What Is the Difference Between Paleo vs. Clean Eating?

Posted On: December 18, 2018

What is the difference between clean eating and paleo? If you’re looking to understand the foods allowed in each diet, along with the advantages and essential considerations of each lifestyle, then you’re in the right place.

Clean Eating vs. Paleo

More than likely, if you’re reading this, you’re trying to make distinctions and select the diet best for you. These diets are similar, but we genuinely think that understanding what makes each one unique will help you decide on the path perfect for you.

What’s the Difference Between Paleo and Clean Eating?

In a lot of ways, paleo is stricter. Both diets involve whole, fresh foods, but remember that paleo comes from “Paleolithic.” If a cave dweller couldn’t have found it back in the day, you’re not touching it either.

What Can I Eat?

Let’s start with the fun part – what you can eat on these diets! Both can be great options. Many dieters of both plans have seen success. Both clean eating and the paleo diet require you to consume mainly veggies and fruits. You’re looking at nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, and seafood. If you’re focusing on eating clean, then you are permitted legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.

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Which Foods Are Off Limits?

When you’re “eating clean,” you’ll want to steer clear of processed foods, as well as refined grains and sugars. The paleo plan is quite similar: you must know that in addition to that previous list, you can’t have grains, legumes, or just any dairy products. Raw, fermented dairy items are, on the other hand, acceptable. Thus, grass-fed butter and Greek yogurt are fair game for most paleo dieters. Your salt intake must also be kept in check on both diets. Moderation is key.


As you might imagine, you have more variety in your diet when you’ve adopted the clean eating path. You can even have things like red wine, unrefined sweeteners (like honey), and dark chocolate. A cave dweller wouldn’t have had these, so strict paleo dieters might stray from them.

The paleo lifestyle has been known to help dieters lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. It has also been proven to contribute to more weight loss and better blood glucose control.

Things to Consider

It’s important to note that dairy and grains are prohibited from paleo, making it hard to get essential nutrients like calcium. You must plan your menu very strategically and perhaps even take supplements. You’ll also need to consider your fatty meat intake, or you’ll consume entirely too many saturated fats. Lean meats tend to be your friend.

With paleo and clean eating, you must think about the time and effort that goes into them. It’s safe to say you’ll be cooking more. It’s rather difficult to eat out, too; there are restrictions, and it’s likely that restaurants aren’t watching your diet like you are.

These health plans might also be expensive. As you probably have discovered, eating meats and fresh vegetables and fruits brings that grocery total up. There are strategies for eating paleo on a shoestring budget if you want to keep your body and bank account healthy.

Which Is Healthier: Paleo or Clean Eating?

difference between clean eating vs. Paleo for weight loss

Since both the paleo diet and clean eating lifestyle avoid processed items, they both keep your salt in check. The emphasis on fruits and veggies help you achieve the correct fiber and potassium daily intake for a healthy individual.

It’s about what works for you! If paleo and clean eating aren’t right for your lifestyle, consider other diets like the paleo diet. You might find what you’re looking for in another health plan out there.

What Works for You?

If you’re looking at clean eating vs. paleo for weight loss, then we want you to remember that at the heart of weight loss is calorie reduction. If you opt to follow the paleo diet but consume just as many calories as you did before you began, then you’re not going to see the changes you seek. Paleo and clean eating are more about lifestyle commitments. They target your physical and mental wellbeing.

If you’re feeling discouraged because of the fresh produce and meat price points, try choosing less expensive cuts of meat. And purchase the produce that is in season. Another tip is to head for the frozen section. Frozen food can save you a ton on groceries! If you’ve opted to eat clean, then plan your meals around vegetarian protein sources like legumes. That’ll also help with the bill.

Before you go, be sure to check out Beetnik’s healthy Paleo meals! We offer a Paleo Starter Pack if you’re interested in convenient and healthy meals.


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