Paleo vs Keto: What’s the Difference?

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There is a vast number of weight loss and health methods circulating the internet continually. It can be very difficult to keep track of these various trendy new diets. The biggest issue faced today is the differences between each diet plan and what makes one better or less than the other.

Right out the gate, the Paleo Diet and the Keto Diet are among the top most popular diets in circulation. Both have been blowing up through various online communities, health advocates and documentaries among many other things. Neither is about to go away anytime soon.

On the surface, both diets appear to be synonymous as they both promote low-carbohydrate consumption. However, they are different diet plans that don’t just stop at cutting you off from the desired bread, pizza and pasta.

Paleo vs Keto: Top Diets Compared

What is the Keto Diet?

Avocado keto approved fat

The ketogenic diet is low in carbs, but the primary goals are to achieve a state of ketosis. What that means is that your body uses fat for its primary source of energy rather than carbohydrates. As your body achieves the desired state of ketosis, fat will travel to your liver and produce an acid that is called ketones. These ketones will enter your bloodstream and energize you.

However, to achieve ketosis, you need to consume a large quantity of your daily allotted calories from fats. That is 60-70% of your daily calories need to come from fat sources. The idea behind the higher fat consumption is that as your body works to burn that fat, you will lose weight faster.

You can read more about the Keto Diet and foods that are allowed here.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Salmon Paleo approved food

Similar to the Keto diet, the Paleolithic diet centers on foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. However, it also focuses on foods that are high in fiber. The foods consumed are those you would have noticed our ancestors eating over 10, 000 year ago during the Paleolithic era.

Things like frozen foods such as perogies, pizza and burritos were not things that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have consumed. Therefore, they are not allowed in the Paleo diet. Additionally, whole food groups such as dairy products you can remove from this way of life.

However, on top of the restriction, other foods are great for consumption, and you can find them here.

Side Effects for Paleo and Keto Diets:

Like any new way of eating, your body is going to rebel in certain ways. It isn’t always easy to become accustomed to a new way of eating. Both the Keto and Paleo diets have various side effects that you can expect when you are attempting to focus on a new way of eating.


Accompanying a restrictive low carbohydrate and high-fat way of eating comes a various number of side effects that can be referred to as the “keto flu.” What these amount to is similar flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle cramping and less likely, but possible, nausea.

The most common reason you experience these side effects is that as you limit carbs and increase fats, your body will eliminate water more quickly. As this water gets eliminated, along with it goes much-needed electrolytes and sodium.

Generally, all these nasty side effects will subside after a couple of weeks. However, there are tips to help you get through them as your body enters a state of ketosis.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Increase your sodium intake.
  • Take Keto Supplements such as those found here.
  • Get plenty of rest.


Though this is a low carb, high fiber diet, you don’t experience the same side effects as you would with the Keto diet. The main side effect that is similar is fatigue. Within a few weeks, you can expect that you will experience a renewed feeling of energy.

However, due to the elimination of dairy products, it is common to experience deficiencies in both calcium and vitamin D. The long-term side effects of this can result in weakened bones and a poorly functioning immune system.

As you adjust to this way of eating, there are steps you can take to help eliminate the side effects that are common with the Paleo diet.

  • Eat calcium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables.
  • Increase your water intake.
  • Sleep a good 8 (recommended) hours a night.
  • Take multi-vitamins.


Both diets come with some nasty side effects that can make adjusting to a new way of eating unpleasant. However, the Paleo diet has fewer side effects than the Keto diet. Ultimately, all the adverse effects you experience with both diet plans are short term and will resolve themselves as you focus on eating properly and within the recommendations of both plans.

Benefits of both diets

There is a lot to be said about both diet plans. Each promotes that you will obtain a plethora of benefits.

Keto Diet:

Some of the benefits that have the keto diet are noted to have are as follows.

  1. Sustained Energy: Once you get past the “keto flu” many people have noted an increase in energy that continues long-term.
  2. Cancer Prevention: Since cancer cells cannot survive on ketones, maintaining ketosis helps eliminate them.
  3. Cardiovascular Health: Through this diet plan you can achieve a balance of blood lipids that boosts healthy cholesterol.
  4. Brain: Once the initial “fog” clears, many who maintain the Keto diet have reported that they can think more clearly as well as focus and remember things better.


Along with the Keto Diet, the Paleo diet has many notable benefits that accompany it.

  1. Less Inflammation: The Paleo diet has been reported to help reduce overall inflammation in the body as well as the inflammation that accompanies irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: Due to the natural way of eating on Paleo, it is known to reduce heart afflicting issues and help to keep your heart healthy.
  3. Celiac Disease: Since grains are not a part of the Paleo diet, those with celiac disease find that this way of eating is perfect for them.
  4. Muscle Gain: Since you consume a large number of proteins on a daily basis, you can easily gain muscle through this way of life.


Both diets come with many benefits that are desirable for anyone looking to improve their overall health. When it comes to health benefits, you need to determine which is better for you and your desired goals.

Diet Restrictions

Generally, most dieters know that there will be some restrictions that come with any diet plan you choose to follow. The same goes for both the Keto and Paleo diets.

Keto Diet:

Keto is a diet plan that is not very flexible when it comes to food consumption. Going keto means consuming only 10% of your daily calories can be carbohydrates. What these amount to is approximately 20-30g of carbohydrates daily.

You can eat a very limited number of healthy foods that also contain natural sugars, including fruits and vegetables. Since you are focusing on limiting your carbohydrates to a very low number of grams, you might wonder what that limited number looks like in real life.

Some prospection:

  • One banana = 27 grams of carbs.
  • One cup of chocolate milk = 26 grams of carbs.
  • A half cup of corn = 21 grams of carbs.

You can very quickly go over your carbohydrate allotment for one day if you aren’t very careful about what you consume.

Have a glance into what a Keto meal plan looks like day to day.

Paleo Diet:

Less restrictive than the Keto diet, there are still some serious limitations with the Paleo Diet. Essentially, you are eating very naturally with foods such as grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, oils, salt and all processed foods and starchy foods being off limits.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have anything at all. What you can have are grass-fed meats, fruits that are fresh, vegetables, nuts, seeds and eggs. Additionally, consume oils that are natural such as olive oil and are allowed within the realms of the Paleo diet.

Have a look at what you can expect in a Paleo meal plan.


Both the Keto and Paleo diets have some serious restrictions that can make them difficult to become accustomed to regularly. Ultimately, it is a learning curve when you decide to go with one or another diet plan. Though the Paleo diet is less restrictive than the Keto diet, both have great benefits.

Weight Loss Benefits:

Both the Paleo and the Keto diet are increasing in popularity amongst those who are aiming to lose weight. How do they both stack up in the race to lose excess pounds?

Keto Diet:

Many people around the globe have been able to lose weight following a keto diet plan successfully. Through the limitations of what you can eat during the keto diet, most people tend to eat less than the calories needed to maintain weight which results in weight loss.

Additionally, the higher protein and fat intake you get with the Keto diet allows you to feel fuller for longer periods. You can expect reduced cravings and an increased satiated feeling.

Paleo Diet:

Since the whole focus of the Paleo diet is eating like our ancestors, there is no guarantee of weight loss that comes with this diet plan. However, the diet does focus on eating foods that are essentially good for weight loss. Though, you still need to eat fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight to achieve that result.

Eating foods like nuts and fruits in excess can lead to weight gain rather than a loss. Therefore, you still need to be mindful of what you are eating and how much to achieve a drop in pounds.


The keto diet is one that is better when it comes to achieving weight loss results. However, it is important to note that when you come off ketosis, you can easily re-gain weight. Therefore, it isn’t a magic weight loss recipe.

Long-term compliance

The difference between a “fad” diet and a healthy one is whether or not you can stick with it long-term to help maintain your weight loss and overall health. How do Keto and Paleo stack up when it comes to long-term compliance? Let’s find out.

Keto Diet:

Since it is so easy to be knocked out of ketosis if you aren’t carefully measuring, monitoring and calculating what you eat, there is a lot of work that goes into Keto. It is essential that you constantly track what you eat and how much of it.

Due to the constant need to be hyper-aware of your eating, Keto can be difficult and time-consuming to adhere to on a regular, long-term basis. As a result, most people who try out the keto diet find it difficult to maintain ketosis.

Ultimately, the Keto diet is only for those who are diligent. Most people who attempt Keto end up going in and out of ketosis due to miscalculations of their carbohydrate intake.

Paleo Diet:

Not having a state that you need to maintain, the Paleo diet makes it more flexible than Keto. There is no need to weigh your food or closely monitor how many carbohydrates you are eating. As a result, many find that the Paleo way of life is easier to maintain long-term than Keto.

In short; going Paleo is more of a lifestyle change that brings your way of eating away from common-weight gaining foods into a more “natural” way of eating. Most people who choose to go Paleo are looking for an overall healthy lifestyle rather than a means to lose weight.


Since the Paleo diet is less restrictive and requires no measuring or counting, most people find it easier to stick with long term. As a less labour-intensive way of eating, Paleo is the most likely diet plan that you can stick with throughout your lifetime.


There is a lot to be said about each diet plan that sets them apart. However, there are a lot of similarities as well. Both diets direct a focus on nutrient-rich foods that are high in quality and reduce the consumption of carbohydrates.

Furthermore, both diets promote the ability to eat in a way that will help your body achieve an optimal state of health and achieve weight loss results.

What’s the Difference?

There are many similarities and differences among both the Paleo and Keto diets. Ultimately what it comes down to is that on the Keto diet most of your daily calories come from the consumption of fats and then proteins. Whereas, on the Paleo diet the vast majority of your daily calories come from proteins.

Does this mean you need to eat bland foods that have no color or flavor? Absolutely not. There are a large number of Paleo and Keto recipes that you can find on the internet that cover many favorite foods that are altered to fit both of these diet plans.

If you are aiming to get into Ketosis and want to maintain that way of life, there are ways you can achieve ketosis quickly when you get started.

Alternatively, if you want to eat like our ancestors did thousands of years ago that maintained that way of life, then you can easily achieve the Paleo way through the consumption of natural ingredients that are free from grains, dairy and legumes.

If you are still trying to decide and find that there is a lot of information that you need to weave through, have a look at the Paleo/Keto Comparison guide below that goes through both diet plans simplistically.

Paleo/Keto Comparison Guide

Carbohydrate AmountNo set standard20-30g/daily
Protein ConsumptionVast Majority of Daily CaloriesApproximately 70g
Fat ConsumptionRelatively lowThe vast majority of daily calories
LegumesNoYes (As long as low in carbs)
VegetablesYesYes (As long as low in Carbs)
Processed FoodsNoNo
AlcoholLimitedLimited (low carb)
SustainabilityLong-term YesShort-Term Yes
RestrictiveFairly with FlexibilityVery

Final Thoughts

Diet trends are constantly on the rise. Everyone is looking for the magic diet that can help them achieve a healthy weight, good health and still have all their favorite foods. Unfortunately, that isn’t how the diet world works.

Among the many different diet plans that are popping up every time you do an internet search for ways of eating, the Paleo and Keto diets are among them. As both ways of eating increase in popularity and many people share their results of both diet plans, it is easy to become consumed with wanting to adopt either one of them.

However, you want to focus on your overall health and life plan. No one diet is going to be better or worse for all individuals. That is why it is essential that you take a clear look into your way of life and determine which, either the Paleo or Keto diet plan works best for you.

Overall, not one diet is better than the other. The bottom line comes down to what you believe you can achieve and sustain for yourself.



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