One of these is not like the other, but can you spot the difference?
While it doesn’t appear that there has ever been a conclusive result on the number of diets, we can all agree that there are a lot. This makes it hard to keep up and can muddy the waters a bit. Because of this, many well-intentioned dieters kick off a certain eating style then call it something it’s not. Who can blame them? One of the biggest confusions is between low carb and keto.
This can be explained really simply. Simple is important in the diet world. Too much information, and you can lose track of not only the process but the reason for it in the first place.
Low carb is really just that. It’s more flexible than keto. You simply eat fewer carbs than everything else. Typically, someone on a low carb diet will eat high protein, moderate fat, and low carb. The carb intake may still be pretty significant, but as long as it’s noticeably less than the fat and protein intake, it’s commonly referred to as low carb. Of course, there will be variations and approaches to low carb that get detailed but in general, it’s just like it says.
Keto, on the other hand, is specific. The reason being is that the idea behind a ketogenic diet is to put your body in ketosis. This is no easy task and has very little wiggle room. In order to get the body to go into a state of ketosis, one must consume no more than 20 grams of total carbs per day.
There is still a big controversy surrounding the difference between net carbs (soluble carbs, the kind your body digests completely) and total carbs (insoluble, the kind that passes right on through) but it’s safe to go with total carbs.
This comes down to about a handful of crackers, a few potato chips, or a few servings of vegetables. It all depends on the type. Typically, because the carb restriction is so low and eating high-quality food is important, most keto-goers will use up those carbs on veggies to get more food throughout the day.
The other big point of keto that could easily be missed isn’t necessarily just the focus on the carb intake. In order to really put the body in ketosis, the best meal breaks down into high fat, moderate protein, low carb. Fat first. More fat than anything else. So even if you’re eating less than 20 grams of carbs a day but your protein is dominating, you’re not eating keto. That would still be considered low carb.
At the end of the day, low carb can be keto, but keto can never be simply low carb. Now you know!