Are you surprised to hear keto is compatible with ancestral eating principles? You’re not the only one: most people think of paleo when it comes to ancestral eating. After all, there’s a reason it’s been nicknamed “the caveman diet”. But you can eat keto and follow ancestral eating principles at the same time.
This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit and author of The Essential Keto Cookbook.
In fact, combining these two diets can boost your health significantly – you’ll gain the benefits of two highly healing ways of eating, increasing your energy levels and boosting your health. And the best part is, it’s a lot simpler than you think.
We’ll cover the differences between keto and paleo/primal, the origins of the keto diet, top reasons to go keto and tips to get started today.
How Is Keto Different From Paleo/Primal?
Here’s a brief summary of the key differences the two:
The main difference between these two diets is their focus:
- Keto focuses on getting your body into a powerful metabolic state called nutritional ketosis, which is when you basically start burning more fat for energy instead of sugar and carbohydrates. This fat-burning mode has several health benefits and can be triggered by carefully choosing the types/amounts of foods you eat.
- Paleo/Primal eating focuses on choosing foods based on ancestral eating and nutrient-density, to make sure your diet is as close as possible to the one our bodies evolved with. It’s all about eating the diet your body was naturally designed for.
The amount of carbohydrates each diet recommends is another important difference, with keto typically being lower carb than paleo.
A Brief History Of Keto
Keto may only have become popular recently but it’s been around for about a century.
The keto diet was originally developed as a highly effective treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. It was created to mimic the metabolic effects of fasting, which has been a traditional treatment for epilepsy since Biblical times. After anti-seizure drugs became widely available, the diet dipped in popularity for a while.
That is until recent times…
Why Are People Going Keto?
While keto is still used to treat epilepsy, a bunch of additional benefits have also been discovered. And it’s many of these benefits that people are most excited about.
- It’s great for weight loss. It’s still unclear what exactly makes keto such a great weight-loss diet (whether it’s the ketosis, the high fat, the low carb, the moderate protein, or some combination of all these), but many people are experiencing health weight loss on keto.
- It can help get rid of sugar cravings by stabilizing your blood sugar levels, helping you break the cycle of sugar addiction. The sugary treats you can eat on paleo are ruled out on the keto diet – so paleo dieters with a sugar habit to kick often turn to keto.
- It could prevent or cure cancer and Jill has already explored a recent study which provides evidence that limiting carbohydrates could suppress or slow cancer growth. The hypothesis that sugar feeds cancer does have a fair amount of scientific backing, including this comparative study which concluded that, “perhaps through glucose ‘starvation’ of tumor cells and by reducing the effect of direct insulin-related actions on cell growth, ketogenic diets show promise as an aid in at least some kind of cancer therapy and is deserving of further and deeper investigation.” A lot more research needs to be done in this area, but it’s showing promise.
- It combines easily with paleo. A low-carb version of paleo is an easy way to ensure you’re eating keto while also following ancestral eating principles. In fact, paleo experts love the keto diet; like Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf, who were both speakers on The Keto Summit.
Who is Keto Not For?
Despite all the benefits of keto, it’s not for everyone and it’s always good to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet.
We suggest the following groups of people should be especially careful:
• Those that are breastfeeding may need to add more carbs into their diet.
• Those on certain medications may need to be aware as keto can lower blood sugar and blood pressure.
• Anyone with medical conditions should consult with their informed health practitioner first.
• Some athletes may need additional carbs for performance.
And please remember that, like any diet, keto works best as part of a healthy lifestyle.
How To Get Started On Keto
With so many compelling reason to go keto, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Eat unlimited protein and fat to start with, but stick to under 25g of carbohydrates per day until you’re feeling confident. Starting slowly can help you stick with the diet and stop you feeling overwhelmed.
- Make sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep, doing some exercise, and managing your stress levels. A healthy diet works best as part of a healthy lifestyle, so take a moment to pause and reflect on any other changes you might need to make. If there are a lot of changes you need to make,
then take it slow and recognize that this is a journey to better health.
- Try adding intermittent fasting with keto for greater health benefits. You can find out more about how powerful intermittent fasting is by reading Jill’s post. Of course, if you are just starting the keto diet, you want to focus on that for a while before starting intermittent fasting.
- Experiment with new recipes so you feel excited about what you’re going to eat, instead of feeling limited and bored by your food options. There are great keto recipes you can try from Jill, like her Pan Fried Coconut Flounder and Coconut Curried Chicken.
You can check out my free 7-day Keto meal plan and my Keto cookbooks if you’re looking for more inspiration.
Note from Realfoodforager: As with any new diet plan, please consult with a qualified health practitioner who is aware of all of your particular health issues, before starting. See my full disclaimer here.