The Difference Is In The Ketones
One byproduct of carbohydrate restriction is increased production of ketone bodies, which are small molecules derived from fat produced in the liver. When your body’s stored glucose levels are low, ketone production increases. This can be measured via blood- or urine-ketone testing.
A traditional high-carb diet results in blood ketones between 0.1 and 0.2 millimoles , and a moderate-to-low-carb diet has no significant effect on this. However, once you truly embrace a ketogenic diet, blood ketones rise to 0.5 -5.0 millimoles, putting you in a state of “nutritional ketosis” and signifying that you’re keto-adapted. This is the primary indicator that you’re following a ketogenic diet.
So how does this all translate to macros? Let’s take a look.
In most research studies, a low-carbohydrate diet is defined as eating less than 30 percent of calories from carbohydrates, which often equates to 50-125 grams per day. For comparison’s sake, The American Dietary Guidelines recommend that 45-65 percent of calories come from carbohydrates each day.
A ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is defined as eating 5-10 percent of total calories from carbohydrates. This often equates to 25-30 grams of carbohydrates per day, with a suggested maximum of 50 grams per day.
Keeping your carbs consistently below this 50-gram threshold appears to be the trigger that induces nutritional ketosis and enables your body to begin relying primarily on fat as fuel.
Cognitive Decline Alzheimers Disease And Other Neurological Conditions
In treating existing cognitive decline, whether it is Alzheimers disease or other forms of dementia, switching the brains fuel from glucose to ketones appears to have a positive effect.49
Alzheimers disease is sometimes referred to as type 3 diabetes, as it appears to include insulin resistance in the brain with reduced ability of the brain cells to take up glucose.50 So switching fuel sources may be beneficial from a mechanistic point of view.
The biggest potential for using a ketogenic diet as a therapy may be in mild cognitive decline, but the lack of alternative treatments for severe cognitive decline make dietary changes attractive, although improvement has been difficult to demonstrate.51 This may also be an area where ketone supplementation could be beneficial, but again the level of evidence for consuming extra ketones over and above dietary changes is still low.52
Ketones appear to have a protective effect on the brain in general, and therefore we can speculate that a ketogenic diet may possibly benefit various neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other causes of nerve cell damage.53 This remains a hot topic of research.
How low to go for cognitive issues?
Where to start: Diet Doctor has written some articles about the burgeoning but still controversial field. We have also published a video presentation about insulin and the brain by psychiatrist Georgia Ede below:
What You Do And Dont Eat On Paleo
In paleo the focus is more on what you eat than how much. There is no counting or strict macronutrient breakdown to follow, Bruning says, only foods that are allowed or not. In general the paleo diet promotes certain whole foods but not others, and eliminates all refined foods, Cassetty says.
The list of what you cannot eat on paleo is long and includes pretty much anything that has to be cultivated or refined, as opposed to something that could theoretically have been scavenged by our ancestors. That includes a number of highly nutritious whole foods, like legumes , dairy, whole grains, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. It also covers added sugars, salt, and refined oils . And it cuts out any kind of packaged or processed foods. That includes both those generally lacking in nutrients as well as nutrient-packed packaged foods .
Though eating paleo doesnt necessarily mean youll be maintaining a low-carb diet, the wholesale elimination of several categories of carbs , as well as the emphasis on protein and fat, make low-carb eating a common outcome of following the paleo diet, Bruning explains. But people on paleo can still end up getting about 35 to 45 percent of their calories from the kinds of carbs that are allowed, according to Cordains sitenamely fruits and vegetables such as berries, citrus fruits, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Don’t Miss: Keto Shits
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.
A Coach Can Guide You
In answering whether low-carb vs. keto is best for you, the truth is, the best diet for you is the one you can stick to.
If you need help eating low-carb or figuring out the best meal plan for you, our WAG coaches work with you one-on-one to assess your goals and design a program to get you the results you want!
Read Also: Keto Cause Constipation
Learn More About What Is The Difference Between Low Carb And Ketogenic Diet Here
While some individuals react well to counting calories or comparable limiting methods, others react better to having even more flexibility in preparing their weight-loss programs. Being totally free to just prevent fried foods or cut down on refined carbohydrates can establish them up for success. So, do not obtain too dissuaded if a diet that benefited someone else does not benefit you. And do not defeat yourself up if a diet confirms also restrictive for you to stick with. Inevitably, a diet regimen is just appropriate for you if its one you can stick with in time.
Keep in mind: while theres no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier connection with food, curb emotional triggers to over-eating, and achieve a healthy and balanced weight.
The Similarities Between Keto Vs Atkins
“The most obvious similarity is they’re both about carb restriction,” says Kelly McGrane, M.S., R.D., founder of The Healthy Toast in Denver. Another similarity is that you’re not counting calories on either one it’s more about macronutrient distribution. And for most people, consuming very little carbs is drastically different than their typical diet, so both can lead to weight loss.
“Both diets advocate for impressive weight loss quickly,” says McGrane, “but there are really no good studies showing that long-term weight loss sticks with either one of them.”
When you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance either diet will make you feel less than stellar at first . “If you’ve been eating a lot of carbs, you’re likely to feel sluggish and even shaky when you dramatically lower them,” says McGrane.
Keto and Atkins each recommend eating as many whole foods as possible , yet technically, they can both be followed by eating indulgent foods like bacon, full-fat cheese, and processed low-carb packaged snacks, so “it really depends on how the individual is doing it,” says McGrane. There are ways to make eating on either diet healthier, such as swapping in salmon for ribeye, which will give you more vitamins. “Anythingeven if it’s healthyin excess, can be too much for the body,” she says.
You May Like: Are There Carbs In Splenda
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.
The Keto Diet May Promote More Weight Loss
While its very possible to lose weight on both low-carb and ketogenic diets,
many people report leaning out when they cut out carbs completely.
Most people lose a significant amount of weight on a keto diet and do so quickly. A 2020 review study published in the Journal of Nutrition put it this way: ketogenic diets appear to be more effective than low-fat diets for the treatment of obesity and . Colleagues of Dr. Kiltz who prescribe keto to their patients also report that it works better for weight loss than anything else.
And for those of you who really want to get shredded, the same effect is often seen when going from keto to carnivore. Some people even report simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain. What causes this? It all goes back to our hormones.
Recommended Reading: Fried Food On Keto
What Does The Science Say
Because of the shifting definitions of a low-carb diet, clear research results are difficult to come by. However, there are some studies that suggest using fat for fuel could bring with it some benefits.
For example, a 2015 study published in the European Journal of Sport Science notes that keto-adaptation could extend human physical and mental performance beyond current expectation.
This supports older research, such as one published in the Metabolism research journal in the 1980s, that suggested the same thing.
Other benefits pushed by supporters of the ketogenic diet philosophy include:
- Improved body fat composition. The idea is that by encouraging your body to see fat as fuel, you ramp up how your body burns its own fat.
- Better blood sugar levels. The theory is that by restricting your intake of carbohydrates, you avoid the constant blood sugar spikes that occur whenever you eat carbs.
- Improved brain health. Supporters of high-fat diets point out that your brain uses fat for energy, and the theory is that higher dietary fat intake can improve your mental performance.
Keto Is A Low Carb Diet
The name keto or ketogenic diet comes from the word ketosis. As mentioned before, ketosis is a normal metabolic process that happens when your body doesnt have enough glucose to power itself up throughout the day. Then your body starts searching a new energy source and starts breaking down the fat cells and turn them into energy.
Since in order to achieve ketosis, your body needs to have a very small amount of glucose in it. So, you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake, as glucose is a carbohydrate. Reducing your carbohydrates to a minimum amount makes keto diet fall under the category of low carb diets.
Low carb diets not only help you lose weight. Low carb diets are known for many health benefits such as lower blood sugar. Having control over your blood sugar levels and keeping them low helps prevent many cardiovascular diseases as well as type 2 diabetes.
Naturally, when you go on a low carb diet and reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body needs another source of energy. Thats when the low carb diet divides into two new categories: high in protein or high in fat. Thats decided by the macronutrient you choose as your new energy source, either fat or proteins. Lets see both diet types in more detail.
Recommended Reading: Is Turkey Slices Keto-friendly
I’m Listening What’s The Main Difference Between Low
First and foremost, keto is a much more restrictive diet, says Zeitlin. While keto is indeed a low-carb diet, not all low-carb diets are keto.
The keto diet has a pretty strict structure, where the person is to consume 70 percent of their daily calories from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 10 percent from carbohydrates. Ten percent of anything, especially carbs, is really not a lot. And some people even take it further, to a 70-percent fat, 25-percent protein, 5-percent carbs breakdown.
Going low-carb, on the other hand, is a bit up to interpretation:What you consider low-carb might mean cutting out every kind of grain or sugar, while to others, it may include eating a piece of fruit or a serving of quinoa. It’s all very relative.
With a general low-carb diet, you’re probably not eating nearly as much fat as you would if you were trying to force your body into ketosis. Instead, you’re loading up on more lean proteins and veggies to stay full and energized.
What Is Keto Diet
Keto diet or ketogenic diet is a type of low-carb diet categorized by its macronutrient ratio. Generally, this type of diet contains 5-10% of carbohydrates, 15-25% protein, and 65-80% fat. Significantly, the amount of carbohydrates in the keto diet is comparatively low, and one can consume under 50 g of carbohydrates per day. Therefore, burning fat becomes the main energy source of the body, putting the body into ketosis. Here, the fat from the diet is first used as the energy source and then the fat deposits are used.
Figure 1: Keto Diet
Since a keto diet can induce fat burning in the body, it is great for losing weight. Fat from the keto diet is not responsible for weight gaining through overeating due to the following reasons:
- Ketones produced during ketosis serve as a major hunger repressor
- Faster metabolism of fat
Furthermore, a keto diet is an ultra low-carb diet which produces ketones as a result of ketosis. It can save blood glucose for the use in the brain.
Read Also: Why Does Keto Make You Constipated
What Is Clean Keto
Clean keto focuses on whole, nutrient-dense foods and puts more emphasis on food quality than the traditional keto diet, which comprises no more than 50 grams of carbs per day, a moderate protein intake of 1520% of daily calories, and a high fat intake of at least 75% of daily calories .
Restricting carbs puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which you start burning fat for energy in place of carbs.
This may lead to several potential health benefits, including weight loss, reduced blood sugar levels, and even a lower risk of certain cancers .
Clean keto consists mainly of whole foods from quality sources, such as grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables.
High carb foods, including grains, rice, potatoes, pastries, bread, pasta, and most fruits, are severely restricted or banned.
Clean keto also minimizes your intake of processed food, though it can still be eaten in moderation.
Clean keto refers to the traditional keto diet, which is meant to get your body burning fat as its main fuel source instead of carbs. This eating pattern consists of whole, minimally processed foods that are low in carbs but high in fat.
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.
Read Also: Can U Eat Carrots On Keto
Pros And Cons Of The Keto Diet
Keto is popular for a reason. Here are some pros to the keto diet:
- Keto has been used to manage epilepsy and type 2 diabetes. Keto isn’t just about weight loss. This diet has been effective in managing conditions like epilepsy, due to the low-sugar, high-fat diet’s effect on the brain, and type 2 diabetes, as it helps the body keep glucose levels low. Keto can also help with cholesterol issues.
- You may lose weight on keto. Keto is a popular choice for people looking to lose weight, and has been shown to help with weight loss and appetite reduction, though more long-term research is needed.
These are a few keto diet cons to know about:
How Does Each Diet Work
The body prefers to use glucosea carbohydrateas its energy source. When carbohydrate intake is very low and glucose isn’t available for energy, the body makes glucose from other sources. This is called gluconeogenesis.
When carb intake is even lower than this, like on the keto diet, and the body can’t make enough glucose for its needs, the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis where it breaks down fat for energy into ketone bodies . Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use the ketones created by ketosis for energy until you start eating carbohydrates again.
Don’t Miss: Is Fairlife Milk Keto Friendly
Which Diet Is Right For You
The right diet for you depends on your goals, your lifestyle, and factors like your age and gender.
For example, for diabetics, we strongly endorse the Low Carb High Fat diet for reversing the condition.
Some women find that an extremely low-carb approach to meals can negatively impact their menstruation cycles. Other people find that following a ketogenic meal plan makes them feel fatigued and sluggish. For these reasons, always talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if youre considering any changes to your diet.
If you are a beginner, be sure to do your research, understand how a keto diet might impact your health, stock your pantry and be mentally prepared to handle the keto life.