The last 10 years have been a pretty rocky road for those looking for dieting advice. The paradigm of dieting has shifted substantially from low fat diets to low carb ones.
When the Atkins diet plan was introduced in the 1990’s, it was made a mockery of by the dietary establishment, but Dr. Atkins persevered in his vision. He knew that fat was a key component of a healthy diet and blamed the rise in obesity in large part on the enormous quantities of processed carbohydrates we are now consuming.
Through Dr. Atkins’ work, thousands of people have seen extraordinary results through maintaining a high-fat, low-carb diet. Though Dr. Atkins has passed, his work continues to live on through his patients and the healthy lifestyles they maintain.
In some respects, the Paleo Diet is similar to the Atkins diet in that they both offer a low carbohydrate approach and suggest severely limiting processed carbohydrate intake.
Where they differ is that, on the Paleo Diet, you are allowed to have natural carbohydrates such as those found in raw fruits and vegetables.
The Paleo, short for Paleolithic, Diet is based on the premise that we should eat as our ancestors ate – as cavemen ate. There were no processed carbohydrates available to cavemen. They would have eaten raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat. If they couldn’t hunt it with a spear or pick it off a bush or tree they didn’t eat it.
Both of the diet plans have shown to contribute to significant weight loss. On the Atkins Diet, especially during the induction phase, the general recommended daily limit of carbohydrate is around 20 grams. Whereas on the Paleo Diet, anything under 100 grams of natural carbohydrates is fine.
Followers of the Paleo Diet plan believe that carbohydrates, while not strictly necessary for a healthy diet, offer benefits in the form of natural foods. In other words, Paleo Diet practitioners do not forego the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that exist in a piece of fruit due to the fear of the natural carbohydrate content of the sugars found in the fruit.
While you may lose more weight on the Atkins Diet, especially during the induction phase where carbohydrate intake is the most restrictive, many would argue that you’re not achieving a complete dietary profile.
The Paleo Diet is much more of a lifestyle than strictly a diet for fat loss. The Paleo Diet’s claim to fame is a holistic approach to health living. While the Atkins diet allows processed meats such as bacon loaded with sodium and nitrites, Paleo Diet followers will limit or severely restrict their intake of these kinds of food. Preservatives and synthetic chemicals were not on the menu for cavemen and neither are they for those following the Paleo Diet.
In the end, choosing one diet or the other depends entirely on your philosophy and goals. If you are merely looking for a way to lose a large amount of fat, the Atkins diet may be the right choice for you. If your goals is to achieve your ideal body by eating natural foods, the Paleo Diet may be worth your time to investigate.