Recently I’ve seen a lot of websites and books make comparisons between the Paleo Diet and the Atkins diet. “It’s like Atkins,” they say, “but you can eat fruit!” I understand that a lot of people in our community are trying to convert non-believers from other diets. And I understand that having someone make the switch from Atkins to Paleo probably isn’t much of a stretch. But in my opinion, trying to say the Atkins Diet is like the Paleo Diet doesn’t do the Paleo Diet any favors and ignores the key concepts of the diet. It’s really not like the Atkins Diet at all.
The Atkins Diet is NOT the Paleo Diet
The Atkins Diet, for most people, is not a life-long endeavor. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s a way to cut weight by keeping your carbohydrates as close to zero as possible. I recently spoke to someone that mentioned she was going to do Atkins (again) because she was happy with her weight loss in Phase 1. And Phase 1 is understandably where most people fall off the Atkins wagon. Nobody wants to eat bacon and sausage every day of their life because eating a grape fruit would send their body out of ketosis and kill their weight loss.
The Paleo Diet isn’t based on counting carbohydrates, or grams of fat, or even calories. It is based on the principle that you should eat what our ancestors ate. And that’s it. Our ancestors didn’t eat pre-packaged, sodium-rich “meat products” — they ate MEAT. While these meat-products are fine on the Atkins diet as long as they don’t add to your carbohydrate count, someone following a paleolithic lifestyle would assuredly pass on them. Our ancestors didn’t eat Whole Grain Wheat toast or “Heart-Healthy” Cheerios, they ate wholesome vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
There is no induction phase for the Paleo Diet.
You don’t lose weight rapidly for 2 weeks and then plateau off.Weight loss with paleo happens all the time throughout the course of your life until you reach your ideal body weight. Eating natural foods, you will find it extremely hard to reach enough calories to gain any weight and the closer you are to your ideal weight, the less calories your body will need to consume, the less you will eat.
Foods that are calorie dense (such as meats) will keep you full for hours, making you eat less of them. Between meals you can snack on fruits and vegetables that provide essential nutrients and vitamins but won’t pack on the calories. Some vegetables and most fruits are severely limited or banned on the Atkins diet because of their natural carbohydrates.
In my experience on the Atkins Diet, there was never really a time that I didn’t crave cakes, or sweets, or fruit. I tried to block them out. I tried to get my mind off of them. But I always wanted them.
On the Paleo Diet you don’t miss out on the sweet taste of fruit — because you can eat as much of it as you want. You don’t miss eating cakes because you can make your own cakes without wheat flour. Pizza? You can eat that, too, as long as you make it yourself using natural ingredients. The best part of Paleo is the community. If you have a craving for something, you can be sure that someone else has made a paleo variation of it and posted it on the internet.
In the first four months after starting the Paleolithic Diet, I had lost over 40lbs and my wife had lost over 50lbs, eating delicious food that we wanted to eat.
The Paleo Diet is for Designed for Your Health
While the Atkins diet may be healthier for you than eating a bag of Doritos, you’re still loading your body with unnatural preservatives, sodium, and other industrial garbage while never really getting the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.
There is anecdotal evidence that the Paleo Diet treats or can even cure illnesses like cancer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and adult onset (Type 2) diabetes.
In my own case, the Paleo Diet cured me of GERD and allowed me to stop taking all of my prescribed medications.
As you can see, the Paleo Diet and the Atkins Diet are two diametrically opposed diets. They may be similar in that they both condone eating meat, but that’s really where the similarities end, as each diet comes to that conclusion through vastly different philosophies. Based on my own experiences with both diets, I choose the Paleo Diet for Life.