Paleo Vs Vegan

It is difficult to read a magazine, turn on the TV, or search the web these days, and not come across an ad for “the next big thing” in the health and fitness field. “Miracle” weight loss pills, and “Scientific Breakthrough” equipment are other terms attention grabbing terms make it difficult to detect the quality information from the hype.

Two of the most common trends right now are the vegan and paleo diets. While these diets do have some similarities, there are also very major differences. Both claim to be the most effective ways to lose weight, and live a healthy lifestyle. Let’s look at the similarities and differences.

The main focus of the vegan diet, which for many is more of a lifestyle, is that they do not consume any animal products. While vegetarians simply do not eat meat, vegans will not eat products including eggs or dairy. It is a very restrictive diet, and vegans often struggle to find adequate protein sources. There are options out there though, and many vegans are able to get all of their nutrients without meat, eggs or dairy. The vegan diet typically consists largely of fruits and vegetables, along with grains.

The paleo diet has a major difference from the vegan diet, in that it has a large focus on meat consumption. This solves the protein issue that many vegans run into, but does that make it better? Paleos also have a large focus on fruits and vegetables, although many of them focus more on the fruits than vegetables. This is often because of the sugar in many fruits, and the effects that is has on blood sugar and insulin levels. Vegetables tend to score lower on the glycemic index, while many fruits score high. With the GI, lower scores are better. Foods that score a 55 or less are considered low glycemic, and are ideal for weight loss, maintaining level blood sugar, and helping control diabetes. So what don’t people using the paleo diet eat? Grains. No bread, pasta, or other grain products. The theory behind this diet is that our bodies are more designed to work like they did before people farmed. The main problem that people face with the paleo diet is a lack of complex carbs. These carbs can be found in fruit, which is why people tend to restrict fruit intake, but not eliminate it.

Both diets consist of fruits and vegetable intake, but one avoids, not only meat, but all animal products. The other has meat consumption as a main part of the diet. How can both claim to be the best way to go when they are so different. The answer as to why both work for weight loss is actually very simple. Both diets eliminate high sugar, heavily processed foods. In a world where the obesity rate is rising year after year, the focus needs to be less on “miracle” diets, and more on eating healthy. I do not believe that either diet is “better” than the other. The important thing is that you are avoiding the “bad” stuff, and getting all of your nutrients. This can be difficult with restrictive diets, but it is possible.

By Laura