Key Differences Between the Keto Diet, Atkins and Paleo – Simplified!

The Ketogenic Diet has a few diets that fight for its low-carb virtue: the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet.  People on the Atkins diet may try to convince you that it's no different.  Advocates for the Paleo will try to convince you that it is healthier.

Read on for important descriptions of the difference between the keto diet, Atkins diet and Paleo diet.  Or scroll to the bottom of the page for a simplified summary table.

Comparisons of Keto, Atkins and Paleo Diets

The Difference Between the Keto Diet and the Atkins Diet

In honesty, the difference between the keto diet and Atkins diet may seem small, but the results are big.  Yes, they are similar in the fact that they are both low carbohydrate diets.

Limiting carbs is the main goal on Atkins diet, not eating high fat like on the keto diet.

You will still restrict a lot of the same foods like fruits, starchy vegetables like potatoes and moderate carb vegetables like tomatoes.  In the Atkins diet you are also not watching your protein consumption which can be detrimental to entering ketosis (fat burning mode).  Entering ketosis may be a side effect of the Atkins diet- but only if you are careful with protein consumption.  Eventually you will be putting more and more carbs back into your diet, which will definitely be detrimental to ketosis.

Is the Atkins diet easier than Keto?

Maybe, especially for newbies just starting out.  In Atkins you would only have to pay attention to the carbohydrates (and total calories if weight loss is the goal), while eating whatever ratio you want of protein and fat.  But with the Keto diet, you will be paying attention to fat, protein and carbohydrates (and again, total calories if weight loss is the goal).

A few key things to remember when choosing between the keto diet and Atkins diet:

  • On Atkins, your goal will not be entering ketosis like on the keto diet
  • Ketosis from the keto diet has a lot more benefits than only fat burning and weight loss
  • The Atkins diet may be easier for some that do not want to pay attention to protein consumption
  • Try starting out with Atkins and then shifting to the ketogenic diet to get the additional benefits of ketosis

For newbies to the keto diet, we make it easier for you if you check out our keto diet meals.

The Difference Between the Keto Diet and the Paleo Diet

The difference between the keto diet and Paleo is pretty big.  Paleo may end up being low carbohydrate because you are limiting simple carbohydrate foods, but it is not the main goal.

The Paleo diet focuses on whole foods and no grains or simple carbohydrates like potatoes, yet you will still eat carbohydrates that occur naturally in whole foods like fruits and tomatoes.  You may or may not eat beans and legumes depending on how strict the diet.  It would be a very small chance that you go into ketosis while on Paleo.  You do not track your fats, proteins or carbohydrates, but try to focus all your foods on being whole and healthy, as opposed to the keto diet where you are tracking your macronutrients.

Is the Paleo diet easier than Keto?

In my opinion, Paleo is the simplest of the three diets because it is adaptable to most situations.  It is easier in the way that you can adjust most meals on the spot to be Paleo and you can still eat a lot of favorite foods.

However, it will not give you all the benefits of ketosis from the ketogenic diet!

A few key things to remember when choosing between the keto diet and Paleo diet:

  • The Paleo diet may be easier for some that are looking for a healthier diet in general
  • On Paleo, your chance of entering ketosis is almost non-existent
  • Ketosis from the keto diet has a lot more benefits than only fat burning and weight loss
  • Try starting out with Paleo for a few weeks and then shifting to the ketogenic diet to get the additional benefits of ketosis

Paleo may be a good starting point prior to the ketogenic diet.  It will prepare your body for not eating processed or sugary foods, yet still getting carbohydrates naturally.

Keto Diet vs Atkins Diet vs Paleo Diet


 KetoAtkinsPaleo
SummaryHigh Fat diet to induce ketosisLow-carb diet for weight lossHunter-gatherer diet for healthy lifestyle
Low CarbYesYesMaybe
High FatYesMaybeNot Likely
ProteinAdequateHighAdequate
KetosisYesPhase 1 MaybeNot likely
Cycle On/OffNot easily, not recommended unless fully fat adapted or following a keto variation for exerciseNot recommended, diet has 4 PhasesYes
BenefitsAll the benefits of ketosis!  Weight loss, diabetes treatment, improved brain function, improved energy, loss of cravings, and more…Weight loss.  Diabetes treatment, improved brain function.   During Phase 1, may achieve ketosis and reap some benefits.  However, Phase 1 is only 2 weeks and you would have to watch your protein.Weight loss, improved energy, possibly diabetes treatment.
ConsRestrictive (unless you follow our recipes), Not suitable for high intensity athletes unless follow a keto diet variation, requires time and commitmentRestrictive (our keto recipes will still be Atkins approved), Not suitable for high intensity athletes, requires time and commitmentModerately restrictive, recommended over low carb diets for high intensity athletes - it is more tolerable, does not require as much commitment as one can cycle on and off

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