I’ve heard about low-carb diet and ketogenic diet… but how do you know which one is best for me? ”
This question is asked all the time.
Especially with so many reports and cases of before and after the low-carb or ketogenic diet. And we are already ahead: both low-carb and ketogenic diet can bring health, fitness, and quality of life results.
But it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing – even so, you can adjust your strategy when it’s needed. The sole purpose of writing this article is to help you choose between low-carb and ketogenic that we wrote this article.
Because after your careful reading until the end, you will know exactly:
- What Is Low-carb Diet
- What Is Ketogenic Diet
- And what Are The Differences And Similarities Between Them &
- Which One Is Best For You
The idea of this article is to help you differentiate between the two and to see the specific situations that can make your choice weigh more to one side or the other. These two diets have a lot in common – as we’ll see now.
First of all, let’s make it clear that the ketogenic diet and a low-carb diet are not two completely different strategies.
It’s important to point this out because we often write articles like “ 5 tips for the ketogenic diet ” and get reactions like the following.
I won’t even read because I do low-carb. ”
And, conversely, we posted several low-carb recipes – some of them with virtually zero carbohydrates…
However, just because the name is something like “ low-carb cookie ” instead of “ketogenic cookie”, one becomes unmotivated and thinks that it is not necessarily appropriate for their diet.
So let’s explain now what these two eating strategies have in common.
Both the ketogenic diet and the low-carb diet are low carbohydrate diets. ”
And ketogenic does that too. Since in a ketogenic diet you restrict this intake a lot. In it, most people eat 20 to 30 grams of liquid carbohydrates a day. Some people eat a little more, reaching perhaps 50g of carbs a day (this is an individual adjustment).
Ketogenic Diet: A Tighter Low-Carb
This does not necessarily happen in all low-carb diets. Because other low-carb dietary variations may allow for a much higher carbohydrate intake: around 100 to 120 grams of carbs per day. (Something that can happen naturally in a Paleo diet, for example.)
So note: Although these variations are up to 5x more carbohydrates than a ketogenic, they can still be considered low-carb. Because this type of diet remains much lower in carbohydrates than most people’s standard diets.
The so-called “Western American Diet ” ( Standard American Diet or SAD ) – which is often advocated by dietary guidelines – has about 60% of its calories from carbohydrates. That represents about 250g to 300g of carbs per day.
On the one hand, we have a ketogenic diet, with 20 to 30 grams of carbs a day.
Moving a little to the side, we have a more moderate low-carb diet – which can go from 50g to 120 grams of liquid carbohydrates a day. And at the opposite end to ketogenic is the standard Western diet, which most people follow today.
This diet is very low in good fats and tends to be low in protein – with 250g or more carbohydrates per day.
Since both ketogenic and low-carb are low carbohydrate diets, best supplements, the dietary basis of both strategies remains the same.
- Cheese And Other Dairy Products
- Low Carbohydrate Fruits
- Mushrooms &
- Low-carb Vegetables And Leaves
That is: about 90-95% of your diet will consist of the same foods in both cases. However, the permissiveness of a low-carb diet allows you to more easily include some fruits, vegetables… and even some sweet recipes.
Since these foods may even figure in ketogenic – but they require more attention to the amount of carbohydrates ingested per day. (Which is why it might be interesting to use an app like FatSecret or MyFitnessPal .)
Bottom line: Both low-carb and ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrate intake. Ketogen restricts it further. Therefore it is safe to say the following.
Every ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet – but not every low-carb diet is ketogenic. ”
Does this make sense? All ketogenic is low in carbohydrates (because it restricts their intake). But not every carb-restricting diet will be ketogenic.
We have just seen some of the similarities between low-carb and ketogenic diets. And now let’s address the differences between these two healthy strategies.
So we can start by talking about the big difference between them: the ketogenic diet has as its main goal to get you into ketosis.
Ketogenic Diet Aims At Entering Ketosis
In this metabolic state, due to low carbohydrate intake, your body starts to use mainly fatty acids (fats) as the main source of energy. These fats can come from both your diet and your fat tissue. And they are transformed into ketone bodies before they reach our tissues to be consumed as energy. For example, our brain cannot burn fatty acids directly. It can only handle glucose or ketone bodies.
Since in ketogen we will not be providing much glucose, it will draw most of its energy from ketone bodies. And a small part of that energy comes in the form of glucose. But this glucose need not necessarily be ingested by food. Because our body can produce through the gluconeogenesis process.
In fact, many people report that they feel even better cognitive and attentive during ketogen – precisely because of this change in brain fuel.
As you may recall, mental clarity is also one of the many benefits of fasting. And fasting and the ketogenic diet are all about it. Because this diet was initially be formulated to simulate some of the mental benefits associated with fasting. Especially to treat cases of epilepsy in children. Only the children could not be in “eternal fast”. So the ketogenic diet came up as an option for their treatment – and now it’s a strategy followed by thousands of people.
And that has clear advantages over very long fasts. Such as, for example, the adequate intake of fats to provide energy for daily activities. And adequate protein intake to help maintain lean mass. This is improved by stimulating good weight training.