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, nuts, and healthy oils.
So which one is better for you? Let's look at some of the biggest differences.
- Unlike the Whole30 diet, which encourages you to eliminate all sugars, the Paleo diet allows unrefined sugar like honey and maple syrup so you're able to enjoy healthier treats like Paleo pancakes, Paleo cookies, and Paleo brownies.
- Some Paleo dieters even allow an occasional glass of wine (or two) or non-grain based spirits like tequila with club soda and lime in moderation. Whole30 eliminates all alcohol for 30 days.
- The Paleo diet is typically viewed as a long-term lifestyle, rather than a quick 30-day challenge, so 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 “makeover” popular junk foods.
We don't think one diet is better than the other. It's really whatever you think is best for you. Some like to do the Whole30 to get started and then transition into the Paleo diet. It's a nice 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 diets, so really, you can't go wrong.