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The difference between the Keto and Atkins diet: Which is the best option

The difference between the keto and Atkins diet: Which is the best option

Both Keto and Atkins diets limit blood sugar levels to extremes and help the dieters manage carbohydrate consumption and lose bodyweight. Although keto and Atkins are two well-known low-carb diets, the Atkins diet brings carbs back during its phases. But, both diet plans are restrictive, so it is advised to consult your doctor before starting any of them.

However, they both are very similar to each other in many aspects. For instance, they both considerably limit the consumption of daily carbs. Carbohydrates are usually high in quantities in foods, such as donuts and cookies. In comparison, carb is found in minimal amounts in grains, vegetables, cereals, and fruits. All the time, these low-carb diets create healthy eating habits in people who are good enough to try.

What do you mean by the keto diet?

The keto diet is formally known as the ketogenic diet, a high-fat eating plan or low-carb diet. It was first developed in the 1920s for treating epilepsy. But recently, this diet plan has been used to help people lose weight. It works by reducing appetite, burning more calories, and improving obesity-related health disorders, such as type 2 diabetes. 

A “normal” keto diet plan comprises calorie intake obtained only 5% from carbs, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat.

The primary purpose of the keto diet is to stop your body from depending on carbohydrates to be the primary energy source. It is because high-sugar diets direct the body into the ketosis process. The process of ketosis occurs when you change your metabolism. Therefore, it starts burning fat instead of glucose because it is the primary source of energy.

To gain healthy weight and maintain this condition, people restrict their total intake of carbs to 20 to 50 grams a day. It is the measure of the total carbs intake minus fiber intake. The lower is better!

Do you know what it means day-to-day? This term is often used for highly restrictive diet plans. For example, a cup of milk contains only 12 grams, a banana adds 27 grams, and a cup of cooked quinoa has 39 grams of carbs.

However, by following the right approach, keto dieters can limit their hunger by eating too many low-carb vegetables, eggs, fatty fish, meat, milk, broccoli, oils, butter, and spinach.

What do you mean by the Atkins diet?

Like the keto diet, the Atkins diet also supports managing a healthy weight by eating a low-carb diet.

In the 1960s, the Atkins diet was conceived for the first time, but it became popular in the early 2000s, where it got commercial success in the United States.

Since then, this diet has offered a range of food plans. The “classic” Atkins diet is the most popular one and is now named the Atkins 20. As the name represents, this diet plan allows dieters to take only 20 grams of total carbs to eat in a day at the end of the project. 

Regardless of the version of the Atkins diet plan, the scheme comprises four different phases. These phases move forward with the gradual reintroducing of carbs into the diet. 

Sages of the Atkins diet

Here are the four steps for the Atkins 20 diet plan:

Step 1 (Initiation):

The program begins with a drastic decline in carb intake, permitting you to take only 20 grams of total carbohydrate a day. You will continue this phase until you lose only 15 pounds less than your desired weight.

Step 2 (Continuing Weight Loss):

While following this step, you may gradually introduce more carbs into the diet. You can increase your daily carbs intake to 5 grams per week, which can be a maximum of 40 grams a week. You will continue reintroducing until you lose only 10 pounds less than your set goal.

Step 3 (Pre-Care):

It is a well toning phase of this plan. After that, you can further raise your carbs intake by 10 grams a week, but no more than 100 grams per week. This step is for establishing the goal of long-term eating habits. 

Step 4 (Weight Maintaining):

The last step has comparatively fewer dietary restrictions. It includes 80 to 100 grams of carbs intake per day. In this phase, if you begin weight gaining, the experts recommend cutting down consumption of carbohydrates by 10 grams at once.

The primary differences between keto and Atkins diet

But the important thing is where these similarities end.

Both the Atkins and ketogenic diets reduce the consumption of carbohydrates and promote weight loss, but that is what they all have in common. To know which diet plan would be the best option for you, you need to know the difference between keto and the Atkin diets.

Both keto and Atkins diets cut carbs and encourage weight loss, but they all have in common. So if you worry about which diet will provide more benefits to you, here are the key differences:

1. The keto diet completely restricts carbohydrates, while the Atkins diet gradually increases them

As discussed earlier, maintaining a classic keto diet, which has to be given or taken individually, is only 5% carbohydrate, about 20% protein, and 75% fat.

People who consume around 2000 calories per day can take a maximum of 50 grams of carbs per day or occasionally eat up to 20 grams of carbs. Such a low amount of carbs makes their body able to reach the ketosis process. However, a ketogenic diet restricts dieters from staying in this fat-burning phase for a long time.

On the other hand, the Atkins diet initiates ketosis and allows it to stay in only the first step, and sometimes it continues up to the second step. Since you re-add carbohydrates to your diet, you sooner get out of ketosis. This difference implies that the Atkins diet is not as limited as the keto diet.

2. The keto diet needs large amounts of fat, but the Atkins diet supports protein

Amy Miskimon Goss is an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. She said that the Atkins diet has traditionally suggested consuming an adequate amount of protein to suppress appetite. On the other hand, a well-designed keto diet restricts eating fat and protein instead. So that is why the ketogenic diet can help keep the stomach lightened.

Because the Atkins diet plan is more comprehensive, especially during the “weight-maintaining” step, there are no strict percentages for protein intake.

In contrast, the keto diet strictly restricts dieters from staying on high fat intake. Therefore, to maintain ketosis, dieters need to eat fat more often in their diet. They have to take around 60 to 75% of the daily calories from healthy fats, such as whole-fat yogurt, cheese, nuts, and avocado.

3. Keto diet promotes whole foods, but the Atkins diet does not

Gass states that keto diets are also based on whole foods. It means consuming whole grains rather than refined grains or unpacked foods despite taking canned and packaged foods. It also encourages dieters to keep away from preservatives.

However, the Atkins Diet does not limit the dieters to follow these restrictions. Instead, the Atkins diet encourages people to take the Atkins brand shakes, bars, and other pre-packaged foods to support a healthy lifestyle.


Both Keto and Atkins diets require reducing carbs intake and focusing on foods that are full of nutrients. Additionally, they also eliminate high-calorie foods from your diet. 

Although both diets may be very limited for a few people, the important thing is that they have expected benefits to cut carb consumption, even if you are taking it moderately. Both diets can promote dieters for weight loss efforts. Moreover, they put dieters to improve their cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.

But if you are looking to go on one of them, it is highly recommended to talk to a dietitian or physician because your doctor knows more about your health.

Amy Miskimon Goss says that following a keto diet without the nutritionist’s instructions can be dangerous for your health. One of the popular medical professionals, Merck Manual, said that consuming carbs less than 100 grams per day can build up keto acids in the body. If it accumulates in small amounts, it is not harmful. But if the body keeps continuing ketosis, the acid can cause a range of severe side effects. They include abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.

The expert says that it is best if they ask their doctor before choosing a keto diet plan.  However, it is necessary for patients facing any chronic health condition, especially those taking diabetes or high blood pressure medications. It is because these patients most probably will need the medication adjustments according to their health conditions. However, keto and Atkins diets are effective for obese healthy people to maintain their body weight.

Written by HealthRadar360

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