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Paleo vs Whole30: Differences and Similarities Explained – Greatist

Mar 31st, 2022

Both Paleo and Whole30 are wildly trendy diets that ditch processed eats in favor of whole foods.

But the diets arent actually interchangeable terms. Whole30 has stricter requirements and is a time-constrained program, while Paleo is a lifestyle change.

Still confused? Lets map out the main differences between Paleo and Whole30. And help you figure out if either diet plan is right for you.

Paleo (codename: the caveman diet) is a diet designed to mimic eating habits of the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer age back when obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates were presumably lower.

Paleo proponents say eating like your ancestors can ward off modern diseases and help you lose weight. But TBH, paleos premise is a stretch.

Ancient human diets wouldve varied depending on geography and food availability. Plus, just because certain foods werent available to your ancestors doesnt mean theyre bad for you.

Eating paleo = eating these foods:

And avoiding these foods:

The intense focus on minimally processed foods means youll be eating lots of nutrient-dense foods. Its basically a form of clean eating that also nixes random food groups like dairy and legumes.

That said, eating paleo could limit your nutrient intake, especially if you load up on protein instead of veggies. It can be tricky (but not impossible) to sustain a well-balanced, healthy paleo diet.

The Whole30 program = an intense, 30-day detox focused on minimally processed, easily digestible foods.

Designed to help pinpoint food sensitivities and reset your eating habits, Whole30 has gained a fanbase for helping weight loss and smoother digestion.

Heres the thing: Nixing sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and dairy probably *will* help you lose weight (even if thats not your goal). Whole30 maintains a lengthy no-no list, so youre bound to consume fewer calories and more nutrient-dense plants.

The Whole30 program allows foods like:

Whole30 ixnays foods like:

The Whole30 program is generally safe and youll get some potential health perks from eating nutritious, whole foods. But things get murky if youre at risk for disordered eating.

Its also a tricky, potentially unhealthy plan for folks who eat plant-based diets because it cuts out nutrient-dense proteins like beans and soy.

By now youve probably noticed that Whole30 serves as a stricter, time-constrained form of paleo. But weve pinpointed one major difference between the two: intended purpose.

Remember, Whole30 aims to help you pinpoint food intolerances. After IDing your triggers, you can welcome back off-limits foods like beans or peanut butter.

Paleo might seem more chill at first. You can have a teeny bit of chocolate or wine, which are strictly forbidden on Whole30. But the rules on day 1 stay the same for as long as you eat paleo weeks, months, or even years.

On an average day, paleo and Whole30 look a whole lot alike. Peep these parallels:

Heres the lowdown on Whole30 vs paleo.

If Whole30 and paleo are sisters, think of paleo and keto as cousins. They might look alike even though they have different personalities.

A quick summary of each plan:

In reality, folks eating keto *can* adhere pretty closely to paleo guidelines. But because keto demands a high fat, low carb consumption, the diet can also include dairy, peanut butter (legume alert!), and other foods that are paleo-prohibited.

Each member of the trio Whole30, paleo, and keto has the potential to help you lose weight and keep your blood sugar under control. But all three can be unnaturally limiting too.

Every body is different. Theres no one-size-fits-all diet. Whether your goal is to feel better or shed body fat, just check with a doc or dietician before cutting out major food groups.

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Paleo vs Whole30: Differences and Similarities Explained - Greatist

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