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The Paleo vs. Mediterranean Diet

The Paleo vs. Mediterranean Diet

Figuring out the diet that’s right for you is always a bit complicated. It has to do with your genetics, your body type and just as importantly (if not most importantly) what sort of food you enjoy. While there are far too many diet plans out there to compare them all at once, we’re starting by taking a look at two of the more popular diet options, the Paleo diet and the Mediterranean diet.

Various Paleo diet products on wooden table, top view

The Paleo Diet

What it is: The Paleo diet was designed under the belief that we should eat like our ancestors. It makes the assertion that our ancestors spent most of history sticking with a very specific type of diet and we should try to emulate that as opposed to adopting a modern diet that has become the norm since the industrial and agricultural revolution so dramatically changed what we consume.

Good for you if: You’re all about protein. The diet encourages the consumption of plenty of lean meats, fish, and generally anything with a high protein count. Healthy fats, like those from olives, nuts and avocados, are also major parts of the diet. Vegetables and fruits play key roles as well, though with fruits come with a caveat to not eat too many due to high sugar content.

Steer clear if: You like your carbohydrates. While processed food is almost entirely omitted on a Paleo diet, that is not so unusual in many other healthy diet plans. However, the Paleo diet also dramatically restricts the amount of carbohydrates like pasta, rice and potatoes that one can consume. The same goes for foods naturally high in sodium content.

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet with Walnuts. (PRNewsFoto/California Walnut Commission)

The Mediterranean Diet

What it is: People who live on and around the Mediterranean Sea have long enjoyed some of the best health in the world. In an effort to reap the benefits of their lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet was created. Of course, people living in Italy eat differently than those who live in Spain or Greece, so the Mediterranean diet has come to represent a set of broad guidelines as opposed to strict rules. For that reason, it’s definitely easier to follow than the Paleo diet.

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Good for you if: You like your carbohydrates. The diet is heavy in whole grains. Pasta and rice are not only allowed, but highly encouraged. Same goes for legumes, which are not allowed on the Paleo diet. There are some shared components with the Paleo diet, though, like the fact that fish, fruit, vegetables and healthy oils are all encouraged. Ultimately, when you look at where your calories come from, the Mediterranean diet has a much higher proportion from carbohydrates and much less from protein.

Steer clear if: You like your meat. Red meat is consumed only very rarely and poultry is only occasionally on the menu. If you’re someone who cannot do without a steak once a week, or for whom chicken is a food group in and of itself, then the Mediterranean diet will likely be hard to handle.

While getting your nutrients primarily from food sources seems ideal, it is often unrealistic. Supplements can help to fill your nutritional gaps and optimize your health in different ways ranging from skin health to everyday mental and physical performance. Find out how WellPath can provide you with a customized solution based on your specific goals.

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