Keto, Paleo, AIP, Vegan — Which Diet is Best For You?

Keto, Paleo, AIP, Vegan — Which Diet is Best For You?

No diet is one-size-fits-all . . . find out which is the best diet for YOU, your body, and your own personal health goals! With this helpful diet Q&A, we breakdown the differences between the popular diets out there, to help you find an answer to the age old question: Which Diet Should I Do?

 

So, you’re thinking about starting a new diet, and you’re not sure which one to pick. Your best friend is vegan, your neighbour is on Keto, your mail delivery man has seen excellent results on Paleo, and you’ve been hearing the buzz about the AIP diet. So, which diet is best? What should you pick? How do you decide which one to do? Don’t panic! We’ve created a fool-proof questionnaire to help you determine which diet is right for you. Let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This article was created for informational purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your diet. 

Question #1: Why are You Looking to Change your Diet?

Believe it or not, changing your diet is a big deal! And, you should be proud of yourself for wanting to make a change for the better. However, before making any changes it is important to identify the “Why” behind your decision making. After all, it’s hard to know where you’re heading if you haven’t picked a destination yet. 

Some common reasons to change your diet are:

  1. Weight Loss: The most popular reason of them all! If you fall under this category, then you may not necessarily need any of these diets at all. Contrary to popular belief, these diets weren’t created with the goal of weight loss in mind, it was more of a side-effect from eating better. So, if weight loss is your only goal, a simple moderate calorie deficit on your current diet should do the trick. However, if you’re looking for more than just weight loss, then you may benefit from the keto, paleo, AIP, or vegan diet. 
  2. Ethical Responsibility: You love animals, or the environment, or both, and you want to do your part to help save it! This desire to help animals and the planet may lead you towards a plant-based or a vegan diet. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that you are able to follow a plant-based/vegan diet and simultaneously follow the keto, paleo, or AIP diet; it just requires some more strategic planning. 
  3. Chronic Symptoms: By now, you may have heard that our health and our nutrition go hand-in-hand. Therefore, when we improve our nutrition, our health should improve simultaneously. If you are experiencing anything from acne to sore joints to stomach pain to chronic fatigue, it may be time to take a closer look at your diet. There may be certain foods or food groups that are triggering these symptoms. These symptoms could be alleviated by either removing the food group completely or by eating less of it. If you fall into this category, then the keto, or the AIP-diet may be for you. More specifically, if you struggle with blood sugar maintenance, diabetes, epilepsy, brain fog, or react poorly to carb-dense meals, then you may want to look into the Keto diet. And, if you struggle with gut issues, inflammation and its related conditions, then AIP might be right for you. 
  4. Eating Too Many Processed Foods: If you constantly find yourself eating out of something packaged, it may benefit you to look into the paleo diet. The paleo diet is all about getting back to our roots and eating more of what the earth can provide and none of the stuff you make in a lab. With the paleo diet, you’ll be eating lots of whole and nutritious foods that will fuel your body with the best that nature has to offer. 

Question #2: What Parts of Your Diet Are You Willing to Change?

When it comes to lifestyle diets, It’s no secret that you’ll have to make a change. However, some diets involve making a bigger change than others. All of these diets require you to give up something, so, it’s important to figure out where you draw the line. 

For example, if you feel that you could live without animal products (milk, cheese, meat, fish & derivatives), then you’ll easily adopt a vegan lifestyle. But, if meat, milk and cheese are your kryptonite, then maybe a keto-friendly diet is more appropriate. 

If you don’t care for dairy-products but want to hold on to your meat products, like chicken and eggs, then the paleo or AIP diet may be more suitable for you. And, if you love your carbs, (or if you’re the type of person that cried while doing their math homework at the dinner table), then stand clear from the keto diet. Additionally, if you enjoy a good handful of nuts or nut butters, then AIP may not be right for you. 

As you can see, all of these diets come with restrictions. So, you’ll have to look into each set of diet rules individually to see what is required of you and if you’re willing to do it.  However, we must mention that there is a work-around to help you keep the foods you love while following these lifestyle diets. Thanks to science and chefs everywhere, we now have keto-friendly, vegan, paleo, and AIP-friendly versions of many of the foods that are considered off-limits during these diets. So, you may not have to give up so many things after all! You can find diet-friendly foods here

Question #3: How Easily Do You Adapt to Change?

Change is hard. And, for some it can be harder than for others. Your ability to change will be a huge factor in your success with any of these lifestyle diets. These lifestyle diets come with rules and restrictions, and some lifestyle diets are more restrictive than others. This is an important factor in your decision as there will come a time when you are faced with temptations. Will you be able to resist? If you’re not sure, or you want some flexibility in your diet, then a keto or AIP diet may not be for you. This is because these diets require your full commitment 24/7 for it to be effective. Take the keto diet for example. For the keto diet to be effective, you need to remain in a state of ketosis, which can be easily broken if you’re not too good at math or if you give into temptation. Similarly, with the AIP diet, you may experience some side-effects if you eat something that is not AIP-approved. Whereas for the vegan and paleo diet, not much happens internally if you slip up one day. So, now’s the time to really be honest with yourself and realize what type of lifestyle you can handle 24/7.

Question #4: How Will This Diet Change Affect My Lifestyle?

Birthdays, anniversaries, night’s out with your friends, what will you do if nothing diet-friendly is available? This is a question that is most often forgotten in the decision-making process. As you may be aware, these diets come with lots of restrictions that many public places are not great at accommodating. You could come prepared with your set of diet-friendly snacks, but what if you forget? What if you’re not allowed to bring in food? This is where we’ll have to revert back to a theme explored in question 3 -- the essentiality of rules. As mentioned above, for some diets, like keto and AIP, if you break the diet rules, you suffer the consequences. Whereas for paleo and vegan diets, no severe consequences occur if you break the rules on occasion. For this reason, it’s important to figure out if you can maintain this lifestyle no matter where you go.

At this moment in time, those following a vegan diet will probably have the easiest time of them all as many food establishments have become vegan-friendly. Secondly, would be the paleo diet, followed by the AIP or the keto diet. The keto and AIP diet are the most restrictive diets, so they tend to hover around third and fourth place. It also depends on whether the nutrition table is available or not.

Pro tip: Many food establishments have their nutritional information available online, so you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. Regardless, you may experience instances where you may feel a little left out, food & drink-wise; So, you’ll have to determine how much of an inconvenience this lifestyle may bring to your life, and how much you’re willing to tolerate. 

Question #5: What is My Level of Food Knowledge?

Question 5 is an extension of question 4, as these concepts go together. As we mentioned above, there will come a time where you’ll be eating outside of your home and might struggle to find diet-friendly food options. Additionally, you’re going to have to undergo the dreaded task of grocery shopping to fit your new diet, so you might run into some hurdles there too. Nevertheless, it is possible to consume outside food and grocery shop on your new diet without it being too much of a hassle. The secret? Having sufficient knowledge of food! 

To be able to follow any of these diets you’ll have to develop a deep understanding of food. Anything from reading food labels to understanding cooking procedures is essential for success and flexibility in your lifestyle. You could always ask your server/an employee, but realize that their knowledge may not be up to par with your needs. Additionally, there are many hidden ingredients in food that may be off limits, so for any of these diets you’ll have to become a food-pro to follow these diets correctly. 

If you rate yourself as a newbie to the nutrition world, the easiest diet to follow is likely a vegan diet, as you’re mainly avoiding one thing (animal products). The second easiest would be the paleo or keto diet. And, in last place would be the AIP diet, as there is a lot to remember. Regardless of which one you choose, you will need to crack a book open (or keep reading our blog) to learn more about the diet. How much you’re willing to learn may help you determine which diet to choose. 

The Final Verdict: 

All these lifestyle diets come with their pros and cons. And, no one diet is perfect. So, what is the best diet? The best diet is the diet that fits your lifestyle and health goals. No one diet is better than the other, so it’s okay to follow a different diet than your mom or your best friend. The most important factor is that it works for you and that it is sustainable for you. Dietary practices are highly personal, which is why we emphasize the importance of doing it for yourself, not just because Suzie from pilates is doing it. However, you’re going to want support regardless. And, we have no doubt that no matter what lifestyle diet you choose, your loved ones will be right by your side through the ups and the downs. Changing your diet is not an easy task, but you sure can make it easier by keeping a strong support system and incorporating diet-friendly versions of your favourite foods. You can find vegan, paleo, AIP, and keto-friendly food options in Canada here. So, which diet are you going to pick and why? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!

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