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Whole30®, Paleo & Keto Lifestyles | Similarities & Differences

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Whether you are looking to shed a few extra pounds or maintain a healthy lifestyle, the “diet” landscape can be a bit overwhelming. This article will help you understand the differences and similarities between these three popular eating lifestyles and help you make a choice!

Here’s a glimpse into what these are:

The Keto diet mainly focuses on putting your body into the state of ketosis, which helps in breaking down fat cells into ketones to use as energy instead of glucose. The Paleo diet focuses upon foods such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and restricts foods like most dairy products, grains and legumes. Paleo rules are, basically, foods that were available to man before farming. Whole30® is an elimination diet that you follow for 30 days and are essentially whole foods like meat, fruit, eggs, some nuts and seeds. The idea is to eliminate things that could cause other issues, like allergic reactions, and slowly reintroduce the foods and monitor any reactions. Of the three, Whole30® is the strictest for the 30 days but not designed to be a long-term diet if you do not want to continue. Many folks, like me, continue to eat as they did on the plan after the 30 days because of the overall health benefits.


- Low-Carb Approach: All three diets are typically a low-carb approach to your everyday eating lifestyle. They require the elimination of processed junk food, grains and refined sugars.

- Long-Term Benefits: Keto, Paleo and Whole30® – all three diets overlap in their general benefits, which can include reduction of weight, better sleep, increased energy levels and better cognitive functions.

- Strictness Intensity: All three diets require consistency and are a lifestyle; hence, one cannot just have a cheat day like many other diets. While you can have a cheat day every 2 to 4 weeks while on a Paleo or Keto plan, Whole30® forbids any cheating for the 30 days. If you cheat, you have to start over on day one.


- What to eat & what not to eat: All three diets have a different set of protocols on the types of foods one can have as they go by different approaches. Keto focusses on eating 60 – 80 % fat, 10 – 30% Protein and no more than 5 – 10% (or 20 – 50 grams) of carbs a day. The foods allowed are eggs, meats, low carb vegetables and sugar free beverages. Paleo is very similar to Whole30®, as they both do not allow processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, grains, legumes, and artificial sweeteners. Paleo will allow some dairy but no vegetable oils. Whole30® does not allow any dairy but you can use olive or avocado oil


In the end, it's all about what fits you and your goals. I have known many people to follow the Keto lifestyle and they have had success. I tried it myself and did not have the same success. I did Whole30® and on day 29, I was feeling better and sleeping better. As a bonus, I was starting to lose weight. Therefore, I decided to continue to follow the rules most of the time on most days and have lost 35 pounds over the course of a year. I have also improved all of my bloodwork numbers in my yearly physicals. Ultimately, you have to find what works for your body and lifestyle and it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any sort of diet. I hope this article helps clarify these popular choices.

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