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Whole30 Diet vs. Paleo Diet: Key Differences & Similarities

Whole30 vs. Paleo Diet

The Whole30 and paleo diet have different purposes, despite the fact that many people may choose to follow one or the other with the same objective in mind. Improved overall health and weight loss are some of the reasons why folks go on the Whole30 or the paleo diet. Both diets are very similar but with their own set of rules that need to be adhered to. So, here how the Whole30 diet differs from the paleo diet!

The paleo diet promotes the consumption of whole foods that man in the paleolithic age had access to. It is designed to be a lifestyle change for good. In contrast, the Whole 30 is an elimination diet, which restricts the consumption of several food groups for 30 days. You, then, slowly reintroduce them individually, in the hope to identify if you're sensitive to any specific type of food.

Key Takeaways

  • Whole30 and paleo have verry different purposes and rules.
  • They both restrict the consumption of certain foods.
  • Paleo and Whole30 are similar, as they both promote eating whole foods and prohibit sugar, alcohol, dairy and processed foods.

What Is the Difference Between Whole30 and Paleo?

Paleo and Whole30 are popular diets that focus on whole foods instead of such that have been processed. Both offer similar health benefits, such as weight loss, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, improved digestion and increase in energy levels.


  • Paleo is a long-term eating plan involving the consumption of high-protein, low-carb foods. On the other hand, Whole30 is a 30-day food reset plan with the aim of helping you pinpoint food sensitivities and resetting your eating habits.
  • Whole30 is more restrictive than the paleo diet. No sugar is allowed in the Whole30 but only refined sugar is cut out of the paleo diet.
  • Whole30 is meant to last for 30 days, whereas the paleo diet is designed to be a long-term diet.
  • After the Whole30 diet's period of 30 days, you're supposed to slowly reintroduce the initially restricted food groups, whereas paleo is meant to be followed 85% of the time


Whole30 and paleo diets are similar in the following ways, including:

  • Both maybe good for weight loss: Both diets create the calorie deficit you need to shed some weight. Both Whole30 and paleo are rich in fibrous foods and vegetable, thus reducing the feeling of hunger and cravings, which in turn helps you lose weight.
  • Promote similar health benefits: They are rich in fruits and vegetables and discourage highly processed foods that are often laden with sugar, salt and fat.
  • Both diets eliminate the same food groups: Paleo and Whole30 eliminate legumes, dairy, and grains from their food list. They focus on eating whole unprocessed foods, while cutting out alcohol, added sugar, salt, and fat.
  • Both reduce the risk of diseases: Since both diets are geared to help you eliminate fat, salt, and sugar, they help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

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Should I Do Paleo or Whole30?

Differences Between Paleo and Whole30 Diets

Below are factors to consider when choosing between the Paleo and Whole30 diets:

  • Your health condition
  • Your lifestyle
  • History of eating disorder
  • Goal/objective

Goals and Preferences

Your goal as an individual will determine the kind of dietary plan you want to opt for. For instance, the Whole30 diet's goals are geared toward breaking bad eating habits like sugar addiction, as well as identifying any food sensitivities or intolerances. The paleo diet, on the other hand, is more about weight loss and improving your general health by eating only whole foods that existed in ancient times.

Whole30 vs Paleo vs Keto

The Whole30, paleo, and keto diet overlap in their general benefits like weight loss, increased energy, and improved cognitive function. Here are their differences and similarities:


  • Whole30: This is an elimination diet, designed to last 30 days, where you restrict significantly the type of foods you eat. Then, you need to reintroduce each group in a specific order, with a break of 2-3 days in between. Only then, you'll be able to spot if your body is sensitive to a specific food group.
  • Paleo: Ancient man most likely did not suffer from any type of modern or chronic disease. Hence, presumably, his diet was healthier. The paleo diet encourages you to eat whole foods. You exclude certain groups that may cause digestion issues, obesity and other contemporary health problems.
  • Keto: The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet, which promotes weight loss. Folks also go on the keto diet to maintain their fitness and lean-muscle body.


The paleo, keto and whole30 diets alike can be good for weight loss. They can help you reduce the risk of a range of chronic diseases, improve your energy levels and more. In addition, the three diets encourage you to wave 'goodbye' to processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol in one way or another.

Let’s check out the foods allowed and avoided for each diet.

Whole30 Diet

  • Food allowed:

  • Meat

  • Fish

  • Veggies

  • Fruits

  • Eggs

  • Food to avoid:

  • Alcohol

  • Grains

  • Beans and other legumes

  • Soy

  • Dairy

  • Processed foods

Keto Diet

  • Food allowed:

  • Fish & sea food

  • Meat and poultry

  • High-fat dairy products

  • Non-starchy vegetables

  • Berries and low-carb fruits

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Eggs

  • Olive oil

  • Food to avoid:

  • Refined carbs

  • Sweet sauce

  • Grains

  • Chips and crackers

  • Honey, syrup or sugar in any form

  • Starchy vegetables

  • High-sugar fruits (banana, mango, dates)

  • Juices


  • Food allowed:

  • Fruits

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Root vegetables

  • Eggs

  • Meat(lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, pork)

  • Fish

  • Oil from fruits and nuts, such as olive oil or walnut oil

  • Food to avoid:

  • Rice

  • Pasta

  • Oats

  • Legumes

  • Dairy

  • Refined vegetable oil

  • Refined sugar

  • Alcohol & sweet bevarages

Related: Whole30 Diet vs Keto Diet - The Key Differences

Paleo vs Whole30 vs Mediterranean Diet

Paleo, Whole30, and Mediterranean diets are designed to encourage you eating healthier whole foods. Let's compare them below:

  • The Mediterranean diet allows the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats.

  • The paleo diet is an eating plan, based on foods humans might have eaten during the Paleolithic Era. A paleo diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds

  • Whole30 is a 30-day plan, designed to help you reset your eating habits and improve your health. Opting for the Whole30 means that you'll be cutting out a lot of foods like grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar. That said, the foods allowed in your Whole30 diet include fruits, root vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs.

Pros and Cons of Whole30, Paleo, and Mediterranean Diet

Whole30 Diet


  • Helps identify food sensitivities
  • Controls blood sugar level
  • Restores your metabolism
  • Heals the digestive tract
  • Decreases sugar and salt cravings


  • The Whole30 diet plan is restrictive, cutting out two of the five food groups, like dairy and grains, which are key sources of vitamins and nutrients with numerous benefits.
  • Failure to adhere to the Whole30 rules may lead to weight gain if your goal was to cut on weight.

Paleo Diet


  • Eliminates processed and snack foods, which are low in nutrients
  • The foods allowed are naturally low in sugar
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Eliminates the reliance on refined carbohydrates
  • Encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables


  • Too hard to maintain over a long period of time
  • Promotes the consumption of more meat, which may not be so healthy
  • Time-consuming and expensive
  • Eliminates dairy, which poses a risk of inadequate calcium intake
  • Prohibits legumes, which are highly beneficial to gut health

Mediterranean Diet


  • It has numerous health benefits and may help reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Aids in weight management
  • Reduces inflammatory markers
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • More balanced and flavorful way of eating


  • Some foods are costly
  • Some dietary restrictions may be challenging
  • You may fall short on some nutrients
  • Can be hard to follow while on the go

Paleo and Whole30 Recipes

Below is the list of easy and delicious Whole30 and paleo breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas:

Whole30 Meal Plan

  • Breakfast:

  • Eggs Benedict Casserole

  • Sweet Potato Bacon Egg Muffins

  • Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs

  • Lunch:

  • Whole30 Harvest Chicken Salad

  • Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

  • Whole30 Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

  • Dinner: -Whole30 Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • Whole30 Animal Style Burgers

  • Twice-Baked Potato Egg Boat

  • Whole30 Chicken Tikka Skewers

Paleo Meal Plan

  • Breakfast:

  • Perfect Dairy-free Scrambled Eggs

  • Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Hash

  • Paleo Biscuits with Almond Flour and Honey

  • Lunch:

  • Easy Paleo Chicken Hash

  • Sweet Potato Egg Boats

  • Paleo Meatballs with Zoodles

  • Dinner:

  • One-Pan Roasted Chicken with Carrots

  • Waffle Iron Sweet Potato Hash Browns

  • Paleo Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

  • Healthy Creamy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Ranch

Related: Mediterranean Diet vs Paleo: Which One Is Right for You?

Whole30 vs Paleo: FAQs

Q: Paleo vs Clean Eating - What Is the Difference?

A: Clean eating is simply filling your plate with nutritious whole foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and legumes. It's less restrictive and more flexible when compared to the paleo diet. A clean eating plan basically includes many of the foods that are prohibited by the paleo diet, such as dairy, legumes, and grains.

Q: Is Whole30 or Paleo Better for Weight Loss?

A: Both diets keep your carb intake low and as indicated by research, low-carb diets can be helpful for weight loss. However, when it comes to keeping the weight off for good, the paleo diet may be the better choice because it can be followed long-term, unlike the Whole30 diet.

Q: Can I Stay on Whole30 Forever?

A: Yes, theoratically, but you're not advised to do so. It's hard to stick to it and there may be a risk of developing certain nutrient deficiencies.

Q: Who Should Avoid Paleo?

A: People at risk of heart diseases, and kidney damage should avoid the paleo diet. That’s because red meat, for instance, is high in saturated fats, which can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart and kidney diseases.

Related: Paleo vs. Keto for Inflammation: Which One Works Better?


The Whole30 and paleo diets are quite similar. The main difference between the two is the length of time and your goals for following each one. Figuring out which diet plan works best for you is an extremely important part of dieting. However, to be sure you're settling for the right dietary regimen that aligns with your health and lifestyle objectives, speak with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist before you kick-start any diet plan.