Primal and Paleo – What are the Differences?

MariagePrimal and Paleo is like a marriage. They are two different people which have more things in common than the things that differentiate them. And both feeling mutual love and respect for one another,

The Paleo diet and the Primal Lifestyle are both rooted on similar evolutionary sciences. An introduction would go more or less like this. Our modern diet bears little or no resemblance to that of our ancestors several 100,000 years ago. As a mater of fact since the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago, we have acquired eating habits that our bodies have had a hard time adjusting to.  So when we re-adjust our eating habits to does of our pre-agricultural ancestors, we begin to work once again in favor of our physiology and not against it.

So as you can see the basic fundamental of both Primal and Paleo are the same. And we can find many other similarities in both.

Primal DietThey both believe in:

  • Eating tons of fruits and vegetables
  • Eating lots of protein
  • Avoiding grains
  • Eliminating Gluten
  • Eliminating Corn and all its derivatives
  • Doing away with High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Avoiding Sugars
  • Eliminating all processed foods
  • Enjoying Spirits, Wines and Beer once in a while

Now lets look at the differences which in reality there not that many. But they do serve to differentiate both.

  • I think the most important difference between the two is that the Primal Lifestyle works as a broad, holistic approach to living, not just eating, It also include a range of other factors such as sleep, exercise, social contact, mental stimulation, nature immersion, life fulfillment, light exposure and sun exposure. The Primal Lifestyle encompasses all these factors and turns it from a diet to a lifestyle.  On the other hand Paleo is basically a diet. Even though recently it has also included a holistic approach to its framework.
  • Paleo has an 85% / 15% rule where a person’s daily intake should be 85% fats and protein and 15% carbs from fruits and vegetables only. Primal has an 80% / 20% rule where the daily intake should be 80% fats and protein and 20% carbs from fruits, vegetables, with some dairy or legumes once in a while.
  • Paleo avoids dairy and all it’s derivative products. While Primal will let you enjoy raw, fermented dairy especially from grass-fed animals such as aged cheeses once in awhile.
  • Paleo avoids saturated fats and limit their intake of fatty meats, eggs and butter. Primal eaters are not afraid of saturated fats, and eggs are enjoyed freely.
  • Paleo avoids soy but Primal accepts fermented soy products and organic edamame.
  • Paleo avoids the intake of legumes but Primal allows for occasional intake of legumes
  • Paleo avoids coffee since in scientific terms is considered a legume. Primal encourages the consumption of coffee.

As you can see there are some differences between the two but the basic principal in both is the same.  If you are looking to start a Paleo diet maybe you should consider starting off with Primal and then work your way up to Paleo from there.

Hope you have enjoyed the article. If you have any questions or maybe need additional information go ahead an leave a comment and I will respond as soon as possible.

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    • Alejandra on July 26, 2017 at 12:23 am
    • Reply

    Hi Primo,

    Thanks for writing this helpful article about Paleo diet and Primo diet.
    I got from this article great information about Paleo diet, you share great point of this diet, and I also think 85% of fat and protein is too much on a daily diet. I also go more with Primo diet and I’m glad you also allow the intake of legumes on your diet.
    One question will be if Primo diet is a lifestyle diet.
    Once you get on it, do you need to keep it or is it just for a period of time?
    Thanks for your answer.

    1. Hi Alejandra: Thank you so much for your comment. To answer your question, yes, the Primal Lifestyle is a Lifestyle change that would encompass everything from diet, sleep, exercise, mental health and so on,  In reality everything that makes you, YOU.

    • Shawn F. on July 26, 2017 at 1:48 am
    • Reply


    This is a great article outlining the differences between primal and paleo diets. I have always been confused on the two diets. I am very glad that you clarified it here. I have bookmarked your website and I will definitely be a returning reader. I have also passed this along to a group of people I work out with. I’m sure they will enjoy reading it as much as I do. Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Shawn:  Thank you so much for your kind words, greatly appreciated.  I’ll be looking forward to your visits and comments.

    • Maxx on July 26, 2017 at 3:24 am
    • Reply

    Overall I found your site construct is very nice and the layout very presented.

    Of course the content you provided also awesome such as Primal and Paleo as well as the Differences.

    I will definitely bookmark your site and share to my networks.

    Keep up the good work.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maxx: Thank you so much for your kind words, greatly appreciated.

    • HSF on July 26, 2017 at 10:51 am
    • Reply

    I am currently looking at new diets and looking to change my current lifestyle and have recently came across paleo but not primal and am glad I did. It was interesting to see the difference and how I could incorporate it into my life. I beleive I am trying to achieve primal without even knowing it existed.

    1. Hi HSF: Thank you so much for your visit and your comment. Primal has been around for a little over 10 years, and have gained quite a few advocates since it does tend to be a bit more lenient than Paleo.

    • Netta on July 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm
    • Reply

    Hey Primo:

    Thanks for this explanation of the difference between Paleo and Primal diets. The proliferation of the many different ways of eating can make me dizzy sometimes.

    The comparison of the two is most helpful since, as you say, their premises are so very similar. It’s interesting to see the different ways the developers of the two diets have taken them.

    1. Hi Netta:  Thanks for the visit and the comment.  Both diets are basically the same in their fundamental rules, but Primal tends to be a bit more lenient than Paleo.

    • Andy on July 27, 2017 at 12:29 am
    • Reply

    Hi, great article. I’ve been researching some information on various diets and lifestyles ever since I developed issues with digesting saturated fats.

    I’m wondering if these diets you mentioned are related to acidic vs alkaline based diets. Seems to be similar in some way. I would love to know if you had some thoughts on that. Thanks

    1. Hi Andy: Thanks for visiting and for your comment. In both the primal and paleo diets most of the acidic foods have been eliminated and the ones that are left have very little impact in the alkaline of your blood system.

    • Daniella on August 2, 2017 at 5:17 am
    • Reply

    Hi there,
    Great article, I really enjoyed the reading!
    I was just looking for the Paleo diet because one of my friends has lost so much weight with this diet. I just want to lose a few pounds but I, unfortunately, I don’t succeed!
    Now that I see the differences between Paleo and Primal, I will definitely choose the Primal because I will never give up on my cup of coffee in the morning!
    Thank you for this excellent post!

    1. Hi Daniella: Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving your comment.  The Primal Diet is a good starting point since it is a bit more lenient than a pure Paleo diet.  Also it encompasses a lot more than just diet since it also encourages you to make lifestyle changes that will help you along the way.

    • JodyRae808 on August 2, 2017 at 11:15 am
    • Reply

    The main difference in Paleo and Primal is. Paleo is strictly a diet and primal is a whole life change. It is a , dealing,sleep, exercise,and social contact. Which I definitely think works better in the long run. It appears to
    me diets work short term but dieters most often put the weight back on .
    Good article.

    1. Hi Jody: Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Your are correct. Diet and Exercise along will not help you reach your long term goals which is to lose weight and keep it off.  It has to come along with a commitment to make lifestyle changes that will improve your health and wellbeing.

    • Scott on August 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm
    • Reply

    Hello – this is an awesome article on the Primal lifestyle and the Paleo diet. I wasn’t aware of the Primal aspect, and only just started looking at the Paleo. I am surprised though about the amount of fat that is allowed. What exactly is the true proportion of both the fat and protein? For me, I tend to stay away from high fat food, is there an alternate to the fat? Or do the diets only work when you follow their plan to a T?

    1. Hi Scott: Thank you so much for your visit and your comment. This diet should be followed to a T.  But by no means do we encourage the uncontrollable consumption of fat what we mean is that By eliminating sugary and starchy carbohydrates and moderating your protein intake, while eating a wide variety of fibrous vegetables and greens there is an automatic caloric vacuum created that needs to be filled if a person is to meet their energetic/caloric needs day-to-day.

      To fill in that void we use a variety of dietary fats from a variety of unadulterated, 100% pastured and organic, nutrient dense and fat-soluble nutrient-rich sources which should be the primary source of calories in any given meal. But by no means does this imply “the more fat the merrier”. Not at all. There has to be a balance between the rich protein and fats you consume and the variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables you should consume

    • Farhan on August 2, 2017 at 10:52 pm
    • Reply

    You have explained the differences and similarities between paleo and primal diets in a very comprehensive manner. It seems to me that both forms only bring more benefits than harm.

    Should the average person practice both types of dieting? Is it even possible to that? And what about a fat person who wants to lose weight? Which type of diet and lifestyle is more suitable?

    Great article!

    1. Hi Farhan: Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. As far as dieting is concern I would recommend the Primal diet in that it is a bit more lenient than the paleo.  For weight loss again I would also recommend the Primal because it’s more than just a diet it is a lifestyle which encompasses everything from dieting, exercising, playing, socializing, and sleeping habits.

    • swangirl on August 3, 2017 at 1:53 am
    • Reply

    Hello Primo,
    This is fascinating to me! I know about Paleo but didn’t really know how Primal compared. Now I know!

    So how do the values such as 15% carbs from fruit and veggies in one vs. 20% carbs from fruit and veggies in the other get determined? What if someone followed all the other parts of Primal but ate 20% carbs instead of 15%? I am guessing there are many people that straddle this line between the two with their own choices on coffee etc.

    Thanks for an awesome explanation!

    1. Hi Swangirl: Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. As I mentioned in my article the Primal Diet is a bit more lenient than the Paleo Diet, and there is where the 15% vs 20% difference comes from. The Primal Diet allows certain foods that are absolutely prohibited in the Paleo Diet. The Primal Diet understands that these foods are also necessary for optimal health.

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