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Combining The Paleo and Keto Diet: What You Need To Know

To the untrained observer, paleo and keto might seem like the same thing. And they are fairly similar, mostly diverging on carb limits and dairy acceptability. 

But one thing is clear: both diets could be beneficial for your health vs a conventional Western diet. In this article, you’ll learn how to combine the best of both paleo and keto into a paleo keto diet that works for your body.

What is the Paleo Diet?

 The paleo diet has a simple underlying principle–eating the same way our hunter and gatherer ancestors did during the Paleolithic era, over 10,000 years ago.

There are lots of foods available on a paleo diet, including:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy fats (e.g., avocados, olive oil, avocado oil)
  • Offal (i.e., the organ meats such as Kidney, Liver and Heart))
  • Natural sweeteners (e.g., raw honey, coconut sugar, natural maple syrup)

You probably noticed a lack of grain and dairy on this list. This is because our Paleolithic ancestors hadn’t yet mastered the art of agriculture. So, these foods are off the menu, making the paleo diet grain and dairy-free.

What is the Keto Diet?

 The goal of a keto diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis. This happens when you minimise your carbohydrate intake to the point that your body starts using up fat and protein stores for energy. During ketosis, your liver turns stored fat into ketones, which are then used for energy.[*] 

 The menu for a keto diet includes the following types of foods:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Offal
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fatty fish
  • Healthy fats
  • Some dairy products, like cheese or cream
  • Low-carb vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale, asparagus, artichokes)

Unlike paleo, keto is more about tracking your macronutrient intake as well as the quality and types of foods you are eating. On a standard keto diet, you’ll eat very few carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and a high amount of fat. Generally, your day is broken down as 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs.[*] Most Ketoers focus on less than 50g of carbs per day but can go as low as 20gs in some cases. 

plate full of eggs, meat, strawberries, nuts, and broccoli on black background

Paleo vs. Keto Similarities

Paleo and keto are more similar than different. Here’s how.

Similarity #1: No seed oils

Seed oils contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to increase inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, obesity, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.[*] Further, seed oils can become toxic to humans when they are heated to high temperatures repeatedly in restaurants and food processing plants.[*]

The reason paleo and keto eliminate seed oils is that they’re mostly high in omega-6 fatty acids, are inflammatory, frequently extracted using chemicals and solvents such as hexane and they are detrimental to health. So, you’ll need to stop using seed oils like corn, soybean, canola, rapeseed, cottonseed, sunflower, grapeseed, and rice bran. Even if you don’t cook with these at home, they are in many packaged foods. Fortunately, you have healthy replacement options, including olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, and avocado oil.

Similarity #2: No refined sugars

Eating refined sugar has been linked to an increased risk of developing severe illnesses, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cognitive conditions.[*][*][*]

Because paleo and keto focus on eating whole foods, you naturally don’t eat refined sugars. As a result, people who follow both diets tend to experience more significant weight loss and find that they have more energy than they did previously.[*][*]

Similarity #3: Fat is not the enemy

We’re used to hearing that fat is the root of all evil (at least in the world of weight loss). However, both paleo and keto prioritise calories from healthy fats over calories from carbohydrates, including lean animal fats, avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, ghee, and butter.

bottle of olive oil sits next to bright salad on white plate against green tree background

Paleo vs. Keto Differences

While you’re able to eat a lot of the same foods on paleo and keto diets, they aren’t the same. Here are some key differences between paleo and keto.

Difference #1: Dairy

On keto, you can eat some dairy that is lower in lactose, such as ghee, cream and cheese. Dairy, however, is typically frowned upon in paleo. After all, our paleolithic ancestors didn’t have access to it.

Whether or not to have dairy often comes down to personal preference. Some people have a dairy intolerance, making it more beneficial to follow a dairy-free diet.

So, if you want to follow a paleo diet and still have some dairy, this would be known more as a Primal diet! If you do decide to try some dairy in your lifestyle, Focus on full-fat options and choose healthier dairy products, like Greek yogurt, Kefir or Raw Dairy. You could even try goats, buffalo or sheep milk to see how this works for you.  

Difference #2: Carbohydrate restrictions

In keto, low carb is the name of the game, which is why you need to eat foods (including fruits and vegetables) that are low in carbs. Bananas are typically a no-go on keto.

In contrast, the paleo diet just happens to be full of lower-carb foods, which means many people end up on a low-carb or at least a lower-carb diet than where they started. On paleo, however, you’re free to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want, regardless of how many carbs are in them.

Difference #3: Long-term sustainability

While paleo focuses on eating certain foods, keto is more concerned with ensuring you eat the right amounts of certain foods. Therefore, keto tends to be stricter than paleo, making it more challenging to sustain for a long time for some.

steak kebabs with limes on black background

Paleo Keto Diet: The Best of Both Worlds

You don’t have to pick between paleo and keto. Instead, try incorporating elements of both! We personally believe following a higher fat, lower carb approach which is free from inflammatory seed oils, grains and refined sugars is a great start! Use the principles from Keto and Paleo to develop a meal plan that’s right for your goals, body, and lifestyle.

Paleo Keto Recipes

Eating a whole-food diet doesn’t have to be boring. These tasty recipes from the Hunter & Gather kitchen are full of flavor and healthy nutrients.

Follow your meal up with some dessert. For example, try a delicious cup of paleo hot cocoa or a more traditional treat like low-carb keto chocolate cake.

Benefits of a Paleo Keto Diet

Many studies have looked at the benefits of eating a low carbohydrate diet like paleo keto. Here are some of their findings.

  • A meta-analysis of 11 academic articles concluded that a paleo diet can prevent and control chronic diseases by helping people lose excess weight.[*]
  •  A paleo keto diet reduced glucose levels in an obese woman with hypertension and type 2 diabetes and eliminated the side effects of her metabolic syndrome.[*] 
  • One study found that going on a paleo diet for even a short time (7 days) can lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.[*]

The typical Western diet is full of excess carbohydrates, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. Incorporating elements of a paleo keto diet, even temporarily, can help people lose weight, treat illnesses, and prevent chronic health issues. Even better if you can continue on this long term for optimal health every day. 

Should You Try a Paleo Keto Diet?

The principle of both paleo and keto is similar—consume nutrient-dense whole foods. By getting rid of refined sugar, processed foods, and excess carbohydrates, you’ll be well on your way to following a paleo keto lifestyle.

It won’t take long for your body to notice the benefits, such as having more energy, losing excess weight, and feeling better throughout the day.

Hunter & Gather makes it easy to follow a paleo keto diet, with products designed to keep your taste buds happy without compromising your health. Check out our lineup of products and get started creating paleo keto masterpieces in your kitchen!

All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.

It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.

We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.

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