Keto, Paleo, Whole 30, Oh My: Here's What You Should Know

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Keto. Paleo. Whole 30. Confused by all these words being tossed around in your Saturday morning yoga class? We gotchoo, boo.

Today we’re clearing up your confusion by offering you the must-know basics of these three diets.

Want to give any of these a try? Remember that just like your body is a unique miracle (no, really, think about it… you have 37.2 trillion cells working to keep you alive!), your diet needs to be personalized to your needs and lifestyle. Whole 30 may have changed your friend’s entire life to the point where she can’t talk up the benefits enough, but you may not have noticed much of a difference when you tried it. That’s okay! It’s all about finding the right diet for your body.

And remember: always consult with your doctor or dietician before making any sort of radical dietary changes.

You’ll notice that these three diets all have one thing in common: Grains are a big YEAH, LET’S NOT. Read on to see the why and learn more about the Keto, Paleo, and Whole 30 diets!

KETO

Most of us have heard of Whole 30 and Paleo, but what about Keto? Keto is short for the Ketogenic Diet, named after ketosis: a metabolic state your body enters into when you burn fat for energy instead of glucose (as in, sugar).

The focus of this diet is going low-carb, essentially cutting out sugar from your diet and focusing on protein and high fats (yes, you read that right: fats!).

Most of our diets today are high in carbs, aka sugar, aka glucose—the easiest form of energy source for your body. Because glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to use as energy, your body prefers that over the other option: fats.

Are you seeing the issue? Because your body would rather break down glucose than fats for energy, it does just that. And what happens to the fat cells that aren’t being broken down into energy? They’re being put away liked packed boxes in storage, only storage in this case is your waistline.

So with this diet, it’s all about saying no to sugar and focusing instead on healthy fats and protein for energy.

You’ll have to cut out grains (that means you, bread), sugar (even the natural kind, like honey), some fruits (yep, those apples are high in sugar), legumes, and a few others.

But good news! High-fat dairy is still a yes (YASSSS CHEESE), and you can eat all the delicious meats, salads, nuts, and avocados your heart desires. (Okay, so avocados are actually in moderation…)

This diet is great for those who have tried to lose weight but just can’t seem to do it and for those who have concerns over blood sugar levels, like pre-diabetic individuals.

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PALEO

With the paleo diet, we’re throwing way back to the Paleolithic period, asking this question of foods: did cavemen eat this? If the answer is no, then we don’t eat it either.

The argument behind the Paleo diet looks to the history of the human diet, pointing out that grains only entered the human diet when we discovered agriculture and found things like wheat and barley an easy and quick crop to grow and produce food with. Paleo advocates that an abundance of grains just isn’t good for our bodies. (See Keto above, re: carbs and glucose and why this is keeping us from losing weight), pointing to the statistic that 8 million Americans have Celiac disease (an autoimmune disease that makes your immune system think gluten is the devil, causing damage to your small intestines) and an additional 18 million have gluten sensitivity.

But it’s not just about avoiding grains. It’s about avoiding anything that’s processed—so just because that box of Mac-n-cheese is gluten free doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you (for one, it’s way high in sugar to make up for taste).

So what do you eat on a Paleo diet? In a nutshell: proteins, fruits, and veggies… what a caveman would eat! And on the Paleo diet, you’re not counting calories—you eat to satisfy hunger!

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WHOLE 30

Whole 30 is all the rage, with many people who have completed it becoming hardcore disciples of the program.

Whole 30 is meant to be a 30-day cleanse rather than a forever-diet, though some people have felt so great on it they’ve decided to stick to it!

Similar to Paleo, Whole 30 requires cutting out several potentially-inflammatory food groups and additives as a way to “reset” your body for 30 days. Think: grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol (yeahhhh), added sugar, MSG, etc.

The focus is on eating foods that are whole (and not processed), like meats, vegetables, natural fats, and a moderate amount of fruit for 30 days. After those 30 days, you are to slowly introduce each food group, like dairy, into your diet, noting if it causes any reactions, like your stomach going haywire on you. This way, you can identify if your body is sensitive to certain food groups.

So what’s the difference between Paleo and Whole 30? They’re pretty similar, though Whole 30 cuts out a few more things, like some nuts (peanuts) and, because you are meant to reset your body’s cravings, prohibits creating desserts or other classically “unhealthy” foods, like pizza, with Whole 30-approved ingredients. Whole 30 is also intended to be a temporary reset diet, whereas Paleo is a lifestyle diet.

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Combined with a healthy diet, exercise is an important component to living a healthy lifestyle! And with Dallas Iron Fitness’ online fitness programs, it’s easier than ever to easily incorporate exercise into your life!

With our online fitness programs, you’ll receive workouts directly to your inbox, curated for you by your own personal fitness trainer. You’ll be able to work out when and where you want, all while having someone to hold you accountable to your workouts.

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