Updated 1/4/2021

If you have been trying to understand the differences between the Keto vs Paleo diet, this post is for you!

There are many nuances to understand when digging into the Keto versus the Paleo diet, and understanding these nuances can make the difference between having a successful or not so successful experience, which is why I thought others might benefit from hearing my experiences with both of them.

As it is January and it’s the start of a new Year- I’ve seen many people start new diets or ways of eating. Because I’ve been eating Paleo for over 6 years, and now have adopted eating Keto with aspects of Bulletproof- I thought I’d share what I’ve learned if you are considering making a lifestyle change or just want to shed some pounds.

Paleo vs Keto Diet, GrillGirl

Understand the nuances of both types of diets to see which one is best for your lifestyle.

I would like to stress that this is a lifestyle choice

When you start digging into the “why” behind eating Paleo and Keto, you realize that the modern diet is full of crap that is terrible for you.

At all costs you should avoid grains and processed foods! This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally eat these foods (trust me, I fall off the bandwagon sometimes), but you will feel much better when you adopt this style of eating as a lifestyle versus a short term “diet”.

I eat Keto about 80% of the diet and then Paleo on the weekends, etc or when I am craving a little sugar or carbs. Because I can’t control myself around sugar it is best for me to eat a diet that eliminates it (Keto) because I have a hard time eating it in moderation.

keto vs paleo diet

The Paleo Diet, at a Glance:

Based on the idea of eating how our ancestors ate. The core idea behind eating Paleo is that our bodies have not adapted to eat our current grain based diet and that we are meant to subsist mainly on (grassfed/organic) meat, fats, veggies and some fruits/starches in moderation. There is a big emphasis on quality of what you are putting in your body.

There is a ton of genetically modified and processed crap in the modern diet and the principles of Paleo (and Bulletproof) stress eliminating these foods. Research also suggests that the grains in today’s modern diet are so highly processed they do way more harm than any good, and that a lot of today’s modern diet is also heavily influenced by large corporations, government subsidies, etc. So, in eating Paleo you are educating yourself on what is in the food you eat while also eating for optimal health.

Grain and Gluten cause inflammation in the body and many people adopt Paleo eating principles not only to lose weight but also because Grain and Gluten go hand in hand with Celiac disease and many autoimmune diseases.

If you want to read up on what is in your food and why you should adopt a Paleo lifestyle, read “It Starts with Food”, a book that covers everything from modern day diet and the history behind it, as well as how various ingredients interact with your body.

If you have been hearing about people doing the “Whole30” diet, “It Starts with Food” digs into the reasoning behind the “whole 30” which is a sort of Paleo bootcamp many people adopt for a kickstart in detoxing and weightloss.

keto vs paleo

Paleo Guidelines

  • Organic Protein, healthy fats, veggies, fruits and natural starches in moderation
  • No dairy
  • No soy or legumes
  • No processed ingredients
  • No diet soda and artificial sweeteners
  • No inflammatory oils such as soybean oil, canola oil (why? read why soybean oil, which is in just about everything, is SOOOOOO bad for you !)
  • No high fructose corn syrup

Ketogenic Diet, At a Glance:

The Ketogenic diet has a focus on keeping your body in Ketosis, which is when your body is burning it’s own fat for fuel, versus stored sugar. It can take a few days to a few weeks to get into Ketosis but those who get there reportedly feel amazing – supposedly being in ketosis means you achieve ultimate focus and energy when your body is in fat burning mode. You cannot eat more than 25g of carbs a day to get into Ketosis and you need to maintain a high level of fat consumption, versus other low carb diets that just stress protein. For those who are hard core, they will measure out their “macros” ie- how many grams of protein, carbs and fat. This is harder than it sounds when you realize that your stick of sugar free gum may even have a few grams of carbs!!

If you want to lose weight quickly, this is the diet for you! However, I think it easy to have unhealthy foods that can still be acceptable on the Keto Diet. Ie, you can have a ton of fat on the Keto diet, but it is easy to load up on ingredients like cheese, mayo, heavy cream, etc when the focus should be healthy fats as well. I adopt Ketogenic eating 75% of the time because I have a big problem with sugar and when I eat Paleo I go overboard with sugar because it is allowed, (even though in moderation). I recommend the book “Bacon and Butter” to help get started on keto and give you some recipes and concepts to work with; i.e., “How do I eat keto when eating out?”.

How is this different than the Atkins diet?

Keto is different than the Atkins diet in that it promotes eating more fat, whereas the Atkins diet is strictly low carb. Keto and bulletproof believe that too much protein can actually mean you start using sugar for fuel which would kick you out of ketosis…

Keto Guidelines

  • Less than 25g of carbs a day
  • Emphasis on fat, then protein, veggies- only veggies with very few carbs (FYI, corn is not really a veggie!)
  • Must be careful, even foods like tomatoes have carbs!
  • Ingredients like heavy cream, cheese and even cream cheese are okay
  • You can buy Keto test kits to “test” to see if you are in Ketosis

Bulletproof Diet, at a Glance:

The Bulletproof diet is MOST famous for the Bulletproof coffee Dave created which is coffee with butter and MCT oil (also called Brain Octane) that really puts you in a high energy, super focused and satiated state for hours.

Bulletproof is a hybrid of sorts in that it takes concepts of Paleo, with some principles of Keto, into account. However, Bulletproof has a focus on supplements, food quality and even cook methods that can affect ultimate performance.

For example:

The Bulletproof diet based on the research of the Dave Asprey who did a ton of biohacking, and therefore his research has gone into things like “mold toxin” levels in foods. We’ll clearly anything with high mold toxins is going to make you feel like crap. What sucks is that mold toxins are in a lot more ingredients than you would have thought- like coffee! So, the Bulletproof diet gets very deep even into foods with higher likelihood of mold toxins, and how to avoid them.

Bulletproof digs deep into our current food ecosystem in the USA and uncovers why conventionally raised beef, dairy, etc are really, really bad for you. (Grain is already bad for you but Beef eating grain is still bad for you! Plus, our cattle is fed a ton of terrible stuff to “fatten them up” which means you are also ingesting this junk.) This is why the diet stresses grassfed beef and butter, and not just because it is better for you, but because Dave Asprey has done a tone of testing on the nutrient composition of traditional versus grassfed beef. This guy has done a TON of research on just about everything!

However, this is so hardcore at times it seems like it would be hard to do consistently. Ie, I’m not going to stop drinking Red Wine because of it’s mold toxin levels or start buying Dave’s coffee that is more expensive. However, I have bought a LOT of his supplements and even protein bars and all of his products are awesome!!

  • Drink Bulletproof Coffee, (coffee + butter and or MCT oil frothed into a latte- it’s awesome believe it or not!) eat bulletproof and do intermittent fasting for weight loss
  • Health fats! Bulletproof coffee has butter and MCT oil which is the best form of readily availably fat for the body.
  • Getting into the “zone” on bulletproof coffee and eating healthy fats
  • Fuel your body on healthy fats and high quality meats and veggies
  • Avoiding “kryptonite” foods like grain, sugar, dairy
  • Fruit and starch sparingly, often as a dessert
  • Supplements for optimal health
  • A focus on “optimal performance and longevity and reversing the aging process”.

Supplements I have tested and recommend:

On a parting note, what is great about grilling is that it defaults to being low carb. If you focus on high quality ingredients, and eliminate grains, you are 75% there to being Paleo! If you ever have questions about the various diets above, drop me a line @robyn@grillgirl.com or leave a comment below.

You will see I also have a lot of paleo baking recipes on this site including my paleo drop biscuits, as well as a keto friendly low carb biscuit recipe here (not grain free or gluten free though but they are delicious!). My Orange Maple Bacon Paleo Cinnamon Buns and Cherry Lemon Paleo scones are the bomb!

Check the article below and you’ll see I dig into what the “Dirty Dozen” is so you can better understand which foods should be eaten organic and which ones are not worth the money. 


paleo cinnamon buns with coconut glaze

The finished buns, ready for you to dig in and get intimate with the coconut glaze!


Does Buying Organic Really Matter? What is the “Dirty Dozen” list?

Low Carb Drop Biscuits (That Don’t Taste Low Carb!)