There’s no shortage of trendy diets out there, some of which are more legitimate than others. The sheer volume of weight loss methods on the internet, however, makes it difficult to keep track, let alone tell which ones are legit and which ones are bogus.
On the surface, the Keto diet and the Paleo diet, two of the most popular diets out there, seem pretty similar. Both are low-carb, high-protein plans that don’t allow you to eat some of your favorite foods, such as cookies, pizza, and cereal. But there are actually some pretty important differences between the two diets that you should know, so you can figure out if either of them are right for you.
To help you sort out the nuances of each diet, we chatted with registered dietitian Kristen Kizer, M.S., RD, LD, of Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas.
What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet focuses on foods that are high in protein, low in carbs, and rich with fiber. There’s a strong emphasis on meat, fruits, and vegetables — basically, anything our ancestors would have consumed more than 10,000 years ago during the Paleolithic era. (There’s actually some truth to this: in July 2018, when researchers identified the stomach contents of the 5,300-year-old mummy Otzi, they found that his last meal was high-fat and contained “animal and plant remains,” making it pretty Paleo-friendly.)
Because hunter-gatherers like Otzi had limited technology, obviously things like frozen pizza aren’t allowed on the diet. But many foods that are considered healthy, like whole grains and legumes, are also not allowed.