The paleo and keto diets have gained popularity in recent years as anti-inflammatory eating plans that enhance health and help with weight loss. Both diets are thought to decrease inflammation, which is a normal immune reaction to infection. Furthermore, inflammation is associated with chronic autoimmune illnesses, like Type 1 diabetes, and more. So, is paleo or keto better for inflammation?
In the case of paleo vs. keto, both diets have been shown to reduce inflammation, due to their focus on eliminating or limiting the intake of refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy products. However, the paleo and keto diets have different anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action.
This post will look at the anti-inflammatory properties of the paleo and keto diets, as well as their benefits for weight loss.
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to irritants and a defense mechanism that helps it fight illness and damage. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, may lead to various health issues, including autoimmune conditions, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The good news is that we can minimize inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods.
Anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, meaning they have high nutritional density. Fatty fish, leafy greens, berries, nuts, and seeds are all anti-inflammatory foods. These foods include chemicals that aid in reducing inflammation by decreasing the body's generation of pro-inflammatory agents.
Anti-inflammatory foods reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, improve cognitive function, promote healthy digestion, and strengthen the immune system.
Image by Treyzonmed
Anti-inflammatory benefits are found in both the paleo and keto diets. Their approaches, however, are rather different. The paleo diet emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed foods that our forefathers had access to, such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
On the other hand, the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that causes the body to enter a state called ketosis, where the body starts producing ketones as fuel. Research shows that ketones have potential anti-inflammatory properties, therefore, the ketogenic diet promotes a decrease in inflammation.
Studies have exhibited that the ketogenic dietary plan has anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, the keto diet alleviates a range of health conditions, associated with inflammation. From Parkinson's disease and epilepsy to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, going keto can help prevent or limit the effects of these chronic illnesses.
On the other hand, the paleo diet may be beneficial for other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, Chron’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. This is because the paleo diet excludes grains, legumes, and dairy, all known to induce inflammation in certain people.
Randomized, controlled research discovered that the paleo diet lowered CRP levels and increased insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. The keto diet lowered inflammation and enhanced cognitive performance in Parkinson's disease patients.
Paleo and keto diets also improve numerous metabolic health indicators, including inflammation, in those with obesity or metabolic syndrome.
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Let's compare some paleo and keto foods to see how the two diets differ from each other and what they have in common. Below is a table detailing some of the permitted and prohibited foods in each diet:
|Meat, fish & poultry||Whole & organic||Whole & limited processed meat|
|Fruits||Allowed||Low-sugar fruits allowed|
|Vegetables||Allowed but limited starchy veggies||Allowed but limited starchy veggies|
|Nuts and seeds||Allowed||Limited low-carb nuts and seeds|
|Grains||Excluded||Limited low-net-carb grains|
|Legumes||Excluded||Some, such as peas|
Both diets emphasize the consumption of natural, unprocessed ingredients but differ primarily in the amounts of carbohydrates and fat they allow.
While the ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates to induce ketosis and advocates a high-fat intake, the paleo diet allows more carbs from fruits and vegetables.
These days, dieters may choose between the Paleo and Keto diets, depending on their food preferences, way of living, and dietary goals.
See below how keto differs from paleo:
The keto diet: The goal is a new metabolic state, called ketosis. It can be achieved by severely restricting your intake of carbohydrates while encouraging the consumption of high-fat foods and moderate amounts of protein.
The paleo diet: The diet prioritizes natural, unprocessed foods that our ancestors had access to. This means that cultivated foods like grains and legumes, as well as dairy products, are off the paleo list.
Image by Paleoaholic
There are a number of studies exploring the health benefits of the paleo and keto diets. Well, both types of eating plans have a similar macronutrient composition but differ in their approach to food choices.
When it comes to their effectiveness for weight loss, both diets are a great option, due to their elimination of added sugar, processed food, alcohol, grains, and legumes.
The paleo diet renders successful weight loss results in the long term. Conversely, the keto diet can help you lose weight fast but may prove more difficult to maintain for a long period of time.
On that note, the paleo diet seems more sustainable, as it can be considered a lifestyle change in the way you eat and the quality of food you consume. Therefore, you can not only lose weight but also keep the results for longer without the risk of the yo-yo effect. Furthermore, some studies have shown that paleo dieters lose more weight, diminish waist circumference, and lower triglycerides when compared to low-fat dieters.
Similarly, there are a number of studies on various low-fat diets vs. the keto diet for weight loss, which have established that the consumption of low-carb foods is more beneficial for fat loss. The keto diet also fights successfully water retention issues, as it promotes diuresis. The results, of course, are a slimmer look and significant weight loss.
|Pros||Lose weight for the long term||Reduces the feeling of hunger; Fast results|
|Cons||Too restrictive; risk of micronutrient deficiencies||High in fat: risk of heart disease|
A: The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that aims to achieve ketosis, a metabolic state. The Paleo diet emphasizes consuming whole, natural foods like our ancestors. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes healthy fats, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables.
A: The Whole30 diet is similar to the Paleo diet but is stricter and aims to identify food sensitivities or allergies by following a 30-day plan. The Keto diet aims to achieve ketosis through a low-carb, high-fat diet.
A: The paleo diet emphasizes eating foods high in anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation.
A: A Keto diet can help reduce inflammation in the body, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of ketones, produced during ketosis. The diet is often used to treat medication-resistant forms of epilepsy, for instance.
A: In terms of inflammation, both the paleo and keto diets are effective in alleviating inflammatory health conditions. With regards to weight loss, keto renders faster results, while paleo helps you achieve sustainable weight loss.
Weight loss, reduced inflammation, and improved overall health can be the results of either - the paleo or keto diets. However, the ketogenic diet may be more useful in controlling metabolic diseases like diabetes. In contrast, the paleo diet may be more useful in lowering inflammation and improving cardiovascular and digestive health.
Each person's health goals and medical conditions will determine which anti-inflammatory diet, paleo or keto, will work best for them.
And when it comes to weight loss, the effectiveness of the paleo diet is for the long term, while the keto dietary plan is better for fast results.