What’s the Diet? Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, or Paleo?
The term “paleo” refers to a way of eating that was developed over thousands of years ago. It is based on a belief system that humans were once hunter-gatherers living in small bands with limited access to resources. These early human beings lived primarily off the land and gathered their food from plants and animals they hunted or caught themselves. They did not have the technology to farm or raise livestock.
Today, most of us are sedentary individuals who spend much of our time sitting at computers and using other devices. Our diets consist mostly of processed foods made up of refined grains, sugars, oils and fats. Most of these foods come from factory farms where animals are raised in unnatural conditions such as cramped cages and fed antibiotics and growth hormones.
These factory farmed foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. Many of us don’t get enough protein, vitamins and minerals from them. Even if we do eat meat, it is usually the leaner cuts like chicken or fish rather than the fatty cuts like steak.
For many people, these types of diets simply aren’t palatable.
So what does one do when they want to lose weight but still enjoy all the benefits of a healthy plant-based diet?
The answer is easy. Turn to the paleo diet.
The paleo diet
The paleo diet is based on the premise that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat the same types of foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. Their diet consisted mainly of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds with limited processed foods and grains. By eating these types of foods, we can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The paleo diet is not strictly vegetarian or vegan. It allows limited amounts of lean meats, fish and seafood in addition to the plant-based foods. It eliminates dairy products and encourages the consumption of organic foods whenever possible.
The paleo diet encourages people to eat until they are full but to avoid overeating. It also suggests that you do some sort of physical activity every day. It is this combination of diet and exercise that enables people to lose weight and feel better.
This type of eating plan is not new. Similar diets have been in practice for thousands of years among hunter-gatherer cultures such as the Masai tribe in Africa and the Inuit people in Greenland and Canada. It wasn’t until the agricultural revolution and the introduction of farming that grains, dairy products and other food sources became available to most people.
Grains in particular are high in calories and carbohydrates but have few other nutrients so it is difficult for people with grain-based diets to get all the vitamins, minerals and proteins their bodies need.
What’s the difference between paleo and Atkins?
The paleo diet is similar to the Atkins diet in that both eliminate most grains and refined sugars while allowing the consumption of lean meats, fish and eggs. But there are some important differences. The paleo diet places more emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods and encourages people to consume a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts in addition to meat. It doesn’t cut out entire food groups like the Atkins diet does. It also places more emphasis on exercise and stress management whereas the Atkins diet does not.
What can I eat on the paleo diet?
If you like meat, you’re in luck. The paleo diet recommends lean cuts of meat, poultry, game, seafood and even organ meats such as liver. It also allows the consumption of eggs. Dairy such as cheese and butter are permitted in small amounts. You may notice that the paleo diet encourages the consumption of a lot of meat. While it’s true our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably ate a meat-heavy diet, they didn’t necessarily eat as much as the paleo diet recommends. Furthermore, the animals they hunted tended to be smaller and slower than the ones we raise on farms today. They also were not able to consistent access to foods such as bread and other grains that are high in carbohydrates but lack other vital nutrients. As a result, many people on a paleo diet find that they are full most of the time and often eat more than the recommended amount of meat to feel satisfied.
The paleo diet allows the consumption of some dairy products such as cheese and butter. While this may come as good news if you’re a cheese lover, it’s important to keep in mind that the primary source of fat on this diet comes from meat. Cheese and butter contain milk fat which comes from dairy products.
It’s important to keep your intake of dairy products low if you want to reap the benefits of the paleo diet.
The paleo diet restricts the consumption of legumes, grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams. It doesn’t allow other starchy foods such as quinoa, which is often considered a superfood because of its high protein and fiber content. The paleo diet also does not allow foods that are considered “processed”.
Sugar, honey, syrups and fruit juices are off-limits because they were not available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
What foods are restricted on the paleo diet?
Grains such as wheat, corn, rice and oats; starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams; legumes such as soybeans, lentils, peanuts, peas and beans; dairy such as milk, cheese and butter.
What foods are allowed on the paleo diet?
Lean meats such as beef, lamb, pork, poultry and game; fish and seafood; nuts and seeds; fruits; vegetables.
What is the paleo diet for beginners?
The paleo diet is a simplified version of the evolutionary diet. It doesn’t take into account individual differences, activity levels or even what your goals are. It’s easier to follow than the evolutionary diet but it’s not necessarily better because it doesn’t provide guidelines on how much or how often you should be eating specific foods. You can learn more about the paleo diet here.
What is the evolutionary diet for beginners?
The evolutionary diet, unlike the paleo diet, takes into account your activity level, your individual dietary needs (such as whether you’re vegetarian or have a dairy allergy) and your goals (whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle or stay the same). It’s more complicated to follow but results are often more effective since it teaches you how to eat healthier in general, not just following a list of do’s and don’ts. You can learn more about the evolutionary diet here.
What is the Warrior Diet?
The warrior diet is a diet promoted by British mixed martial artist Michael Bisping. The diet requires you to eat every 2-3 hours and only allows you to consume foods that are high in protein and fat such as chicken, fruits, nuts and vegetables. It claims that proteins increase your metabolism and curb your appetite and that fats keep you feeling fuller for longer. It’s often advertised as a superior diet to others because it comes with a promise that you’ll never feel hungry.
What are the benefits of the Warrior Diet?
Eating every few hours, as opposed to 3 meals a day, makes it easier to eat healthier and therefore lose weight. You’re not as likely to have hunger pangs because you’re allowed to eat every few hours. It also increases your metabolism.
What foods are restricted on the Warrior Diet?
Grains, starchy vegetables and processed sugars are off-limits. Some critics have complained that the diet doesn’t teach you how to eat properly and therefore it’s not something you can follow in the long term. You’re limited to a small amount of food choices and you’re also discouraged from eating out or drinking alcohol.
What foods are allowed on the Warrior Diet?
The warrior diet also teaches you that losing weight and staying in shape is actually quite simple: if you eat more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight, and if you eat less than you burn off, you’ll lose weight. You can learn more about the warrior diet here.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a diet popularized in the 1950s that centers on eating like people from Greece, Italy and Spain. It consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, bread and grains, fish, olive oil and a small amount of dairy and meat. Wine is often consumed with meals. One of the advantages of this diet is its flexibility – while it restricts certain foods, there’s still plenty of choice available. It’s also a healthy way of eating that limits red meats and emphasizes plant-based foods.
What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
Research suggests that it lowers the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other chronic ailments. It’s also a low-key way of eating that doesn’t require counting calories or restricting yourself too much.
What foods are restricted on the Mediterranean diet?
The main foods to avoid are meat, especially red meat, and dairy products.
What foods are allowed on the Mediterranean diet?
Any vegetables, fruits, grains, olive oil, beans and nuts. Moderate amounts of fish, meat and dairy products are allowed occasionally. There’s also a special emphasis on eating moderate amounts of sweets and drinking wine with every meal.
What is the difference between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet?
Both eating plans focus on reducing your sodium intake to healthier levels and both have been proven to lower blood pressure. Both diets also rank from the best diets overall by U.S. News and World Report. But the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, requires eating more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods in place of higher fat foods.
What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was designed to battle high blood pressure and has been shown to lower it when followed correctly. It’s also ranked as one of the healthiest diets by the U.S. News and World Report, and linked to lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The DASH diet provides guidance on how to eat more foods that are low in fat, but high in nutrients. It also limits your salt intake.
What is the difference between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet?
One is more focused on lowering your blood pressure, while the other is more geared toward a healthy, long life. In general, the DASH diet has a wider range of food groups you can eat, but the Mediterranean diet is much higher in fiber and antioxidants. The DASH diet also allows you to eat more meat, which some skinnier people might prefer.
Which diet is better for weight loss, the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet?
The DASH diet was created with weight loss in mind, so it’ll probably be more effective for weight loss than the Mediterranean diet. The DASH diet allows more vegetables, which are great for filling you up. But if you don’t need to lose weight and just want to be healthier, then the DASH diet might be too high-protein for you.
Should I try the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet?
Both are great for your health and can help you lose weight. The DASH diet may be a little too heavy on meat and low-fat dairy if you’re a vegetarian, so the Mediterranean diet might be a better fit. But if you want to specifically target lowering your blood pressure, then the DASH diet is probably a better choice.
Does the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet restrict any foods?
The DASH diet does place restrictions on your sodium intake, so some people find it too restrictive. It also limits your caloric intake if you follow the plan exactly. The Mediterranean diet restricts your red meat and dairy intake.
Does the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet offer faster results?
The DASH diet is specifically designed for lowering your blood pressure, so you’ll see the results of that fairly quickly. If you follow the DASH diet exactly as directed and limit your caloric intake, then you could also see weight loss results. The DASH diet can also double as a weight loss tool, but it’s not necessarily as effective as other diets.
Does the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet offer more long-term benefits?
Both diets offer long-term health benefits. People who follow the DASH diet have been shown to have lower incidences of cancer, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. It’s not necessarily proven to extend your life, but it can reduce the risk of death from those diseases. The Mediterranean diet has also shown to help you feel more energetic and reduce inflammatory diseases. It may even help stave off dementia in older adults.
Which diet is more cost-effective?
The DASH diet is less expensive than the Mediterranean diet. Some of this has to do with the restrictions on red meat and high fat dairy, which are foods that tend to be more expensive. You’ll notice this when you look at nutrition labels, as a can of tuna will have more than twice as many calories as a 3 oz serving of lean ground beef. It’ll also save you money on doctor’s visits.
Is the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet better for fitness enthusiasts?
The DASH diet is not ideal if you’re an athlete or just someone who exercises regularly and needs more nutrition. It’ll provide you with all the nutrients you need, but it’s lacking in certain areas such as minerals and vitamins.
What are the most common complaints about the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet?
Some people don’t like the idea of restricting carbs on either diet. Many of the most nutrient-rich foods are high in carbs, such as fruits and vegetables. You can easily get around this by substituting those foods with lower carb options, such as choosing lean meats instead of fruits for snacks.
Which diet is the easiest to follow?
The DASH diet is fairly easy to follow. You can eat out without worrying about any restrictions, as long as you choose the right options. Some restaurants even have DASH-friendly menus. It’s easy to find recipes and meal plans online, so that takes some of the guesswork out of it.
Is it possible to combine the DASH diet with the Mediterranean diet?
Yes, it is possible to combine the DASH diet with the Mediterranean diet. You can mix and match the best parts of each diet to create a personalized eating plan. However, you may want to talk to a doctor or nutritionist before doing so, as there could be certain interactions that you’re not aware of.
Don’t just take our word for it…
Here’s what some of our readers had to say about the DASH diet vs. the Mediterranean diet:
“I think the DASH diet is better because it focuses on lowering blood pressure and heart health. While the Mediterranean diet is good, not everyone has high blood pressure or heart disease, so they may not need to focus on this aspect. If anything, the DASH diet is a more balanced diet.” – Jennifer M.
“The best diet is the one you can stick to and see results with. For me, that’s the Mediterranean diet. It fits into my daily routine perfectly, and I’ve never felt better.” – Chris P.
“I tried both of these diets several years ago when I wanted to lose weight. I found the Mediterranean diet to be too restrictive and impossible to follow long-term. I did see weight loss results and felt better, but eventually fell off the wagon because I couldn’t take it anymore.
The DASH diet was easy to follow and didn’t require any expensive foods or ingredients. It was also less restrictive, which helped me stick to it. I’ve been on the DASH diet for several years and have maintained my weight loss. I feel great! I would recommend the DASH diet to anyone looking to lose weight. It’s easy to follow and you’ll see results! – Iman A.
More Diet Comparisons
Still can’t decide?
Browse other diet comparisons like the VLCD diet vs.Atkins diet or the mediterranean diet vs raw food diet.
Sources & references used in this article:
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… characteristics and self-reported weight status in a cross-sectional pilot survey of self-identified followers of popular diets: Adhering to Dietary Approaches for Personal … by MC Karlsen, AH Lichtenstein, CD Economos… – Public Health …, 2020 – cambridge.org
AARP The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young by L Cordain – 2012 – books.google.com
THEY ARE FEEDING WHAT?! RAW, VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN DIETS by CR Heinze – michvma.org
Paleo Diet For Weight Loss by J Davidson – 2013 – books.google.com
Strict health-oriented eating patterns (orthorexic eating behaviours) and their connection with a vegetarian and vegan diet by A Brytek-Matera, K Czepczor-Bernat, H Jurzak… – Eating and Weight …, 2019 – Springer
Paleo for Autoimmune Illness by A Wendel – robbwolf.com