was initially developed to ease seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes, it has gained popularity as a weight-loss diet. The eating plan reduces carbohydrate intake but increases protein and healthful fat.

Let’s do a bit of biology, shall we? The human body converts carbohydrates to energy. It is then safe to say that carbohydrates are fuel for energy.

However, when you do not take enough carbohydrates, a.k.a. a low carb diet like keto, your body has to rely on an alternative source of energy. What better source than fat lying around?

Keto diet forces your body to rely on fat as its primary source of energy in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates. A state called ketosis.

When ketosis is achieved, your system breaks down stored and dietary fat to create ketones. The ketones are then transformed into energy for fuelling the body.

So the diet does not only help with weight loss, but it also improves the blood sugar condition and controls macronutrient distribution.

Paleo vs Keto – Similarities

Keto vs paleo; although distinct, both diets have a lot in common, so much so that people often confuse one for the other. One such similarity is that both diets rely on minimally processed foods.

The exclusion of sweeteners, processed fat, and oils are common to both paleo and keto diet. You will also, in most cases, find whole and natural foods like nuts, meat, fish, and vegetables on the plate and no ultra-processed foods.

No legumes and grain

Both diets discourage eating legumes and grains. Although either side has different reasons for curbing the intake of both, they hold a common ground on the idea.

For the paleo diet, legumes and grain contain antinutrients like lectins and are not one of the foods of the early men. In contrast, a keto diet excludes both foods because they have high carbohydrate content.

No sugar

    For both dietary plans, consuming food high in sugar is a no. Keto diet does not accept sugar in any form, whether it is refined or not. Why?

    You guessed it. Foods high in sugar are excellent sources of carbohydrates. The same cannot be said for paleo, however.

    Although the paleo diet does not support processed sugar, it is a little flexible and accepts maple syrup, honey, and other unrefined sugar sources.

    Keto vs Paleo – Differences

    The significant difference between the two diets is that keto focuses on macronutrients, while paleo focuses on an ideology. The message of a Paleo diet is simple: don’t eat what your Palaeolithic ancestors did not eat.

    However, it does not stop there. You back the idea with mindful daily activities and a unique style of exercise like yoga or meditation.

    Keto, however, is not associated with any ideology. Although it also prioritizes sourcing for healthy food, the focus is on how the nutrients in the diet are distributed for general body wellness.

    Since paleo does not emphasize reducing carbohydrates the way keto does, you could still eat foods that are high in carbs if it falls in the specified parameters.


    Diet that is more restrictive

    To answer this question, let’s compare the two in terms of what foods you’re allowed to have.

    Paleo diet

      Processed foods, legumes, grains, refined sugar, and dairy are off the table. However, fresh fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, seafood, and vegetables are accepted.

      Hence, for a paleo dinner, you can steam your vegetables and combine them with fruits and grilled chicken. Plus, since there is no rule against carbohydrates, it is not the most restrictive diet of the two.


        Although you don’t have to eat what men ate many thousands of years ago, you won’t be better off feeding on less than 10% carbohydrate the entire day.

        Yes, that’s right. You can only eat limited foods like fruits and vegetables that contain natural sugar.

        It is then safe to say that keto diet is more restrictive.

        Diet that is easier to stick long term

        Whole foods that characterize paleo diets are easier to stick to, especially for a longer period. Since the diet excludes dairy and gluten, people with an allergy find it less difficult to survive without these elements in their food.

        Also, you won’t have to maintain ketosis as it is with a keto diet. Hence, there is no need to monitor how many carbohydrates you take or weigh how much food you eat.

        Keto diet, on the other hand, is not as simple. This is because, more often than not, you need to track what you eat to meet your weight loss goal. A simple way to put it is that keto diet is for people that are diligent with their food. People who find it hard to stay with the diet often slip in and out of ketosis.

        Diet that has more side effects

        For keto diet vs paleo dieters alike, the common side effect is lethargy, which only lasts for a few weeks into the diet.

        Since it is just the body trying to adapt to a new regimen and low-carb diet, it is nothing to be concerned about. However, there are other effects that you should pay attention to.

        Although paleo offers enough fiber and protein, the absence of diary elements could cause vitamin D and calcium deficiency. As a result, it could weaken the immune system and bones in the long run.

        Since keto is lower in carbs, unlike paleo, the side effect is worse. The most common one is called the keto flu. Keto flu is characterized by muscle cramps, nausea, headaches, and fatigue. The lack of fiber may also cause constipation.

        Good news, though, the less serious side effects will go away in a few weeks.

        Paleo Diet vs Keto Diet – Verdict

        Paleo and keto diets are two healthy options for losing weight.

        Although both diets are two of the best dietary ways to lose weight, they do not have the same result time frame.

        The paleo diet is a healthier diet as it offers more flexible food choices and lets you get enough nutrients from different sources. Hence, it is easier to maintain the diet in the long-term. However, it also takes a while before the result is evident.

        The keto diet is more restrictive; hence, the results of keto are faster than paleo. However, it is hard to maintain the result as the diet is hard to stick to.

        Keto diet vs paleo diet verdict: Paleo diet is more sustainable with longer result time while keto diet ensures rapid weight loss but is less sustainable. We hope this answers the question of paleo vs keto, which is better?


        The paleo and keto diets are two promising diets with the potential to improve your health and help you on your weight loss journey.

        The keto diet ties in 3rd place in the best fast weight-loss diet according to the 2020 US news ranking. Paleo, on the other hand, ranked only 23rd in the same category.

        Although the argument of paleo vs keto is a lengthy one, an excellent alternative is to try both diets at the same time balancing between the two.

        You can start with the keto diet and eliminate carbs for the right nutrient balance needed for ketosis. Since the result is faster, you can then switch to the paleo diet and maintain the achieved weight loss.

        A dietary supplement like PhenQ can further assist you during this journey to maximize your weight loss. This supplement reduces body fat and weight but increases muscle mass. The blend of active ingredients reduces your sugar cravings and lets you burn more fat for faster weight loss.

        Visit the PhenQ homepage for more information and start your weight loss journey!