Learn about Paleo vs Whole30 here. Wow, that’s a loaded subject! If I had to write about Whole30 vs Paleo in 6 words or less. I would say that “Whole30 is Paleo without the sugar”. To clarify just a bit. Sugar isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet either but maple syrup, honey, molasses, and coconut sugar are. None of the sugars just mentioned are allowed on the Whole30 diet.
I’ve been blogging about Paleo recipes for several years now. I’ve followed the Paleo diet off and on for the same number of years. A couple of years ago I heard about the Whole30 diet and was surprised how similar they are. I’m going to try and explain the differences and similarities as simply as I can. My mother always says, make it short and sweet. So I’m going to try.
The word Paleo comes from the Paleolithic era when cavemen were the only people on the earth. They had to hunt and gather for their food. So, on the Paleo diet, you’re supposed to eat what the cavemen would have eaten. Which means basically raw foods including meats, poultry, fish and fruits, and vegetables.
I wrote another blog post titled Paleo Recipes Index Plus Answers to Common Questions. Follow the link and read it, it goes into more detail about what the Paleo diet is and has links to books about it etc. It tells about the man who developed the Paleo diet and how it came about.
This blog post I wrote Is It Paleo? Answers to Your Most-Asked Paleo Questions goes into more detail and has answers to a lot of common questions.
I also wrote this blog post, Paleo Diet Food List [Infographic] in it I have lists of what foods are allowed on the Paleo diet and explain them in more detail.
I don’t know as much about the Whole30 diet. I refer you to this website Whole30.com Let Us Change Your Life. I think it explains in good detail everything you need to know about the Whole30 diet.
Paleo vs Whole30 – So how are Paleo and Whole30 similar?
1. They both focus on eating whole foods, real foods or clean eating foods which are all the same thing. That means eating foods that have not been processed. For example, white flour is processed and whole wheat flour isn’t, but neither one is allowed on either diet. That’s just the most common example I can think of right now.
2. No grains are allowed, that’s not quite the same as gluten-free because oats are gluten-free but they are also a grain so they aren’t allowed. Quinoa is not Paleo either.
3. Other foods that are not allowed on either diet are legumes, no dairy with a couple of exceptions like butter.
You get the idea, follow the link I’ve provided for more detail. Paleo Diet Food List [Infographic]
Paleo vs Whole30 – So how are they different?
1. Whole30 is meant to reset your system while the Paleo diet is meant to be a long-term lifestyle change.
2. Whole30 is more restrictive because it’s meant to be followed for only a month at a time. Then you can slowly add foods back into your diet.
3. As mentioned above Whole30 doesn’t allow sugar of any kind. That includes honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar which are allowed on the Paleo diet. Those foods are allowed on the Paleo diet because they are not processed like sugar. No sugar of any kind is allowed on Whole30. Even the sweetest fruits are discouraged on Whole30 like dates.
4. Alcohol is allowed on the Paleo diet but not on Whole30.
5. Whole30 doesn’t believe in foods that are what I call “copycats”. On Paleo, you can eat pancakes, cookies, cakes, and pizza that are made with ingredients that are allowed on the Paleo diet. For example, a pizza crust could be made with almond flour instead of all-purpose flour. A cake or cookies can be made with almond flour and honey. The Whole30 diet thinks foods like this are damaging to you psychologically. They think it’s like cheating on the diet. They think it makes it harder for your body to adjust.
6. Whole30 has a strict rule about not weighing yourself for the first 30 days. Paleo doesn’t profess to help you lose weight. Just be healthy.
7. Paleo dieters believe that if you mess up and eat something not allowed, that you should just move on and not eat it again. Whereas on Whole30 you’ve technically ended your diet right there and then.
8. Whole30 has a food “reintroduction” plan after you’ve followed the diet for 30 days with detailed instructions. Paleo is a lifestyle change.
Ultimately, Paleo and Whole30 resemble one another very closely. The biggest difference is in the diet’s form.
Some people say that the Paleo diet doesn’t have guidelines like the Whole30 diet does but I don’t agree with that. It has plenty of guidelines, I just think that some people adhere to those guidelines more strictly than others. I think that is okay, I actually think it’s a good idea.
We shouldn’t have to be told exactly what we should and shouldn’t eat. We know our bodies and how we feel when we eat certain foods. We should listen to our bodies and follow what they are telling us. I also think it depends on our preferences including likes and dislikes in general.
I don’t agree with some of the foods allowed on the Paleo diet so I don’t eat them. For example, wine is allowed but I just can’t imagine that cavemen knew how to make wine. Maybe they did, who knows?
I do know the negative effects wine has on my body so I choose not to eat it on any diet. Chocolate is another one of those controversial foods for Paleo dieters. I wrote this article titled Is Chocolate Paleo?.
I eat potatoes even though technically Paleo dieters aren’t supposed to. I think a little starch is healthy. My belief is moderation in all things.
Helpful Paleo Links
Here are some links to other posts that I have written that I think will be helpful to you. Make sure you check out the list of Paleo cookbooks on Amazon that I just updated. What is the Best Paleo Cookbook on Amazon? – Listed in Order of Popularity
I have a post about Paleo meal plans you’ll like if you’re into meal plans – Weekly Paleo Meal Plan.
I included 2 Paleo recipes that have been lifesavers for me. Very early on in my Paleo journey, I found that I can make my own mayonnaise. That meant I could eat a sandwich that wasn’t dry and I could make my own salad dressing. It changed my life. Homemade Paleo Mayo Recipe
A little later on I realized that baking powder isn’t Paleo but that I could make my own baking powder.
I also included a link to every Paleo recipe I have developed, which is a lot. Paleo Recipes Index
Here is a link to all of the Whole30 recipes I have developed. Whole30 Recipes Index