Nutrition

Low Carb Diet vs Keto Diet: All You Need to Know

low carb diet vs keto diet

Low carb and keto diets are the most common diet plans followed by the majority of people, owing to its popularity on the internet. Although the keto diet has been there for about 100 years, it has gained immense popularity lately. 

But do you know the difference between Keto and Low carb diet? Isn’t keto also a low carb diet? Which one should I follow? 

These are some of the burning questions in everyone’s minds. Read on to know more and to find a suitable option for yourself.

What is a Low Carb Diet?

As the name suggests, Low carb diet refers to lowering the number of carbs in the diet. A normal person takes around 225-300 gms of carbs per day. Whereas, on a low carb diet you can only take 50-150 carbs. The division of macronutrients in your diet should be around 10-25% carbs, 40-50% protein, and 30-40% fat.

You will have to understand the carbohydrate content of various food items and will have to stick to low carb alternatives. 

There are several forms of low carb diet plans available and the most popular of them being, Atkins and Paleo diets. The difference lies in the type of food allowed in each diet plan but the basics remain the same which is to restrict the carbohydrate intake. 

Undeniably, Low carb diets remain an effective tool for weight loss. Furthermore, it also works in regulating high blood pressure and helps in keeping triglycerides or bad cholesterol in check.

So how does Low carb diet work?

Well, it basically limits the number of carbohydrates which in turn decreases the level of insulin. Consequently, it leads to lesser fat deposition and faster metabolism which ultimately results in weight loss. 

Low carb diets simply result in consuming fewer calories which put the body in a calorie deficit and helps in losing weight.

What is a Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is one of the most trending diets that we hear a lot of celebrities are currently endorsing. To explain it in an easier way, the keto diet is also a low carb diet but here you consume very less carbohydrates. The keto diet consists of only 5-10% carbs, 15-30% protein, and 70-80% fat.

So, it is a low carb and high fat diet. Here, due to very little carb consumption, the body starts to burn fat instead which leads to weight loss. 

It happens when the body reaches a stage of ketosis and starts producing ketones by consistently being on a very low carb diet. 

Also Know: 11 Miracle Drinks that Burn Fat While Sleeping

How do you know if you have hit the stage?

Urine strips are easily available in the market which indicates if you are excreting ketones. But, the most accurate mode to find out if you have reached ketosis, is the blood test.

You might experience Keto flu when you start following the diet. Keto flu happens due to the sudden transformation of the diet and is characterized by symptoms like a foggy brain, headache, fatigue, nausea, and constipation. It goes away on its own in a few days. 

A Ketogenic diet provides numerous benefits like

  • Satiates more than other diets
  • Regulates hormones
  • Boosts immunity
  • Better absorption of vitamins
  • Gives healthy skin, nails, and hair.
  • Reduces cravings

Various studies have proven the effectiveness of the keto diet to improve diabetes mellitus, obesity, epilepsy, the spread of cancer, and various other disorders.  

Both low carb and keto diets are effective in controlling blood sugar due to low carb intake. However, keto exhibits better results but at the same time, it may not be a suitable option for everyone. 

The Keto diet has also been linked to an increase in the risk of atherosclerosis (deposition of fat in arteries). Therefore, it is crucial to take an expert’s advice before deciding on any diet plan.

Difference between Low fat diet and Keto diet

Let’s just say, the keto diet is a type of low fat diet but all low fat diets are not keto. The tabulated difference between these diets is as follows.

Low fat diet  Keto diet 
Difference in macronutrients consumption 10 – 25% carbs, 40 – 50% protein and 30 – 40% fat 5 – 10% carbs, 15 – 30% protein and 70 – 80% fat
Clinical benefits Effective in controlling high blood pressure Proven to be beneficial in diabetes, epilepsy
Sustainability  More sustainable Less sustainable
Weight loss Leads to weight loss  Rapid weight loss
Flexibility  More flexible  Less flexible 
Health risk  Increases the risk of constipation, muscle cramps Increases the chances of heart and liver disease 
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    Which one is best for you?

    There is no straight answer to this question. Let us understand the concept and see which one will help you more?

    If your goal is just to lose weight, you should prefer a low fat diet as it will help you lose those extra pounds without having to do a lot of research or hard work. You will have to understand the type of food and the portions to be consumed. 

    Whereas, the keto diet is a bit complicated and you will need help from a doctor or a nutritionist to formulate a diet plan.

    However, if you suffer from any chronic disease like epilepsy or diabetes and would like to adopt a diet that can help, Keto is the answer for you. In that scenario, it will be worth deciphering the basics of the diet and you shall reap the benefits.

    Also, if you need to lose a significant amount of weight, it is better to start a keto diet as it aids in rapid weight loss.

    Bottom line

    Pick the diet plan that suits your particular goals and adhere to it. Think twice before initiating a diet plan, all diet plans will need time and discipline to show the desired results. At the end of the day what matters is how well you implement the plan. 

    But is it not advised to stick to any kind of diet plan for a longer duration as it might do more harm than good. It can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other side effects. 

    On one hand, a low carb plan is easier to maintain whereas keto has multiple health benefits. Take the call as per your requirements and go for it! And keep one thing in mind, combining physical activity with each type of diet is mandatory for the best results. 

    Resources:

    • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33441384/
    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8761750/
    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153354/
    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566854/

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