When it comes to low-carbohydrate diets, it’s hard to make sense of all of the information that’s available. Terms like keto, Atkins, low-carb, ketogenic fill our vision and come up in conversation regularly. What is what? What does a person who wants to tap into the power of low-carb eating need to know? Let’s look at the difference between the keto and Atkins diets.


History of Keto

The classical ketogenic diet is a medical nutritional therapy. It is a form of fasting that causes the body’s metabolism to switch from using carbohydrates as its main source of fuel to breaking down fats into ketones. The physical condition of using fats rather than carbohydrates for energy is named ketosis. The presence of ketones in the body gives it the familiar name, keto diet. The ketogenic diet has been adapted in many ways for use outside of medically supervised settings for weight loss. The term keto diet is a category that describes diets that restrict carbohydrate intake in order to signal the body into ketosis and more efficiently burn the body’s own fat reserves as an energy supply.


Keto Diets

Keto, or low-carbohydrate diets, are plentiful, and differ on a few variables. The amount of carbs allowed and the carb sources may vary from one diet to the next, but is kept very low. The main difference in terms of macronutrient content is in the amounts of protein and fat. For example, a classical ketogenic diet used in the treatment of epilepsy drastically limits carbohydrates, allows for an adequate amount of protein and depends on fat to make up most of the calories. Other adapted versions of the diet seem to vary the amount of fats and proteins that make up the diet. Other variables include plant based food, meal timing and calorie restriction, but a keto diet must always be a low-carb diet.


Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is a flexible lifestyle keto-type diet with different levels of carb restriction as one meets weight loss goals. The induction stage of the Atkins is most restrictive and most resembles a keto diet. As one progresses to different stages as weight loss goals are met, more of their caloric allowance for the day can come from carbohydrate sources. This makes the diet easier to adhere to, as the restrictive nature of a keto diet, while beneficial for losing weight, can be discouraging to maintain if you can’t eat the foods you would like to.


So What’s the Difference?

The main difference between keto vs atkins is that a “keto diet” is a low-carbohydrate diet that conditions the body to burn fat as fuel and Atkins is a name brand version of keto diet developed and marketed by Simply Good Foods USA, Inc which has developed many products to support the Atkins lifestyle.

For a more in-depth view of the keto diet, you can also refer to this video: