Paleo Vs Keto Vs Atkins – What’s The Difference?

So many diets, so little time but the options are still on the table with the paleo, keto and Atkins diets taking the forefront and you got to choose one. Or possibly tread carefully and skinny dip on various diets all at once. Still, the paleo, Atkins and ketogenic diets carve a fork on the road and picking the right path isn’t exactly something you would want to rush into. Take the time to get to know the diets and read on to find out their differences so you can start your health quest confidently and comfortably.

It is pretty surprising at times when you take a good look and the different dieting options available today. There are just so many of them! And the most surprising thing is that a lot of people struggle to settle on something that really works for them. You could blame on it on poor execution or perhaps a lack of patience but there is also a good chance that people may not be sticking to the right diet. Sure there are plenty of proposed diets that are unproven but on the other end you have some of the heavyweights like the ketogenic diet, paleo diet and Atkins diet and they all have a few things in common. One of the most significant things is that they all have huge followings and you need to look no further than the social media groups just in case you are thinking otherwise.

This might give you that feeling that you can’t go wrong as far as picking a diet is concerned. Choosing one of the three diets should put you on a path to better health and getting that dream shape and if you have the determination, you should get some desirable results but you have to remember that every diet is a journey and choosing the right adventure is all about deciding which kind of ride is most manageable for you. All diets are going to be bumpy because you do have to sacrifice but for each diet the specifics can be a little different so it is very important to take a closer look at the paleo, Atkins and ketogenic diets.​

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet has to be the easiest to understand of the three diets in discussion here. All you have to do is imagine yourself going back through time to the Paleolithic era and think about what foods were readily available back then. Yup there were humans during those times but there were no supermarkets, no canned goods or no foods with any kind of processing where you would have to be concerned on what is in that stuff. Life was pretty simple back then at least when it comes to food selection because what you had to eat went all the way down to your mere surroundings. Apparently, there is a group of historians who believe that cavemen were healthier folks in general and they could be right! How can they eat a bag of potato chips? You have the animals to hunt for meat and the various plants and vegetables growing around you. You know none of those have any additives because they are natural. Diet enthusiasts would refer to these types of foods as “whole foods”.

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet needs no introduction here if you are a loyal keto reader. But for those who are new here, the ketogenic diet revolves on the concept of ketosis and low carbohydrate intake. It is the most technical out of the three diets and it has a pretty big following with one of the main reasons being the unconventional approach this diet has. Fats are not exactly a restriction here and is in fact treated as a source of fuel. It pinpoints the carbs as the enemy here and the fats replacing the role as the energy driver. Historically viewed as a treatment of epilepsy for children, this diet requires strict monitoring of the amount of calories and carbs you take in and the end goal is for your body to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis where the ketone bodies in the blood are used to fuel your body eliminating dependency on glucose.

Atkins Diet

Due to the technical nature of the ketogenic diet, it isn’t for everyone. Just because it works for you does not mean that you will have an easy time to convince your friends and relatives to hop on the bandwagon too. But introducing them to the Atkins diet may give them the stopgap solution they need to go full on keto. The Atkins diet can be considered a less strict variant of the ketogenic diet. Conceptualized by cardiologist and physician Robert Coleman Atkins, the diet centers on low carbohydrate consumption too which is necessary for ketosis. It just has slightly looser restrictions in the sense that you can still introduce some carbohydrates early on and after you lost enough weight from ketosis. Overall, you are still required to keep your carb levels low.

Differentiating the Three Diets

And now comes the tough part. Which one is right for me? How do I choose the right diet? What differences should I know about? The right approach is to look at the three diets from various angles and even get to know the similarities as well.

Difficulty

One of the most important things people will need to understand when diving into most unfamiliar dieting approaches is the labels on the food items. Labels contain not only the ingredients which should help you decide if the food even belongs in your eating list but also the numbers so you can figure out how much you need to serve for yourself. Depending on how passionate you are with dieting in general or how soon you want the desired results to be, label checking can get pretty tedious but the job has to be done. You have no idea what kind of stuff is in that slice of bread or spoonful of peanut butter and you need to find out because blindly chowing down on those tasty treats could mean the ultimate demise for all the hard work you have done since you started doing the diet. There is very little room for cheating here! This mainly applies to both the ketogenic and Atkins diets since both of them require drastic changes to your carb consuming habits.

The difference between ketogenic diet and Atkins diet lies on the consistency. Basically when you are following the ketogenic diet, you have to cap your carbs per day at 50g or lower and eventually you’ll enter and stay in the ketosis phase. The Atkins diet adds a little bit of flexibility where you try to keep your carb levels low with some allowance to add up a little bit once you have lost enough weight. But at the same time, you don’t want to go too high up and grab any guilty pleasure you like.

Paleo diet is a little bit different and pretty much a no-brainer the moment you associate the paleo diet to a caveman’s diet. Because that is an accurate way of putting things. Simply ask yourself, what would a caveman eat? Canned goods are automatically banned and pretty much anything else that isn’t fresh or organic so you don’t have to worry about labels. Just stick to paleo-friendly foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, meat and seafood. Things like carb and fat count don’t really matter as much making the paleo diet more accessible and perhaps easier to get used to.

It is also important to consider the side effects of each diet too and depending on the person, there could be no way around those. No matter what diet you pick, your body will adjust to different stuff entering there and it is possible to get a “flu” as a result. Craving for non-paleo foods like French fries or sweets (which are a big no in the keto world!) is a strong possibility.​

Effectiveness

There are two things you should know regarding any kind of diet right off the bat. First, your results are going to vary depending on your past eating habits and second, the time it takes for you to realize the effectiveness of each diet could vary too so it could be a pretty difficult to get the right diet for you on the first try. It is a good practice to spend the first week trying to get acquainted to the diet and start beginning a habit which you can commit to for the rest of the month. Then stay on that course without any temptation to go elsewhere for 4 to 6 weeks. Taking down notes and logging your journey is crucial and may even help you find the actual diet you need if necessary.

But when you are choosing amongst the three diets mentioned here, you can’t really go wrong as long as you are following the most up-to-date resources. With the ketogenic diet, that shouldn’t be a problem whatsoever since there is plenty of information here. If you plan on loosening up with Atkins, you should first make sure that sticks as close to the ketogenic method as possible because earlier methods distanced itself from ketogenic a bit and was later proven by some of the early adopters that those early Atkins methods weren’t so effective. On paper, Atkins may already sound less effective due to the extra carbs you introduce to your diet but remember that you aren’t just changing your eating habits. The trick to balance that out is by means of exercising.

The paleo diet is more of a tried-and-tested approach since you are essentially copying the stuff that your distant ancestors did centuries ago. It is really easy to conclude that the diet totally worked out for them because they simply had no choice but to avoid the artificial stuff. But just remember that paleo diet doesn’t involve any carb or fat counting so there is a possibility that you might not get the desired figure or weight target. When it comes to shaving off as many pounds as possible, you have to get really technical down to the calories. So going that tough keto route certainly has its rewards and you have to be real patient and determined in order to really be amazed with the results.​

Popularity

Knowing how popular each dieting method is could also help you decide which one to stick to. Popularity not only gives you some sense on which diet actually works best for the majority but it also highlights the more social aspects of weight loss in general. You want to jump on the biggest train or join a big group all with a common goal to be healthier. Or perhaps you want to look up to your idol or favorite celebrity and follow his or her health path. Did you know that former UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey incorporated shades of the paleo style to her diet? You can even ask Google about the paleo diet and you will get about 17 million results. By comparison, ketogenic diet and Atkins diet returns about 6.6 million and 5.7 million results respectively. But if you look at Facebook, you will see that there are tons of vibrant ketogenic diet communities which should silence all those critics who consider the ketogenic diet as a fake diet. Plus, more popularity means so many more recipe ideas to play around with. Do not underestimate the power and influence of social media. It can be really fun especially when you get encouragement from other people on the same diet as you and already had shared their key milestones.

End Goal

Most people try to go on those fancy diets that require a lot of sacrifice just because they want to attain their dream figure. Shave off the fats, build that six-pack abs, tone the body and get those sexy curves and just feel good at the end. You can go to those groups yourself and see all those “before and after” pictures posted by folks. It is clear what the end goal is there but you have to remember that it isn’t the only goal out there. It is pretty obvious with the Atkins and ketogenic diets because ketosis is in the equation and ketosis points to weight loss. It’s really that simple. But with the paleo diet and its added flexibility on whole foods, not everyone cares about weight loss or does not mind so much about the carbs. They just want to feel healthier and you are definitely going to feel healthier if you avoid canned goods and other processed foods. It's better to prepare your own meal because you're sure that what you prepare is healthy.

Three-way Comparison

If you are still confused on what diet to pick, use this three-way comparison table as a guide.

Ketogenic Diet

Atkins Diet

Paleo Diet

Goal

Weight loss

Weight loss

Better health

Low-carb / Low-fat strictness

High

Medium

Low

Flu-like side-effects?

Likely

Likely

Likely

Popularity

Medium

Low

High

Main benefits

Effective fat loss

Easier way to ketosis

More food choices

Main downsides

Strict carb monitoring

Not always effective

Not focused on weight loss

Conclusion

One of the biggest wins by going for any of the three diets is that awesome feeling of not taking in all those harmful additives found in processed foods. It is a giant hurdle to get over but well worth it as it will give you more energy and you’ll just feel healthier overall after you overcome the low-carb or keto flu. The main difference amongst the three diets is how you manage your carbs with ketogenic being the strictest. It’s pretty easy to think that ketogenic diet has the biggest rewards as it involves the most effort in staying in that ketosis state. It might not be the most comfortable path and there is an entire article on keto flu that explains why but you can overcome it. Plus, you can start out with the paleo diet just to get rid of the cravings and slowly transition to Atkins as you try to decrease your carb count and then easily switch gears to the ketogenic diet and really get the most benefits out of everything. It is growing in popularity in social media so you shouldn’t feel like you are on the short end in recipe selection.

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