The Paleo And Ketogenic Diets
Obesity is a progressive chronic disease, similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, which is characterized by abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. As of 2017, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 64% of Canadian adults over the age of 18 and 60% of children aged 5-17 were overweight or obese.[i] I know from a personal prospectus, I too would like to lose some weight. In the past many would look to Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or even Harvey Brooker Weight Loss for Men. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to read a health magazine or step into any gym without hearing something about Paleo and Ketogenic diets. Many people are following these diets as they wish to lose weight and improve overall health.
Welcome to “The Paleo and Ketogenic Diets.”
The Paleo Diet
A dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, which dates from approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. In summary, it is an eating plan that emphasizes whole foods and eliminates grains, legumes, and most processed foods.
The fundamental theory behind the diet is that modern food systems, production, and processing techniques are damaging to human health. The main foods permitted on the Paleo diet include meat and fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables except corn which is a grain, selected fats and oils and, minimally processed sweeteners.[ii]
The Keto Diet
“Also referred to as the low carb / high-fat diet consists of a large proportion of healthy fats, moderate protein and a small amount of healthy complex carbohydrates”. [iii] The Keto diet breakdown looks something like this:[iv]
- Both emphasize whole foods.
- Both eliminate grains and legumes.
- Both eliminate added sugar.
- Both emphasize healthy fats.
When it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping, here’s a quick glance at the similarities and differences in food groups on the Paleo vs. Keto diets:[vi]
Food Group Differences – Paleo Vs. Keto Diet
|Healthy Fats & Oils||Y||Y|
|Fruit||Y||Less than 5%|
|Starchy vegetables||Y||Less than 5%|
|Beans & Legumes||N||N|
A number of randomized clinical trials have compared the Paleo diet to other eating plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet or the Diabetes Diet. These trials suggest this diet may provide some benefits such as[vii]
- Weight loss.
- Better blood pressure control.
- Better appetite management.
The Keto Diet has many documented benefits. In fact, it was first developed to help children with uncontrolled seizures such as epilepsy. Documented benefits of this diet include
- Kill appetite.
- More weight loss.
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels, with a major improvement in Type 2 Diabetes.[viii]
Though both diets are restrictive in what consumers can eat, The Paleo Diet is considered lest restrictive as it provides consumers with more flexibility, as they are free to eat starchy vegetables and fruit, as well as foods rich in healthy fats like avocados. On the other side of the coin, this diet has the worse side effects as it is common to feel lethargic as your body adjusts to the low-carb restrictions. [ix]
As noted by this free-lance writer, “The problem with both of these approaches to weight loss is sustainability. They similarly promote an almost carbohydrate-free-diet. Both the Ketogenic and Paleo diets will promote weight loss, but keeping it off is a different story. Once you start eating carbs again, you run the risk of weight gain. The better dietary solution is a balanced meal plan that includes healthy foods and smaller portions.”[x]
[iii] Is the KetoGenic Diet Right For You? Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff, BSc, ND, 2019
[viii] Is the KetoGenic Diet Right For You? Dr. Lorne Swetlikoff, BSc, ND, 2019