Hey All! The Intolerant Dad here to talk about the differences between the Keto diet, the Paleo Diet and the Low-Carb diet. By “Diet”, I mean a lifestyle choice and not just a way to drop weight quickly. So, I tried all three diets (each had pros and cons for me) but I found it difficult – with my particular food intolerances - to strictly adhere to just one.
The Keto diet made me “Hangry” because hunger seems to play with my autonomic nervous system. The Low-Carb Diet was ok for me but the low level of carbs left me hungry often with lower amounts of energy. The Paleo diet is the closest to how I currently eat, but I have to avoid Nightshades, (peppers, paprika and tomatoes are a no-go for me), which made it difficult to join the Paleo Diet Camp.
So what exactly are the Keto diet, Paleo diet, and Low-Carb diet? I’ve summed up the three lifestyle choices and some aspects the Intolerant Family has taken from each, creating the best diet for us and optimizing our overall health.
The Low-Carb diet lowers or eliminates carbohydrates (starches and sugars) completely from your diet and replaces them with fats. In addition to weight loss, it can help reduce blood-sugar levels, lower insulin levels, increase energy and decrease blood pressure.
Specialists agree that carbohydrates are processed into fat by the digestive system, which is then used as a fuel source for the body. By eating lean fats instead of carbs, you train your body to switch fuel sources from carbohydrates to fat. Like converting a car to run on diesel instead of unleaded fuel.
You should consult a nutritionist or dietician before starting this diet, because you’ll need to know how to count and measure macro-nutrition levels (macros). You need to get the quantities just right for your particular body in order to see optimal results.
The Keto diet is an extreme version of the Low-Carb diet. So few carbs are consumed that your body goes into ketosis - a metabolic state where body fat reserves are burned up for fuel. This is what makes it a great weight-loss diet for some people.
Another important aspect of the keto diet is intermittent fasting. It means not eating anything for a minimum of 16 hours. Most people choose to do this overnight – it’s much easier not to eat anything while you’re asleep. So if you were to eat your last meal of the day around 7:00 pm, you wouldn’t be able to eat again until 11:00 the next morning. Some people adapt well to this routine and can fast even longer, (some until supper time!) but this didn’t work so well for me given my tendency to get “hangry” very easily.
If you are interested in the Keto diet, I suggest checking out Dom D’Agostino and his very interesting research on the benefits of this diet.
Some people call this “The Caveman” diet because a simple rule of thumb for Paleo eating is that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. Essentially, if it was something a hunter-gatherer could find: meat, fish, nuts, leafy greens and other vegetables - then you are good to go. This makes grocery store visits a lot easier as well since you are only “foraging” for food in 2 departments: the produce section and the meat section!
A big plus for the Paleo diet is that its rules are also simple. You don’t need to count calories or macros and you can eat until you are full (which is great for a hangry person such as the Intolerant Dad). The food that are restricted from this diet are also great for the Intolerant Family because the Paleo diet eliminates gluten, dairy, most grains, and ALL processed foods.
If you’d like to learn more about the Paleo Diet, check out Chris Kresser. He’s a leader in the Paleo Diet world and can explain in detail how living a Paleo lifestyle can help you feel better and lose weight.
The Intolerant Family doesn’t really label their diet. What we eat is like a Paleo or Low-carb diet – but isn’t as restrictive as Keto. We follow simple rules that we’ve pulled from the Keto diet, Paleo diet, and Low-Carb diet and adapted to work for us.
When asked to label our “diet”, The Intolerant Family members generally brush off the question by explaining that we eat the proteins and vegetables that our body responds most positively to, and which make us feel best.
I am not a big fan of stereotypes (or being labeled by one) or of defending myself to people who have negative views toward trendy or “buzz word diets” (which the Keto, Paleo and Low-Carb diets have all become). So, we try to avoid the labeling and explain our diet choices in a simple, easy way - that is buzz-word free. It’s hard enough putting up with the annoyed eye rolls we get when we say the entire Intolerant Family clan is Gluten-free!
Hopefully, this post has helped clarify these diet choices for you. Now, we’d like to know what you do to keep yourself healthy and avoid foods that you’re intolerant to. Do you strictly follow any of these diets? Do you mix and match? We’d like to hear about your successes and struggles. Tell us your story in the discussion board!