Low Carb vs Keto Diet: Difference Between Keto Diet and Low Carb Diet

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How is Keto Diet Different from Low Carb Diet?

While debating between a keto vs low carb diet in order to lose weight, there are many similarities between the two. However, you should also be aware of the difference between low carb diet and keto diet in order to make an informed decision on which diet to select for your purpose.

Low carb diets are meant for losing weight, with some having other benefits as well. Carbohydrates provide macronutrients that are rich in calories, and are present in many types of foods and beverages.

What is a Low Carb Diet

A low carb diet, as the name signifies, is one that is low in carbohydrates. There are different types of low carb diet that stipulate varying quantities and kinds of carbs that you can eat.

  • The diet is limited in starchy vegetables, fruits and grains.
  • Such a diet stresses on foods that have a high content of protein and fat.

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What is a Keto Diet

A keto diet is also a low carb diet but it is also high in fat and offers many other health benefits. It was originally created for tackling epilepsy.

Fueling your body on ketosis reduces seizures. The breakdown comes to high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein and low carbohydrates.

  • In this diet, carbs are drastically reduced and it is replaced with fat. It is the lowest you can go in carbs.
  • A keto diet typically contains 5 to 10% of carbs; 15 to 25% of protein and 65 to 80% of fats.
  • The reduction of carbs puts the body in ketosis or metabolic state. This helps the body burn fat for energy. It transforms the fat into ketones in your liver, which give energy to the brain.

Don’t worry about overeating proteins in this diet, as it won’t really kick a person out of ketosis.

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Benefits of Low Carb Diet

  • Low carb diet is mainly meant for losing weight.
  • In addition, it reduces risk factors connected with Type 2 Diabetes. The idea is that a low carb diet reduces carbs in the body. This in turn reduces insulin levels, so the body uses stored fat when energy is needed, thereby leading to weight loss.
How is Keto Diet Different from Low Carb Diet
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Benefits of Keto Diet

  • Keto diet mainly helps in losing weight and improving health.
  • It can benefit in preventing diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s as well.
  • It leads to massive reduction of blood sugar and insulin.
  • In addition, a keto diet results in a better mood, improved sleep, satiety and mental clarity and improves skin, apart from fat loss.
Low Carb Diet vs Keto Diet
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Tip: Beginners can start with the SKD or standard keto diet.

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How Keto Diet/Low Carb Diet Works

In short, it burns body fats and not carbs for fuel and energy.

  • When you eat foods rich in carbs, the body converts it into glucose and uses it as fuel.
  • In a ketogenic diet, the carbs are low, so the liver uses fatty acids of the body and converts them into ketones to use as an energy source.
  • You are actually starving your body of carbohydrates, so that the body is conditioned to converting fat for energy.
  • On the other hand, a low carb diet works by controlling insulin, being the main reason for making this diet effective in losing weight. Insulin stimulates fat production and inhibits fat burning.

You might experience some side effects while the body is adapting to running on ketones, but soon the body starts preferring fat for energy and gets adapted to keto.

Tip: Do remember to check ketone levels frequently!

Foods in Low Carb Diet/Keto Diet

  • A low carb meal plan includes items like meat and fish; vegetables, fruits, nuts and eggs. In addition, you can eat seeds, fats and healthy oils along with high fat dairy.
  • A low carb diet avoids sugar, trans fats, refined grains including bread and pasta, wheat and seed oils, cereals, crackers, along with highly processed foods and starchy vegetables.
  • In a keto diet, all low carb foods such as meat and fish; eggs; veggies growing above the ground like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, natural fats such as butter and olive oil are included.
  • Foods that are rich in sugar or starch are avoided in a keto diet.

Tip: One thumb rule for a keto diet is to stick to foods that have less than 5% carbs.

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The Difference Between Low Carb Diet and Keto Diet

One of the misconceptions people have is that a ketogenic diet will have the same effect as a low carb diet. Essentially, a low carb diet just boils down to food choices whereas ketosis constitutes a metabolic state.

  • The keto diet is aimed at a metabolic state of body, where it makes use of fats for energy. Fatty acids are broken down into ketones and the body uses it for energy.
  • Low carb diet means eating low amount of carbohydrates or even avoiding carbs altogether.

When you go on a low carb diet, the shifting of burning fats for energy instead of carbs does not take place automatically. The body might still be running on carbs, as it is difficult to shift from burning carbs to burning fats for energy. It’s not just a simple process of limiting carbs. You might not get into the ketosis stage with a low carb diet.

Check out your ketone levels, as each one’s body can tolerate different levels of carbs, before they go into ketosis!

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Wrap Up – Low Carb vs Keto Diet

There are a lot of questions going around on whether a keto diet is superior or better than a low carb diet, as far as weight loss and other health benefits are concerned. A low carb diet is basically a keto diet, but with more carbs in it, about 75 to 150 grams more per day.

Both are different diets and there’s no way of saying that one is better than the other.  According to researchers, when both the diets are pit branded in a head to head study, no one diet is a winner.

Which diet should you choose then?

Well, that depends on the goals. A low carb diet cannot keep the person in total ketosis, though you might go into mild ketosis. If you don’t like the strictness of a keto diet and cannot keep off carbs totally, then low carb is the route for you.

Sometimes, a keto diet can be difficult to stick to in the long run and the person ends up with weight gain. Make a choice according to your lifestyle, your goals, preferences and your biology. Proceed with care!!

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