Think of the ketogenic diet as paleo taken up a few notches. Whereas the paleo diet may incorporate the odd carb “cheat day” or an 80/20 principle when it comes to diet, keto makes no such compromises.
The lifestyle principles are essentially the same when it comes to exercise: lift heavy things, walk a lot, run a little. Ditto for food: eat real food, avoid sugar, no processed “food”.
Where the two diverge is with regards to carbs. The ketogenic lifestyle calls for even less carbohydrates than paleo. Paleo argues for carb consumption between 50-150 grams/day depending on one’s activity levels. The ketogenic lifestyle stresses that carbs need to be kept below 50 grams/day.
Why do this? What’s the point?
Ketogenesis that’s why!
The argument runs that our hunter-gatherer ancestors went through periods where carb consumption was practically nil. Think winter in northern latitudes. As a result, their bodies would not have glucose for fuel; instead their bodies would convert fat stores to ketones for energy. Moreover, there would be times when our ancestors weren’t eating at all. What if they failed to catch anything for a few days or a week? Again, the body would go into ketosis, burn fat and produce ketones for fuel.
There is a wealth of information out there that argues that ketosis is very good for the body. That doesn’t mean one needs to be in ketosis all the time. Indeed, many paleos call for cycling in and out of ketosis.
Another difference when compared to straight-up paleo is the role that fasting plays in the ketogenic lifestyle. In order to mimic the hunter-gatherer way of life, the argument runs that one should adopt various forms of fasting. This could be for a day or two of water only fasting or only eating one meal a day or having a very tight four or five hour “eating window”. This will help the body move into ketosis.
Finally, one of the big purported benefits of this lifestyle is autophagy which literally means self-eating. The argument runs that with fasting and ketosis, the body will absorb or “eat” damaged cells and unused proteins.