#HealthBytes: Keto and Paleo diets explained
If you happen to be a weight-watcher, you have probably already heard of the popular Keto and Paleo diets, two of the hottest diet buzzwords. Although these two diets seem quite similar as both promote a low-carbohydrate plan and restrict you from certain food items, they are actually pretty different. Here's how Keto and Paleo diets work.
To begin with, what is Keto diet
The Keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, that aims at drastically reducing carbohydrates intake, and replacing it with fat consumption. Such reduction in carbohydrate leads your body to a metabolic state, known as ketosis. This further helps your body to efficiently burn fat for energy. Additionally, it converts fat into ketones in the liver, thus contributing to energy supply to the brain.
Keto diet for weight loss
The unconventional Keto diet proves effective for promoting weight loss, and reducing risk of lifestyle diseases. Research suggests that it is way better than the usually recommended low-fat diet. Further, a study showed that participants on Keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. What's more? They also witnessed improvement in Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels.
Other benefits of Keto diet
Originally invented to treat neurological diseases, the Keto diet, apart from promoting weight loss, is also beneficial in treating diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, Parkinson's and other brain injuries.
What to eat, what not to eat
Since the diet focuses on limiting carbohydrates, food items such as grains, beans, legumes, fruits, alcohol, and unhealthy fats should be avoided. And in lieu of them, low-carbohydrate, fatty food items such as meats, fishes, eggs, butter, cream, cheese, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carbohydrate veggies (green veggies, tomatoes, onions etc.) should be consumed.
Side effects of Keto diet
When switching on to a Keto diet, there might be some side effects, as your body takes time to adapt. This is known as keto flu and often leads to poor energy, improper mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues and nausea. To minimize these effects, you may try a low-carbohydrate diet for the first couple of weeks before turning to a completely zero-carbohydrate diet.
And, what is Paleo diet
Now coming to Paleo diet, also known as the Caveman diet, the focus is on food items that are rich in protein and fiber, but low in carbohydrates. Importance is given to items like meats, fruits and veggies, just like our ancestors used to consume thousands of years ago during the Paleolithic era (hence the name). Under this plan, whole-grains and legumes aren't allowed.
What to eat, what to avoid
Since the Paleo diet emphasizes increased consumption of natural fats, you must take more of food items like lean meats, eggs, fish, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and natural oils. On the other hand, you need to cut down your intake of dairy products, cereals, legumes, artificial sweeteners, sweets, soft drinks and processed foods.
Benefits of Paleo diet
Although there is limited research, many short-term studies suggest that the Paleo diet can help contribute to weight loss, improve glucose tolerance, enhance blood pressure control, and result in better appetite management.
Which one is healthier?
If implemented correctly, both Paleo and Keto diets can prove to be healthy. However, if we must compare, the Paleo diet is a healthier option for most people. This is so because Keto is a more restrictive diet plan (strictly cutting down most of your carbs), while Paleo allows for more flexibility in food choices. It thus makes way for a healthier lifestyle.
For long-term good health, opt for a balanced diet
Despite their own benefits, the larger issue with both these diet plans is that they dramatically reduce our carbohydrate consumption, which is necessary for our body as they provide glucose that balances blood sugar and increases energy levels. A healthier option is to go for a balanced meal plan with healthy food items but smaller portions.