Paleo vs. Keto – What is the difference?

Paleo and Keto diets have a lot of similarities with a few major differences. They are both way different from the standard American diet (SAD).

Millions of people have used these diets to lose weight, slim their waistline and feel better.

Paleo vs Keto - what is the difference between a keto diet and paleo diet?

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is based on the principle of eating like our “caveman” ancestors.

The thinking is that our genetic DNA (the ‘recipe’ that makes us who we are) is the same as it was 10,000 years ago, yet today we eat food that is foreign and would be unrecognizable to ancient humans.

Who cares? Well this means that we aren’t eating the foods that we evolved to eat.

And when you eat foods that your body isn’t built to handle, you don’t feel or function as well as you could.

What to Eat on a Paleo Diet

What we can eat on a Paleo diet is what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

This means on a Paleo diet you can eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and oils such as olive oil, and coconut oil.

What to Avoid on a Paleo Diet

What you need to avoid on a Paleo diet is all grains (including rice), beans & legumes (including peanuts and soy products), and dairy.

And you should also avoid oils such as canola oil and vegetable oil.

What is a Keto diet?

A keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet designed to shift your body into “fat burning mode.” This is called being in “Ketosis.” A keto diet is essentially any low-carb eating style (or diet) that changes your physiological state into a state of ketosis.

How you achieve this state of Ketosis (i.e. what you eat to get into ketosis) can vary widely. Some people follow a vegetarian keto diet, while others seem to live on bacon and milk.

When you eat carbohydrates your body uses this as fuel. So if you cut off this fuel source by limiting your carbohydrate intake, your body will start burning your body fat as fuel.

The amount of carbohydrates you can eat in a day and still stay in Ketosis seems to vary person to person.

Some people on a strict Keto diet eat less than 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day.

While other people may be able to consume 50 grams of carbs per day and still lose weight.

What are Net Carbs?

When you see carbohydrate amounts on a nutrition label it lists Total Carbohydrates and it lists Fiber too.

The net carbs of food are the total carbohydrates (in grams) minus Fiber (in grams).

Our bodies do not burn Fiber as fuel, in fact we don’t absorb it: it stays in our digestive system. So we don’t need to take Fiber into consideration when we’re calculating our daily carbohydrate intake.

This is why we minus the amount of Fiber from Total Carbohydrates to get net carbs.

What can I eat on a Keto Diet

The main goal of a Keto diet is to limit carbohydrate intake.

Carbohydrates are in fruit, grains, starchy vegetables, and sugars.

Keeping your daily carbohydrate intake below a certain level will require you to track your intake of carbohydrates.

And keep in mind any non-fiber carbohydrates that you consume will be converted into sugar in your body. And this even includes “natural” carbohydrates like starchy veggies and fruit.

One big difference between Paleo and Keto Diets is Dairy

Dairy is avoided on a Paleo diet.

But on a keto diet (one that isn’t based on Paleo principles) you can eat dairy. And you’ll notice that a lot of Keto recipes have dairy in them.

Can a Paleo diet be a Keto Diet?

This is essentially asking can a Paleo diet put you into ketosis?

And the answer is yes…if you modify it.

A Paleo diet can be made to be a Keto diet if you limit the number of carbohydrates you eat from fruit and starchy veggies (like yams and sweet potatoes).

For more information on whether a Paleo diet can be a Keto diet, check out this article I wrote on the subject.


The Paleo diet is an eating style that is based on eating meat, veggies, fruit, eggs, seafood, nuts and seeds like our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors did. And on a Paleo diet you avoid beans, grains and dairy.

A Keto diet is one based on a change in physiology. And really any low-carbohydrate eating plan that shifts your body into ketosis is a keto diet.

Yes a Paleo diet can be modified to put your body into ketosis, therefore, a Paleo diet can be keto diet.

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