Keto vs Low Carb

It is no longer news that to lose weight and stay in good shape, you’d have to use a mix of exercising and dieting. Just as there are thousands of weight loss exercise routines, there are also thousands of dieting plans to match.

By MARY JANE

Keto vs Low carb

Due to this wide variety of dieting plans that exist on the market, it could be quite confusing picking and sticking with one. While several fad diet plans have come and gone, a handful of them have stood the test of time. Two of such are Keto and Low Carb diet plans.

The keto and low carb diets are very similar in the sense that the basis of both diet is restricted intake of carbohydrates. Given that both diet plans are big on the reduction of carbs, what makes them different?

In this article, we will be going over the differences and pros and cons of both diets. Hopefully, after reading through, you’d have enough insight to decide on which of the two is best for you.

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“It is no longer news that to lose weight and stay in good shape, you’d have to use a mix of exercising and dieting. Just as there are thousands of weight loss exercise routines, there are also thousands of dieting plans to match”

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Low Carb Diet

In low carb diets, emphasis is placed on the restriction of daily carb intake. When operating on a low carb diet, you’re to remarkably cut down your intake of foods with high dietary carbohydrate. Examples of such foods are bread, beverages and grains.

While sticking to a low carb diet, in order to keep your body’s required caloric level balanced, you are to increase your intake of proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Doing so helps to replace the “lost” carbs in the body, as well as to keep the stomach feeling full.

Though there are no hard and fast rules, for a healthy adult, studies suggest that for a low carb diet, carbs should make up 10 – 30% of total daily calorie intake.

When used to induce weight loss in diabetic persons, low carb diets have been known to provide other health benefits. Examples of such benefits besides weight loss are improved blood sugar level regulation, and lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Pros

  • Promotes weight loss,
  • long term sustainability of the diet
  • Adaptable and easier to follow
  • Elimination of several processed high carb foods

Cons

  • Feelings of general weakness
  • Highly restrictive on food options
  • Restrictions on fruit options

Keto Diet 

Keto diet (called ketogenic in full) also work on the principle of cutting down daily carb intake. The distinctive factor here is that intake of fat is drastically increased as carb intake level is cut down.

The major goal of the keto diet is to get the body into a state of “nutritional ketosis”. This state can be reached by cutting down carb intake to 50 grams a day, while shooting up fat levels.

When this state is reached, your liver will produce a lot of ketones. When enough of these ketones are produced, your body will start feeding off of fat for energy – instead of glucose or glycogen from carbs. This process leads to weight loss.

While Keto is effective for losing weight, it is believed to not be sustainable long term for people with certain health conditions.

Pros

  • Effective in the management of refractory epilepsy
  • Helps to regulate insulin sensitivity
  • Helps in keeping appetite under check
  • Effective in improving cholesterol levels

Cons

  • Occurence of constipation and bowel changes due to low intake of fibre
  • Difficult to sustain long term
  • Risk of experiencing fatigue, headache and other sideeffects
  • Can lead to nutritional deficiencies

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Which is Better For You?

When it comes to choosing which is best for you among low carbs or keto diet, it all comes down to personal preferences and other factors.

For both diets, your daily carb intake level is restricted. While you are restricted to 150 grams a day for low carbs diet, the figure is 50 grams per day for keto. If you are not comfortable going way too low on carbs, then keto might not be a better choice.

Generally speaking, the keto diet is way more restrictive when it comes to food and fruit consumption. As a result, it is hard to sustain long term for most people. This makes the lower carb diet a better option for most.

Having said that, you are advised to consult your Doctor or a professional Dietician before going on any type of diet.

How many carbs are in a low - carb diet?

Introduction

You have probably read a ton of articles on the need to reduce carbohydrate intake. Yet, the majority of our diets (American staple foods) are primarily carbohydrates.

How then will you reduce the largest source of calories in your meal?
Perhaps it is by knowing the just fit carbohydrate intake for you. That brings us to the purpose of this article.

Before that, there are some basics things that you need to understand about low carb diets. They are:

  • What is a low carb diet?
  • Why you should take low carb diets?

What is a Low Carb diet?

In truth, there is no official definition for low carb diets. That is tricky, isn’t it? In essence, it means there is no standard count of carbohydrate grams for any low carb diet.

Simply put, low carb diets are diets that limit the intake of carbohydrates and encourage the intake of food high in protein and fats.
If you will or must maintain a low carb diet, you need to equally know some of the common sources of naturally-occurring carbohydrates. 

They are:

  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Refined carbohydrates as in white bread, cake, and sugar-sweetened sodas


Ordinarily, most low carb diets typically focus on fats and proteins such as meat, poultry and poultry products, fish, and non – starchy vegetables. On the other hand, some allow whole grains.

Certain diets, such as ketogenic diets, are very low in carbohydrate. When you work on such dieting baseline, 90% of your calories needs come from fats, while protein and carbs account for the other 10%.

Why you should take

Low Carb diet?

Generally, low carb diets aid weight reduction. The goal is that when you reduce carbohydrate intake, your body burns more stored fat which in turn leads to weight loss.

Besides, there are some vital benefits to subscribing to low carb diets. For starters, low carb diets prevent health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome.

Also, low carb diets improve our circulatory system, so much so that it reduces the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.

“Ordinarily, most low carb diets typically focus on fats and proteins such as meat, poultry and poultry products, fish, and non-starchy vegetables. On the other hand, some allow whole grains.”

How many carbs are in a Low Carb diet?

Just like the definition of low carb diets, there is no particular or standard count of carbohydrate grams in a low carb diet. It is, however, expressed in percentages of your calorie needs per day.

According to the current dietary guidelines, most of us realize 40 to 60% of their daily calorie needs from carbohydrate. Let’s put that into perspective.
Imagine you take 2000 calories per day; then, your carbohydrate intake would be in the range of 800 to 1600 grams according to the guideline.
In that understanding, your low carb dieting plan will have to contain significantly lower grams of carbohydrate – maybe, 400g. Mind you, that’s just an example.

Most televised low carb diets even recommend a much lower carbohydrate intake percentage (say 20-30 %). Also, researchers have varied recommendations.

How low can you go with carbohydrate intake on a Low Carb diet?

Some researchers recommend taking only 60 grams of carbohydrate per day. In contrast, some other researchers suggest 40 grams of carbohydrate per day – there are even the 20-grams disciples.

As stated earlier, the number of carbs to be in your low-carb diet depends largely on your daily calorie needs and activity level. And it varies from one individual to another.

What are the risks and negative side effects of Low Carb diets?

The extent of the side effects you will experience from cutting your carbohydrates depends on two major factors.
How much of reduction did you make to your carb intake?
Your diet before reducing your carb intake.

Imagine following the recommended 40-60% carb intake all your life, and boom, you suddenly change to a minute 20%. Your body will react to such dramatic change.

Nevertheless, a moderate reduction in carbs will not lead to noticeable side-effects. Larger reductions on the other hand will. Some of these side-effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Bad breath
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash

Furthermore, continued and unhealthy reductions in carb intake will also lead to even more severe health conditions. Examples are:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Loss of bone density
  • Complex gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Cardiovascular disease

Low Carb diet tips

Maintaining a low carb diet is challenging – agreed. And it is especially so at the beginning. It shouldn’t be challenging. Luckily, the following tips will be of considerable assistance.

Know Low Carb foods

The first step to maintaining a low carb diet is to know which food to avoid or not. Not just that, you need to know the carb counts and serving sizes of foods too.

For example, the following all contain approximately 15 grams of carb:

  • 1/3 cup of cooked rice
  • ½ medium banana
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup peas
  • ½ cup beans or legumes
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 tennis ball-size orange or apple
  • 1 small baked potato
  • 1 cup of berries
  • 6 ounces of plain yogurt
  • 8 ounces of milk

An extra tip, choose whole-grain varieties like bread and rice. They have more nutritional value at a similar carb level – you’re welcome.

Make a meal plan

Planning your meal will make things easier for you. Map out your week, know what to eat, and head to the grocery store to get them. Moreover, planning will prevent you from diverting from your low carb dieting goals.

Meal prep and Low Carb snacks

In addition to making meal plans, you can prepare them ahead too. Preparing your food ahead limits making unhealthful food choices. Also, it helps you save time, especially during busing times of the week.
Furthermore, you should consider low carb snacks (such as cheese and unsweetened yogurts). They are vital options for between meals.

Summarily, whatever choice you make to appropriate your carb intake; it is wise to choose the substitute food healthily, and substitute such slowly rather than at once.

More importantly, if you’re suffering from any kidney disease, it is best not to follow low carb diets. If you will, let it be only by the recommendation and under the supervision of a doctor.

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