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Paleo vs. Whole30 vs. Keto: What’s the Difference?

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Confused about the difference between paleo, Whole30, and keto? Since these low-carb, gluten-free diets share many fundamental principles, it is not surprising that there is a lot of confusion surrounding them. This quick breakdown of the challenges and benefits of each diet will help you understand more about them.

Basics of the Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is about avoiding processed and inflammatory foods that may cause people to feel tired, sluggish, and rundown. It focuses on eating food that is more nutritionally dense. This means eating whole, healthy food that nourishes the body.

What Paleo Keeps Out

Food such as bread, flour, corn, rice, and other grains are to be avoided. Legumes and beans, including peanuts and soy, are also off the list. The diet is ideal for people with Celiac Disease, gluten-sensitivity, and wheat, peanut, or soy allergies. Also, the diet excludes, or at least discourages dairy, making it a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy.

What Paleo Keeps In

Paleo does allow baked goods. As long as they use non-grain flour such as coconut flour and natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, and stevia. Foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era, such as wild meats, tart fruits, and nuts, are the base of this diet.

Basics of the Whole30 Diet

The theory behind the 30-day challenge is that it shows you how the food you eat affects your body composition and your health. People who want to figure out food reactions, intolerances, and allergies often use Whole30 as a jumping-off point.

What Whole30 Keeps Out

The Whole30 diet is an elimination-style diet that lasts 30 days. It is similar to the paleo diet in that it also excludes processed foods, grains, gluten, dairy, and legumes. But it takes it a step further by also eliminating mock junk food, baked goods, and other treats. This includes all added sugars, processed sugars, and natural and artificial sweeteners.

What Whole30 Keeps In

Once the 30 days are up, foods are reintroduced, starting with legumes, then gluten-free grains, dairy, and gluten-containing grains. Followers add a type of food separately and then go back on Whole30 for two days.

The diet is not recommended long-term, but as a way to determine which foods are right for you. And then to use that information to inform your food choices.

Basics of the Keto Diet

The keto diet a strict low-carb, high-fat diet. It is meant to get the body into a state of nutritional ketosis, hence the name ketosis or keto diet. Ketosis causes the body to shift from using carbs for energy to using fat reserves.

What Keto Keeps Out

The diet drastically restricts carbs and increases fat consumption so that your body gets used to using fat as fuel. Followers track their daily consumption of fat, carbs, and protein, or stick to a strict keto meal plan that keeps carbs in the 20-50 gram range each day.

The main challenge of the keto diet is its restrictiveness. Many people find giving up starchy vegetables and fruit a challenge. They also find it difficult to keep carbs within the required range.

What Keto Keeps In

Not everything is off the table for someone following the keto diet. Seafood is very keto-friendly foods, such as oysters and octopus. Cheese is another big food in the keto diet, with most meals, including one type of cheese or more. Protein comes from meats and a vast selection of nuts.

A Note from GR8NESS

These three diets have many similarities, but also some crucial differences. Paleo is the most restrictive, while keto allows the least amount of carbs. And while it shares many of the traits of paleo and keto, Whole30 is not meant to be a long-term diet.

Although GR8NESS doesn’t endorse any diet over another, opting for whole, natural, or minimally processed food and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is a trend that can benefit everyone.

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Stephany
GR8NESS Writer
Stephany is a GR8NESS Contributing Editor who writes about pet care, CBD, stress, self care, meditation, time management, brain training, and natural remedies with a focus on the science behind it all. She has three dogs, three cats, walks half marathons, and practices yoga and powerlifting. You can often find her training her dogs or experimenting with new flavors in the kitchen.
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