As you explore different types of eating plans, you may be wondering about the difference between Paleo and Whole30. They both encourage eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods. And, of course, both are designed to help you lose weight and improve your health overall. Knowing the difference between the two plans will help you make the best choice to achieve your goals.
What is Paleo?
The Paleo eating plan is derived from the types of foods people ate during the Paleolithic era. Over 10,000 years ago, people ate food that was either hunted or gathered. That would include meats, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. When farming emerged, new foods were introduced and eating habits changed rapidly. Paleo, also known as the caveman diet, theorizes that the body couldn’t adapt to these new foods as quickly as they were introduced. Thus, it eliminates any foods which come from farming like dairy or grains.
Foods to Avoid on Paleo
In addition to dairy, grains and legumes, here are a few other foods you should avoid if you choose this plan:
- Refined sugar
- Highly processed foods
What is Whole30?
Whole30 is based on Paleo principles and emphasizes strict eating guidelines during an initial 30-day period. The founders of Whole30 make it clear that it is not a diet, detox or weight program; rather, it should be viewed as a short-term body “reset.” This is designed to curb cravings, boost your metabolism and promote healing in the digestive tract. In fact, the plan touts that many people who’ve tried the plan have seen substantial improvement with issues like diverticulitis, IBS, high blood pressure, migraines and allergies. Whole30 is also intended to help you change your relationship with food for healthier eating practices.
Foods to Avoid on Whole30
Some describe Whole30 as a stricter form of Paleo, but again, it’s only a 30-day plan. To accomplish its goals, some foods you must avoid are:
- Grains and legumes
- Added sugar
- MSG, carrageenan and sulfites
- Baked goods or junk food
Since it’s labeled as a body reset, it’s important to stick to the plan. There can be no cheating. It is all or nothing. Once the 30 days are complete, it’s highly recommended that participants slowly re-introduce the eliminated food groups to see if they have any reactions or sensitivities.
Given the fact that these diets eliminate certain food groups, there is a concern participants could be lacking important nutrients if they aren’t careful. Some experts also argue that more research needs to be done to evaluate the basis of the Paleolithic era food patterns.
Now that you have the basic information to understand the difference between Whole30 and Paleo, which do you choose? Well, it depends on your goals. If you’re looking for a short-term approach to reset your body, Whole30 may be your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a long-term approach to weight loss, Paleo may be the best choice. Many people choose to start with Whole30 and then maintain their positive results in the long term with a Paleo-based diet.