Mediterranean Diet Vs. Paleo Diet: Differences
Despite their similarities, there are some differences between the Mediterranean and paleo diets:
The Mediterranean diet doesn’t restrict any food groups, unlike the paleo diet, which restricts several food groups, including grains, legumes, dairy, and alcohol.
The Mediterranean diet gives people flexibility regarding their lifestyle, geographical location, and food preferences, making it easier to follow.
Since the paleo diet is harder to follow, it requires higher levels of effort and commitment than the Mediterranean diet.
For someone on the paleo diet, going out may involve scanning menus in advance, making special requests to the chef, or carrying home-cooked food along.
Following the paleo diet is more expensive than following the Mediterranean diet. Apart from produce, which both diets include, the paleo diet includes a more significant proportion of meat and focuses specifically on naturally raised, grass-fed meats, which tend to be expensive.
By comparison, the Mediterranean diet tends to have smaller proportions of meat and includes grains, dairy products, and legumes, which are less expensive than meat.
Check out these cheap Mediterranean Diet dinner ideas for even more savings.
Research shows us that the Mediterranean diet is more environmentally-friendly and sustainable than the paleo diet in terms of its use of resources and its carbon footprint.
On the other hand, studies estimate that the paleo diet has a higher carbon and water footprint due to higher rates of meat consumption.
The Mediterranean diet covers all the major food groups, making it more nutritious and wholesome than the paleo diet. Eating a balanced diet helps reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies and prevents diseases.
People may not get enough calcium, vitamin B, or vitamin D on the paleo diet to meet their nutritional needs.
The Mediterranean diet permits alcohol and allows people to drink occasional red wine with their meals.
The paleo diet doesn’t allow people to drink alcohol, although some people who follow a more flexible diet may choose to do so anyway.
The Mediterranean diet prioritizes olive oil, a source of heart-healthy fats. The paleo diet also permits olive oil and other fats such as coconut oil and avocado oil.
Some people on the paleo diet also include dairy products such as ghee and grass-fed butter.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the Mediterranean diet because it can help prevent stroke and heart disease by improving risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.
The AHA notes that extra virgin olive oil, an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, improves heart health by removing extra cholesterol from the arteries and unclogging them. The paleo diet doesn’t meet the AHA’s criteria for a healthy eating pattern.
Since the paleo diet cuts out many foods that typically contribute to weight gain, carbs, in particular, it can help people lose weight faster.
However, the Mediterranean diet may be easier to sustain in the long run, as it is easier to follow and incorporate into one’s lifestyle.
Check out these Mediterranean Diet recipes for Weight Loss.
Blood sugar control
Research shows us that both the paleo and the Mediterranean diet can help reduce one’s blood sugar level, which is essential for preventing and managing diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet has been better researched than the paleo diet, however, and a large study found that it reduced the risk of diabetes by 35%.
The Mediterranean diet has neuroprotective effects that can help preserve brain function, reduce cognitive decline, and slow the progression of conditions like Alzheimer’s.
There isn’t enough evidence to determine whether the paleo diet has similar effects; however, it has been shown to improve episodic memory.
The Mediterranean diet is considered safe and is recommended by physicians to patients. The paleo diet is not as safe since it may increase the person’s risk of nutritional deficiencies, which can affect their immunity and increase their risk of falling sick or developing health conditions.