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A normal diet consists of anywhere between 200-400g of carbohydrates in a day.
Foods like fruit, vegetables, grains (wheat, rice ect) and legumes (beans, lentils ect)
are made up mainly of sugars, starches and fibers; otherwise known as carbohydrates.
On the other hand a low carb diet contains between 50-100g of carbohydrates in a day.
Low carb is a general term which can include a lot of variations. There are low carb paleo diets, low carb carnivore diets, low carb mediterrean diets and low carb vegetarian diets. The ketogenic diet is also a kind of low carb diet.
Most diets can essentially be turned into a low carb diet by simply eating less carbohydrates.
A low carb diet is one where individuals restrict the amount of daily carbohydrates in a diet to be between 50-100g which is much lower than in a standard diet.
The ketogenic diet is a type of low carb diet in which the
goal is to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose. The body will
go into ketosis when glucogen (sugar) storages are depleted which triggers
a chemical process to turn fat into ketones.
A keto diet is composed of the following macronutrients:
While the focus is generally on counting carbohydrates, the only macronutrient that needs to be achieved is the amount of protein. This is the only goal you should strive to have daily. The carbohydrate and fat are merely upperlimits and not goals to be met.
The same kinds of foods can be eaten on both diets. Neither diet
restricts or prohibits any food or ingredient.
This means neither diet is strictly gluten-free or paleo.
On a ketogenic diet it is extremely challenging to eat any kind of grain products, higher carbohydrate vegetables such as potatoes, beans and sweet potatoes and stay in ketosis. However these foods can be eaten in moderation on a general low carb diet.
On a general low carb diet individuals focus on loosely tracking their carbohydrate intake.
A low carb diet is more forgiving with the types of food you
are able to consume and less tracking and monitoring is involved.
The keto diet is based on consuming a strict number of carbohydrates and adequate amounts of fat and protein. Beginners especially need to track the correct amount of every ingredient they eat. This is a time consuming task and it's not easy to learn to eat intuitively without tracking food intake. However, premade meal plans can help beginners navigate their keto journey.
While it can be argued that the ketogenic diet is harder compared to a low carb diet because it’s more restrictive and requires more tracking, both of these diets require you to change your eating habits and to be mindful of what you are eating.
Tracking ingredients and foods is more important on a ketogenic diet than on a general low carb diet.
There is nothing wrong with trying a diet for a short while.
Not every diet is right for your body and lifestyle.
Both diets can be easily followed long term and making them a consistent part of your life. It all depends on your short and long term goals and whether you feeling good on a diet.
If you are feeling great on a ketogenic diet, getting results and enjoy counting macros and measuring ketones the diet is probably a good fit for you. On the other hand if you don't notice a significant difference compared to a low carbohydrate diet, there is no real benefit in following a ketogenic diet.
Experimenting with different diets allows you to gain significant insight into your body and wellness
Ketones are present in the blood either on very low carb or during fasting.
They are a great biomarker to test for in order to determine if an individual
is in ketosis. There are cheap blood prick tests available
for this purpose.
However a ketogenic diet can be followed without testing blood ketones. The benefit of measuring ketones is to figure out if the amount of carbs you are eating is low enough to induce ketosis. Without measuring these ketones you will not have this insight.
On a low carb diet there is no need to measure ketones since the diet isn’t low carb enough to promote ketosis.
Testing for blood ketones provides great feedback about your diet and is the biggest difference between the low carb diet and a ketogenic diet
Eating out is easier on a low carb diet because the carb allowance
is so much higher. You’ll be able to eat a larger array of meals in restaurants.
Eating out on a ketogenic diet is slightly trickier but entirely achievable. In certain cases you may have to ask to remove or substitute ingredients in meals. Unless you are at a pasta or pizza restaurant there should be options for the ketogenic diet. A steak with vegetables or salad are great options.
You can eat out in restaurants on both diets with some modifications to meals.
No diet that exists is inherently healthy and every diet can be done in a poor, un-nutritious way.
How healthy a diet is is entirely depended on what food choices are being made.
Since both the ketogenic and low carb diet require awareness of food choices they can both be healthy and nutritious quite easily.
It is easier to hit all those target micronutrients on a low carb diet because you are able to eat more variety of foods. Sweet potatoes, lentis and beans are high in vitamins and minerals which paired with high nutrition foods like eggs, dairy, fats and meat made a very complete diet.
Generally it is harder to achieve the RDA’s of potassium, magnesium and calcium on a ketogenic diet. It is recommended to track daily nutrition intake to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Since users already track their macronutrients it is easy to track the micronutrients as well.
Making sure all essential micronutrients are achieved should be part of every diet.
Carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice are cheap and filling.
When you’ve chosen to eliminate cheap
high carb ingredients from your diet it might mean that your grocery cost might be different.
There is no definite answer to which diet costs more as it is entirely dependent on what you eat. Both diets can be affordable. We've calculated the cost in our meal plans and found that an organic ketogenic diet with expensive produce such as salmon and steak averages at around $5 per meal.
However, generally maybe a low carb diet is cheaper than a keto diet as you can substitute more starchy cheap vegetables for energy which you can’t do on a keto diet.
If you don’t buy premade keto or low carb approved snacks, protein bars meals, and instead focus on vegetables, eggs, cheese, butter, olive oil and different meat your grocery bill will be manageable.
There is no need to buy luxury cuts of meat like tenderloin or filet mignon. With a slow cooker even the most underrated cuts of meat will melt in your mouth.
Avoiding processed and prepackaged things and buying real food will cut your grocery bill down.
Both of these diets have similar general lifestyle benefits and create new eating habits. Following a low carb diet or keto diet means you are more aware and mindful of what you are eating. Simply paying attention to what and how much you are eating can result in a healthier lifestyle and even weight loss.
Just focusing on what you are eating can cause you to make better choices resulting in feeling healthier.
Many individuals on a low carb and ketogenic diet report feeling fuller for longer.
Feeling full and not experiencing crashes in energy can have a significant benefit
in every day life.
Eliminating sources of high carbohydrates can eliminate sugar cravings. Less cravings for sugar combined with feeling fuller for longer means less need for unnecessary snacking. Not consuming those excess calories which provide no nutritional benefit can have an impact on your weight.
A low carb or a ketogenic diet also allows you to change the way you react to feeling hunger. Feeling hunger doesn't have to be accompanied by dizziness, weakness, nausea or being hangry. It can simply be not a big deal.
Whether you should try a ketogenic or low carb diet depends entirely on your goals.
Always consult with a medical professional before trying a new diet.
If you are transitioning from a normal high carb diet, it might be beneficial to first go low carb before trying keto. This would allow your body to get used to a low carb diet before going ketosis. You might even be able to avoid or reduce the amount of time of the keto flu (otherwise known as carb withdrawal). Your body is in the process of adapting to life without carbohydrates resulting in not feeling all that great.
A lower carb diet is also more forgiving with the types of food you are able to consume and less tracking and monitoring is involved. When you feel like you’re responding well to a low carb diet you can be confident that transitioning to a keto diet will be achievable.
That being said there is no reason you can’t throw yourself straight into a keto diet. We've created keto meal plans to help beginners learn the ropes without doing any of the hard work.
Always consult with a medical professional before trying a new diet.