I haven’t always been in the best of shape, having struggled with my health as an overweight teenager, as an adult I am always looking to strive for the best in what I eat, how I move and ultimately how I feel.
So what should we be looking for in our health? Energy, clarity, mental focus and a life force inside us that can achieve anything!
Growing up I wasn’t particularly sporty, nor did I quite undertsand how best to eat with so many conflicting ideas and methodologies out there. Which ‘diet’ or way of life was going to turn my health around? So having given what feels like every trick in the book a go I settled very firmly on the Paleo principles. Which at its core is a back to basics approach removing gluten, dairy, refined sugar and focusing on the most nutrient dense foods available to me. 5 years of thriving on this way of life has certainly enabled me to live my best life.
Even though a Paleo approach to life has served me incredibly well, I have begun to implement a Ketogenic protocol. Thats right, you might think that word sounds familiar because there has been a great deal of hashtags being thrown around lately. The Keto approach, also very similar to the ‘Bulletproof’ branded lifestyle, is getting great momentum, and for very good reason. Which is why you can now select a 100% Keto Protocol when undertaking the Four by Four.
What whats the difference between Paleo and Keto, and how do you know which protocol is right for you?
Paleo Vs. Keto: At a glance
First off, as way of ‘diets’ and lifestyles go, Paleo and Keto have one thing in common, they celebrate a delicious abundance of good yummy fats! So there is certainly no complaining here! I hope that lights up your eyes to read!
The Paleo Protocol eliminates all processed and refined foods and celebrates the food groups and philosophies of our paleolithic ancestors and what they ate – meat from animals that have had a natural life, seasonal plants, fruits when available and in season, as well as foraged nuts and seeds.
The Keto Protocol is very similar to Paleo but is designed to maximize your fat burning potential, reduce cravings, and use ketones as your predominant fuel source, not glycogen. It helps reduce signs of aging, produce sustained levels of energy, by focusing on how food works in your body on a biochemical level.
While both diets strongly align on the elimination of refined and processed sugars, the Keto Protocol requires you to limit your carbohydrate intake to between 20 grams and 50 grams in any one day, varying depending on your activity level, age, height and other health particulates. This can be easy for some and very restrictive for others which is why deciding between the two protocols is right for you important so you get long term results not just a flash in the pan.
The different approach to fats, meat, and carbs between the two protocols
Whilst both protocols focus on incredible quality of where your food comes from, how it is sourced, and what oils it is cooked in, the paleo protocol is more flexible in terms of ratios.
Paleo Protocols are structured in a way with protein often being the hero, then a moderate amount of good fat and varying carbohydrate sources from above and below ground vegetables and fruits. Your focus is less on the quantities and carbohydrate levels and more so on eliminating and avoiding processed and refined foods.
Paleo is the perfect starting point for anyone wanting to change their health in a manageable, sustainable and delicious way that celebrates real food in its most natural state.
The Keto Protocol is similar but with different ratios, with the focus being on good fats, then a moderate amount of protein, and making really smart carbs choices to be low GI, low carb and low sugar. It is also important to note that the Keto Protocol allows for full fat dairy, but please note my Online Four by Four Program only allows butter as a source of Dairy, as opposed to other online Keto recipes and programs focusing heavily on dairy.
Keto is perfect for those wanting to take their health, mental clarity and results to the next level, although isn’t necessarily right for everyone with its requirement to stay in ketosis, which is our bodies state when we are effectively utilising ketones as our default fuel source.
Quality not quantity
Understanding where your food comes from matters in both protocols, Paleo or Keto, it counts to make an effort choosing well sourced, sustainable produce. For many years people followed Atkins or a general low-carb high fat diet eating non-organic produce and grain-fed meat out of a sense of convenience or maybe they just didn’t know any better. It is important to note these foods contain hormones, pesticides, and other toxins that can harm your performance and make you slow, defeating the performance of undertaking either one of these protocols.
The key is focusing on the most nutrient-dense, high-quality foods that feed your body at a cellular level and minimize your body’s exposure to harmful chemicals. You’ll find you need to eat less, as you’ll feel fuller for longer when celebrating simple real food.
Understanding which is the protocol for you
No two people are the same. We are fortunate enough to have an incredible thing called Bio-Individuality. Meaning we all react to foods differently, and no one thing will ever work for each and every one of us. There is no magic pill, and it can take some exploring to work out what is best for you.
Should you avoid gluten? Can you have small amounts of dairy? Should you avoid nightshades? Perhaps a high carb paleo diet leaves you sluggish, unable to lose weight; Or a Keto plan doesn’t give you the energy you need with the lifestyle you live and your schedule.
The best place to start is eliminate the inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, refined sugars and create an individual baseline to work from. If you don’t have a spectrum to tell you that certain foods don’t work for you then you have no way of telling how the foods you put in your body are affecting your everyday performance.
The only way to really figure out which foods may be giving you problems is to use your body as a testing ground. So eliminate these certain foods, then methodically adding them back in. When your mood, energy, skin or health changes, you know which can cause you harm and inflammation.
See if you live optimally Paleo feeling free to get energy in the forms of well sourced carbs, or if your default kick-ass mood is when you follow Keto to maximise mental focus and fat burning.
To fast or not to fast
Both Paleo and Keto devotees experiment and undertake different levels of fasting. It can optimise fat brining, reduce fatigue, and allow our body to rest and restore. A Paleo fast is often performed with little to no food, whereas a Keto fast can include things like bulletproof coffee to stimulate, eliminate and have you firing off all canons.
Understanding fasting is a whole article in itself so stay tuned for that!
So to summarise
Paleo is a primal or ancestral diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by our early ancestors, with a focus on meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy, grains, and refined or processed sugars.
- Uses lean proteins and healthy fats to support strong muscles, healthy bones, and optimal immune function. The perfect protocol for those needing to eliminate old habits and reset their health.
Recommends a higher percentage of consumption of fruits and protein than The Keto Protocol, which recommends more healthy fats and vegetables.
- It’s based on high amounts of healthy fats, moderate amounts of high-quality protein and tons of organic vegetables eaten at the right times in order to create unbelievable levels of energy and mental clarity throughout the day.
- It identifies the exact foods that provide the most energy and contain the least performance-robbing, inflammation-causing anti-nutrients and toxins. Whilst cracking the root of food cravings, allowing you to lose weight with zero hunger or a battle of willpower.
My final word
The Paleo Protocol is based around an ancestral modality whilst the Keto Protocol focuses on the research behind ways to improve performance and mental clarity by providing ample amounts of resources for your body’s building blocks.
Both are fantastic examples of working towards higher food quality, more grass fed meat from healthy animals, better vegetables, and higher performance humans.
I think Paleo is the best place to begin, and if your lifestyle can implement the Keto Protocol and its principles for a period of time it can take your results to another level.
Paleo can be more sustainable for many with its flexibility on food and fuel sources, whereas Keto can be the perfect 4-8 week kick in the butt you need to shift your results to the next level.