Because they have some things in common, many people think gluten-free and paleo mean the same. Besides, there are just too many labels for diets and lifestyle choices. Before you practice or adopt any one of them, you need to gather the necessary information.
For health reasons or lifestyle choices, if you’re looking to go gluten-free or paleo, and you think they are probably the same, you should read this article. A gluten-free diet is not the same as a paleo diet.
This article details the unique differences between eating gluten-free and eating paleo. You’ll also learn what qualifies as gluten-free and paleo food.
What Is a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet could be a health plan or lifestyle choice to stay off eating foods that contain gluten. Some examples of such foods are gluten grains like wheat, barley, rye, and spelt; soy sauce, baked goods made with gluten grains, and some beverages.
However, because these foods contain gluten does not mean they are unhealthy. It rather implies the digestive tract of some people cannot tolerate gluten. People with the celiac condition, people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy are the people who should stay off gluten.
What Is a Paleo Diet?
A paleo diet is a diet that does not include grains (gluten and gluten-free grains), dairy, legumes like oats, soybeans, peanuts and beans, refined oils, artificial sweeteners, sugar, trans fat, and processed sugars.
The paleo or grain-free diet dates as far back as prehistoric times, and that is where it got its name (paleolithic diet). Other names this diet plan is called are cavemen diet or the stone age diet. During these times, the men are good gathered from hunting in the part of the world they lived.
On a paleo diet, you can eat eggs, fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, tubers, fruits, vegetables, spices, meat (beef, turkey, chicken, and pork), and healthy fats and oils.
Gluten-Free vs Paleo
These are the unique differences between a gluten-free diet and a grain-free diet:
- A gluten-free diet excludes gluten grains and any other foods that contain gluten. Paleo, on the other hand, crosses out foods that were not eaten in prehistoric times. It believes that if our ancestors could survive on those meals, then the people of today can too.
- For health concerns, a gluten-free diet helps to reduce and avoid the reactions celiacs and people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience after eating gluten foods. The grain-free diet is good for weight loss (since you’re staying off processed foods like oils and sugars and trans fat).
- Moreover, if you’re eating paleo, you’re automatically eating gluten-free to an extent because you’re staying off some gluten grains. However, it doesn’t make you 100% gluten-free because you may eat soy sauce on a grain-free diet. If you’re gluten-free, it doesn’t make you paleo.
- Another unique difference between gluten-free and paleo is that the paleo lifestyle also includes sleeping and exercise. The prehistoric men slept more because they didn’t have modern-day distractions like phones. As for gluten-free, the only thing it considers outside food is gluten-free makeup.
- Although eating paleo doesn’t automatically mean low carbs, it removes a lot of carbohydrates-rich foods. On the other hand, if you’re eating gluten-free, you can still have carbs on your diet.
Is Gluten-Free Bread Paleo?
No, it isn’t. Gluten-free bread is not paleo because it may be made with grains which should not be a part of a grain-free diet. Moreover, the bread may include non-paleo oils and refined oils. Gluten-free bread is high in carbs, opposing the absence of/or reduced carbs in a grain-free diet.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Paleo?
Gluten-free pasta is not paleo. The pasta is made from highly processed grains like rice. If you want to have pasta on a paleo diet, you can opt for spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles.
Is Gluten-Free Flour Paleo?
A flour qualifies as paleo if it doesn’t contain gluten, sugar, dairy, and legumes. This does not make every gluten-free flour paleo. Some gluten-free flours are also paleo-friendly. Examples of such are arrowroot starch, coconut flour, almond flour, tiger nut flour, tapioca flour, and plantain flour.
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Gluten-Free?
While going gluten-free could reduce inflammation, the symptoms of gluten sensitivity, and maybe aid weight loss, it comes with consequences. Gluten-free foods lack enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This may deprive your body of the recommended dietary intake.
In addition, you may experience frequent constipation, bloating, weight gain as opposed to the assumed weight loss (because you’ll be taking in more sugar), and an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes mellitus.
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Paleo?
Going paleo doesn’t sound harmful, but because it is eating restrictive, there could be side effects. Some of these side effects include diarrhea, constipation, hypoglycemia, and low-carb flu, which can result in reduced insulin resistance, lethargy, and bad breath due to the exhalation of ketones.
Is Gluten-Free Diet Better Than Paleo?
The diet plan or lifestyle choice you choose to follow depends largely on you. While going gluten-free is more connected to health concerns, eating grain-free isn’t. No one is better than the other. Whichever you decide to go with, get the necessary information and follow it correctly.
Keep in mind that there are side effects, and watch out for the effects that pose a threat to your overall health. Most importantly, consult a doctor or dietician before you go ahead to adopt a diet plan.
Is gluten-free oatmeal paleo-friendly?
No, it is not. Oatmeal is made with oats, which are grains. And if you are eating paleo, you should stay off grains.
Is gluten-free pizza paleo?
A gluten-free pizza crust may not be paleo if it contains dairy and other grains, even if they are gluten-free. If you want a paleo pizza, you can make your pizza crust at home or visit a restaurant that will consider your preferences.
Is the paleo diet dairy-free?
The Paleo diet was originally dairy-free. But there are a few exemptions now. Some dairy products like dairy are gotten from grass-fed animals. Grass-fed butter, for instance, is paleo. Also, if you want milk, you can have non-dairy milk like coconut milk, almond milk, and cashew milk.
Now you know that eating gluten-free is not the same as eating paleo. While gluten-free means avoiding foods that contain gluten, paleo means avoiding grains, processed foods, and some other foods. In essence, if you’re eating paleo, you’re gluten-free. However, you’re not paleo if you’re eating gluten-free.
Whichever diet plan you’re about to adopt for health reasons or on the grounds of lifestyle choices, know what it entails and follow the rules. If possible, you can use the guidance of a doctor or dietician.
Thanks for reading.
Need a guide to help walk you through your diet plan? You should visit Cheffist.