Paleo vs. Mediterranean Diet

With all the different diets out there, it is hard to choose which is best. The Paleo and Mediterranean diets are two amazing diets that are actually quite similar despite one main difference. This article will delve into the two and discuss a comparison.

The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, also known as Paleolithic or the caveman diet, is based on the idea that eating foods that our ancestors ate will enhance optimal health. It is based on the principle that processed foods like table salt and refined sugar are detrimental to human health, and dieters should avoid them. Unlike the modern man, early cave dwellers were forced to eat a diet composed of protein since they had limited access to greens and grains.

The paleo diet permits foods such as meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, selected fats like olive oil and coconut oil, and minimally processed sweeteners like raw honey. Practitioners of the Paleolithic diet emphasize on getting energy from animal products with a macronutrient breakdown of high protein and low carbohydrate.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been found to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. People on this diet believe in eating healthy, unprocessed foods. It differs from the paleo diet in that this diet is essentially plant-based, focusing on the foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and oils. These are the foods that the diet stresses eating the most of. You might be asking where the protein comes from. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating a moderate amount of dairy, eggs, white meat, and fish. That means red meat is lumped in the no-no category with processed foods, sugar, and meat.

Besides these qualities, the diet incorporates several other interesting aspects. For one, people on this diet are encouraged to use plenty of olive oil and to drink wine (in moderation). This doesn’t mean you should fry every meal and get drunk every night. But it certainly does allow a small amount almost every day.

The diet also calls for cultural and lifestyle elements since our mental health ties in with our physical health. Examples of such elements include social activities like a culinary workshop and physical activities. 

What Do They Have in Common?

1. They Focus on Food Quality

Both diets encourage dieters to eat high-quality foods like raw nuts and seeds, organic produce, and healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, and grass-fed butter. However, both diets discourage heavily processed fats like Trans fats, which can be damaging to human health when taken regularly.

2. They Are Effective Weight Loss Solutions

Both paleo and Mediterranean diets have gained recent popularity because of their potential to help individuals lose weight. Apart from weight loss, both diets can be used for other health goals. Paleo helps treat inflammation, high cholesterol, diabetes and symptoms of IBS, while Mediterranean helps treat almost all heart diseases, diabetes, inflammation and more.

What Are Their Differences?

While paleo eliminates grains and legumes, the Mediterranean diet welcomes them – to an extent. The paleo diet discourages eating of grains and legumes since they were not consumed by early cave dwellers. It is also discouraged because it contains anti-nutrients which can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and minerals, and this causes digestive distress.

While this has some truth, there are benefits of low-glycemic carbohydrates. Also, legumes provide a good source of protein and they are packed with fiber.

The Paleo diet also encourages eating lots of meat. The mediterranean diet on the other hand only allows a moderate amount of meat. Plants are favored over animals.

The Mediterranean diet also encourages the occasional glass of red wine which can be a great way to reward yourself after a week of discipline. Overall, the Mediterranean diet is healthier.

Conclusion

The paleo diet takes us back to Paleolithic era and has us eat what we were eating in that era: meat and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet is similar in that it focuses on whole, unprocessed foods. However, besides meat and vegetables, carbohydrates and fats and more accepted while carbs are essentially eliminated in the paleo diet. Both are great means for weight loss. Paleo will ultimately provide a little more weight loss with the elimination of carbs, but the Mediterranean diet is healthier overall. You can’t go wrong with either so after reading this article, choose which fits your lifestyle, preferences, and goals.

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