weight loss diets
Diets,  Nutrition,  Weight Loss

Keto vs Paleo vs Whole 30 Diet Plans: Which Actually Works For You

While Keto and Whole30 diet plans exclude same foods like legumes, refined sugar, and grains, Paleo diet does not enforce strict ratio and allows natural sweeteners like honey, coconut sugar, and maple syrup. 

Let’s find out more of these popular weight loss diet plans.

Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic diet, commonly called as Keto, was initially formulated to treat patients with epilepsy and seizures, until it became famous when dieters were frenzy about low-carb diets. With Keto diet, what foods are allowed and what are not allowed?

image: ketogenicgirlminute.com

Ketogenic diet focuses on the ratio between protein, fiber, and fat. It is all about cutting carbs and consuming more fats. Breakdown of Keto diet is as follows: 75% of calories should come from fat (oils, butter, avocado, and unprocessed nuts), 20% of calories should come from protein (eggs, meat, cheese), and 5% of calories should be from carbohydrates, including low-carb, non-starchy veggies and little amount of leafy greens. This diet does not allow carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits, grains, starchy veggies, and beans.

The Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein plan. The principles behind Keto diet and why many dieters use it for fat loss is because they believe that by restricting carbs, the body will reach a state of ketosis. This is a metabolic condition where it burns fat for energy that the body needs. And ketosis can only happen when carbs are stored at extremely low level, usually less than 30/40 grams each day.

Glucose is a type of sugar that is usually the main source of your body’s (as well as your brain’s) energy. If glucose is low, your body goes into ketones that have been made from ketogenesis for energy. The  other metabolic process your body uses is known as ketosis. Your liver is responsible for making ketones consistent, but the amount will alter based on the person’s carbs and protein intake. The rate of stimulating ketones slows down when it is not needed, but using Keto diet, your body does not receive sufficient glucose to use it as its fuel, instead your body remains in a state of ketosis.

Pros

Keto helps you lose body fat. Research and anecdotes, as well as the followers of keto diet claimed that using keto can help you lose body fat. If you remove the main source of your body’s energy, which is carbs, it is made to adapt by using body fat for fuel. The Gifu University of Japan learned that a keto diet show a significant effect on the amount of body fat that you can burn off and metabolized for energy. Also, consuming higher-fat foods during the day helps reduce food cravings and boosts feelings of satiety, helping you stay on track and within the recommended daily calorie count.

Keto is beneficial sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyle is a factor that is determined by desk jobs and long working hours. Even if you exercise for 30 minutes each day and if you are not moving too often and much, there is a reason to keep your carbohydrates low because you do not need the muscle glycogen. Also, you can make the carbs work more efficiently by timing your intake around your pre- and post-exercise schedule.

Keto diet resets insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity happens when your body has a difficult time metabolizing glucose and using sugars from carbs. It also minimizes the storage of glucose within your muscle cells, negatively affecting performance and results. The time of low-carb intake through ketogenic diet may help increase your sensitivity to insulin, making sure that you will be able to safely reinforce carbs at a later stage to physique or performance.

Cons

The brain still needs sugar. The ability to focus is very important for work and personal life. If you have tried keto diet, you might have experienced a condition they call “keto flu.” Symptoms are similar to flu such as tiredness and weak, especially during the first week. Why? Very simple reason: your brain gets its energy to perform from blood glucose, in short, it needs sugar. Carbs are needed for glucose to enter the bloodstream and the absence of lack of sugar, your cognitive function might take a hit.

Deficiency in essential nutrients. With keto diet, whole food groups are removed. But essential nutrients are mostly found in foods such as whole grains and fruits which are restricted from keto diet. This restriction can cause deficiencies,especially when weight loss diets like keto is without supervision of a health care professional or without proper. It is then very important that we incorporate a wide variety of foods while eating foods that are very high in fat. Every group group provides different essential nutrients. Focus on vegetables, fruits, seafood, and meat to give you fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, and zinc. Consult a licensed dietitian to improve any deficiency that you may be experiencing.

Calories always count. Weight loss is generally defined by calories in and calories out. If you burn off more calories than you consume through food and drink, then you lose pounds, regardless of the ratio of macronutrients (such as carbs, proteins, fats) that you use. Hence, Keto diet puts too much emphasis on fat and not enough on the overall calories count.

Keto diet is not designed as a long term weight loss plan. Consult with a healthcare professional or your doctor to help and guide you on the right diet for you.

Paleo Diet

Paleo Diet answers: What was a caveman eat? It is generally anything that a person gathered from hunting. 

image: Levl

Many dieters are following Paleo diet who claim that with this diet, they experience dramatic weight loss and health improvement.

Paleo diet focuses on protein and vegetable-rich meals, and remove all forms of refined sugars and bread products from their diet. The diet allows you to eat lean meat (chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, buffalo), fish. Seafood, fresh fruit, non-starchy veggies (lettuce, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts), plant-based oils (walnut, coconut oil, grapeseed, olive), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), and eggs.

 meat, fish, (some) poultry, vegetables and fruits, coconut, seeds and nuts. The emphasis is on pasture-fed animals who were raised in a humane-friendly environment under sustainable settings.

It does not allow all forms of refined sugars, dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), cereal grains (oats, barley, corn, rice, wheat), legumes (beans, peas, peanuts and peanut products, lentils, soy products and soybeans, starchy veggies (potatoes and potato products, yams, sweet potatoes), salty or cured meats (deli meat, pickled food, bacon, most condiments), and all packaged or processed foods. 

Paleo diet tips

  • Paleo diet does not quality specific portions of the allowed food and since there are plenty of foods that are allowed in this diet plan, you may tend to find yourself overeating some of them. Such that there will not be so much issue on eating a lot of lettuce, but the issue may be if you eat a 5-pound jar of nuts.
  • The diet encourages very high protein intake which is an important nutrient to build and maintain muscle. However, take note that too much protein may mean too little carbs, which is the source of energy your body and brain need to perform properly, and for you to do your exercises.
  • Although the diet allow some carbs, it is still fairly restrictive.

Pros

  • Eradicates reliance on white refined carbs.
  • Encourages eating plenty of veggies.
  • Eliminates processed snack foods which are very high in calories and low in nutrients, and low in sugar.
  • Foster careful choice of meats, eggs, fish, and poultry which are raised in humane environment, pastured-fed settings.
  • May help you lose weight because it encourages consumption of fewer calories and eliminates “empty calories” from the diet.

Cons

  • Insufficient clinical studies to support beneficial claims of following Paleo diet, including its claim as long term weight loss and maintenance.
  • Very restrictive diets like Paleo do not last.
  • Too difficult to maintain over a long period of time, leading to a yo-yo dieting and poorer health condition.
  • Whole grains and beans which are not allowed on Paleo diet are important source of nutrients and fiber, not to mention an eco-friendly source of protein.
  • The diet depend so much on meat, which has repeatedly been shown that increase risks of diseases.
  • Time-consuming and expensive.

Whole30 Diet

Whole30 diet is a 30-day “clean-eating” diet plan that aims at cleaning up your eating habits by removing  foods that may have some negative effects on your health. It’s about foods that are too difficult to give up such as sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol.

image: Body+Soul

The U.S.News  explains that Whole30 is not a diet, not a weight loss plan, nor a quick fix. It is formulated to “change your life” by eliminating food cravings, rebalancing hormones, treating digestive problems, improving some medical conditions, and boosting energy and immune performance. The creators of this diet believe that your physical and mental health problems, from acne to depression to allergies are due to the kind of diet that your are following. However, you may not know which foods are to “blame” for what make you sick unless you remove all traces of alcohol, sugar, dairy, grains and legumes for 30 days. 

Whole30 diet does not focus on calorie counting, hence this diet may not be the right one for dieters who want to lose weight. It focuses on the foods or groups of foods that a person can or cannot eat. At the end of this plan, it hopes that you will be able to reset your body and allow you to gradually add some foods back into your regular diet and assess foods that give you adverse reactions.

If you are considering Whole30 diet plan, it encourages consuming whole, unprocessed foods which includes fruits and vegetables, animal protein, healthy fats, and nuts. Grains, dairy, legumes, artificial and added sugar, alcohol, and some additives are not allowed in this diet.

Whole30 rules are strict but simple: Eat moderate portions of seafood, meat and eggs, plenty of vegetables and some fruit fruits, a lot of natural fats, eat herbs, spices, and seasonings. Consume foods with very few ingredients or no ingredients at all because they are whole and unprocessed. Avoid foods that are not allowed in this diet for the whole 30 days.

Take note that Whole30 restricted foods make up a huge portion of a regular American diet and eliminating them may be overwhelming. These food restrictions are clear:

  • No added sugar, real or artificial which includes maple syrup, date syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, stevia, Equal, Nutrasweet, sugar alcohols, and xylitol. Some amounts of fruit juice used as sweetener in recipes are allowed while whole fruits are allowed.
  • Definitely no alcohol. Also, avoid eating foods that are processed with alcohol, even if it is cooked out.
  • No grains, including barley, wheat, rye, corn, oats, rice, bulgur, millet, sprouted grain, buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth.
  • Some legumes are not allowed, including all kinds of beans (like red, black, navy, whte, pinto, lima, kidney, fava, and more), chickpeas, peas, peanuts and peanut butter, lentils, soy and soy products (like soy products, soy lecithin, tofu, miso, edamame, and tempeh). Exemptions from these food group restrictions are green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas since these are more “pod” than “bean.”
  • No to some seeds and vegetable oils like canola  (rapeseed), corn oil, flax (linseed), chia, cottonseed, grapeseed, palm kernel, hemp, sunflower, rice bran, peanut, sesame, soybean, and safflower.
  • No to dairy, including goat, cow, sheep’s milk products (milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, kefir, sour cream, frozen yogurt). Exemption from these restrictions are ghee and clarified butter in which milk proteins are removed.
  • Avoid carrageenan, sulfites, or MSG and if any of these appear in any food label, don’t get it.

Pros

  • Whole30 is a healthy diet that helps you to remove many foods that are bad for the body and make you gain weight, including sodas, fast food, and any food that comes from a box or bag.
  • You may tend to lose weight, although this is not advertised as weight loss diet but it may help. Removing foods that are rich in sugar and consuming more veggies and fruits, in place of processed foods, helps. Ravoof Khan, a general practitioner who treats patients with obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases, shares that Whole30 diet is effective as short term weight loss.
  • You will discover which foods are making you sick. Whole30 is an elimination diet. This means that by eliminating foods or food groups and gradually re-introducing them one by one, will help you determine if you have some food sensitivities, or foods that make you feel sluggish or bloated.

Cons

  • Following Whole30 diet involves planning your meals ahead. You cannot just get something from your cabinet, open the package, and eat. If you want to be successful in following this diet, for whatever health reasons, you need to take time in creating a menu, plan your shopping list, and slice a lot of veggies. If you are on a busy weekend, meal prep like any supporters of the diet plan, may not work out.
  • Very restrictive diet, and because you are removing dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, soy, and alcohol from your diet, you need to consume more meat, fruits, veggies, and nuts. Studies show that very restrictive diet plans do not work as a long term strategy to stay healthy or manage weight. And this diet is too difficult for vegans and vegetarians because it eliminates beans and soy.

Whole30 is somewhat confusing and complex. It has a lot of rules, zero tolerance for breaking their rules. Just imagine how your body will react if you will not be allowed snacks with sugar (which includes honey and maple syrup), grains, dairy, baked goods, treats, alcohol, legumes, dairy and sulfites?

So which of these three diets you consider to follow? 

Well, while diets may be awesome with their promises – like losing weight, giving you more energy, and many more, but most of them fail to take into consideration the other aspects of one’s health.

For us, the best diet is one that provides our body with essential nutrients that make us feel our best and great. If you think that one of these – Paleo, Keto, or Whole30 diets – works for you and go for it. Never choose a diet just because it is trendy and you feel you should. Take note that today’s wellness and diet trends are at its peak. They have good and their bad. Diets can be an amazing tool to improve our health and lose weight, but they can also bring too much stress, fear, and shame.

We recommend to learn listening to your inner voice, your body and try working with a health professional who can help you feel great in your body.

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