Carbohydrates have gained quite a controversial reputation in today’s time. While some people choose to obliterate it as much as possible, others choose to maintain moderate levels of this macronutrient in their diet. In the midst of this, Atkins and ketogenic diets are those that aim at low-carb intake. However, they are not entirely the same thing.
The Atkins vs Ketogenic Diets
The main difference between the Atkins and ketogenic diets is that in the Atkins diet, the carbohydrate intake of the person is increased in gradual phases with the aim of leaving behind ketosis whereas, in a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake is always low, as the aim is to keep the person’s body in ketosis.
The Atkins diet focuses on gaining 30% of calories from protein-rich food. While doing so, the carbohydrate intake is increased gradually. Due to this, the person is able to leave the state of ketosis. This is a situation in which the body does not have enough energy due to a lack of carbs. This diet is very popular as a wide variety of foods can be incorporated into meals.
Meanwhile, a ketogenic diet focuses on gaining only 20% of calories from protein-rich food. While doing so, the carbohydrate intake is always low. This keeps the person in a state of ketosis. For this reason, there are a lot of restrictions when it comes to food variety in meals.
Comparison Table Between the Atkins and Ketogenic Diets
|Parameters of Comparison||The Atkins Diet||Ketogenic Diet|
|Carbohydrate||It increases the carb intake gradually while maintaining an overall low level.||It always maintains a low-carbohydrate intake level.|
|Protein||It focuses on gaining 30% of calories from protein-rich food.||It focuses on gaining only 20% of calories from protein-rich food.|
|Ketosis||It does not keep the body in ketosis.||It keeps the body in ketosis.|
|Food Variety||It does not have many restrictions for food variety.||It has a lot of restrictions for food variety.|
|Risks||It is supposedly not as risky in the long term.||Its long-term risks are unknown.|
What is the Atkins Diet?
The Atkins diet was developed by Robert Atkins in the 70s. Many called it a fad diet that would just lose relevance with time. However, it rose to popularity in 2000 and is still followed by many people. The diet has a low-carb, moderate protein approach. Carbohydrate levels are increased at a gradual pace. However, 30% of calories are always gained from protein. It also requires having a high fat intake.
The idea behind the diet is that the body can lose weight without being in ketosis. It has a metabolic advantage since burning fat rather than carbs allows a person to expend a greater number of calories. This idea spread like wildfire as it allowed people to lose weight without having to feel tired and out-of-energy the entire time.
However, all these claims were debunked in ‘Lancet’. This was a review study of the diet, which called it simple, monotonous, and nonsensical. However, many still followed it. An analysis conducted by Forbes even found that the Atkins sample menu was among the top 5 expensive plans in the world.
In 2004, there was even a lawsuit filed against Robert Atkin’s company. However, it was dismissed since Robert claimed for the plan to only be ‘advice and ideas.’
What is Ketogenic Diet?
Unlike the former, a ketogenic diet is proven to be effective. This too is a low-carb diet. However, it does not increase the carbs levels at all and requires the body to be in ketosis. While doing so, 20% of the calories in the diet must come from proteins. The diet must have high levels of fat as well.
The ketogenic diet was first devised in the 1920s. However, it failed to become popular at that time. Despite this, it was found that this diet may be useful for cancer treatment, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, and even sleeping disorders.
However, the diet often scares people due to its restrictions. There are not a lot of foods that fall under the category of being good for ketosis. Therefore, there are a lot of restrictions on the sources from which the person must derive nutrients. Another limitation is that people often feel persistently tired due to being in a state of ketosis.
Regardless, the diet is proven to be effective, unlike the Atkins diet. Even though long-term risks are still unknown, it is followed by many people across the world. There are several organizations that hand out diet plans and even cooked meals for the same.
Main Differences Between the Atkins Diet and Ketogenic Diet
- The Atkins diet increases the carb intake gradually while maintaining an overall low level whereas the ketogenic diet always maintains a low-carbohydrate intake level.
- The Atkins diet focuses on gaining 30% of calories from protein-rich food whereas the ketogenic diet focuses on gaining only 20% of calories from protein-rich food.
- The Atkins diet does not keep the body in ketosis whereas the ketogenic diet keeps the body in ketosis.
- The Atkins diet does not have many restrictions for food variety whereas the ketogenic diet has a lot of restrictions for food variety.
- The Atkins diet is supposedly not as risky in the long term whereas the long-term risks of the ketogenic diet are unknown.
The Atkins and ketogenic diets are very similar when it comes to carbohydrate intake. However, the former requires the carb intake level to be increased gradually. On the other hand, in a ketogenic diet, the carb levels are always kept at a low. Moreover, the Atkins diet is more protein-rich as compared to the latter.
Another major difference is that the ketogenic diet has been debunked several times. Even the proprietor of the diet plan claimed for it to only be advice. Meanwhile, the ketogenic diet has proven benefits when it comes to weight loss and even other diseases and disorders.
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