Keto Versus Paleo: What’s the Difference?

Keto vs Paleo

Dietitians and medical practitioners often compare one diet trend to another and try to determine which one works best. As with many of the current diet trends people follow today, there have also been comparisons between the Ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet.

On the surface, the two diets are fairly similar. Both are focused on restrictions on some of people’s most favorite foods including pizza and desserts. Both are also focused on weight loss and achieving healthier bodies. However, the two diets are actually very different in their advocacies and goals.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is based on the diet of our ancestors from the Paleolithic period. Although there is some debate to be had here, the word “paleo” to describe this diet may be a misnomer. This means that modern, processed, foods like pizza and cheese are off limits in the diet. In an article by Melissa Matthews of the Men’s Health Magazine, she explains that the Paleo diet is focused on proteins and fiber, with a strong emphasis on meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Note that the diet also removes some food groups that are normally considered healthy, such as beans, legumes, peanuts, and whole grains. This is because these food groups were not part of the Paleolithic period diet, the focus of which was on hunting and gathering. Without making fun of the diet, Paleo can be described as a modern caveman diet.

In Paleo, there is no focus on calorie counting. The main goal is to only consume healthy, Paleolithic period foods that are high in protein and fiber.

Ketogenic Diet

Originally, the Ketogenic diet has been used as a treatment method for epilepsy some 100 years ago. Elaine Howley of US Health News explains that the diet was developed around the 1920s to treat severe epilepsy amongst child patients. The diet essentially reduced the incidence of seizures, proving it was an effective treatment option.

The Ketogenic diet focuses on controlling the macros — carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Howley explains that the Keto diet aims to leverage the body’s ability to burn fat as an energy source by limiting the consumption of carbohydrates. By doing so, the body focuses on metabolizing fat as the main energy source through the process of ketosis. This results in fat loss and an overall increase in energy.

The correct macro make up varies from person to person and can only really be measured with a blood glucometer. Generally, the Keto diet limits daily carbohydrates to about 5-10% of one’s daily caloric consumption to maintain ketosis. Fat is then set between 60% and 80% of a person’s daily caloric intake. Protein is set at around 15-25%.

How effective are the two diets?

Both diets are proven to be effective weight loss strategies. The Paleo diet promotes weight loss since it removes processed foods in the equation. Processed foods are normally high in carbs and sugars.

The Keto diet on the other hand cuts most carbohydrates in a person’s diet, forcing the body to burn fat as fuel. This results in fat loss as compared to weight loss.  Once the body adjusts to ketosis however, these side effects will go away on their own.

The Verdict

Based on your personal goals and desires, you can follow either diet. For fat loss, reduction in blood sugar, and overall improvement of health, the ketogenic diet has a lot of research behind it. It will be challenging because of the restrictions, but the results will be worth it.



Howley, E. (2020). Paleo diet vs. keto diet: What’s the difference? US Health News. Retrieved from

Matthews, M. (2019). Paleo vs. keto diet: Which diet is right for you? Men’s Health. Retrieved from