In the quest to optimize the body to perform at its best, one of the most lasting and productive ways to do this is by controlling the fuel that goes into your body. In other words, diet is everything. Over the years people have tuned into many different diet styles, each with certain benefits and drawbacks. Two such methods, Keto and Paleo, have received a lot of attention lately in fitness circles. While often times the two have much overlap into what you can and cannot eat, they are fundamentally different in their approach. You have probably heard of them and perhaps even tried them, but it is important to understand why you would choose one over the other and what makes each method unique.
The Ketogenic Diet
Keto refers to Ketosis, a state the body enters from a lack of available glucose to produce energy. When the body cannot convert glucose, it instead turns fat cells into Ketones. To achieve ketosis one needs to minimize their intake of carbohydrates and maintain a high intake of healthy fats. This process was popularized through the Atkins diet, and has seen a recent resurgence of popularity in many fitness circles due to its dramatic weight loss effects.
While the Paleo diet often follows a high-fat, low-carbohydrate system by design, it does not focus on the type of energy used. Instead it focuses on ingesting foods that historically were available before modern cooking and food processing technology, opting for wild foods and simple cooking methods for nourishment.
Most carbohydrates these days are considered to be out of the realm of a paleo diet, due to the overprocessing and refining of grains and sugars we see today. Additionally, the paleo diet restricts the use of dairy.
So What Does This Mean?
The Ketogenic diet is not for everyone. Diabetics in particular might have difficulty due to their body’s lack of proper insulin and glucose regulation. A high amount of ketones in the system can cause dramatic changes in blood sugar levels. That said, most people find benefit in ketogenic dieting. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor first, though.
A paleo diet can be much easier to manage, because you are not constantly monitoring the contents of what you eat for limiting carbohydrates and maximizing fat. If you follow a paleo diet and are active daily, chances are that your body will naturally enter ketosis and you will be burning fat for energy.
It really boils down to your goals. Are you looking for a fast way to burn fat and don’t mind tediously tracking the contents of everything you eat? Then you might find at a keto diet works for you. However if your goals are more inclined toward a healthy lifestyle free from the impurities that pervade our food system, then a paleo diet is probably what you are looking for. At the end of the day you need to listen to your body and be realistic with your goals, and in doing so, you will create positive habits for a better body and overall wellness in life.
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