There’s a seemingly countless variety of dietary patterns, each claiming to be the perfect for metabolic well being, total longevity, and wellbeing.

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

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

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

Mediterranean food regimen fundamentals

Slightly than having strict dietary guidelines, the Mediterranean Food regimen 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 components 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 purple wine is inspired.

Then again, purple meat, refined grains, added sugars, and ultra-processed foods are discouraged.

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

Take into account that there aren’t any concrete guidelines for the right way to comply with the Mediterranean food regimen. As an alternative, there are normal tips you could incorporate into your each day routine.

Nevertheless, there’s been criticism about the Mediterranean diet’s focus on Eurocentric foods. We’d like extra analysis into how we are able to apply the food regimen’s rules to extra various cuisines.

Do not forget that selecting an consuming sample rooted within the rules of the Mediterranean food regimen doesn’t must imply giving up your cultural meals.

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

For instance, be taught extra about giving the Mediterranean food regimen a Caribbean twist here.

Paleo food regimen fundamentals

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

Basically, the paleo food regimen encourages modeling your diets after what some consider our Paleolithic human ancestors ate 1000’s of years in the past.

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

Thus, the paleo food regimen 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 varied diets relying on geography and time, their consuming patterns are arduous to decipher. In truth, evaluate of the paleo food regimen in 2018 discovered 14 totally 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 regimen additionally restricts legumes, dairy, and grains.

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

  • fish
  • greens
  • fruit
  • nuts and seeds

These are all minimally-processed meals. For the reason that 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 regimen and paleo food regimen 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 bear processing are thought-about unhealthy. Be taught extra here.

One other similarity? Neither food regimen requires monitoring or calculating portion sizes and numbers. Nevertheless, the paleo food regimen 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 regimen, the paleo food regimen is stricter. It requires full avoidance of grains, legumes, and dairy. Meals like tubers, fish, poultry, purple meat, nuts, and seeds are inspired as an alternative.

As such, the paleo food regimen 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 might be straightforward to entry and afford.

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

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


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

The Mediterranean food regimen and paleo food regimen might have an effect on well being in several methods. You could be questioning which one is best in your wellbeing.

The Mediterranean food regimen might enhance blood sugar, however analysis is blended on paleo

Many research affiliate the Mediterranean food regimen with diminished blood sugar ranges and diminished insulin resistance.

A evaluate of 20 research discovered that the Mediterranean food regimen seems helpful for stopping diabetes and metabolic syndrome (5).

One other evaluate discovered that higher adherence to the Mediterranean food regimen was related to a higher discount in danger for sort 2 diabetes (6).

Nevertheless, it notes that since these research had been carried out inside particular settings, this impact is probably not as sturdy in all populations (6).

Compared to the paleo food regimen, a evaluate of 56 research concluded that the Mediterranean food regimen was more practical at lowering fasting blood glucose and A1c in these with sort 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 regimen skilled considerably lowered blood sugars as effectively (7).

That is per a evaluate reporting that though the paleo food regimen was linked to diminished blood sugar ranges, it wasn’t more practical than different consuming patterns (8).

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

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

The Mediterranean food regimen might profit coronary heart well being, but it surely’s unclear if paleo does

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

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

A evaluate of 45 research discovered that following the Mediterranean food regimen rules is linked to considerably diminished charges of whole cardiovascular (coronary heart) illness (10).

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

Regardless, a food regimen wealthy in entire grains and legumes — elements of the Mediterranean food regimen — is proven to scale 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 diminished danger of coronary heart illness (13).

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

A evaluate of eight research discovered a hyperlink between the paleo food regimen and enhancements in coronary heart well being markers like blood strain, 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 regimen for a couple of 12 months skilled unfavorable gut microbiota changes.

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 may very well be from the decrease total fiber, for the reason that paleo food regimen restricts legumes and entire grains (15).

Take into account that the paleo food regimen can differ tremendously based mostly on particular person interpretation.

For instance, some individuals might select extra saturated fat like purple 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 might be made higher based mostly on particular person individuals’s decisions (16).

Regardless of fashionable claims, it’s unclear how both food regimen impacts irritation ranges

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

A cross-sectional examine amongst 646 adults means that each the Mediterranean and paleo diets are linked to lower levels of inflammation and oxidative stress (18).

Moreover, a evaluate of 13 research discovered that the Mediterranean food regimen was related to diminished inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. Nevertheless, when different indicators of irritation had been included, the outcomes turned blended (19).

Since inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein can even improve as a result of an infection, a single indicator of irritation is probably not an correct measure of persistent irritation. Due to this fact, it’s necessary to incorporate different indicators.

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

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

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

A later examine additionally discovered that those that adopted a paleo diet for one year truly skilled unfavorable intestine microbiota modifications (15).


The Mediterranean food regimen seems to help coronary heart well being and enhance blood sugar ranges, but it surely’s unclear whether or not the paleo food regimen has the identical results. Neither food regimen has sturdy proof supporting the concept that it reduces irritation.

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

Nevertheless, the Mediterranean food regimen finally has extra proof to help its health-promoting advantages. Plus, the paleo food regimen is restrictive, which might be dangerous for a lot of causes.

Restrictive diets can improve your danger of participating in disordered consuming habits and might trigger bingeing, in line with many years of analysis. It may possibly additionally result in an unhealthy obsession with consuming “clear,” referred to as orthorexia nervosa (23, 24).

Food restrictions can even trigger social isolation and loneliness — which is not any shock, as consuming with others is a bonding expertise throughout cultures (25, 26).

Lastly, meals restriction reduces meals selection. Selection might assist defend your well being, since consuming numerous totally different meals ensures that you just get the entire vitamins your physique wants (27).

Be taught extra about potential unwanted side effects of the paleo food regimen here.

Which food regimen you select, in case you select one in any respect, might depend upon many elements — together with your well being targets, wants, preferences, and entry to meals.

For instance, in case you want plant-based eating, chances are you’ll discover that the paleo food regimen is inappropriate for you. Or, in case you’re illiberal to legumes, it might be tough to undertake the legume-heavy Mediterranean food regimen.

For the reason that paleo food regimen might be restrictive, our greatest recommendation in case you select this sample is to try to eat all kinds of meals to make up for the intensive restrictions.

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

Take into account that no matter which food regimen you select, what issues extra is that you just make nutritious decisions inside its tips and individualize it to your individual well being, tradition, and preferences.


When figuring out which food regimen is best for you, take into account your well being targets, wants, preferences, and entry to meals. Paleo diets could also be too restrictive for some individuals, so if you wish to comply with it, make sure you eat a number of selection.

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

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

The paleo food regimen is restrictive and lacks selection, in contrast to the Mediterranean food regimen. As such, some proof means that the paleo food regimen can hurt intestine and coronary heart well being in the long run, in addition to promote disordered consuming habits.

Nevertheless, totally different individuals will interpret and comply with the paleo food regimen in another way, and a few of its results might come down to non-public meals decisions.

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

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