Keto vs Low Carb Diet: Difference and Comparison

A keto diet and a low-carb diet are two well-known ways of dietary eating that limit an individual’s carb intake.

Although the diets serve the same basic function, they are marked with several distinctions which set them apart. Such differences are necessary to understand to choose the right nutritional plan. 

Key Takeaways

  1. The keto diet involves high fat, moderate protein, and minimal carbohydrate intake, while low-carb diets limit carbohydrates without specific macronutrient ratios.
  2. The keto diet aims to achieve ketosis for fat-burning, whereas low-carb diets focus on reducing carb consumption for weight loss and blood sugar control.
  3. Keto diets require strict adherence to maintaining ketosis, while low-carb diets offer more flexibility in food choices.

Keto vs Low Carb Diet 

The difference between keto and low-carb diets is the proportion of carbohydrate intake. While the keto diet restricts the carbohydrate intake to fewer than 50 grams per day, carb intake in a low-carb diet ranges from 50-150 grams per day. The keto and low-carb diets also differ in protein intake. The Keto diet restricts protein consumption to 20% of the total calories, whereas the protein consumption in a low-carb diet is relatively higher. 

Keto vs Low Carb Diet
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The Keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is targeted at weight loss. The main purpose of the keto diet is to reach nutritional ketosis, defined as the stage where the body produces ketones from fat in the liver and uses the fat as an energy substitute for carbs.

The Keto diet comprises a moderate protein intake, a very high fat intake and fewer than 50 grams of carb intake. 

Low carb diet, on the other hand, refers to a diet schedule that aims to restrict carbohydrate intake, primarily from grains and bread. It comprises a high protein intake, healthy fats, and vegetables that reduce carb intake.

Low carb diet is opted for weight loss and provides various health benefits. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKetoLow Carb Diet
Definition Keto diet is defined as a high fat, low carb diet. Low carb diet refers to a diet schedule that aims to restrict carbohydrate intake, primarily from grains, sweets, and bread. 
Carbohydrate Intake Fewer than 50 grams per day.Ranges from 50 to 150 grams per day. 
Protein IntakeModerate protein intake. Very high protein intake. 
Fat IntakeVery high fat intake. Moderate fat intake. 
Nature of the diet Restrictive in nature.Moderately flexible in nature. 
Applicability in the long runUnsustainable in the long run due to its restrictive nature. Sustainable in the long run due to its moderately flexible nature.

What is a Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is targeted at weight loss. It aims to reach the goal of nutritional ketosis, which is defined as the stage where the body produces ketones from fat in the liver and uses the fat as the main energy source instead of the carbs.

The Keto diet restricts carb consumption to fewer than 50 grams per day. Apart from that, it comprises a moderate protein intake and a very high fat intake.

The Keto diet is known to have therapeutic benefits and may result in a lower appetite. Its impact has been significant in patients dealing with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

It can also improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, the keto diet is not a long-term option. With possibility of constipation, headache, fatigue, and brain fog, the long-term application of the keto diet is not a practical option.  

keto diet

What is a Low Carb Diet?

Low carb diet refers to a diet schedule that aims to restrict carbohydrate intake, primarily from grains and bread. The carb intake ranges from 50 to 150 grams per day, accompanied by a high protein intake.

A low-carb diet reduces the consumption of high-calorie foods and, thus, helps adopt a healthy lifestyle. In addition, a low-carb diet is opted for weight loss and provides various health benefits.

A low-carb diet focuses on low-starchy vegetables. It provides room for the consumption of healthy fats and vegetables which limit carb intake, thereby allowing an individual to switch to a healthy routine while also ensuring sufficient energy levels for the brain and body to remain operational.

Another significant advantage of the low-carb diet is its sustainability, i.e. it can be adopted as a part of an individual’s life for a long-term period. 

low carb diet

Main Differences Between Keto and Low Carb Diet

  1. The carbohydrate intake in a keto diet is fewer than 50 grams per day, whereas carb intake ranges from 50 to 150 grams per day in a low-carb diet.  
  2.  The Keto diet restricts protein consumption to 20% of the total calories, whereas the protein consumption in a low-carb diet is relatively higher. 
  3. The fat intake is significantly higher in a keto diet than in a low-carb diet since it requires cutting down on a lot of carb intake. 
  4. The Keto diet is restrictive in nature. If a person is required to consume a specific proportion of a food item, he/she cannot change it. On the contrary, a low-carb diet has a flexible nature as it allows an individual to choose from a number of food items that are low on calories. 
  5. A Keto diet is not sustainable in the long run due to its restrictive nature, whereas low-carb diet can be adopted as a part of a healthy routine for a long period of time. 
Difference Between Keto Diet and Low Carb Diet

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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22 thoughts on “Keto vs Low Carb Diet: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comprehensive explanation of the keto and low-carb diets is helpful in understanding the key similarities and differences between the two dietary approaches. The breakdown of macronutrient ratios and long-term sustainability is particularly insightful.

  2. The detailed explanation of the keto and low-carb diets enhances the understanding of their nutritional composition and health goals. It’s important to recognize the differences in carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, as well as the sustainability of each dietary approach.

  3. The comparison between the keto and low-carb diets sheds light on the distinct nature of each dietary approach, providing valuable insights into their applicability and health implications. Understanding the difference in carbohydrate intake and nature of the diet is key to making an informed decision.

  4. This article provides a well-rounded overview of the keto and low-carb diets, highlighting the different approaches and health benefits of each. The comparison table is especially useful for understanding the distinctive features of both diets.

  5. Understanding the nature and goals of each diet is essential for making an informed decision about which one is best suited to individual needs and health goals.

  6. Great explanation of the key differences between the keto diet and a low-carb diet. Understanding the macronutrient ratios and the levels of restriction in each diet is crucial when choosing a nutritional plan.

    1. I totally agree. The distinctions between the keto diet and a low-carb diet are important to consider when determining which dietary approach is best suited to individual needs.

  7. This article does a great job at breaking down the comparison between the keto diet and the low-carb diet, making it easier for readers to understand the differences in macronutrient intake and dietary goals.

  8. Avatar of Georgia Richards
    Georgia Richards

    The breakdown of carbohydrate intake, protein intake, and fat intake in the keto and low-carb diets offers a clear understanding of the nutritional differences between the two dietary approaches. It’s important to consider the long-term sustainability and health impact of each diet.

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