When it comes to dieting, there is no shortage of diets to choose from. If you’re new to it, picking one out of a dozen can seem like an overwhelming task. What helps is getting to the bottom of each, how it works, and what it does.
Two popular diets are paleo and vegetarian. What’s the difference between these diets and which is healthier?
The Paleo or Paleolithic Diet is all about eating like our ancestors. Proponents of this diet suggest that we should eat like cavemen and avoid processed foods and grains. Some healthy delivery services like Ideal Nutrition offers paleo meal plans to save you time in the kitchen
There are several versions of this diet, with most allowing meat, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds while prohibiting dairy products, sugars, salt and most vegetable oils. Some versions also prohibit both dairy and legumes such as beans though it may vary from one person to another.
This lack of diversity in food sources can cause malnutrition, especially Vitamin B12 deficiency (since animal foods are the only significant dietary source). Moreover, recent studies have shown that there is no substantial evidence showing that ancient people actually ate this way.
Paleo Diet Pros
It is generally considered to be a healthy diet because it tends to be lower in fat and higher in protein compared to the standard American diet. This may lead to weight loss too, which can have health benefits if one is overweight.
Paleo Diet Cons
Being deficient in certain nutrients has its own risks including depression, fatigue, weakness, mental fogginess or poor concentration. It can also result in low bone density or anemia due to iron deficiency, among others. This further increases the need for supplementation with vitamin B12 for vegetarians who are at risk of malnutrition. This is particularly since animal foods are practically the only source of this nutrient.
There are several types, but they all focus on excluding meat and animal flesh from the diet. A typical vegetarian meal consists of grains such as rice or noodles, vegetables and legumes.
Paleo vs Vegetarian
There is a common belief that vegetarians have lower risks of heart disease and cancer compared to those who eat meat. While some studies debunk these claims, others link vegetarian diets to better health outcomes. These are especially in regards to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides, and Type 2 diabetes.
This is the main difference between paleo and vegetarian diets: Fruits and legumes may be allowed for vegetarians while the reverse holds true for paleo. But both exclude dairy products which provide significant sources of calcium crucial to bone health.
So, who wins? Paleo or vegetarian? When it comes to dieting and health benefits, paleo vs vegetarian seem to be pretty even. It’s a decision that you should make after weighing the risks and benefits of each against your needs and preferences.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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