Keto vs Paleo

Keto vs Paleo... Which lifestyle is best for you?

The ketogenic and paleo diets are two of the most popular diets in the world at the moment and I would say for good reason.

Both have developed to the point where they are seen as healthy lifestyles rather than diets.

Both of these approaches to healthy eating has been in existence since long before the modern Standard American Diet, high in sugar and grains, became our normal way of eating.

Scroll though this infographic, courtesy of Zero Cater, for an overview of the key similarities between Keto and Paleo and the foods you can expect to eat and not to eat when following each approach…

What’s the Difference Between a Ketogenic Diet and a Paleo Diet?

What’s the Difference Between a Ketogenic Diet and a Paleo Diet?

​Keto vs Paleo

​Now that we have an understanding of the basic similarities and what food are generally eaten on each diet, let's have a look at the philosophy under pinning each approach...

Keto Philosophy

At its core keto uses fat (or ketones) as fuel. 

Fat is a far more efficient fuel than sugar and once you change your fuel to fat your body needs less fuel.

With fat as your fuel, your body becomes more efficient, you tend to need less food and you’ll be less hungry.

The way to change your fuel from sugar to fat is by drastically lowering your carb intake, substantially increasing your fat intake and eating adequate amounts of protein.

This fuel change often results in significant weight loss, increased energy and improved cognitive function.

Keto - Change your fuel

Paleo Philosophy

At its core, paleo revives our ancestors’ diet by eating real, wholesome, fresh and healthy foods.

It avoids man made contaminants like preservatives and additives and those foods that cause inflammation and digestive struggles for our bodies.

The emphasis is to eat good quality foods and to avoid all foods that our bodies were not made to easily digest.

Check out the main benefits of following a Paleo diet.

As you can see the philosophy between these two approaches are very different.

What they both do though is remove foods that unduly stress our bodies and thereby providing a healthier and less stressed internal environment.

​Food they both Eliminate

As you can see from the “what to eat comparisons”, they both encourage whole foods with lots of animal protein and they both eliminate processed foods, sugar, grains, legumes and refined seed oils.


​The first major difference is that paleo does not allow dairy. ​Keto limits milk, because of its high sugar content, but not other dairy.

The second is that Paleo allows natural sweeteners like honey and coconut sugar that are high in carbs. Paleo also encourage the eating of carby vegetables and fruits, that are too high in carbs to be part of a ketogenic diet.

Paleo focuses on whole real foods, so unlike ketoers they don't ​consume sweeteners like stevia and erythritol, which are highly processed.

For ​an in-depth look into:

  • what the diets are,
  • the differences between them and
  • when and for whom each diet is best for

watch Thomas DeLauer compare the two lifestyles in his video - Keto Diet vs Paleo Diet: Which diet is healthiest for you...


He suggests deciding which diet to follow depends on your objective. Here is a summary of when to follow which program...

​Objective - Approach

To lose weight - keto

​To get rid of cravings - keto

​For more flexibility and bigger variety - paleo

​For athletes - keto

​Ultimately the best plan is probably to combine keto and paleo by cutting the amount of carbs a person on a paleo diet eats and to eliminate dairy and other processed sweeteners that ketoers tend to love.

This brings us to a diet that gives us a new clean fuel, ​whilst still eating the types of food our ancestors ate a 1000 years ago.

So maybe the discussion shouldn't be keto vs paleo, but how do we combine the two to get the best of both worlds.

In Summary

​The main objective of keto is to change to fat as fuel. In doing so, we limit carbs to between 5 and 10% of total calories.

​Followers of paleo eat clean real food, but still use carbohydrates as fuel. They remove all the "problematic" ingredients from their diet.

What I do

If you follow my blog and try my recipes, you’ll know that I am a ketoer. 

You may have realized that sometimes I share or link to a paleo recipe. I know when I try a paleo recipe that it will be healthy and made with real food and that it will be easy to convert a paleo recipe to a keto friendly version. 

Sometimes the carbs may be a little high or it may include carby vegetables or coconut sugar or honey that are not ketogenic, but it is usually easy to adapt a Paleo recipe to make it ketogenic friendly.

What About You?

​Are you following a keto or paleo philosophy?

Do you swap over between them?

We'd love to hear from you in the comments...

About the Author

About Noline at Essential Keto

Noline is a chartered accountant and therapeutic reflexologist who converted to the keto lifestyle after losing 55 pounds without counting calories or starving herself. 

She is a student of Professor Tim Noakes and the Nutrition Network and feels compelled to share the low carb lifestyle with as many people as possible.

She does this at Essential Keto where she shares resources, recipes and her experiences, whilst working on losing that last 10 pounds.


Noline is a therapeutic reflexologist who converted to the keto lifestyle after losing 55 pounds without counting calories or starving herself. She is a Professor Tim Noakes and the Nutrition Network student and feels compelled to share the low-carb lifestyle with as many people as possible. She does this at Essential Keto, where she shares resources, recipes, and experiences while working on losing that last 10 pounds.