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Keto Vs. Paleo: What’s the Difference?

Keto Vs. Paleo: What’s the Difference?

Keto or Paleo?

You’ve probably heard a lot about both the keto (pronounced kee-toe) and paleo (short for paleolithic) dietary plans—and because the diets bear a lot of commonalities, you may not be sure how they differ, or which one is best-suited to your needs. Before you decide on a plan of action, your friends at Marketplace encourage you to consult your health care provider, to see what your body requires to stay healthy and happy. In the meantime, we’ve put together the “cliff notes” version of the plans, so you can make your decision armed with knowledge, and ideas on how to make the most of living paleo or keto.

Why Keto? Why Paleo?

Keto benefits:

•Weight loss & curbed food cravings

•Increased levels of energy, muscle endurance, better workouts

•Mental clarity (less “brain fog”)

•Stable blood sugar and improved insulin resistance

•Increased ability to manage chronic conditions

•Decreased inflammation

Paleo benefits:

•Decreased inflammation

•Environmental sustainability

•Weight loss & appetite management

•Mental acuity, improved cognition, benefits to mental health

•Ability to regulate and stabilize blood pressure

•Reduction of triglyceride levels

How They’re the Same…and Different

Keto is shorthand for the metabolic state of ketosis. Ordinarily, the body burns carbohydrates for energy. When dietary carb intakes are restricted, the body breaks down stored fat for energy—ketosis. In plain terms, it’s a high-fat, low-carb way of eating that keeps your body in ketosis. Paleo is an abbreviation of paleolithic, the anthropological era 2.5 million -10,000 years ago whose eating habits the diet most closely resembles. The basic rule of thumb to follow for eating paleo is this: If your ancestors could gather it or hunt for it, it’s on-plan. While keto and Paleo diets have a lot of overlap, they often diverge on protein consumption and restricted foods.

The Basics of Eating

Dietary specifics of both plans vary, so before you change your diet significantly, consult your physician to ensure whatever changes you make are undertaken safely. Generally, most keto diets budget around 75% of daily caloric intake from fat, 20% from protein, and restrict carbs to 5% or less—for most people, that translates to about 30-50g or carbs daily. Strict versions of Paleo discourage starchy/high-sugar fruits and vegetables (bananas and potatoes), while modified versions of Paleo allow consumption of tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips) as well as some full-fat dairy products.


•High-quality meats (Paleo prefers leaner cuts and game meats)

•Fish, especially omega-3 fatty acid-rich varieties: salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, etc.


•Seeds, nuts

•Vegetables* (Keto has more restrictions on starchy vegetables, emphasizing leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.)

•Fruits* (both plans have restrictions on higher-sugar and starchy fruits)

•“Good fats” – Keto: Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil. Paleo: olive oil, walnut oil.


•Bread, grains, pasta

•Grains: wheat, oats, barley

•Grain-derived products, such as pasta or bread

•Processed foods

•Beans, legumes

•Sugar (any/all forms, including most alcohols and fruit)

There biggest difference between keto and Paleo is their stance on dairy products and natural sugars. While keto encourages full-fat dairy products, including cheese, butter and cream, only modified versions of Paleo make allowances for full-fat dairy products. Likewise, Paleo places greater restrictions on types of oil and artificial sweeteners, where keto makes allowances for certain types of artificial sweeteners, but not for natural sugars that might kick your body out of ketosis.

Keto & Paleo—To Go!

Newcomers to both keto and Paleo report that avoiding processed foods is the most difficult part of making the change—especially when it comes to carbs and starches, which are a staple of the modern American diet. Here at Marketplace, we know that making a lifestyle change to keto or Paleo doesn’t slow your life down—so we’re here with real-world solutions to keep your eating clean, even when you need convenience or something to grab and go. Explore the “endless aisles” of Marketplace to find new keto and Paleo options to expand your horizons, or better yet: try one of our curated keto or Paleo samplers, and let us take this one off your plate, by butting something delicious on another.

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