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A Comparison Of The Keto - Paleo - and Mediterranean Diets

Comparison of Paleo, Keto, & Mediterranean diets

 

Unless you’ve been wearing ear plugs and a blindfold, then you have heard the buzz about the three most popular diets being touted these days…the Paleo, the Ketogenic and the Mediterranean.

Stanford University’s, Dr. Christopher Gardner, Professor of Medicine and Director of Nutrition Studies, says, “the public health community should be open to these, and every other diet. We have an obesity epidemic that we haven’t been able to solve, and this goes hand in hand with a chronic disease epidemic that is crippling the health care system of the US.”

Let’s look at these three diets, two of which have reliable research to back them up. They all include a moderate to high amount of protein intake which most American’s LOVE. They can each give you great results for losing weight and improving important body biomarkers.

The biggest issue is can you stay on the diet for the long term?

Food allowed on the Paleo diet

The newest of the trends – the Paleo diet – this is supposed to be “eating foods we were designed to eat.” The belief is that when we switched from eating only foods we could hunt and gather, to an agricultural diet growing grains and drinking milk, our health started to decline into a culture suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. So, in order to reverse that, we should eat like our ancestors ate more than 10,000 years ago.

It sounds good, but have you ever tried to hunt and kill a buffalo, then carve it up with a hand made knife? Our ancestors probably ate way more fruits and vegetables than we do now because getting meat every day was difficult. And, consider that the fruits and vegetables we eat now are very different from what grew wild back in the Paleolithic era.  The food our ancestors ate had more nutrients like omega-3s, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and less saturated fat and salt.

Generally speaking, eating Paleo means eating veggies, fruits, meats, fish, certain fats, nuts, and seeds. And removing grains (breads, pastas, rice, etc), beans, soy, dairy, certain vegetable oils, from your diet.
It’s low-carb and supposed to promote weight loss as long as you only eat foods that are allowed.

Level of difficulty to adhere to long term: Moderate

Foods allowed on the ketogenic/Keto diet

The Ketogenic diet has a substantial body of research, is more cutting edge and, highly controversial. It’s a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Studies do back up many of the positive benefits of the ketogenic, which is the strictest form of a low-carb diet, by forcing the body into ketosis, which happens when the body doesn’t consume enough carbohydrates and breaks down fat to use as energy instead.

Although it’s difficult, the ketogenic diet has been shown to significantly decrease body weight, lower total cholesterol, significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decrease both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides.

But, since the main emphasis is avoiding carbs which make up a huge part of the American diet, particularly in the form of sugar and white flour, you would lose weight if you just cut out those two things.

Level of difficulty to adhere to long term: Hard

Foods allowed on the Mediterranean diet

Lastly, let’s look at the Mediterranean diet. This is the diet that I’ve adopted and have found it so easy to live by.  It’s been tested and approved time after time as a healthy diet that promotes weight loss, lowers cholesterol, helps improve rheumatoid arthritis, and reduces the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer.

By far, it’s the least controversial diet in the health field and has been around the longest. Researchers became interested in this diet because adults living in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea have the lowest rates of chronic diseases and longest life expectancies in the world.

The Mediterranean diet is based on meals containing plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and bulgur), olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes (lentils, dried peas and beans), seeds, herbs and spices.

Level of difficulty to adhere to long term: Relatively Easy

No matter who or how many people you ask “which is the best diet”, you would find die-hard supporters of each. And that may be the problem because, when it comes to keeping the weight off, no diet has worked for even 5% of the population. The minute you go off the diet, the majority will gain the weight back.  I have a close friend who says that she has gained and lost over a thousand pounds with all the diets that she’s tried over the years.

We need to stop thinking in terms of “short term diets” and start training our brains that we will be “eating and living a healthier diet and lifestyle” for the rest of our lives.

I’d love to hear from you… which of these do you eat OR do you do any of them?

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Cheryl, glad to see this information. I’ve been hearing good things about all 3 of them, but hadn’t thought of sticking to them longterm. Looks like the Medit. one would be best and probably the easiest. If there are any food changes that are really easy. lol

  2. Really interesting article. I hadn’t thought in terms of long term being able to stick to one or the other. To be honest, I ‘ve tried every new diet that comes along and lose and then gain it back and more every time. I like all the foods in the Meditterrean, so I’ll try it next. lol

  3. I have a friend who has been on the Keto diet for about 6 months and she has lost a lot of weight and you can really tell it, she’s looks good. I tried it for about 2 weeks and lost 5 pounds, but got to the point that I hated all the food I was supposed to be eating. Going to check out the Mediterranean after reading your article. Sounds like it will be more to my liking long term.

    1. Karen, hopefully you’ll find the Mediterranean more to your liking. It’s pretty easy to adjust to and I’ve found I really like it. And it has surely made a difference in my blood sugar levels.

  4. Cheryl, you’re right about sticking to a diet. I’ve tried all 3 of these and ended up quitting the paleo and keto after just a few days. I just can’t give up bread!. I’ve been doing the Med for over a year and love it and I”ve lost over 30 pounds.

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