Keto Diet vs Atkins Diet
As many already know, the Atkins diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets along with the Keto diet. These are undoubtedly some of the most common diets out there today, but not many people could give you an analysis of each as well as what distinguishes them from one another. Diet plans are extremely popular in the modern era because they allow you a degree of privacy that can’t be observed at a traditional gym. In this post, we offer an in-depth analysis of each diet, the strengths and weaknesses, and loads of other information. By the end, you’ll know who is suited for each diet and possibly what the best diet of 2018 has been so far.
Overview of Keto Diet
The Ketogenic diet (Keto for short) is an extremely popular diet that has been trending upward in 2018. The Ketogenic diet is based on the simple idea that you should consume less carbohydrates, which forces your body to find other fuels to burn for energy. Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy for your body and it’s for good reason that it’s the first thing your body will turn to burn for fuel.
Instead, the idea for the Keto diet is that without carbohydrates for your body to burn, it will burn something else for energy (fat). When your body is forced to burn fat instead of other sources (carbs), you can experience weight loss. People love this idea for its simplicity and relative ease of execution.
When you eat foods that have carbs, the body naturally starts the process of converting the carbs into glucose. Glucose is also known as blood sugar and it’s often used by the body for energy. Since glucose is a very simple form of energy and easy for the body to use, it gains priority and often gets used before anything else. This is troublesome for those with weight loss goals because the objective of weight loss is to burn fat. If something else is getting burned when you do physical activity, you’ll find yourself making very slow or no progress.
Why Low-Carb Works?
When your body doesn’t have any carbohydrates, however, it will turn to other sources for that energy. Next up in line is fats. When you eat too much food, the excess energy is stored in the form of body fat for your body to use at a later time. When your body is forced to burn the fat that is stored, you’ll begin to lose body fat and as a result, your weight will decrease.
Because of this logic, the Ketogenic diet was born. On a Ketogenic diet, an individual aim to vastly reduce or even eliminate carb intake so that the body has to use fat for energy on a daily basis. This process results in weight loss with the possibility of never having to work out. For the reasons of an easy-to-follow strategy and the prospect of not having to exert much physical effort, the Keto diet is extremely popular, and the community continues to grow daily.
Though this process seems easy enough to understand, there is actually a lot going on behind the scenes in your body while you are on a Keto diet. For example, the fat burning process is very complex and interesting. It’s not as simple as just burning fats.
When fat is used as an energy source, it is broken down in the liver. This process creates ketones, which are then used as fuel for the body in place of the glucose made my carbohydrate consumption. These are the processes that you should be familiar with when you embark on a Keto journey. Being in tune with your body and what is happening is just as important as sticking to the diet itself.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
Though most people start the Keto diet in hopes of losing some weight, the Ketogenic diet also has several other indirect health benefits. There are some interesting side-effects to the Keto diet that probably result from the increased monitoring of the food that enters your body. When you eat according to a Ketogenic diet, you are constantly keeping tabs of what you eat. This ultimately leads to several health benefits as you become more health-conscience and treat your body better.
One positive thing that comes out of the Keto diet outside of the chemistry of burning fats instead of carbs is the reduced appetite. Overeating is one of the main causes for obesity in America and around the world. It’s also one of the main reasons that people abandon diets so early. On a low-carb diet like the Keto diet, appetite is reduced, and it becomes easier to eat less. This promotes weight loss, since you are eating less food and you’re not inclined to keep eating.
When you lose weight on the Keto diet, it’s been observed that a lot of the weight that you lose comes from your abdominal cavity. This is great for your health because this type of fat can lead to several other health risks and put you at increased risk for disease. By helping to eliminate this fat that becomes lodged between your organs, you can reduce your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This is a massive health benefit of Keto and can add years to your life.
Triglycerides are a category of fat that can be found in your bloodstream. They form from excess calories consumed by the body and are stored in fat cells. A person that is prone to overeating will have high triglycerides, which puts them at a hugely increased risk for a myriad of health problems. A Keto diet can help bring down your triglycerides due to the reduction in carb consumption.
Another benefit of the Keto diet is increased levels of HDL Cholesterol. For those familiar with cholesterol, you know that HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol”. For those unfamiliar, HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and it’s not only essential for your body, it also can help to reduce your risk for heart disease. To maximize these effects, you should increase your HDL and minimize your LDL (bad cholesterol). On a Keto diet, lots of fats are consumed and that’s what helps to increase your HDL levels which in turns reduces your risk for disease and makes you healthier.
Blood sugar and insulin levels can also see a positive impact while on the Keto diet. Diabetes and insulin resistance are something that affects millions of people each year worldwide. There are many studies that show that blood sugar and insulin levels can be reduced significantly by eating a low-carb diet. In fact, you may be able to cut them in half just by eating a Keto diet.
The Ketogenic diet can help reduce your blood pressure. High blood pressure is something that has become a huge problem in recent decades as our diet becomes more full of carbohydrates. High blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension, is linked to a lot of different diseases. These include heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and more.
Earlier, we talked about the Keto diet’s ability to increase HDL (good cholesterol). Well, as it turns out, a Keto diet can also decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. LDL is cholesterol that is bad for your body and can lead to numerous health problems.
In fact, not only can a Keto diet bring down your LDL levels, it can also change the size of the LDL particles. Smaller particles of LDL are especially dangerous and are associated with increased risk of heart disease. The benefit of a Keto diet is doubled in this case since you can both reduce your levels of LDL and the size of that LDL which will put you at a reduced risk for numerous health problems.
Neurological Benefits of Keto
There has been significant research to indicate that a Ketogenic diet will have numerous health benefits for the brain, as well. This can include increased memory, improved cognition, more clarity, less migraine headaches, and even can help with seizure control. Ketogenic diets are sometimes used to treat epilepsy. This breakthrough is encouraging to scientists hoping to also help Alzheimer’s Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease patients with preserving and restoring brain function.
In addition to those common diseases of the brain, Keto can also help treat a lot of other neurologic and metabolic diseases. Among these are Autism, Depression, Headaches, Narcolepsy, traumatic brain injury, PFK deficiency, and others. The wide variety of possible disorders that Keto has already shown to be somewhat effective against bodes well for the future of Keto as a treatment. Even if you are not affected by these, Keto can also help you bring down your risk of some of them, so the benefits don’t only extend to those with neurological and metabolic diseases.
Experimental and Emerging Benefits
It has been speculated that a Keto diet can help fight some types of cancer. Studies have been done on mice during which the increase of Ketone helps to decrease tumor cells and can help increase the life of the test subjects. This is obviously an important development that makes the future of cancer treatment a little brighter thanks in part to a Ketogenic diet.
The Ketogenic diet is naturally anti-inflammatory and can help decrease inflammation, which is the cause of several health problems. Among these are acne, psoriasis, general pain, arthritis, and more. Scientists believe that one of the ketones produced by a Ketogenic diet is the cause of this inflammation fighting power.
Though experts are still unsure of why, a Keto diet can help improve your sleep and energy levels. For the increased energy, it’s known that a Keto diet will stabilize your insulin levels and make energy more readily available for the body to use. As for sleep, it is thought that it may be related to the brain’s use of ketones that are produced by ketosis.
More Benefits of Keto
Women’s health is another area affected positively by Keto. Women can enhance their fertility though Ketogenic dieting and there are studies to show that you can treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with low-carb dieting. PCOS has symptoms like prolonged menstrual periods, acne, and obesity.
Most of the positive symptoms experienced by Ketogenic dieters are a result of the Keto diet’s ability to help stabilize blood sugar levels. This helps to lower the overall insulin that’s in the blood and has a stabilizing ripple effect throughout the body’s hormone levels. This is especially true in women.
Your eyes will also benefit from a Ketogenic lifestyle, believe it or not. It is well known that high blood sugar has an effect on the quality of your eyesight and how prone you are to eyesight conditions. High blood sugar, if left untreated, will lead to an increased risk for cataracts. The Ketogenic diet helps to reduce blood sugar levels and therefore protects your eyes from conditions like cataracts. Diabetes research has been conducted to prove this theory.
A Ketogenic diet will also help with muscle growth and your endurance. One of the ketones created by ketosis (BHB) is known to help promote muscle gain and is therefore beneficial to any athlete trying to improve or maintain muscle mass. Because of this, the diet has become extremely popular with bodybuilders.
Perhaps as a result of some or most of these factors, Ketogenic dieting is shown to be an effective treatment method for type I and type II diabetes. This is most likely due to the effectiveness of the Keto diet for regulating insulin and blood sugar levels within the body.
Though we’ve listed what feels like dozens of possible health effects of Keto, there are plenty more out there. The reason for such far-reaching benefits is that Keto helps to affect a few key factors in your body positively that, down the line, can prevent countless diseases and disorders and overall improves your general health. This heavy ripple effect is perhaps the biggest draw to the Ketogenic diet.
How to Eat Keto
The concept of Keto is fairly straightforward, but many people have trouble executing on this diet plan. Resisting the consumption of carbohydrates is difficult both from the standpoint of willpower and practicality.
About 50% of the Western diet contains carbohydrates. This macro has become a staple of our diet and thus it is very difficult to avoid on a daily basis. For this reason, people find it hard to recreate their diet and fill it with Macros that are not carbs. To add to the difficulty, Keto doesn’t just require that you stop eating carbohydrates. It is much more involved than that.
An effective Keto dieter will be managing everything that they consume and recording the Macronutrient content from each of those things. The three that a Keto dieter will have to keep track of are fats, proteins, and carbs. To achieve ketosis, you’ll need to find the optimal balance of these Macros. Ketosis is the goal of the Ketogenic diet. It’s the process in which the body breaks down fat for energy and produces Ketones.
Weight and body fat loss is the primary goal of most dieters, but Ketone is a great side benefit. Ketone is responsible for a lot of the health benefits as described above. This multifaceted approach to healthy living is what makes the Keto diet such a popular and effective one.
The Macro Ratio
When eating Keto-friendly, there is a recommended Macro ratio that you should model your diet after. When trying to reach Ketosis, your daily intake of Macros should consist of 70-80% fats, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs. These may change according to your height, weight, and activity level. This ratio will help to ensure that you achieve and maintain Ketosis and maximize your potential for weight loss.
If you are having trouble tracking these statistics, you may want to use an app or food tracker to help you. There are some great, free apps out there that can tell you what Macros are in your food and what your daily intake is for each. Many people also find communities helpful to keep them on track and accountable. The most important thing is that you are precise in your tracking so that you can get an idea of what’s working and what’s not in your personal records.
When you’re on a Ketogenic diet, it can feel difficult to find foods that are friendly to your needs and don’t contain carbs. The most popular foods to center a Keto diet around are eggs, olives/olive oil, meat, poultry, seafood, high fat dairies, dark chocolate, berries, garlic, onion, broccoli, kale, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds. There are, of course, plenty of other Keto-friendly foods out there but that list is a great place to start.
Once Keto dieters find a good shopping list and some good foods to build around, they almost always start doing meal prep. Meal prep is the process of preparing meals ahead of time and either freezing them or refrigerating them for consumption later. This allows you to adhere to your dieting plans more easily and also save time on cooking food. Many people find that structure to be extremely helpful for diet loyalty.
Overview of Atkin’s Diet
Though the Atkins diet started nearly 20 years ago, it remains relevant in 2018. The Atkins diet is another popular diet that is often associated with the Keto diet due to some similarities in concept that they share. Similar to the Keto diet, the Atkins diet stresses the importance of reducing carbohydrate intake in your everyday diet. Dr. Atkins, the founder of the Atkins diet, contends that carbohydrates are the root of the obesity problem in modern America.
Robert Atkins was a physician from the United States who is the creator of the viral Atkins diet. The Atkins diet reached peak popularity in the early 2000s and as a result, Dr. Atkins was named as a Time top ten most influential people of 2002.
The concept of the Atkins diet is that if you reduce your carb intake to less than 40 grams per day, you will enter ketosis. Ketosis, as we know from the Keto diet overview, is the process in which your body starts to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates, which would be easier.
The Stages of The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is segmented into four phases. These stages each have different goals and circumstances. They also each have a different amount of carbs that you’re allowed to consume in each. The four stages are induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and maintenance.
First Stage of Atkins
The first 14 days of the Atkins diet are called the Induction stage. During this stage, the dieter should limit carbohydrate intake to less than 20 grams per day. According to the Atkins diet, it is possible to lose up to 15 pounds in these first 14 days. During this stage, dieters are encouraged to only eat low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and lettuce and discourages the consumption of foods like yogurt, fruit, and starchy vegetables. Beverages also count towards your carbs, so you should monitor the nutritional content of not only what you eat, but what you drink as well.
Second Stage of Atkins
The second stage of the Atkins diet is the ongoing weight loss stage. In this stage, you are allowed to increase your daily allotment of carbohydrates by five grams per day. It’s not clear exactly what the goal of this stage is, but during this stage you’ll find that you hit a weight loss plateau. Eventually, you’ll have to decrease your carb intake again.
Third Stage of Atkins
The third stage is pre-maintenance. In this stage, it is expected that your weight loss will slow down drastically. This is also known as the testing stage because you are encouraged to test some foods back into your diet to see the result. If you gain weight back, you know that that food isn’t something your body responds positively to. If not, it is seemingly safe for you to include in your diet going forward.
Fourth Stage of Atkins
The fourth and final stage is called the maintenance stage. In the maintenance stage, you’re able to introduce more carbs into your everyday diet. It’s still important that you monitor your daily carb intake and that you stay away from any carbs that made you gain weight in the pre-maintenance stage. It’s also important that you choose healthier carbs to reintroduce into your diet rather than refined carbs.
If you find yourself gaining weight again, the Atkins diet recommends that you restart the plan and try again. Through these four stages of the diet, it should be your goal to figure out what foods go well into your diet and which ones don’t. By the time you get through the diet a couple of times, you should be able to fully optimize your diet so that you know what you can eat and what you can’t.
Health Benefits of the Atkins Diet
Since the Atkins diet is so similar to the Keto diet, a lot of the health benefits are similar or the same. This is because both diets are centered around lowering your carbohydrate consumption. They also tend to have some of the same long-term effects on your health.
Low-carb diets like the Atkins diet and the Keto diet tend to help stave off hunger, which is one of the hardest things to overcome when dieting. When you eat less carbs and more protein and fats, you feel fuller and will typically eat less calories.
The Atkins diet, like the Keto diet, also helps burn fat in your abdominal cavity. This is very unhealthy fat that interferes with your organs and lead to inflammation and increased risk for heart disease and type II diabetes. Low-carb diets specifically help to target this type of fat and burn it from your body.
The Atkins diet also helps regulate triglycerides, blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, and blood pressure. All of these are factors that contribute to larger problems down the road. Low-carb diets have shown to be effective in helping all of these.
There are also preliminary studies showing that the Atkins diet can help treat the symptoms of acid reflux.
The Atkins diet and Keto diet are different in structure and some other concepts, but many of their benefits are similar due to the underlying principle of less calorie consumption while on these diets. It’s also true for both that the positive effects ripple out to affect other areas of your general health and that can have huge benefits in the distant future.
How is the Keto Diet different from the Atkins Diet?
All of this information might have you wondering what the differences are between the Keto Diet and the Atkins Diet. In basic concept, they are very similar. However, they are executed differently. But first, we’ll look at the similarities.
The Ketogenic Diet and the Atkins diet both revolve around the idea of lower carbs, and both also require to you keep track of the carbs that you take in to make sure you are within the right range. Both also have the goal of achieving ketosis to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. You won’t have to count calories on either of these diets.
Both of these diets also enjoy numerous adjacent benefits from the low-carb consumption. These effects are far-reaching and long-lasting and can affect you for the years to come. Both diets, if sustained, could lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, heart disease, and more. They would both also be good for treating epilepsy and other neurological diseases.
These two diets do differ pretty drastically in execution, though. While on Atkins, you really only need to track your carb intake and you don’t pay attention to the other Macros in your diet. On Keto, however, you track three of the major macros and you adhere to a strict Macro ratio. Among these Macros that you need to track on Keto are proteins, carbs, and fats.
While both Keto and Atkins place an emphasis on letting your body enter Ketosis, Ketosis plays a much larger part in the Keto diet. During a Ketogenic diet, you are expected to keep your body in Ketosis for the entire duration of the diet. On the Atkins diet, however, the plan only calls for you to be in Ketosis for one or two of the total four stages. The other difference is that protein is not limited on Atkins, but it is on Keto.
Mainly, the difference between the two is that Keto is a much more dedicated diet plan than Atkins. It is more difficult to stick to because it is more restrictive of what you can eat and how much of it you can eat.
What are the phases of each diet?
The Atkins diet has four phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance, and Lifetime Maintenance. In induction, you are limited to very few carbs and you are encouraged to eat only low-carb veggies over your first two weeks. In Ongoing Weight Loss, your weight loss will plateau as you gradually introduce more carbs into your diet. In Pre-Maintenance, you are close to your goal weight and you’ll be figuring out a long-term meal plan that allows you to maintain your goal weight. Finally, in Lifetime Maintenance you have shown you are able to maintain the goal weight and you have an optimized meal plan that has a set amount of carbs that you can eat and still maintain your weight.
In Keto, you’ll likely experience the same effects as the Atkins diet, but it’s far less structured. Keto requires you to meet your Macro ratio for the entire time that you’re on the diet. Your goal is to remain in Ketosis for the entire time that you are on the Keto diet. You won’t have to do much adjusting on the Keto diet as you would have to do on the Atkins diet and you are expected to consume the same ratio of Macros and track them each day regardless of how far in you are into the diet.
Does Atkins Cause Ketosis?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it would seem. The short answer is yes, Atkins can cause Ketosis and it is the goal of the Atkins diet to induce Ketosis. However, this Ketosis is limited almost exclusively to the first and second stage of the Atkins diet. After that, you will no longer be in Ketosis. The Atkins diet causes Ketosis only during the parts of the diet during which you are vastly reducing your carbohydrate intake. This is usually the first 14 days.
Final Verdict: Who is suited for which diet?
Now that we have all the information, we can confidently tell you who is suited for each of these diets. Our answer is mostly sourced in the section that we examine the differences between the Keto and Atkins diet. Both of these diets are suitable for anyone that wants to lose weight and have other long-lasting health benefits. They can also both be followed from the privacy of your own home.
The difference lies in the dedication and level of diligence required for each diet. The Atkins diet still requires some determination, but the level of dedication is far less than the Keto diet. This is because while the Atkins diet does require you to enter Ketosis, it’s not for the entire duration of the diet. On the Ketogenic diet, you need to be monitoring your Macro intake each and every day to ensure you are in Ketosis.
With all of those factors taken into consideration, anyone who is very serious about Ketosis and long-term health benefits of Ketosis and Ketone production should go on the Ketogenic diet. This is great for those who work out frequently and enjoy fine-tuning their body’s processes. Someone who is looking for something more passive, but less effective would find Atkins to be the more suitable diet.