Which is best? Paleo VS the Mediterranean Diet

Discover the differences between the Paleo and Mediterranean Diets

In the healthy eating space, the words “paleo” and “Mediterranean diet” get thrown around a lot. Both are said to have massive health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure, risk of heart disease and cancer.

But what’s the difference between the two? And is one better than the other?

In this post, we share the pros, cons, and how to adopt each style of eating into your life, should you wish to try them out for yourself.

What is the Paleo diet?

The Paleo diet traces its roots back to the very first humans who lived on the earth. We’re talking waaaay back as in cavemen days. As a result, the diet is often referred to as the “the caveman diet”.

The Paleo diet primarily consists of meat, vegetables and limited fruit. The diet is inspired by how humans ate all those many years ago, back when our ancient ancestors had to hunt and gather.

In contrast with the Paleo diet, today’s foods are often high in glycemic index (GI), high in sugar, and tons of preservatives and additives. As a result, the “Western Diet” has been linked to various health conditions and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure to name a few.

Nutrition of the Paleo diet

By adopting Paleo principles usually means that you’ll only eat healthy, non-processed foods. This could result in feeling more alert and you may even lose weight. Paleo diet foods are high in nutrition and low in calories.

What to eat on the Paleo Diet

Apart from the healthy nutrients and vitamins you’re body receives through the food you eat, you’ll also feel fuller for longer. This diet is paired with exercise and thus you’ll melt away calories and manage to stay in shape which is essential for your body’s performance and ability to stay healthy.

When it comes to the foods in the diet, there are some versions of the Paleo diet that are stricter than others are regarding food restrictions.

Want to try Paleo? Eat this:

  • Lean meats (organic, grass-fed)
  • Game meats such as venison, quail
  • Free-range eggs
  • Fish
  • Non-starch vegetables
  • Olive oil, flaxseed oil (not in excess)
  • Limited Fruits, preferably berries
  • Nuts and seeds

Foods to avoid on the Paleo diet:

  • Dairy products
  • Peanuts, beans, peas
  • Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
  • Honey, sugar (all sweets and chocolates as well as pastries and cakes)
  • Fruit juices and sweet drinks (all fizzy drinks, flavour water, diet sodas)
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Salt

Advantages of the Paleo diet

From looking at the “foods to avoid” list, it’s fairly obvious how most people experience tremendous health benefits from the paleo diet. By simply cutting out excessive carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods, they already take a massive step forward to reaching their health goals.

Another advantage of Paleo is that you consume lots of unsaturated (healthy) fats, which are better for our bodies than saturated fats.

With regular consumption of vegetables and the occasional fruit, your body receives increase potassium, which is vital for brain, muscle, and nerve function. The high protein of the diet is good to maintain healthy muscles, skin, bones, and cartilage. With zero additives, preservatives and processed foods, the Paleo diet is very beneficial for overall health and wellness. 

The Paleo diet offers a wholesome, vitamin enriched, nutritious, and balanced diet. With that in mind, it’s clear that you may benefit from anti-aging properties found in the food.

Disadvantages of the Paleo diet

When it comes to the Paleo diet, some people find that their daily intake of food may increase, and they might consume more calories if certain foods are not eaten in moderation.

Many people obtain their calcium through dairy products like milk and yoghurt and transitioning may be difficult at first.

With not much fibre in the diet from bran and wheat, it may lead to constipation as you transition away from these grain products.

Also, since the cavemen ate foods that were existing in those times, it cannot be guaranteed that we can find the exact same food sources today.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet focuses on the way people living in the Mediterranean region eat. This means a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy, and even red wine! 

The diet focuses on cutting out unhealthy foods and swopping it for healthier picks. More so, the diet doesn’t require calorie counting nor food weighing. Instead, you’re free to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and meat. Of course, this too, like the Paleo diet ought to be paired with regular exercise.

Nutrition of the Mediterranean diet

Some studies have shown the Mediterranean diet to have very beneficial health perks. An article by iOL lifestyle also notes that eating nuts, olives, garlic, spinach, cauliflower, and onions are all great as anti-inflammatory foods. These foods are also rich in antioxidants.

What to eat on the Mediterranean Diet

Studies of the diet also revealed that it has the opportunity to reduce the risk of heart disease. Alcohol thins the blood, and when consumed in moderation, it can reduce the risk of blood clots. It is thus considered a “heart healthy diet”. Unlike the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet can incorporate some grains such as lentils and beans, which adds to the fibre count.

Enjoy these foods on the Mediterranean diet :

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish and lean meat (less red meat than white) as well as chicken
  • Dairy products like yogurt, eggs, and milk
  • Almond nuts, cashews, wallnuts
  • Use olive oil instead of butter

Just like the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet has many food components, and because you’re not counting calories, it’s easy to put on weight. When it comes to using EVOO, canola oil and eating red meats and or nuts, simply do so in moderation.

Foods to avoid on the Mediterranean diet:

  • Butter
  • Trans fats
  • Processed meats such as sausage and bacon (if you do it should be limited)

Advantages of the Mediterranean diet

Using monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease in the Mediterranean. Another advantage of the diet includes eating mostly white meats like fish and chicken, which are naturally low in calories. When red meats are added to the menu, most people can enjoy lean cuts. This allows for less chances of developing high cholesterol.  

In the Mediterranean diet, much like the Paleo diet, there are also no use of preservatives and processed foods. Most of the fruit, vegetables, and spices are fresh.

Just like the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet is packed with nutritious food choices, which can contribute to anti-aging benefits. Due to the low cholesterol qualities of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and omega 3 and 6 found in fish, the Mediterranean diet serves as a heart healthy option.

Disadvantages of the Mediterranean diet

There aren’t exact amounts within the portions to eat in a Mediterranean diet and some people may not be mindful of their portions and find that they don’t lose weight on this diet.

Foods such as olives and olive oil are high in fat and even though it’s a healthy source of fat, one needs to keep the calories in mind.

Not everyone can drink wine even though it is encouraged in the Mediterranean diet. Patients who already have existing health conditions and are on chronic medication may not be able to drink alcohol on their diet.

Final thoughts

We can’t state conclusively which diet is better for you, so our recommendation is to spend a few months adopting each diet in turn and see which style of eating your body responds most positively to.

A simple rule of thumb is this: if you love your dairy products and grains, and if you are not lactose or gluten intolerant, then the Mediterranean diet could be a good fit for you.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between eating Paleo compared to the Mediterranean Diet? Discover which one is healthiest. #paleo #mediterranean

If, however, if are looking to be #dairyfree, #glutenfree and #lowcarb, then the Paleo diet is probably an ideal choice for you.

Bearing in mind everyone is different and some of us are on medication, it would be wise to seek medical advice before going on a diet.

Another thing to remember is that all diets need to be accompanied by regular exercise in order to achieve optimal health benefits.

No matter which diet you choose, when you quit our bad dieting habits and adopt healthier practices, it makes for a better performing mind and body.