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Paleo vs Keto – Is There Any Difference?

This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit and creator of the 3-2-1 Keto Meal Plans.


Having been Paleo for a long time, I received a lot of confused emails when I first started talking about the ketogenic diet.

What is Keto?  Did I switch?  Is Keto better than Paleo?

So, if you’re also confused about how the ketogenic diet fits in with Paleo and your journey to better health, then please keep reading…

What is Keto?

In general, the ketogenic diet is considered to be a low carb, high fat diet that can help your body go into a metabolic state called nutritional ketosis. 

In this metabolic state, your body tends to utilize ketones (made from the breakdown of fats) for energy rather than its typical glucose energy source.

There are many reasons why being in a state of nutritional ketosis might be advantageous.  These include making it easier for you to lose weight, having more mental clarity, better moods, more stable sugar levels, as well as potentially preventing or even healing chronic health problems.

Keto vs Paleo: 3 Differences

So how exactly is Keto different to Paleo?

In the end, the differences are pretty small if you’re doing a healthy Keto diet.  But, there are 3 differences that are useful to know about.

1. The purposes are different

The point of Paleo wasn’t to put people into nutritional ketosis.  Paleo was about eating like our ancestors, looking at human history to see what had been eaten safely by humans for hundreds of thousands of years, and then checking with modern science to determine what’s likely to be optimal for us to eat today. 

The Keto diet, on the other hand, is designed to put you into nutritional ketosis.  It originated as an effective method for helping kids with epileptic fits before evolving in more recent times into a diet that helps people lose weight and heal other health issues.

2. Paleo isn’t necessarily low carb or high fat

Paleo focuses on food quality rather than macros, so most people tend to eat more high carbohydrate foods (like sweet potatoes, raw honey, fruits) on Paleo than on Keto. 

Keto instead focuses on lowering carb intake and increasing fat intake because that’s what works to raise blood ketone levels to put you into nutritional ketosis.

3. The focus on food quality can also be different

Because the original purpose of Keto isn’t food quality, many folks on a ketogenic diet don’t focus on that.  So they’ll drink diet coke or eat processed seed oils because those foods fit into the broad macro guidelines, i.e., they’re low in carbs or high in fat.

Paleo, on the other hand, focuses on food quality, and many people on Paleo recognize that it’s not just macros that matter – micronutrients (those essential vitamins and minerals) are also critical to our short-term and long-term health. 

For a Keto food list that combines the best of Paleo and Keto, check out our list here.

Should you be Keto or Paleo?

A lot of people worry about whether they should be Keto or Paleo, but honestly you can be both and get the benefits of both worlds.

For those who have been Paleo for a long time, cutting out the desserts, raw honey, bananas, and daily sweet potatoes for a few months will likely help you lose more weight as well as clear your mental fog.

Keto Meal Plan Cover

And for those who love a Keto diet, adding in more green leafy vegetables and cutting out processed low carb junk like diet sodas, seed oils, and soy products will help to improve your long-term health.

If you’d like an easy way to eat Paleo and Keto at the same time, then please check out my 3-2-1 Keto Meal Plans

We’ll send you weekly meal plans designed to be 20 g or less net carbs per day.  The shopping list is short (just 30 nutritious, easy-to-find ingredients each week) and the recipes are delicious, simple, and combine the best of both the Paleo and Keto lifestyles. 


About Louise

louise hendon headshot - s-min

Louise Hendon is the creator of 3-2-1 Keto Meal Plans and author of the Essential Keto Cookbook.  She loves creating easy and delicious healthy meals for busy people.  And in her spare time, she loves traveling the world and reading mystery novels.

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