Keto Diet Versus Atkins

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Keto Diet Versus Atkins


What Are the Differences Between Keto, Low-Carb, and Atkins Diets?

Keto, Atkins, and Low-Carb are three powerful diets that promise weight loss by focusing on carbohydrate restriction. While all three involve carb counts, there are some significant differences to be aware of.

So, let's break down the three diets, describing their similarities and differences so you can figure out which one is the best fit for you and go into it excited and ready.

Low-Carb vs. Keto vs. Atkins

  • The ketogenic diet trains your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source.
  • The Atkins diet focuses on carbohydrate cutting and systemic carbohydrate increase for long-term weight loss.
  • Low-carb diet: restricts carbs to 20-60 grams per day in order to lose weight.

Similarities: Low-Carb vs. Keto vs. Atkins

  • Carbohydrates should be limited.
  • Sugar consumption should be limited.
  • Green vegetables should take precedence over starchy vegetables.
  • Limit your intake of packaged foods.
  • Rather than carbs, focus on fats and protein to bulk up.
  • Benefits of Losing Weight

All three diets (ketogenic, Atkins, and low-carb) restrict carbs and sugar, emphasizing green vegetables over starchy ones, limiting packaged foods, and prioritizing fats and protein over carbs.

All three have a restrictive element, and all three will have weight.

Keto vs. Atkins vs. Low-Carb: What's the Difference?

The macronutrient requirements and focus of the keto, Atkins, and low-carb diets differ:

  • Keto focuses on increasing fat intake to around 80% of daily calories and maintaining "ketosis" in the body.
  • Atkins emphasizes fat and protein over carbs, but does not require such a high fat intake.
  • Low-carb is more subjective in nature, with a wide range of loose guidelines for other aspects of eating besides keeping carbs low.

Which diet is the most beneficial?

"Anything that takes away dietary options, such as phase 1 of the Atkins diet and then the ketogenic diet, because these cut out a lot of healthy foods," says Hultin. Low-carb diets are more adaptable. "Eating some grains and more fruits and vegetables (as part of a 'low carb' diet) can provide a lot more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants," according to Hultin.

On the other hand, you might enjoy the structure of phases two and three of the Atkins diet, which allow for more carb flexibility, as well as the overall increase in protein and fats over carbs. So, once you get past the first phase, which has a lot of restrictions, you might be able to thrive.

"It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor about major dietary changes, as many people who want to go keto, Atkins, or low carb have specific reasons for doing so." Your doctor can help you figure out which diet changes are best for your particular metabolism; remember, there is no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone," Evans says.

What is the best diet for you?

The Atkins, keto, and low-carb diets all help with blood sugar control and heart health, as well as weight loss, so anyone looking for assistance in those areas might benefit from any of the three.

Of course, Atkins and low-carb diets are more flexible than keto, so that's something to think about depending on your schedule and how you diet. If you need more self-control, go for these two, especially the low-carb with the most wiggle room.

1. Choose Atkins for long-term results and moderation.

  • The Atkins diet is ideal for anyone looking for a long-term solution based on a maintenance phase and who wants to take a moderate approach to carb restriction.
  • It's also a fantastic way to manage diabetes. Without the approval of their doctor, people on diuretics, insulin, or oral diabetes medications should not follow the Atkins diet.

"Remember the whole foods theme is the goal," Randall Evans, RDN, says, "so if you transition to whole foods first you will be in a better position to move toward the specific diet of your choice by adjusting intake of healthy fats and protein as all three are lower carb."

And, according to Tiffany Yamut, RN, anyone who can safely practice keto but struggles to stick to strict eating schedules would be better off following moderate low-carb diets or even Atkins.

2. Low-carb is a good choice for safety and flexibility.

  • Low-carb is the safest diet because it is more lenient.
  • Then there's keto and Atkins, which have more restrictions.

Still, if you work with a medical professional to track your progress and ensure your safety, you should be fine.

3. Keto is the most effective diet.

  • In terms of effectiveness, keto may be the most effective because it is the most restrictive and has been scientifically proven to support weight loss.
  • The problem is that it is less flexible than Atkins or other low-carb diets, making it much more difficult to stick to.

As a result, it is dependent on the individual. Because of the flexibility, low-carb may be more effective if you can stick with it long term.

Who should stay away from these diets?

People who should avoid low-carb diets include those with fat-metabolism disorders, liver failure, pancreatitis, porphyria, and kidney stones, according to Sofia Norton, RD.

"Pregnant and lactating women should avoid very-low-carb diets because they haven't been thoroughly studied in terms of pregnancy and lactation, and there have been reports of ketoacidosis in this population," she adds.

What exactly is a low-carbohydrate diet?

The term “low-carb” refers to a diet that is low in carbohydrates. For the majority of people today, low-carb means limiting sugars, some starchy foods, and processed foods that are quickly broken down and act like sugars. "We consider lower carb diets in clinical practice for people who are trying to control their weight, hormone balance, or insulin issues," says Randall Evans, RDN.

Low-carb, on the other hand, is a personal preference. "The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for carbs is 45-65 percent of all daily calories, so anything under that amount could theoretically be considered," says Ginger Hultin, RD, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

How Does It Work?

When you cut back on carbs, your blood glucose levels drop, glycogen stores deplete, and your body produces less insulin. Satiety is said to be increased by fat and protein (which you eat more of on a low-carb diet), which aids weight loss and glycemic control.

Low-Carb Diet Advantages

Going low-carb and eating more protein, good fats, and non-starchy vegetables helps to keep fiber in the diet, as well as all of the other benefits that come with it, such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

It aids in the management of insulin and blood sugar issues, which can aid in the reduction of inflammation, the management of blood sugar, the control of weight, and the maintenance of hormone balance.

"While not everyone believes that low-carb diets are superior to other diets, proponents who do believe in their effectiveness claim that low-carb diets work primarily through their effects on blood sugar, appetite, and insulin," says Sofia Norton, RD.

It can also aid in the management of diabetes and the reduction of blood pressure. As a result, it could be a good option for those with heart conditions who benefit from a low-carb, low-sugar diet but don't need to go keto to lose weight or Atkins for that specific structure. Consider it a gradual transition to a low-carb diet.

For Whom It Is Most Appropriate

These diets can help people who are overweight. Low-carb diets suppress appetite and make it difficult to overeat. "People with type 2 diabetes can improve their insulin sensitivity and glycemic control with these diets," Norton adds, "but they will need to adjust their medications."

Still, anyone considering starting a low carb diet should consult a registered dietitian for advice on how to meet their specific needs, as well as their physician for advice on how to do so safely.

In general, switch to a real whole foods diet, limiting packaged processed foods and allowing your body to adjust to real foods, as this can help digestion and boost GI tract microflora. Then you should feel lighter and trimmer, as well as more digestive comfort.

Risks and Consequences

Because low-carb does not have the same strong micronutrient breakdown and requirement as keto or the same rigidity as Atkins, some people over-restrict or do not add enough fat or protein to compensate for the carbohydrate restriction, it may be easier to not get enough and become deficient.

Some people will restrict healthy carbs while continuing to eat low-calorie carbs, such as packaged processed food and junk food. That's bad for your heart, can cause cravings, and won't fill you up or provide your body with the nutrients it requires.

What exactly is the ketogenic diet?

On the keto diet, you eat the same foods as on a low-carb diet, such as animal meat, fish, nuts, seeds, green veggies, and non-starchy veggies or fruit in super moderate amounts, but you do so while maintaining a good macronutrient ratio.

As a result, you'd increase fat intake to 80% of daily calories, cut carbs to under 25 net grams per day, and keep protein in the middle at around 10-15%. Instead of just saying, "Let's go low carb," there's more structure and an emphasis on fat.

How Does It Work?

  • The ketogenic diet forces the body to use fat as its primary fuel source.
  • When fat is used as a primary fuel source, the liver converts some of it to ketones.
  • Ketones allow us to burn fat rather than glucose (from carbs and sugar) for energy, allowing us to lose weight and gain energy.
  • This metabolic state is known as "ketosis," and it occurs when the body adapts to using fat as its primary source of energy.
  • It's critical to keep net carbs under 25 grams per day if you want to stay in ketosis and lose weight.

Keto's Advantages

People may go keto to lose weight, particularly around their stomachs, to monitor blood sugar levels and hormonal conditions such as PCOS in women, and even to manage epilepsy (that was the original reason to go keto, but this is of course a bit outdated).

People are now going keto to lose weight, gain energy, and improve their metabolic health!

The ketogenic diet, like the healthy version of low carb, has become one of the most popular weight-loss diets, with the primary benefits being insulin, blood sugar, inflammation, and hormone balance.

Another notable advantage of keto is the metabolic changes it brings about. "Some research suggests it can help people with diabetes improve their insulin sensitivity." It can also improve metabolic flexibility, which improves metabolic health in and of itself," says Tiffany Yamut, RN.

In layman's terms, this means that your body can easily switch from carbs to fats as an energy source. In the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes, "metabolic inflexibility" is frequently linked.

"Ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce seizure frequency in epilepsy patients, and they may also have other benefits such as cancer prevention, improved brain functioning, and improved exercise performance," says Yamut.

Risks and Consequences

When you start a ketogenic diet, you're drastically increasing your fat intake while drastically reducing your carb intake. This may be too much for your body if you've been eating differently your entire life. So, talk to your doctor first, and start slowly to acclimate your body to the new foods and ratios.

Furthermore, it is more restrictive and necessitates macronutrient tracking, ketone level testing, and the keto flu transition, which occurs during the first one or two weeks as the body adjusts to keto. (Nausea, fatigue, thirst, cravings, headaches, and other symptoms may occur.)

However, any severely restricted diet can result in the "keto flu," which can occur with both low carb and Atkins if carbs are severely restricted.

Staying hydrated, resting your body, and probably taking a break from really hard workouts until your body adjusts are all good tips for getting started on any low-carb diet. It's also critical that you meet your protein and calorie requirements for energy during this time.

Keep in mind that weight regain (often rapid) is common once you stop the diet. Another disadvantage is the lack of peer-reviewed clinical trials that could demonstrate the diet's long-term safety. As a result, more research is required.

What is the Atkins diet, and how does it work?

In the 1970s, Dr. Robert Atkins developed the Atkins diet, which is a low-carb diet. Since its inception, the Atkins diet has evolved into several different variations.

How Does It Work?

It's primarily intended to be a weight-loss diet, and it's broken down into four stages:

  • Carbohydrates are limited to around 20g per day during induction, while protein and fat are increased.
  • Carbohydrates are gradually increased and balanced in the event that weight loss stops.
  • Pre-maintenance: Carbohydrate intake is gradually increased until a moderate threshold is reached.
  • Maintenance: In order to maintain a healthy body weight, keep carbs moderate throughout your life.


In contrast to keto, Atkins does not result in long-term ketosis. Because carbs are kept low in the first phase of Atkins, ketosis can occur, but it will stop once you enter the other three phases.

Protein is not restricted in the Atkins diet. The structure of Atkins sets it apart from other low-carb diets, as does the gradual increase in carbs over time. Most people compare the Atkins diet to the ketogenic diet, but unlike keto, it does not focus on specific macronutrient levels. Traditional atkins diets can be high in protein, which is a major difference between atkins and keto, as a high protein intake will prevent ketosis.

As a result, Atkins emphasizes protein over fats while still restricting carbs. Keto carb calories are swapped for more healthy fats, while protein intake remains unchanged, whereas Atkins allows you to increase both protein and fat intake. In addition, the diet has more structure in terms of phases. While Atkins will liberalize over time in different phases, keto is designed to keep people in a metabolic state known as "ketosis" for a long time.

You increase your carbs by 5 grams per week in the Atkins weight loss plan, starting with 25, then 30, and so on. The idea here is to figure out how many carbs you can consume while still losing weight. This is an intriguing aspect of this diet plan because everyone's body is unique, and this can help people figure out what works best for them.

Atkins Advantages

The Atkins diet's main advantage is weight loss. The diet was created by a doctor for people who were struggling with their weight.

You get more of a set plan because it is low-carb and has some good structure in phases, which makes it much easier to stick to than the loose guidelines of a general low-carb diet. You don't have to restrict as much all of the time (not after phase 1), and you don't have to increase fats as much as you would on keto. Plus, there are a variety of packaged snacks and meals, so if you like to plan your days around them, knowing what you're eating each day and having great meal prep can be beneficial.

It will also help to improve cardiovascular health and metabolic syndrome by lowering inflammation in the body, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and reducing sugar and carb cravings in general. Why? Because, like the other two diets, it is still low-carb.

Risks and Consequences

The main disadvantage is that it is still not well-known in the medical community, and there aren't enough studies to back up its effectiveness when compared to other weight-loss methods.

One of the most important is that stage 1 is extremely restrictive, so if you are not eating properly or working with a dietitian, you may become malnourished. And such restrictions can cause you to become burned out too soon, causing you to give up or go on a binge outside of the house.

You'll also need to buy a lot of resources to follow the diet, such as foods, snacks, books, and other materials, so it might not be the best option if you're on a tight budget, as it will cost more than the others.

Beginner's Guide to Getting Started
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb

You must first complete your math homework before beginning keto. This entails learning how many carbs are in various foods and meals, how many carbs you can eat in a day, and how to meet your daily fat requirements.

Online, you can find free meal plans to assist you in planning your diet. Alternatively, you can have all of your keto-approved meals delivered to your home using the Fresh n' Lean prepared keto meal delivery service.

To keep track of your daily food intake, you might want to download diet tracking apps.

The keto flu is another thing to be aware of. Some keto dieters experience a brief period of flu-like symptoms. However, these can be avoided.

Dietary Guidelines for the Atkins Diet

Before beginning Atkins, you should familiarize yourself with the carb content of various foods, just as you did with keto. This will help you keep track of your carb intake throughout the diet.

You can also look up Atkins-approved recipes to make the transition to the diet a lot easier.

Low-carbohydrate diets

Low-carb diets include the low-carb Mediterranean diet (which is what the Fresh n' Lean Low-Carb meal plan follows), the Paleo diet, Eco Atkins, and others. Before you begin, thoroughly research each approach to avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize your success.

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