Is Whole30 Better Than Paleo?

Whole30 vs Paleo
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What’s the difference between Whole30 vs Paleo? Whole30 has been around for a few years now and is a Paleo-like diet used to assist people with poor dietary habits to transition to a more healthy diet.  It is something that is strictly controlled and run over a 30 day period.

Similarities

Both programs focus on consuming whole, clean and natural foods. Both Whole30 and Paleo exclude:

  • dairy
  • alcohol
  • processed foods
  • legumes
  • grains

Whole30 and Paleo are almost identical in their philosophy.

Generally, all Whole30 recipes are also Paleo friendly, but not all Paleo recipes can work on the Whole30 diet (although many can).

Differences

The key difference is that the Whole30 program is a strict regime over 30 days designed to cleanse and reset your body, whilst the Paleo program is a whole lifestyle change.  More details regarding Whole30 can be found at www.whole30.com.  At the completion of the 30 days, the Whole30 program encourages its participants to go through a deliberate reintroduction phase to add the excluded foods back into your diet one at a time. The point of the reintroduction phase is to find out which foods give you problems and then enable you to make more mindful choices in the future by being aware of how certain foods affect you.

The main premise of Paleo is that it is a long-term lifestyle with an emphasis on eating in line with the way we have evolved to eat.  Paleo is more a thought process, and with so many modifications, people often have differing opinions of what makes a Paleo lifestyle.  Rules are a bit more fluid as it forms part of your long-term eating habits.  There isn’t a reintroduction phase with Paleo, the list of foods to avoid are to just simply be avoided. Whole30 doesn’t require you to never eat the “off-limits” foods ever again.

Do you want a detox OR a lifestyle change?

While some people do completely adopt a Whole30 way of life, it is generally used as a 30 day kick start to a more clean, Paleo way of life.

Paleo seems to be easier to stick to long term for people because of the modifications allowed in the eating program.  Most people I know that have completed Whole30 find that they discover benefits from a clean eating way of life (for that first 30 days), they continue a Paleo Lifestyle to sustain these benefits.

Paleo and Whole30 diets share a number of basic principles. Both diets cut all grains, dairy, refined sugar, legumes, processed foods, and refined oils, and instead focus on eating high-quality meats, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils.

Whole30 vs Paleo
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The Paleo diet is typically viewed as a long-term lifestyle, rather than a quick 30-day challenge. It encourages you to find ways to recreate your comfort-food classics using Paleo-approved ingredients. Whole30, in contrast, aims to help eliminate your cravings for processed foods, so it prohibits trying to re-invent popular junk foods.

Which program is better?

Is one diet better than the other? The reality is it’s whatever you think is best for you and your lifestyle. Some people like to do the Whole30 to get started with a healthier way of eating, or to understand what foods they may have sensitivities to, or to break a sugar addiction and then transition into the Paleo diet. It’s a great way to go from a strict program to letting yourself enjoy Paleo-friendly desserts every once in a while—and sometimes even that glass of wine. Both are excellent ways to remove processed foods from your diet, so whichever way you choose, you can’t really go wrong.


For further reading on Whole30, I recommend:
The Whole30 – The Official 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig.