What is the difference between the Atkins diet, Paleo diet, and the Ketogenic diet? They often get grouped together in conversation and confused in execution. I’m here to break each diet down and simplify them for you so you know how to approach your health in the healthiest way.
– Atkins diet –
The Atkins diet started with the idea that our bodies don’t need carbohydrates. In fact, Dr. Atkins believed that if we restricted carbohydrates and instead prioritized the consumption of fat, it would lead to better health and longevity.
That was a radical idea and a great start at the time, but it was basically “Version 1” of a good idea because it didn’t provide an alternative to carbohydrates for fuel. If you restrict carbohydrates on the Atkins diet but don’t restrict them enough, your body can go into a weird metabolic state where you are just depriving your body of energy in the form of carbs, but not allowing it to reach for any other energy source (like ketones). Then you feel like crap.
Atkins also has no focus on quality control in the form of food you’re putting in your body. It promises that you’ll be healthy if you eat low quality meats, fast food with the buns off, and sticks of butter. This is not quite the case. You need to focus on food quality, regardless of what “diet” you are on.
– Ketogenic Diet –
The ketogenic diet is one that restricts carbohydrates so much that your body starts *producing ketones for energy*. It is not just a diet. Keto is a metabolic state where you teach your body to break down it’s own fat cells when there are no carbs present. Did you read that?! When your body breaks down fat cells, you lose weight!
But wait, there’s more! Ketones not only represent the activity of burning fat for fuel, but having ketones in your body have a host of additional benefits- they help you decrease inflammation (less joint pain), they help your brain work better (feels good to be smart), and studies show that ketones can also help us stave off cancerous cells in your body.
– Paleo Diet –
Paleo diet is a great diet for prioritizing food QUALITY. This diet suggests that the healthiest way for us to eat is by choosing to eat foods that our ancestors were eating for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years before the agricultural revolution.
The problem with the Paleo diet is that it doesn’t discriminate enough against the QUANTITY of carbohydrates, which can prevent you from achieving great health.
– Keto Plus –
My recommended diet for most people and the diet that I choose to abide by for my health is a combination of the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet- I want you to take the principles of “food quality first” from Paleo and combine it with eating few enough carbohydrates to burn ketones for fuel. I call this diet “Keto Plus”.
Let me know if you have any questions about any of these or other diets and how they might affect your health goals.
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