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Paleo Diet vs. Primal Diet: Which is Best For You?

paleo diet meal with salmon broccoli cherries grapes and other healthy diet foods

Many people who are starting their diet journey can find new, diet-related terms a bit confusing. While they sound similar and may have similar meanings at face value, the primal diet and the paleo diet are not interchangeable. There are some key differences that make a clear distinction between the two.

The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, also referred to as the hunter-gatherer diet, is a diet that consists of eating a diet that mimics what ancient humans would have consumed, dating from beyond 10,000 years ago. Paleo diets rely heavily on lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

The paleo diet also requires avoidance of food that would not have been consumed by humans in the paleolithic era, including grains, dairy, legumes, and veggies in the nightshade family. Some of the benefits of following this diet include lower glucose levels, maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure control, and better appetite management.

The Primal Diet

The primal diet is a diet that relies heavily on protein, fat, and low carbs. It’s similar to the paleo diet in that it’s a return to how early humans ate. It focuses mostly on whole foods with a heavy emphasis on healthy fats. The primal diet relies heavily on healthy oils, full fat dairy products, and high fat meats.

The primal diet suggests that humans should avoid grains and sugars, and that fruits should be consumed in moderation. Some of the benefits gained from eating the primal diet include lower blood pressure, lower HDL cholesterol, lower fasting blood sugar, a reduced waist circumference, and a lower risk of heart disease. It also may help to control type 2 diabetes, though the short-term studies conducted have been inconclusive.

Primal vs Paleo Diets

The Differences

While the two diets are similar, there are some key differences between the paleo and the primal diets. The paleo diet somewhat idolizes the exact diet of the paleolithic era, whereas the primal diet is a bit looser. The primal diet simply states that the modern diet is not working for humans and is contributing to health problems. It uses some modern food techniques to promote overall wellness, not just focusing on what was available in an ancient era.

The Similarities

While there are some key differences, the paleo diet and the primal diet are more similar than they are different. Both operate under the impression that the modern human diet is not working. Both diets promote the consumption of whole foods and shunning things such as junk food, grains, and sugars. Both focus on healthy proteins with meats and fruits that are approved, and ensure you get your daily nutrients by nuts and oils. Both help fight and prevent many diseases that followers believe stem from the modern human’s diet, as well.

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