What Is The Difference Between Low Carb And Low Calorie Diet

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What Is The Difference Between Low Carb And Low Calorie Diet

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

With carbohydrate-focused diets gaining popularity, one of the most frequently asked nutrition questions is, "What are the differences between low-carb vs. keto diets?"

While both dietary patterns emphasize carbohydrate intake, the macronutrient breakdown of each plan is quite different. Another significant difference is that many people who follow a low-carb diet never enter ketosis, the metabolic state on which many of the keto diet's health benefits are based.

There are some similarities between the two diet plans as well. For starters, both have a carbohydrate limit, so you avoid many of the same foods, such as grains (even whole grains), high-sugar fruits, and most processed foods. They benefit from balancing blood sugar and insulin levels as well.

Both diets may have something to offer depending on your goals, but carb restriction isn't for everyone, especially if you regularly engage in high-intensity exercise. That is why our coaches work with you to find a diet that works for you.

That being said, let's break down both types of diets and examine them in greater depth.

What Exactly Is a Low-Carb Diet?

A low-carb diet, at its most basic, requires you to consume fewer carbohydrates than is generally recommended. There are no hard and fast rules about how many carbohydrates you should consume per day, but the majority of them fall somewhere between 50 and 100 grams.

When you follow a low-carb diet, you get your carbs from slower-digesting carbs, or carbs that don't spike your blood sugar too quickly. These are some examples of these carbs:

Bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens are examples of non-starchy vegetables.

  • A few starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots
  • Nuts and seeds, such as nut butter
  • Apples, berries, and avocados are examples of fruits.
  • A small amount of legumes and beans

Depending on the dietary plan you're following, you make up for the carbs you're missing by eating more protein and fat.

On a low-carb diet, your daily calorie breakdown looks something like this:

  • 10% to 20% carbohydrate
  • Protein content of 30-40%
  • fat content of 30-40%

For reference, the USDA currently recommends that you consume 45-65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10-30% from protein, and 25-35% from fat.

How Do Low-Carbohydrate Diets Work?

The majority of how low-carb diets work is due to insulin.

Insulin is an anabolic hormone, which means it stimulates growth and energy storage. In terms of body weight, high insulin levels increase the amount of fat your body produces, a process known as lipogenesis. High insulin levels also reduce the amount of fat burned by your body, a process known as lipolysis.

Weight gain or difficulty losing weight results from increased fat production and decreased fat burning. High insulin levels can also cause a decrease in metabolism as well as an increase in hunger and appetite.

Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on insulin because they provide the most glucose, the sugar your body uses for energy.

When you consume carbohydrates, your digestive system converts them into glucose, which enters your bloodstream.

How Low-Carb Diets Affect Glucose

When glucose enters the bloodstream, it signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin binds to glucose and then does two things with it:

It transports it to your cells, where it is immediately converted into energy.

It transports it to the liver, where it is converted to glycogen and stored for later use.

After these two requirements are met, any remaining glucose is converted to and stored as fat in your body.

You can lower your blood sugar levels by eating a low-carb diet, which lowers your insulin levels and helps your body burn fat. This is common even if you aren't consuming fewer calories.

However, it is not only about your weight. Low-carb diets can also help with overall health.

High insulin levels are associated with weight gain and obesity, but they are also associated with health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high triglycerides. You can reduce your risk of developing these issues by balancing your insulin levels and ensuring that your body responds properly to insulin.


Can result in weight loss.

Excludes high-carbohydrate foods with low nutrient density, such as pizza, cake, cookies, processed cereals, and bread.

Can balance blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity, lowering your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Sugar cravings may be reduced.

Because you can eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, it more easily meets your fiber needs than keto.

It's not as restricted as the ketogenic diet.


It can be difficult to stick to, especially for carbohydrate addicts.

It may be more difficult to meet nutrient requirements if certain food groups are eliminated.

Can have a negative impact on performance during high-intensity exercise.

What is the Keto Diet?

Let's take a look at the keto diet now.

While the keto diet is commonly referred to as a low-carbohydrate diet, it is actually a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, also known as an LCHF diet.

That is one of the primary distinctions between low-carb and keto diets.

You don't have to get the majority of your calories from fat on a low-carb diet, but on a keto diet, eating plenty of healthy fats is just as important as well as the number of carbohydrates on your plate

The majority of your calorie intake will come from healthy fats such as:

  • Avocado oil and avocados
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Macadamia nuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are examples of nuts and seeds.
  • Buttered bread (ideally, grass-fed)
  • Some excellent cheese
  • A keto diet is more restrictive, with a carbohydrate limit of 20-50 grams per day.

Your carbs will come from the following sources when creating a keto meal:

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are examples of non-starchy vegetables.
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Berries are in short supply.

Keto diets also place a greater emphasis on protein restriction than low-carb diets. While there are differing views on this, some claim that eating too much protein can knock you out of ketosis, which is the foundation of the keto diet.

While some low-carb diets allow for a lot of protein, the keto diet only allows for a little.

On a keto diet, your daily calorie breakdown looks like this:

  • Fat content of 70-80%
  • 10% to 20% protein
  • carbohydrate content of 5-10%

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet, like any other low-carb diet, aids in the reduction of insulin levels. It does, however, go a step further.

A keto diet's ultimate goal is to induce ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for energy rather than glucose from carbohydrates.

Ketogenic Diets and Glucose.

You deprive your body of glucose when you limit your carbohydrate intake. When you need energy, your body will use up any glucose stored in the liver as glycogen. When that's gone, it needs to find another source, so it converts to fat, which is the next best thing.

Some cells, such as those in your brain and muscles, cannot use fatty acids directly. As a result, your body converts fatty acids into energy-rich substances known as ketones or ketone bodies. When your blood contains an adequate amount of ketones, you enter the state of ketosis.

Some ketones are derived from food, but your body can also produce ketones from body fat and triglycerides in your blood. That's why many people who switch to a keto diet experience rapid weight loss, or more precisely, actual fat loss.

By increasing your fat intake, you are also providing your body with a quick and easy source of energy. As a result, increased energy levels are a frequently mentioned benefit of a keto diet.


Rapid weight loss as a result of increased fat burn.

Makes you more metabolically flexible [6], which means you can easily switch between burning fat and burning glucose for energy. This happens after a while on a keto diet and you've become fat-adapted.

May aid in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis. If you have an underlying condition, always consult your doctor before making major dietary changes.


Depending on your current diet, it may necessitate significant changes to your lifestyle.

It may be more difficult to maintain than a low-carb diet.

Meal planning may be more time consuming than with other dietary plans.

May cause the keto flu, a brief period of side effects in which you experience flu-like symptoms as your body adjusts. This can happen every time you exit and re-enter ketosis.

It's more difficult to meet your fiber needs without a supplement.

Can lower performance and power during high-intensity exercise, leaving you feeling flat.

Keeping Track of Net Carbohydrates

The term "net carbs" is commonly used in both a low-carb and a keto diet. Because fiber and sugar are not broken down during digestion, they have no effect on your blood sugar and thus count toward your daily carbohydrate intake.

To calculate net carbs, simply subtract fiber and any sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate count.

Take, for example, broccoli. A cup of cooked broccoli contains approximately 5 grams of total carbohydrates. However, fiber accounts for approximately 3 grams of those carbohydrates. This means that a cup of broccoli contains 2 grams of net carbs.

Last Word 

Both low-carb and keto diets emphasize carbohydrates, but a traditional low-carb diet contains more carbs than a keto diet. A low-carb diet can be high in protein, whereas a keto diet allows only moderate amounts of protein.

The most significant distinction 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 enter ketosis, especially if they exercise frequently, but this is not the primary goal.

The goal of a keto diet is always ketosis.

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