A Detailed Comparison Between the Paleo and Gluten Free Diet

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Paleo and gluten free diets are two popular eating styles that can help maintain your body weight and wellbeing. 

However, people often use the terms “gluten free” and “Paleo” interchangeably. But these are two different diet plans! This article sheds light on how different they are.

Paleo diet

The Paleo diet eliminates all food items containing grain, dairy, legumes, preservatives, and gluten.

Also called the paleolithic diet, it includes foods that might have been consumed during the Paleolithic era, roughly 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
Paleo eaters also consider modern science to check if a food’s health benefits outweigh its downsides.

What to eat

Food products to eat if you’re following paleo dieting style include:

  • Meat: Chicken, pork, beef, etc.
  • Seafood: Fish, salmon, trout, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Tubers: Sweet potatoes, turnips, etc.
  • Nuts 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Healthy fats and oils: olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, etc.

What to avoid
Paleo advocates for the exclusion of the following:

  • Grains: Bread, oats, wheat, pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.
  • Dairy products
  • Refined sugar
  • Beverages 
  • Vegetable oils like soybean oil and sunflower oil
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Salt
  • Alcohol 


  • A healthy diet without additives or preservatives
  • Aids weight loss
  • Better heart health
  • Lower inflammation
  • Clear skin
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved digestion


  • Can be expensive
  • Difficult for vegetarians to follow
  • Fewer carbs can be challenging to stick to

Gluten free diet

A gluten free diet excludes food items containing gluten which is a common protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

What to eat

Unlike paleo, there are plenty of food options in a gluten free eating style. This includes:

  • Meat, eggs, and fish
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grains: rice, quinoa, corn, millet, etc.
  • Starches and flours
  • Nuts and seeds
  • All vegetable oils and butter
  • Herbs and spices
  • Most beverages, except beer 

What to avoid

  • Wheat products like bread, pasta, etc.
  • Barley and malt
  • Cereals
  • Baked goods
  • Snack foods
  • Sauces
  • Flavored alcoholic beverages


  • Treats digestive problems
  • Reduces chronic inflammation
  • Boosts energy
  • Helps you burn extra fat


  • Potential lack of fiber 
  • Can be expensive

Difference Between Paleo and Gluten Free 

Now here’s where things get tricky! 

The Paleo diet is a gluten free diet but that doesn’t mean every gluten free item is Paleo friendly.

For instance, Rice Chex cereal is gluten free, but not recommended for a Paleo diet.

But that’s not all!

Some other differences are:

  • Grain 

Anyone following a gluten free diet must exclude gluten found in grains such as wheat, malt, and rye. However, gluten free grains like brown rice, corn, and quinoa can be eaten. 

While paleo is completely a grain-free diet, even beans and lentils are also excluded.

  • Dairy products

You can have dairy products in the gluten free diet. However, the same is not with the Paleo diet.

  • Nutritional content

The Paleo diet has high proteins, moderate fats, average carbs, and high fiber.

Since dairy products are included in the gluten free diet, it has a high nutritional profile as compared to the paleo diet.

  • Target audience

People suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease must choose a gluten free diet.

Anyone looking for a healthy diet alternative should try the paleo diet. It is popular among athletes and health-conscious individuals.

  • Laws and regulations

Gluten free products are manufactured and are protected by a series of laws and regulations.

This is not the case with the paleo diet.

Comparison Chart


Paleo Diet

Gluten Free Diet

Gluten content

Always gluten free

Not always Paleo


Grains are not allowed 

Gluten free grains like rice, oats are allowed

Dairy products



Artificial food additives 



Processed products


Gluten free processed products 



Gluten free alcohol 

Animal proteins 

Wild-caught seafood, pastured organic meats, and organic eggs

All animal proteins cooked or marinated with gluten-containing ingredients are allowed.

Fruits and vegetables 





gluten free soy products








Only sweet potatoes

All types of potatoes are included


Natural sugar like honey is allowed


Artificial sweeteners

Only stevia



Dairy-free milk like unsweetened almond and coconut milk

gluten free non-dairy milk like soy or coconut milk is allowed 


Energy drinks are not allowed

Energy drinks containing gluten free ingredients are allowed

Fats and Oils

Industrial seed oils are excluded 


Nuts and Seeds

Raw nuts and seeds without any seasoning 


Herb and spices 

Strict paleo diet followers do not add salt to their meals



Conventional condiments are not allowed 


Baked goods


gluten free baked goods

Let’s wrap up

Both paleo and gluten free diets have their pros and cons. It’s imperative to understand both before you decide which diet to follow.

If you are suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, then the gluten free diet will work for you. 

If you are a fitness freak or want to improve your overall health, opt for the paleo diet as it is a natural and healthy alternative to the gluten free diet.

Just remember, make an informed decision as per your health goals. 

Looking to buy a food item that is both gluten free and paleo? At Square Root, we make and sell nutnola products that are gluten free, grain-free, paleo, dairy-free, vegan, sugar-free, and non-GMO.

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