Paleo diet versus ketogenic diet

paleo diet vs ketogenic dietIn the world of diets it’s hard to pick the one best suited for you. This is why it’s important to understand each diet and how each one can help you achieve your goals. Both the Paleo diet and ketogenic diet have been increasing in popularity. Although you may have a broad understanding of them, before you start either one it’s good to understand them in-depth. Here we compare these two popular diets to reveal their similarities and differences so you can make an informed decision.

What is the ketogenic diet?

ketogenic dietTypically when a person starts a diet the reason is to lose weight. The ketogenic diet has been praised for its ability to promote quick and effective weight loss. But how you ask? Well…


The premise behind the ketogenic diet is that the body will use its own fat-burning abilities to lose weight within 10 days. Although this may be appealing it’s important to know that some consider this diet to be dangerous.

On the ketogenic diet you are restricted to a low or no-carbohydrate meal plan. By doing this the body goes into a state called “ketosis.” When we consume little to no carbohydrates molecules called ketones build up. The process of ketosis restricts conventional sources of energy – carbohydrates – so the body begins to use its own fat supply to produce energy.

The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet

  • 70-75% of calories from fat (calorie counting is optional)
  • 20-25% from protein
  • 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis

Difference between Paleo diet and ketogenic diet

The Paleo diet works on the premise of eating like our ancestors – or cavemen. The diet restricts artificial food and uses only organic, free-range, natural items. Food item wise, the Paleo diet is similar to the ketogenic diet as it limits the use of carbohydrates, but differs as you do not eliminate them completely. Below are some other notable differences between the Paleo diet and ketogenic diet.

 Ketogenic DietPaleo Diet
Level of carbohydratesLowLow to medium
GoalWeight lossBetter health (weight loss may still occur)
Is soy sauce with wheat allowed?YesNo, because it irritates the gut
Is canola oil allowed?YesNo, because it contains omega-6 which is considered unhealthy
Are sweet potatoes allowed?NoYes
Is tofu allowed?YesNo, soy leads to inflammation
Is dairy allowed?Only full-fat milkMaybe, only if tolerated by the individual

As you can see, there are some very clear differences and limitations to each diet. Yet, the Paleo diet presents itself as a life-long eating regimen, whereas the ketogenic can only be sustained for a short amount of time.

Certain risks regarding the ketogenic diet

The Paleo diet removes many foods that have been shown to cause irritation and inflammation in the gut. The ketogenic diet, though, eliminates many foods simply because they contain carbohydrates.

The debate on whether or not the ketogenic diet is healthy is ongoing. Some experts feel the ketogenic diet is helpful for those who are obese or significantly overweight. Other experts suggest the weight loss is unsustainable and will simply come back within a year.

Another side effect of the body entering ketosis is muscle loss. A build-up of ketones can increase the risk of illness or complications. One thing is for certain, the ketogenic is not meant for long-term use.

It’s important to note that the ketogenic diet should not be conducted without professional supervision. Without the guidance of a doctor or dietician there is room for error, which raises the risk of illness and complications. If you are interested in the ketogenic diet it’s best you speak with a medical professional.

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