Mediterranean Weight loss plan vs. Paleo: Which Is More healthy?

There’s a seemingly limitless variety of dietary patterns, every one claiming to be the most effective for metabolic well being, total longevity, and wellbeing.

Two in style ones are the Mediterranean food plan and the paleo food plan. They’re two distinct consuming patterns, however they share some commonalities.

The Mediterranean food plan has lengthy been touted as useful for metabolic well being, however in recent times, the paleo food plan has emerged and amassed loads of advocates, as properly.

It may be overwhelming to parse out the similarities and variations, so this text will dive deep into the Mediterranean and paleo diets and their respective results on well being, whereas offering some sensible ideas.

The Mediterranean food plan and paleo food plan each emphasize minimally-processed meals, however they differ in what particular meals teams they encourage and restrict.

Mediterranean food plan fundamentals

Somewhat than having strict dietary guidelines, the Mediterranean Weight loss plan is predicated on conventional consuming patterns of some international locations situated alongside the Mediterranean Sea, together with Greece, Italy, Southern France, Spain, and elements of the Center East (1).

It focuses on flavorful elements like greens, fruits, legumes, entire grains, seafood, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Animal merchandise, like dairy and eggs, are loved in reasonable quantities. Even a reasonable quantity of crimson wine is inspired.

Alternatively, crimson meat, refined grains, added sugars, and ultra-processed meals are discouraged.

Analysis associates this consuming sample with many well being advantages, comparable to selling coronary heart well being, supporting mind perform, stabilizing blood sugars, and extra (2).

Needless to say there are not any concrete guidelines for the right way to observe the Mediterranean food plan. As a substitute, there are normal tips that you may incorporate into your every day routine.

Nevertheless, there’s been criticism in regards to the Mediterranean food plan’s concentrate on Eurocentric meals. We want extra analysis into how we will apply the food plan’s ideas to extra various cuisines.

Do not forget that selecting an consuming sample rooted within the ideas of the Mediterranean food plan doesn’t need to imply giving up your cultural meals.

Actually, it’s necessary that your consuming habits incorporate meals which might be straightforward to entry domestically and significant to you culturally or personally.

For instance, study extra about giving the Mediterranean food plan a Caribbean twist right here.

Paleo food plan fundamentals

The paleo food plan has gained traction in recent times. Different names for the paleo food plan embrace Stone Age food plan, caveman food plan, and hunter-gatherer food plan.

Basically, the paleo food plan encourages modeling your diets after what some imagine our Paleolithic human ancestors ate hundreds of years in the past.

Whereas their diets would have differed primarily based on the place our ancestors have been situated on this planet, the fundamental idea is to eat entire meals and keep away from meals that require processing.

Thus, the paleo food plan consists of lean meat, fish, greens, fruits, and nuts, whereas limiting grains, dairy, legumes, vegetable oils, added sugar, salt, and ultra-processed meals (3).

Nevertheless, since Paleolithic people thrived on numerous diets relying on geography and time, their consuming patterns are arduous to decipher. Actually, assessment of the paleo food plan in 2018 discovered 14 completely different definitions of “paleo” (4).


Each the Mediterranean and paleo diets emphasize fruits, greens, nuts, seeds, and a few meats whereas limiting highly-processed meals. The paleo food plan additionally restricts legumes, dairy, and grains.

Each the Mediterranean food plan and the paleo food plan emphasize the next meals:

  • fish
  • greens
  • fruit
  • nuts and seeds

These are all minimally-processed meals. Because the definition of “processed” could also be complicated, a global panel of meals scientists and researchers developed NOVA, a classification system for meals processing.

Each the Mediterranean food plan and paleo food plan fall into the identical finish of the NOVA spectrum — that’s, encouraging extra unprocessed and minimally-processed meals.

Nevertheless, the time period “processed meals” contains all kinds of merchandise, lots of that are extra handy and cheaper than different meals. Not all meals that endure processing are thought-about unhealthy. Be taught extra right here.

One other similarity? Neither food plan requires monitoring or calculating portion sizes and numbers. Nevertheless, the paleo food plan requires strict avoidance of sure meals teams, a few of which include many nutritious meals.


Each diets emphasize unprocessed or minimally-processed meals. Neither requires monitoring or calculating portion sizes.

In contrast with the Mediterranean food plan, the paleo food plan is stricter. It requires full avoidance of grains, legumes, and dairy. Meals like tubers, fish, poultry, crimson meat, nuts, and seeds are inspired as an alternative.

As such, the paleo food plan cuts out many nutritious meals. Dairy, entire grains, and legumes usually are not inherently unhealthy — in truth, they include necessary vitamins like calcium, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, zinc, and protein, to call a number of.

These vitamins are necessary in stopping and managing illness. Relying on the place you reside, these meals may be straightforward to entry and afford.

Alternatively, entire grains and legumes are strongly promoted on the Mediterranean food plan. Dairy merchandise, like yogurt and cheese, are loved in reasonable quantities. Lastly, crimson meat like beef and pork are discouraged, although not restricted.

The paleo food plan can embrace lard, coconut oil, and butter as cooking oils, along with avocado and olive oil. The Mediterranean food plan discourages saturated fat like lard, coconut oil, and butter.


The paleo food plan eliminates grains, dairy, and legumes, whereas the Mediterranean food plan encourages these meals. Cooking oils additionally differ, with the Mediterranean food plan specializing in olive oil whereas the paleo food plan contains butter, lard, and coconut oil.

The Mediterranean food plan and paleo food plan could have an effect on well being in several methods. Chances are you’ll be questioning which one is healthier in your wellbeing.

The Mediterranean food plan could enhance blood sugar, however analysis is combined on paleo

Many research affiliate the Mediterranean food plan with lowered blood sugar ranges and lowered insulin resistance.

A assessment of 20 research discovered that the Mediterranean food plan seems useful for stopping diabetes and metabolic syndrome (5).

One other assessment discovered that higher adherence to the Mediterranean food plan was related to a higher discount in danger for kind 2 diabetes (6).

Nevertheless, it notes that since these research have been performed inside particular settings, this impact will not be as robust in all populations (6).

Compared to the paleo food plan, a assessment of 56 research concluded that the Mediterranean food plan was more practical at lowering fasting blood glucose and A1c in these with kind 2 diabetes (7).

A1c is a measure of your common blood sugar readings for the previous 3 months (7).

It’s necessary to notice that those that adopted a paleo food plan skilled considerably lowered blood sugars as properly (7).

That is in line with a assessment reporting that though the paleo food plan was linked to lowered blood sugar ranges, it wasn’t more practical than different consuming patterns (8).

Nevertheless, one other randomized management trial discovered no adjustments in A1c after 12 weeks on the paleo food plan (9).

The proof for lowering blood sugar is robust for the Mediterranean food plan however combined for the paleo food plan, so we’d like extra analysis. Plus, it’s robust to characterize results of the paleo food plan since there are such a lot of definitions and variations.

The Mediterranean food plan could profit coronary heart well being, nevertheless it’s unclear if paleo does

The Mediterranean food plan has lengthy been promoted as heart-healthy.

One purpose for that’s its emphasis on entire grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables and fruit, which make this consuming sample very excessive in fiber.

A assessment of 45 research discovered that following the Mediterranean food plan ideas is linked to considerably lowered charges of whole cardiovascular (coronary heart) illness (10).

As soon as once more, researchers emphasize the necessity to adapt the Mediterranean food plan to completely different geographic settings and cultural meals preferences (10).

Regardless, a food plan wealthy in entire grains and legumes — elements of the Mediterranean food plan — is proven to cut back coronary heart illness danger and enhance metabolic well being outcomes (11, 12).

We additionally know that incorporating extra nuts — a part of each the Mediterranean and paleo diets — is related to lowered danger of coronary heart illness (13).

For the paleo food plan, nonetheless, the outcomes are unclear.

A assessment of eight research discovered a hyperlink between the paleo food plan and enhancements in coronary heart well being markers like blood stress, ldl cholesterol, and triglycerides. Nevertheless, researchers emphasised the research weren’t well-designed, so extra proof is required (14).

Analysis additionally means that those that adopted the paleo food plan for a couple of 12 months skilled unfavorable intestine microbiota adjustments.

Particularly, TMAO — a metabolite derived from intestine micro organism and a predictor for future danger of coronary heart illness — was discovered to have elevated. This could possibly be from the decrease total fiber, because the paleo food plan restricts legumes and entire grains (15).

Needless to say the paleo food plan can differ vastly primarily based on particular person interpretation.

For instance, some folks could select extra saturated fat like crimson meat, butter, and lard, whereas others go for unsaturated fat like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Changing saturated fat with unsaturated fat may also help cut back danger for cardiovascular occasions, which means that paleo’s results on coronary heart well being may be made higher primarily based on particular person folks’s decisions (16).

Regardless of in style claims, it’s unclear how both food plan impacts irritation ranges

Power irritation could cause metabolic stress and improve the danger of many illnesses, comparable to kind 2 diabetes, coronary heart illness, and most cancers (17).

A cross-sectional research amongst 646 adults means that each the Mediterranean and paleo diets are linked to decrease ranges of irritation and oxidative stress (18).

Moreover, a assessment of 13 research discovered that the Mediterranean food plan was related to lowered inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. Nevertheless, when different indicators of irritation have been included, the outcomes grew to become combined (19).

Since inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein also can improve resulting from an infection, a single indicator of irritation will not be an correct measure of persistent irritation. Subsequently, it’s necessary to incorporate different indicators.

Conversely, one other assessment of 11 research concluded that the Mediterranean food plan had no results on inflammatory cytokines in these with coronary coronary heart illness (20).

Inflammatory cytokines are proteins which might be believed to play a job in inflicting coronary heart illness and coronary heart assaults (21).

Proponents of the paleo food plan declare that this consuming sample can cut back irritation by positively affecting the intestine microbiome. Nevertheless, a 2018 assessment discovered no high-quality research that supported this notion (22).

A later research additionally discovered that those that adopted a paleo food plan for one 12 months truly skilled unfavorable intestine microbiota adjustments (15).


The Mediterranean food plan seems to assist coronary heart well being and enhance blood sugar ranges, nevertheless it’s unclear whether or not the paleo food plan has the identical results. Neither food plan has robust proof supporting the concept that it reduces irritation.

Each diets emphasize unprocessed and minimally-processed meals, which is a wonderful guideline to observe.

Nevertheless, the Mediterranean food plan in the end has extra proof to assist its health-promoting advantages. Plus, the paleo food plan is restrictive, which may be dangerous for a lot of causes.

Restrictive diets can improve your danger of partaking in disordered consuming habits and may trigger bingeing, in response to a long time of analysis. It might probably additionally result in an unhealthy obsession with consuming “clear,” often called orthorexia nervosa (23, 24).

Meals restrictions also can trigger social isolation and loneliness — which isn’t any shock, as consuming with others is a bonding expertise throughout cultures (25, 26).

Lastly, meals restriction reduces meals selection. Selection could assist defend your well being, since consuming numerous completely different meals ensures that you simply get all the vitamins your physique wants (27).

Be taught extra about potential unintended effects of the paleo food plan right here.

Which food plan you select, should you select one in any respect, could depend upon many elements — together with your well being objectives, wants, preferences, and entry to meals.

For instance, should you choose plant-based consuming, you might discover that the paleo food plan is inappropriate for you. Or, should you’re illiberal to legumes, it could be tough to undertake the legume-heavy Mediterranean food plan.

Because the paleo food plan may be restrictive, our greatest recommendation should you select this sample is to attempt to eat all kinds of meals to make up for the in depth restrictions.

For instance, select a big number of vegetables and fruit to rotate weekly, eat fatty fish extra typically, and refill on tons of various tubers, nuts, and seeds.

Needless to say no matter which food plan you select, what issues extra is that you simply make nutritious decisions inside its tips and individualize it to your individual well being, tradition, and preferences.


When figuring out which food plan is best for you, take into account your well being objectives, wants, preferences, and entry to meals. Paleo diets could also be too restrictive for some folks, so if you wish to observe it, make sure you eat a lot of selection.

Each the Mediterranean food plan and paleo food plan have proof suggesting that they may also help promote well being and cut back danger for illness. Nevertheless, the proof for the Mediterranean food plan is far stronger.

The Mediterranean food plan seems notably well-suited to managing blood sugar and selling coronary heart well being. Analysis stays combined for each diets’ results on irritation.

The paleo food plan is restrictive and lacks selection, not like the Mediterranean food plan. As such, some proof means that the paleo food plan can hurt intestine and coronary heart well being in the long run, in addition to promote disordered consuming habits.

Nevertheless, completely different folks will interpret and observe the paleo food plan in another way, and a few of its results could come down to non-public meals decisions.

Regardless, each dietary patterns emphasize minimally-processed meals, which is a wonderful precept to observe.