If you do a quick Internet search for the word “diet,” in less than a second, you’re rewarded with more than 1.5 trillion results. And each of these diets claims to be THE best way to lose weight, making it hard to figure out which eating plans are effective and which ones are nothing more than a way to get you to buy certain products and services. The truth is, there’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss, but there are techniques that work with your body for more dramatic, and sustainable, results, including the paleo and keto diets.
At Genesis Regenerative Sports and Aesthetic Medicine, our team is uniquely qualified to help with healthy weight loss because we focus on both slimming down and maintaining the right level of energy to help you lead a healthy and active life. One of our favorite ways to accomplish this is through the keto (ketogenic) diet, which is often confused with the paleo diet.
Here’s a look at the two diets and what the key differences are between them.
The paleo approach
The paleo diet, which is also referred to as the caveman diet, is a movement that’s based on the belief that the human body isn’t designed to efficiently process many of the foods we eat, which are, well, processed. The paleo diet brings your eating back to the basics, and we mean way back about 10,000 to 2.5 million years ago when man was a hunter-gatherer.
Under the paleo diet, you pare back your intake of processed foods and eat only those foods that our ancestors would have had access to, such as lean meats and fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds and some other types of fats. In other words, nothing that you’d find inside of most food-processing plants.
One of the biggest exclusions in the paleo diet are foods that come from processed grains, which make up a large chunk of the American diet, as well as dairy products.
The theory behind the diet is that our bodies are designed for certain foods and anything that falls outside of what you can hunt or gather presents problems for us in terms of energy usage, storage, digestion, and overall health. In fact, proponents of the paleo diet feel that the way humans eat now is decidedly unhealthy and doesn’t support our function on a biological level.
So by going back in time, the paleo diet encourages us to eat simpler foods that our bodies can process far better. While the paleo diet is typically followed just for “good health” reasons, not as a weight-loss diet, you may lose weight if you undertake a paleo lifestyle.
The keto difference
The keto diet is strikingly similar to the paleo diet in that the foods you eat, and don’t eat, are very much the same, but the objective of the keto diet is quite different.
The keto diet is designed to place your body in a state of ketosis, which happens when you don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates. This metabolic approach takes away the immediate supply of energy from the carbs you eat, forcing your body to start breaking down your stored fat into molecules called ketones, which your cells and your brain can use for energy.
The keto diet is extremely efficient in helping our patients lose weight while keeping their energy levels up, because it causes the body to take its fuel from the excessive amount of fat we end up storing through our carb-heavy diets. So instead of starving your body, leaving you feeling zapped, our goal is to tap another energy source, which kills two birds with one stone — maintain energy and lose weight.
You should expect to cut carbs and sugars drastically, even more than the paleo diet does, which means everything from bread and pasta to ice cream and alcohol. Even honey and real maple syrup, which are allowed on the paleo diet, are nixed on the keto plan.
Instead, you should count on eating a diet that’s heavy on fat and protein options, such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and a variety of healthy fats, including butter, heavy cream, and full-fat plain yogurt. You can also enjoy a variety of very-low-carb vegetables.
The front end of the keto diet is tougher, as the goal is to quickly get your body into a state of ketosis, which helps you burn fat. But once you reach this state, we encourage you to eat whenever you want, as long as you steer clear of sugars and other carbs.
The paleo and keto diets are quite similar in that they include mostly whole foods. They don’t rely simply on eliminating foods, but focus on substituting healthier foods instead.
If you’d like to explore how the keto diet can help you gain the upper hand on your weight while keeping your energy levels up, please contact our office in Westfield, New Jersey, at 908-588-2311 or use our online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.