Paleo vs Keto diet: which is better for longevity?

Healthy living calls for healthy habits, and following a nutritional diet is one essential element that you should consider. In Paleo vs Keto, which one is more suitable for longevity?

What is the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet consists of a low-carb and high-fat diet that drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat [1]. This decrease in carbs sets your body into a metabolic state called ketosis [2].

When this occurs, your body becomes highly efficient at burning fat and converting it into energy. Also, it transforms fat into ketones (in the liver) and supply power to the brain [3].

Ketogenic diets can provoke significant declines in blood sugar and insulin levels. This effect, along with the raised ketones, carries some health benefits.

The ketogenic diet consists of a low-carb and high-fat diet that drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat [1].

What is the paleo diet?

On the other hand, paleo is a diet based on foods presumed to have been consumed by early humans, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, but excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.

paleo is a diet based on foods presumed to have been consumed by early humans, consisting mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, but excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.

Pros and cons of Paleo and Keto diets

The keto diet has a scientific background, though not specifically for weight loss. Some evidence has found that a keto diet can be effective for patients with epilepsy [4]. The Epilepsy Foundation encourages the ketogenic diet to manage seizures and is usually recommended for children who fail to respond to prescription remedies [5].

Unlike keto, paleo has gained popularity because of its back-to-basics technique. It concentrates on raising the intake of whole foods, all fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats while reducing processed foods, sugar and salt.

Paleo proponents assert that it can:

  • Stabilise blood sugar
  • Help with weight loss
  • Increase energy
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases

Still, some in the scientific field do not agree with all of these assertions. It is still undecided if the paleo diet can have long-term benefits for people with type 2 diabetes [6] . According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this dietary plan overall “still lacks evidence.” [7]

As with keto, there are health advocates who do not favour removing grains, dairy and legumes from the diet. Legumes, for example, are indeed one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

Similarities and differences between Paleo and Keto diets

Although both distinct, paleo and keto share many characteristics:

  • Emphasis on whole foods: both diets intend to lean on whole-food sources of nutrients. Whole food is food that has experienced minimal processing by the time it gets to your plate. Both firmly promote eliminating all ultra-processed foods and substituting them with whole foods like nuts, fish, fresh vegetables, and meat.
  • Emphasis on healthy fats: paleo and keto diets prompt the intake of unrefined, healthy fats and suggest moderate-to-liberal amounts of selected refined oils (like avocado and olive) as well as nuts, seeds and fish. These foods aid heart health because of their poly and monounsaturated fat content.
  • Eliminating grains and legumes: paleo and keto firmly discourage consuming grains and legumes. According to the paleo diet, this elimination is basing on the fact that grains and legumes were presumably not part of early human diets and contain antinutrients. Antinutrients are compounds like lectins and phytates found in some plant-based foods. They interrupt your body’s ability to absorb minerals and nutrients, which may cause digestive distress when eaten in large quantities.
  • Eliminating added sugar: keto and paleo diets strongly discourage the intake of added sugars. However, paleo dieters are laxer with this rule, as unrefined sugar origins like honey and maple syrup are still allowed. Keto doesn’t allow any added sugar sources, refined or not, because of the high carb content of these foods.
  • May be practical for weight loss: one of the direct reasons for the popularity of keto and paleo diets is the concept that they facilitate weight loss. Unfortunately, limited research is available on how sufficient these diets are for maintained, long-term weight loss [8]. However, some short-term research is favourable, but ultimately, more studies are needed to specify a clear causal relationship.

For the differences between the two, here are several:

  • Paleo allows for whole-food carbs: although paleo restricts some carb sources, it isn’t necessarily a low-carb diet like keto. Paleo does not highlight macronutrients. Your diet could be very high in carbs, counting on which foods you choose to eat within the specified parameters. Contrarily, the keto diet prohibits all rich sources of carbohydrates (starchy vegetables, most fruits, grains, sweeteners and legumes).
  • Keto allows dairy and some soy foods: keto permits (even encourages) eating dairy foods like heavy cream, butter and unsweetened full-fat yogurt. Other dairy products, like milk or ice cream are not allowed on keto due to their low fat-to-carb ratio. Paleo does not allow any soy and almost all dairy.
  • Paleo focuses more on ideology, while keto concentrates on macronutrients: one of the critical distinctions between the paleo and keto diets is the ideological message or lack of it. Paleo emphasises lifestyle choices beyond just the diet, as it is particular. You’re allowed to eat as much protein, fat and carbohydrates as possible, provided you’ve chosen them from the list of ‘allowable’ foods.

Paleo and keto diet for longevity

Paleo accentuates consuming whole foods thought to be known to humans in the Paleolithic era. It also promotes exercise and other health practices. On the other hand, keto is a diet described as high in fat and very low carbohydrate content, and it may be effective for weight loss and blood sugar control.

Both diets have the prospect of impacting your health in a positive way when appropriately planned. Nevertheless, long-term research regarding the safety and effectiveness of these diet plans is lacking, and some of the limitations can be difficult to maintain. 

For most, the paleo diet is a better option because it has more flexibility with food choices than keto, making it easier to maintain long-term. The diet that works long-term for you is the most suitable choice.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#what-it-is
[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-ketosis
[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/facts-ketones
[4] https://bit.ly/3yTymwq
[5] https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet
[6] https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet
[7] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/3/844/4564746
[8] http://healthline.com/nutrition/paleo-diet-for-weight-loss

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