Key Differences Between Keto And Low Carb Diets
One of the main differences between the Keto diet and low carb diets is the number of carbs that youre allowed to eat. If youre doing a low carb diet the number of carbs you can eat will depend on which plan you chose and could vary from 50g a day all the way up to 150g. The Keto diet, on the other hand, is very specific about how many carbs you can have and limits your net carbs to 20-25g per day.
The Keto diet is a lot more structured and strict than low carb diets in general. If youre just looking for a low carb diet and the one youre on isnt working there are so many variations that you can switch to a different type easily. If youre looking for structure and you have the perseverance to stick with a strict carb limit youll get great results on the Keto diet.
Carbs arent the only difference between these two diets. The ratio of macronutrients is also different. On the Keto diet, the majority of your calories come from fat with a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs. On the low carb diet, the macronutrient ratios can change quite a bit depending on the plan you chose however, theyre often skewed more towards eating a lot of protein with a moderate amount of fat and a low to moderate amount of protein.
Which One Is Easier To Follow
One of the most important dietary principles that many of us forget about is how easy is to follow. Most of us can get motivated for short-term weight loss, but will you have the discipline to sustain your dietary approach for longer than a few months?
When it comes to improving your health and losing weight, consistency is key. More specifically, we must follow a diet that can consistently help us achieve our goals and sustain our results without rebounding.
In other words, if you cant turn your dietary approach into your new long-term lifestyle, then it is best to avoid it.
For most people, the more restrictive a diet is, the harder it will be to sustain for longer periods of time. This means that it may be more difficult for many of us to stick with the keto diet compared to a non-keto, low-carb diet.
When you are choosing a dietary approach, you must be completely honest with yourself. Dont forget to consider factors like what your family eats, your food environment, your lifestyle, and your current habits.
Do you think you could stick with this diet without rebounding back to old habits months later? If not, what do you think you can do to help you achieve and sustain your results without it being a constant struggle?
Need help? Here are some strategies that can make your results easier to achieve and sustain:
What Is A Low
There is no standard definition for a low-carb diet. It is simply a diet that is lower in carbohydrates than what is recommended or than what most people consume. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65 percent of calories come from carbohydrates. So any diet with carb intake less than 45 percent of total calories is considered a low-carb diet. Studying the effects of low-carb diets on health outcomes is difficult since there is no standard definition for low-carb. See our low-carb meal plans created by a registered dietitian.
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The Bottom Line On Low
Both low-carb diets and keto diets focus on carbohydrates, but a traditional low-carb diet is higher carb than a keto diet. A low-carb diet can also be high-protein, while a keto diet only allows moderate amounts of protein.
The biggest difference between a low-carb and a ketogenic diet is whether or not you enter the fat-burning state of ketosis. Some people on a low-carb diet may get into ketosis, especially if they exercise a lot, but it’s not the main goal.
With a keto diet, ketosis is always the goal.
Missing Carbs On Keto
That said, you may find you have more stable energy on a low-carb diet, especially if you work out a lot. If thats the case, try adding some carbs back into your diet, either by going low-carb or by trying a modified version of keto like targeted keto or cyclical keto. Both are great for athletes and still offer many of the benefits of being in ketosis.
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The Difference Between Low Carb And Keto Diets
Rcently, I experimented with doing a Mythbusters chat on both Instagram Live and Clubhouse. Since Clubhouse does not yet support saving discussions on the platform, I recently record the keto versus low carb talk I did on Clubhouse. I ended up discussing what the keto and low carb diets were with my two friends, Katie Neville and Laura Coatney, and weighing the pros and cons of both.
Without further ado, here is our discussion! We discuss some slightly tangential topics towards the middle of the talk, but its mostly focused on the difference between low carb and keto.
Macronutrient Composition: Low Carb Vs Virtually No Carb
While the main difference between the two diets may be the source of fuel primarily used by the body, the most obvious difference to individuals who follow low-carb or keto diets is the ratio of fat to carbs to protein that they consume.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 45-65% of total daily calories to come from carbohydrates,2 so anything less than 45% is technically low-carb. Some low-carb diets recommend lower numbers, e.g. 10-30% of the diet coming from carbs.
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On the other hand, carbs may be limited to 5-10% of total daily calories for keto diets. According to Chris Irvin, MS, A low carb diet for some can mean anything less than 150g/day but NK wont occur for many until under 30-50g of carbohydrates.
A typical meal for a low-carb diet might include meat, butter, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, and perhaps even some potato. A typical meal for a keto diet might include meat, butter, broccoli, and perhaps a few cherry tomatoes.
As you might be able to tell from the example meals, carbs are the main macronutrient that makes a difference between the two diets. As mentioned, keto diets are a type of low-carb diets in which carb intake is very low. However, fat and protein content vary between the two diets too.
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Downsides Of Eating Low
You may have heard of the “keto flu,” a nasty side effect of the ketogenic diet that causes dizziness, nausea, and fatigue due to losing fluid and sodium quickly after cutting carbs.
Another downside is the difficulty of following the keto diet. Many people eating keto might not actually be in a state of ketosis. It’s recommended to follow keto under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.
Both a low-carb diet and keto diet cut carbs, which means cutting fiber. Fiber suppresses appetite and slows digestion leading to weight loss and maintenance. Fiber also lowers risk for cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugars .
Fiber is food for the good bacteria in your gut. These bugs feed off of non-starchy vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and legumes – all foods that are limited on low-carb diets. A healthy microbiome is linked to improved heart health, brain health, digestion, and immunity.
It is also well documented that eating whole grains is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Eating a high percentage of calories from fat could also raise LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides. If eating low-carb, be sure to choose healthy fats like salmon, albacore tuna, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Is The Keto Diet Healthy
There is growing evidence that the keto diet is an effective way to lose weight and shed extra body fat. Most scientific studies of the keto diet focus on its effectiveness over several weeks to a year. There is not as much information about the effects of being on a keto diet for years. Because the diet is so strict, it requires careful meal planning. Adherents to a keto diet must make sure that they do not develop nutritional deficiencies.
People who follow a strict keto diet may develop some health issues or problematic side effects. These typically go away after several weeks or months, but some may be longer lasting. Some of the most common keto side effects include:
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What Are The Risks Of Keto Diets
A keto diet doesnt put a limit on saturated fat. Theres a potential risk of health problems if youre already overweight and follow a keto diet that puts you in a calorie surplus, as this would mean additional weight gain.
Some of these risks might be minimised in a calorie deficit but it would be a good idea to get the majority of your fats from an unsaturated source.5 Type 1 diabetics shouldnt follow a keto diet as it can lead to ketoacidosis, high levels of ketones, which is a medical emergency.3 Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against keto diets as well. 3
This is fairly common advice when following diets. There has most likely been no clinical trial investigating a keto diet in these populations as it probably wouldnt get ethics approval. So, its best to say that the recommendation is inferred due to the lack of evidence.
Theres an increased risk of lack of fibre as well as vitamins and minerals that come from vegetables this could have a negative impact on health.
If someone goes on a keto diet, then theres often an adaptation period. This could mean low energy, low mood, and brain fog. Whilst its not a risk and tends to go away in a few weeks, its good to be aware of this. 9
Low Carb Vs Keto: A Shared History
First things first:
Food wasnt always as abundant as it is now, and our ancestors couldnt just drive over to the grocery store to get their next meal. Alternating between periods of scarcity and periods of plenty was the norm. And when plenty of food was available like after a successful hunt it usually took the form of energy-dense animals. Carbohydrate sources were hard to find, often only accessible after lots of effort.
In other words, our ancestors spent a lot of time eating low carband a lot of time eating nothing at all. The original paleo diet? It was also ketogenic.
Even our body composition provides some clues about just how natural keto is. We humans are 73 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and two percent carbohydrates. Our brains are 60% fat, too. Why not eat according to these ratios? Fat is the medium through which all types of good things happen it cushions our nerves, protects our vital organs, and helps regulate hormones.
Western medical research began catching on to these concepts in the 1920s. Thats when researchers from Johns Hopkins University started using fasting to treat patients with seizure disorders and diabetes. These researchers didnt know why fasting would be able to have this effect, especially given that these conditions were completely unrelated.
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Greater Blood Sugar Control
Both low-carb and keto diets help you control your blood sugar, which makes them useful for insulin resistance, energy swings, and even treating type 2 diabetes.
In a small group of obese patients with type 2 diabetes, a low-carbohydrate diet resulted in:
- Participants eating fewer calories organically .
- Around three pounds of weight loss in 14 days.
- Normalized blood sugar levels.
- A 75% improvement in insulin levels.
A low-carb diet is great for managing blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, but keto seems to have better results.
In one study, 21 participants with type 2 diabetes went on a keto diet for 16 weeks. By the end of the study:
- 33% of participants got off their diabetes medication entirely.
- 48% of participants reduced their diabetes medication by more than half.
- Fasting triglyceride levels decreased by 42%.
- Participants lost an average of 6.6% body fat.
Whichever diet you choose, cutting the amount of carbs you consume will help you manage blood sugar, insulin resistance, and decrease the risk of diabetes.
Better Energy Levels On Keto
Keto gives you more mental and physical energy to tackle workouts, busy days, and errands with the kids. This may be because ketones are a more efficient fuel source than glucose.
Ketones also easily cross the blood-brain barrier, so your brain can use them efficiently for energy. This may contribute to sustained mental performance and higher productivity levels.
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Difference Between Keto And Low Carb
Have you ever thought about doing the Keto diet, but the low carb diet was also on your radar? The good news is that both are great diets, but both are also a little different. Each of means you might find one to be better than the other. If youre looking for the differences in each diet, then you have come to the right place.
Low Carb Vs Keto: 10 Things You Should Know
Low carb and keto are two popular ways of eating that both revolve around limiting ones carb intake. But when it comes to low carb vs. keto, which diet is better?
Even with their similarities, low carb and keto have significant real-world differences:
- Low carb diets usually range from 20-100 grams per day.
- Keto usually ranges from 0-25 grams of daily carb intake.
- On low carb diets, protein and fats are fair game.
- A keto diet requires that you get 75-85% of your calories from fat, and only 15-25% from protein.
Because of this emphasis on fat, keto works differently, feels different, and tends to make people look different than low carb diets.
In this article, well be looking into the ins and outs of both low carb and keto. Well begin with some similarities before diving deep into the differences. Enjoy!
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The Keto Diet Really Reduces Cravings
When it comes to comparing low carb vs. keto, its important to consider the stressful nature of low-carb diets and how they can lead to unpredictable cravings.
Lets say you eat those blackberries for dessertand are still hungry. Far from being satiated, that tiny bit of carbs triggered your hunger hormones and just made you crave carbs even! Many people dont have the willpower to say no in this type of situation. What was supposed to be a 100-gram-of-carbs day soon spirals out of control.
These types of cravings are unfortunately common on most diets, that is.
But keto is different. The ketogenic diet can powerfully reduce cravings since it places your body entirely into fat-burning mode. If you have any body fat to lose, keto can help your body access it. Studies have also shown that keto blunts the rise of hunger hormones, like grehlin, that normally swell to uncontrollable levels during periods of dieting. Even if youre already at your goal body weight, keto promotes stable blood sugar levels that tend to keep sugar cravings to a minimum. Interested in intermittent fasting? Many people find IF significantly easier when their meals are keto.
Bottom Line: These Diets May Not Be Healthy Long
These very-low carb diets may be a way to reset your plate to include more vegetables such as low-carb leafy greens and fewer bakery treats or added sugars. However, there is not yet enough research to suggest that these diets can be healthy long-term, especially since they cut out many of the anti-inflammation foods that have been shown to decrease disease risk.
Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist, food writer and recipe developer. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com and is the author of the best-selling The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and Instagram.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner ofDana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooksFirst Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers,The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook,The Healthy Instant Pot CookbookandHealthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.
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Fat Protein And Carb Counts
The high-fat keto diet calls for around 110 to 170 grams of fat and 65 to 110 grams of protein per day as part of an 1,800-calorie daily diet. Carb counts are usually kept at around 20 to 50 grams for reference, one piece of whole-wheat bread has about 22 grams of carbohydrates, and a 1/2 cup serving of chickpeas has 20 grams.
During the induction phase of the Atkins diet, the recommendations are for around 105 to 140 grams of fat and around 110 to 155 grams of protein as part of an 1,800-calorie daily diet. In the diet’s maintenance phase, the protein recommendation remains the same, but the recommended amount of fat drops to 85 to 115 grams. The recommended amount of carbs is about 20 to 45 grams during induction and 60 to 130 grams in maintenance.
Which One Is Better Keto Diet Or Low Carb Diet
Different people happen to feel differently when faced with this question. It is justifiable to state here that no two bodies are the same with the same rate of metabolism. What is suitable and beneficial for one body might not be so for another body. Hence you can get some people who happen to react better to keto diets and again there can be people who have been better benefitted with the help of a low carb diet plan.
Simply put, keto diet is a much more stringent and a strict form of diet as compared to a low carb diet. People often find it much difficult to adhere to the strict rules of a keto diet. Although it gives better and faster results as compared to a low carb diet, many people find it difficult to continue on a long term basis. This is when people do turn to a low carb diet, which is though similar to a keto diet, is much more relaxed in its nature.
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