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What is Paleo Diet and how is it different than Keto Diet?

What is Paleo Diet and how is it different than Keto Diet

‘Paleolithic’ refers to the period of history of the genus Homo, beginning more than 2 million years ago when humans began to cultivate plants (predominantly cereal grains) and domesticate animals. They lived as hunter-gatherers, eating wild-animal-sourced foods (lean meats, internal organs, bone marrow, but no dairy) and uncultivated plant-sourced foods (mostly fruits, non-grain, vegetables, nuts, but no legumes).1

The Paleolithic diet is an eating plan that emphasizes natural environmental foods and eliminates grains, legumes and most processed foods. There is also a strong focus on lifestyle practices, the environmental impact of food choices and total body wellness within the framework of the Paleolithic philosophy. Eventually, this diet will better support the natural biological function of our bodies, improving digestion and health. The diet is re-emerging for its significant health benefits; however, the evidence for this is believed to be in short supply.2,3

The Paleolithic diet – sometimes referred to as ‘the caveman diet’ – is based on the principle that eating foods that were available to early humans will promote optimal health and prevent various disease conditions. One of the fundamental theories behind this diet is that modern food systems, production and processing techniques are damaging to human health.4

Peter S. Ungar, a Paleontologist at the University of Arkansas, focuses on diet and feeding adaptations in living and fossil primates. He and his team suggested that chronic degenerative diseases might be due to a mismatch between our diets and the fuels our bodies were ‘designed’ to burn.5

There are at least 4 different types of Paleolithic diet.  We will cover each in the next few weeks.

  • 80/20 Paleolithic Diet
  • Autoimmune Paleolithic Diet
  • Primal/ lacto-Paleolithic Diet
  • Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet


  1. Klonoff DC. The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2009;3:1229–32. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M. et al. Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009;63:947–55. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  3. Fenton TR, Fenton CJ. Paleo diet still lacks evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104:844. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. The “Paleo Diet”: Back to the Stone Age? 2015 Available at: (accessed 15 September 2018). [Google Scholar]
  5. Ungar PS, Grine FE, Teaford MF. Diet in early Homo: a review of the evidence and a new model of adaptive versatility. Ann Rev Anthropol. 2006;35:209–28. [Google Scholar]