What’s the difference between the Paleo, Keto and Banting diets?
Hmm. You wouldn’t believe how often people get these three confused.
Because they are all LOW CARB.
They are NOT the same.
I’m going to make it SUPER SIMPLE for you.
First, I’m going to give a description (in a nutshell) what each of these diets boil down to. Then, we will cover some frequently asked questions.
We will cover:
- What is the Paleo Diet?
- Questions surrounding the Paleo Diet.
- What is the Keto and Banting Diet?
- Questions surrounding the Keto/Banting Diet.
The Paleo diet focuses on eating only natural whole foods.
The crux: Eat like a caveman or hunter-gatherer, and eliminate foods that relate to civilisation in any way – i.e. agriculture: foods produced through farming grains, dairy etc.
Why? The idea is that our modern lifestyle is at the root of all our problems. The Paleo diet aims to eradicate the bad habits associated with a modern diet (a diet high in trans-fats and processed carbs), to reduce the risk of suffering from chronic ailments like type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease and so forth.
QUESTIONS: PALEO DIET
Is Paleo high protein?
Not necessarily. However, some specific weight-loss Paleo Diets sometimes specify a high protein component.
Why is it called the Paleo Diet?
“Paleo” is short for “Paleolithic” – and relates to foods that were available to people of the Paleolithic (caveman) Era. This was a time period before the rise of the Agricultural Revolution.
Can you drink alcohol on the Paleo diet?
This is a tough one. The easiest answer is: no. The basis of the Paleo diet is to move away from toxins and processed foods – it’s kind of the whole point, actually. BUT – life happens. So the best advice is to LIMIT alcohol intake AND select the right form of it. My point is, don’t become a hermit just because you’re on a diet. Enjoying a drink with friends can be a great stress-reliever and a great way to bond with family and friends. When the occasion arises – drink conservatively, and stick to clean spirits and dry red wine. Most other alcoholic beverages contain a ton of sugar…so stay away!
Is there a set macronutrient ratio for the Paleo Diet?
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” macronutrient ratio. But remember that it is still important to keep track of calories because you can still gain weight on a low carb diet if you’re consuming too many calories. Typically, this would most likely be fat calories. Therefore, aim to consume mostly fresh fruit and vegetables – then meat and eggs – then least of all fatty foods like seeds, nuts, and oils.
If the Paleo Diet is all about “natural” – why can’t I eat sugar?
You can! But before you get too excited…you can only eat sugar in its natural form. The point is that many sugary foods and drinks these days contain sugar in unnatural quantities (sugar would never be found in such a concentrated form in nature). In the Paleo Diet, you are free to eat sugar in the form of fresh fruits and a little bit of honey – sugar’s natural form.
Can you eat too much protein?
Yes, you can! For some reason people (the gym-goers in particular) just assume: “when in doubt – eat PROTEIN!” They believe the more protein they eat – the more muscle they will build. It is true that protein facilitates muscle growth. Not arguing with that. BUT – you need to be aware that you can consume TOO MUCH. Instead of simply eating as much protein as possible (in the form of shakes, protein cereals, and egg whites for days!) – perhaps consider calculating your protein requirements. Too much protein can have several harmful effects (like bad breath, body odour, nausea) – but the worst is kidney damage. The building blocks of proteins are called amino acids, which contain Nitrogen. Consuming a normal amount of protein, your kidneys would be able to process toxic nitrogen fairly easily. Too much, however, can over-exhaust your kidneys – potentially leading to kidney damage.
What does my body use as the energy source when I am on the Paleo Diet?
This will all depend on your carbohydrate versus fat intake. For example – if you are eating a lot of sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut, nuts, honey and other starchy Paleo-friendly foods, you will most likely still be using glucose for energy. To enter your fat-burning state (ketosis) – aim for no higher than 150g net carbs per day. This will vary from person to person, so I recommend starting at around 20-30g net carbs, and then gradually increasing carbohydrate intake based on your individual response. I find that using energy levels as a gauge works fairly well. If your carb intake is too high for fat metabolism, you will most likely suffer from a lack of energy.
Newsflash! Keto and Banting is the same thing!
They have the same principles. The difference is that in America they call it the “Keto Diet” and in South Africa (for example) it is referred to as the “Banting Diet”.
The crux: High fat, low carb! This means that, preferably, 80% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat, and optimally 5% of calorie intake from carbs (in the form of vegetables). This leaves 15% of calorie intake from a protein source.
Before we go any further:
This is not a high protein diet! The high fat content is the most important factor here.
Why? Because you want to switch from glucose-metabolism to fat-metabolism. This means your body will no longer use sugar for energy – but rather fat in the form of ketone-bodies. However, you need your fat content to be high enough for this to happen (otherwise you are going to have a host of problems).
The problem: If your fat content isn’t high enough, your body will still be in a glucose metabolism. And in this state, you will probably also be in a low carb state (like in limbo between the two). This means that your body needs glucose for energy BUT IT ISN’T GETTING ENOUGH of it. The result = tired all the time, no energy! You need to pick your poison (in this case fat or carbs) – AND STICK TO IT!!!
Another problem (in terms of cholesterol): Many people worry about eating too much fat because they think “that can’t be healthy?!”. I can tell you that this is just because of how we’ve been raised to think – because we grew up thinking fat = cholesterol. The studies reflect a correlation…but NOT a cause. Researchers initially made an assumption about cholesterol that was incorrect. The assumption was: there is cholesterol in out arteries, and cholesterol in fat – so fat must cause cholesterol. More recent studies have proven this to be inaccurate. The cause of cholesterol is in fact inflammation, which is caused by increased carbohydrate intake. The inflammation causes blocked arteries – which then causes fat to become deposited in the arteries = cholesterol.
Now, if you are in limbo between the two: fat and carbs (meaning you eat a high fat, high carb diet) – you are at risk of high cholesterol. If you eat a high carb, low fat diet – you might not be in danger because there is very little fat that can get stuck. And if your diet is very high fat (and low carb) – you won’t have the inflammation that will cause the fat to get stuck. The fat will be used for energy!
The point here: you cannot be lukewarm in your approach to diet. You are either on one island, or the other. And if not – you are drowning in the deep!
For a full list, see the link below:
QUESTIONS: KETO/BANTING DIET
Is the Keto Diet and Banting the same thing?
Is Banting/Keto a high protein diet?
No. The focus of banting is HIGH FAT and LOW CARB – not high protein.
Why is it called the Keto Diet?
When you’re on a high fat, low carb diet, your body switches to a fat metabolism where it burns fat for energy (instead of glucose). This fat-burning state is called “ketosis” – which explains why the diet is called “Keto” diet.
Why is it called the Banting Diet?
The diet was named after Mr William Banting. He was obese – then changed his diet by limiting his intake of carbohydrates – after which, he wrote a pamphlet called Letter on Corpulence. This pamphlet outlined his diet consisting of meat, vegetables, fruit and red wine. He is known as the first person to popularise this type of diet.
Does Banting/Keto cause cholesterol?
Nope! And I can attest to that from personal experience. If you understand the science behind the process (even only the basics) – you will realize that it shouldn’t cause cholesterol IF YOU ARE DOING IT PROPERLY. Your body is using the fat you eat for energy…so it doesn’t end up getting stuck in your arteries. On the keto diet, my cholesterol went down 3 points (!!!!) in 3 months – THAT IS PRETTY AMAZING!
How long does it take to get into ketosis (fat burning state)?
This depends on many factors such as activity level, calorie intake, fat-to-carb ratio and so forth. I think 2 weeks is a good indication to give you an idea of how long it would take your body to adapt to your new way of eating.
How do you track your fat and carbohydrate intake?
My recommendation: use MyFitnessPal. It will help you A LOT the first few weeks. Simply log all your meals – keeping an eye on your macro count. After a while you will get used to the kind of meals resulting in optimal macros – so eventually you’ll be able to eat without logging.
Can you drink alcohol on a banting/keto diet?
Yes you can 🙂 Obviously…everything in moderation, but clean spirits and the occasional glass of dry red wine is fine. Just be aware that things like beer, cocktails, flavoured spirits etc. contain sneaky carbs – so rather stick to clean liquor (they don’t contain carbs).