Everyone loves to despise carbohydrates. They’ve recently earned a bad rap, and they’ve been blamed for anything from diabetes to low energy levels (not all carbs are bad for you FYI). But what exactly is a low-carb diet? Lets compare a low carb diet vs keto
Isn’t keto also low-carb? Learn the distinctions between a low-carb and a ketogenic diet, as well as which is best for weight reduction and overall health, by reading on.
What exactly is a low-carbohydrate diet?
A low-carb diet does not have a defined definition. It’s simply a diet that’s lower in carbs than what’s recommended or what the majority of people eat. Carbohydrates should account for 45-65 percent of calories, according to the Dietary Guidelines.
A low-carb diet is defined as one in which carbohydrate intake is less than 45 percent of total calories. It’s difficult to research the effects of low-carb diets on health outcomes since there is no universal definition of low-carb. See our licenced dietitian-created low-carb meal plans.
What exactly is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is classified as a very low-carbohydrate diet, meaning it contains less than 50 grammes of carbohydrates per day. Carbohydrates account for 5% or less of calorie intake on the keto diet, or roughly 20-50 grammes per day, depending on overall energy consumption.
The keto diet was first proposed by doctors in the 1920s to treat epilepsy, but it has since gained popularity as a weight-loss regimen. People lose weight quickly since it is very low-carb, which is why it is appealing to try.
The keto diet may also aid in blood sugar control and the treatment of certain neurological illnesses (learn more about if the ketogenic diet is right for diabetes). However, the long-term implications of being on the diet are unknown.
What is the nutritional composition?
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the three macronutrients. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you substitute those calories with another macronutrient, usually fat. This results in a diet that is low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in fat.
For example, if a person consumes 30% of their calories from carbohydrates and the required 10-20% from protein, they will consume approximately 50-60% of their calories from fat.
On the keto diet, fat accounts for about 80% of calories, protein accounts for 15-20%, and carbohydrates account for less than 5%. In comparison, the Dietary Guidelines recommends getting 25-35 percent of your calories from fat, 10-30% from protein, and 45-65 percent from carbohydrates.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each diet?
The body prefers to get its energy from glucose, which is a carbohydrate. When carbohydrate intake is low (less than 50 grammes) and glucose is unavailable for energy, the body produces glucose from other sources. This process is known as gluconeogenesis.
When carbohydrate intake is even lower than this, as on the keto diet, and the body is unable to produce enough glucose to meet its needs, the body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis, in which fat is broken down for energy and converted to ketone bodies (learn more about ketosis and what happens in your body).
Most cells will use the ketones made by ketosis for energy until you eat carbohydrates again once you’ve reached ketosis.
Low-carb and keto have a lot in common
Both diets are low in carbohydrates, but the keto diet has fewer carbs (only 5% of calories come from carbs) and more fat.
Unless the food puts you over your daily carb limit, neither diet officially restricts entire food groups. For this reason, grains, legumes, dairy, fruits, vegetables, processed meals, sugary foods, and certain alcohol are prohibited (a complete list of things you may and cannot eat on the ketogenic diet can be found here).
Which choice is best for weight loss?
Both a low-carb and a keto diet can aid weight loss. Insulin is released when you ingest carbohydrates, and it transports glucose to your cells for energy. Extra glucose is stored as glycogen, but if there is any remaining glucose, insulin stores it as fat.
When you cut carbs, less insulin is released, allowing your body to go into fat-burning mode rather than fat-storage mode. Because the items you can eat are limited, you will most likely reduce your calorie consumption.
However, there are numerous factors that can assist you in losing weight quickly. The question is, which eating pattern can you stick to in the long run? Although a low-carb or keto diet can help you lose weight, you won’t be able to keep it off if you can’t eat that way indefinitely.
This is also supported by research. Numerous studies have attempted to determine if a low-carb or low-fat diet is beneficial for weight loss.
Most come to the same conclusion: low-carb diets can lead to faster weight reduction in the short term, but the weight loss results are the same for low-carb and low-fat dieters after one to two years of follow-up.
According to a 2017 research of overweight persons with type 2 diabetes, those who followed a ketogenic diet lost more weight and had lower A1Cs after a year than those who followed a low-fat diet.
There have been very few research comparing the impact of low-carb and ketogenic diets on weight reduction and other health outcomes.
Which is more beneficial to one’s overall health?
The ketogenic diet has been shown to help children with epilepsy, and new research suggests it could help with a variety of neurological problems. According to research, keto may assist people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood glucose levels and maybe lower their A1C.
However, more research is required. The long-term implications of following a ketogenic diet remain unknown. It’s challenging to research because most people struggle to stick to such a low carbohydrate diet for years.
In the case of non-keto, low-carb diets, a 2015 and 2016 study found that, while low-carb diets are safe and effective in the short term, there were no differences in blood sugar response for people with type 2 diabetes when compared to a diet with more carbs, and that total calorie intake is still the best predictor of weight loss.
Cons of eating a low-carb or ketogenic diet
You’ve probably heard of the “keto flu,” a horrible side effect of the ketogenic diet that produces dizziness, nausea, and fatigue as a result of rapidly losing fluid and sodium when you limit carbs.
Another disadvantage is the difficulty of adhering to the ketogenic diet. Many people who follow the ketogenic diet aren’t genuinely in ketosis. It’s best to follow the keto diet under the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist.
Low-carb and keto diets both reduce carbs, which implies fibre is reduced. Fiber helps you lose weight and keep it off by suppressing your appetite and slowing your digestion.
Fiber also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps to keep blood sugar levels in check (try these 10 foods with more fibre than an apple).
Fiber is a food source for the beneficial microorganisms in your stomach. Non-starchy vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and legumes are all items that are prohibited on low-carb diets, and these bugs feast on them.
Improved heart health, cognitive health, digestion, and immunity are all connected to a healthy microbiome.
Consumption of whole grains has also been linked to a reduced incidence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Consuming a high proportion of calories from fat may boost LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Choose healthy fats like salmon, albacore tuna, olive oil, avocado, almonds, and seeds if you’re following a low-carb diet.
Less restrictive diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been linked to a healthy weight, a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, and the ability to live longer.
In addition to daily exercising, dining with others, and being social, the Mediterranean diet is a whole-body, holistic approach. This eating pattern is more likely to be maintained for the rest of one’s life.
Before opting on low-carb vs. keto, there are a few things to think about
Before embarking on any diet, consider why you are embarking on it. Is it to lose weight or for some other reason?
Consult your health-care specialists, such as your doctor and a nutritionist, to determine which diet is ideal for you based on your objectives.
Keep in mind that you’ll only continue to notice improvements if you stick to the regimen. Is the diet you’ve decided on fit with your way of life? Do you frequently dine out or travel for work?
It’s not difficult to eat low-carb or keto on the road, but as with any diet, planning and preparation are essential, as is working with a specialist who can assist you.
A low-carb diet has no set definition, although it often refers to consuming less than 45 percent of calories from carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, very low-carbohydrate diet in which carbs account for less than 5% of total calories.
Both diets can help you lose weight, but studies show that they are no more effective than low-fat diets in the long run. It may be easier to stick to a low-fat diet or a healthy eating pattern like the Mediterranean diet for the rest of your life than to severely reduce carbs.