The Paleo diet adheres to food available only during the paleolithic era, including vegetables, fruits, and meat and excluding dairy, grains, processed sugar and food available after the invention of agriculture. The vegan lifestyle originally started as a protest against animal cruelty — vegans are not permitted to consume any animal products or byproducts. Veganism is not just restricted to avoiding meat, but extends to avoiding other items obtained from animals, such as milk, honey, eggs, and even leather and silk.

Comparison chart

Paleolithic Diet versus Vegan comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartPaleolithic DietVegan
  • current rating is 3.21/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(47 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.59/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(723 ratings)
Introduction The paleolithic diet is a nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans. Veganism is a philosophy and compassionate lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind.
Diet Food based on hunting-gathering, which includes meat, plants, fruits but no dairy or processed food. Vegans do not consume meat, eggs, milk, honey or any food that is derived from animals.
Basic philosophy Eat only foods available during the paleolithic era of 15,000 years ago. Consume only plant-based products to preserve animal life.
Products - Do not use any animal derived products, e.g. fur, leather, wool, etc. Do not condone the use of animal testing.
Meat Permitted (sometimes required) Not permitted
Processed food Not permitted Permitted
Wheat Not permitted Permitted
Sugar Not permitted in processed form, permitted in natural (fruit) form Permitted
Dairy Not permitted Not permitted
Reasons for permitting/forbidding specific foods Health, nutrition Health, Moral.
Celebrity followers Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus, Matthew McConaughey Bill Clinton, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Mike Tyson


The Paleo diet consists of only foods available to humans in the Paleolithic era, i.e. before the advent of agriculture. This includes meat and naturally-growing fruits but no dairy or processed food. Paleolithic humans were larger, stronger and lived longer than humans in the Neolithic era who discovered agriculture, a development that dramatically changed the human diet. Proponents of the Paleo diet cite this as evidence that the Paleolithic era diet is healthier and a better genetic fit for humans.

While the vegan diet has its root in a moral movement that opposes cruelty towards animals, there are many who choose to be vegan because they believe it is the healthier choice as it is a diet based mostly only on fruits and vegetables, a high nutrition, low-calorie, lighter lifestyle.

Nutrition Plan


The biggest difference between the two diets is the consumption of meat.

Veganism forbids eating any meat from any animal. The Paleo diet requires the consumption of meat from a variety of animals, including fish and wild ungulates like deer and free-range cattle. In Australia, kangaroo is a popular choice for lean meat.[1]

A key difference between the two diets in regards to meat is that veganism restricts meat-eating for moral reasons, while Paleo requires it for nutritional reasons.

Dairy Products

Veganism does not allow the consumption of animal products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, or honey. The founding philosophy of the diet is that it is morally wrong to consume any product originated from an animal.

The Paleo diet does not allow the consumption of dairy products because they were not available before the development of agriculture; paleolithic humans were hunter-gatherers.

The Paleo diet, however, does allow adherents to eat eggs; veganism does not.

Processed Foods

The only restriction placed on the vegan diet is that the food must not contain any animal products. Many common foods meet this standard, but may not meet the standards of the Paleo diet.

For example, cookies, soda, and soy milk are all strictly vegan – that is, they do not contain any animal products. However, all of those foods are restricted from the Paleo diet because they each contained processed sugars and oils, which were not available during the paleolithic era.

Nutritional Benefits

A main concern for vegans and critics of the diet is how one would consume enough protein to stay healthy. Vegans need to eat a very well balanced diet including nuts, vegetables, and fruits to achieve a nutritional balance, and may suffer health defects from an unbalanced diet. Soy protein is often consumed because it contains the same “whole” proteins found in meats.

Still, the avoidance of red meat and processed, high-fat dairy products have healthy benefits. A properly constructed vegan diet is low in saturated fat and bad cholesterol, high in fiber, and high in beneficial vitamins.


Though the Paleo diet is high in protein and fiber, and low in refined and processed foods, it is often criticized [2] by health experts. Critics do not argue against restricting the consumption of processed food but say that it is incorrect to compare paleolithic and modern man, as both have different variables affecting their daily lives.

Similarly, the vegan diet is criticized [3] because it does not always provide a all the nutrition the body needs.


Neither veganism nor Paleo rely on specific timelines. Those who use the diets to achieve weight loss or other diet goals may continue to see benefits by remaining on either diet in perpetuity.

More often, veganism is followed as part of a moral-political philosophy, though its prominence as a fad diet has grown over the last 10 years.

A study by US News and World Report found the Paleo diet among the hardest to adhere to, which may hinder “completion” weight loss goals.

Origin and History

The vegan movement grew out of a philosophy that it's morally wrong to consume the meat or byproducts of non-human sentient beings. Veganism was an outgrowth of vegetarianism, which has been practiced for centuries in a variety of cultures and religions. Veganism differs from vegetarianism in that vegetarians consume dairy products such as cheese, milk, and at times eggs. Veganism became a separate philosophy from vegetarianism in 1944, when Donald Watson, a member of the British Vegetarian Society, formed the Vegan Society after being denied space in a vegetarian newsletter to talk about non-dairy vegetarianism.

The paleolithic diet arose in the 1970s after Dr. Walter Voegtlin published the book, “The stone age diet: Based on in-depth studies of human ecology and the diet of man.” Quite the opposite of Watson, Voegtlin argued that humans are carnivores, and thus a diet consisting mostly of meats would be more healthful. Recently, Dr. Loren Cordain has been the chief promoter of the Paleo diet, creating a line of cookbooks, instructional DVDs, and energy bars.


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Paleo vs Vegan." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 18 Jun 2019. < >