Want to lose weight but need help determining which diet is best for you? We compared paleo, low-carb, and keto, three of the most popular diets, to help you figure out the best plan to meet your weight loss goals.
Paleo, also known as the caveman or stone age diet, is a meal plan in which you eat like a caveman from the Paleolithic era (around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago). The plan includes whole foods that cavemen ate by hunting or gathering. EXAMPLES are fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. The concept comes from the belief that our genes have not adjusted to foods made from modern farming and food processing. Therefore, to achieve optimal health (lowering the risk of heart disease/other heart issues and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol) and to improve digestion, you should AVOID grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, added salt, starch veggies like corn, and processed foods like chips, or cookies.
Paleo focuses on consuming HIGH AMOUNTS of protein and lots of fruits and vegetables. There is NO emphasis on carbohydrates (carbs), so eat all the high-carb fruit you want. Many have claimed to achieve glowing skin from the large quantities of fresh fruit and veggies consumed.
A daily paleo meal plan looks like this:
- Breakfast: Broiled fish and cantaloupe
- Lunch: Leafy green salad with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemon juice dressing
- Dinner: Steamed chicken and broccoli with a side salad similar to the one at lunch
- Snacks: Apple or orange
A low-carb diet is meant to shock your body into burning stored fat for energy, leading to weight loss. Simply put, on this plan, you limit carbs. On a low-carb plan, AVOID high-carb foods like grains, potatoes, sugary drinks, and processed junk foods. You are ENCOURAGED to eat fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Both plans tell you to AVOID highly processed foods, but with a low-carb plan, you will also LIMIT your fruits and eat more vegetables. Sugary fruits are higher in carbs, so you should AVOID such fruits as apples, bananas, mangos, and raisins. Berries are lower in sugar and contain more fiber than most fruits, so they are OK in moderation. You will need to stick to the recommended number of carbs per day to lose weight. This amount depends on how much weight you want to lose and your activity level. Low-carb plans ENCOURAGE you to eat foods high in protein and fat.
A low-carb plan is AGAINST carbs and PRO proteins and fats. Burning stored fat allows you to drop weight faster than many other plans. With less fat on your body, your muscles will stand out more, and your body will look more sculpted.
A daily low-carb meal plan looks like this:
- Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs with mixed berries
- Lunch: Sweet-and-sour stir-fry made with protein, loads of vegetables, and a low-carb sweet-and-sour sauce of your choice. This stir-fry has NO noodles or rice
- Dinner: Cauliflower rice taco bowls
- Snacks: Deviled Eggs
And that brings us to keto, also referred to as the ketogenic diet. The purpose is to trick the body into ketosis, or the metabolic state when your body uses fat for energy instead of carbs. To enter ketosis, you will need to eat LESS THAN 50 grams of carbs a day. Keto is basically a more strict version of a low-carb diet, with a HEAVY FOCUS on consuming high fats. On keto, there are no particular restrictions on the types of fats you should eat. Popular keto foods are bacon, avocados, and butter.
On the keto plan, expect to lose weight, particularly stubborn BELLY FAT, fast. Like with a low-carb plan, your body will have less fat causing your muscles to stand out more. And stand out they will. This is the plan for those who have always wanted a 6-pack. Can you say hello abs!
A daily keto meal plan looks like this:
- Breakfast: Mushroom omelet
- Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with cheesy broccoli
- Snacks: Almonds and cheddar cheese
Well, I hope you have a better understanding of paleo, low-carb and keto, and which plan may be best for your personal goals. Remember to always check with your health professional before starting a new diet plan and good luck!
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