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Paleo, Whole30, or Carb Cycling: Which One Is Right for You?

Kate Gitman 6 months ago - in Health & Fitness

There are many different diets available to help you lose weight, become stronger, and feel great. While Paleo diet has been popular for a long while, the Whole30 and carb cycling start growing in popularity. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three diets to see how they compare and figure out which one is best for you.


Paleo is based on a cave man’s diet. The idea is that our ancestors were healthy, lean, and muscular without eating processed grains. Paleo eaters eschew carbs of many kinds in order to maintain lean, hunter gatherer bodies. The focus is on healthy fats, protein, and leafy vegetables but they do allow natural sweeteners like honey and agave. Many people use an 85/15 approach to Paleo where they follow the diet 85% of the time and then consume non-paleo foods like alcohol and grains only 15% of the time.

The Whole30

The Whole30 is an elimination diet. You are only allowed to eat whole, unprocessed foods like meat, vegetables, and fruit. You are not allowed to eat a pretty long list of foods – dairy, soy, sugar (real and artificial), alcohol, legumes, junk foods, grains, carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. After 30 days, you slowly reintroduce all the foods you eliminated. This helps you identify which foods cause inflammatory responses in your body.

Read also – 5 Reasons Eating Healthy Has Become a Disruptive Obsession

Carb cycling

Carb cycling is probably the least restrictive of the diets because it allows for carbs and even “cheat” days throughout the diet. By eliminating and then reintroducing carbohydrates every few days, you are providing just enough fuel for your body while still building muscles and burning more fat. You can do a variety of cycles, depending on your body type and athletic needs. A typical cycle would be two low carb days followed by one high carb day.

What is the goal of each diet?

Whole30’s emphasis is on changing your relationship with food. There is psychological work involved as you learn when you crave foods, how they affect you and why you feel so attached to food. The goal of the Whole30 is to break those cravings and unhealthy habits so you can be free of overwhelming food desires.

The Paleo diet is for those who want to eliminate processed foods and focus on building muscle. The 85/15 approach allows for some leeway if you need or want to keep alcohol or grains in your life.

Carb cycling allows you to plan your diet easily with built in cheat days. It may be easier for you to go “low carb” if you know it will only last for 2-3 days at a time. There is a bit more variety in this diet, but it is also planned, so you know when you can have that glass of wine and when it is off limits. Exercise is also encouraged on this diet, particularly high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Read also – 4 Biggest Digestive Issues and How to Tame Them

Now that you know the basics of each diet and how they compare, you can make a decision on which diet is best for you. All the diets involve cutting processed foods and increasing consumption of protein, healthy fats, and clean carbs which will help you reach your health and exercise goals. Have you already made your final choice?