Paleo and Keto and Atkins Oh My!

The Protégé Way of nutrition education starts with an approach to nutrition and eating that is based on real food and real results and results that last. Many times peoples diet attempts end without results due to not being able to keep up with restriction on calories or carbs or some other ingredient involved. The Protégé approach differs from many of the mainstream nutritional plans and lifestyles because we teach on fuel, science and results. Does your specific body chemistry and life style responds really well to a particular nutritional plan? Some people do!! That is why we teach for results. We start our clients with the Protégé way of eating and then alter things for life style and also teach other strategies that can help speed reaching goals. Keto, Atkins and Paleo Oh My! People think they are the same low carb fad diet, these diets /or strategies have differences. Is one better than the other? Is one right for your life style? Are they a good option for a short term strategy to jump start better health, rest and weight loss?


The name of this diet is taken from the Paleolithic period and what humans ate then. The Paleo diet is based on what a hunter and gather would eat primarily meat, eggs, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables. This is diet is based on the thought that our body and digestive system is built to only eat these foods and not the agricultural products and processed foods that have become the American normal diet.

The human body is an amazing machine and adjust to almost anything. So since the Paleo period the human body has changed and adapted for many reasons and yours has since you were born. To say we have to eat just like humans did way back then is just not true.  Many people on the Paleo diet remove things like legumes and grains and other high carb foods. The human body has been eating those foods since that time and more than able to eat them and live a healthy life. People eating Paleo have examples of improvements to their health and fitness after starting the diet. Some things people see are increased energy, require less sleep, even relief from some inflammatory conditions and weight loss.

The Paleo diet has a big difference than the other diets that it isn’t all super anti-carb. Carbs are fine in the Paleo diet, so long as they are coming from fresh fruits and vegetables. It is really hard to over eat carbs when the only ones you are eating is fruits and veggies. The main point is to help control sugar intake. You can’t eat fruit all day and say you are on a Paleo diet and doing that won’t help you lose weight. Paleo also discourages dairy in any form as again these things weren’t available to humans then. Humans are able to consume dairy and still live a healthy life as we have been doing for 100s of years.


The Keto diet goal is to put your body in ketosis and keep it there. (This can happen with a Paleo and also Atkins style diet as well) Your body goes into ketosis and releases ketones because it is relying primarily on fat (and fat stores) for energy. The keto diet can be great for someone who needs a lot of weight to lose and dropping it fast. A con though it is not the greatest diet for maintaining a healthy weight or for most people’s life styles because of heavy restrictions. The keto diet was first invented back in 500 BC to treat medical conditions like epilipsy. There is also lots people that claim it can cure many medical and health issues and a reason to be on a keto diet. As with many diets there are always 2 sides, there are all fruit and veggie diets that help cure the same medical and health issues.  I know don’t suggest this type of diet to many people unless there might be some medical reasons to do so or it is an easy way of them eating.

Many people say they are on a keto diet when actually they are not. A true keto diet you need to get 75-80% of your calories from fat 15-25% from protein and less than 15-30 total grams a day from carbs. If you really track your food you will realize how hard and limiting this diet. Most fat sources have protein so to keep that ratio at 75% or higher is very difficult. Also if you track food you know how fast you can hit 15-30 grams of carbs with a few vegetables. The keto diet puts your body starvation state by removing carbs. Your body relies heavily on carbs for energy, without carbs this can trigger ketosis. The keto diet can also cause the body to break down muscle tissue for energy, especially if you aren’t in ketosis. You might read other that talk about a keto diet and building muscle or not losing and suggest eating 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. In almost any case that would put your protein intake at a higher than keto specific diet, so now you aren’t doing a keto diet but just a low to no carb diet. There hasn’t been many medical studies on long term keto diet benefits or side effects yet because the diet was used for the short term to help with medical conditions. This I am sure will start to change in the next 5-10 years. Medical studies on long-term carb restriction has also shown the potential to damage vital organs such as the heart and liver but there are also many studies that show the opposite. I have done a true keto diet many times in my life and I have been successful and failed miserably while doing it. It is a diet I might suggest for some clients but never for long periods of time (30-60 days). Another down fall to the keto diet is some people take 48 hours to go into ketosis others can take 10-20+ days. During that whole time your body is not in ketosis your body is not feeding off your fat but muscle. This causes fatigue, irritability, brain fog and tons of other not so fun things. Imagine starving for 10-20 days and losing muscle and energy……not fun to go through. Lastly a keto diet is very strict to those number above an 1 meal of carbs over 30 grams or a day of to much protein and not enough fat you body falls out of ketosis and you are starting over and have to go the 48 hours – 20+ days to get back there again. (If someone was in ketosis they normally can get back in around the 24-48 hour mark) Keto has become a very popular “term” and “diet” again over the past 5 years and 5 years before that it was Paleo and before that was Atkins. They all limit carbs and all cause the scale to go down but is it something you can do long term or for life? It depends on the individual.


The Atkins diet was huge in the 80s and up down popularity ever sense. It really started the carbs are the devil trend in dieting.  The popularity started to drop pretty fast as  more and more evidence that it really wasn’t all that effective in the long term and unsafe for some people.

Like the Keto diet, it was about getting your body into ketosis through extreme carbohydrate restriction. The diet first began advising followers to not eat carbs and eat all the protein and fats they want. (This is actually what many people who say they are on a Keto diet are doing, the Atkins diet) As it became more popular and more people tried the Atkins diet it became more and more obvious this wasn’t the best approach. The Atkins diet then start to change it’s tune, its more like a Keto diet, setting specific fat, protein and carb intake. The low carb part is unchanged. It is not as popular by name as it was back in the 80s but you still see Atkins products and Atkins approved stamps on many foods and still come out with a new book every year. Following the guidelines are a lot safer now and something someone can do to lose weight but is it really a life style you can live? Like I stated earlier the Atkins diet is actually what many people are doing when they think they are doing the Keto Diet. I see “Keto Meal Plans” or people posting “#ketolifestyle” on a picture of there dinner and I can see that there is to many carbs and to much protein in that meal to adhere to a Keto diet, they are doing a Atkins diet plan. (Sorry for you that are doing this and I am letting you know)

Is one better than the other?

You can’t really rate either one better than the other. Also all three of these approaches aren’t meant to work for life but to sell you on a book or product. All 3 have pluses and minuses but are any really long term life styles? Are you never going to eat rice, wheat, potatoes, fruit, oatmeal, veggies or the 100s of other healthy foods that have carbs in them again?? Every person reading this will (if being honest) will answer no!! This is one of the biggest down fall of these diets is that they limit and remove many things we eat everyday. The biggest issue though with these diets is they don’t teach you anything, they just remove tons of food options. If you are eating Paleo, Keto or Atkins you can still be under eating and starving yourself and not burning fat but muscle. Also with these diets you can also still over eat and gain fat. We understand that people all answer no and is why we don’t teach this to clients but teach them to eat a healthy life style that is sustainable and realistic everyday. We teach you the science and math on how to accomplish your goals with out going on some super restrictive diet that will end in failure. We know that if we teach this to clients on how to eat this way that they will be able to eat this way every day and have life long results.  When we teach you how to adjust your calories, carbs, protein and fats for health, fat loss, performance or maintence you will be able to always reach your goals if you follow those guidelines. All 3 diets can give you results and using them as a diet strategy can sometimes be helpful in reaching goals. If you have any further or detailed questions please ask!!! The reason I am writing this blog post though is…….

We have many clients that ask about these diets and if they should do them or how they work. The reason why they are asking this question is for many reasons and you should always be asking questions and learning. (We always are!!) The main reason though is social media…….you see people saying I just started this “_____”diet and dropped 12 pounds in 2 weeks? So it makes many people feel like they are doing something wrong or there is a better way. (There are lots of ways to lose weight but only a few to burn off fat, the best way is the one that works for you) Losing weight can be easy, I can lose 5 lbs in 1.5 hours if I really want but we all know it comes back immediately too. How many people have you known in your life that have told you they lost 12 pounds in 2-3 weeks? It is probably a lot if you really think about it. Now how many of them looked any different? Not many…just like I don’t look any different when I lose 5 lbs in 1.5 hours. How many of them told you 6 months later that they are down 60 pounds now? Not many! Why because after the first 3-5 weeks they stopped losing weight and the diet then was to restrictive to keep doing daily. They weren’t losing fat but water and muscle. Why do they have great results right away? Many times it is because they have been eating so unhealthy for 3 months to most of their life that when they eliminate processed foods, pop, sugar, fast food and all the other garbage people eat daily you are going to lose 2-8 pounds in 2-4 weeks with that alone. We all know a person or two that lost 8 pounds in a month just by drinking water instead of pop. The second part is most of the time these people haven’t exercised or the most they have walked is when they go shopping in the past 3 months to 5+ years. They remove bad food choices and start light walking /or exercise routine and these 2 small changes have a big impact in the first month. After a month or 2 they stop seeing results and they go back to their old way of eating and inactivity and gain all the weight back. Hence the term Yo-Yo diet. Why do we have clients that have lost 10,20,40,60,80,100+ pounds of fat and have kept it off for years after and not gain it back? It is in the science,math and education of what you need to do to burn fat and understanding what they need to do. Applying that knowledge and taking action is when the magic happens and during this time life style changes start to happen.


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