Whole30 versus Keto Diet: The Key Differences -PeakCodex
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Whole 30 versus Keto

9th August 2019
asparagus wrapped bacon with fried egg and spinach

What is the Whole30 diet?

The Whole 30 is a month long elimination diet. The diet eliminates dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, alcohol and all processed foods. This means the diet allows meats, fish, vegetables, fats and eggs.

The diet doesn’t focus on tracking calories, portion sizes or the macronutrient content of meals. Instead it encourages the complete elimination of common foods known to cause food sensitivities.

After 30 days the objective is to slowly reintroduce foods into your diet. In theory, you'll be able to get insight into which foods your body is sensitive to.

Common food sensitivity issues include skin problems, tiredness and other cognitive issues, pain, inflammation and stomach problems. Not everyone has food sensitivity issues that manifests in a recognizable way. Either way, you will gain insight into how your body reacts or doesn’t react to different foods.

If you’ve never tried an elimination diet to find out whether you are sensitive to certain food groups the Whole30 can offer significant insight for some people. It’s intended to be followed for only 30 days, which is a great small step to take in changing your habits.

The Whole30 helps you make connections between different foods and how your body reacts

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low carb diet where the amount of daily carbohydrates is limited to between 20g-30g of net carbs. This allows the individual to go into a metabolic state called ketosis where fat is turned into energy.

The main source of calories comes from fat, however, the only macronutrient that needs to be obtained enough of daily is protein. As long as you are eating enough protein, and the right amount of carbohydrates to keep you in ketosis, you can eat as much or as little fat as is needed to keep hunger away.

Instead of focusing on eliminating food groups, the ketogenic diet focuses on restricting the amount of carbohydrates low enough to induce ketosis.

Food tracking apps help you count net carbs to ensure you are eating a ketogenic diet

keto and whole30 approved pizza

The food choices between whole30 vs keto

There are differences in the kinds of foods that are eaten on the whole 30 versus keto diet. The ketogenic diet does not ban any food group. As long as the food fits into your daily carbohydrate allowance you are able to eat it.

On the other hand, the Whole30 isn’t in itself a low carb diet as it depends what proportion of starchy vegetables are eaten. However, generally the Whole 30 diet can be regarded as a low carb diet due to the elimination of many high carbohydrate foods compared to a normal diet.

The whole30 discourages grains, beans and legumes. Incidentally these aren’t a part of a ketogenic diet, only for the reason that they are high in carbohydrates. The whole30 also eliminates all dairy whereas the ketogenic diet encourages high fat dairy such as butter, cream and cheese.

The keto diet allows processed foods as long as they are low carb enough to not push you out of ketosis. The whole 30 on the other hand forbids any processed food even if it has allowed ingredients. The thought behind eliminating processed foods is that the diet is all about breaking old habits.

The different goals of the ketogenic and whole30

The Whole 30 claims to reset your body in 30 days. It can be argued that resetting your body from an inflamation or biological point of view takes a lot longer than 30 days. Nevertheless, cutting out a food group can have a fast impact on your wellbeing. The diet is however an excellent mental and psychological reset.

Any strict diet, including both the ketogenic diet and the Whole 30, which has a clear list of what is allowed to be eaten, can have behaviour changing effects. Knowing the ‘rules’ helps you stick to a diet.

Awareness of food choices helps individuals make better choices and create new habits. It’s this mental component that makes these diets effective; they allow you to feel in control and that you are making healthier choices which is supported in turn by physically feeling different.

Both diets provide strict rules which helps in removing unwanted habits

Are the diets healthy?

The ketogenic diet often gets labeled as unhealthy by writers who think all you eat is bacon and cream cheese. However, this claim is based on misunderstanding of nutrition; no diet is inherently healthy. The ‘healthiness’ of a diet is directly linked to the food choices being made.

We’ve calculated the nutrition in our meal plans to make sure they are very nutritious. Therefore eating a 100% nutritious diet is possible while following a ketogenic diet.

It is challenging, but not impossible, to consume enough calcium on a Whole30 diet due to the elimination of dairy products. A can of sardines will have about 30% of your daily requirement for calcium. 400g (14 oz) of spinach or collard greens will have about 40%. You would only have to eat 60g (2 oz) of cheddar to get the same amount.

Whether it is feasible realistically to eat this amount of sardines and greens daily is down to the individual. Being aware of this nutritional difficulty will allow you to make an educated choice about whether it’s something you want to supplement with.

Both diets eliminate sugar and most processed foods. Instead of obtaining calories from grains, beans, legumes, sugar and crap, you’ll be consuming foods with higher nutrient density such as vegetables, fats and meats.

We recommend tracking your nutrition intake regardless of your diet

Concluding remarks

At the core of both diets is the elimination of sugar in the form of grains, beans and legumes. Comparing the two diets also reveals how they both form new eating habits and behaviours by being mindful of what foods are consumed.

However that’s about all they have in common. They have widely different goals in what they are trying to achieve and different guiding principles.

Experimenting with different diets gives you knowledge about your body

Kickstart your journey

Keto & Low Carb Meal Prep Plans

Meal prep your weekly meals with handy shopping lists and step-by-step instructions. Complete with optimised weekly nutritional intake and calculated calories.