Vegan vs. Paleo: Know the Difference

Vegan Vs. Paleo: Know The Difference

With increasing access to information, people are becoming more aware about the significance of a healthy diet.

They know that diet plays a critical role in maintaining weight and overall health. In fact, diet also plays a significant role in losing weight.

While weight is an important consideration, it is not the only factor to keep in mind when choosing a certain type of diet.

People who feel they have a moral obligation towards the environment and animals opt for a diet which does not comprise of animal products. They follow the vegan diet, which primarily comprises of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

There is another school of thought which believes that humans in Paleolithic era (around 10,000 years ago) were stronger and lived longer.

The reason for their strength was their diet, which was healthier and genetically better for the survival of humans.

This type of diet, known as the paleo diet, largely includes meat and plant-based foods but does not include diary or processed foods.

Unlike the vegan diet, grains and legumes are not a part of the paleo diet. There are various other types of diets, but below we will focus on vegan and paleo diets only.

It is generally believed that paleo and vegan diets are complete opposites of each other.

People also believe that followers of the paleo diet rely on large quantities of meat, whereas a vegan diet comprises of foods which are not allowed on a strict Paleo diet.

People tend to pit these two against each other in a battle of vegan vs. paleo. Though there are differences between them, both diets share many similarities too.

Also it is possible to stick to a diet which is partially based on foods included in the vegan diet but also consist of whole, natural foods which are a part of the paleo diet.

What is the Paleo Diet?

What Is The Paleo Diet?

As the name suggests, the paleo diet is a diet plan which is based on the types of food consumed by humans in the Paleolithic era.

Around 2.5 million years ago, when traces of the first humans were found, historians also analyzed their dietary habits. Humans at that time mainly relied on hunting and plant based food.

Meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds were the main source of nutrition. The trend continued till 10,000 years ago when farming emerged.

The paleo diet restricts the use of foods that only became common after the emergence of farming. Such foods include dairy products, legumes, and grains.

Proponents of this type of diet believe that the paleo diet is genetically more suitable for humans.

They also believe that reliance on natural, whole foods will not help in maintaining weight, but will help humans be stronger and live longer just like our ancestors.

The claims are backed by scientific research. Various studies were conducted to find out the effect of the paleo diet on human health. The results indicate that people who follow paleo diet have:

  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Better control on blood pressure
  • Lower level of triglycerides
  • More control over appetite

While paleo diet is associated with various health benefits, there are a few drawbacks. Paleo diet does not include whole grains and legumes which are an essential source of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Dairy products are also not a part of this type of diet, which is the primary source of calcium for most people.

People relying on this type of diet will have to find out other sources to meet their daily requirement of fiber and calcium.

What is Vegan Diet?

What Is Vegan Diet?

This type of diet stems from the philosophy of veganism. The adherents of this philosophy are against the use of animals and animal products for food, clothing, cosmetics, and any other purposes.

People who belong to this school of thought feel that they have an ethical obligation towards the environment so their diet is devoid of all products which come from animals. This includes meat, eggs, fish, honey, and dairy products. 

Apart from protecting the animals, a vegan diet has numerous benefits for health. A vegan diet can help in losing weight. It also plays an important role in maintaining blood sugar levels.

Thus it helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Going vegan can also aid in keeping the heart healthy by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. This diet also provides numerous other health benefits which includes

  • Reduced risk of different types of cancers including colon cancer
  • Effective in reducing the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Improves kidney function
  • May help in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s’ disease

Though it is ideal for losing weight and provides numerous health benefits, people who stick to this type of diet are at a high risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.

Vegans are at a much higher risk of having deficiencies in:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium and
  • Zinc

Though these deficiencies are not good for anyone, this is a major concern for pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly.

To avoid these deficiencies, it is a good idea to rely on nutritional supplements to meet the recommended intake of various nutrients.

Another potential problem of following a vegan diet is that it relies on soy and soy-based proteins.

This can disrupt hormonal functions in the body and can lead to fertility issues in both men and women. It is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Similarities between Vegan and Paleo Diets

Similarities Between Vegan And Paleo Diets

Many people believe that paleo and vegan diets are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. However, this is not true. There are many similarities between the two types of diets.

No Dairy

One of the similarities between paleo and vegan diets is that both do not include dairy. Certain proteins present in milk can be difficult to digest and can result in allergies.

Emphasis on Natural

Both paleo and vegan diets emphasize on eating naturally grown fruits and vegetables. The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables help keep the mind and body healthy.

No Processed Foods

Paleo diet strictly prohibits the use of processed foods. Similarly, vegan diet is also about all natural plant-based foods. Both diets are strictly against the use of processed foods because of the negative health effects.

Focus on Maintaining Health

Though people tend to lose weight when they follow both vegan and paleo diet, both these diets are based on the principle of maintaining health.

All food choices in both types of diets promote health and limit the use of foods which can have a negative effect on health.

Differences between Vegan and Paleo Diets

Differences Between Vegan And Paleo Diets

Along with some obvious similarities between vegan and paleo diet, there are some very obvious differences.

Difference of Philosophy

Both types of diets rely on different philosophies. The vegan diet is all about plant-based food as an attempt to live in a more environmentally-conscious manner.

Whereas the Paleo diet is based on the notion that eating foods available during the Paleolithic era can help humans become healthier and stronger.

No Grains

Following the paleo diet is all about relying on animal products and whole, natural foods. But it does not include foods which are cultivated through agricultural practices.

This includes grains and legumes. On the other hand, vegan diet primarily comprises of fruits and vegetables but also includes other products which comes from the farm. Thus grains are a critical component of the vegan diet.

Paleo Vegan Diet – Is It Possible?

Paleo Vegan Diet - Is It Possible?

Both paleo and vegan diets are associated with numerous health benefits and a few drawbacks.

To get the benefits of both vegan and paleo, many people today opt for a combination of vegan and paleo diet instead of choosing between vegan vs. paleo diet. This type of diet known as the Pegan diet.

This type of diet primarily relies on fruits and vegetables but meat is still a part of the diet. Dr. Hyman, who came up with the idea of Pegan diet, recommends that almost 75% of your diet should comprise of fruits and vegetables while the rest can come from meat.

Also grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods should be completely avoided.

One of the potential benefits of adding meat to a vegan diet is adding sources of fiber and iron in the diet. At the same time, you can enjoy the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.

On the downside, you will still have to rely on supplements to meet the daily requirements of calcium, protein, and other nutrients.

It is possible to adhere to a Pegan diet as it provides the health benefits of both vegan and paleo diets but at the same time, covers some of the drawbacks of each type of diet.

Last updated on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *