Keto or Paleo: Which Diet is Better for Fat-Loss? – Men’s health UK

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Both the ketogenic diet and prehistoric eating are espoused by influencers and experts alike. But which formula is man’s
best trend for fat loss, and which is the diet to discard? Below, Men’s Health crunched the numbers on keto — “atkins on steroids” — and the paleo diet, another take on a low-carb, high-protein meal plan that are also rich in meat, fruits, and vegetables.

With both diets, there are some significant differences between them. If you’re scratching your head, here’s quick catch-up:

What is the Keto Diet?

Short for ‘the ketogenic diet’, keto requires fat to make up to 80 per cent of your total daily calories, with protein making up the remaining 10 to 15 per cent and five per cent from carbohydrates — that’s one slice of bread or an apple. High-fat proteins such as salmon, steak and pork are popular on keto, alongside avocados, nuts and cheese. With Keto, the goal is to force your body into ‘ketosis’, altering your energy source from carbohydrates to fat.

What Is the Paleo Diet?

Not unlike Keto, Paleo focuses on high-protein, low-carb foods that are rich with fibre. Meat, fruit and vegetables — foods eaten in the Paleolithic era — are popular, as are ‘hunter-gatherer’-type foods that boost satiety. However, carbohydrates are ‘allowed’ in greater quantities. As opposed to Keto, Paleo encourages the individual to make more natural food choices — pizzas weren’t available in Paleolithic times, after all — to encourage weight-loss.

So, how do they stack up? Here, we crunch the numbers.

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Battle Plans

Paleo: The caveman diet shuns processed food and grains. Instead, it promotes high-protein, fibre-rich hunter-gatherer grub, boosting satiety to help avoid boom-and-bust dieting.

Keto: Proponents derive 60-75% of their calories from fat, 15-30% from protein and 5-10% from carbs, inducing a state called ketosis. It’s extreme, but it promises rapid fat loss.

Star Players

Paleo foods: Steak, sweet potatoes, kale, salmon

Keto foods: Olive oil, almonds, cheese, avocado

Paleo: A review found that paleo leads to 3.5kg more weight loss than the Mediterranean or Nordic diets, making it the most effective eating plan prioritising whole, unprocessed foods.

Keto: In three months, keto dieters lost 6.3kg of fat on average and were happier (and less hungry) than low-carbers. But the study doesn’t say how long that was maintained.

Comedowns

Paleo: Sugar cravings, bad breath, weak bones, gut trouble

Keto: Fatigue, mood swings, keto flu, skin rashes

Muscle Growth

Paleo: Prioritising organic meat gives you all 22 amino acids, supporting post-gym growth. These include leucine, which is key to recovery. Plus slow-release carbs fuel any workout.

Keto: Ketosis causes your body to burn its way through stored fats – but cutting down on carbs makes HIIT hard, and keto’s protein count won’t make muscle gain any easier.

The Winner Is…

…Paleo! It’s inarguable: keto torches more paunch, but the fact that one macro-ratio misstep undoes your hard (and often unpleasant) work can’t be ignored. The most effective diet is the one you can stick to, and the still-potent paleo plan allows you to take your spear and stick it to fat long-term.

Thomas Ling is Assistant Digital Editor at Men’s Health.

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