Both Atkins and Keto diets have helped millions of people successfully improve their health and achieve remarkable fat loss goals. Although, there is still some controversy surrounding how both diets work, how healthy they are and which one is best for achieving healthy weight loss results?
Both Atkins and Keto diets focus on restricting cabs to create a fat loss, but the Atkins diet approaches this from a different angle than the Keto diet. The Atkins diet emphasizes on altering the total carb intake to stimulate and maintain weight loss throughout four phases. Whereas, the Keto diet focuses mainly on sustaining ketosis.
Although both approaches have been shown to be effective for health improvement and weight loss, they each have some key differences that make them better for some and worse for others.
What is the Atkins Diet?
Nutritionist and Cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins began developing this diet in the late 1960s. After years of research, he published his first book, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.
In his book, Dr Atkins explains his findings on low-carb eating along with a practical approach known as the Atkins diet. The book became a huge success and kick-started decades of research along with debate throughout the medical community worldwide.
The Atkins diet cuts down carbs while focusing on fat intake. Although, the main focus of this diet is to reset carb consumption so that it helps individuals who are following the diet to lose fat and maintain weight loss. The diet achieves this through four basic phases:
Phase 1: Induction
The induction phase is designed for your weight loss below 20 grams of net carbs/ day. This is meant to start your fat-burning process.
Phase 2: Balancing
In this phase, you will learn how to balance your diet and maintain your weight loss momentum from the first phase. During this phase, you will start adding more carbs to your diet from foods like yogurt, nuts, strawberries, seeds, melon, blueberries, cottage cheese and more.
Generally, most people on the Atkins diet stay within a net carb range between 30gms and 80 grams.
Phase 3: Weight Loss Maintenance
The focus of phase 3 is to find a healthy carb amount that will let you maintain your weight loss results. The Atkins diet does this by bringing in healthy high-carb foods such as; whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruits.
Increasing net carb intake by no more than 10 grams per week is strongly recommended. Because of this major rise in carb intake, it is necessary that you monitor your weight loss during phase 3.
If you notice staling, it’s time to cut back a bit on the carbs. If you are still noticing weight loss, just keep increasing your carb intake little by little until you reach your ideal goal weight.
You will continue this phase until you’ve lost your desired amount of weight and have kept it off for at least one month. By the time most people get to the end of this phase, they are generally eating around 80 and 100 grams of net carbs daily.
Phase 4: Lifelong Maintenance
This is more of a transition toward a sustainable and healthy lifestyle than a phase. The foods you consume in phase four are the same ones you’ve already eaten in the other phases. You can also add some of your favorite high carb foods to your diet now, but always remember to stay within your goal weight.
The overall goal here is to find a carb intake level that your body can handle without putting on any weight. A realistic amount of carbs for most people is up to 100 grams of carbs per day.
The Atkins Diet
To help you understand the fundamental concepts behind this diet, try thinking about it like this:
Your net carb intake will gradually increase little by little until you are following a low carb diet. If you start gaining weight or hit a plateau, all you need to do is minimize your total carb intake until you can reach and maintain your goal weight.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet was initially developed to treat epilepsy back in the 1920s. Its ability to copy many of the positive aspects of fasting is what made this diet such an effective option for decreasing the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures.
The unique benefit of Keto that sets it apart from all other diets is its ability to keep the body in a state of nutritional ketosis. This allows us to experience the benefits of burning ketones for fuel.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body is continuously using efficient alternative fuel known as ketones. To create ketones and enter ketosis, you must regularly trigger a process in the liver which is called ketogenesis.
The most efficient and healthiest way to do this is to limit carb intake to 20-30g of total carbs per day and increase your intake of high-fat whole foods. By doing this, you can revitalize ketogenesis so that you can enter and sustain ketosis. This is why this diet is called a low carb diet the “ketogenic diet.”
This provides us with a simple way to decipher the difference between a Keto diet and other low carb diets: If your approach does not allow you to maintain ketosis, then you are technically not on the Keto diet.
To help you better understand what the diet looks like, here is a Keto food list:
Avoid These Foods
Grains – corn, rice, cereal, wheat, etc.
Sugar – agave, honey, maple syrup, etc.
Fruit – bananas, oranges, bananas, etc.
Tubers – yams, potato , etc.
Eat These Foods
Low- carb vegetables – kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.
Meats – beef, lamb, fish, eggs, poultry, etc.
High-fat dairy – high fat cream, butter, hard cheeses, etc.
Nuts and seeds – walnuts, sunflowers, macadamias, etc.
Berries and Avocado – blackberries, raspberries along with other low glycemic impact berries
Sweeteners – monk fruit, erythritol, stevia, and other low-carb sweeteners
Other fats – high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, coconut oil, etc.
Following this food list will help you consume around 70% fats, 5% carbohydrate, 25% protein, which is the typical macronutrient distribution of a Keto diet.
The Keto Diet Simplified
If you are in continual ketosis due to limiting your carb intake, then you are officially on the Keto diet. If you are not in ketosis regularly, then technically you are not on Keto.
Most people will need to ensure that their total carb intake is less than 30 grams.
Although you can lose weight without being in ketosis, this metabolic state can help you suppress your appetite and provide you with many health benefits resulting in more weight loss. This is a special advantage that the Keto diet has over other dietary approaches.
Atkins vs Diet: The Main Differences
To help us figure out which diet may be better for you, let’s start by defining the major characteristics that set them apart from each other.
Designed to manipulate carb intake to sustain weight loss
Net carb limit increases as you approach your weight loss goal
No restriction on protein intake
Phases 2,3, & 4 are usually not ketogenic
Phase 1 of the Atkins Diet is almost identical to a Standard Keto Diet
Restricts carbs to increase fat burning and promote weight loss
The Keto Diet:
Designed to help us sustain nutritional ketosis
Net carb limit stays relatively constant throughout
Keeps protein intake at moderate levels
Slightly higher fat intake
Atkins vs Keto: Putting It All Together
Now that you know the ins and outs of both diets, which one should you choose?
Both the Atkins diet and Keto diet can help you improve your health and lose weight, but whether it will work for you really depends on health factors and individual lifestyle.
To help you make the right decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will this diet help me lose weight and improve my health at a steady and healthy pace?
- Can I modify this diet into a long-term lifestyle that will help me maintain my weight loss and stay healthy?
- Can I change my habits, food environment and lifestyle to help me lose weight and keep it off?
If you are unsure how the Atkins diet or Keto diet will affect you, then try to do a trial run for two months. Just be sure to monitor your wellbeing, health and your results during this trial run. And in no time you will be able to figure out the answer to the question; Atkins vs Keto diet?